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Early March 2009

Kidsreads.com Newsletter Early March 2009
Hot Reads for Cold Weather
In February, the groundhog, our hopeful harbinger of spring, poked his head out and took a look around after a long winter's nap. As I began prematurely packing away my sweaters and thinking about sandy beaches (okay, maybe sandy beaches are a couple of seasons away, but a gal can daydream, right?), I was abruptly halted by the appearance of the weatherly rodent's shadow, forecasting six more weeks of winter (sigh). With the last few weeks being as cold as they've been, who could blame the groundhog for heading back to bed that fateful February 2nd? Are you feeling the same way? Luckily, I have a bunch of new books to hold us over until spring!

One innovative book I am really excited about is Patrick Carman's latest work, SKELETON CREEK, the first installment of a new suspense series that tells its tale in two parts: Ryan shares his journals within the text of the book, while his filmmaker friend Sarah tells her side of the story through videos that readers can watch by visiting her website, www.skeletoncreekisreal.com. This interactive method of storytelling makes readers feel as though they are a part of the story, investigating the mysteries of Skeleton Creek right alongside both Ryan and Sarah. Check out a behind-the-scenes interview with the author, as well as an excerpt of this groundbreaking two-book series and our review.

Another story for mystery fans is SCAT by Carl Hiaasen. In this thrilling and hilarious mystery, two students investigate the strange disappearance of the dreaded biology teacher, Mrs. Bunny Starch. Check out our review and an excerpt. And those looking for an adventure with plenty of laughs and danger will enjoy the fifth Children of the Lamp book, THE EYE OF THE FOREST. P. B Kerr has the supernatural twins on an action-packed quest in the Amazon Jungle. You can find out more by reading our review

Sam Llewellyn tells us about his inspiration for LYONESSE: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS and his new series based on the legends of King Arthur. Check out our interview and get a feel for his fantasy tale by reading our review and an excerpt

Get the behind-the-scenes scoop on PAINT THE WIND, a heartwarming story about a girl and her horse now available in paperback, through our interview with award-winning author Pam Munoz Ryan. Find out about Pam's love of horses and much more, and then take a look inside her book. 

This month's new installment in the Goosebumps Horrorland series feature is SAY CHEESE --- AND DIE SCREAMING, and the third addition to the Schooling Around series, MASCOT MADNESS!, by Andy Griffiths is now available in stores. Also recently published is SASSY: LITTLE SISTER IS NOT MY NAME! by Sharon M. Draper and HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!: Party Edition by Dr. Seuss, which celebrates the classic book's 50th year in print. (And a belated Happy Birthday to Dr. Seuss, whose big day was March 2nd.)

Would you be interested in winning a trip to Universal Orlando® Resort for you and your family? I thought so! All you have to do is visit http://www.seussville.com/birthday with your parent or guardian to learn more about the HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Sweepstakes and how to enter. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the other cool and exciting features on Dr. Seuss’s official website. Once you enter Seussville, you will not want to leave!


For more books to curl up and stay warm with, check out our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups as well as our latest reviews --- which now include graphic novel and manga titles.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald for Kidsreads.com

 

Author Talk: Patrick Carman, Author of SKELETON CREEK

Children’s author Patrick Carman’s latest work, SKELETON CREEK, is the first installment of an innovative new series that tells its tale in two parts: Ryan, one of the main characters, shares his journals within the text of the book, while his friend Sarah --- an amateur filmmaker --- tells her side of the story through videos that readers can watch by visiting her website. In this interview, Carman and his editor, David Levithan, discuss what inspired this multimedia project and reveal the initial insecurities about taking on this new method of storytelling. Carman also shares some behind-the-scenes information about shooting the videos, explains why it’s so important to think outside the box as a way to encourage young readers, and talks about why he chose to end the book with a cliffhanger.

