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November 2010 Newsletter November 2010

What's On YOUR Wish List?

Did you see Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows yet? If not, we won’t give anything away, but we will say one thing: Amazing!

Also…Sad! Happy! But still amazing! That may have been more than one thing, but really, what a great movie. It just can't be summed up in one word.

Seeing the movie is a surefire way to make you want to head straight back to the theater in search of more big-screen fixes. Luckily, Tangled, Disney’s reimagining of "Rapunzel," released today, and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader will release on December 10th. Read more about these films here.

So it’s officially the holiday season --- Thanksgiving is tomorrow, and I’ve heard more than a Christmas carol or two already. I was in the Miami, Orlando and Newark airports this past week, and all were decked out for the holidays. Santa in Miami is something still tough for me to grasp, but I guess the sleigh moves across the sand as well as snow.

It's time to get your holiday wish lists in order! Thankfully, all you need to do is keep reading if you’re looking for some ideas. For example, out in stores now is DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE UGLY TRUTH by Jeff Kinney, a must-have for any Wimpy Kid fan. We’ve also prepared an essential What to Give, What to Get Gift Guide that really does have something for everyone. And if you’re looking for the perfect books to get in the holiday spirit, our Holiday Books roundup is sure to do the trick. Reminder: Include the books you want on your list. It's easier than leaving relatives to come up with yet another red sweater when you would prefer a BOOK! And think how happy they will be that you wanted a BOOK. You clearly will get your first choice and make them happy.

A new special feature that we’re excited to share with you is ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY by Dr. Cuthbert Soup. Fans of A WHOLE NOTHER STORY will love to read about the Cheeseman family as they find themselves ending an ancient family curse to save their mother, traveling through stormy seas and haunted castles. We feel honored to have had the chance to chat with Dr. Soup again. You can read our interview here, and don't miss our review and an excerpt.

We also interviewed celebrated author Walter Dean Myers, whose most recent book is THE CRUISERS, which follows the trials and tribulations of a group of gifted students with a knack for getting themselves into trouble. Myers elaborates on his own difficulties as a student and the importance of striking a balance between censorship and free speech in the classroom. He also describes his idea of an ideal teacher, and unveils his future plans for his new heroes.

Continuing features include THE CLOCKWORK THREE by Matthew J. Kirby, which is about three children who are thrown together by chance. They discover, though, that their lives are connected, and that each one holds the key to the others' puzzles. Read an interview with the author, along with our review and an excerpt.

If you like mysteries, make sure you check out our review and an excerpt of GIRL'S BEST FRIEND by Leslie Margolis --- you'll want to know what happens next! In the book, neighborhood dogs are disappearing, and when Ivy, Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair's ex-best friend turned mean girl, needs help finding her dog, Maggie has to step in. But who is behind the mysterious disappearances? You'll also want to read our interview with the author.

Just because Halloween is behind us doesn’t mean that the ghost-busting is over! Join Alannah in
GHOUL STRIKE! by Andrew Newbound as she
searches for a way to stop the demons who have set up shop in Pittingham Manor before they attack. Check out our review, an excerpt and our interview with the author.

Geronimo Stilton fans will want to know about the two latest additions to his series: I'M NOT A SUPERMOUSE! and THEA STILTON AND THE MYSTERY IN PARIS. In our series feature, you'll find an updated trivia game and character list, so be sure to head on over there.

For more great gift and reading suggestions, check out our
Cool New Books feature and see what's New in Paperback. Also, take a look at our latest reviews, which include SHADOW WOLF, the second installment of Kathryn Lasky's Wolves of the Beyond series; A GOOD HORSE, the follow-up to Jane Smiley's THE GEORGES AND THE JEWELS; and the latest 'Ologies book, ALIENOLOGY.

Now that you've had a chance to learn about some of the exciting books that are out now, we want you to answer one very important question: Are books on your holiday wish list this year? We certainly hope they are! Let us know in this month's poll.

Happy reading...and have a WONDERFUL Thanksgiving!

Carol Fitzgerald for

Now in Stores: DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE UGLY TRUTH by Jeff Kinney


Greg Heffley is facing the challenges of impending puberty as only he can do --- irreverently and outrageously --- in this latest, eagerly anticipated installment of Jeff Kinney’s series. But can Greg deal with boy/girl overnight parties, your-body-is-changing educational sessions, and pimple envy without his trusty sidekick, Rowley? Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.



