“'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, October 29, 2010

No T. Rex in the Library • Picture Book

No T. Rex in the Library
by Toni Buzzeoillustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa
Available now • McElderry Books • Ages 4 - 8

It's Tuesday morning in the library.
Tess is out of control.
"Time out!" Mommy shouts."No beastie behavior in the library."
Tess snarls.
She snorts.
"Just ten quiet minutes, Little Beastie," says Mommy. "And then
 I'll be back for you."
Books tumble, topple, flop on the floor.
"Ooops," Tess says, "The books . . ."
She gasps and grins.
She grips a claw.
And then . . .

(from the book)
Story: When Tess misbehaves at the library, Mommy puts her in the time out chair, promising to return for her in 10 minutes. But Mommy doesn't count on Tess tipping over her chair, or the chair tipping over the book cart, or the dinosaur book falling open.  And what else can Tess do when she sees that dinosaur claw reaching up from the page?  Join Tess on a library romp on board the back of a T. Rex.  She proves, beyond a doubt, that you can find ANY kind of adventure in your library books.
Story behind the story:  As a teenager, Toni started writing and worked her first library job as a ”page” shelving books at the Dearborn Public Library before taking her first full time job as a library clerk at age 18.  From there she continued on as a Children’s librarian before writing children’s books, so she’s a bit of a pro when it comes to library adventures.

Toni Buzzeo is the author of such books as Dawdle Duckling, illustrated by Margaret Spengler and The Sea Chest, illustrated by Mary GrandPre. She has previously collaborated with Sachiko Yoshikawa on Our Librarian Won't Tell Us Anything. Toni lives in Maine, and you can visit her online at www.tonibuzzeo.com.
"A lively introduction to the multitude of stories and topics found in a library with an emphasis on the importance of book care and library etiquette, this will especially appeal to active youngsters. Good for home, classroom and library use." - Kirkus

“This picture book with its roars, snarls, yells, and other sound words celebrates a child’s imagination as she spends a little “quiet time” at the library. Children who have a hard time keeping still during story time are such to appreciate this action-packed tale." - Marya Jansen-Gruber, Through the Loooking Glass Children's Book Reviews

"Maybe it's just me, but I don't really like how certain types of books get so split over gender lines.  There are exceptions, of course.  You might find a girl train book here or a boy ballet book there.  But girl dino books?  Few and far between.  Toni Buzzeo aims to change all that.  Out comes No T. Rex in the Library, illustrated by Sachiko Yoshikawa.  Plot as such: Girl is out of control in the library (we all are familiar with that particular scene) but when she opens the pages of a book, a dino with no manners escapes.  Can she make him behave?  Mebee." - Elizabeth Bird, A Fuse 8 Production, SLJ Blog

Wednesday, October 27, 2010

SPHDZ Book #1! • Middle-Grade Fiction Illustrated

SPHDZ Book #1!  Middle-Grade Fiction Illustrated 
Available now  Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers  Ages 7 - 10
Story: Michael K. just started fifth grade at a new school. As if that wasn't hard enough, the kids he seems to have made friends with apparently aren't kids at all. They are aliens. Real aliens who have invaded our planet in the form of school children and a hamster.

They have a mission to complete: to convince 3,140,001 kids to BE SPHDZ.

But with a hamster as their leader, "kids" who talk like walking advertisements, and Michael K as their first convert, will the SPHDZ be able to keep their cover and pull off their assignment?

Story behind the story: Here's what author Jon Scieszka has to say about SPHDZ:

"The story is told through a series of books, websites, blogs, tweets, microwaves, videos, logos, slogans, cereal boxes, ads, jingles, kids' writing/drawing/creating, and more. The story requires readers to be critical thinkers, media judges and active participants.  You must BE SPDZ to SAVE THE WORLD.

I thought up SPACEHEADZ as a fun way for kids to fool around with the very real work of what is probably the most vital 21st century educational skill – becoming Media Literate. 

