Skip to main content

March 2011 Newsletter March 2011

- What do you call a snowman in April?
- What do you get when you cross a snowman with a vampire?

Are we really supposed to be getting snow here in New York City again? This winter just doesn't know when to quit! I for one am ready to enjoy some fun in the sun already. Still, if there is a snow day today, you all may have one final wintry day to cozy up to a good book, so it's not all bad.

We'd like to tell you about an update to one of our most popular series features:
SCORPIA RISING, the final book in Anthony Horowitz's Alex Rider series
. In it, Alex enters his last mission and fights to stay alive in the face of many who would see him dead.

Have you seen Rodrick Rules yet? If not, head on over to the theaters and go see this hugely anticipated follow-up to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, as Greg spars with his older brother, Rodrick, as his mom tries to make them get along. I saw it last week. It was wildly funny, and I see why it was number one at the box office the week it came out. Click
here to read more about the movie, and answer our poll. We want to know if you've seen either this or
Diary of a Wimpy Kid yet.

The contests don't stop around here! Last month, we were giving away
MISSILE MOUSE #2: RETURN TO TANKIUM3. Congratulations to the winners! And on the heels of this giveaway, we have another one we want to tell you about.
THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt is about a boy named Danny who lands himself on the Loser List, an actual list in the girls' bathroom. He wants to get his name off this list, and he almost does, but things only get worse from there. We're giving away 100 copies, so be sure to enter here by Thursday, May 26th at noon ET. Also, check out our review and look inside the book while you're at it!

Also not to be missed, especially for lovers of talking animal stories, is Lois Lowry's BLESS THIS MOUSE, in which we follow the goings-on of a small band of church mice, and LOST & FOUND: THREE, Shaun Tan's book of three illustrated short stories (its film adaptation won Best Animated Short at this year's Academy's nice to have an author who can claim an Oscar!)

We have an interview with Trent Reedy, author of WORDS IN THE DUST, who talks about his protagonist Zulaikha, an Afghan girl who dared to hope for a better future. He recounts his own experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan, elaborating on the real-life figure who inspired his book. I heard him speak in January at a librarian conference, and he was so moving that he got a standing ovation. He's a person who really made a difference in a young woman's life! WORDS IN THE DUST is also the latest Al's Book Club pick.

There are more series updates we'd like to share with you. The first is a new book in R.L. Stine's Goosebumps HorrorLand series, CLAWS! (which begins the third arc of the series), and it's sure to keep you reading late into the night. Read a review here. Also, we've updated our Geronimo Stilton series feature with the latest Thea Stilton adventure, THEA STILTON AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM ADVENTURE, which finds the Thea Sisters traveling to Japan.

The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for the fourth annual Children's Choice Book Awards, and it's up to YOU to help pick the winners. Click here and be sure to vote for your favorite book, author and illustrator of 2010 by April 29th. Remember: Every vote counts!

March has seen the release of a ton of Cool New Books, like SHIMMER, the second book in Alyson Noël's Radiance series, and Jane O'Connor's FANCY NANCY: ASPIRING ARTIST, in which Fancy Nancy tries her hand at becoming an artist. Also, some great titles have recently released in paperback, like Hilary McKay's WISHING FOR TOMORROW (for fans of A LITTLE PRINCESS, this is the sequel!) and THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT by Kate DiCamillo, about an orphan who searches for his sister.

Lastly, we at mourn the passing of
Diana Wynne Jones, who died on March 26th. For more than 30 years, she wrote outstanding fantasy novels. Her final book, EARWIG AND THE WITCH, will be published in February 2012. You can read more about her life and writings here, and we highly suggest reading a book or two of hers.

That's a wrap for March, everyone! We hope your April is filled with more flowers than showers, but if it's not, enjoy one of these great books indoors!

Happy reading!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Series Feature Update: Alex Rider by Anthony Horowitz

SCORPIA RISING: Alex Rider - The Final Mission by Anthony Horowitz (Thriller/Action & Adventure)
Fifteen-year-old British spy Alex Rider enters his final mission with a sense of trepidation. Terrorist organization Scorpia is back in action, and this time they will stop at nothing until he's dead. No amounts of gadgets, weapons, or training are going to protect Alex this time. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

-Click here to read our Alex Rider series feature with updated trivia.

Click here to read a review of SCORPIA RISING, the final Alex Rider book.


