Latest articles from "The Horn Book Guide to Children's and Young Adult Books":

LITERATURE(April 1, 2015)

OLDER FICTION(April 1, 2015)

SOCIAL SCIENCES(April 1, 2015)

PRESCHOOL(April 1, 2015)

HISTORY(April 1, 2015)

SCIENCE(April 1, 2015)

LANGUAGE(April 1, 2015)

Other interesting articles:

Faulty Predictions: Stories
The Antioch Review (January 1, 2015)

It's Party Time At The ATM Slot Machine!
The Shooting Industry (November 1, 2010)

The Stranger (February 11, 2015)

Minds at Play: Narrative Games and Fictional Minds in B.S. Johnson's House Mother Normal
Style (October 1, 2014)

Phatic Traces: Sociality in Contemporary Japan
Anthropological Quarterly (April 1, 2015)

Shofar (April 1, 2015)

Palace to prison
Apollo (February 1, 2010)

Publication: The Horn Book Guide to Children's and Young Adult Books
Date published:
Language: English
PMID: 40439
ISSN: 1044405X
Journal code: HBGC

Adam, Paul Max Cassidy: Escape from Shadow Island

295 pp. HarperCollins/ Waiden Pond

ISBN 978-0-06-186323-3 $16.99

(3) Fourteen-year-old Max Cassidy is an accompUshed escape artist - as was his father, presumed to have been murdered (by Max's mother?) two years before. Max's theatrical performances pale, however, in comparison to the danger of investigating Dad's disappearance. Max's skills in stealth and espionage, in addition to the story's intrigues and shadowy villains, set the stage for an action-packed sequel, BNT

Agell, Charlotte The Accidental Adventures of India McAllister

152 pp. Holt/ Ottaviano ISBN 978-0-8050-8902-8 $16.99

(4) Fourth grader India, adopted from China, lives in Maine with her artist mother and their dog Tofu; her dad recently moved out to live with another man. Now India's friend Colby might like her enemy, Amanda. It's a lot for one story to bear, but the tale is cheerful and breezy, as relationships get sorted out and some mysteries are solved, CJ

Alexander, R. C. Unfamiliar Magic

357 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-85854-3 $17.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95854-0 $20.99

(4) In this contemporary-set fantasy, twelve-year-old Desi is a witch, but her mother refuses to teach her any spells. Frustration leads Desi to secretly use her mother's spellbook - with unexpected results. The plot's a bit stretched, with the transfiguration of Desi's pet cat from feline to human, a budding romance, and Desi's discovery of her warlock father, but fans of domestic fantasy will remain engaged. CLS

* Almond, David The Boy Who Climbed into the Moon

119 pp. Candlewick ISBN 978-0-7636-4217-4 $15.99

(2) Illustrated by Polly Dunbar. Paul takes the tift up to the twenty-ninth floor of his apartment building because he wants to touch the sky. This journey catapults him into an adventure during which he meets an odd cast of characters who teach him about risk-taking and exploring strange ideas. Paul's story, beautifully illustrated in full color, reveals a new dimension to Almond's particular brand of magic realism. Review 5/10. SE

* Anderson, M. T. The Clue of the Linoleum Lederhosen

251 pp. Simon/Beach Lane ISBN 978-1-4424-0697-1 $17.99

New ed. (2006, Harcourt). Review 5/06.

* Anderson, M. T. Whales on Stilts!

199 pp. Simon/Beach Lane isbn 978-1-4424-0695-7 $17.99

New ed. (2005, Harcourt). Review 3/05.

(2) Illustrated by Kurt Cyrus. Pals in Peril Tale series. In Stilts, a stilt-walking army of whales is about to take over the world. Lederhosen finds Katie, Jasper, and Lily involved in a mystery at the Moose Tongue Lodge and Resort. These volumes, featuring new cover art, have been repackaged as the Pals in Peril Tale series. ERG

Anderson, M. T. The Suburb Beyond the Stars

225 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-13882-6 $17.99

(3) Gregory and Brian (The Game of Sunken Places) become involved in a dispute between two tribes of eUin creatures. Their mission takes them to a creepy suburb in Vermont, where people are being swaUowed into the walls of their houses and the fate of the world is at stake. Like a good horror flick, the story is both disgusting and entertaining. CP

Anderson, R. J. Wayfarer

296 pp. HarperTeen ISBN 978-0-06-155477-3 $16.99

(3) In this companion to Spell Hunter, the dying queen entrusts Linden with the task of saving the magical fairy folk. Pint-sized Linden stows away with Timothy, a human missionary's son; the story steps into steadUy darker, more dangerous, and more compelling territory as the pair flee London for Wales. This suspenseful read is weU pitched for tween or younger teen readers, LCF

Angleberger, Tom The Strange Case of Origami Yoda

154 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8425-7 $12.95

(3) Uncertain whether or not classmate Dwight's advicedispensing finger puppet is real, sixth grader Tommy gathers first-hand accounts of how Origami Yoda helped other kids. It's doubtful that oddball Dwight could be behind so many social triumphs, but Tommy buUds an amusing case, accompanied by doodle-like Ulustrations, for Origami Yoda's wisdom and lets readers decide for themselves. SH

* Avi Crispin: The End of Time

225 pp. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

ISBN 978-0-06-174080-0 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-174082-4 $17.89

(2) With their mentor dead, Crispin and Troth make their way to Iceland, reportedly free from strife. Along the way, Troth finds her home in a convent while Crispin joins a family of (purportedly) traveling musicians. It's another rousing page-turner, a brisk, suspenseful narrative with effortlessly interwoven details of medieval life and provocative questions of ethics and morality. Review 7/10. JH

Baker, E. D. The Wide-Awake Princess

262 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-487-0 $16.99

(3) When Princess Gwendolyn pricks her finger on a spindle, she and everyone else in the castle fall asleep, fulfilling the curse from her christening. Her sister Annie, who is impervious to magic, sets off to find a prince to break the spell. Likable, smart, and determined Annie meets many remarkable characters, most of whom are not what they seem, on her eventful fairy-tale journey. AMM

Bancks, Tristan Mac Slater Hunts the Cool

276 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-8574-7 $15.99

(3) Geeky Mac Slater faces off against popular-girl Cat DeVrees in a "coolhunters" competition. Each contestant video-blogs for five days about what's cool. Quirky, independent Mac, along with his nerdy friend Paul and Mac's humorously eccentric parents, ultimately outshines shaUow Cat in this well-written, inventive underdog story set in Austratia. MLJ

Banerjee, Anjali Seaglass Summer

169 pp. Random/Lamb ISBN 978-0-385-73567-4 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90555-8 $18.99

(3) A precocious eleven-year-old with an ambition to help sick animals, Poppy Ray gets a chance for some hands-on experience when she visits her uncle, a veterinarian and the owner of the Furry Friends Animal Clinic. With the help of her new friend Hawk, Poppy discovers that working with animals means dealing with everything from persnickety owners to life-threatening emergencies. A choice read for animal-lovers, CAL

Banks, Sara Harrell The Everlasting Now

159 pp. Peachtree ISBN 978-1-56145-525-6 $15.95

(4) Railroad-loving James "Brother" Sayres Uves with his mother in the boardinghouse they run in 1937 Alabama. When the cook's nephew, Champion Luckey, arrives, Brother slowly grasps the ugly power of prejudice - and the substance of friendship. Though some of the historical detaUs and lessons-learned moralizing interrupt the narrative flow, the story does a good job of depicting its setting, NLH

Baratz-Logsted, Lauren Marcia's Madness

119 pp. Houghton/Sandpiper ISBN 978-0-547-33401-1 $15.00

PE ISBN 978-0-547-32864-5 $4.99

(5) Illustrated by Lisa K. Weber. Sisters Eight series. WhUe the Huit sisters await the return of their parents, it's Marcia's turn to gain her power: super vision. She's also staging a coup against eldest Annie. A pesky neighbor compticates matters by reporting the unsupervised siblings to Family Services. SimUar in tone to the eartier titles in the series, this installment doesn't advance the predictable plot. SH

Barrett, Tracy The Case That Time Forgot

158 pp. Holt ISBN 978-0-8050-8046-9 $15.99

(4) Sherlock Files series. In their third outing, Xena and Xander, the great-great-great-grandchUdren of Sherlock Holmes, tackle another one of their ancestor's unsolved cases. This time they're in hot pursuit of a missing Egyptian amulet. A Da Vinci Code-esque search leads them to London landmarks including Cleopatra's Needle and Big Ben. The mystery itself isn't particularly suspenseful, but the scavenger hunt around London is mildly diverting. TDA

Barwin, Steven Rock Dogs

103 pp. Lorimer ISBN 978-1-55277-028-3 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55277-027-6 $8.95

Kew, Trevor Trading Goals

140 pp. Lorimer ISBN 978-1-55277-425-0 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55277-424-3 $8.95

Swan, Bill Man-to-Man

143 pp. Lorimer ISBN 978-1-55277-443-4 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55277-442-7 $8.95

(4) Sports Stories series. Published fall 2009. Each fastpaced book uses a specific sport to center its protagonist. In Dogs, Noah battles a rock-climbing rival and preoccupied dad. In Man, Michael must overcome his smaU size to contribute to the lacrosse team. In Goals, Vicky tackles the challenges of a new school and soccer team. WhUe the stories are formulaic, the accessible texts are sparked by engaging characters. Glos, CHS

Basye, Dale E. Blimpo: The Third Circle of Heck

450 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-85676-1 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95676-8 $19.99

(3) Illustrated by Bob Dob. MUton Fauster attempts to rescue his sister, Mario, from her "internship" as Satan's receptionist and save his best friend, Virgil, from BUmpo, the circle of Heck (an underworld reform school) reserved for overweight kids. This third humorous - and sometimes unabashedly corny - send-up of purgatory is fat with witty puns, wordplay, and clever pop-culture references; familiarity with the earlier titles makes this installment more satisfying. CLS

* Bateson, Catherine Magenta McPhee

171 pp. Holiday ISBN 978-0-8234-2253-1 $16.95

(2) Twelve-year-old Magenta secretly signs up her unemployed dad for some online dating. When a single mom expresses interest, Magenta uses her creative writing skills to compose fake e-mail responses. Bateson excels at depicting preadolescent girls and their relationships with the adults in their lives, and readers will appreciate the humor and truth in her latest novel. Review 5/10. JMB

* Bauer, Marion Dane Shelter from the Wind

108 pp. Cavendish ISBN 978-0-7614-5687-2 $16.99

(2) Reissue (1976, Seabury). Jealous of her pregnant stepmother, twelve-year-old Stacy runs away, blindly rushing off into the hot, dusty Oklahoma panhandle country. There she's found by two dogs who lead her to their owner, tough Old Ella. Bauer provides solid, serviceable characters and reliable dramatic situations. It's a good story, ably constructed and skillfully told. Review 8/76.

Beaty, Andrea Attack of the Fluffy Bunnies

186 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8416-5 $12.95

(3) Illustrated by Dan Santat. Fluffy bunnies might not sound scary, but what about giant, hypnotizing, sugarcrazed, bunnies from outer-space? In this B-movie homage, the bunnies are coming to attack twins Kevin and Jules's summer camp. Told in a spoofy tone with a smattering of comic-style illustrations, this goofy tale may eUcit as many eye-rolls as laughs, but it's sure to be fun for classic sci-fi fans. EJM

Behrens, Andy The Fast and the Furriest

250 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-85922-9 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95922-6 $18.99

(3) Twelve-year-old Kevin Pugh's life changes dramatically when his couch-potato dog watches a dog-agility competition on television and discovers a talent of his own. Kevin's development from anti-sports-kid to competitor and his relationship with his sports-loving family are clearly described in this humorous tale. It's an entertaining read that will appeal to dog lovers and sports fans alike, BLM

Beil, Michael D. The Red Blazer Girls: The Vanishing Violin

328 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-86103-1 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-96103-8 $19.99

(3) The Upper East Side's "crime-fighting tweens" from St. Veronica's School are back. This time, Sophie and her pals - a.k.a. the Red Blazer Girls - are on the hunt for a stolen violin and a neatnik who's been sneaking into their school to tidy it up. Loads of puzzles wiU keep mystery fans turning pages, TDA

* Bell, Hilari Player's Ruse

377 pp. HarperTeen ISBN 978-0-06-082509-6 $17.99

(2) Knight and Rogue series. Errant knight Michael and his squire, former rogue Fisk, unwittingly embark on their third adventure when Michael's cousin Rosamund arrives on their doorstep. Determined to marry her true love, a traveling player named Rudy, she begs Fisk and Michael's help in going against her noble guardian's wishes. This breezy, good-humored novel is an engaging light read that successfully mixes comedy and suspense. Review 1/10. DFB

Bell, Ted The Time Pirate: A Nick Mclver Time Adventure

454 pp. St. Martin's/Griffin ISBN 978-0-312-57810-7 $17.99

(3) Nick eludes the Nazis after his biplane sinks in the English Channel. Using his time machine to travel back almost two hundred years, he rescues his sister from spiteful pirate Billy Blood; in doing so, he becomes a traitor in the past in order to help England in the future. A swashbuckling, adrenaline-fueled sequel to Nick of Time, NLH

Benz, Derek, and J. S. Lewis The Brimstone Key

369 pp. Little ISBN 978-0-316-04522-3 $15.99

(4) Grey Griffins: Clockwork Chronicles series. The monster-hunting kids from the Grey Griffins books (The Revenge of the Shadow King; The Rise of the Black Wolf; The Fall of the Templar) battle the Clockwork King. The race to stop him barely begins in this first series entry. Steampunk elements provide a fresh take on a famitiar story line, but this serieswithin-a-series struggles to stand on its own. LB

Berkeley, Jon The Hidden Boy

262 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen ISBN 978-0-06-168758-7 $16.99

(4) Young Theo disappears on his family vacation to Bell Hoot. Only his sister Bea can communicate with him - and only via a mysterious glass jar. Bea must find Theo before he's tracked down by the Ledbetters, who want him for their own reasons. Fans of tight fantasy who are willing to suspend their disbetief may find themselves invested in Bea's efforts. SF

Birney, Betty G. Summer According to Humphrey

167 pp. Putnam ISBN 978-0-399-24732-3 $14.99

(4) School is out for the summer, and Humphrey, the class hamster, is about to embark on a new adventure. Accompanied by Og the frog, Humphrey heads to summer camp and is soon involved in the campers' friendships, contests, and decisions about releasing animals into the wild. While some plot twists are a bit far-fetched, this sixth installment in the series will entertain Humphrey's fans, LAL

Block, Francesca Lia House of Dolls

61 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-113094-6 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Barbara McClintock. Madison Blackberry, a lonely rich girl, envies the dolls in her dollhouse; untike the members of Madison's own family, the doUs appear to enjoy one another's company. McClintock's detaUed blackand-white tine drawings show the lovely, very ative-looking doUs in their ornate surroundings. The slim, illustrated volume is a bit short for middle graders; younger readers may have trouble with the description-heavy text. Review 7/10. JMB

Bolger, Kevin Zombiekins

208 pp. Penguin/ Razorbill isbn 978-1-59514-177-4 $10.99

(4) Illustrated by Aaron Blecha. From the creator of Sir Fartsalot comes this goofy tale of a teddy /bunny/zombiedoll come to life. Stanley first buys the thing at a creepy yard sale, then he must save his classmates from the rampaging dolly Relying heavily on the current popularity of all-things-zombie, Bolger creates an unsurprising but entertaining story that will amuse readers looking for something only stightly scary, EJM

Bossley, Michele Martin Bear Market

110 pp. Orca LE ISBN 978-1-55469-221-7 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55469-220-0 $9.95

(4) Orca Currents series. Robyn's volunteer work at the local zoo leads her, with cousins Nick and Trevor, to investigate grizzly bear poaching. Discovering that bears are being killed for their gall bladders, the friends leap to solve the mystery. The story's fast pace and ethical issues may grab reluctant readers, despite the underdeveloped characters and sketchy plot. LAL

Bowe, Julie My Best Frenemy

234 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3501-9 $16.99

(4) Friends for Keeps series. The changing nature of elementary school friendships is explored via the girls in Ida May's fourth-grade class. After Jenna brings a truth or dare game into school, Ida May ends up on the outs with the gang. The secondary characters aren't particularly memorable, but readers may relate to Ida May's ptight. SH

Boylan, Jennifer Finney Falcon Quinn and the Black Mirror

486 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen ISBN 978-0-06-172832-7 $16.99

(3) One morning, Falcon Quinn's school bus unexpectedly whisks him off to the Academy for Monsters, where zombies, Frankenstein monsters, were-creatures, and other "abominations" are taught to suppress their urges and blend in. Even if he wanted to conform, sensitive Falcon's true nature is a mystery. Boylan's tightly humorous, crearure-fiUed romp rarely loses momentum, ABZ

