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February 2011 Newsletter February 2011

Read Across America --- and Celebrate in Your Favorite Bookstore!

February may be coming to an end, but we have more than enough books that you'll love to read in the coming weeks. And March brings its own excitement. This coming Wednesday, March 2nd is Read Across America Day, the National Education Association's nationwide reading celebration that takes place each year to coincide with Dr. Seuss's birthday. Thousands of schools, libraries and community centers participate across the U.S. by bringing together kids, teens and books. Click here to learn more about this bookish day.

We know many of you love spending time in bookstores. So when we heard about a book-themed birthday party at a local bookstore, we had to learn more. What better way for a booklover to celebrate a birthday? We asked Rob Dougherty from the Clinton Book Shop in Clinton, NJ, to give us some details about their event. Click here to read their piece. Above you can see nine-year-old Royce opening her presents with her friends at the store. Perhaps there is an idea here for you to have your own birthday party at a local book shop!

After celebrating Read Across America Day, you can look forward to two very exciting movies based on books that will be in theaters: Mars Needs Moms on March 11th and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules on March 25th. Click here for more info about these films. And don't forget to head on over to our poll and let us know which recent movies based on books you have seen or plan to see.

You can also make your voices be heard in the 2011 Children's Choice Book Awards. The Children's Book Council will be announcing all the finalists in mid-March, so keep checking their website to be among the first to vote. It's up to you to help pick the winners. Remember: Every vote counts!

There are quite a few books in stores now that we want to fill you in on.

IN SPIRITS IN THE STARS, the sixth installment in Erin Hunter's Seekers series, Toklo, Lusa, Kallik and Ujurak are united again, but when they find land, the bears who live there are ill and they must make a difficult choice.

NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT by Gennifer Choldenko follows the journey of three siblings who are sent to live with their uncle but don't make it. Instead, they find themselves in a mysterious land, and they don't know how to get home.

Tom Sniegoski expands on Jeff Smith's popular Bone graphic novel series with BONE: QUEST FOR THE SPARK, Book One, a prose novel (with a few illustrations sprinkled throughout) about a 12-year-old boy who must save his town (and the world) from a life of sleep and nightmares.

Lastly, in THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander, Mac, the school's go-to guy with an office in the restroom's fourth stall, hires out his services but may have bitten off more than he can chew.

We're continuing to feature PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Dan McGuiness. In it, best buds Pilot and Huxley land themselves in another dimension while aliens try to conquer Earth. They need to make it home, but along the way they encounter some pretty odd stuff, like a sea of bees and a girl who can transform into a monster. Check out our review, read our interview with the author, and look at a few pages here.

Our giveaway for MISSILE MOUSE: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3 isn't over yet! You can still win one of 25 copies of the highly anticipated follow-up to Jake Parker's MISSILE MOUSE: THE STAR CRUSHER. For his new mission, Missile Mouse bounds across the galaxy to save a planet from the clutches of the evil King Bognarsh and his favorite hired gun, the Blazing Bat! Click here to take a peek inside the new book, and read our review here.

A ton of Cool New Books have released this month, like LOOKING FOR THE EASY LIFE, a picture book from Walter Dean Myers, along with the books mentioned above that are in stores now. Our New in Paperback roundup features such titles as GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT by Meg Cabot, MOCKINGBIRD by Kathryn Erskine, and RIVALS by Tim Green.

Our reviews section has been updated, showcasing such page-turning books as FEAR ITSELF by Andrew Clements, THE INCORRIGIBLE CHILDREN OF ASHTON PLACE, Book II: THE HIDDEN GALLERY by Maryrose Wood and YOUNG FREDLE by Cynthia Voigt.

We conclude on a very sad note. Beloved children's book author Brian Jacques, best known for his Redwall series, passed away earlier this month. His Redwall books have sold more than 20 million copies and been published in more than 20 countries, and the final book in the series, THE ROGUE CREW, is coming out on May 3rd. You can read more about Jacques's life and prolific writing career here. May we suggest you read a book or two in his honor?

Enjoy the rest of the winter season (if you can), and we'll see you when spring has sprung!

Carol Fitzgerald (
Click here to read all about nine-year-old Royce's birthday party at the Clinton Book Shop.

