Skip to main content

November 2011 Newsletter November 2011
Heading Towards the a Holidaze

I hope everyone had a great Thanksgiving! And I am sure you now have had your fill of turkey! During the next few weeks as we rev up to the BIG holidays, think about cooling off with a little reading. This newsletter is stuffed like a turkey full of great reading ideas --- except unlike what you’d find in a bird, this stuffing won’t just disappear when the holidays are over. Good books can stay with you for the rest of your life!

Speaking of the holidays, we have a number of features to get you in the holiday spirit --- or at least prepare you so they don’t catch you by surprise! Check out our What to Give, What to Get feature, a holiday gift guide for kids. How many are on YOUR list? And in case there are not enough ideas there, we also have a Holiday Books Roundup for you, to keep you in the mistletoe mood.

We hope that many of you may have had the chance to go see Hugo, the movie adaptation of Brian Selznick’s THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET. If you haven’t, I HIGHLY recommend it --- especially in 3D! If you have been to see it or are planning to go, don’t miss THE HUGO MOVIE COMPANION that Selznick has written for all his fans. In it, he gives readers a tour of the entire movie-making process that is almost as three-dimensional as the film itself!

And Hugo is not the only great “book into movie” coming to the big screen. The Adventures of Tintin, a 3D animated film based on the long-running graphic novel series, will be in theaters December 21st. And Christmas Day will see the release of War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo's novel of the same name. Both films are directed by Steven Spielberg (busy man!), and both will be perfect indoor outings for when the weather starts to get cold.

DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: CABIN FEVER came out in November to much fanfare, including a book tour with real snow! I was lucky enough to hang out with the author, Jeff Kinney, recently both in New York where the festivities kicked off with a skating event at Bryant Park and then again in Miami for the Miami Book Fair where they made SNOW, and there were snowballs being tossed everywhere. And um, I could not resist having my photo taken with the Heffleys, which you can see above!

In this latest installment of the Wimpy Kid series, Greg Heffley tackles all sorts of seasonal issues, everything from snags with Santa to getting snowed in with the family. Little brother Manny is in rare form, and there are two scenes with him that really made me laugh --- one involves a Christmas tree and the other hot dogs! This book may be wintry, but it certainly isn’t wimpy.

A number of other terrific books are in stores now, including a new installment in John Flanagan’s Ranger’s Apprentice series. Thought the series was over? Think again: RANGER’S APPRENTICE: THE LOST STORIES ties up all the loose ends from the series and provides some excitement all its own. Still can’t get enough? Then check out Flanagan’s new Brotherband Chronicles series, a companion to Ranger’s Apprentice. The first book, THE OUTCASTS, has some new characters --- and a whole new set of adventures.

THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy and CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING by Sara Pennypacker are two other great books you should check out. In THE APOTHECARY, two kids find themselves caught in a mystery in the heart of London and must uncover an apothecary’s secrets to solve it. Clementine of CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING is also in a quandary --- apparently her parents are going to have a baby! Uh, thanks but no thanks, mom and dad!

We are featuring a very special interview with Graham Salisbury, author of KUNG FOOEY, the sixth installment in his wild Calvin Coconut series. Want to know how the series gets its title? We have a hunch it has to do with Salisbury’s childhood in…HAWAII! Learn more about his upbringing and the inspiration for his books in our interview.

Of course, we have a feast of new reviews for you that I don’t even have time to talk about in the opener --- it’s getting too stuffed (like I was after Thanksgiving dinner!). Be sure to read farther down the newsletter to see all the new books we’re talking about.

As always, our book lasso has rounded up a number of Cool New Books and New in Paperback titles for you to peruse. We have a great bunch in our corral this month, on subjects that run the gamut from Genghis Khan to “cryptic crinoline,” so be sure to check out these features!

Finally, in our poll this month, we want to know if you’re keeping a wish list this holiday season --- and if so, how many of you are wanting books. Vote here and let us know.