SKELETON CREEK by Patrick Carman
Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek --- and Ryan and Sarah are trying to get to the heart of it. But after an eerie accident leaves Ryan housebound and forbidden to see Sarah, their investigation takes two tracks: Ryan records everything in his journal, while Sarah uses her videocam to search things out...and then email the clips for Ryan to see. In a new, groundbreaking format, Patrick Carman's story is broken into two parts --- Ryan's text in the book, and Sarah's videos on a special website (www.skeletoncreekisreal.com), with links and passwords given throughout the book. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here to read a review of SKELETON CREEK.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SKELETON CREEK.

 

Click here to read an interview with Patrick Carman.

 
Now in Stores: SCAT by Carl Hiaasen

SCAT by Carl Hiaasen
Mrs. Bunny Starch, the most feared biology teacher ever, was last seen during a field trip to Black Vine Swamp. The school’s headmaster and the police seem to have accepted the sketchy, unsigned note explaining that her absence is due to a “family emergency.” There’s no real evidence of foul play. But still, Nick and Marta don’t buy it. Something weird is definitely going on. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


-Click here to read an excerpt from SCAT.
 

Click here to read a review of SCAT.

 
Now in Stores: THE EYE OF THE FOREST: Children of the Lamp, Book 5 by P. B. Kerr

THE EYE OF THE FOREST: Children of the Lamp, Book 5 by P. B. Kerr
In their latest adventure, John and Philippa Gaunt find themselves tangled up in a spellbinding mystery that takes them deep into the heart of the Amazon jungle. When a collection of Incan artifacts goes missing, the Blue Djinn of Babylon dispatches the twins and Uncle Nimrod to recover them. Along the way, though, John and Philippa encounter their friend Dybbuk, who was drained of his djinn powers but is determined to get them back. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

 

Click here to read a review of THE EYE OF THE FOREST.

 

Special Feature: LYONESSE: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS by Sam Llewellyn

Sam Llewellyn's most recent book for young readers, LYONESSE: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS, is the first installment of a series that reworks the folklore of King Arthur and the Knights of the Roundtable. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Sarah Wood, Llewellyn describes what inspired his twist on the centuries-old legends and recalls some of his own experiences growing up on an island that helped shape elements of the narrative. He also discusses the novel's underlying themes about nature and environmentalism, raises questions he hopes readers will explore when they finish the story, and shares details about the series's next book due out in 2010.

LYONESSE, BOOK 1: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS by Sam Llewellyn
Idris lives in Lyonesse, the noble island where King Arthur once resided with Merlin and his Knights of the Round Table. Yet thousands of years after the great king walked this country, it has become a place of shadows, where men hunt and capture the monsters that dwell in the dark depths of the sea. Under the reign of a corrupt ruler, Lyonesse is slowly drowning --- and now the fate of the land and all its citizens depends on Idris. But can one boy stop the wickedness that's been growing for centuries? 


-Click here to read an excerpt from LYONESSE: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS.
-Click here to read our interview with Sam Llewellyn.
-Click here to read Sam Llewellyn’s bio.

 

Click here to read a review of LYONESSE, BOOK 1: THE WELL BETWEEN THE WORLDS.

 
Special Feature: PAINT THE WIND by Pam Munoz Ryan --- Now Available in Paperback

In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Chris Shanley-Dillman, award-winning author Pam Muñoz Ryan explains how both her childhood love of horses and a suggestion from an editor prompted her to write her 2007 novel PAINT THE WIND (now available in paperback) and describes learning how to horseback ride as part of her research. She also reveals the inspirations behind her characters' unique names and shares details about a future book set to be released next year.

PAINT THE WIND by Pam Munoz Ryan 
In Grandmother's house in California, Maya's every word and action are strictly monitored, and even Maya's memories of her mother have been erased.

In the rugged Wyoming wilderness, a Tobiano Paint horse called Artemisia runs free. She embodies the spirit of the wild --- and she holds the key to Maya's memories. 

-Click here to read an excerpt from PAINT THE WIND.
-Click here to read our interview with Pam Munoz Ryan.
-Click here to read Pam Munoz Ryan’s bio.
 