Remembering Brian Jacques, Author of the Redwall Series mourns the passing of celebrated children's book author Brian Jacques, who died on February 5th at the age of 71. Jacques was the author of the New York Times bestselling Redwall series, which has sold more than 20 million copies and been published in more than 20 countries. The 22nd and final book in the series, THE ROGUE CREW, will be in stores on May 3rd.

Click here to read more about Brian Jacques.


March 2nd is Read Across America Day!

NEA's Read Across America is an annual reading motivation and awareness program that calls for every child in every community to celebrate reading on March 2nd, the birthday of beloved children's author Dr. Seuss. It also provides NEA members, parents, caregivers and children the resources and activities they need to keep reading on the calendar 365 days a year. In cities and towns across the nation, teachers, teenagers, librarians, politicians, actors, athletes, parents, grandparents, and others develop NEA's Read Across America activities to bring reading excitement to children of all ages.
Click here to read all about NEA's Read Across America.


March's Books into Movies: Mars Needs Moms and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

After a brief winter break,'s Books into Movies feature is back with two fun-filled movies to help you get ready for the start of spring. Follow a frustrated nine-year-old named Milo as he tries to rescue his mother from a band of momless Martians in the big-screen version of Berkeley Breathed's MARS NEEDS MOMS!, which releases on March 11th. It'll take a wild outer space adventure (and an underground earthman named Gribble) for him to find her. Hold onto your seatbelts, because this film will literally blow you out of this world.

But if you'd rather stick around on planet Earth, then Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules --- the soon-to-be blockbuster based on Jeff Kinney's bestselling book of the same name --- is hitting theaters on March 25th. Join the coolest wimpy kid ever as he takes on seventh grade and tries to rid himself of his main source of misery: his older brother, Rodrick. Unfortunately, things just never seem to get any easier for Greg Heffley, so make sure you find time to cheer him on in his latest (mis)adventure. This is a flick you definitely don't want to miss.
Click here to read more about March's films.


Now in Stores: SEEKERS #6: SPIRITS IN THE STARS by Erin Hunter

SEEKERS #6: SPIRITS IN THE STARS by Erin Hunter (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
United again, Toklo, Lusa, Kallik and Ujurak continue across the ice. Upon reaching land at last, they're overjoyed. But something isn't right. The bears who live there are ill. Now that their task appears more difficult than ever, they must make a critical decision...and for one bear, the path ends here. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.


Click here to read a review of SEEKERS #6: SPIRITS IN THE STARS.


Now in Stores: NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT by Gennifer Choldenko

NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT by Gennifer Choldenko (Fantasy)
With their house in foreclosure, siblings India, Finn and Mouse are forced to move to Colorado to live with an uncle they hardly remember. The flight, though, doesn't go according to schedule, and they soon find themselves in a mysterious land with no idea how to get home. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.


Click here to read a review of NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT.


Now in Stores: BONE: QUEST FOR THE SPARK, Book One by Tom Sniegoski and Jeff Smith

BONE: QUEST FOR THE SPARK, Book One written by Tom Sniegoski and illustrated by Jeff Smith (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
When 12-year-old Tom Elm discovers that everyone in his village is asleep and plagued by nightmares, he and a band of unlikely heroes must fight to preserve the Spark, a divine light born at the core of a vast, dark nothingness called the Nacht. The Nacht is trying to permeate the Waking World with nightmares of the Dreaming, and it's Tom's mission to defeat the Nacht and its most loyal follower, the Constable. Reviewed by John Hogan.


Click here to read a review of BONE: QUEST FOR THE SPARK, Book One.


Now in Stores: THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander

THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander (Mystery)
Mac’s business of solving kids’ problems at school had been running smoothly until an innocent looking third-grader asked for protection against the legendary high school crime boss, Staples. Mac takes the job because it appears easy at first, but soon finds out that messing with Staples just might cost him everything.
Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.


Click here to read a review of THE FOURTH STALL.


Special Feature: PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE by Dan McGuiness

Dan McGuiness is thrilling readers with his hilarious (and somewhat disgusting) graphic novel, PILOT & HUXLEY, which follows two best buds who get zapped into another dimension by a group of evil space aliens. In this interview with’s Donna Volkenannt, McGuiness talks about what made him decide to create his first-ever graphic novel, elaborating on why he thinks comics are the best way to tell a story and how his childhood drawings helped him get there. He also names a few of his favorite authors, explains why you should never forget to return a video game, and reveals how he went from working in a factory to creating an award-winning comic.

PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE written and illustrated by Dan McGuiness (Graphic Novel)

In this funny comic, best buddies Pilot and Huxley get zapped to another dimension by aliens seeking to enslave the planet Earth. Things get even weirder when they have to traverse a swamp made of bees, battle a sea monster, and seek the golden nose-hair of a giant dragon. But with some luck, some fast thinking, and a lot of help from a girl who can transform into a monster, they might just make it back home in one piece.

-Click here to read a review of PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE.

-Click here to look inside PILOT & HUXLEY: THE FIRST ADVENTURE.

-Click here to read Dan McGuiness’s bio.


Click here to read our interview with Dan McGuiness.


Win a Copy of MISSILE MOUSE: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3 by Jake Parker

In THE STAR CRUSHER, Missile Mouse was on a mission to save the galaxy from surefire doom after a scientist equipped with the knowledge to create a black hole had been kidnapped. This knowledge was a dangerous weapon soon to be used by the baddies, until Missile Mouse foiled their plans. Now, in RESCUE ON TANKIUM3, the feisty secret agent has a new assignment: to free a planet forced into slavery by evil King Bognarsh. But things get dicey when Bognarsh hires the Blazing Bat to take Missile Mouse out before he can shut down the operation.


To celebrate the release of Jake Parker’s latest graphic novel, is giving 25 readers the chance to win a copy of the book. The deadline for entries is Monday, March 28th at noon ET.


MISSILE MOUSE #2: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3 written and illustrated by Jake Parker (Graphic Novel)

Missile Mouse, secret agent for the Galactic Security Agency, is back in a new adventure! For his new mission, he bounds across the galaxy to save a planet from the clutches of the evil King Bognarsh and his favorite hired gun, the Blazing Bat!


-Click here to read a review of MISSILE MOUSE #2: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3.

-Click here to look inside MISSILE MOUSE #2: RESCUE ON TANKIUM3.

-Click here to read Jake Parker’s bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Coming Soon: Books Releasing in the Months Ahead

Curious about what books will be released in the months ahead? Then be sure to check out our Coming Soon section, where we currently have titles for March and April listed. Please note that we have not included every book coming out, but rather some that caught our eye --- and that we thought should catch yours as well.

Click here to see what's Coming Soon.

Cool New Books for February

February's roundup of Cool New Books includes SPIRITS IN THE STARS, the latest addition to Erin Hunter's Seekers series, which follows the four bear cubs as they continue their epic journey across the Arctic ice; NO PASSENGERS BEYOND THIS POINT, Gennifer Choldenko's story of three siblings who find themselves trapped in a fantastical place they've never heard of; LOOKING FOR THE EASY LIFE, a picture book from Walter Dean Myers about a tribe of slick-talking monkeys in search of a better (aka lazier) way of life; and THE FOURTH STALL by Chris Rylander, in which a rule-breaking problem-solver and his business manager run afoul of a high school crime boss and get sucked into a world of intramural gambling, dangerous bullies and graffiti ninjas.

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 GLITTER GIRLS AND THE GREAT FAKE OUT by Meg Cabot, which finds Allie Finkle's parent-free weekend ruined when her mom makes her go to snobby Brittany Hauser's birthday party; MOCKINGBIRD, Kathryn Erskine's compelling tale of an 11-year-old's struggle to navigate the black-and-white world of Asperger's syndrome in the wake of her brother's death; and EXTRA CREDIT by Andrew Clements, in which a spunky sixth-grader must write letters to a pen pal in Afghanistan --- or risk getting held back.

And just in time for spring training, we're featuring a number of unbeatable baseball stories, including THE BATBOY by Mike Lupica; RIVALS, Tim Green's action-packed sequel to BASEBALL GREAT; and BLASTIN' THE BLUES and HOME OF THE BRAVE, the final two books in Loren Long and Phil Bildner's Sluggers series.


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


This Month's Reviews

FEAR ITSELF: Benjamin Pratt & the Keepers of the School, Book 2 written by Andrew Clements and illustrated by Adam Stower (Mystery)

The clock is ticking for sixth graders Benjamin Pratt and Jill Acton. With less than a month left to save their historic school from being destroyed, Ben and Jill must decipher a centuries-old message hidden in a secret compartment, while being followed by a creepy spy. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.



