“'There's cold chicken inside it,' replied the Rat briefly; 'coldtonguecoldhamcoldbeefpickledgherkinssaladfrench

'O stop, stop,' cried the Mole in ecstacies: 'This is too much!'”
-- from
The Wind in the Willows

Friday, August 29, 2008

The Brothers Torres • YA fiction

The Brothers Torres
by Coert Vorrhes
Spring 2008 •
Disney – Hyperion Books • YA fiction
The provocative story of a Mexican-American teenager's
coming of age in the southwest.
Story: Frankie Towers looks up to his older brother Steve, who always gets what he wants: girls, a soccer scholarship, and--lately--street cred. But Frankie has reservations about Steve's crusade to win the respect of the local cholos. He may have to choose between respecting his brother and respecting himself.
Story behind the story: Debut author Coert Voorhees will be featured at this year’s National Council of Teachers of English annual convention and the Assembly on Literature for Adolescents workshop. Born and raised in New Mexico, Voorhees states, “When I was growing up, I received so much conflicting information about my role in the world as a man. I questioned how to act, and wondered who to emulate. During my time as a high school and junior high teacher, I had the opportunity to see this paradox with two viewpoints: through the conflicted and sometimes tortured eyes of a teenager and with the wizened eyes of someone who has made it through. That experience helped to inform my writing of The Brothers Torres.” Voorhees was
interviewed for School Library Journal’s The Debut.
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below for reviews to date from your colleagues.

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You • YA fiction

Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You
by Sophie Talbot
Just out! • Chooseco • YA fiction
In six short months, your entire life has gone into turnaround...
Story: Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You, a brand new novel for teen girls from the creators of the classic best-selling “Choose Your Own Adventure” series, puts YOU at an elite girls’ boarding school where you face a complicated social scene, super competitive classmates and … elements of magic. As if your new life in the fast lane isn’t enough, what’s with your sudden psychic talents?
Story behind the story: "We understand that when teens girls read, they want to have a deep unique experience with the characters -- they want to form relationships with them," says Chooseco publisher Shannon Gilligan. "Fabulous Terrible is “chick lit” geared around info that YOU and your friends can find in the book and online. Girls like to try on personas and writing the book in the 2nd person point-of-view, true to classic Choose Your Own Adventure style, allows readers to learn about themselves as they read the book. Fabulous Terrible is about an orphan with a lot of strikes against her. She's grappling with growing up (who isn't?), there's a really strong geek girl character, and an additional element of magic thrown in." See the Which FABULOUS TERRIBLE Girl Are You? Facebook quiz.

“This fantasy novel is different than any book I have ever read....What makes this book different is the main character, it is you.…make[s] you want the sequel, Fabulous Terrible: The Adventures of You: Chloe to come out sooner than October. I definitely recommend this book to those out there who love chick-lit with a fantasy twist or those looking for a good light read.”
– Sarah Bourg, YA librarian, Lebanon Public Library, Lebanon, IN (yasarah.blogspot.com)

“Fabulous Terrible is the perfect choice for any and every reader. The combination of mystery, friendship and secrets makes it hard not to love. No matter when or where you read it you’ll immediately be hooked. 4.5 Stars! (P.S. For those still not convinced, think A Great and Terrible Beauty meets Private.)” -- ChickLitTeens (chicklitteens.blogspot.com)

25 copies available. Order your reviewer's copy now.