Click here to read a review of PAINT THE WIND.

 
Series Feature Update: Goosebumps Horrorland by R.L. Stine

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #6: WHO'S YOUR MUMMY? by R.L. Stine
When Abby and her brother Peter go to visit their Uncle Jonathan, creepy things start happening immediately. A village woman warns them to stay away. Jonathan's big old house is crammed full of weird Egyptian artifacts --- including a mummy. Abby sees bats circling Jonathan's roof in broad daylight. Will Abby survive long enough to get an invitation to
HorrorLand Theme Park? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #7: MY FRIENDS CALL ME MONSTER by R.L. Stine
Michael "Monster" Munroe is having a difficult time with his extremely weird teacher, Mrs. Hardesty. To get back at her, he and his friends pull a little prank on her --- and it backfires like you cannot believe, in yet another horrorfest by the master of gore. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

GOOSEBUMPS HORRORLAND #8: SAY CHEESE --- AND DIE SCREAMING by R.L. Stine
Julie has a goal. She wants to be the major photographer for her school's yearbook. If she gets the job, her dad will give her a new camera. But Julie hasn't taken into consideration the fact that her new-to-her camera may have a terrifying goal of its own. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Read reviews of WHO'S YOUR MUMMY?, MY FRIENDS CALL ME MONSTER and SAY CHEESE --- AND DIE SCREAMING.
-Click here to play the updated Goosebumps HorrorLand trivia game.

 

Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature.


 
Graphic Novel and Manga Reviews
Due to their growing popularity with young readers, we are now featuring reviews of graphic novels and manga titles. Below are our current selections.

Graphic Novel Reviews:
ALL-STAR SUPERMAN written by Grant Morrison and illustrated by Frank Quitely
BONE: One-Volume Edition by Jeff Smith
DEAR DRACULA written by Joshua Williamson and illustrated by Vicente "Vinny" Navarrete
ED'S TERRESTRIALS written by Scott Christian Sava and illustrated by Diego Jourdan
FUZZ & PLUCK: SPLITSVILLE by Ted Stearn
GETTYSBURG: The Graphic Novel by C. M. Butzer
HYPERACTIVE written by Scott Christian Sava and illustrated by Joseph Bergin III
LAIKA by Nick Abadzis
PET ROBOTS written by Scott Christian Sava and illustrated by Diego Jourdan


Manga Reviews:
BAT-MANGA!: The Secret History of Batman in Japan edited by Chip Kidd
COWA! by Akira Toriyama
HOLLOW FIELDS, Volumes 1-3 by Madeleine Rosca
MAGIC KNIGHT RAYEARTH I and II by CLAMP
THE MANGA COOKBOOK written by The Manga University Culinary Institute and illustrated by Chihiro Hattori
THE PALETTE OF 12 SECRET COLORS, Volumes 1 and 2 by Nari Kusakawa
SUGAR PRINCESS: SKATING TO WIN, Volume 1 by Hisaya Nakajo
SUGAR SUGAR RUNE, Volumes 1-8 by Moyoco Anno
SUIHELIBE! by Naomi Azuma
WARRIORS, Volumes 1 and 2 by Erin Hunter

 
Click here to read all our graphic novel and manga reviews.

 
Celebrate the 50th Birthday of HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! by Dr. Seuss
HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!: Party Edition by Dr. Seuss
Since 1959, HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! --- Dr. Seuss's joyous ode to individuality --- has allowed readers to experience firsthand the thrill of celebrating a birthday as it is done in Katroo. Awakened by the Birthday Bird, you (the reader) are swept out of town on a Smorgasbord's back to begin a day and night of feasting and feting in such Seussian splendor that it will take 20 days to sweep up the mess! And while Random House Children's Books can't possibly compete with the folks in Katroo, they are making available a special Party Edition of the book --- featuring its luscious full-color artwork printed on foil --- to celebrate its 50th year in print.