Click here to read a review of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE UGLY TRUTH.


What to Give, What to Get: A Holiday Gift Guide for Kids

We’ve created a special "What to Give, What to Get" Guide with you in mind --- it’s just for kids! We have books that we know you’ll love to unwrap this season, so check it out. We’re sure you’ll end up spotting a title or two that you can add to YOUR holiday list.

Click here to see our "What to Give, What to Get" Gift Guide for kids.'s 2010 Holiday Books Roundup

As the weather gets colder and the snow begins to fall, we at have been busy making a list of some of the best holiday books of the season and checking it twice. What better time than the holidays to share the gift of reading with someone you love? From retellings of favorite Christmas classics to new tales about a robotic Santa, spinning dreidels, and unique present-making, we are sure that these titles will warm up your insides quicker than a mug of hot chocolate!

Click here to see this year's roundup of holiday books.


New Special Feature: ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY by Dr. Cuthbert Soup

The devious Dr. Cuthbert Soup is back with ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY, a whole 'nother book of misadventures ---- and unsolicited advice --- that follows Ethan Cheeseman and his slightly less smelly kids as they combat stormy seas and haunted castles to save Mrs. Cheeseman from an untimely fate. In this interview with's Melanie Smith, Dr. Soup spills the beans on his series, elaborating on how the success of A WHOLE NOTHER STORY has changed his life and revealing his plans for even more ridiculous novels. He also shares his thoughts on why readers seem to love this eccentric bunch of characters, speculates on Ethan's theories of time, and explains the curse of the White Gold Chalice --- and why you should never, ever cross paths with a Viking.


The plan was simple. Ethan Cheeseman, along with his three smart, polite and relatively odor-free children, would travel back in time to end an ancient family curse and save their mother. Now that the LVR (a super-secret time machine) is in working order, it should be easy peasy. Except they didn’t account for one basic rule of science: Murphy’s Law, where everything that possibly could go wrong, does. So the Cheeseman family finds themselves on another madcap adventure, this time through stormy seas and haunted castles. And though their narrator, Dr. Soup, has a ton of unsolicited advice to offer young readers, he doesn’t have much to say to help the Cheesemans, except this one thing: Good luck!

-Click here to read a review of ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY.

-Click here to read an excerpt from ANOTHER WHOLE NOTHER STORY.
-Click here to read Dr. Cuthbert Soup’s bio.

-Visit the official website of the series,

Click here to read our interview with Dr. Cuthbert Soup.


Books into Movies: Now Featuring Tangled and The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader

The holidays are right around the corner, and what better way to enjoy all that extra time off from school than with a trip to the movies? Our latest Books into Movies feature is spotlighting two-must see films that are guaranteed to give you a reason to celebrate the holiday season.


First up is Tangled, Disney’s three-dimensional take on “Rapunzel” --- the classic, unforgettable fairy tale originally written by the Brothers Grimm. Only this time, there’s a handsome bandit in the mix, so get ready for tons of action and a lot more adventure. But if you’re not a fan of super-cute criminals, don’t worry: There still will be a gorgeous princess with a whole lot of hair.


And if Tangled leaves you looking for more excitement, you definitely don’t want to miss The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, which will be in theaters on December 10th. Join Edmund and Lucy Pevensie as they team up with their cousin Eustace and embark on what might be their most dangerous adventure yet. When an eerily life-like painting sucks them onto a Narnian ship, the Pevensies find themselves reunited with the charming yet exceedingly troubled King Caspian, whose real problems are apparently just beginning. Together, the foursome will enter a magical world of lost warriors, dwarves and dragons --- so if you find yourself reeling from the siblings’ latest on-screen excursion, don’t say we didn’t warn you!

Click here to read more about these films. Talks to Walter Dean Myers, Author of THE CRUISERS

Celebrated author Walter Dean Myers is back with his latest novel, THE CRUISERS, which follows a group of talented, teenage misfits as they try to redeem themselves after publishing a controversial article in their school's alternative newspaper. In this interview with's Donna Volkenannt, Myers sheds light on the issues and experiences that inspired him to write about a place like Da Vinci Academy, elaborating on his own difficulties as a student and the importance of striking a balance between censorship and free speech in the classroom. He also describes his idea of an ideal teacher, reflects on the techniques --- and the books --- that have helped him become a successful writer, and unveils his future plans for his new heroes.

