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October 2009

Kidsreads.com Newsletter October 2009
Hauntingly Good Reads

Halloween will be upon us on Saturday, and my 14-year-old son, who reads comics in the paper, as well as collections in books, wants to be Hobbes from the comic strip Calvin and Hobbes. Thus, my main task for these past few days has been working with him on his tiger costume. I had thought we could use tiger print fabric for this, but I couldn't find ANY in stores near us, so it's orange felt stripes on a black sweatsuit. He told me this is probably his last year to trick or treat, so he has a plan to hit a TON of houses. Do you have any great book or comic character-themed costumes in mind for Halloween?

Of course, right after our Halloween festivities this weekend, Thanksgiving, Hanukkah and Christmas are right around the corner! Here at Kidsreads.com, we’re already kicking off the holiday season with the help of two family-friendly animated films spotlighted in November’s Books into Movies feature. Ever the quintessential holiday story, A Christmas Carol hits theaters on November 6th. Complete with 3D special effects, a darker storyline and a star-studded cast, Disney definitely puts its own unique spin on this timeless tale by Charles Dickens about redemption and finding the true Christmas spirit.

November 13th marks the release of Fantastic Mr. Fox, based on the more contemporary but equally classic story by Roald Dahl, author of CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY, MATILDA and JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH. You won’t need your 3D glasses for this movie, but with the help of Indie director Wes Anderson and a cast featuring the likes of Meryl Streep and George Clooney, this adventure-filled story about a sly fox outsmarting three bumbling farmers will certainly bring these beloved characters to life on the big screen.

Another beloved character that has resurfaced hails from the Hundred Acre Wood. RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD by David Benedictus details the new adventures of Winnie-the-Pooh and his lovable friends. Read our review here.

Series books are plentiful in this month's update. Nancy Farmer concludes her Sea of Trolls fantasy trilogy with THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED. Check out our review and an excerpt. Reynie, Kate, Constance and Sticky return for a third adventure in THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA by Trenton Lee Stewart. And the fourth book in the laugh-out-loud Diary of a Wimpy Kid series by Jeff Kinney, DOG DAYS, is also available in stores now.

Are you a fan of the Main Street series by Ann M. Martin? The first book, WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS, introduces readers to Flora and Ruby, orphaned sisters who move to Camden Falls to live with their grandmother. Before they know it, the town becomes home, full of new friends and new memories. Read an excerpt and enter our giveaway for your chance to be one of the 25 lucky readers to win a copy of the book. Also, be sure to check out the newest addition to the series, MAIN STREET #8: SPECIAL DELIVERY, by reading our review and an excerpt.

In an interview with GraphicNovelReporter.com's John Hogan, comic book artist Kazu Kibuishi talks about Amulet, a graphic novel series about two children and their adventures in a sinister underground world found below the basement of their great-grandfather's home. Click here to read the review of the second book in the series, THE STONEKEEPER'S CURSE.

Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Berkeley Breathed has released his first illustrated novel, FLAWED DOGS: The Shocking Raid on Westminster. Read an excerpt here, and then find out more about the talented author and illustrator who created these adorable pups in our interview.

Speaking of furry friends, you can still enter to win one of 25 copies of SINGING SENSATION by Geronimo Stilton and THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE by Geronimo's sister, Thea Stilton. Click here to enter to win a copy of SINGING SENSATION, and for more details about the MOUNTAIN OF FIRE giveaway, click here. You can also check out our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

Our SYREN Giveaway continues for your chance to win the fifth installment in the Septimus Heap series by Angie Sage. Kidsreads.com is giving away 15 copies. Read our review and interview, have a look inside the book, and enter the contest!


And congratulations to the winners of THE BLACK CIRCLE Giveaway! These 25 readers will be receiving the fifth book in The 39 Clues series by Patrick Carman.

We have added to our Great Books for Boys list to reflect those books that have been released since our last update in April. Among our most recent additions are THE BROOKLYN NINE by Alan Gratz, DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney, JAKE RANSOM AND THE SKULL KING’S SHADOW by James Rollins, SIMON BLOOM: THE OCTOPUS EFFECT by Michael Reisman and THIS BOOK IS NOT GOOD FOR YOU by Pseudonymous Bosch. Click here to see our complete list, along with the latest additions at the top of the page.

For more reading suggestions, check out our Cool New Books and New in Paperback roundups and our latest reviews --- which include graphic novel and manga titles. And don't forget to vote in our poll about pleasure reading at school.