In honor of the book's 50th birthday, Random House Children's Books is giving you and your family the chance to win a trip to Universal Orlando® Resort! All you have to do is visit http://www.seussville.com/birthday with your parent or guardian to learn more about the HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU! Sweepstakes and how to enter. While you’re there, be sure to check out all the other cool and exciting features on Dr. Seuss’s official website. Once you enter Seussville, you will not want to leave!

 
Click here to read more about HAPPY BIRTHDAY TO YOU!: Party Edition.

 
Now in Stores: SASSY: LITTLE SISTER IS NOT MY NAME! by Sharon M. Draper
SASSY: LITTLE SISTER IS NOT MY NAME! by Sharon M. Draper
It's not easy being nine, especially when you're Sassy Simone Sanford. Especially when you were named for sticking out your tongue on the day you were born. Especially when everyone in your family calls you Little Sister. And if that's not bad enough, imagine being the youngest in the family. Imagine watching your big brother and sister have all the fun. Imagine being left out of the cool stuff your older siblings get to do --- just because you're younger. Just because you're in the fourth grade. Just because Mom and Dad rule.

Well, nothing stops Sassy. All she has to do is reach into her Sassy Sack to find the right lip gloss, hair clip or rubber band, and life's problems get solved. And thanks to her best friends, Carmelita, Jazzy and Tandy, the most sour situations can become as sweet as honey!

Bestselling author Sharon Draper makes her middle grade girl book debut in this series that features an unforgettable heroine, a loving family, a diverse cast of teachers, friends and neighbors --- and a little magic.
 

Click here to read more about SASSY: LITTLE SISTER IS NOT MY NAME!

 
Now in Stores: SCHOOLING AROUND: MASCOT MADNESS! by Andy Griffiths
MASCOT MADNESS! by Andy Griffiths
Henry McThrottle thought Northwest Southeast Central School was wacky. But then mascot madness takes over during the annual Sports Carnival competition against Northwest West Academy...and things get REALLY out of control.

Don't miss the first two books in the Schooling Around series!

TREASURE FEVER! by Andy Griffiths
Meet Henry McThrottle, a fifth-grader at Northeast Southwest Central School. Henry has an extremely active imagination --- sometimes it's hard to tell where his imagination stops and the real world begins. His flights of fancy lead to adventures of the sort only Andy Griffiths could dream up: always hilarious, never predictable, sure to keep kids laughing and reading!

PENCIL OF DOOM! by Andy Griffiths
Henry McThrottle thought Northwest Southeast Central School was wacky. But then he comes across the Pencil of Doom...and things get REALLY out of control.

 

Click here to read more about the Schooling Around series and all of Andy Griffiths's books.

 
Cool New Books for February

February’s roundup of Cool New Books includes SKELETON CREEK, a groundbreaking interactive ghost story courtesy of bestselling author Patrick Carman that plays out on both the written page and in special videos that can be viewed online at www.skeletoncreekisreal.com; THE DEMIGOD FILES, a must-have guide to Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson & the Olympians series that will build even more anticipation for the fifth and final book, THE LAST OLYMPIAN, releasing in May; THE YGGYSSEY, a sequel to THE NEDDIAD that reunites readers with Iggy, Neddie, Seamus and the usual apparitional entourage for another weird and wonderful adventure by Daniel Pinkwater; and SASSY: LITTLE SISTER IS NOT MY NAME!, Sharon Draper’s middle-grade girl book debut that features an unforgettable heroine, a loving family, a diverse cast of teachers, friends and neighbors --- and a little magic.
 

Click here to read our Cool New Books feature for February.