Bradford, Chris Young Samurai: The Way of the Sword

422 pp. Hyperion ISBN 978-1-4231-2025-4 $16.99

(3) In his second story, Jack, a shipwrecked EngUsh boy, remains in Japan at Samurai Masamoto's school learning to protect his father's guidebook of the world's oceans. In addition to tackling his classmates' anti-foreigner sentiment, Jack faces imminent danger as a ninja continues to hunt him. Blending historical elements with sword-clashing adventure, the exciting story effectively sets up the next installment. Glos, LMM

Brandeis, Gayle My Life with the Lincolns

248 pp. Holt ISBN 978-0-8050-9013-0 $16.99

(3) In 1966 Illinois, twelve-year-old Mina Edelman beUeves her family (proprietors of Honest ABE's furniture store) to be the Lincolns reincarnated. Her father's civil rights involvement divides the family, compticating Mina's goal to keep her father from being assassinated. Mina is a likable narrator whose humor leavens the serious events; tidbits about Abe Lincoln's life provide interesting historical parallels between the two periods, CLS

Brennan, Herbie The Shadow Project

357 pp. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

ISBN 978-0-06-175642-9 $16.99

(4) Danny stumbles upon a secret government endeavor using astral projection as a means of spying. He finds he is a natural talent and is roped into helping "the Project." The story throws together elements of spy thriller with retigious mysticism and the occult. The protagonist's development follows expected patterns, but that does provide some normalcy to an otherwise out-of-this-world tale. AMT

Bresloff, Robert The Wee Musketeers

208 pp. Gauthier/Hungry Goat ISBN 978-0-9820812-5-9 $14.95

(5) Illustrated by Daniel Ziembo. In 1961, Grandpa Max introduces Bobby and his friends to Dumas's classic. Grandpa's enchanted edition transports the kids into the story; there they meet the "real" musketeers and try desperately to keep the original tale intact. The book feels dated and presupposes a famitiarity with the classic that few modern readers of this age group are likely to have. SH

Brothen-Jones, Christine The Owl Keeper

310 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73814-9 $17.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90710-1 $20.99

(5) Illustrated by Maggie Kneen. In a cruel totaUtarian society, Maxwell Unger 's only happiness is in secretly caring for a magic owl. When he and a strange girl uncover a horrifying plot to destroy what little is left of the natural world, they must run for their lives. This fantasy /science fiction amalgam suffers from an overly simplistic dichotomy pitting science/evil against magic/good, BNT

Buckley, Michael The Sisters Grimm: Book 8: The Inside Story

266 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8430-1 $15.95

(4) Illustrated by Peter Ferguson. Hot on the heels of Mirror (the criminal mastermind who kidnapped their brother), Sabrina and Daphne soon discover that they're trapped in the Book of Everafter, cast as characters in The Wizard of Oz and other "histories." The story's pacing isn't always even, but the Grimm sisters' adventures - and revisions of one tale after another - will entertain fractured-fairy-tale fans, TDA

Burgis, Stephanie The Unladylike Adventures of Kat Stephenson: A Most Improper Magick

297 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-9447-3 $16.99

(3) To save the family from financial ruin, one of Kat's sisters contemplates a loveless marriage while the other casts speUs to summon a beau for herself. Tomboy Kat comes up with her own plans for her sisters' suitors after discovering that her late mother's mirror admits her to a society of magic Guardians. A spunky heroine, lots of magic, and Regency romance conventions give this story plenty of zest, ALB

Byng, Georgia Molly Moon & the Morphing Mystery

409 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-166160-0 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-166161-7 $17.89

(3) Molly Moon, eleven-year-old hypnotist and time traveler, has just learned how to morph into other beings. In search of the book that will help her and her twin, Micky, change back into humans, Molly must also stop four evil hypnotist morphers before they take over the world. Byng's fifth book about Molly again features her trademark energy and humor, SJW

* Cabot, Meg Glitter Girls and the Great Fake Out

199 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-04047-1 $15.99

(2) Allie Finkle's Rules for Girls series. Allie is thrilled to attend a twirling competition with her best friends - until she finds out that "frenemy" Brittany is having a glamorous birthday party the same day. Cabot provides a gentle way to learn that you should "always be true to your friends, just as you are to yourself" in this typically funny and ageappropriate series entry. Review 5/10. RLS

Calkhoven, Laurie Daniel at the Siege of Boston 1776

197 pp. Dutton ISBN 978-0-525-42144-3 $16.99

(3) Boys of Wartime series. WhUe his father fights for the Patriots, Daniel and his mother care for the British officers lodging in his family's tavern. Daniel's loyalties are with his father, and he must be braver than the typical twelve-yearold to protect his family and survive alongside British soldiers and Loyalists. Mystery, espionage, and treachery fuel this tale about the onset of the American Revolution. Reading list, timeline. Glos, JSK

Cannon, A. E. The Chihuahua Chase

124 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-31259-6 $15.99

(4) Illustrated by Julie Olson. Dog-lover Addie May finds herself helping the class bully find his lost (stolen?) Chihuahua. She uncovers the root of the mysterious disappearances of dozens of Chihuahuas and learns about loneliness. Though Addie May is at times overly precocious and some plot elements are too easily resolved, the well-paced mystery, accompanied by nicely shaded black-and-white illustrations, will hold readers' attention, LAL

Carman, Patrick Trackers

214 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-16500-6 $14.99

(4) Four tech junkies find themselves in a dangerous catand-mouse game against a duo of mysterious hackers. The novel includes directions to a website where readers can view supplementary videos and solve puzzles alongside the characters; appendices provide scripts for readers without Internet access. Although it's an interesting concept, shallow characterizations detract from the story. AMT

Catanese, P. W. Dragon Games

374 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-7521-2 $16.99

(3) Books of Umber series. In this engrossing sequel to Happenstance Found, the main character - he of the strange green eyes, magical powers, no memory, and no need for sleep - goes on a voyage with his mercurial guardian, Lord Umber. Along the way, Hap encounters both mysterious gifts and gruesome monsters. More tantalizing clues about Hap's identity are dropped throughout the tale. TB

Cervantes, Jennifer Tortilla Sun

224 pp. Chronicle ISBN 978-0-8118-7015-3 $16.99

(4) In a familiar tale of family heritage, twelve-year-old Izzy spends the summer with her grandmother in a remote New Mexican village while her mother completes a research project. Izzy learns to cook, makes friends, and finds answers to her questions about the life and death of the father she never knew. Some characters veer toward stereotype, but the mysticism-laced story has appeal. Glos, CLS

Chapman, Fern Schumer Is It Night or Day?

207 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-17744-7 $17.99

(4) In 1938, Edith's parents send her to Chicago with other German Jewish children. Her aunt treats her like a servant, and the immigration office registers her as an enemy alien. Her parents' concentration camp deaths push Edith to make a life for herself in America. Though somewhat didactic, Edith's story offers insight into America's One Thousand Children rescue project, NLH

Chatterton, Martin The Brain Full of Holes

250 pp. Peachtree ISBN 978-1-56145-527-0 $16.95

(3) Normal teen Sheldon and his super-genius stepbrother Theo (a.k.a. "The Brain") find themselves investigating a mystery that begins with the disappearance of holes in Swiss cheese and ends in a showdown with a two-headed butler from another dimension. This parody of old-style detective mysteries is full of entertaining absurdities and clever wordplay, DE

Cheshire, Simon The Treasure of Dead Man's Lane and Other Case Files

195 pp. Roaring Brook ISBN 978-1-59643-475-2 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by R. W. Alley Saxby Smart Private Detective series. Young detective Saxby Smart is back with three more enticing mysteries involving a missing comic book, a mysterious map, and a possible prowler. Budding detectives wiU enjoy this interactive page-turner as they make their own deductions based on Saxby's pointed questions. Existing fans of the series and new readers alike will appreciate Saxby's sharp-mindedness and clever sleuthing, ACB

Chick, Bryan The Secret Zoo

295 pp. Greenwillow ISBN 978-0-06-198750-2 $16.99

(4) Determined to find his missing sister, Noah and his two best friends follow a string of clues to the city zoo. The mystery progresses when the trio, aided by clever animals, discovers secret passages leading to a magical world. While the core mystery is fragmented and takes a backseat to the developing fantasy, individual scenes are exciting and suspenseful. R. L. SMITH

Choyce, Lesley Reckless

105 pp. Orca LE ISBN 978-1-55469-224-8 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55469-223-1 $9.95

(5) Orca Currents series. A dirt-bike accident brings Josh into contact with a Vietnam veteran named Jonathan who has lived as a hermit in the woods for over forty years. Their friendship helps formerly selfish Josh figure out his priorities. The characters aren't particularly sympathetic or compelling, and Josh's redemption is only somewhat convincing. CJ

Christopher, Matt Baseball Flyhawk

109 pp. Norwood LE ISBN 978-1-59953-354-4 $25.27

New ed. (1963, Little).

Christopher, Matt Lacrosse Face-Off

116 pp. Norwood LE isbn 978-1-59953-355-1 $25.57

Text by Stephanie Peters. New ed. (2006, Little).

Christopher, Matt Power Pitcher

97 pp. Norwood LE isbn 978-1-59953-356-8 $25.27

New ed. (1956, Little).

Christopher, Matt Shoot for the Hoop

129 pp. Norwood LE ISBN 978-1-59953-357-5 $25.27

New ed. (1963, Little).

Christopher, Matt The Team That Couldn't Lose

112 pp. Norwood LE ISBN 978-1-59953-358-2 $25.27

New ed. (1967, Little).

Christopher, Matt Tough to Tackle

116 pp. Norwood LE ISBN 978-1-59953-359-9 $25.27

New ed. (1971, Little).

(4) New Matt Christopher Sports Library series. Overcoming obstacles, dealing with family issues, and learning about teamwork are common themes in these popular, formulaic sports-centered titles. Characters include too-smaU-forquarterback Boots (Tackle), new-to-the-basebaU-team Chico (Flyhawk), and embarrassed-about-his-overweight-lacrosseplaying brother Garry (Face-Off). These editions are sturdily bound and feature large type. ERG

* Clements, Andrew We the Children

146 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-3886-6 $14.99

(2) Illustrated by Adam Stower. Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School series. Clements's coastal New England-set mystery series starts with the school custodian pressing a mysterious coin on sixth grader Ben, then dying. This leads Ben to investigate the plan to tear down his old school. Very much a series entry, the book ends before any of the clues have been followed. It's tight stuff, but there's a lot of child appeal. Review 5/10. SDL

Cohagan, Carolyn The Lost Children

313 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-8616-4 $16.99

(4) Twelve-year-old Josephine follows a mute boy into another world - one ruled by a child-sized tyrant and threatened by two voracious beasts who feed off children's life essence. Josephine, together with orphans Ida and Fargus, must defeat the Master and save the kids. The book's adventure elements are effective, but seasoned sci-fi/ fantasy readers may be disappointed by some plot contrivances. LCF

Cole, Henry A Nest for Celeste: A Story About Art, Inspiration, and the Meaning of Home

342 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen ISBN 978-0-06-170410-9 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-170411-6 $17.89

(3) After being kicked out of her home then chased by the plantation cat, mouse Celeste runs across the path of John Audubon's assistant Joseph Mason. When Mason rescues Celeste, the two form a friendship, and Celeste discovers a world she never realized was right beyond her mouse hole. Cole's combination of accessible text and detailed illustrations works well to tell the story, PIH

Colin, Beatrice, and Sara Pinto My Invisible Sister

119 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-488-7 $15.99

(4) Ten-year-old Frank is tired of always having to move, just because his sister is invisible. When his family relocates to 44 Morningvale Circle and Frank starts making friends, he hatches a scheme to tame his sis's unpleasant 'rude. While the one-note joke isn't sustained all the way through, the humorous premise allows for entertaining moments, ERG

* Connor, Leslie Crunch

330 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen ISBN 978-0-06-169229-1 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-169233-8 $17.89

(2) When a severe fuel shortage strands their parents, the five Marriss children hold down the fort - and the family's bike business. With fewer cars on the highway, the nowgrowing shop is about to overrun the kids' abilities. Connor's narrative ambles pleasantly along; a feel-good denouement brings the community together, with neighbors willing to learn how to help themselves and others. Review 7/10. BC

Cook, Kacy Nuts

156 pp. Cavendish ISBN 978-0-7614-5652-0 $16.99

(4) When Nell rescues two orphaned squirrel pups, she quickly learns their care might be more than any inexperienced preteen can handle. With the support of her family she attempts to raise them, but discovers they are reaUy meant to be wild, and not pets. The message is often heavyhanded, but interesting details about wildlife rehabiUtation keep the story moving, LAL

Cooper, James Fenimore The Last of the Mohicans

48 pp. Barron's ISBN 978-0-7641-6299-2 $15.99

PE ISBN 978-0-7641-4447-9 $8.99

Retold by Tom Rattiff. Ulustrated by Li Sidong.

Shakespeare, William The Merchant of Venice

48 pp. Barron's ISBN 978-0-7641-6298-5 $15.99

PE ISBN 978-0-7641-4446-2 $8.99

Retold by Fiona Macdonald. Ulustrated by Penko Gelev.

(5) Graphic Classics series. These overly explanatory adaptations are inexplicably written in present-tense and include distracting footnotes clarifying plot points or vocabulary ("thou wilt: you will"). Unremarkable comic-format illustrations float distractingly atop white space. The biographies and supplementary historical material appended to each volume are mildly useful; Mohicans includes websites. Timeline. Ind. ERG

Correa, Shan Gaff

212 pp. Peachtree ISBN 978-1-56145-526-3 $15.95

(4) Paul's family's farm in the verdant Hawanan hills seems less idyltic when he realizes what happens to the gamefighting roosters his father raises. After watching a brutal fight, Paul pledges to save the animals while preserving his family's livelihood. Self-conscious dialogue and a tidy ending aside, the novel casts light on an issue important to animal-rights activists. NCP

Corriveau, Art How I, Nicky Flynn, Finally Get a Life (and a Dog)

256 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8298-7 $16.95

(4) Following his parents' divorce, Nicky and his mother attempt to start over in a new town with the aid of a retired seeing-eye dog named Reggie. Before running away to find his father, Nicky complicates his life further by pretending to be Reggie's new blind master. Some suspension of disbelief is required, but Nicky's emotions ring true, DE

* Cottrell Boyce, Frank Cosmic

313 pp. HarperCollins/ Waiden Pond

ISBN 978-0-06-183683-1 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-183686-2 $17.89

(2) Twelve-year-old Liam, tall for his age, is often mistaken for an adult, a fact that he uses when he finds himself in a group of children on the first manned spacecraft since Apollo 17. When things go wrong, some quick thinking by the kids averts a disaster. Likable characters, gentle humor, and the far-fetched adventure will hold readers' attention. Review 3/10. JH

Coville, Bruce The Last Hunt

618 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-12807-0 $18.99

(4) Unicorn Chronicles series. Cara and her companions try to save Luster from the vengeful Beloved and her mighty Hunters. The story's classic epic fantasy structure harks back to past works in the genre, giving it an oldfashioned (sometimes derivative or clichéd) feel. Readers may have trouble following the multiple main characters' story lines. TB

Coy, John Eyes on the Goal

164 pp. Feiwel ISBN 978-0-312-37330-6 $16.99

(4) Soon-to-be-sixth-grader Jackson (Top of the Order) is psyched to go to soccer camp with his three best friends. But the novice player starts to sour on the sport when he finds himself struggling during practices. Some subplots (Jackson's mother has a boyfriend; a friend's father is getting deployed to Afghanistan) aren't fully developed, but the ins and outs of friendship are realistically depicted. TDA

Craddock, Erik Superhero Stampede

97 pp. Random LE ISBN 978-0-375-95877-9 $12.99

PE ISBN 978-0-375-85877-2 $5.99

(4) Stone Rabbit series. A comic book combined with a virtual-reality machine transforms Stone Rabbit and his friends into superheroes. The gang then faces off against a group of viliains. Eye-catching (if frantic) illustrations, frenetic humor, cartoon violence - and a positive message about friendship combine in this fourth entry in the comical graphic novel series. Glos, BLM

Cuate, Melodie A. Journey to La Salle's Settlement

167 pp. Texas Tech ISBN 978-0-89672-704-5 $17.95

(5) Mr. Barrington's Mysterious Trunk series. In the fifth installment of this series about Texas history, Nick, Hannah, and Jackie are spirited by a magic trunk to a seventeenth-century French settlement founded by La Salle. Although the topic may be interesting to teachers, the flat characters do little to make the period come ative for kids. A map and biographies of historical figures are included. Timeline. LCF

* Cushman, Karen Alchemy and Meggy Swann

167 pp. Clarion ISBN 978-0-547-23184-6 $16.00

(2) Thirteen-year-old Meggy, who walks with the help of sticks, moves to London. Her alchemist father rejects then ignores her, leaving Meggy to fend for herseU. Cushman creates a prickly, resourceful, and ultimately triumphant young woman. She incorporates specific details of daily life in Elizabethan England unobtrusively into the story; little funny touches help balance out the grimly realistic ones. Review 5/10. SDL

Cussler, Clive The Adventures of Hotsy Totsy

162 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25434-5 $14.99

(4) After their sky-borne activities in The Adventures of Vin Fiz, twins Lacey and Casey are now at sea. Aboard their magical boat, the Hotsy Totsy, and with the help of their hound dog, the twins enter a speedboat race. The characters continue to be as vanilla as they come, but their story is mildly diverting, PIH

de Guzman, Michael Henrietta Hornbuckle's Circus of Life

152 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-33513-7 $16.99

(3) Twelve-year-old Henrietta loves being a clown like her five-foot-nine-inch mother and tittle-person father; she never wants to leave the circus, her extended family. Then a tragic turn of events forces her - and everyone else - to make choices. Filled with intriguing detaUs about travelingcircus life, this is a colorful look at an unconventional family, starring the plucky and appealing Henrietta. CJ

DeLaCroix, Alice The Best Horse Ever

74 pp. Holiday ISBN 978-0-8234-2254-8 $15.95

(4) Illustrated by Ronald Himler. For nine-year-old Abby, summer is aU about taking care of her very first, very own horse. She isn't entirely prepared for the amount of work and responsibitity involved, nor for the puzzling and disappointing reaction her best friend has when she meets the animal. Though the dialogue doesn't always ring true, the story tine is convincing. Sketchlike illustrations entiven the tale. NCP

Delaney, Joseph A Coven of Witches

224 pp. Greenwillow ISBN 978-0-06-196038-3 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-196039-0 $17.89

(3) Illustrated by Tim Foley and Patrick Arrasmith. Last Apprentice series. The stories of four witches are told in this haunting volume. John Gregory describes his "dealings" with Meg Skelton and her dangerous sister; wicked Dirty Dora Deane relates her imprisonment and death; Alice Deane talks about her evil witch aunt; and spook's apprentice Tom Ward stands up to a banshee. Dark chapteropening illustrations support the eerie tales. ERG

Denton, Shannon Eric, Adapter The Amusement Park Mystery

32 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-718-4 $28.50

Illustrated by Mike Dubisch.

