Best Kids Books of the Month March 2013

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made by Stephan Pastis

Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made

 

Book Description
Release date: February 26, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up | Series: Timmy Failure (Book 1)
Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure — the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile — Timmy’s mom’s Segway — and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into “Stanfurd” that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission. From the offbeat creator of Pearls Before Swine comes an endearingly bumbling hero in a caper whose peerless hilarity is accompanied by a whodunit twist. With perfectly paced visual humor, Stephan Pastis gets you snorting with laughter, then slyly carries the joke a beat further — or sweetens it with an unexpected poignant moment — making this a comics-inspired story (the first in a new series) that truly stands apart from the pack.

About the Author
Stephan Pastis is the creator of Pearls Before Swine, an acclaimed comic strip that appears in more than six hundred newspapers and boasts a devoted following. His 2011 compilation Larry in Wonderland debuted at #1 on the New York Times bestseller list for paperback graphic novels. Timmy Failure: Mistakes Were Made is his first book for young readers. He lives in Northern California.

 

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Better Nate Than Ever by Tim Federle

Better Nate Than Ever

Book Description
Release date: February 5, 2013 | Age Range: 9 and up
A small-town boy hops a bus to New York City to crash an audition for E.T.: The Musical.
Nate Foster has big dreams. His whole life, he’s wanted to star in a Broadway show. (Heck, he’d settle for seeing a Broadway show.) But how is Nate supposed to make his dreams come true when he’s stuck in Jankburg, Pennsylvania, where no one (except his best pal Libby) appreciates a good show tune? With Libby’s help, Nate plans a daring overnight escape to New York. There’s an open casting call for E.T.: The Musical, and Nate knows this could be the difference between small-town blues and big-time stardom.

Tim Federle writes a warm and witty debut that’s full of broken curfews, second chances, and the adventure of growing up—because sometimes you have to get four hundred miles from your backyard to finally feel at home.

About the Author
Tim Federle was born in San Francisco, grew up in Pittsburgh, and began crashing New York auditions as a teenager, landing in five Broadway shows, from Gypsy (starring Bernadette Peters) to The Little Mermaid (starring Tim in a catfish costume), with stops at Radio City, the Met, and a Super Bowl halftime show along the way. In recent years, Tim has penned popular columns for Apartment Therapy and Huffington Post, choreographed routines for Sting and James Taylor at Carnegie Hall, and coached the child stars of Billy Elliot on Broadway—Tim’s inspiration for his debut novel, Better Nate Than Ever. Find him at TimFederle.com and on Twitter @TimFederle.

 

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

A Tangle of Knots by Lisa Graff

A Tangle of Knots

Book Description
Release date: February 5, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up
Told in multiple viewpoints, A Tangle of Knots is a magnificent puzzle. In a slightly magical world where everyone has a Talent, eleven-year-old Cady is an orphan with a phenomenal Talent for cake baking. But little does she know that fate has set her on a journey from the moment she was born. And her destiny leads her to a mysterious address that houses a lost luggage emporium, an old recipe, a family of children searching for their own Talents, and a Talent Thief who will alter her life forever. However, these encounters hold the key to Cady’s past and how she became an orphan. If she’s lucky, fate may reunite her with her long-lost parent.

Lisa Graff adds a pinch of magic to a sharply crafted plot to create a novel that will have readers wondering about fate and the way we’re all connected.

About the Author
Lisa Graff is an award-winning novelist whose books have been named to a total of 15 state award lists. She has an MFA from The New School in Writing for Children and is an adjunct professor at McDaniel College. She lives in New York City.

 

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey by Jerry Spinelli

Hokey Pokey

Book Description
Release date: January 8, 2013 | Age Range: 10 and up
Welcome to Hokey Pokey. A place and a time, when childhood is at its best: games to play, bikes to ride, experiences to be had. There are no adults in Hokey Pokey, just kids, and the laws governing Hokey Pokey are simple and finite. But when one of the biggest kids, Jack, has his beloved bike stolen—and by a girl, no less—his entire world, and the world of Hokey Pokey, turns to chaos. Without his bike, Jack feels like everything has started to go wrong. He feels different, not like himself, and he knows something is about to change. And even more troubling he alone hears a faint train whistle. But that’s impossible: every kid knows there no trains in Hokey Pokey, only tracks.