Now in Theaters: Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules

Rodrick Rules --- the highly anticipated follow-up to Diary of a Wimpy Kid, based on Jeff Kinney's bestselling books --- is now in theaters. 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 movie you definitely don't want to miss.

-Click here to read a review of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: RODRICK RULES.


Click here to read more about Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules.


New Special Feature and Contest: THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt

Being a loser is bad enough, but now comics-obsessed Danny is actually on the list: the Loser List --- it’s right there in the girls’ bathroom for everyone (and one girl in particular) to see. There’s only one thing for him to do about it. He must get his name off. But just when his world starts looking up again, Danny may find that being cool isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

To celebrate the release of THE LOSER LIST, is giving 100 readers the chance to win a copy of H.N. Kowitt's illustrated book. The deadline for entries is Thursday, May 26th at noon ET.

THE LOSER LIST by H.N. Kowitt (Illustrated Fiction/Humor)

When Danny gets caught trying to cross his name off the "Geek" list in the girls' bathroom, he's sent to detention. Bullies torment him mercilessly --- until they discover that Danny can draw. He enjoys his new "bad boy" status, supplying tattoos and graffiti, until he's unknowingly drawn into a theft. Turns out the bullies took a comic book from Danny's favorite store. Can he steal it back before they get caught --- and break off with the bullies before he gets in too deep?


-Click here to read a review of THE LOSER LIST.

-Click here to look inside THE LOSER LIST.

-Click here to read H.N. Kowitt's bio.

Click here to read all the contest details.


Now in Stores: BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry

BLESS THIS MOUSE written by Lois Lowry and illustrated by Eric Rohmann (Fiction)

Hildegarde is no run-of-the-mill mouse. In fact, some might call her a saint. As Mouse Mistress at Saint Bartholomew’s church, Hildegarde is responsible for keeping safe and hidden all the mice that live there, including Lucretia, a jealous mouse who tries to undermine Hildegarde’s authority whenever she can. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

Click here to read a review of BLESS THIS MOUSE.


Now in Stores: LOST & FOUND: THREE by Shaun Tan

LOST & FOUND: THREE by Shaun Tan (Fiction/Illustrated Short Stories)

The Lost Thing won Best Animated Short at this year's Academy Awards. This huge honor coincides with the release of LOST & FOUND, a collection of Shaun Tan's early picture books that includes the story on which the film is based, along with THE RED TREE and THE RABBITS. Reviewed by Sarah A. Wood.

Click here to read a review of LOST & FOUND: THREE.


An Interview with Trent Reedy, Author of WORDS IN THE DUST

A first-time novelist and a member of the Army National Guard, Trent Reedy is the author of WORDS IN THE DUST, the remarkable tale of an Afghan girl named Zulaikha who dares to hope for a better future --- and the surgery she'll need to fix her cleft palate --- when American soldiers arrive in her village. In this interview, Reedy talks about his own experiences as a soldier in Afghanistan, elaborating on the real-life figure who inspired his book. He also explains how the experience of war altered his feelings about the Afghan people, reflects on the challenges of writing his first-ever novel, and recalls the fan letter he wrote that helped launch his career as a writer --- and sparked the beginning of a long-lasting literary friendship.

WORDS IN THE DUST by Trent Reedy (Fiction)

A quiet, severely disfigured Afghan girl experiences a promising vision of her nation's future when American troops occupy her desert village and arrange surgery for her cleft lip. Based on an enlightening true story, WORDS IN THE DUST tells of a shy 13-year-old and how much her life changes because of the simple kindness of a few concerned American soldiers. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

-Click here to read a review of WORDS IN THE DUST.

-Click here to read an excerpt from WORDS IN THE DUST.

Click here to read an interview with Trent Reedy.


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

Mickey and Amanda are put in charge of their vacationing neighbors' cat, Bella, who ends up escaping from the house and disappearing. Amanda has an idea to replace the cat with a look-alike from the local pet store Cat Heaven. They find a cat that looks exactly like Bella, but the clerk won't sell it to them, so they decide to steal it. This is a big mistake, because these cats are more than they seem to be. Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

-Click here to read our Goosebumps HorrorLand series feature with updated trivia.


Click here to read a review of CLAWS!