Oh, and in news beyond the world of, the December pick for NPR's new Backseat Book Club for kids is BREADCRUMBS by Anne Ursu, a fantastical coming-of-age tale that takes place in the woods of Minnesota. Listeners have one month to read the book and submit thoughts and comments to All Things Considered and club host Michele Norris will then lead an interactive discussion between Ursu and her readers. One of our staffers says she remembers many, many hours spent in the backseat of the car while her parents drove (her crazy) listening to NPR. She is jealous that kids now have something exciting to listen to!

Well, here’s hoping you get enough time to read in this lull between Thanksgiving and the December holidays. I know it can be tough, but think how much more energized you’ll be after some quality reading time. And here’s some advice: books are very thoughtful gifts. If you read something you like, pass it on to your friends as an idea for a holiday present!

Carol Fitzgerald (


Now in Stores: DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: CABIN FEVER by Jeff Kinney
DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: CABIN FEVER by Jeff Kinney (Fiction)
Greg Heffley takes on Santa, bullies, church, bumper stickers, school vandalism, earning money by shoveling snow (or not), and much more, in his own unique wimpy kid manner --- the one his many fans cannot wait to dive into. Reviewed by Terry Miller Shannon.

Click here to read a review of DIARY OF A WIMPY KID: CABIN FEVER.

Don't Miss: THE HUGO MOVIE COMPANION by Brian Selznick
THE HUGO MOVIE COMPANION: A Behind the Scenes Look at How a Beloved Book Became a Major Motion Picture by Brian Selznick (Movie Tie-In)
Brian Selznick takes readers on an entertaining tour of the movie-making process as his Caldecott Award-winning book THE INVENTION OF HUGO CABRET is turned into a 3D major motion picture by Academy Award-winning director Martin Scorsese. Reviewed by Sally M. Tibbetts.

-Click here for more details about Hugo.

Click here to read a review of THE HUGO MOVIE COMPANION.

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 2011 Holiday Books Roundup
Searching for the perfect gift, or maybe just a great read to enjoy during all the hustle and bustle of the festive season? Either way, you can’t go wrong with’s roundup of holiday books. This year, our feature includes characters of all different ages and species, from a playful mouse to the happiest elf in the North Pole. Read all about Greg Heffley’s wild winter adventure, the heartwarming story of the Rockefeller Center tree, one girl’s quest to bring Christmas cheer to her family, clever new takes on two classic holiday stories, and much more. Find a cozy spot by the fire and enjoy!
Click here to see this year's roundup of holiday books.

Now in Stores: BROTHERBAND CHRONICLES, Book 1: THE OUTCASTS by John Flanagan
BROTHERBAND CHRONICLES, Book 1: THE OUTCASTS by John Flanagan (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
The author behind the bestselling Ranger’s Apprentice books presents a new companion series that introduces new characters, new problems and new adventures. Beginning warriors in Skandia form Brotherbands, or teams, that will train and compete in challenges to see who rises to the top. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Click here to read a review of THE OUTCASTS.

RANGER’S APPRENTICE: THE LOST STORIES by John Flanagan (Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
The Ranger’s Apprentice series may have ended on a positive note, but what about all those extra questions that lingered far after the story ended? Behold, the Lost Stories of the fabled Rangers. All the loose ends are tied up, and more, in this collection from master author John Flanagan. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

Click here to read a review of RANGER’S APPRENTICE: THE LOST STORIES.

Books into Movies for December: The Adventures of Tintin and War Horse
Ever since 1929, the French comic book artist Hergé has been spinning thrilling tales of Tintin, a curious young reporter, and his faithful dog Snowy. Now, on December 21st, The Adventures of Tintin, based on the comic book series, comes to the big screen. The film follows Tintin and Snowy as they discover a ship with a centuries-old mystery and get drawn into a desperate chase from a deadly villain. The two travel halfway around the world in search of The Unicorn, a shipwreck that may hold the key to a fortune, and are swept into exhilarating adventures along the way.