Kids will laugh at the SPHDZ frantic desire for toilet paper (because it is Ultra-Strong!) and deodorant (because it promises All Day Protection!) . . . but they will end up becoming media-savvy, critical consumers as they help the SPHDZ navigate our ad-crazy world.

Check out the Whole Grain! Long Lasting! SPHDZ Book #1 and the first round of Extra Strength! websites.  We need you to


--Jon No-Pulp! Scieszka

Visit the author online at www.jsworldwide.com, become at SHDZ at www.SPHDZ.com, and learn all the AAA’s secrets at www.antialienagency.com.

Be sure to watch the Spaceheadz book trailer to learn more!

“The young aliens speak primarily in TV advertising slogans, which fit remarkably–and hilariously–into the dialogue. Real commercial products, from George Foreman grills to Charmin™ toilet tissue, are put to exotic extraterrestrial uses. The intriguing book design includes chapter headings in English and SPHDZ characters, occasional white-on-black pages, and SPHDZ “stickers” scattered throughout the text. The black-and-white cartoon illustrations are often integrated into the text layout, giving the book a graphic-novel feel. Four creative, well-designed websites contribute important information to the story. Science-fiction fans with a taste for off-the-wall humor will be eager to join the SPHDZ movement.” –School Library Journal starred review

Monday, October 25, 2010

Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween • First Chapter Book

Ant and Honey Bee: A Pair of Friends at Halloween
By Megan McDonald • Illustrated by G. Brian Karas 
July 2010 • Candlewick Press • Ages 5-8
What a pair! From the creator of the Judy Moody and Stink series comes a charming duo with a most ingenious costume approach for Halloween.
Story: Only a few hours left until trick-or-treat, and Ant and Honey Bee still don’t have their costumes figured out.  With a little creativity and a lot of elbow grease, Ant and Honey Bee finally make a perfect, two-things-that-go-together pair of costumes for Cricket’s big party. But then — plip, plip, plip, PLIP! — it starts to rain, and by the time they arrive, the proud pair looks more like a matching set of soggy sad sacks. Maybe, though, if they put their heads together, the quick-thinking friends can turn their mushy mess into a smashing success. What a pair!
Story behind the story: “I wore a lot of hand-me-downs when I was growing up,” says best-selling author Megan McDonald, looking back on her childhood with four older sisters. “It was a BIG deal when my mom made hand-sewn pilgrim costumes for my sisters at Halloween. The only problem was, my sisters outgrew them, and the pilgrim costumes got passed down to me.  Year after year, there was always a pilgrim costume for me!”

Bor-ing!,’ as Ant and Honey Bee would say.

So Megan and her best friend took matters into their own hands and created costumes for themselves.  One year, they went as a banana split.  Another year, they transformed big cardboard boxes into — yes, it’s true — a washer and a dryer!  “Of course it poured rain,” Megan recalls.  “Our cardboard costumes were turned to mush. That childhood experience, and the pilgrim costumes, inspired this story.”

“Childlike and sympathetic, the characters’ antics and conversations will have broad appeal.” Booklist

“Filled with puns and lighthearted jokes. . . .Children will enjoy reading about how friendships can help them survive any disaster.” – School Library Journal

Looking for more early fiction? Visit Candlewick's website for more Candlewick Sparks!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Rocky Road • Middle-grade fiction

Rocky Road
Available now Alfred A. Knopf  Ages 8 - 12
“Ice cream warms the heart, no matter what the weather.
Story: That's the Dobson family motto. When things get tough, they break out the ice cream. The road has been especially rocky lately for Tess and her deaf little brother, Jordan. Then Ma abruptly moves the family from Texas to snowy Schenectady, NY, where she uses the last of their savings to open an ice cream shop in the dead of winter. How will they ever survive?

This moving story of family and community proves that, with a little help from family and friends, life can be sweet —and a little nutty—just like Rocky Road.

Story behind the story: Author Rose Kent shares this with us:  "Did you know that rocky road ice cream was created during the Great Depression just so folks would have something to smile about?