 
February's New in Paperback Roundup

February’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes MOVING DAY, the first installment in Meg Cabot’s debut middle-grade series, Allie Finkle’s Rules for Girls; THE BIG FIELD by Mike Lupica, the story of a star shortstop who is replaced by a better player with a questionable attitude; THE AURORA COUNTY ALL-STARS, the third book in Deborah Wiles’s trilogy set in Aurora County, Mississippi, this time featuring a 12-year-old boy as the main character; EDWARD’S EYES, Patricia MacLachlan’s deeply stirring, delicately lyrical portrait of a child, a son, a family and a brother; and THE NEDDIAD, a rollicking and totally bizarre adventure from Daniel Pinkwater in which circus beasts, ghostly bellboys, ancient mythology and 1940s Los Angeles collide.
 

Click here to see what's New in Paperback for February.

 
Kidsreads.com's Latest Reviews
HEROES OF THE VALLEY by Jonathan Stroud
Fourteen-year-old Halli Sveinsson longs for adventure. However, thanks to his ancestors, the Valley lands are now peaceful and safe, and the horrid monsters called Trows are forbidden to enter. But when Halli pulls a prank that leads to the digging up of old grudges, war returns to the Valley. Does Halli have it in him to be a hero, like the ancestor he so admires? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

BLOOD TIDE: A Never Land Book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson
An earthquake that strikes Neverland Island floods the Lost Boys' underground hideaway, forcing them to leave. Meanwhile, a mysterious barrel washes ashore and falls into the hands of the pirates. When their leader, Captain Hook, finds out what's in the barrel, he hatches an evil plan. But worst of all is the change in the mermaids. When these once-peaceful friends of the natives injure some members of the native Mollusk tribe, the Mollusk leader, Fighting Prawn, feels he has no choice but to fight back. Reviewed by Sarah Sawtelle.

THE MOSTLY TRUE ADVENTURES OF HOMER P. FIGG by Rodman Philbrick
Through a series of fascinating events, Homer P. Figg's older brother has been illegally sold to the Union army. It is up to the young orphan to find him and save him. Along the way, he encounters many strange but real people of that era who will engage and educate young readers about our nation's past --- in one of the most decisive moments of American history. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

RETURN TO SENDER by Julia Alvarez
After Tyler's father is injured in a tractor accident, his family is forced to hire migrant Mexican workers to help save their Vermont farm from foreclosure. Oldest daughter Mari and her family lives in constant fear of being discovered by the authorities and sent back to the poverty they left behind in Mexico. Can Tyler and Mari find a way to be friends despite their differences? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THE SEVEN KEYS OF BALABAD by Paul Haven
Twelve-year-old Oliver Finch misses his friends back home in New York City. Living halfway around the world in the Middle Eastern country of Balabad with his journalist father and art historian mother, Oliver is homesick and bored --- until he gets involved in a centuries-old mystery that involves a sacred carpet, hidden keys and buried treasure. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

THE BEST BAD LUCK I EVER HAD by Kristin Levine
The last thing Harry "Dit" Sims expects when Emma Walker comes to town is to become friends. Proper-talking, brainy Emma doesn't play baseball or fish too well, but she sure makes Dit think, especially about the differences between black and white. But soon Dit is thinking about a whole lot more when the town barber, who is black, is put on trial for a terrible crime. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

I, LORELEI by Yeardley Smith
Lorelei Connelly decides to start keeping a diary after her beloved cat, Mud, dies. It's a good thing she does, because sixth grade turns out to be a year full of changes --- from school plays to cute boys to family fights. Luckily, Lorelei is smart and resourceful, and ready to deal with anything sent her way. Reviewed by Sarah Hannah Gomez.

THE GOODBYE TIME by Celeste Conway
Anna and Katy have been best friends since kindergarten. Now that they are about to graduate from fifth grade and enter middle school, their lives are changing and their friendship is on the verge of collapse. Reviewed by Donna Volkennant.

 

Click here to read our latest reviews.

 
Poll and Question: Online Author Events
Poll:

Would you attend an author event online, where you can watch an author talk about his or her book and interact with fans?

Yes
No
Not sure


-Click here to answer the poll. 


Question:


Name up to five authors you would like to see participate in an author event online.

-Click here to answer the question.