Denton, Shannon Eric, Adapter The Castle Mystery

32 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-720-7 $28.50

Illustrated by Mike Dubisch.

Limke, Jeff, Adapter The Haunted Cabin Mystery

32 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-717-7 $28.50

Illustrated by Mark Bloodworth.

Long, Christoper E., Adapter Tree House Mystery

32 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-716-0 $28.50

Illustrated by Mark Bloodworth.

Worley, Rob M., Adapter The Pizza Mystery

32 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-719-1 $28.50

Illustrated by Mike Dubisch.

Worley, Rob M., Adapter Snowbound Mystery

32 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-715-3 $28.50

Illustrated by Mike Dubisch.

(5) Graphic Planet: Gertrude Chandler Warner's Boxcar Children series. The four Alden children find secret codes, a hidden room, missing heirlooms, and more in these graphic novels based on Warner's mysteries. The bare-bones stories lack tension and the characterizations are weak, but libraries with a high demand for benign graphic novels may find use for these. Generic cartoon-panel illustrations show the siblings in action. MVK

Derby, Sally Kyle's Island

191 pp. Charlesbridge ISBN 978-1-58089-316-9 $16.95

(4) Kyle's mother is forced to sell their lake house after his grandmother dies and his father leaves. During his family's final trip to the lake, Kyle's friendship with a taciturn elderly neighbor helps him get over his anger and develop an appreciation for life's uncertainties. Despite a narrative voice that doesn't always ring true, this gentle coming-of-age story is enjoyable. JSK

Deutsch, Stacia, and Rhody Cohon Hot Pursuit: Murder in Mississippi

40 pp. Kar-Ben LE ISBN 978-0-7613-3955-7 $17.95

PE ISBN 978-0-7613-3956-4 $7.95

(4) Illustrated by Craig Orback. This slim volume memorializes the three civil rights workers who were murdered in the South in 1964. The plot imagines the emotions experienced by the young men on their last day ative while being pursued by the local potice; an epilogue reveals the real-life outcome. Content doesn't always pair well with the colorful, action-flick-type illustrations. LBC

De Villers, Julia, and Jennifer Roy Take Two

227 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-7533-5 $16.99

(3) After getting in trouble for swapping identities in Trading Faces, identical twins Emma and Payton continue to shake up life at their middle school. Now taking care of lively eight-year-old twin boys, the sisters also cope with mean girls, cute guys, and school pressures while getting a dose of their own medicine from their charges. Embarrassing episodes abound in this lighthearted tale. AMM

Dionne, Erin The Total Tragedy of a Girl Named Hamlet

294 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3298-8 $16.99

(3) As the daughter of quirky Shakespeare scholars, Hamlet Kennedy aheady has to deal with more embarrassment than the average eighth grader, her name being the least of her concerns. When her genius seven-year-old sister Dezzie - short for Desdemona - joins her class, Hamlet's life becomes even more like a tragicomedy. Readers will enjoy this humorous story and its sympathetic heroine. ACB

d'Lacey, Chris Dark Fire

567 pp. Scholastic/Orchard ISBN 978-0-545-10272-8 $17.99

(4) Polar bears, witches, dragons, ravens, unicorns, a famous writer, and Lucy Pennykettle's family return in this fifth Last Dragon installment. Together and apart, they continue their battle against the malevolent, power-hungry "shadow of beings," Ix. The lengthy exposition (including retelling of previous books) and minimal character development wiU deter new readers, but series fans will enjoy the action, resurrected characters, and cliff-hanger ending, BNT

Dowell, Frances O'Roark Falling In

245 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-5032-5 $16.99

(4) Isabelle Bean falls down a hole in the school nurse's office and into another world. There she discovers a people who are afraid of a witch - and who hold secrets about her family. The story's frequent interruptions by an unidentified (until the end) narrator make the book's flow uneven. However, Isabelle is full of imaginative ideas as she tries to investigate her identity. CR

* Draper, Sharon M. Out of My Mind

295 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-7170-2 $16.99

(2) Narrator Melody is a fifth grader with cerebral palsy. She's brilliant, but few people realize just how brilliant until she receives "Elvira," her Medi-Talker computer. Draper paints the picture of a real girl - with tantrums and attitude, problems with mean girls and oafish adults. This is an eye-opening book with an unforgettable protagonist and a rich cast of fully realized, complicated characters. Review 3/10. R. SMITH

Dunagan, Ted M. Secret of the Satilfa

207 pp. NewSouth/Junebug ISBN 978-1-58838-249-8 $21.95

(5) In 1948 Alabama, Ted, who's white, and Poudlum, who's black, go fishing; they don't expect to become temporary prisoners of bank robbers. When the thieves are captured but the money remains at large, the boys begin a search for the missing loot. This down-home adventure paints a picture of its setting but is marred by clumsy writing (including Poudlum's awkwardly rendered dialect). JSK

Duncan, Lois Movie for Dogs

198 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-10854-6 $16.99

(3) Siblings Andi and Bruce are named finalists in the Dogs in Action video contest. They go to Hollywood to make their dog, Red, a star, but old enemy Jerry stands in the way. This series entry maintains the humor of previous books (Hotel for Dogs, News for Dogs) while also introducing some kooky new characters (e.g. Gabby the talking canine). RLS

Dutton, Sandra Mary Mae and the Gospel Truth

134 pp. Houghton ISBN 978-0-547-24966-7 $15.00

(4) Mary Mae loves church; she also loves science. After her teacher leads the class in a fossil-hunting expedition, Mary Mae's mama intercedes and pulls her out of school. The fundamentalist Christian characters are somewhat stereotyped as poor and uneducated; nevertheless, Mary Mae's success creating a truce between faith and fossils shows plenty of spirit. BC

Ehrenhaft, Daniel That's Life, Samara Brooks

216 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73434-9 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90441-4 $18.99

(4) While investigating her DNA for a school project, middle-school gambler Samara Brooks is shocked to learn that some people think her genetic code is proof of alien life. The story, told through three alternating viewpoints, deftly packs in lots to think about in terms of God, aliens, and intelligent design. The mystery-investigation element is less successful, with an out-of-left-field ending. LCF

Eland, Lindsay Scones and Sensibility

312 pp. Egmont ISBN 978-1-60684-025-2 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-1-60684-067-2 $18.99

(3) Published fall 2009. Polly, a "twelve-year-old, nineteenth-century girl trapped in the twenty-first century," is a hopeless romantic. She's also a determined matchmaker who searches for suitors while delivering her family's homemade pastries around town. She conveniently finds the perfect matches for everyone, but soon feels the repercussions when romance doesn't play out. Polly's flowery, Jane Austen-inspired language enriches this feel-good book. SJW

Emerson, Sharon Zebrafish

120 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-9525-8 $16.99

(4) Illustrated by Renée Kurilla. Teenager Vita is trying to start a band called Zebrafish when she learns that one of her group members is undergoing chemotherapy. This leads to to a benefit concert to buy medical equipment that will help her sick friend. Though overtly message-driven (it's good to help others), this graphic novel presents an unusual topic and a likable bunch of characters. BLM

Enderle, Dotti, Adapter Mark Twain's The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn

112 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-702-3 $24.21

Illustrated by Howard McWilliam.

Enderle, Dotti, Adapter Mary Shelley's Frankenstein

112 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-705-4 $24.21

Illustrated by Eric Scott Fisher.

Fields, Jan, Adapter Charles Dickens's Great Expectations

112 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-706-1 $24.21

Illustrated by Patricia Castelao.

Fields, Jan, Adapter Daniel Defoe's The Adventures of Robinson Crusoe

112 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-703-0 $24.21

Illustrated by Eric Scott Fisher.

Mullarkey, Lisa, Adapter Howard Pyle's King Arthur and the Knights of the Round Table

112 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-707-8 $24.21

Illustrated by Howard McWilliam.

Mullarkey, Lisa, Adapter Mark Twain's The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

112 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-704-7 $24.21

Illustrated by Howard McWilliam.

(5) Calico Chapter Books: Calico Illustrated Classics series. These abridged editions retain some of the flavor of the original books while removing archaic or now offensive words and losing many of the details and vibrancy that make these works classics. With the glorified plot summaries as their introductions to literature, young readers may not want to read the originals. The black-and-white illustrations are also bland. MJS

* Erskine, Kathryn Mockingbird

235 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25264-8 $15.99

(2) Caittin's older brother Devon is killed in a school shooting, and she and her father are left to "Deal With It." But Caittin has Asperger's syndrome and has to "Deal With" emotions, which are not one of her strengths. A tidy resolution weakens what is otherwise a strong and complex character study. Review 3/10. BC

Fagan, Cary The Big Swim

128 pp. Groundwood ISBN 978-0-88899-969-6 $14.95

(3) Ethan just wants to fit in during his first summer at sleepaway camp. He successfully flies under the radar - until he befriends the new kid, Zachary, whose bad reputation precedes him and whose aloof manner wins him few other friends. The low-key story provides thoughtprovoking commentary on friendship, rumors, and ambition set against a vivid summer camp backdrop. NCP

Fagan, Deva The Magical Misadventures of Prunella Bogthistle

263 pp. Holt ISBN 978-0-8050-8743-7 $16.99

(3) Prunella aspires to be a wicked bog-witch like the rest of the Bogthistles, but she can't even muster a proper curse. Her grandmother's exasperation with Prunella drives her (and reluctant ally Barnaby) into the magic-wary Uplands, where she discovers her talent ties in helping rather than hexing. Themes of looking beyond differences and making one's own destiny deepen this playful adventure. KLB

Falcone, L. M. The Midnight Curse

208 pp. Kids Can/KCP Fiction ISBN 978-1-55453-358-9 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55453-359-6 $8.95

(4) When his great-uncle dies, a pecutiar curse is passed on to Chartier he must sleep in water every night or he'll shrivel to death. With his twin, Lacey, Chartie battles this disturbing legacy. The twins' frantic pursuit of a cure introduces kooky, creepy, and downright scary supporting characters, but the storytelling stalls with slapstick and forced thrills. BNT

Falls, Kat Dark Life

297 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-17814-3 $16.99

(3) In the aftermath of several natural disasters, humans start populating the ocean. Fifteen-year-old Ty looks forward to his own settlement, but a group of outlaws stands in his way. With the help of a Topsider, Gemma, Ty fights to protect his home and uncovers shocking truths about Dark Life. This action-packed and engaging sci-fi adventure story has wide appeal. LB

Fawcett, Katie Pickard To Come and Go like Magic

264 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-85846-8 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95846-5 $19.99

(3) Though more of a character study than a novel, this gentle story set in rural Appalachia deftly captures a twelve-year-old girl on the cusp of discovering her own potential. As Child gradually recognizes the contradictions that surround her, including the poverty and nobility of a friend and the cruelty and generosity of a teacher, she comes to a new, liberating vision of home. MLI

Fehler, Gene Never Blame the Umpire

192 pp. Zonderkidz ISBN 978-0-310-71941-0 $12.99

(4) Kate's devout Christian family is challenged when her mother is diagnosed with incurable cancer. As Kate wrestles with her feelings, she takes comfort in writing poetry. The text, including sports metaphors, can be awkward ("We blame God for the bad things, just as we blame umpires for the bad things in ball games"), but some readers may sympathize with Kate's plight. MLB

Feldman, Jody The Seventh Level

300 pp. Greenwillow ISBN 978-0-06-195105-3 $16.99

(3) Goofily clever Travis struggles over puzzles and tasks that may get him into The Legend, a secret school club. Who is actually in The Legend and whether they're initiating him or getting him in trouble are just a couple of the story's intriguing mysteries. This engaging, smart, and funny middle-school adventure is narrated in Travis's authentic-sounding voice, EJM

Fergus, Maureen Ortega

224 pp. Kids Can/KCP Fiction ISBN 978-1-55453-474-6 $16.95

(3) After special surgeries allow him to learn to talk, Ortega the gorilla is raised to function as a human. When his social, emotional, and intellectual skills are similar to that of an eleven-year-old, he is sent to public school. People's reactions to him raise moral questions about animal rights. A fast pace and excellent characterizations make for intriguing science fiction. LAL

Ferguson, Pamela Ellen Sunshine Pickleltme

233 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-86175-8 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-96175-5 $19.99

(4) Illustrated by Christian Slade. PJ Picklelime, who can talk with birds, lives in a sunny village filled with cheery international neighbors. As the tale continues, though, readers see that all is not as sweet as it appears. The drama feels a little piled on, but readers will enjoy PJ's sometimes bittersweet and slightly magical personal journey. Youngish-looking black-and-white illustrations accompany the story. EJM

Flanagan, John Erak's Ransom

373 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25205-1 $17.99

Flanagan, John The Kings of Clonmel

358 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25206-8 $17.99

(3) Ranger's Apprentice series. In Ransom, Ranger's apprentice Will makes new alties among the desert tribes of Arrida during a ransom mission. In Clonmel, graduate Ranger Will and his mentor Halt tackle a religious cult looking to depose Halt's brother. The series continues to deUver a shrewd protagonist who uses wits and woodcraft to further the exciting, adventure-filled plots. ALB

Frazier, Sundee T. The Other Half of My Heart

297 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73440-0 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90446-9 $19.99

(3) Biracial fraternal twins Minni and Keira's perceptions of race change when their African American grandmother enters them in a black preteen beauty pageant in North Carolina. Suddenly Minni's fair skin and red hair are overshadowed by her sister's "cinnamon-brown" complexion and dark curly hair. Well-developed characters drive this story filled with pathos and Southern-tinged humor. RSS

Friedman, Laurie Mallory Goes Green!