THE CRUISERS by Walter Dean Myers
Zander and his friends --- Kambui, LaShonda and Bobbi --- start their own newspaper, The Cruiser, as a means for speaking out, keeping the peace, and expressing what they believe. When the school launches a mock Civil War, Zander and his friends are forced to consider the true meaning of democracy and what it costs to stand up for a cause. The result is nothing they could have expected, and everything they could have hoped for. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

-Click here to read a review of THE CRUISERS.

Click here to read our interview with Walter Dean Myers.


Special Feature: THE CLOCKWORK THREE by Matthew J. Kirby

School-psychologist-turned-author Matthew J. Kirby is capturing the attention of young readers with THE CLOCKWORK THREE, which follows the lives of an orphaned musician, a tenacious tenement girl and a talented clockmaker’s apprentice as they are brought together by extraordinary events. In this interview with’s Norah Piehl, Kirby talks about what inspired him to write his first novel, elaborating on the courageous story of a 19th-century Italian boy named Joseph and the amount of research it took to turn it into fiction. He also addresses the challenge of fusing fantasy with historical detail, shares a few of the surprises he has experienced as a debut author --- along with the books that inspired him to pick up a pen --- and gives the scoop on some of his future projects.

As mysterious circumstances bring three children together, their lives soon interlock, like the turning gears of a clock, and they realize that each one holds the key to the others’ puzzles. The trio’s adventures sweep them through the winding alleyways, and glittering plazas of their city, and along the way Giuseppe, Hannah and Frederick must learn to trust in one another --- and themselves --- for they risk losing the things they hold most dear, as the dangers they face quickly become all too real.

-Click here to read more about THE CLOCKWORK THREE.
-Click here to read a review of THE CLOCKWORK THREE.

-Click here to read an excerpt from THE CLOCKWORK THREE.
-Click here to read Matthew J. Kirby’s bio.
-Visit Matthew J. Kirby’s official website,


Click here to read our interview with Matthew J. Kirby.


Special Feature: GIRL'S BEST FRIEND by Leslie Margolis

Leslie Margolis is the author of the hilariously funny Annabelle Stevens series, and now she’s at it again with the first installment of her next set of books, GIRL’S BEST FRIEND, which follows a heroic dog-walker named Maggie Brooklyn as she tries to save her neighborhood from a mysterious puppy-snatcher. In this interview with’s Donna Volkenannt, Margolis explains why she decided to write a book about dognappers, elaborating on the tumultuous life of her newest heroine and how she made her come alive. She also talks about how her characters got their super-cool names, describes what it’s like to walk past a “stoop sale,” and reveals a few of her favorite books --- along with her plans for Maggie’s next adventure.

GIRL’S BEST FRIEND: A Maggie Brooklyn Mystery by Leslie Margolis

Dogs are disappearing in her neighborhood, and Maggie Brooklyn Sinclair knows all about it. After all, she has a semi-secret after-school gig as a professional (ok, amateur) dog-walker. Maggie hates to see a pup in trouble, so she’s even willing to help her ex-best friend Ivy recover her rescue-dog, Kermit. Kermit is being held for ransom, and Maggie has noticed some suspicious behavior lately. But she never suspected her crush Milo could be involved…

-Click here to read a review of GIRL’S BEST FRIEND.

-Click here to read an excerpt from GIRL’S BEST FRIEND.

-Click here to read Leslie Margolis’s bio.
-Visit Leslie Margolis’s official website,


Click here to read our interview with Leslie Margolis.


Special Feature: GHOUL STRIKE! by Andrew Newbound

Native Englander Andrew Newbound is hitting the shelves with his action-packed American debut, GHOUL STRIKE!, which follows ghost-snatcher Alannah Malarra and her sketchy associate, Wortley Flint, as they track down ghouls, only to find themselves at the center of a dark and bitter conflict that’s been going on for centuries. In this interview with’s Usha Reynolds, Newbound talks about how he came up with the idea for a series about a psychic, ghoul-battling bounty hunter, elaborating on Alannah and Wortley’s relationship and his childhood fear of ghosts. He also explains why the names of Evanescents always seem to fit their personalities, reveals his favorite weapon in Commander Rage’s stunning arsenal, and speculates on the best cure for the common cold --- sharing the ingredients of his grandmother’s incredibly disgusting secret remedy.