And Christmas Day marks the release of War Horse, based on Michael Morpurgo’s novel of the same name. The movie tells the story of a powerful bond between a young man named Albert and his horse, Joey, during World War I. Albert trains and cares for Joey until the two are forced apart. But the separation is the beginning of a remarkable journey for Joey, who touches the lives of everyone he meets as he moves through the war.

Click here to read more about December's films. Talks to Graham Salisbury, Author of CALVIN COCONUT: KUNG FOOEY

In KUNG FOOEY, the sixth installment in Graham Salisbury’s Calvin Coconut series, Calvin’s fourth grade class meets the quirky new kid, Benny Obi. Benny loves to brag about his exotic knowledge and challenge Tito, the school bully. In this interview, conducted by’s Donna Volkenannt, Salisbury describes how his childhood in Oahu and Hawaii inspired the Calvin Coconut books, and how one old friend in particular was the basis for Benny. He also shares his favorite --- and least favorite --- things about being a writer and talks about his passion for music.

CALVIN COCONUT: KUNG FOOEY by Graham Salisbury (Fiction)
Calvin Coconut's fourth grade class meets Benni Obi, a weird and likable new kid. Benny brags about knowing kung fu, wears mirrored sunglasses, eats worms, crickets, and chocolate-covered scorpions, and says all the wrong things to bully Tito. Uh-oh. Meanwhile, the neighborhood kids and pets clear the road --- Calvin's babysitter Stella is learning how to drive. She's got a lead foot.

-Click here to read more about KUNG FOOEY.
-Click here to read a review of KUNG FOOEY.
-Click here to read an excerpt from KUNG FOOEY.
-Click here to read Graham Salisbury’s bio.


Click here to read our interview with Graham Salisbury.

Now in Stores: THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy
THE APOTHECARY by Maile Meloy (Historical Fantasy/Action & Adventure)
It's 1952 and the Scott family has just moved to London, where 14-year-old Janie meets a mysterious apothecary and his son, Benjamin, who dreams of becoming a spy. When Benjamin's father is kidnapped, Janie and Benjamin must uncover the secrets of the apothecary's sacred book in order to find him, all while keeping it out of the hands of their enemies --- Russian spies in possession of nuclear weapons. Reviewed by Norah Piehl.

Click here to read a review of THE APOTHECARY.

Now in Stores: CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING by Sara Pennypacker

CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING written by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Fiction)
Clementine is having a nervous breakdown. The FAMILY MEETING! sign is up in her house, and she just knows she's in trouble. As far as she’s concerned, the agenda should be something like: "We're getting a gorilla." But no, it's something entirely different. "We're talking about a new baby," says her father. "What do you think about that?" NO THANKS! is what Clementine thinks. Will she learn to make room for one more? Reviewed by Sarah Rachel Egelman.


Click here to read a review of CLEMENTINE AND THE FAMILY MEETING.

Cool New Books for November
November’s roundup of Cool New Books includes CABIN FEVER, Jeff Kinney’s latest Diary of a Wimpy Kid book, in which Greg is accused of an act of vandalism he didn’t commit; THE OUTCASTS, the first installment in John Flanagan’s Brotherband Chronicles, about a group of outcast boys battling at sea; THE GRAVE ROBBERS OF GENGHIS KHAN, the conclusion to P.B. Kerr’s Children of the Lamp series that finds twins John and Philippa on a hunt for the wicked djinn who wants to rob the grave of the great Genghis Khan; and BALLOONS OVER BROADWAY by Melissa Sweet, a picture book that tells the story of the puppeteer Tony Sarg, who invented the first balloons for Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade.
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 CASE OF THE CRYPTIC CRINOLINE and THE CASE OF THE GYPSY GOODBYE, the final two installments in Nancy Springer’s mystery series starring Enola Holmes, the much younger sister of Sherlock Holmes; SHADOW WOLF, the second book in Kathryn Lasky’s Wolves of the Beyond, a spinoff from her legendary owl series, Guardians of Ga'hoole; and EMILY’S FORTUNE, Phyllis Reynolds Naylor’s tale of the Wild West, filled with comical cliffhangers and featuring a cast of plucky orphans and dastardly villains.
Click here to see what's New in Paperback for November.