160 pp. Carolrhoda ISBN 978-0-8225-8885-6 $15.95

(3) Illustrated by Jennifer Kalis. When her fourth grade teacher unveils the school's new environmental awareness program, Mallory takes the campaign very seriously. But her classmates have different ideas about how to go green, and Mallory learns lessons about both conservation and compromise. In her thirteenth adventure, Mallory is, as always, a realistically flawed, likable heroine whose earnestness will appeal to ideatistic young readers. NCP

Galante, Cecilia Willowood

265 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-8022-3 $16.99

(3) When her mother's new job forces eleven-year-old Lily to move to Riverside Heights and a different school, it seems like nothing is going right. However, she soon finds some unlikely friends - class nerd Gina and Nate, an adult with Down syndrome - who teach her important lessons about life, loyalty, and forgiveness. Strong characters and an engaging plot make for an enjoyable read. ACB

* Gardner, Lyn Out of the Woods

360 pp. Random /Fielding ISBN 978-0-385-75154-4 $17.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-75156-8 $20.99

(2) Illustrated by Mini Grey. Aurora, Storm, and Any Eden thought their troubles were over at the end of Into the Woods, but no. A witch needs a new heart and sets her sights on Aurora's; Any is turned into a frog; Storm must return the Pied Piper's pipe to the Underworld. The fractured fairy-tale stew is more haphazard here, but it's a well-conceived and entertaining mash-up nonetheless. Review 3/10. CG

Gephart, Donna How to Survive Middle School

248 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73793-7 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90701-9 $18.99

(4) David dreams of becoming a TV star like his idol Jon Stewart - but first he has to get through middle school. His anxieties are compounded when he loses his best friend then meets a girl who helps him become a star on the Internet. While David's fears are in line with his age, his narrative voice and ambitions make him sound a little older. Glos. DE

Gibbs, Stuart Belly Up

295 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-8731-4 $15.99

(3) Twelve-year-old Teddy is in heaven living with his gorilla-researcher mom and wildlife-photographer dad at the world's largest zoo. When the zoo's hippo mascot is murdered, Teddy not only wants to solve the mystery but also discover why no one else seems to care. Gibbs writes with absurdist humor and seemingly an insider's knowledge of how zoos operate. DE

Glass, Linzi Finding Danny

201 pp. HarperCollins/ Waiden Pond

ISBN 978-0-06-179716-3 $16.99

(4) When her beloved border coltie goes missing, Bree starts volunteering at an animal shelter. Soon she's organizing adoption days while still searching for her pet. New connections with an older volunteer and the popular boy from school help Bree work on her relationship with her mother. Although message-laden, the book has great appeal for dog lovers. LAL

* Gleitzman, Morris Once

165 pp. Holt ISBN 978-0-8050-9026-0 $16.99

(1) This Holocaust parable plays its main character's naiveté against readers' likely knowledge of the historical reatities - the juxtaposition is betievable and not at aU precious. Gleitzman manages to find a grain of hope in the unresolved (and likely dire) conclusion, but this is the rare Holocaust book for young readers that doesn't aUeviate its dark themes with a comforting ending. Review 3/10. CG

Gonzalez, Christina Diaz The Red Umbrella

284 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-86190-1 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-96190-8 $19.99

(3) Years after the Communist Revolution in 1961 Cuba, fourteen-year-old Lucia's parents send her and her younger brother Frankie to America to wait out Castro's increasingly rigid new government. Sprinkled with Spanish, Lucia's impassioned first-person narration ably reflects her struggles to adjust to a new culture while wondering if she will ever return to the home and parents she loves. Glos. RSS

Goodwin, Vincent, Adapter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of Abbey Grange

48 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-722-1 $28.50

Goodwin, Vincent, Adapter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Dancing Men

48 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-723-8 $28.50

Goodwin, Vincent, Adapter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Empty House

48 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-724-5 $28.50

Goodwin, Vincent, Adapter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Norwood Builder

48 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-725-2 $28.50

Goodwin, Vincent, Adapter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Red-Headed League

48 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-726-9 $28.50

Goodwin, Vincent, Adapter Sir Arthur Conan Doyle's The Adventure of the Speckled Band

48 pp. ABDO/Magic Wagon LE ISBN 978-1-60270-727-6 $28.50

(5) Illustrated by Ben Dunn. Graphic Planet: The Graphic Novel Adventures of Sherlock Holmes series. These barebones adaptations are styled as graphic novels, which may appeal to reluctant readers. Unfortunately, the dialogue is stilted, the plot points aren't always clear, and there's no strong sense of Sherlock Holmes or Dr. Watson's personatities. Illustrations in muted tones favor wide-eyed female characters (à la manga). Each volume includes a common brief biography of Sir Arthur Conan Doyle. Reading list. Glos. TDA

Gordon, Amy Twenty Gold Falcons

216 pp. Holiday ISBN 978-0-8234-2252-4 $16.95

(4) Twelve-year-old Aiden isn't thrilled with life in big-city Gloria, where she and her mother now live after Aiden's father's death. A treasure hunt for valuable coins could be Aiden's ticket back to her beloved farm. Gordon's novel is overcrowded with quirky characters (an elevator-operating clan, a gorilla-cosrumed baseball team, a mouse being trained to talk . . . ), but it's fast-paced and entertaining. TDA

Gordon, Roderick, and Brian Williams Freefall

601 pp. Scholastic/Chicken House

ISBN 978-0-545-13877-2 $18.99

(4) Illustrated by Brian Williams. Hero Will (Tunnels, Deeper) falls further - literally - into the secrets of the underground society where he was born. Meanwhile, the evil Styx plot to destroy all "Topsoilers." With educational tidbits dropped into the text, the story drags. Some interesting (if improbable) closing twists may grab series fans. CG

Gownley, Jimmy The Tweenage Guide to Not Being Unpopular

187 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-8610-2 $18.99

PE ISBN 978-1-4169-8608-9 $10.99

(3) Ametia Rules! series. Comics star Ametia McBride returns for another misadventure, as she and her friends attempt to become popular by following advice from the title book. Though there's no didacticism to be found, Ametia's choices show that she's figuring out how to do right, not just shooting for popularity. Exaggerated facial expressions and varied comic-panel illustrations support and develop the story's humor. BLM

Grabien, Deborah Dark's Tale

309 pp. Egmont ISBN 978-1-60684-037-5 $15.99

(4) Abandoned by her owners in Golden Gate Park, Dark must quickly adapt to her new environment. Befriending another cat, a friendly raccoon, and a wise owl, she tries to fit in. When the appearance of coyotes upsets the park's balance, Dark must make a decision to stay or leave. Though the story's fantastical elements are uneven, readers may be drawn to the feline main character. LAL

Green, Tim Rivals

263 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-162692-0 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-162693-7 $17.89

(4) This sequel to Baseball Great revolves around Josh's nascent romance with Jaden - jeopardized when she starts dating a handsome baseball superstar from California - and the exposition of a corrupt umpire. Rivals is less compelling than its predecessor due to some cartoonish characters and implausible plot elements, but fans of tight sports fiction will be appeased. MLB

* Greene, Stephanie Happy Birthday, Sophie Hartley

128 pp. Clarion ISBN 978-0-547-25128-8 $16.00

(1) For Sophie's "double-digit" birthday, she wants a special pet: a baby gorilla. Things get out of hand when she announces that her parents have consented. At the same time, older sister Nora moves out of the bedroom the two have always shared. All the plot strands merge in a satisfying denouement that's tidy but not in the least predictable. Review 7/10. MVP

Greenwald, Sheila Watch Out, World - Rosy Cole Is Going Green!

104 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-36280-5 $15.99

(3) When Rosy Cole enthusiastically suggests and captains the "Nature's Gifts" booth for her school's eco-fair, it somehow leads to secretly stashing composting worms for her crush, Donald. Just as her impending success is about to blow up in her face, it all works out for the green best in this tale that's topical but slightly scattered, much like Rosy herself. SH

Gutman, Dan Roberto & Me: A Baseball Card Adventure

180 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-123484-2 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-123485-9 $16.89

(4) In his latest adventure, thirteen-year-old Stosh travels back in time to try to prevent Roberto Clemente's death but finds he can't change the past. When Stosh's great-grandson appears to escort him to an ecologically despoiled future, Stosh sees that his actions in the present can affect the future. Gutman ties Clemente's real-life idealism to the book's obvious message. MLB

Gutman, Dan The Talent Show

213 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-9003-1 $15.99

(4) After the town of Cape Bluff, Kansas, is destroyed by a twister, the residents hatch a plan to stage a talent-show fundraiser. But will Mother Nature, stage fright, or performance politics undermine the show's success? Bookended by a pair of tornadoes, the story has plenty of drama at the beginning and end; however, heavy exposition throughout drags down the lightweight plot. NCP

Haberdasher, Violet Knightley Academy

469 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-9143-4 $15.99

(3) Despite the fact that he is a lowly orphaned servant boy, Henry Grim makes it into Knightley Academy. He gathers an entertaining band of outcasts around him in order to survive knight-centered tests and hazing rituals. Turn-of-the-twentieth-century historical details add depth to this merry story of first-year blues. TB

* Haddon, Mark Boom!

195 pp. Random /Fielding ISBN 978-0-385-75187-2 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-75188-9 $18.99

(2) Jim and Charlie discover that two of their teachers are evil aliens - then Charlie disappears. What follows is a madcap action romp that includes a motorcycle chase, rock climbing in Scotland, and a change of scene to outer space. Through derring-do, cliffhangers, and wisecracks, the narrative manages to be both a send-up and a celebration of classic sci-fi. Review 7/10. SE

* Hale, Shannon, and Dean Hale Calamity Jack

144 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-076-6 $19.99

PE ISBN 978-1-59990-373-6 $14.99

(2) Illustrated by Nathan Hale. In this companion to Rapunzel's Revenge, the swashbuckling plot again shines in the graphic-novel format. Frequent wordless stretches show adrenaline-fueled action sequences, while the panel arrangement, shifts in perspective, and sound effects drive the story forward as inexorably as a steam engine. This steampunk-flavored fairy tale will appeal to boy-, girl-, reluctant-, and eager readers alike. Review 3/10. ALB

Harkrader, L. D. Nocturne

245 pp. Wizards ISBN 978-0-7869-5502-2 $9.95

(4) Flannery's uncle, a purveyor of protective magic, forbids her from using her own powers. Just as a vampire begins terrorizing their town, Uncle Anatole falls prey to a curse. Flan draws on her considerable abilities - and the help of a handsome stranger - to protect her neighbors and her uncle's reputation. A mildly entertaining (If predictable) companion to A Practical Guide to Vampires. KLB

Harrison, Michelle 13 Treasures

357 pp. Little ISBN 978-0-316-04148-5 $15.99

(4) Evil fairies have been bullying Tanya her whole life, but only she can see them. Sent to live with her grandmother, Tanya uncovers secrets about her strange abitity, a grandfather's madness, and more. Harrison's gothic, semi-modern setting has Tarn Lin overtones, and despite Tanya's passive portrayal, her world is exciting and richly depicted. TB

Hart, Alison Emma's River

151 pp. Peachtree ISBN 978-1-56145-524-9 $12.95

(3) In 1852 Emma and her mother board the steamboat Sally May. For headstrong Emma, a forbidden trip to visit her pony, Twist, on the main deck reveals a new world full of danger and unlikely friendships. Hart's diverting historical adventure includes authentic period details and an informative afterword on the history of riverboat travel. PIH

Haworth, Danette The Summer of Moonlight Secrets

275 pp. Walker ISBN 978-0-8027-9520-5 $16.99

(3) Allie Jo's parents run the historic Florida hotel where Chase's family is staying. Together the kids investigate a mysterious girl named Tara, who turns out to be a stranded selkie desperate for the return of her sealskin. Issues of friendship, first crushes, and the quest to fit in are combined with the story's magic and mystery. SH

Hayter, Rhonda The Witchy Worries of Abbie Adams 242 pp. Dial isbn 978-0-8037-3468-5 $16.99

(3) Abbie is not an average fifth grader. Among other things, she can time-travel and perform magic, and she has a very unusual pet cat. Throughout the story, Abbie attempts to keep her famüy's magical powers hidden from the mortal world, including her best friend, CaUie. The book is an entertaining read, with a vivacious and engaging main character. ACB

Heldring, Thatcher Roy Morelli Steps Up to the Plate 231 pp. Delacorte isbn 978-0-385-73391-5 $15.99 LE ISBN 978-0-385-90406-3 $18.99

(4) In this predictable sports novel, eighth-grader Roy is more motivated by basebaU than by history class. He loses his spot on the AU-Stars and has to play with the sub-par Ree League to aUow time for school. Roy initiaUy feels the Ree League is beneath him but eventually sees the paraUels between athletic and academic success. MLB

Henson, Heather Dream of Night 218 pp. Atheneum isbn 978-1-4169-4899-5 $15.99

(3) The book's events are related from three perspectives: ShUoh, a misunderstood foster kid; Night, an abused horse; and their rescuer, Jessalynn. Henson 's writing is effectively terse and tight. The tale provides a unique twist on the famitiar theme of damaged souls who find each other and finaUy come into their own. ACB

Hermes, Patricia Emma Dilemma, the Nanny, and the Secret Ferret 137 pp. Cavendish isbn 978-0-7614-5650-6 $15.99

(4) Emma and her famüy are spending the summer in Maine. Against her parents' orders, Emma sneaks along one of her beloved ferrets. She also interferes with the neighbors' land-clearing plan by refusing to leave her favorite tree. The nanny is less of a character here, and the plot elements are too neatly resolved, even for this Ughthearted series, but fans won't mind. CJ

Hershey, Mary Love and Polly wogs from Camp Calamity 217 pp. Random/ Lamb isbn 978-0-385-73744-9 $15.99 LE ISBN 978-0-385-90666-1 $18.99

(3) Effie can't wait for her fourth-grade class's week-long trip to Camp Wickitawa - until she contracts "altitude sickness" (a.k.a. homesickness). Her anxiety diminishes as she makes friends, learns to swim, and gets in - then out of - trouble. As in her two previous books, Effie's concerns are reatistic but tightly handled; the exclamation-studded, chatty narration adds humor. RLS

Higgins, Simon Moonshadow: Rise of the Ninja 326 pp. Little isbn 978-0-316-05531-4 $15.99

(3) Moonshadow has completed his training as a shinobi, a ninja spy warrior, and is sent on his first independent mission. A rival female shinobi adds to the danger Moonshadow faces but also offers a chance for friendship (not to mention increasing the story's appeal to girls). An intriguing choice for fans of martial arts and adventure. Glos. BLM

Hobbs, Valerie The Last Best Days of Summer 199 pp. Farrar/Foster isbn 978-0-374-34670-6 $16.99

(4) Twelve-year-old Lucy navigates a rocky social landscape, including a sometimes embarrassing friendship with her neighbor Eddie, who has Down syndrome. Lucy looks forward to vacation at her grandmother's lake house, but once she's there it becomes apparent that her beloved grandmother is stipping into dementia. The novel drags initiaUy but gains momentum and ultimately provides a layered portrait of a girl in transition. HRB

Holm, Jennifer L. Turtle in Paradise 189 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-83688-6 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-93688-3 $19.99

(2) It's 1935, and narrator Turtle is sent to Uve in Key West. With her stoic nature and quick wits, she's able to fit in with her boy cousins. Turtle's voice is tart and world-weary. Though her narrative is peppered with references from the time, modern-day readers wiU have no trouble relating, and the fast-moving plot wiU keep them interested to the end. Reading Ust, websites. Review 5/10. SDL

Holt, Kimberly Willis The Water Seeker 309 pp. Holt/ Ottaviano isbn 978-0-8050-8020-9 $16.99

(3) Amos Kincaid has a gift for dowsing - finding water - just Uke his father, but when Amos's famüy makes their way west across the frontier he hides his abUity from his father, who considers it a curse. As Amos grows, he learns to accept his disappointments, losses, and his destiny as a dowser. A flowery but earnest narrative style brings integrity to this gentle tale. JSK

Horvath, Polly Northward to the Moon 245 pp. Random/ Schwartz & Wade ISBN 978-0-375-86110-9 $17.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-96110-6 $20.99

(4) In this sequel to My One Hundred Adventures, twelveyear-old narrator Jane Fielding, her eight-year-old sister, and their two Uttle brothers have barely resettled in Saskatchewan before the famüy sets off again, ricocheting around North America. Less graced by Horvath's lingering evocations of place and time and ending with virtuaUy nothing explained, this narrative also relegates the engaging children to the role of responders. Review 1/10. B. BADER

Houtman, Jacqueline The Reinvention of Edison Thomas 189 pp. Front ISBN 978-1-59078-708-3 $17.95

(3) Eddy, though not labeled Asperger's in the story, hates looking people in the eye but loves tinkering with his inventions. His difficulty deciphering social cues (e.g., sarcasm) makes him a target for the school bully, but others step up to befriend him. Sprinkled with science facts and Latin - "It smelled Uke tuna (Thunnus alalunga)" - the narrative wiU have readers cheering for the misfit kid. BTM

Howe, Peter Waggit Forever 261 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper isbn 978-0-06-176517-9 $16.99

(3) Illustrated by Omar Rayyan. In Waggit's third tale, park clean-up and improvements force the white dog and his friends to leave their home. Relying on city-smart canine friends beyond the park gates, they travel at night through dark aUeys whUe parked cars and soggy appUance boxes shield them from the eyes of Uprights (humans). Fans of the first two books wiU enjoy Waggit's continuing adventures. NLH

Hughes, Dean Missing in Action 228 pp. Atheneum bbn 978-1-4169-1502-7 $16.99

(3) During World War ?, Jay moves with his mother from Salt Lake City to rural Delta, Utah. As Jay makes new friends and hones his basebaU skills, he confronts the prejudice against his Navajo heritage whUe struggling to overcome his own toward Japanese Americans. AU the whUe, he wrestles with his compUcated feelings about his missing-inaction father. Famitiar characters and themes populate this soUd historical novel. JH

Hunter, Erin Battles of the Clans 187 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-170230-3 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-06-170231-0 $17.89

(4) Illustrated by Wayne McLoughUn. Warriors series. Two housecats (and readers) learn about the battles, strategies, and fighting techniques of the various warrior clans. Stories about famous cat battles add to the general background of the series, but readers will need to be extremely famiUar with the many Warriors books to appreciate these tales. BLM

Hunter, Erin Fading Echoes 333 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-155512-1 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-06-155513-8 $17.89

(4) Warriors: Omen of the Stars series. Three young cats with unusual powers continue working to help their clan, but they face hidden enemies trying to increase dissent and fighting. WhUe much of the action is reminiscent of Hunter's previous books, narrative depth comes from the characters' decisions about when to use their powers and a clear portrayal of how being special can compUcate a relationship. BLM

Hunter, Erin Fire in the Sky 247 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-087134-5 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-06-087135-2 $17.89

Hunter, Erin The Last Wilderness 265 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-087131-4 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-06-087132-1 $17.89

(3) Seekers series. In this series' fourth and fifth books, a group of young bears extends its journey to the Last Great WUderness and beyond into the frozen North, foUowing visions and instinct. Fire is the stronger story, featuring a faster pace. In both books, a positive environmental message is clear, and the characters continue to grow and bond. BLM

Ignatow, Amy The Popularity Papers: Research for the Social Improvement and General Betterment of Lydia Goldblatt & Julie Graham-Chang 208 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8421-9 $15.95

(3) Lydia Uves with her mom and goth sister; JuUe Uves with her two dads. The girls are best friends on the cusp of junior high. Aspiring to understand popularity, they scientificaUy observe the cool kids. They track their data in a journal/scrapbook, and their research is presented, in sketches and alternating handwriting, in this clever and humorous volume. CJ

Jacques, Brian The Sable Quean 408 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25164-1 $23.99

(3) Illustrated by Sean Rubin. The RedwaU Abbey creatures are back, with hearts (and appetites) as big as ever. This time, Buckler the Blademaster, a warrior hare, must help rescue Abbey youngsters captured by the evU Sable Quean Vilaya and her henchman, Zwilt the Shade. Jacques's latest Redwall book deUvers exactly what fans have come to expect: plenty of adventure, humor, and a happy ending. SF

Jansson, Tove Comet in Moominland 176 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-35030-7 $16.99 PE ISBN 978-0-312-60888-0 $6.99

Translated by Elizabeth Portch. New ed. (1951, Walck).