GHOUL STRIKE! by Andrew Newbound

Through a dank, rank portal in Pittingham Manor, icky demonic hordes from the Dark Dimension are pouring out, infesting planet Earth --- the halfway point to their planned attack on High. Into this foul maelstrom stumble ghost-busting psychic Alannah --- she’s got the gift for blasting ghouls to goo --- and her “business partner” Wortley --- a burglar who’s never met a lock he couldn’t pick.

Before the ghoul invasion, Alannah and Wortley only bounty-hunted tame, treasure-hoarding beasties, robbing them of their purloined booty. But now, allied with heavenly, silver-haired Officer Flhi and rookies Yell and Gloom of the A.N.G.E.L. police squad, they’re tangling with true evil. The strike is on to save the human race!

-Click here to read a review of GHOUL STRIKE!.

-Click here to read an excerpt from GHOUL STRIKE!.

-Click here to read Andrew Newbound’s bio.
-Visit Andrew Newbound’s official website,


Click here to read our interview with Andrew Newbound.


Series Feature Update: Geronimo Stilton

I’M NOT A SUPERMOUSE! by Geronimo Stilton

Geronimo has always been a 'fraidy mouse, and his super-sporty friend Bruce Hyena decides that he needs to help Geronimo learn to keep calm in extreme situations. Bruce puts Geronimo to the test through encounters with scary animals and weather in conditions ranging from the desert to the North Pole. After Bruce's crazy training, a natural weather disaster occurs on Mouse Island. Will Geronimo prove that he truly is a super mouse? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

THEA STILTON AND THE MYSTERY IN PARIS: Geronimo Stilton Special Edition by Thea Stilton

In this exciting adventure, the Thea Sisters are off to Paris to visit Colette's fashion-designer friend Julie. But when Julie's designs are suddenly stolen, the girls must search the city of Paris to catch the thief and save the fashion show. Readers will love following the clues to help the Thea Sisters solve the mystery! Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read our Geronimo Stilton series feature with updated trivia and characters.


Cool New Books for November

November’s roundup of Cool New Books includes DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: THE UGLY TRUTH, the latest installment in Jeff Kinney’s series starring Greg Heffley, who tries to deal with the pressures of boy-girl parties, having more responsibility, and a whole host of other awkward changes…alone; HERO, Mike Lupica’s action-packed tale of a 14-year-old who discovers that his dad was a superhero --- and that he has some pretty incredible powers of his own; THE FIVE FAKIRS OF FAIZABAD by P.B. Kerr, which continues the saga of John and Philippa Gaunt as they take on an evil djinn without the help of their mother’s powerful magic; THE STEPS ACROSS THE WATER, a follow-up to Adam Gopnik’s THE KING IN THE WINDOW, which tells the story of Oliver Parker’s mysterious, adopted and apparently otherworldly sister, Rose; and AMAZING COWS, Sandra Boynton’s fun-filled celebration of cows and the kind of craziness only bovines can bring.

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


November's New in Paperback Roundup

November’s roundup of New in Paperback titles includes the latest Alex Rider novel from Anthony Horowitz, CROCODILE TEARS, which follows Britain’s favorite invincible boy hero as he sets out to stop a charity broker con artist from wiping out Africa with disease-spreading corn; MILLION-DOLLAR THROW by Mike Lupica, the story of a 13-year-old quarterback who gets a chance to win a million dollars at the New England Patriots Thanksgiving Day game, only to discover that his golden arm has somehow lost its magic touch; and THE TIME QUAKE, the conclusion to Linda Buckley-Archer’s Gideon Trilogy, in which Gideon and sidekicks Kate and Peter try once and for all to put an end to the Tar Man --- an evil monster who also happens to be Gideon’s brother.