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald for Kidsreads.com


 

Click here to see our updated Great Books for Boys feature.

 
Now in Stores: RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD by David Benedictus

RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD written by David Benedictus and illustrated by Mark Burgess
It was 80 years ago, on the publication of THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER, when Christopher Robin said good-bye to Winnie-the-Pooh and his friends in the Hundred Acre Wood. Now they are all back in new adventures, for the first time approved by the Trustees of the Pooh Properties. This is a companion volume that truly captures the style of A. A. Milne --- a worthy sequel to THE HOUSE AT POOH CORNER and WINNIE-THE-POOH. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

 

Click here to read a review of RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD.

 
Now in Stores: THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED by Nancy Farmer

THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED by Nancy Farmer
Jack, an apprentice bard, and his friend Thorgil, a shield maiden, have survived many adventures together. They have traveled the Hollow Road deep underground. They have visited Jotunheim, land of the trolls. They have even seen Yggdrasil, the world tree. The ringing of a magic bell sets their third adventure into motion. Visiting the realm of the fin folk and quelling unrestful spirits are just a few of the stops in Nancy Farmer’s final volume of her Sea of Trolls trilogy. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED.
 

Click here to read a review of THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED.

 
Now in Stores: THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PRISONER'S DILEMMA by Trenton Lee Stewart

THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA by Trenton Lee Stewart
Join the Mysterious Benedict Society as Reynie, Kate, Sticky and Constance embark on a daring new adventure that threatens to force them apart from their families, friends, and even each other. When an unexplained blackout engulfs Stonetown, the foursome must unravel clues relating to a nefarious new plot, while their search for answers brings them closer to danger than ever before. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.
 

Click here to read a review of THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA.


 

Now in Stores: DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney
In the fourth installment of the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series, Greg Heffley suffers through summer vacation, which doesn't quite turn out to be the three-month-long video game marathon of his dreams. Greg's droll commentary on his life, complete with dead-pan illustrations, is guaranteed to make even the dourest reader laugh out loud. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.
Click here to read a review of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS.

 
font size="4"> New Special Feature and Giveaway: Main Street by Ann M. Martin

WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS, the first installment in the Main Street series, introduces readers to Flora and Ruby, orphaned sisters who move to Camden Falls to live with their grandmother. Much to their surprise, the new town soon becomes their home.

To learn more about Flora and Ruby and their stories in Camden Falls, enter the WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS Giveaway to be one of 25 readers to win a copy of the book.

MAIN STREET #1: WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS by Ann M. Martin
Flora and Ruby do not want to move to Camden Falls to live with their grandmother, Min, after their parents die in a car accident. It’s strange to be in a new place, but luckily, it’s a very welcoming place. Although they never expect it to, Camden Falls becomes their home, and its stories become a part of their lives.

-Click here for all the contest details.
-Click here to read an excerpt from WELCOME TO CAMDEN FALLS.

MAIN STREET #8: SPECIAL DELIVERY by Ann M. Martin
Flora and Ruby couldn’t be more excited that their Aunt Allie is adopting a baby --- they’ve never had a cousin before, and they are full of helpful suggestions. Soon the whole family is going to New York City for the big event…a special delivery of the best possible kind. There’s only one question: Will it be a boy or a girl?

-Click here to read a review of SPECIAL DELIVERY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from SPECIAL DELIVERY.
-Click here to read Ann M. Martin’s bio.

 

GraphicNovelReporter.com Talks to Kazu Kibuishi, Author of Amulet

Comic book artist Kazu Kibuishi is the founder and editor of the comic anthology Flight, as well as the creator of Amulet, a young adult graphic novel series about two children who must rescue their mother, taken captive by a dangerous creature inhabiting a sinister underground world found below the basement of the great-grandfather's home. In this interview with John Hogan, the Editorial Director for GraphicNovelReporter.com, Kibuishi provides insight into the process of creating the series and credits the legendary film The Empire Strikes Back as a source of inspiration for its newly released second installment, THE STONEKEEPER'S CURSE. He also discusses his background in animation, recalls some of the first comics he enjoyed as a child, and shares details about projects currently in the works.

AMULET, BOOK TWO: THE STONEKEEPER’S CURSE written and illustrated by Kazu Kibuishi
Emily and Navin’s mother is in grave danger, and there’s only one place to find help: Kanalis, the bustling, beautiful city of waterfalls. Leon Redbeard, a mysterious fox, joins Emily, Navin and Miskit on their journey, as they are pursued by the Elf King’s son, Trellis, and his dangerous guard. In order to save them all, Emily has to unleash the power of the amulet --- but can she do so without destroying herself?