Jansson, Tove Finn Family Moomintroll 156 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-35031-4 $16.99 PE ISBN 978-0-312-60889-7 $6.99

Translated by Elizabeth Portch. New ed. (1952, Bobbs-Merill).

Jansson, Tove Moominpappa's Memoirs 168 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-35035-2 $16.99 PE BBN 978-0-312-62543-6 $6.99

Translated by Thomas Warburton. New ed. (1994).

Jansson, Tove Moominsummer Madness 156 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-35033-8 $16.99 PE ISBN 978-0-312-60891-0 $6.99

Translated by Thomas Warburton. New ed. (1961, Walck).

(3) To mark the sixty-fifth anniversary of the first Moomin book, the first four of Jansson's beloved, offbeat fantasies have been reissued. A common two-page biography is appended to each, along with "A Timeline FuU of Fun Facts About the World of Moomin." ERG

Jennewein, James, and Tom S. Parker Sword of Doom 415 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-144939-0 $17.99

(3) RuneWarriors series. After Dane (RuneWarriors) discovers a cursed sword belonging to his dead father, he and his crew must brave frost giants, troUs, and an ancient sea serpent to save Dane's mother - and the world - from the greedy Godrek. This second series entry is powered by the same type of hair-raising yet comical adventures that attracted reluctant readers to the first one. LCF

Jennings, Patrick Guinea Dog 180 pp. Egmont ISBN 978-1-60684-053-5 $15.99 LE ISBN 978-1-60684-069-6 $18.99

(4) Rufus wants a dog, but his work-at-home dad doesn't want to deal with dirt, noise, and fleas. As consolation, Rufus's mom buys him a guinea pig; surprisingly, Fido (the guinea pig) acts more canine than rodent, and Uttle by Uttle Dad accepts the new famüy member. The story is too thin, but Rufus is a likable character. ALC

Jones, Diana Wynne Enchanted Glass 292 pp. Greenwillow ISBN 978-0-06-186684-5 $16.99

(2) A boy named Aidan, recently orphaned and fleeing stalkers, pleads for refuge at professor Andrew Hope's inherited estate. Aidan's presence - and the weredog and giant he befriends - draw the ire of the sinister and mysterious Mr. O. Brown. Jones's story is characteristicaUy buoyant and witty; the magic is always brainteasingly clever and comicaUy down-to-earth. An inteUigent, refreshing hoot. Review 5/10. DFB

Jones, Elizabeth McDavid Missing Grace: A Kit Mystery 183 pp. AmericanGirl ISBN 978-1-59369-667-2 $10.95 PE ISBN 978-1-59369-659-7 $6.95

(4) American Girl Mysteries series. In this story set in 1935 Cincinnati, Kit, spunky girl reporter, must solve the problem of how and why her beloved dog, Grace, has gone missing. With the help of her friends, she unravels a plot to steal and seU show dogs. Although series fans wiU enjoy the mystery, its stock figures and overly complex story tine may deter others. CJ

Jones, Marcia Thornton Ratfink 216 pp. Dutton isbn 978-0-525-42066-8 $16.99

(3) Illustrated by C. B. Decker. Logan hopes fifth grade wiU give him a clean slate; however, things go awry with a new girl at school who has a knack for getting Logan in trouble. MeanwhUe, Logan's "forgetful" grandfather has moved in, causing tension and embarrassment at home. Jones effectively uses humor to address the issue of dementia through a ten-year-old's eyes ("Grandpa was naked," begins the book). DE

Ka donata, Cynthia A Million Shades of Gray 220 pp. Atheneum ISBN 978-1-4169-1883-7 $16.99

(3) A thirteen-year-old Vietnamese boy aspires to be an elephant handler, but his ambition is thwarted by civU strife foUowing the Vietnam War. He escapes from the North Vietnamese Army and reunites with his family and friends, but not before realizing that war has irrevocably changed his life. Kadohata successfully returns to themes explored in Kira-Kira and Weedflower. JH

Kelley, Jane Nature Girl 241 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-85634-1 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-95634-8 $19.99

(4) Eleven-year-old Megan (seU-proclaimed city sticker) storms off from her famüy's Vermont summer home and gets lost on the Appalachian TraU with her fluffball dog. Tired of being a quitter, she decides to hike to Massachusetts to visit her best friend. InitiaUy, Megan's bratty attitude is off-putting, but her woodland journey transforms her into a likable character and a true "Nature Girl." RLS

Kelly, Katy Melonhead and the Big Stink 218 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73658-9 $14.99 LE ISBN 978-0-385-90617-3 $17.99

(3) Illustrated by Giltian Johnson. Accidental troublemaker and would-be inventor Melonhead makes some unusual friends in his second book. On his best behavior pending a much-desired trip to see the titan arum, the world's stinkiest flower that only blooms every seven years, he stiU gets into trouble at every turn. Lighthearted gray-scale iUustrations depict the entertaining adventures of Melonhead and his knucklehead ways. SH

Kent, Rose Rocky Road 297 pp. Knopf ISBN 987-0-375-86344-8 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-96342-1 $19.99

(4) As Tess and her deaf brother Jordan accept their sudden relocation to Schenectady, their well-intentioned but mentaUy unbalanced mother pursues her dream of owning an ice cream parlor. Mom's plans are quickly threatened by "Shooting Stars" - Tess's term for her mother's "seesaw moods" - but friends raUy to the rescue. Though the novel's resolution ultimately feels too neat, resourceful Tess's narration is dynamic. HRB

Kessler, Liz Emily Windsnap and the Siren's Secret 291 pp. Candlewick ISBN 978-0-7636-4374-4 $15.99

(5) Illustrated by Natacha Ledwidge. In her fourth bland adventure, half-mermaid Emily must save Brightport - a place where mer-people and humans peacefully coexist - from developers. As usual, there are some clever detaUs, but the let's-save-our-idyllic-home-from-greedy-people story line is overly famUiar and the pace drags. ERG

Kibuishi, Kazu Copper 96 pp. Scholastic/Graphix ISBN 978-0-545-09892-2 $21.99 PE ISBN 978-0-545-09893-9 $12.99

(3) This coUection of one-page comics interspersed with longer ones features an imaginative boy named Copper and his dog Fred. The pair's adventures, real and make-beUeve, are always humorous thanks in part to the comments of the very pessimistic Fred. A final section explaining the steps involved in making Copper wiU interest fans and aspiring comic writers and artists. BLM

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody The Reinvention ofMoxie Roosevelt 248 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3303-9 $16.99

(3) Moxie Roosevelt Kipper doesn't feel as If she has lived up to her weighty moniker, but she is determined to change that as she begins a new chapter in boarding school. WhUe trying a variety of personaUty types on for size, Moxie soon learns that being someone else is not aU it's cracked up to be. Readers wiU enjoy Moxie's humorous misadventures as she attempts to find her true self. ACB

Kimmel, Elizabeth Cody Suddenly Supernatural: Crossing Over 252 pp. Little ISBN 978-0-316-07369-1 $10.99

(3) On her French-class trip to Montreal, eighth-grader Kat Roberts sees dead people, which isn't uncommon for her these days. When her secret crush turns out to have supernatural powers as weU, the two join forces to help the ghosts to the other side. In this satisfying fourth series entry, Kimmel's depiction of tentative (and innocent) first love is especially sweet. KF

Kinney, Jeff Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Dog Days 217 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8391-5 $13.95

(3) Published fall 2009. In this fourth series entry, it's summer, and Greg's mom is determined that the Heffley family will spend some quality time together - bad news for the wimpy kid, who prefers to be "in front of the TV, playing video games with the curtains closed and the Ughts turned off." As usual, Greg's narration and accompanying almost-stick-figure cartoon iUustrations are laugh-out-loud funny. ERG

Kirov, Erica The Pyramid of Souls 181 pp. Sourcebooks/Jabberwocky ISBN 978-1-4022-1502-5 $14.99

(4) Magickeepers series. Cousins Nick and IsabeUa are busy honing their craft as Magickeepers when another crisis arises that only they can solve. Incorporation of Russian culture and lore, historical figures, and mini history lessons makes for an educational read. However, the frequency of such components, minus a strong interconnecting narrative, slows the story down. TB

Klimo, Kate The Dragon in the Library 218 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-85591-7 $15.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-95591-4 $18.99

(3) Illustrated by John Shroades. Dragon Keepers series. In their third book, Jesse, Daisy, and dragon Emmy must save the professor from St. George's wicked girlfriend. Imaginative descriptions of the Scriptorium (a dragon Ubrary) and Uffington Castle, as weU as a growing cast of characters, will keep young readers engaged in the expanding magical realm. The story progresses at a good pace and includes some nods to children's classics. MLJ

Kloepfer, John The Zombie Chasers 216 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper LE isbn 978-0-06-185304-3 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Steve Wolfhard. The night starts off badly for Zack: he's wrapped in duct tape, made up Uke a girl, and filmed for the Internet. And it only gets worse from there: fast-food eaters turned zombies are taking over, lurching, smashing, and biting their way around town. This fast-moving undead adventure wiU deUght readers. Goofy, gory drawings, including zombie-shaped chapter numbers, add to the horror-hUarity. EJM

Knight, Steven The Last Words of Will Wolfkin 375 pp. HarperCollins/ Waiden Pond ISBN 978-0-06-170413-0 $16.99

(4) Toby has been paralyzed since birth; Emma is a Sudanese refugee. They're the only descendants of the rightful king of a fantasy kingdom beneath Iceland, and it's up to them to save the land from tyranny. WhUe the plot becomes a scaffold for predictable conflict scenes, and Toby and Emma are more two-dimensional than real, the story contains a dramatic setting and cool fantasy inventions. SE

Knudson, Mike Raymond & Graham, Bases Loaded 155 pp. Viking ISBN 978-0-670-01205-3 $14.99

Knudson, Mike Raymond & Graham, Cool Campers 156 pp. Viking ISBN 978-0-670-01206-0 $14.99

(3) Illustrated by Stacy Curtis. In Bases Loaded, best pals Raymond and Graham play Little League basebaU; Cool Campers finds them at summer camp, where they resolve to become the coolest kids there. Both books bounce along on waves of good humor, offering congenial stories for young intermediate-level readers. The copious black-and-white drawings are reminiscent of Dav Pilkey's Captain Underpants series. ALC

Korman, Gordon The Emperor's Code 190 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-06048-6 $12.99

Lerangis, Peter The Viper's Nest 190 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-06047-9 $12.99

Park, Linda Sue Storm Warning 190 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-06049-3 $12.99

(4) 39 Clues series. In Nest, Amy and Dan learn some unpleasant truths about their family's lineage wilUe trying to evade the Holts in South Africa (among other places). Code finds the sibs dramaticaUy separated in China. Warning takes them to the Caribbean - and a showdown with the man in black. The series continues to spit out compulsively readable, if sUght, tales of adventure. ERG

Krech, R. W. Love Puppies and Corner Kicks 217 pp. Dutton isbn 978-0-525-42197-9 $16.99

(3) When her parents announce that the famüy is moving to Scotland for a year, soccer star Andrea must reluctantly leave her friends and team behind. Even worse, Andrea stutters and dreads meeting new people. The ways she manages to find friends and begin a romance, learn about herseti, and even triumph again in soccer are related in this enjoyable story. Websites. CJ

Krosoczka, Jarrett J. Lunch Lady and the Summer Camp Shakedown 96 pp. Knopf LE isbn 978-0-375-96095-6 $12.99 PE ISBN 978-0-375-86095-9 $6.99

(3) The Breakfast Bunch members go to summer camp, where their super-hero pal Lunch Lady works in the canteen. Together they uncover the mystery of a swamp monster terrorizing the campers. Per usual with this graphic novel series, the ludicrous story tine is merely a vehicle for Krosoczka's creatively named super-hero gadgetry and offthe-waU cartoon iUustrations in bold black and white with vibrant hightighter-yeUow accents. ERG

Kurtz, Chris The Pup Who Cried Wolf 132 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-497-9 $15.99 PE ISBN 978-1-59990-492-4 $5.99

Teitel, Linda Phillips Angus MacMouse Brings Down the House 194 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-493-1 $15.99 PE ISBN 978-1-59990-490-0 $5.99

(3) Illustrated by Guy Francis. Animal Tales series. In these first entries in the series, two small critters have big aspirations. In Wolf, Lobo, a tiny Chihuahua, dreams of living up to his lupine name on a trip to Yellowstone. In House, a mouse stumbles into an operatic life when he startles a soprano. Kid-friendly iUustrations and upbeat, unseUconscious text combine to make droll stories. NCP

LaFevers, R. L. The Basilisk's Lair 150 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-23867-8 $15.00

(3) Illustrated by KeUy Murphy. Nathaniel Fludd, Beastologist series. Though he's a beastologist in training, Nathaniel Fludd is nervous about accompanying his aunt on her mission to capture a runaway basiUsk. Will Nathaniel and his pet gremlin have what it takes to face the creature and its venomous gaze? This sequel to Flight of the Phoenix is tidUy crafted. RLH

LaFevers, R. L. Theodosia and the Eyes of Horus 375 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-22592-0 $16.00

(4) Illustrated by Yoko Tanaka. Theodosia and a group of street rats are on the hunt for Egyptian occult magic, with two secret societies foUowing them. Theodosia is beset with problems: a cursed brother, an obtuse boss, and distracted parents. A comedie subplot and brilliant final reveals make up for a cast of poorly developed secondary characters. Tanaka's exquisite acryUc on board illustrations heighten the book's mysterious mood. TB

Lairamore, Dawn Ivy's Ever After 311 pp. Holiday isbn 978-0-8234-2261-6 $16.95

(3) A generations-old treaty lands fourteen-year-old Princess Ivy in a tower to await a prince who can slay the dragon that guards it. Disliking the arrangement, plucky Ivy befriends the unusuaUy shy dragon and chooses to battle the status quo. Supporting characters including a fairy godmother, some quirky relatives, and conniving vülains round out the story. BNT

Langrish, Katherine The Shadow Hunt 325 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper isbn 978-0-06-111676-6 $16.99

(3) Young WoU runs away from a monastery and into the devU's hands in this darkly imaginative fantasy set in medieval Wales. Local spirits, the momentum of Christianity, and deep superstitions haunt WoU as he tries to protect an eli chUd. A multi-layered plot and vivid characters keep the story weU tuned for eager fantasy readers. BNT

Lasky, Kathryn Chasing Orion 362 pp. Candlewick isbn 978-0-7636-3982-2 $17.99

(2) During the 1950s potio epidemic, eleven-year-old Geòrgie obsesses about the disease. Imagine her fascination when her new teenage neighbor, Phyltis, is in an iron lung. But is Phyltis a helpless prisoner, or is she Uke a spider reaching out for prey? WhUe the historical setting may be foreign to today's readers, Georgie's loneliness and her search for answers are universal. Review 7/10. BC