Master storyteller Jerry Spinelli has written a dizzingly inventive fable of growing up and letting go, of leaving childhood and its imagination play behind for the more dazzling adventures of adolescence, and of learning to accept not only the sunny part of day, but the unwelcome arrival of night, as well.

About the Author
JERRY SPINELLI is the author of many books for young readers, including Stargirl; Love, Stargirl; Milkweed; Crash; Wringer; Maniac Magee, winner of the Newbery Medal; and Knots in My Yo-Yo String, his autobiography. A graduate of Gettysburg College, he lives in Pennsylvania with his wife, poet and author Eileen Spinelli.

 

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool

Navigating Early

Book Description
Release date: January 8, 2013 | Age Range: 10 and up
New York Times Best Seller Navigating Early by Clare Vanderpool, Newbery Medalist for Moon Over Manifest, is an odyssey-like adventure of two boys’ incredible quest on the Appalachian Trail where they deal with pirates, buried secrets, and extraordinary encounters.

At the end of World War II, Jack Baker, a landlocked Kansas boy, is suddenly uprooted after his mother’s death and placed in a boy’s boarding school in Maine. There, Jack encounters Early Auden, the strangest of boys, who reads the number pi as a story and collects clippings about the sightings of a great black bear in the nearby mountains. Newcomer Jack feels lost yet can’t help being drawn to Early, who won’t believe what everyone accepts to be the truth about the Great Appalachian Bear, Timber Rattlesnakes, and the legendary school hero known as The Fish, who never returned from the war. When the boys find themselves unexpectedly alone at school, they embark on a quest on the Appalachian Trail in search of the great black bear. But what they are searching for is sometimes different from what they find. They will meet truly strange characters, each of whom figures into the pi story Early weaves as they travel, while discovering things they never realized about themselves and others in their lives.

About the Author
CLARE VANDERPOOL’s debut novel, Moon Over Manifest, won the 2011 Newbery Medal for the most distinguished contribution to children’s literature. This second novel will continue to astound readers with Clare’s incredible writing prowess.

 

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Hold Fast by Blue Balliett

Book Description
Publication Date: March 1, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up
From NYT bestselling author Blue Balliett, the story of a girl who falls into Chicago’s shelter system, and from there must solve the mystery of her father’s strange disappearance.

Where is Early’s father? He’s not the kind of father who would disappear. But he’s gone . . . and he’s left a whole lot of trouble behind.

As danger closes in, Early, her mom, and her brother have to flee their apartment. With nowhere else to go, they are forced to move into a city shelter. Once there, Early starts asking questions and looking for answers. Because her father hasn’t disappeared without a trace. There are patterns and rhythms to what’s happened, and Early might be the only one who can use them to track him down and make her way out of a very tough place.

With her signature, singular love of language and sense of mystery, Blue Balliett weaves a story that takes readers from the cold, snowy Chicago streets to the darkest corner of the public library, on an unforgettable hunt for deep truths and a reunited family.

About the Author
Blue Balliett is the author of several bestselling, acclaimed mystery novels, including Chasing Vermeer (a Book Sense Book of the Year and an Edgar Award winner), The Wright 3, The Calder Game, and The Danger Box. She writes in the laundry room of her home in Chicago, Illinois, and you can find her online at www.blueballiettbooks.com.

 