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


This Month's Reviews


Faolan, a wolf formerly outcast from his pack because of a twisted paw, has been permitted to rejoin the MacDuncan clan. As a lowly gnaw wolf, Faolan must sleep on the edges of the pack’s territory and find shelter wherever he can, but he can’t seem to stay out of trouble. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

A GOOD HORSE by Jane Smiley

Eighth-grader Abby Lovitt knows there’s no place she’d rather be than her family’s ranch. It’s hard work tending to nine horses, but grooming Jack isn’t a chore at all. When the Lovitts receive a letter stating that Jack’s mare may have been sold as stolen goods, a mystery unfolds --- and it’s more surprising than Abby ever imagined. Will she lose her beloved Jack? Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

ALIENOLOGY written by Professor Alan Grey, illustrated by Helen Ward, Gary Blythe, Jonny Duddle, Douglas Carrel and Fred Gambino

The year is 1969, and Professor Alan Grey is about to lead you to a world where space creatures interact with earthlings, unknown to all but a chosen few. On the one hand, this book is a field guide to everything --- from the solar system to alienology. But to others, it’s a cunning test. Those who solve its puzzles will reach enlightenment --- and some might represent mankind in the intergalactic community at large. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

AGENT Q, OR THE SMELL OF DANGER!: A Pals in Peril Tale by M.T. Anderson

It's time for Lily, Katie and Jasper to head home from their exciting Delaware adventure. But the Awful Autarch's spies and goons are everywhere, and it's clear that they have other plans for these three intrepid heroes. Full of ups, downs, twists, turns --- and even a band of sentient lobsters --- this latest excursion is every bit as wild, wacky and wonderfully outrageous as the others. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.


Twelve-year-olds Henry, Riley and Reed are sick of living lives devoid of excitement, manliness and impressing girls. So they plan to carry out a series of daring experiences that will leave them Masters of Adventure. Nothing, though, goes according to plan, and the boys find themselves heading for hilarity and disaster. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

STORYTELLER by Patricia Reilly Giff

While staying with her aunt, Elizabeth finds something remarkable. It’s a portrait of her ancestor, Eliza --- known as Zee. And she looks just like her. A dreamy girl who grew up during the American Revolution, Zee was hopeful…until the war tore her family apart. Ever since, she’s been waiting for someone to rediscover her story. And as Elizabeth learns more about her, the past becomes as real as the present.Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.


After Rusty Larson’s sixth-grade teacher, Mrs. Webster, encourages her students to get involved to help solve problems in their community, Rusty decides to take action and save a dog chained to a tree. He gets help from his best friend, Andrew, and an unexpected ally --- a ghost dog. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

ON THE BLUE COMET written by Rosemary Wells and illustrated by Bagram Ibatoulline

When the Crash of 1929 occurs, Oscar Ogilvie’s life is changed forever. His dad must sell their house --- along with all their model trains --- and head west in search of work. Forced to move in with his aunt and cousin, Oscar is miserable…until he meets a mysterious drifter and witnesses a stunning crime. Now he is catapulted on a journey that will take him coast to coast, from one decade to another. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

THE MEMORY BANK by Carolyn Coman

Hope Scroggins lives with her sister Honey and their Dursley-esque parents --- who are so horrible that they banish Honey and tell Hope to forget her. Hope knows she HAS to find her sister, but she’s taken to the World Wide Memory Bank. It’s where dreams and memories are stored, and the Clean Slate Gang wants to destroy it. But Hope doesn’t know they have her sister…and that they’re heading straight for the Bank. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

PENNY DREADFUL written by Laurel Snyder and drawings by Abigail Halpin

When Penelope Grey wishes for something to happen, her father quits his job, her family loses money, and her home becomes a pit of despair. So she makes another wish…and they inherit a house in the middle of nowhere. Almost immediately, their lives are transformed. But it feels too magical to be real --- and too real to be magic. And it may not last…unless Penny can make whatever it is work again. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Graphic Novel Reviews:

AMELIA RULES! TRUE THINGS (ADULTS DON’T WANT KIDS TO KNOW) written and illustrated by Jimmy Gownley

Amelia McBride is still coping with her parents’ divorce and the fact that she now has to live in a small town rather than her beloved Manhattan. Plus, she must deal with popularity issues, schoolwork, and the attentions of a rival school’s popular boy…who may or may not be a good guy. Reviewed by John Hogan.

TOWER OF TREASURE: Three Thieves, Book One written and illustrated by Scott Chantler

Fourteen-year-old orphan Dessa Redd, an acrobat in a traveling circus, is recruited along with the circus strongman, Fisk, for the job of robbing the royal treasury. Hungry and desperate, both agree, setting off a series of adventures that will take the thieves from one end of the world to the other in search of Dessa's long-lost brother. Reviewed by Snow Wildsmith.


This Month's Poll: A Bookish Holiday?

Are books on your wish list this holiday season?




I'm not sure.

Click here to answer our poll.


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