Lasky, Kathryn Felix Takes the Stage 142 pp. Scholastic isbn 978-0-545-11681-7 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. Deadties series. When artistic FeUx, a misunderstood - and, unfortunately, poisonous - brown recluse spider, is accidentally spotted, he and his family must flee their Symphony Hall home. They eventually settle at the Boston Public Library, where the family members can finally reveal themselves for what they are. Skilful storytelling and humorous black-and-white iUustrations enhance this tale of an outsider's longing for self-fulfillment and quest for acceptance. SH

Lasky, Kathryn Hawksmaid: The Untold Story of Robin Hood and Maid Marian 292 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper isbn 978-0-06-000071-4 $16.99

(4) Maid Marian (a.k.a. Matty) is cast as the central figure of this Robin Hood retelling. A brilUant falconer with a magical connection to her birds, Matty needs "adventure as much as a good, warm cloak." Lasky invents new episodes for Matty to star in but keeps famUiar characters. Though the storytelling drags at times, readers who identify with the spitfire protagonist wiU be engrossed. Glos. ABZ

Lasky, Kathryn Lone Wolf 225 pp. Scholastic isbn 978-0-545-09310-1 $16.99

(3) Born malcadh (cursed) because of a maUormed paw, Faolan, an abandoned woU cub, is raised by Thunderheart, a grizzly bear. As he grows and recognizes his talents, Faolan contemplates rejoining his pack. The start of a new series in Lasky's Ga'Hoole world, this tale explores spirituatity while combining natural history and anthropomorphized animal behavior, ALB

Latham, Irene Leaving Gee's Bend 230 pp. Putnam bbn 978-0-399-25179-5 $16.99

(3) Ten-year-old Ludelphia Bennett Uves in an obscure pocket of Alabama called Gee's Bend. After her mother becomes gravely Ul, Ludelphia decides to leave home for the first time, encountering unexpected dangers in search of medicine. Based on firsthand accounts of a 1932 raid on Gee's Bend, Latham's gripping story benefits from her eye for detaU and Ludelphia's compelling narration. HRB

Leavitt, Lindsey Princess for Hire 243 pp. Hyperion isbn 978-1-4231-2192-3 $16.99

(3) Being the ex-best friend of SproutviUe's reigning Spud Princess and the daughter of a former Miss Idaho isn't easy. When a "princess agent" magicaUy appears and offers the sympathetic narrator a job as a substitute princess, Desi's own powers are revealed. Her growing confidence carries over to real Ufe in this entertaining wishfulfillment fantasy, SJW

Leek, James The Adventures of Jack Lime 127 pp. Kids Can/KCP Fiction bbn 978-1-55453-364-0 $16.95 PE ISBN 978-1-55453-365-7 $8.95

(3) Jack Lime, an orphaned, narcoleptic ninth grader, also happens to be Iona High's new "crime fighter, detective, private eye, sleuth, peeper for hire." After this likable Sam-Spade-in-training recounts two of his cases (a missing bicycle and a kidnapped hamster), he dishes the dirt on a case that fooled him-and got him hooked him on the "P-I- gig." TDA

Lewis, Josh Super Chicken Nugget Boy and the Furious Fry 141 pp. Hyperion ISBN 978-1-4231-1491-8 $16.99 PE ISBN 978-1-4231-1492-5 $4.99

(3) Illustrated by Douglas Holgate. A victim of bulties, Fern turns the tables when he becomes a mutant/superhero after falling into a vat of radioactive oil behind a burger joint. Lucky for Fern's town he did, because who else could save everyone from a giant, rampaging French fry? Supremely goofy, with action-filled comic-style illustrations that advance the bizarre premise. EJM

Lindo, Elvira Monolito Four-Eyes: The 3rd Volume of the Great Encyclopedia of My Life 129 pp. Cavendish isbn 978-0-7614-5651-3 $15.99

(3) Translated by Caroline Travalia. Illustrated by Emilio Urberuaga. In this third ManoUto book, our hero actually becomes a hero whUe having to stay in town when the rest of the world is vacationing. ManoUto's narrative voice is engaging and knowingly sarcastic; with his digressions and explanations, he sounds Uke a real child. The story is particularly effective in subtly integrating explanations of Spanish culture for uninitiated readers. TW

Llewellyn, Sam Darksolstice 272 pp. Scholastic/Orchard bbn 978-0-439-93471-8 $17.99

(2) Lyonesse series. In this foUow-up to The Well Between the Worlds, the kings of Beyondsea agree to support Idris against the evU regent Fisheagle If Idris proves himseU by rescuing his kidnapped sister. Idris's passage from dUfident boy to commanding monarch is authoritatively drawn; the wonders and horrors of his journey are described in dreamlike prose that is both sense-rich and chaUenging. Review 5/10. ALB

Llewellyn, Tom The Tilting House 152 pp. Tricycle isbn 978-1-58246-288-2 $15.99

(4) Illustrated by Sarah Watts. Josh's family moves into the Tilton House, a dwelling containing tilted floors, talking rats, and other mysteries. As Josh digs deeper into the place's history, he begins to unravel the story behind the home's creator. Llewellyn's characters struggle with obstacles both mystical and mundane in this busy (sometimes distractingly so) story. PIH

Lloyd, Alison Year of the Tiger 199 pp. Holiday bbn 978-0-8234-2277-7 $16.95

(3) In ancient China, Ren, the spoUed son of a miUtary commander, secretly meets with gregarious peasant boy Hu to practice archery. WhUe the two become unlikely friends, tensions rise between the Chinese mititary - which is poised for a barbarian attack - and the nervous townspeople. Rich cultural details are woven into this boy-friendly adventure, full of fighting, trickery, and difficult escapes. MLJ

Long, Loren, and Phil Bildner Blastin' the Blues 434 pp. Simon bbn 978-1-4169-1867-7 $15.99

Long, Loren, and Phil Bildner Home of the Brave 317 pp. Simon bbn 978-1-4169-1868-4 $15.99

(5) Sluggers series. Like a baUgame whose pitcher has been left too long on the mound, this series continues its interminable barnstorming tour of nineteenth-century America; the Travelin' Nine's latest stops are New Orleans (Blues) and Baltimore (Brave). Slowly the strands of a magical mystery are drawing together, gratifying for die-hard fans but too little, too late for others, MLB

Lord, Gabrielle Conspiracy 365: January 189 pp. Kane/Miller isbn 978-1-935279-49-5 $10.99

(4) On December 31st, teenager Callum Ormond is warned that he needs to hide for a year to avoid the "Ormond Singularity" and people who want to kill him. A month of nonstop action and mystery foUows, stretching readers' creduUty and ending with Callum trapped and near death. This high-concept new series is scheduled for release, month by month, throughout the year. BLM

Lowry, Lois The Birthday Ball 186 pp. Houghton isbn 978-0-547-23869-2 $16.00

(2) Illustrated by Jules FeUfer. In Lowry's breezy, comic royalty-in-disguise tale, pampered Princess Patricia Priscilla - "Pat" - switches outfits with her chambermaid and attends school. Back at the castle, plans are underway for Pat's sixteenth birthday bash, during which she must choose among three outrageously revolting suitors. Can Pat escape an awful marriage and continue her schooling? Lowry's wickedly gleeful caricatures meet their match in Feiffer 's animated drawings. Review 3/10. CMH

Lupica, Mike The Batboy 247 pp. Philomel isbn 978-0-399-25000-2 $17.99

(3) Fourteen-year-old Brian, the son of a washed-up majorleague pitcher, watches every home-game up-close: he's a batboy for the Detroit Tigers. Divorced parents, a disgruntled player, and Brian's own batting slump compticate his Ufe. Lupica's engaging narrative, fuU of vivid basebaU action, teaches readers about the games people play on and off the field. NLH

Lupica, Mike Shoot-Out 166 pp. Philomel isbn 978-0-399-24718-7 $10.99

(3) Comeback Kids series. With quick feet and a passion to "take it aU the way," Jake rules in soccer. But his glory days on championship teams fade away after his famüy moves to a new town - and Jake joins a losing squad. ReaUstic soccer commentary and lively dialogue bolster this story of a beUevable group of athletes whose personal struggles match their chaUenges on the turf. NLH

MacDonald, George The Princess and the Goblin 261 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86338-7 $9.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-96338-4 $12.99

Illustrated by Arthur Hughes.

Nesbit, E. The Book of Dragons 199 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86427-8 $9.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-96427-5 $12.99

Illustrated by H. R. Millar.

Nesbit, E. Five Children and It 257 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86336-3 $9.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-96336-0 $12.99

Illustrated by H. R. Millar.

Pyle, Howard Twilight Land 339 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86337-0 $9.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-96337-7 $12.99

(4) Looking Glass Library series. These sturdily bound editions include the full texts of children's literature classics with their original illustrations. Each title opens with an introduction by a contemporary chlidren's writer; brief "About the Author" notes are appended. The compact trim size makes the font a little hard to read and the pictures a wee bit small. Otherwise, a decent selection. ERG

Mack, Winnie After All, You're Collie Boone 168 pp. Feiwel isbn 978-0-312-56331-8 $16.99

(3) Eleven-year-old Callie's summer is less than ideal owing to her weirdo family, the loss of her best friend to the popular crowd, and her general feeling of being a misfit. She finds escape in swimming, diving, and hanging with her new friend, Hoot. Callie is reatistically portrayed, adding to the humorous story's appeal. ACB

MacLachlan, Patricia Word After Word After Word 128 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen isbn 978-0-06-027971-4 $14.99 LE ISBN 978-0-06-027972-1 $15.89

(4) Lucy, whose mom has cancer, and her friends are inspired by a visiting author who writes "to change my Ufe, to make it come out the way I want it to." At the end, everyone's parents read the students' writings, and change happens. Though the chUdren's interactions are too mannered to be believable, readers may be swept along by this feelgood story. JMB

Malone, Marianne The Sixty-Eight Rooms 277 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-85710-2 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-375-95710-9 $19.99

(3) Illustrated by Greg Call. During a field trip, Jack and Ruthie find a key at the Art Institute of Chicago that lets them shrink and enter the worlds of the miniature Thome Rooms. Accessible prose and shadowy iUustrations depict the best friends sneaking in and out of history, affecting lives both past and present. Thin plot or not, this original adventure is aUuring, fUled with magic and mystery. SF

Manivong, Laura Escaping the Tiger 216 pp. HarperCollins/Harper isbn 978-0-06-166177-8 $15.99

(3) In 1982, twelve-year-old Vonlai's family flees from communist Laos only to suffer in a poorly equipped Thai refugee camp for four years. Despite the hardships, Vonlai learns life skills from a feUow refugee, a former Laotian Army colonel. This fictional story is based on Manivong's husband's experiences as a refugee, and the narrative details and the characters' relationships ring true. MG

Markey, Kevin The Super Sluggers: Wall Ball 184 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper isbn 978-0-06-115221-4 $15.99

(4) When last seen, the Rambletown Rounders were battling a heat wave and their best slugger's batting slump. This time, the problem is snow in April. Heavy on hyperbole and flirting with magic reatism, Markey's sports writing will appeal to readers who like their baseball leavened with malarkey The romp is as much fun-and as insubstantial-as a box of Cracker Jack. MLB

Marsden, Carolyn Take Me with You 167 pp. Candlewick isbn 978-0-7636-3739-2 $14.99

(3) Pina and Susanna, eleven, both live in a home for abandoned children outside of Naples. Biracial Susanna is sure that beautiful blond Pina will be adopted first. When Susanna's birth father appears unexpectedly, the girls' friendship is tested. Marsden's incisive prose spares no emotional moment; alternating points of view aUow each girl's experience equal time in this moving story. Glos. HRB

Martin, Ann M. The Summer Before 215 pp. Scholastic isbn 978-0-545-16093-3 $16.99

(4) Baby-sitters Club series. A prequel to the long-running series, this book foUows Kristy, Mary Anne, Claudia, and Stacey before they create their weU-known club. Pre-teens unfamitiar with the series wiU be drawn in to the entertaining, if predictable, tale of friends trying to grow up but not apart. Longtime fans wiU enjoy this glimpse at favorite characters' origins. EJM

Mass, Wendy Finally 299 pp. Scholastic isbn 978-0-545-05242-9 $16.99

(3) Having Uved a sheltered Ufe, Rory can't wait to turn twelve when she can do things like wear makeup, get a ceU phone, and stay home alone. However, when the big day arrives, she realizes that getting older may not be aU she thought it would be. Tweens wiU relate to Rory's insecurities as she faces a new year of challenges. ACB

McCaughrean, Géraldine The Death-Defying Pepper Roux 328 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-183665-7 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-06-183666-4 $17.89

(2) McCaughrean's yarn is a wildly improbable but thoroughly entertaining one. Pepper Roux's aunt has predicted that he wiU not Uve past his fourteenth birthday. When the dreaded day arrives and Pepper finds himseU very much ative, he embarks on a madcap adventure in an effort to cheat death. A picaresque tale from one of the more remarkable novetists writing for children. Review 1/10. JH

McGrath, Alister Chosen Ones 202 pp. Zonderkidz isbn 978-0-310-71812-3 $14.99

(5) Illustrated by Voytek Nowakowski. Aedyn Chronicles series. Peter and JuUa, visiting their grandparents in Oxford, enter a mysterious garden that leads them into a different world. There they are tasked with freeing the oppressed peoples who wiU then await the Anointed One. This preachy Narnia rip-off, heavy on religious proselytizing, may appeal to middle-grade readers looking for Christianthemed adventures. Occasional dark and amateurish pictures Ulustrate the scenes. TB

McKay, Hilary Wishing for Tomorrow 273 pp. McElderry isbn 978-1-4424-0169-3 $16.99

(2) Illustrated by Nick Maland. In this "sequel" to A Little Princess, McKay makes a vatiant effort to set her book in the same black-and-white universe as Burnett's, but soon we're happily inhabiting McKayland, where everyone is human and therefore sympathetic. Although written out of love for a favorite classic, this book is less for Little Princess fans and more for devotees of the openhearted, endlessly forgiving McKay. Review 1/10. RS

McNamee, Eoin The Ring of Five 346 pp. Random/Lamb isbn 978-0-385-73731-9 $16.99 LE ISBN 978-0-385-90658-6 $19.99

(4) During his first term at Wilsons, a school for spies, Danny Caulfield is recruited to infiltrate the enemy and uncover its plot for world domination. As the school's only hope, Danny struggles between loyalty and power, thus questioning whose side he's reaUy on. This accessible fantasy starts slowly, but as the action unfolds it builds momentum. LB

Mebus, Scott Gods of Manhattan: The Sorcerer's Secret 371 pp. Dutton isbn 978-0-525-42240-2 $17.99

(4) Mebus brings his trUogy to a close, sending thirteenyear-old Rory, his incorrigible sister Bridget, and their improbable crew of magical roaches, Munsee Indians, and ghostly historical figures on an Odyssey across all five boroughs of New York. As usual, the welter of characters and overlapping time frames are confusing; fans will be eager to see how it aU ends. MLB

Messer, Stephen Windblowne 293 pp. Random isbn 978-0-375-86915-6 $16.99

(4) A kite carries Oliver from his hometown of Windblowne to the Windblowne of other worlds. There he meets other, less-naive versions of himself and of his mysterious great-uncle GUbert, who created the kite - and a great deal more. It's a lot to keep straight; nevertheless, the story, as contemplative as it is adventurous, suits minds that enjoy bending. SF

Milford, Kate The Boneshaker 375 pp. Clarion isbn 978-0-547-24187-6 $17.00

(3) Illustrated by Andrea Offermann. Sinister Dr. Jake Limberleg arrives in Arcane, Missouri, in 1913 with strange tonics and stranger machines. Only thirteen-year-old Natatie can stop the evil he plans to unleash upon the town in this unpredictable tale of how a plucky girl comes to look the devil in the eye. Sketchlike pen-and-ink illustrations with captions and a spindly font add to the book's oldtimey feel. SF

Millard, Glenda Lay la, Queen of Hearts 119 pp. Farrar isbn 978-0-374-34360-6 $16.99

(3) Illustrated by Patrice Barton. In this sequel to The Naming of Tishkin Silk, Millard continues to foUow the stories of Layla and the Silks as they deal with the ups and downs of life. Here, Layla searches for an elderly companion to bring to her school's Senior Citizens' Day She strikes up a friendship with Miss Amelie, who has memory troubles. A touching tale of intergenerational friendship. PIH

Milway, Alex The Mousehunter: The Curse of Mousebeard 354 pp. Little isbn 978-0-316-07744-6 $15.99

(3) In this sequel to The Mousehunter, a message left by a murdered friend leads Emiline and company to a mythical lost land. There they hope to unravel the curse that keeps Captain Mousebeard bound to the sea. Cannonballs, perUous ctiffs, and ancient treasure combine to give readers a swashbuckling good story. NLH

Mitton, Tony The Storyteller's Secrets

125 pp. Random/ Fielding ISBN 978-0-385-75190-2 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-75191-9 $18.99

(3) Illustrated by Peter Bailey. Twins Toby and Tess share their lunch with an old man named TeUer; in return he spins them a story in rhyme. Over subsequent meetings, the bearded man (eventually revealed as Merlin) tells the children four more tales knit together by prose. Old-fashionedlooking silhouettes and black-and-white line drawings iUustrate the weU-designed volume, CLS

Mone, Gregory Fish

246 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-11632-9 $16.99

(3) Irish country boy Fish, who earned his nickname from his swimming abitity, is sent to the city to earn money for his famüy; inadvertently, he joins a pirate crew. Fish's wUlingness to learn and work hard puts him in good stead, but his unwillingness to fight may be a problem. An entertaining mix of adventure, treasure hunting, and danger, BLM

Montalbano, Andrea Breakaway

202 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25215-0 $16.99

(4) Aiming to instruct on soccer and life, this story foUows LUy, who beUeves she's the best player on her team. When Coach benches her during the crucial playoff series, she predictably learns her lesson and helps fashion a squad that sticks together. Readers may learn from LUy's mistakes, recognizing her bad attitude before she does, NLH

Mooy, John Once upon a Small Town

88 pp. EDCO ISBN 978-0-9798088-3-8 $15.95

(5) IUustrated by Wendy Anderson Halperin. Blake interviews residents of his smaU town for a school project about Jimmy, a well-loved, developmentally disabled local. Each story is an example of how the community includes and accepts Jimmy, despite his deferences. Featuring warm pencU iUustrations, Mooy's tale about kindness and acceptance is hampered by a contrived plot and two-dimensional characters. LB

Moss, Marissa Amelia's Cr oss-My -Heart, Hope-toDie Guide to the Real, True You!