This Month's Reviews
THE FLINT HEART written by Katherine Paterson and John Paterson, illustrated by John Rocco (Fantasy)
Based loosely on Eden Phillpott’s original story, THE FLINT HEART tells of a charmed stone heart that brings nothing but unhappiness and destruction to the wearer. Siblings Charles and Unity arrange a visit with the Pixies in order to stop its power from corrupting their once lovable father. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

TRUE BLUE by Jane Smiley (Fiction)
When the owner of a dappled gray horse dies in a car accident, Abby Lovitt and her father take over ownership and begin training him. The horse is beautiful and knows the basics, but Abby feels there’s something different about him. He is a bit spooky and notices everything around him --- including the ghost of his former owner. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

WAITING FOR THE MAGIC written by Patricia MacLachlan, illustrated by Amy June Bates (Fiction)
People may drift apart, but love can hold them together. Sometimes we find that love through magic; sometimes that magic is all around us. This is a story about all of these things. But it's also a story about how four dogs and one cat help one boy and his sister save their family. Reviewed by Kathleen M. Purcell.

THE BLACK HEART CRYPT: A Haunted Mystery by Chris Grabenstein (Mystery)
Halloween is nearing, the one day of the year when the ghostly plane is close enough to the human plane to allow mischief and mayhem. But the ghosts who have their eye on Zack aren't thinking mischief --- they are thinking murder. In this fourth volume of Chris Grabenstein's Haunted Mysteries series, Zack must once again do battle with malevolent spirits. Reviewed by Amy Alessio.

ICEFALL by Matthew J. Kirby (Mystery/Action & Adventure)
Solveig, along with her younger brother and older sister, has been sent to a small camp next to a glacier for the winter to escape the enemies of her father, who’s the Viking king. As they become trapped by the frozen ice, it’s soon apparent that a traitor is sabotaging their every move. Reviewed by Benjamin Boche.

A YEAR WITHOUT AUTUMN by Liz Kessler (Fiction)
Twelve-year-old Jenni Green is best friends with Autumn Leonard. They see each other every day, and their families even vacation at the same place. But when Jenni climbs into an ancient elevator and takes it to the next floor, she realizes she has jumped ahead an entire year without any memory of its events. Even worse, she finds that their lives have been destroyed by a devastating accident. Reviewed by Chris Shanley-Dillman.

Graphic Novel Reviews:

BENJAMIN BEAR IN FUZZY THINKING written and illustrated by Philippe Coudray
Benjamin Bear does everything in his own funny way, whether it's drying dishes on a rabbit's back or throwing a ball at a friend to make him play. In this series of gags starring a very loopy bear, Philippe Coudray creates a zany world that makes kids think and solve puzzles, drawing all readers into the game. Reviewed by John Hogan.

BIG CITY OTTO: Elephants Never Forget, Volume 1 written by Bill Slavin, illustrated by Esperança Melo
Otto is a sweet-natured elephant who can't forget his childhood chum Georgie, a smiley-faced chimpanzee who was abducted and shipped away from their forest home by the mysterious and sinister Man with the Wooden Nose. Accompanied by a parrot named Crackers, Otto decides to hop a plane and look for Georgie in America. But once they hit the wild streets of the concrete jungle, Otto and Crackers court trouble at every turn. Reviewed by Danica Davidson.

This Month's Poll: Holiday Wish Lists
Have you made a wish list for the holidays?

No, but I'm working on one.
No, I'm not interested in this.
I’m not sure.

Are any books on your wish list?

No, but they will be.
I don't have a wish list.
I’m not sure.

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