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World • Middle-grade non-fiction (illustrated)

Sea Queens: Women Pirates Around the World
Jane Yolen • illustrated by Christine Joy Pratt

July 2008 • CharlesbridgeMiddle-grade non-fiction (illustrated)
"Young pirate princesses (and princes) will be dazzled." -- Kirkus Reviews (starred)
Story: Throughout the ages, women from all classes and walks of life turned to pirating out of necessity, desperation, or greed. Acclaimed author Jane Yolen examines the contradictions of these bold women’s lives and times. Meet Artemisia, the admiral-queen of Persia in 500 BC; Grania O’Malley, the Irish “pirate queen” who challenged Queen Elizabeth I’s British ships; Madame Ching, who sailed the South China Sea in the early 1800’s; and ten other female pirates on their ships, in battle, and in disguise.
The Story behind the story:
Jane Yolen writes: "I have been one of those 'pirate addled' readers since I first encountered Anne Bonney and Mary Read in seventh grade. When I wrote an earlier book on women pirates, there was little easily obtained information about them. I didn’t know then about Grania O’Malley, or Artemisia, or Teuta. In the over forty years since publication of that book, Pirates in Petticoats, scholars have done much work on the subject of women pirates. This book uses a lot of that new material." Just for fun: International Talk Like a Pirate Day is September 19th.
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say.

Keesha's Bright Idea! • Early Reader

Keesha's Bright Idea!
by Eleanor May • illustrated by Amy Wummer

July 2008 • Kane Press • Early reader
Will Keesha’s plan for an Earth Day project get in the way of her brother’s band rehearsals?
Story: Uh-oh. Eddie’s little sister gets a “bright idea” just days before the Battle of the Bands. Now Eddie has to write a new song, practice with his band, and help Keesha save energy—all at the same time! Can he do it?
Story behind the story: This early reader for students grades 1-3 is part of Kane Press' "Social Studies Connects" program which combines characters and plots with social studies concepts -- here, the environment, saving energy, and making thoughtful decisions -- that relate to kids' everyday lives and supports/reinforces social studies vocabulary. Keesha's Bright Idea!, along with the other books in the series, can be enjoyed by independent readers and also read aloud to younger children.
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below for reviews from your colleagues.

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

The Dog Who Belonged to No One • Picture Book

The Dog Who Belonged to No One<
by Amy Hest • Illustrated by Amy Bates
September 2008 • Abrams Books for Young Readers • Picture Book
A timeless tale of friendship by New York Times bestselling author Amy Hest!
Story: No one takes notice of a small dog with crooked ears who doesn’t have a home. He explores the narrow streets and wide boulevards every day, while across town a little girl named Lia pedals on her bicycle alone, delivering breads and cakes. Both dream of finding a friend, until fate brings them together.
Story behind the story: Amy Hest, multi-time winner of the Christopher Medal, says that “the dog in this story reminds me a lot of a dog I know called Billy. They both try SO hard. They both mean SO well. And in the end, they both want to be loved SO much.” The love-fest for Hest’s and Bates’ timeless characters is beginning thanks to starred reviews in both Booklist (“…the lesson, that you may not know you’re missing something until you find it, makes this simple and eloquent story especially suitable for children who hold out hope for the day when that perfect dog will cross their paths and warm their own homes") and School Library Journal (“Lia in her blue dress, pinafore, and jaunty cap and the bright-eyed little dog evoke tender sympathy.”).
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about it and be sure to come back as there are more to come!

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing • Middle grade fiction (illustrated)

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing
by Gue Yue and Clare Farrow • Illustrated by Helen Cann
Just out! •
Barefoot Books • Middle grade fiction (illustrated)
Wouldn’t you rather be free, for just a day, than spend a lifetime in a cage?
Story: Eight-year-old Little Leap is growing up during China’s Cultural Revolution. He loves to spend his days flying kites, playing games with his friends, and practicing his flute. One day, he catches a songbird—but she refuses to sing as soon he places her in a cage. Little Leap Forward cannot understand why....Then Mao’s Red Guards arrive and everyone’s lives change as even the littlest freedoms are restricted. Little Leap comes to terms with these changes as he decides whether he can hold onto the beautiful bird who will not sing, or should return her to her freedom.