Thanks to Miss Penelope Lumley, the Incorrigibles are more like children than wolves now. But they still manage to ruin Lady Constance’s Christmas ball, so they have to move to London while Ashton Place is being restored. There, the children learn more about themselves than ever before, as clues to their past --- and Penelope’s --- crop up in unexpected ways. Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


YOUNG FREDLE written by Cynthia Voigt and illustrated by Louise Yates (Fiction)

When Fredle is cast out of his home behind the kitchen cabinets, he finds himself on the outside: a new world of color and texture and grass and sky. But with all that comes snakes, rain, lawnmowers and raccoons --- and a different sort of mouse that’s not entirely trustworthy. Do the dangers outweigh the thrill of discovery? Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

SEASON OF SECRETS by Sally Nicholls (Fiction)

When Molly and Hannah lose their mother, they’re sent to stay with their grandparents while their dad "figures things out." Hannah runs away, and when Molly follows her, she sees strange men chasing someone down the road. Later, she finds the man injured --- and realizes there’s something magical about him. If he can bring trees to life, is their hope for her mom? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.


WHAT'S BUGGING BAILEY BLECKER? by Gail Donovan (Fiction)

For fifth-grader Bailey Blecker, a class-wide case of head lice is the worst thing that could happen. Bailey wants to donate her hair, and she’s determined not to cut it until it’s long enough. But lice are only the beginning of Bailey’s troubles, and in this classroom comedy, the solution is full of twists and tangles. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.



Mackenzie Blue and her friends are back from their camping trip and get busy practicing for their band’s big performance at the Brookdale Day festival. In the meantime, they’re having a blast with a new social networking site created by their own friend, Jasper. And to add more chaos to the mix, Zee’s parents make an announcement that will change her life forever. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE FIEND AND THE FORGE: Book Three of The Tapestry by Henry H. Neff (Fantasy)

The action in this third book of the Tapestry series picks up with the evil demon, Astaroth, now in control of the entire world. As he removes mankind’s greatest discoveries from existence, Max McDaniels embarks on a dangerous quest to stop him. Will Max be the hero the world desperately needs? Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.


Graphic Novel Reviews:


HARRY POTTY AND THE DEATHLY BORING written by Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Rick Parker

When the seemingly traitorous barista Frappe kills their mentor Dumb-as-a-door, Harry Potty, Don Measley and Whiny Stranger must find a way to defeat the nose-less dark lord Value-Mart (He-Whose-Prices-Can’t-Be-Beat) and his followers, the Odor Eaters, in order to avenge the death of Potty’s parents and bring balance to the world of magic. Reviewed by Tina Vasquez.


TALES FROM THE CRYPT #9: WICKEDER written by David Gerrold, Jim Salicrup and Stefan Petrucha and illustrated by Rick Parker, Stuart Sayger and Richard Hack

Tales from the Crypt is back and “WICKEDER” than ever! This time, the popular musical “Wicked” can’t hide from the Crypt-Keeper and his GhouLunatics. Combined with a new story featuring the star of DIARY OF A STINKY DEAD KID and another from Star Trek Fan favorite David Gerrold, “Sales of a Deathman,” this Tales from the Crypt graphic novel is not to be missed! Reviewed by Tina Vasquez.


SILLY LILLY IN WHAT WILL I BE TODAY? written and illustrated by Agnès Rosenstiehl

In her second TOON adventure, no job is too tough for Silly Lilly: first she's a cook who paints, then an acrobat who tumbles, then a city planner… Agnès Rosenstiehl's spunky heroine, one of France's most beloved children’s book characters, takes on a new role every day of this week. Reviewed by John Hogan.


MOUSE GUARD: WINTER 1152 written and illustrated by David Petersen

In the Winter of 1152, the Mouse Guard face a food and supply shortage. Some of the Guard's finest traverse the snow-blanketed territories acting as diplomats to improve relations between the mouse cities and the Guard, and find themselves on a race against time to deliver crucial medicines. This is a winter not every Guard may survive... Reviewed by Michael Hicks.


This Month's Poll: Let's Head to the Movies!

Which of the following movies based on books have you seen or do you plan to see in theaters or on DVD? Please check as many as apply.

Alice in Wonderland
The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader
Diary of a Wimpy Kid
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules
Gulliver's Travels
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - Part 1
How to Train Your Dragon
Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga'Hoole
Mars Needs Moms
Nanny McPhee Returns
Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief
Ramona and Beezus
None of the above



Click here to answer the poll.

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