Series Feature Update: Geronimo Stilton

THEA STILTON AND THE CHERRY BLOSSOM ADVENTURE: Geronimo Stilton Special Edition by Thea Stilton (Mystery)

The Thea Sisters are off to Japan on a cultural exchange program. While they're busy exploring Kyoto and admiring the beautiful cherry blossoms, a valuable doll is stolen from a wealthy Japanese collector. Will the five mice be able to track down the doll and catch the thief? Reviewed by Jana Siciliano.

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




Remembering Diana Wynne Jones mourns the passing of famed British author Diana Wynne Jones, who died on March 26th at the age of 76 after a two-year battle with lung cancer. Wynne Jones wrote outstanding fantasy novels for more than 30 years and was one of the most distinguished writers in the field. With unlimited imagination, she combined dazzling plots, an effervescent sense of humor, and emotional truths in stories that have delighted readers of all ages. Her final book, EARWIG AND THE WITCH, will be published in February 2012.

Click here to read more about Diana Wynne Jones.


Vote for Your Favorite Books, Authors and Illustrators of 2010 in the Children's Choice Book Awards

The Children’s Book Council has announced the finalists for the fourth annual Children's Choice Book Awards. The favorite book finalists --- which include fiction, nonfiction, graphic novels and picture books --- were determined by over 16,000 children and teens. Thousands more are able to cast their votes for their favorite books, authors and illustrators at bookstores, schools, libraries and at until April 29th.

The Children’s Choice Book Award winners will be announced live at the annual Children’s Choice Book Awards Gala on May 2nd in New York City as part of Children’s Book Week (May 2-8), the oldest national literacy event in the United States.


Click here to cast your votes for the 2011 Children's Choice Book Awards.

Cool New Books for March

March's roundup of Cool New Books includes SCORPIA RISING, Anthony Horowitz's final Alex Rider novel, in which the teen spy tries to track down the world's most dangerous terrorist organization once and for all (only this time, he might not get away with it); BLESS THIS MOUSE by Lois Lowry, the tale of an extraordinary creature named Hildegarde and her quest to save her fellow church mice; SHIMMER, the continuation of Alyson Noël's Radiance series, in which Riley Bloom must help an angry ghost and somehow manage to steer clear of her own haunted past; and FANCY NANCY: ASPIRING ARTIST, which follows Jane O'Connor's charming protagonist as she attempts to overcome her spring vacation blues by becoming a serious artist.

And to help you get ready for the start of the Major League season, we're featuring a handful of home run-hitting books, including BEST OF THE BEST, Tim Green's latest Baseball Great novel; HOTHEAD by Hall of Fame third baseman Cal Ripken, Jr.; and Phil Bildner's new picture book, THE UNFORGETTABLE SEASON: The Story of Joe DiMaggio, Ted Williams and the Record-Setting Summer of '41.


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


March's New in Paperback Roundup

March's roundup of New in Paperback titles includes THE MAGICIAN'S ELEPHANT, award-winning author Kate DiCamillo's tale of a young orphan's remarkable search for his sister; LORD SUNDAY, the final installment of Garth Nix's The Keys to the Kingdom series, in which Arthur Penhalgion must defeat the most formidable Trustee of the Will; KINGDOM KEEPERS III: DISNEY IN SHADOW by Ridley Pearson, which follows Finn, Philby, Willa, Charlene and Maybeck's frantic search for their longtime mentor and Disney's chief Imagineer; WISHING FOR TOMORROW, Hilary McKay's magical, long-awaited sequel to the beloved classic A LITTLE PRINCESS; and SPHDZ Book #1, which kicks off Jon Scieszka's series about a fifth-grader whose school is being taken over by aliens posing as kids and a classroom hamster.


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


This Month's Reviews

LIAR, LIAR: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception by Gary Paulsen (Fiction)
Kevin doesn't mean to make trouble when he lies. He's just really good at it, and it makes life so much easier. But as his lies pile up, he finds himself in big --- and funny --- trouble with his friends, family and teachers. He has to find a way to end his lying streak --- forever. Reviewed by Donna Volkenannt.