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

Hattie Ever After by Kirby Larson

Hattie Ever After

Book Description
Release date: February 12, 2013
After leaving Uncle Chester’s homestead claim, orphan Hattie Brooks throws a lasso around a new dream, even bigger than the Montana sky. She wants to be a reporter, knowing full well that a few pieces published in the Arlington News will not suffice. Real reporters must go to Grand Places, and do Grand Things, like Hattie’s hero Nellie Bly. Another girl might be stymied by this, but Hattie has faced down a hungry wolf and stood up to a mob of angry men. Nothing can squash her desire to write for a big city newspaper. A letter and love token from Uncle Chester’s old flame in San Francisco fuels that desire and Hattie jumps at the opportunity to get there by working as a seamstress for a traveling acting troupe. This could be her chance to solve the mystery of her “scoundrel” uncle and, in the process, help her learn more about herself. But Hattie must first tell Charlie that she will not join him in Seattle. Even though her heart approves of Charlie’s plan for their marriage, her mind fears that saying yes to him would be saying no to herself. Hattie holds her own in the big city, literally pitching her way to a byline, and a career that could be even bigger than Nellie Bly’s. But can making headlines compensate for the pain of betrayal and lost love? Hattie must dig deep to find her own true place in the world. Kirby Larson once again creates a lovingly written novel about the remarkable and resilient young orphan, Hattie Inez Brooks.

About the Author
After KIRBY LARSON heard a snippet of a story about her great-grandmother homesteading in eastern Montana, she went on to write Hattie Big Sky, winner of a 2007 Newbery Honor Award. This sequel was written in part to answer many questions readers posed about the irrepressible Hattie. Connect with the author on her blog (www.kirbyslane.blogspot.com) or via Twitter (@kirbylarson).

 

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop by Kate Saunders

The Whizz Pop Chocolate Shop

Book Description
Release date: March 12, 2013 | Age Range: 10 and up
Welcome to the most magical house in London.

The family of eleven-year-old twins Oz and Lily have inherited it, together with the mysterious shop downstairs. Long ago, the shop’s famous chocolate-makers, who also happen to be Oz and Lily’s great uncles, were clever sorcerers. Now evil villians are hunting for the secret of their greatest recipe. The terrifying powers of this magic chocolate have the ability to destroy the world.

Soon, Oz and Lily are swept into a thrilling battle, helped by an invisible cat, a talking rat, and the ghost of an elephant. It’s up to them to stop the villians and keep the magical chocolate recipe out of harm’s way. Their family and the world depends on it.

About the Author
KATE SAUNDERS has written lots of books for adults and children. She lives in London with her son and her three cats.

 

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Jinx by Sage Blackwood

Book Description
Release date: January 8, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up
In the Urwald, you don’t step off the path. Trolls, werewolves, and butter churn–riding witches lurk amid the clawing branches, eager to swoop up the unwary. Jinx has always feared leaving the path—then he meets the wizard Simon Magus.

Jinx knows that wizards are evil. But Simon’s kitchen is cozy, and he seems cranky rather than wicked. Staying with him appears to be Jinx’s safest, and perhaps only, option. As Jinx’s curiosity about magic grows, he learns to listen to the trees as closely as he does to Simon’s unusual visitors. The more Jinx discovers, the more determined he becomes to explore beyond the security of well-trodden paths.

But in the Urwald, a little healthy fear is never out of place, for magic—and magicians—can be as dangerous as the forest. And soon Jinx must decide which is the greater threat.

Sage Blackwood introduces a daring new hero for an innovative new world as Jinx is joined by friends, battles enemies, and discovers that life beyond—and even within—the forest is more complex than he can imagine, and that the Urwald itself needs him more than he could ever guess.

About the Author
Sage Blackwood lives at the edge of a large forest, with thousands of books and a very old dog, and enjoys carpentry, cooking, and walking in the woods of New York State.

 

Ghoulish Song by William Alexander

Ghoulish Song by William Alexander

Ghoulish Song by William Alexander

Book Description
Release date: March 5, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up
A brave girl flees a ghoul while trying to save her town in this lively, fast-paced companion to National Book Award winner Goblin Secrets.
Kaile lives in Zombay, an astonishing city where goblins walk the streets and witches work their charms and curses. Kaile wants to be a musician and is delighted when a goblin gives her a flute carved out of bone. But the flute’s single, mournful song has a dangerous consequence: It separates Kaile and her shadow. Anyone without a shadow is considered dead, and despite Kaile’s protests that she’s alive and breathing, her family forces her to leave so she can’t haunt their home.

Kaile and her shadow soon learn that the troublesome flute is tied to a terrifying ghoul made from the bones of those who drowned in the Zombay River. With the ghoul chasing her and the river threatening to flood, Kaile has an important role to play in keeping Zombay safe. Will Kaile and her shadow be able to learn the right tune in time?