-Click here to read a review of THE STONEKEEPER'S CURSE.
 

Click here to read our interview with Kazu Kibuishi.

 

Special Feature, Giveaway and Series Feature Update: SYREN by Angie Sage

In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Terry Miller Shannon, Angie Sage --- author of the Septimus Heap series --- explains what drew her to writing fantasy novels and discusses the real-life inspirations behind a few of the quirky animals featured in her books. She also talks about why she chose not to create the art for the series despite her background in illustration, ranks some of her books in terms of the difficulty she had writing them, and shares details about what's in store for her characters after SYREN.

SYREN: Septimus Heap, Book Five by Angie Sage
In this fifth book in the Magykal series, Septimus ends up on a captivatingly beautiful island --- one of seven set in a sparkling sea. He’s stranded there with his badly injured dragon, Spit Fyre, along with Jenna and Beetle. There are some strange things about the island, including a Magykal girl named Syrah, a cat-shaped lighthouse that has lost its Light, and an eerie presence that sings to Septimus --- can he escape the persistent call? Trouble is also brewing for Lucy and Wolf Boy, who have become entangled with nefarious sailors at sea, and for Milo Banda, Jenna’s father, who is harboring a mysterious treasure chest in his ship’s hold…

Charismatic storyteller Angie Sage continues Septimus Heap’s Magykal journey with more laugh-out-loud adventures, more enchanting charms and spells, and an ever-deepening understanding of the rich interior life of a young hero.

To celebrate the release of this latest installment in the series, Kidsreads.com is giving 15 readers the chance to win a copy of the book.

-Click here for all the contest details.
-Click here to browse inside SYREN.
-Click here to read our interview with Angie Sage.

-Click here to read Ange Sage's bio.
-Click here to play the updated Septimus Heap trivia game.
-Click here to read our Septimus Heap series feature.
-Visit the official website of the series,
www.SeptimusHeap.com.
 

Click here to read a review of SYREN.

 
Special Feature: AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko
Gennifer Choldenko is the author of seven books for young readers, including MOONSTRUCK, IF A TREE FALLS AT LUNCH PERIOD, AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS and its newly released sequel, AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Norah Piehl, Choldenko explains why she chose to write Moose's story on Alcatraz as a trilogy and discusses the difficulties she experienced in finding the voice of her main character --- a 12-year-old boy in 1935. She also sheds light on how mental illness was viewed in that era, shares surprising facts about the real Al Capone, and gives advice to aspiring writers.

AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES by Gennifer Choldenko

Moose and the cons are about to get a lot closer in this much-anticipated sequel to AL CAPONE DOES MY SHIRTS.

 

It’s 1935. Moose Flanagan lives on Alcatraz with his family, the other families of the guards, and a few hundred no-name hit men, con men, mad dog murderers and a handful of bank robbers too. And one of those cons has just done him a big favor.


You see, Moose has never met Al Capone, but a few weeks ago Moose wrote a letter to him asking him to use his influence to get his sister, Natalie, into a school she desperately needs in San Francisco. After Natalie got accepted, a note appeared in Moose’s freshly laundered shirt that said: Done.

As this book begins, Moose discovers a new note. This one says: Your turn. Is it really from Capone? What does it mean? Moose can’t risk anything that might get his dad fired. But how can he ignore Al Capone?

-Click here to read an excerpt from AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES.

-Click here to read our interview with Gennifer Choldenko.
-Click here to read Gennifer Choldenko’s bio.
-Click here to see the winners of our AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES Giveaway.

 

Click here to read a review of AL CAPONE SHINES MY SHOES.


 
Special Feature: FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL by Berkeley Breathed

Berkeley Breathed is the creator of the Pulitzer Prize-winning comic strip “Bloom County” as well as the author of eight books for children, including MARS NEEDS MOMS!, GOODNIGHT OPUS and his first illustrated novel, FLAWED DOGS: The Shocking Raid on Westminster. In this interview with Kidsreads.com's Alexis Burling, Breathed discusses his inspiration for main character Sam the Lion and describes a surprising letter he received from a fan. He also shares his thoughts on the real Westminster Dog Show as well as the classic canine film Old Yeller, reveals his favorite music to listen to while working, and explains how his children have influenced his work.

FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL: The Shocking Raid on Westminster by Berkeley Breathed
Sam the Lion is actually a priceless dachshund, bred to be a show dog. More important, he is Heidy's best friend --- and she needs one like never before. Living with her reclusive uncle is hard, but Sam has a way of making her feel soft and whole. Until the day Sam is framed by the jealous poodle Cassius, and is cast out by Heidy's uncle, alone on the wild streets, where he is roughed up by a world he was not bred for. Sporting a soup ladle for a leg, Sam befriends other abandoned dogs and journeys all the way to the Westminster Dog Show, where his plan for revenge on Cassius takes an unexpected turn when he and Heidy spot each other after years of being apart.

Pulitzer Prize winner and New York Times bestselling author Berkeley Breathed's first illustrated novel is a heartwarming and humorous ode to the unconditional and lasting love we and our pets share.

-Click here to read more about FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL.
-Click here to read an excerpt from FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL.
-Click here to read our interview with Berkeley Breathed.
-Click here to read Berkeley Breathed’s bio.

 

Click here to read a review of FLAWED DOGS: THE NOVEL.

 

Special Giveaway and Series Feature Update: SINGING SENSATION by Geronimo Stilton

After being enrolled in the Song Festival, Geronimo Stilton's song, "Welcome to New Mouse City," goes to the top of the charts and makes him a star. But very few CDs are sold after the festival. Will Geronimo and his detective friend, Hercule Poirat, be able to solve the mystery? To find out, enter the SINGING SENSATION Giveaway and join Geronimo and Hercule as they try to crack this case. You could be one of 25 readers to win a copy of the book.

SINGING SENSATION by Geronimo Stilton
After being enrolled in the New Mouse City Song Festival, Geronimo Stilton’s song, “Welcome to New Mouse City,” goes to the top of the charts. Geronimo’s a star, but very few CDs are sold after the festival, and no one can figure out why. Will Geronimo and his detective friend, Hercule Poirat, be able to solve the mystery? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of SINGING SENSATION.
-Click
here to read an excerpt from SINGING SENSATION.
-Click here to play the updated Geronimo Stilton trivia game.
-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

 
Click here for all the contest details.

 
Special Giveaway and Series Feature Update: THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE by Thea Stilton

In THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE, Thea's friends the Thea Sisters take off for Australia to solve a mystery. A flock of sheep at Nicky's family's ranch is losing all its wool, and the five mouselings are determined to search for a cure. Kidsreads.com is giving away 25 copies of this truly memorable outback adventure.

THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE: Geronimo Stilton Special Edition by Thea Stilton
Thea Stilton --- Geronimo’s sister --- and her friends are heading to Australia to solve a mystery. A flock of sheep at Nicky’s family’s ranch is losing all its wool, and the ranch depends on the wool to stay afloat! The five girls set off on an outback adventure across the country to find the sheep’s cure. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

-Click here to read a review of THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE.
-Click here to read an excerpt from THEA STILTON AND THE MOUNTAIN OF FIRE.
-Click here to play the updated Geronimo Stilton trivia game.
-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature.

 
Click here for all the contest details.

 
Cool New Books for October

October’s roundup of Cool New Books includes RETURN TO THE HUNDRED ACRE WOOD by David Benedictus, the first authorized sequel to A. A. Milne's classic Winnie-the-Pooh books in over 80 years; THE ISLANDS OF THE BLESSED, the final volume in Nancy Farmer’s trilogy that started with THE SEA OF TROLLS and continued with THE LAND OF THE SILVER APPLES; THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PRISONER’S DILEMMA, the much anticipated third installment in Trenton Lee Stewart’s Mysterious Benedict Society series; DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: DOG DAYS by Jeff Kinney, which marks the return of Greg Heffley, whose vision of the ideal summer vacation is completely different from that of his parents; GHOST IN THE MACHINE, the conclusion to Patrick Carman's thrilling Skeleton Creek series; and THE DOOM MACHINE, award-winning author and illustrator Mark Teague’s novel about the out-of-this-world adventures of a small, sleepy town invaded by a flying saucer filled with hilariously bizarre space aliens.
 

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

 
October's New in Paperback Roundup
October’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes RUNEMARKS, a fresh, funny and wonderfully irreverent new take on the old Norse tales, marking the fantasy debut of acclaimed author Joanne Harris; THE MAYFLOWER AND THE PILGRIMS’ NEW WORLD, an adaptation for younger readers of Nathaniel Philbrick’s New York Times bestseller MAYFLOWER: A Story of Courage, Community, and War; ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE SCRIVENER'S BONES, a sequel to Brandon Sanderson’s ALCATRAZ VERSUS THE EVIL LIBRARIANS, in which Alcatraz Smedry finds himself on a mission to save Grandpa Smedry when he gets swept up by a flying glass dragon; and THE HUNT FOR THE SEVENTH by Christine Morton-Shaw, a chilling and suspenseful supernatural mystery that will keep readers guessing until the very end.
 