CLOSER by Roderick Gordon and Brian Williams (Mystery/Action & Adventure)
Finally reunited with his dad, Will spends his days exploring the "land of the second sun," decoding glyphs, or eyeing wild animals with the renegade girl Elliott. Meanwhile, Chester has returned Topsoil, where his homecoming is becoming a horror show. But the ruthless Rebeccas have cheated death again, and they'll hunt Will to the innards of the earth. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

THE GENIUS FILES: MISSION UNSTOPPABLE by Dan Gutman (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Twelve-year-old twins Coke and Pepsi McDonald are facing the most nightmarish of situations --- a cross-country RV road trip with their parents. But it turns out that visiting the world's largest ball of twine won't be the worst part. Unbeknownst to them, Coke and Pep have been recruited for a new top-secret organization that enlists the help of young geniuses to solve the world's problems. Unfortunately, this honor also pinpoints them as targets for murder. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

STORM RUNNERS by Roland Smith (Fiction/Action & Adventure)
Fourteen-year-old Chase Masters and his father are storm chasers. They travel across the country looking for the next big storm. When a category five hurricane hits Florida, Chase finds himself in the last place he wants to be --- lost in the middle of the storm of the century. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE VISCONTI HOUSE by Elsbeth Edgar (Mystery)
An enthusiastic Australian teen becomes infatuated with a mystery surrounding an old-world home that she and her family have moved into. The importance of fitting in loses its appeal once Laura finds a kindred spirit and partner with whom she can share her discoveries. Reviewed by Melanie Smith.

Thirteen-year-old Lamar Washington freely admits that he's the best bowler in town. It's too bad that his father and brother Xavier are too consumed with basketball to notice. After Lamar decides to pull a prank on his brother, he realizes he could never have predicted the consequences of his actions. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

THE TROUBLE WITH CHICKENS: A J.J. Tully Mystery written by Doreen Cronin and illustrated by Kevin Cornell (Mystery)
J.J. Tully is a former search-and-rescue dog who is trying to enjoy his retirement after years of performing daring missions saving lives. So he's not terribly impressed when two chicks named Dirt and Sugar and their chicken mom show up demanding his help in finding their missing siblings. Driven by the promise of a cheeseburger, J.J. begins to track down clues. Reviewed by Christine M. Irvin.

Graphic Novels:

MICKEY MOUSE AND FRIENDS: 300 MICKEYS written by Sergio Badino and Stefan Petrucha; illustrated by César Ferioli Pelaez, Floyd Gottfredson and Giorgio Cavazzano
Mouse mischief multiplies when a cloning experiment goes wrong, creating more Mickeys than you can shake a stick at. Then, Mickey and Minnie's vacation to Mt. Rushmore takes a monstrous turn when they're attacked by an army of robot Presidents. 300 MICKEYS also includes the classic Floyd Gottfredson tale "Dan the Dogcatcher." Reviewed by Kyla Hunt.

THE CALL OF THE WILD written by Jack London, adapted by Lloyd S. Wagner and illustrated by Sachin Nagar
Buck is a four-year-old shepherd dog whose life changes when he's suddenly kidnapped and sold into service during the Klondike gold rush. He learns not only to survive, but also flourishes in it. Campfire has managed to carve a wonderful little niche for itself by adapting some of the world's most beloved classics to the comics format. THE CALL OF THE WILD is one of the true standouts in that lineup. Reviewed by John Hogan.

FRANCIS SHARP IN THE GRIP OF THE UNCANNY! Chapter 1 written by Brittney Sabo and Anna Bratton, illustrated by Brittney Sabo
In the first chapter of what hopefully will become a long series, we're introduced to Francis Sharp, a young, lazy and stubborn boy living in rural 1930s New Jersey. Francis disobeys his parents, doesn't help around the farm, and often lies. He's also about to be swept off into a very strange and foreign realm. Reviewed by Tina Vasquez.


This Month's Poll: Being Wimpy at the Movies

Have you seen Rodrick Rules, the new Wimpy Kid movie, yet?

Yes, I did.

No, but I want to.

No, I am waiting to see it on DVD.

No, I am not interested.

Did you see the first Wimpy Kid movie, Diary of a Wimpy Kid?

Yes, I did.

No, but I want to.

No, I am not interested.

Click here to answer the poll.

Remember to be safe online. NEVER tell anyone personal information --- which includes your real name, age, address, phone number or school. Hey, pretend you are undercover when you go online and protect yourself at all times!

Keep reading!

Booker T. Worm and Friends
The Book Report Network
250 W. 57th Street - Suite 1228
New York, New York 10107
connect with us twitterfacebook