Set in the delightful and dangerous world of Goblin Secrets, Ghoulish Song is a gripping adventure laced with humor and mystery from National Book Award–winning author William Alexander.

About the Author
William Alexander won the National Book Award for his debut novel, Goblin Secrets—praised by Kirkus Reviews as “gripping and tantalizing” in a starred review—and won the Earphones Award for his narration of the audiobook. He studied theater and folklore at Oberlin College and English at the University of Vermont, and currently lives, writes, and teaches in Minneapolis. Ghoulish Song is his second novel. Visit him at WillAlex.net and GoblinSecrets.com.

 

The Tell-Tale Start (Misadventures of Edgar/Allan) by Gordon McAlpine and Sam Zuppardi

The Tell-Tale Start (Misadventures of Edgar/Allan) by Gordon McAlpine and Sam Zuppardi

The Tell-Tale Start

Book Description
Release date: January 10, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up | Series: Misadventures of Edgar/Allan (Book 1)
Meet Edgar and Allan Poe — twelve-year-old identical twins, the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of Edgar Allan Poe. They look and act so much alike that they’re almost one mischievous, prank-playing boy in two bodies. When their beloved black cat, Roderick Usher, is kidnapped and transported to the Midwest, Edgar and Allan convince their guardians that it’s time for a road trip. Along the way, mayhem and mystery ensue, as well as deeper questions: What is the boys’ telepathic connection? Is Edgar Allan Poe himself reaching out to them from the Great Beyond? And why has a mad scientist been spying on the Poe family for years?

With a mix of literary humor, mystery, a little quantum physics, and fun extras like fortune cookie messages, letters in code, license plate clues — and playful illustrations thoughout — this series opener is a perfect choice for smart, funny tweens who love the Time Warp Trio, Roald Dahl, and Lemony Snicket.

About the Author
Gordon McAlpine is the author of adult novels ranging from magical realism to hardboiled literary mystery. This is his first work for younger readers. He lives with his wife in Southern California. His Web site is www.gordonmcalpine.net.

Sam Zuppardi used to draw pictures at school when he was supposed to be doing work. In fact, he still draws pictures, though he is no longer at school. At the moment he lives in York, England which is a very picturesque city and particularly good for ghost walks. Sam likes a good ghost walk. Visit his Web site at www.samzuppardi.com

 

Never Say Die by Will Hobbs

Never Say Die by Will Hobbs

Never Say Die by Will Hobbs

Book Description
Release date: January 29, 2013 | Age Range: 8 and up
When the motto of your village is “never say die,” you have a lot to live up to. . . .

At home in Canada’s Arctic, Nick Thrasher is an accomplished Inuit hunter at fifteen. About to bring home a caribou for his ailing grandfather, Nick loses the meat to a fearsome creature never before seen in the wild. It’s half grizzly, half polar bear. Experts will soon be calling it a “grolar bear.”

Returning to his village, Nick receives a letter from the half brother he’s never met. A former Grand Canyon river guide, Ryan Powers is now a famous wildlife photographer. He’ll soon be coming to Nick’s part of the world to raft the remote Firth River in search of huge herds of migrating caribou. Ryan also wants to learn what Inuit hunters are saying about climate change in the Arctic. He invites Nick to come along and help him find the caribou.

Barely down the river, disaster strikes. Nick and Ryan are both thrown into the freezing river and find themselves under a ceiling of solid ice. With nothing but the clothes on his back and the knife on his hip, Nick is up against it in a world of wolves, caribou, and grizzlies. All the while, the monstrous grolar bear stalks the land.

About the Author
Will Hobbs is the award-winning author of nineteen novels, including Far North, Crossing the Wire, and Take Me to the River.

Never Say Die began with the author’s eleven-day raft trip in 2003 down the Firth River on the north slope of Canada’s Yukon Territory. Ever since, Will has been closely following what scientists and Native hunters are reporting about climate change in the Arctic. When the first grolar bear turned up in the Canadian Arctic, he began to imagine one in a story set on the Firth River.

A graduate of Stanford University, Will lives with his wife, Jean, in Durango, Colorado.

 

 

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