Click here to see what’s New in Paperback for October.

 
This Month's Reviews

Kidsreads.com Reviews:

SKELETON CREEK #2: GHOST IN THE MACHINE by Patrick Carman
Strange things are happening in Skeleton Creek --- and Ryan and Sarah are trying to find out why. Ryan writes down everything in his journal, and Sarah records everything on her videocam. The two move deeper into the mystery they've uncovered, determined to discover the secrets buried in Skeleton Creek, in the conclusion to Patrick Carman's thrilling series. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

THE DOOM MACHINE by Mark Teague
THE DOOM MACHINE is a first-class adventure story from long-time illustrator Mark Teague. Readers will be caught up in the page-turning action, while at the same time they will love Teague's beautifully drawn evil space aliens --- and an unlikely friendship between Jack and Isadora, who seem to have nothing in common at the beginning of the tale. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE CIRCLE OF GOLD: The Book of Time III by Guillaume Prevost
In THE CIRCLE OF GOLD, the final installment in The Book of Time trilogy, 14-year-old Samuel Faulkner once again travels through time to exotic and frightening places. During this quest, he risks his health and his life to rescue his love interest, Alicia, bring his father out of a coma and try to reverse his mother’s death. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

RUNAWAY TWIN by Peg Kehret
Thirteen-year-old Sunny Skyland has bounced between foster homes for most of her life, and not one of them has made her feel like a part of a real family. But when she stumbles upon a bag of unclaimed money, she sees it as a chance to make some changes. Sunny takes off across the country to find her twin sister, whom she hasn’t seen or heard from in 10 years. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE MONSTEROLOGY HANDBOOK: A Practical Course in Monsters by Dr. Ernest Drake
Is it true that a humble stone can summon a sea serpent to your aid? Do you know the best way to remedy a cyclops’s "lazy eye"? How does one reliably tell true beasts from false, and what do stitches and glue have to do with it? Even monsterologists who know their bigfoots from their bakus can be stymied by the unexpected, and here is a no-nonsense source brimming with fun hands-on lessons guaranteed to leave the reader confident and prepared. Reviewed by Usha Reynolds.

-Click here to read our Kidsreads.com reviews.


Graphic Novel Reviews:

LITTLE MOUSE GETS READY written and illustrated by Jeff Smith
There is a lot to do before Little Mouse is ready to go visit the barn. Will he master all the intricacies of getting dressed, from snaps and buttons to Velcro and tail holes? Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone series, gives us another comic book perfect for the youngest readers. Reviewed by John Hogan.

THE STORM IN THE BARN written and illustrated by Matt Phelan
Eleven-year-old Jack Clark’s life is as bleak as the dust fields that used to be his family's farm. But when a mysterious figure appears in an abandoned barn, Jack finds an adventure he may not be prepared for. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

OUTLAW: The Legend of Robin Hood written by Tony Lee and illustrated by Sam Hart and Artur Fujita
How did Robin of Loxley become Robin Hood? Why did he choose to fight injustice instead of robbing for his own gain? Expressive and gritty, this graphic novel whisks readers back to Crusades-era England, where the Sheriff of Nottingham rules with an iron fist. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.

ROAD TO REVOLUTION! The Cartoon Chronicles of America written by Stan Mack and illustrated by Susan Champlin
Nick, an orphan and a pickpocket, and Penny, the daughter of a tavern owner, find themselves caught up in politics, war and espionage when the residents of Boston decide to fight back against the British government in 1775. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith

STONE RABBIT: DEEP-SPACE DISCO written and illustrated by Erik Craddock
In his latest adventure, Stone Rabbit is transported to another planet while the evil Melvin the Plutarkian rampages across his hometown. Fortunately, Stone Rabbit has his wits, his friends and a lot of dumb luck on his side as he battles aliens and giant robots to save the earth. Reviewed by Brigid Alverson.

Manga Review:

PEACH FUZZ, Volumes 1–3 written by Lindsay Cibos and illustrated by Jared Hodges
Nine-year-old Amanda gets a new ferret as a pet and names her Peach. Peach Fuzz is seen through the eyes of both Amanda and her animal companion, making for a cute and interesting story. Watch out for the handras! Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

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

 


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