64 pp. Simon/Wiseman ISBN 978-1-4169-8710-9 $9.99

(4) When criticism from an enemy hits home, AmeUa writes a series of quizzes to help herself understand what kind of person she is. The handwritten notebook-style text, with AmeUa's cartoon iUustrations and comments in the margin, warmly conveys her dUfident but strengthening middleschool voice. Too many quizzes interrupt the story, but readers may enjoy testing themselves alongside Amelia. ALB

Mull, Brandon Fablehaven: Keys to the Demon Prison

594 pp. Shadow ISBN 978-1-60641-042-4 $21.99

(4) If the forces of evU open the demon prison Zzyzx, the world wiU be destroyed; it's up to Kendra, Seth, and their alties to stop that from happening. Sounds famitiar, but Mull skiUfuUy balances most of the elements of his Fablehaven series ender - quests, betrayals, hair-raising escapes, humor, pathos, a Utile romance, and a cataclysmic final battle, ABZ

Myracle, Lauren Thirteen Plus One

290 pp. Dutton ISBN 978-0-525-42222-8 $16.99

(4) This fourth book about Winnie (Eleven, Twelve, Thirteen) covers the end of her eighth-grade year and the summer before high school. Winnie struggles with typical issues surrounding friends, school, and boyfriends. Her seUabsorption and adolescent angst are believable, but Winnie's friends and family members remain little more than types, MVK

Naylor, Phyllis Reynolds Emily's Fortune

148 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73616-9 $14.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90589-3 $17.99

(3) Illustrated by Ross Collins. After her mother's death, Emily musters up the courage to make the stagecoach trip to her Aunt HUda's, dodging an evU uncle and the Catchum ChUd Catching Services along the way. Written in a comically overblown style, this tale wiU keep readers turning pages to find out, "How in flippin' flapjacks wUl Emily outsmart Uncle Victor?" LCF

Nesbo, Jo Doctor Proctor's Fart Powder

265 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-7972-2 $14.99

(3) Illustrated by Mike Lowery. PubUshed faU 2009. Nilly's famüy moves next door to Dr. Proctor, an eccentric professor who invents a fart powder capable of sending people into space. But when Nilly discovers a plot to steal the powder, he and his friend Lisa must act to protect the professor and his invention. Striking a good balance between wit and absurdity, the text echoes the bizarre and hUarious world of Roald Dahl, DE

Newbery, Linda Flightsend

242 pp. Random/ Fielding ISBN 978-0-385-75203-9 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-75205-3 $18.99

(3) CharUe's mother has a breakdown foUowing the stillborn birth of her baby and the end of a serious relationship. CharUe struggles to make sense of the drastic changes in her Ufe, but whUe trying to help her mother cope she also makes some interesting discoveries about herseU. This weUwritten story offers insight into the mother-daughter relationship. ACB

Newsome, Richard The Billionaire's Curse

344 pp. HarperCollins/Walden Pond

ISBN 978-0-06-194490-1 $16.99

(3) Illustrated by Jonny Duddle. Archer Legacy series. A great-aunt Gerald never met leaves him twenty billion pounds and a note telling him to find her murderer. Threats from greedy strangers put Gerald on a search for a diamond casket whose importance he doesn't understand. The story's climax portends more mystery in later volumes. Gerald functions weU as a normal kid mystified by his circumstances. SF

Nimmo, Jenny Charlie Bone and the Red Knight

466 pp. Scholastic/Orchard ISBN 978-0-439-84672-1 $12.99

(5) ChUdren of the Red King series. With Count Harken of Badlock returning to plunge the city into the past, Charlie and the other magicaUy endowed children work together to stop him. OUvia's enchanted vest turns her bad; Dagbert's completed famüy curse turns him good. Inconsequential subplots don't add up to a narrative arc in this eighth and final installment of the popular series, ALB

Nix, Garth Lord Sunday

317 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-439-70090-0 $17.99

(3) Keys to the Kingdom series. Everything comes to a head in this final series entry in which Arthur struggles with his newly acquired power whUe battling Lord Sunday. MeanwhUe, Suzy and Leaf, on their own paths, face additional chaUenges. As with earUer series entries, the action is very fast paced in a world replete with intriguing magical devices. TB

Nykko Book Four: The Calling

49 pp. Lerner LE ISBN 978-0-7613-6068-1 $27.93

PE ISBN 978-0-7613-6069-8 $6.95

(4) Translated by Carol KUo BurreU. Ulustrated by Bannister and Jaffré. Graphic Universe: The Elsewhere Chronicles series. In this fourth series installment, Rebecca has contracted a terminal illness and needs to return to the magical world of Elsewhere. A ghostly figure brings her the strength go back, but is she being led into a trap? Though some plot elements aren't entirely convincing, the dramaticaUy colored iUustrations help buUd suspense. BLM

O'Hearn, Kate Elspeth

303 pp. Kane/Miller ISBN 978-1-935279-18-1 $16.99

(3) Shadow of the Dragon series. When her famüy of renegades attempts to fly through time to escape the tyrannical Lord Dorcon, young Elspeth ends up divided from the group with only her dragon and fox to aid her. How can she and her famüy end the reign of King Arden U they are separated by centuries? This fast-paced, action-packed fantasy adventure is told from Elspeth's and her sister's perspectives. RLH

Oram, Hiawyn My Unwilling Witch Gets a Makeover

87 pp. Little ISBN 978-0-316-03462-3 $7.99

(3) Illustrated by Sarah Warburton. Rumblewick's Diary series. In this fourth series installment, disobethent witch Haggy Aggy commands her exasperated cat sidekick Rumblewick to find the "best makeover artist in the galaxy" so she can become a supermodel. But first Rumblewick must face the High Hags about HA's overspending (due to an aUpink shopping spree). Humorous black-and-white illustrations complement Rumblewick's comical inner thoughts, LB

Orlev, Uri The Song of the Whales

108 pp. Houghton ISBN 978-0-547-25752-5 $16.00

(4) Translated by Hillel Halkin. Michael (or Mikha'el, as he's caUed in Israel) moves with his parents from New York to Jerusalem to be near his grandfather. There he learns that his grandfather has the abiUty to bring people into his dreams. While the magic realism of the dream world is evocatively drawn, the noveUa may be too quiet to engage many readers, CMH

Palmer, Robin Yours Truly, Lucy B. Parker: Girl vs. Superstar

215 pp. Putnam ISBN 978-0-399-25489-5 $15.99

(4) Being "friend-dumped" in sixth grade is bad enough, but when Lucy's mom starts dating young starlet Laurel's dad, Lucy despairs. How can she ever measure up to the most popular teen in the world as her new stepsister? Some notes of preteen angst are just right, but details like a gradewide first period log feel as contrived as the trendy plot. SH

Paratore, Coleen Murtagh Sweet and Sunny

181 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-07582-4 $16.99

(4) Though her father is in jaU and her mother lost her job, Sunny (Sunny Holiday) remains positive. As junior deputy mayor of her town, Sunny works to create a new holiday, Kid's Day, and makes sure the concerns of her neighbors and her school get heard. Sunny's likability helps overcome the meager plot and heavy-handed message of optimism even in bleak circumstances, AMM

Parker, Jake Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher

172 pp. Scholastic/Graphix ISBN 978-0-545-11714-2 $21.99

PE ISBN 978-0-545-11715-9 $10.99

(3) MissUe Mouse, agent for the Galactic Security Agency, is sent on a mission to rescue a brilliant scientist with knowledge of a doomsday weapon. This graphic novel's dramatic fight sequences and space battles are depicted crisply and with a touch of humor; readers will root for the diminutive Missile Mouse to overcome his larger extraterrestrial opponents and save the day. BLM

Patt, Beverly Best Friends Forever: A World War II Scrapbook

92 pp. Cavendish ISBN 978-0-7614-5577-6 $17.99

(3) Illustrated by Shula Ktinger. At fourteen, Dottie and Louise pledge "U R 2 Good + 2 B = 4 Gotten" after Pearl Harbor is bombed and Dottie's Japanese American family is relocated to an internment camp. A scrapbook-style coUection of the girls' letters, newspaper dippings, photos, and drawings gives readers insight into the pair's friendship, Japanese customs, wartime life, and popular 1940s culture. Bib. NLH

Paulsen, Gary Lawn Boy Returns

103 pp. Random/ Lamb ISBN 978-0-385-74662-5 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90899-3 $15.99

(2) The twelve-year-old narrator from Lawn Boy has developed an entourage; additionally, the prizefighter he manages has attracted a long-lost cousin who's clearly up to no good. Our hero needs to simplify, a task easier said than done. Paulsen's humorous, satirical, and fast-moving narrative is just the thing for readers looking for a quick fix. Review 7/10. BC

Paver, Michelle Ghost Hunter

294 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen ISBN 978-0-06-072840-3 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-072841-0 $17.89

(3) Chronicles of Ancient Darkness series. Torak goes in search of Eostra, the evU Eagle Owl Mage. On his travels he learns more about his past and about the power of friendship, ultimately confronting Eostra with help from unexpected alties. Paver again depicts a detaUed and imaginative prehistoric human/animal culture in this dramatic conclusion to the series, BLM

Peirce, Lincoln Big Nate: In a Class by Himself

216 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-194434-5 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-194435-2 $14.89

(1) Sixth grader Big Nate (from the syndicated cartoon strip) is convinced that he's destined for greatness - but he seems destined for trouble. Nate's voice, at once sarcastic and optimistic, captures this goofy, awkward time. There's so much to like here - illustrations or cartoon panels on every page, fast-paced trouble for our hero, and laugh-outloud commentary on the day-to-day monotony of school. Review 7/10. R. SMITH

Perkins, Lynne Rae As Easy as Falling Off the Face of the Earth

354 pp. Greenwillow ISBN 978-0-06-187090-3 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-187091-0 $17.89

(1) On his way to summer camp, fifteen-year-old Ry discovers that the camp has gone out of business; when he hops off the train to caU his grandfather, it leaves without him, stranding him in the middle of nowhere. A lot happens in the novel - parents, grandfathers, and dogs go MIA - and wherever Perkins's warm, funny, wise narrative goes is where a reader wants to be. Review 5/10. CMH

Pinkwater, Daniel Adventures of a CatWhiskered Girl

268 pp. Houghton ISBN 978-0-547-22324-7 $16.00

(2) Illustrated by Calef Brown. Pinkwater foUows Big Audrey, the cat-whiskered girl (The Neddiad, The Yggyssey) to Poughkeepsie. She makes new friends and solves a mystery of a girl who looks exactly like her. Pinkwater 's complex setup for his punch tine is vintage. He still teases us with a barrage of references, but the tone of this offering is less hectic and more wistful than its predecessors. Review 5/10. SE

Pogue, David Abby Camelia's One & Only Magical Power

277 pp. Roaring Brook ISBN 978-1-59643-384-7 $15.99

(3) Abby's magical power seems pointless: she can spin a hard-boUed egg by tugging on her ears. Her summer stint at a magic camp shows she's not the only one with a random supernatural skill, nor the only one wanting to understand it better. In this quirky fantasy, readers wiU be pulling for Abby and her crew as they uncover a surprising conspiracy. EJM

Prineas, Sarah Found

360 pp. HarperCollins ISBN 978-0-06-137593-4 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-137594-1 $17.89

(4) Illustrated by Antonio Javier Caparo. Magic Thief series. Young wizard Conn can't convince the other magisters that the city's tiving magic is under attack, but his journey will provide aU the proof he needs. Erratic characterization muddies this action-heavy third installment, but a satisfying resolution moves the series forward. Letters, diary entries, spot art, recipes, a table of runes, and guides to characters and places are included, ALB

Promitzer, Rebecca The Pickle King

408 pp. Scholastic/Chicken House

ISBN 978-0-545-17087-1 $17.99

(4) The rainy town of Elbow holds a dark secret, as elevenyear-old Bea and her ragtag summer friends discover after finding a local celebrity dead and missing an eyeball. Through a convoluted, If entertaining, set of Scooby-Dooesque plot twists, Bea's gang unmasks a Frankenstein-tike villain who has been using the town's citizens for his own nefarious purposes, de

Railsback, Lisa Betti on the High Wire

288 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3388-6 $16.99

(3) Telling fantasy stories to the other "leftover" chUdren in her unnamed war-torn country helps ten-year-old Babo cope with the poverty, hunger, and danger she deals with daily But when an American family adopts her as "Betti," she's not sure her new comforts are worth losing her homeland. The deferences between Betti's real and fantasy lives provide insight about her situation. CJ

Railsback, Lisa Noonie's Masterpiece

208 pp. Chronicle ISBN 978-0-8118-6654-5 $18.99

(4) Illustrated by Sarajo Frieden. Noonie is an exuberant ten-year-old who feels lonely foUowing her mother's death and her archaeologist father's absence. Relating to other tortured artists - van Gogh, Kahlo, O'Keeffe, etc. - she indulges in attention-grabbing, stereotypical artist fantasies. Noonie's observations about herself occasionaUy sound too mature for her years, but she is a sympathetic character. The pages are splashed with colorful pen, ink, and watercolor drawings, PMC

Resau, Laura Star in the Forest

151 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73792-0 $14.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90700-2 $17.99

(2) When her illegal-immigrant father is deported back to Mexico, eleven-year-old Zitlally withdraws. She slowly buUds trust with outcast Crystal and with a pathetic chained-up dog that she names Star. This novel's topic, unusuaUy gritty for its second- to fifth-grade audience, springs from situations that illegal immigrants face daily. Resau gives her protagonist a lyrical voice and outlook. An author's note is included. Glos. Review 3/10. SDL

Rhuday-Perkovich, Olugbemisola 8th Grade Super Zero

330 pp. Scholastic/Levine ISBN 978-0-545-09676-8 $16.99

(4) As perennial loser Reggie McKnight gets involved in the school elections, he must also juggle his other commitments: his home life, the church youth group, the homeless shelter, and the big buddy program. The unwieldy length and some weak characterizations are offset by the novel's strengths: a likable protagonist, a positive message, and a nuanced exploration of spirituaUty and reUgion. JH

Riordan, Rick The Red Pyramid

516 pp. Hyperion isbn 978-1-4231-1338-6 $17.99

(2) Kane Chronicles series. Carter and Sadie's father is a magician and descendant of the pharaohs; he disappears after a faUed speU summons five gods into the mortal world. Fleeing assassination orders, the brother and sister begin to discover their own powers. The book's action hits its stride in the second chapter and never lets up. Narrators Carter and Sadie are nicely individuated with honest, compelling voices. Review 7/10. ALB

Ritter, Lukas Monster Slayers

250 pp. Wizards/ Mirrorstone ISBN 978-0-7869-5484-1 $9.95

(5) Evin and Jorick are planning to go adventuring when monsters destroy their village. This launches them on a quest to save their famiUes, bringing them into contact with an elf girl wizard, a witch, and various monsters. The story moves quickly, but it's driving a plot that seems aimless. TB

Roberts, Laura Peyton Green

263 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73558-2 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90543-5 $19.99

(3) Lily's late grandmother's key arrives in an exploding birthday package, and then things reaUy get strange. Leprechauns drag Lily to the Meadows, where she learns of her destiny to take her grandmother's place as keeper of the clan's gold. Lily must use aU her cunning to accompUsh the tasks necessary to claim her title and return home. This is a compellingly unpredictable read. SF