Story behind the story: The launch title in Barefoot Books’ New Young Fiction list for readers ages 9-12, Little Leap Forward is based upon the real-life experiences of accomplished musician Guo Yue. Born in Beijing in 1958, the year of Mao's Great Leap Forward, his name is a revolutionary one: Guo meaning Kingdom, Yue meaning Leap Forward. His family lived in a traditional courtyard in the maze of old alleys known as the Hutongs, between the beautiful Drum and Bell Towers and the river where he played as a child. His courtyard housed the families of five traditional musicians, mostly from the countryside. From these musicians he learned how to put not just his breath but his whole body into playing the flute. In 1982 Yue left China for England with the help of his sister who lived there. He studied flute at the Guildhall School of Music. Yue now plays 15 different bamboo flutes and records on Peter Gabriel’s Real World label. He has worked on the soundtracks of several international films, including Bertolluci's Oscar-winning 'The Last Emperor' and 'The Killing Fields'. An accomplished cook, Yue has also written, with his wife Clare Farrow, Music, Food and Love.
"I have heard Guo Yue play his music, I have eaten his food, and can guarantee he delivers in a magical way." Peter Gabriel

“This is a story that deepens with each rereading…. The authors thread together themes of music, freedom and friendship so subtly that children will hardly detect the shifts going on within Leap Forward until he takes Little Cloud to the riverside. By ending the novel before the worst tragedies befall his family, Guo and Farrow suggest that Leap Forward has gained the inner strength he needs to get through whatever lies ahead.”—Jennifer M. Brown, Shelf Awareness

Little Leap Forward: A Boy in Beijing has been selected by Anokaberry as one the the top 20 Best Books of 2008 for Middle Grade Readers.

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and some reviews are in, and more in the works; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about this book and be sure to come back as there are more reviews to come!

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II: The Kingdom on the Waves • YA fiction

The Astonishing Life of Octavian Nothing, Traitor to the Nation, Vol. II: The Kingdom on the Waves
by M. T. Anderson
October 2008 • Candlewick Press • YA fiction
Follow Octavian to Virginia as he allies with the British, lured by the promise of freedom.
Fleeing from a death sentence, Octavian and his tutor, Dr. Trefusis, escape to British-occupied Boston. Sundered from all he knows, Octavian hopes to find safe harbor. Instead, he learns of Lord Dunmore's proclamation offering freedom to slaves who join the counterrevolutionary forces.
Seeking the truth of his past and hope for his future, he encounters generous thieves, pious carpenters, delicate lords, noble cowherds, bedazzled scientists, and murderous rebels — as this astonishing narrative escalates to its startling, deeply satisfying climax.

Story behind the story: No one can articulate the story behind Octavian better than the man himself. In his interview with Ingram Library Services at ALA Annual, author M.T. Anderson talks about writing this epic tale that “fascinates, appalls, condemns, and enthralls.”
“Viewed through historical hindsight, Octavian’s final, wounded optimism (‘No other human generation hath done other than despoil, perhaps we shall be the first’) will resonate strongly with contemporary teens.” – Booklist, starred review
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about it -- plus more to come!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Judy Moody Goes to College • Middle-grade fiction (illustratedO

Judy Moody Goes to College
by Megan McDonald • illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds
Just out! • Candlewick Press • Middle grade fiction
It’s her funniest adventure yet! A few sessions with a college-age math tutor turn Judy into a jargon-spouting polygon princess. Crucial!
Story: The substitute teacher in Class 3T thinks Judy’s math skills need improving. So Judy has to start meeting with a math tutor. Does this mean flash cards? Does this mean school on weekends? But when Judy meets her tutor—a college student with an uber-funky sense of style—and gets a glimpse of college life, Judy’s bad math-i-tude turns into a radical glad-i-tude. Pretty soon, Judy’s not only acing her math class; she’s owning it.
Story behind the story: Charlie Schroder, Candlewick's Vice President at Large, Licensing and Development, laughed out loud as she read the manuscript for Judy Moody Goes to College. And while typically this wouldn’t have been a problem, at the time Charlie was in the quiet car of the train headed to New York City and she was subsequently kicked out for her uncontrollable laughter. So just a warning – don’t read Judy Moody Goes to College in the quiet car of the train, or any place where quiet is strictly enforced.
Learn more about Judy Moody and her “bother” Stink at http://www.judymoody.com/.
FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent and reviews are in the works; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about it and be sure to come back as there are more to come!