Rocky road is Tess Dobson’s favorite ice cream. It also describes what life has served up, between her family’s money troubles and Ma’s mood illness that leaves her in bed for days. Then Ma uproots the family to snowy upstate NY, to buy an ice cream shop with the last of their savings. How will they survive? 

Why did I set the book in Schenectady, NY? Because I've learned through travels and reader emails that, while New York City is famous and vividly imagined, even by those who have never been, the same can't be said about other parts of New York State. Schenectady is a vintage old city and I thought many kids might appreciate learning its history. I also thought they might have their own version of a vintage old city nearby that they could relate to. 

Why ice cream? I can recall the many times my family visited an ice cream shop to celebrate or commiserate an event. When my son hit the home run. When my daughter didn't get the part in the play. When someone got potty trained. That sort of thing. Like the Dobson family motto in ROCKY ROAD, I truly believe that "ice cream warms the heart, no matter what the weather."

I bet you see kids in your library who also live rocky road lives. I wrote ROCKY ROAD for these kids. My first book, KIMCHI & CALAMARI, celebrates food. ROCKY ROAD continues with ice cream, recipes included! 

Peace, books and ice cream,
Rose Kent

Watch this book trailer:

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Hello Kidlit lovers -- new books to learn about and WIN for your classroom or library

On the lookout for new books to fit in with your curriculum? Can you say freebies?  Perhaps one of these four are right for your classroom or library?  See the links to enter to win.

If you're looking for lessons on History, Pioneer life, Parts of a story, Abraham Lincolns, Friendship and Responsibility, then take a peek at ABE LINCOLN CROSSES A CREEK, by Deborah Hopkinson.  Read this note from the author for a chance to win an autographed copy. (Grades Pre-3).

Poetry?  Language Arts?  Rhyme and Rhythm?  Robert L. Forbes' LET'S HAVE A BITE:  A Banquet of Beastly Rhymes, illustrated by Ronald Searle (New Yorker magazine readers will most definitely recognize the artwork!) is worth a look.  Want a taste? (Preschool and up)

What if you're teaching Language Arts, History, War and Conflict, Literature Circles, Geography (Southwestern U.S.) and you'd like a novel to tie into your lessons? Diane Stanley's starred Booklist review book SAVING SKY might be just the one.  Plus she's offering a chance to win a free Skype visit.  How cool would it be to have the author talking with YOUR readers?  (Grades 5 and up)

High school librarians and teachers doing units on Creative writing, Anxiety, Social skills, Psychological disorders, Eating disorders? Chelsea Rae Swiggett writes this about RAE:  "RAE is about understanding yourself and accepting whatever it is you understand. And everyone needs to learn that."  For a chance for a sample copy...(Grades 7 and up)
Someone's going to win 'em... why not you?

Friday, October 1, 2010

Imaginalis Middle-grade fiction / Fantasy

by J. M. DeMatteis
June 2010 Available now   Harper Collins  Ages 8 - 12
What if your dearest friends were trapped in a world that was dying? 
Story:  Mehera Beatrice Crosby has one great love—and it's not following the latest health fads (like her school friend Celeste), and it's definitely not Andrew Suarez (even if he does have a ridiculous crush on her). It's Imaginalis, her favorite book series.
When she learns that the long-awaited last book in the series has been canceled, Mehera is devastated—until strange events begin unfolding, and she realizes that her Imaginalian friends are counting on her to rescue them from their fading existence. Soon Mehera finds herself traveling between her world and the kingdom of Imaginalis. But what will happen when she accidentally brings the villain of the series, Pralaya, back to Earth, along with Prince Imagos and his Companions? Has Mehera doomed both worlds beyond repair, or is there a way to save Mehera's world—and Imaginalis, too?
This richly imagined fantasy is a fast-paced adventure and a testament to the power of loyal friendship, creativity, and imagination.
 Story behind the story:

Hear more about IMAGINALIS in this Northeast Public Radio Interview -- and via this video interview:

FYI: all the review copies for this title have been sent; please check back on the "comments" link to read what your colleagues have to say.