Vibes • YA fiction

by Amy Kathleen Ryan
October 2008 • Houghton Mifflin Harcourt • YA fiction
Be careful what you are thinking -- Kristi Carmichael can read minds. Or can she?
Story: Lovably snarky teenager Kristi is convinced she has ESP, but recent events have proved her perception skills to be a bit off. Maybe her friend Jacob isn’t always thinking about her breasts. Maybe her mother didn’t chase her father away. And maybe, just maybe, hot guy Gusty doesn’t think she’s disgusting. In this bitingly funny but utterly sweet novel, Amy Kathleen Ryan has created one of the most vivid, deliciously disdainful teen voices in contemporary YA fiction.
Story behind the story: Teens are already embracing Kristi! Here are some quotes from enthusiastic advance readers:
“It doesn’t take a teenage psychic to realize that this story holds a shockingly real outlook on high school life.”—Cara, 14, Glastonbury CT
“An absolutely fantastic book..” —BookChic.com, 18 Lynchburg VA
"Hilarious, supernatural, original, and witty. Vibes will now be considered a must read in my book.” —Hilary 16, Columbus OH
"If you ever thought reading people’s minds would make it easier to understand other people, Amy Kathleen Ryan is here to tell you that you’re dead wrong. Funny, fresh, and heartfelt, Vibes zigs when you expect it to zag, and will have you laughing out loud.”—Barry Lyga, author of The Astonishing Adventures of Fanboy and Goth Girl and Boy Toy.
FYI: all the review copies have been sent. To hear what your colleagues have to say about VIBES, click on the "comments" link below.

Bad Rats • Picture Book with Audio CD

Bad Rats
By Eric Drachman • Illustrated by James Muscarello
Just out! • Kidwick Books • Picture Book with Audio CD
Follow along as Josiah and several other inspired rats teach their professor the value of creativity.
Story: Josiah was a rat. He was a bad rat..... or so he was told. In fact, Josiah and his friends are aspiring artists, and for a rat, painting outside the box like that just won't do.
Story behind the story: Narrated by the author and featuring his young nephew among other voices, the companion book-on-CD includes audible page turns to help children follow along as they learn to read. Hear what author Eric Drachman has to say about creating Bad Rats in this podcast with Ingram Library Services and in this interview with California Readers. Also, check out the Bad Rats audio slideshow to see and hear the book in its entirety, for free (and feel free to link your site/blog/newsletter to the show so your readers can see and hear it too!).

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about it and be sure to come back as there are more to come!

Meet the Hippos • Board Books

Hip Hippos • One Hippo Hops • Sad, Mad, Glad Hippos
By Jane Yolen • Illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen
Just out! • Key Porter Books • board books
Meet the hippos – a lovely, zany crew ready to take the youngest reader on a rollicking ride through the world of numbers, colors and feelings.

Story behind the story: Jane Yolen has been called the Hans Christian Andersen of America. She and her impressive number of children’s books have been recognized by some of the most prestigious awards given from librarians, booksellers, teachers, children and parents, including the Caldecott and Christopher Medals, countless state children’s book awards, a National Book Award nomination and Jewish Book Award, among many others. She has proven herself a true storyteller for all ages as evidenced by the tremendous sales and reception to her entire body of work. Vlasta van Kampen has won the Governor General's Award, the Graphic Arts Illustrator Award and the Blue Spruce Award.
FYI: all the review copies for these titles have been sent and reviews are in the works; please click on the "comments" link below to read what your colleagues have to say about them and be sure to come back as there are more to come!