Russell, Rachel Renée Tales from a Not-So-Popular Party Girl

280 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-8008-7 $12.99

(4) Dork Diaries series. In her second book, seU-professed dork Nikki MaxweU must save her middle school's Halloween dance after mean-girl MacKenzie tries to sabotage the party and stick Nikki with the blame. Nikki's social fiascoes - while not the most original or logical - are funny and fast paced. As in the first book, her diary entries are fuU of exclamation points, smiley faces, and smart illustrations. MLJ

Rutkoski, Marie The Celestial Globe

296 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-31027-1 $16.99

(3) Kronos Chronicles series. Desperate to rescue her father from cruel Prince Rodo Uo, headstrong Petra Kronos (The Cabinet of Wonders) is herseU held prisoner as the ward of English spymaster and magician John Dee. Before he'll release her, she must solve the murder of a man rumored to possess the mysterious Celestial Globe. Strong characterizations and a lively action-adventure plot propel this Elizabethan fantasy-mystery ALB

Ryan, Pam Muñoz The Dreamer

373 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-439-26970-4 $17.99

(1) Illustrated by Peter Sis. Perfect is the union that resulted in this novel: the subject, Chilean poet Pablo Neruda (1904-73); author Ryan who re-creates Neruda's spirit and sensibility; and the Czech-born illustrator Sis whose escape from oppression so hauntingly resembles Neruda's struggle for creative freedom. Sis's introspective, emotion-charged drawings spring naturally from this lyrical account of a difficult childhood. An author's note and several Neruda poems are appended. Review 3/10. JRL

St. John, Lauren The Elephant's Tale

227 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3291-9 $16.99

(4) The future of Sawubona Game Reserve is at stake in Martine's fourth and final story. This time her adventure includes saving wUd elephants whUe fighting people trying to take over Namibia's water supply. Though Martine continues to be a compelling protagonist, the final explanation of her gift, hinted at throughout the series, is something of a letdown, LAL

Salisbury, Graham Dog Heaven

151 pp. Random/Lamb ISBN 978-0-385-73703-6 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90641-8 $15.99

(3) IUustrated by Jacqueline Rogers. Calvin Coconut series. Fourth grader Calvin must write an essay on the subject "What I Want So Badly I Can Taste It." What Calvin wants is a dog, but sixteen-year-old houseguest SteUa, aUergic to cats, insists she's aUergic to dogs, too. SaUsbury's Hawaiian setting and characters gain depth and interest with each series entry; Rogers's illustrations match the lighthearted but heartfelt tone of the engaging text, JMB

Schlitz, Laura Amy The Night Fairy

121 pp. Candlewick ISBN 978-0-7636-3674-6 $16.99

(2) Illustrated by Angela Barrett. After nearly being eaten by a bat and left flightless, young night fairy Flora vows to become a day fairy and avoid bats altogether. Schlitz explores Flora's moral development, magical spells, and cleverness as she learns to wield a dagger, sting predators with her mind, and make friends with squirrels and hummingbirds. Minpins and Stellaluna fans wiU enjoy Flora's wit and derring-do. Review 3/10. R. SMITH

Schroeder, Lisa It's Raining Cupcakes

193 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-9084-0 $15.99

(3) Precocious and likable Isabel dreams of traveling the world, but for now she's stuck in Oregon, where her motivation-chaUenged mother is opening a bakery. Isabel's summer quickly fills up as she baby-sits, gets to know her new neighbors, and works on an entry for a kids' baking contest. The hopeful ending is as sweet as the descriptions of baked goods, AMM

Scieszka, Jon SPHDZ Book #1!

164 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-7951-7 $14.99

(4) With Francesco Sedita. Illustrated by Shane Prigmore. Spaceheadz series. Michael K. tries to stay away from the other new-kid fifth graders Bob and Jennifer - especiaUy after they reveal they're atiens who "need to get three point one four miltion and one Earth persons to become SPHDZ" or Earth will be "turned off." The zany iUustrations and kinetic design strive a little too much for quirkiness; nonetheless this series-starter is a comical, high-energy read. CP

Selfors, Suzanne Smells like Dog

360 pp. Little ISBN 978-0-316-04398-4 $15.99

(4) Homer dreams of adventure beyond his farm duties. This wish comes true after his explorer-uncle, who is eaten by a tortoise, bequeaths his dog to Homer. With his sister, Homer must outwit the villainous museum director who may really have murdered Homer's uncle for secret treasure. The narrative can be unwieldy, but the silly premise allows for some entertaining moments, DE

Sensel, Joni The Timekeeper's Moon

340 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-457-3 $16.99

(3) In this sequel to The Farwalker's Quest, Ariel is once again caUed to journey through her post-technological fantasy world. FoUowing the moon and a waterfaU caUed Timekeeper teaches Ariel about the nature of time; the relationships she develops teach her about growing up. Sensel balances adventure and character development for a weUrounded story. SF

Senzai, N. H. Shooting Kabul

262 pp. Simon/Wiseman ISBN 978-1-4424-0194-5 $16.99

(4) Fadi's family flees from Kabul, Afghanistan, to Fremont, California, in 2001. His six-year-old sister, Mariam, is left behind during their escape, for which Fadi wrongly feels responsible. He enters a photography contest to win a plane ticket to Peshawar so he can try to track down Mariam. The story is timely, but coincidences in the plot lessen its betievabUity. Reading list, websites. Glos, MG

Service, Pamela F. Alien Encounter

151 pp. Carolrhoda ISBN 978-0-8225-8873-3 $16.95

(4) Illustrated by Mike Gorman. AUen Agent series. More alien assignments await Zack in this fourth series installment. This time he's, fittingly, off to Roswell, New Mexico, to locate a young alien who's searching for his father, a suspected survivor of the Roswell crash. Danger mounts when Zack's own father is kidnapped. Similar to its predecessors in plotting and humor (sometimes forced), this volume remains tight, intergalactic fun. EJM

Sheinmel, Courtney Sincerely: Sincerely, Sophie & Sincerely, Katie

392 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-4010-4 $15.99

(4) Composed of two linked novels, this volume chronicles the friendship between sixth-grade pen pals Sophie (in New York) and Katie (in California). The girls meet individual chaUenges involving such trials as famil problems, jealousy, and personal responsibility. Though it can be telling to read about events from both girls' perspectives, the letters too often merely rehash the stories already recounted, NCP

Sheth, Kashmira Boys Without Names

316 pp. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

ISBN 978-0-06-185760-7 $15.99

(3) Eleven-year-old Gopal and his family hope moving from the country to Mumbai wiU save them from starvation; unfortunately, their misfortunes only intensify. Gopal is sold into chUd labor, spending grueling hours making picture frames. But as he befriends other workers and begins telling his kahanis (stories) he buUds both his selfworth and plans for freedom. Sheth's unique voice is as compelling as her characters. Websites. Glos. KC

Shiga, Jason Meanwhile: Pick Any Path: 3,856 Story Possibilities

80 pp. Abrams/ Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8423-3 $15.95

(3) An amped-up Choose-Your-Own-Adventure tale, Shiga's amazingly complex graphic novel begins with a boy ordering ice cream. Chocolate or vanilla? After readers pick a flavor, they foUow a tube to connecting frames on page after page. As readers make more choices, they create their own story (or stories) involving a scientist and his inventions. It's an involving reading experience - and dizzyingly fun. BLM

Shimko, Bonnie The Private Thoughts of Amelia E. Rye

235 pp. Farrar ISBN 978-0-374-36131-0 $16.99

(3) Growing up in the 1960s, Ametia Earhart Rye is awkward and friendless until Fancy Nelson, the first African American girl Ametia has met, sweeps into her smaU upstate New York town. Fancy gives Ametia the confidence to deal with bulties, her neglectful mother, and the mystery of her absent father. Amelia's wry narration buoys readers through to a perfectly imperfect conclusion. HRB

Simmons, Jane Beryl: A Pig's Tale

216 pp. Little ISBN 978-0-316-04410-3 $14.99

(4) Animal Farm meets Charlotte's Web: a piglet escapes a grim factory farm, finds refuge with a band of rule-bound wUd pigs, then joins a splinter group whose eventful exodus concludes in an idyltic inter-animal community. The author's expressive, atmospheric iUustrations convey emotions more effectively than her overly explanatory text. An easUy read, rather dark adventure, JRL

Sinden, David, Matthew Morgan, and Guy Macdonald The Jungle Vampire

204 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-8652-2 $9.99

(3) Illustrated by Jonny Duddle. Awfully Beastly Business series. PubUshed faU 2009. Ulf the werewolf and his beast friends journey to the jungle to complete one of the late Professor Farraway's quests: searching for a vampire. But Baron Marackai has no intention of letting them succeed-or letting the vampire survive. As usual, the series balances dark situations with absurdity. Angular pen-and-ink iUustrations play up the story's humor. SF

Skelton, Matthew The Story of Cirrus Flux

289 pp. Delacorte ISBN 978-0-385-73381-6 $17.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-90398-1 $20.99

(2) In eighteenth-century London, orphan Cirrus Flux inherits a sphere containing the Breath of God. His instincts for self-preservation kick in when mysterious strangers come calling. Help from an unlikely pair sees him through the plot's entanglements (the presence of so many dangling threads may portend a sequel). Skelton's storytelling - plot, characters, setting - is executed at a high level, and the prose is accompUshed. Review 5/10. JH

Sonnenblick, Jordan After Ever After

260 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-439-83706-4 $16.99

(2) Jeffrey (Drums, Girls, and Dangerous Pie) has been cancerfree for over five years, but that doesn't mean life is perfect. SonnenbUck explores the emotional and physical aftermath of chUdhood cancer with a sensitive but light touch, offering thought-provoking detaUs but keeping the action anchored in family dynamics, first-girlfriend drama, and best friend Tad's irascible, tell-it-like-it-is personaUty. Review 3/10. CG

Sonnenblick, Jordan Dodger for Sale

165 pp. Feiwel ISBN 978-0-312-37795-3 $16.99

(4) Willie and Lizzie, with help from magical blue chimpanzee Dodger, convince their whole town to help save Dodger's special woods. The humor is spotty at times, and newcomers to the Dodger books (this is the third) may struggle to beUeve the not-so-logical fantasy elements. The relationships among Wille, Utile sister Amy, and Lizzie are realistically drawn, LAL

Soup, Cuthbert A Whole Nother Story

264 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-435-1 $16.99

(4) Illustrated by Jeffrey Stewart Timmins. PubUshed fall 2009. This volume follows an inventor, his three children, and their psychic hairless dog as they run away from bad guys trying to steal Dad's latest invention, a time machine. An unapologeticaUy intrusive narrator (à la Lemony Snicket) relates events. Though the author's pontificating is rarely as funny or insightful, Snicket fans craving something similar might enjoy this adventure, CMH

Sparkes, Ali Frozen in Time

312 pp. Egmont ISBN 978-1-60684-077-1 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-1-60684-098-6 $18.99

(3) Ben and Rachel unearth their cryogenicaUy frozen young relatives (mostly well preserved); much gosh!-ing ensues about the deferences between 1956 and 2010. What starts as an amusing study in contrasts becomes a highstakes mystery involving the Soviets and the whereabouts of beloved scientists from both eras. This fast-paced story wiU draw in fans of throwback sci-fi. SF

Spinelli, Eileen The Dancing Pancake

248 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-85870-3 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95870-0 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Joanne Lew-Vriethoff. After Bindi's dad moves out, she and her mom move on as well - into an apartment and a new business venture: The Dancing Pancake. In clear, honest free-verse poems, Bindi narrates her adjustment to living above a diner that has its batches of bad batter along with its sunny-sides-up. Thin Une drawings reflect the in-progress feel of the family's life. SF

Springer, Nancy The Case of the Gypsy Good-Bye: An Enola Holmes Mystery

166 pp. Philomel isbn 978-0-399-25236-5 $14.99

(2) True to her previous adventures, Enola (Sherlock's sister) uncovers multiple social injustices lurking beneath the pomp of Victorian England. Enola, the quintessential spunky heroine, navigates the historical setting with the pluck of Nancy Drew but within the constraints of her upbringing. Springer takes time with her conclusion, letting this final series installment play out weU and wrap up loose ends. Review 7/10. BC

The Spy in the Bleachers

117 pp. Whitman ISBN 978-0-8075-7606-9 $14.99

PE ISBN 978-0-8075-7607-6 $4.99

Superstar Watch

98 pp. Whitman ISBN 978-0-8075-7667-0 $14.99

PE ISBN 978-0-8075-7668-7 $4.99

(5) Created by Gertrude Chandler Warner. Illustrated by Robert Papp. Boxcar Children Mysteries series. Published faU 2009. The Alden children solve two new mysteries. In Spy they attend a basebaU championship series and discover who is stealing the pitcher's signals. In Superstar they figure out that a talent search for a dog food commercial is rigged in favor of the owner's pet. Both mysteries are simplistic and predictable but may appeal to die-hard fans of the original series, MVK

Spykman, E. C. Terrible, Horrible Edie

224 pp. NYRB ISBN 978-1-59017-353-4 $16.95

(2) Reissue (1960, Harcourt). Spykman here focuses on tenyear-old Edie, the youngest of the Cares children (A Lemon and a Star; Wild Angel). Her summer activities at the shore with her siblings swing from hazardous sailing to quieter, home-based adventures. Edie makes an admirable earlytwentieth-century heroine, with strong-willed purpose and a compulsion for tiving dangerously. Review 6/60.

Starke, Ruth Noodle Pie

189 pp. Kane/Miller ISBN 978-1-935279-25-9 $15.99

(4) Andy's dad is returning to Vietnam for the first time since fleeing as a refugee. Andy is also going, and from the moment the plane sets down, it's culture shock. Andy's stock reactions to the differences between Austratia and Vietnam sometimes seem contrived (he's very concerned about hygiene), but most of the cultural differences and the family dynamic seem authentic, LCF

Stauffacher, Sue Gator on the Loose!

154 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-85847-5 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95847-2 $15.99

(2) Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont. Animal Rescue Team series. Ten-year-old Keisha's family runs an urban animal rescue shelter. When a two-year-old alligator is found in the local pool, Keisha and her father use their knowledge of reptile behavior to catch it. Lots of facts are peppered throughout the story, and the characters, especially Keisha's Nigerian-born mom, are richly described. Review 5/10. R. SMITH

Stevermer, Caroline Magic Below Stairs

202 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3467-8 $16.99

(3) Orphan Frederick is chosen to become a "below stairs" servant for a wizard. Frederick unknowingly brings along some magic of his own in the form of a protective brownie. Mystical conflicts and curses mixed with brave characters make a clever and exciting story that will engage young fantasy fans, EJM

Stewart, Paul, and Chris Riddell Legion of the Dead

225 pp. Random/ Fielding ISBN 978-0-385-75131-5 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-75132-2 $19.99

Stewart, Paul, and Chris Riddell Phantom of Blood Alley

202 pp. Random/ Fickling ISBN 978-0-385-75134-6 $16.99

LE ISBN 978-0-385-75135-3 $19.99

(4) Illustrated by Chris RiddeU. Barnaby Grimes series. In Dead, tick-tock lad Barnaby finds himself fighting against an uprising of dead soldiers back for revenge. In Alley, he follows a murder trau only to learn that nothing about the case is as it seems. Both gory thrillers begin right in the middle of the action, with gruesome full-page drawings enhancing the frightening alternate-Victorian atmosphere, AMM

Stone, Jeff Dragon

231 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-83079-2 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-93079-9 $18.99

(4) Five Ancestors series. In this series ender, the Emperor has been kidnapped. It's up to Long, the teenage kung fu master, to try to find him. With his alties - both old and new - Long leads the fight to defeat Tonglong and save the Emperor. While there's plenty of martial arts action, the multitude of characters makes it hard to keep track of who's who and what's what, AMT

Stutz, Eli Pickle Impossible

200 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-464-1 $15.99

(4) Illlustrated by C. B. Canga. Hoping to save the family farm, seemingly average Pierre, with the help of hammy narrator Aurore, detivers his family's pickles to a contest, facing danger at every turn. The story, with its outrageous coincidences and wacky characters, works a little too hard at trying to achieve effortless whimsy. SH

Swinburne, Stephen R. Wiff and Dirty George: The Z.E.B.R.A. Incident

168 pp. Boyds ISBN 978-1-59078-755-7 $17.95

(4) British best friends Wiff and Dirty George (nicknames, thankfully) witness a bizarre event on the tube: a man dressed as a rabbit uses a device to make everyone's pants drop. This is but the first in a long tine of oddities that fill their story. Funny, but perhaps too gratuitously strange (and with too much British slang) for its intended audience, EJM

Sylvester, Kevin Neil Flambé and the Marco Polo Murders

304 pp. Key Porter ISBN 978-1-55470-266-4 $9.95

(4) Neil Flambé Capers series. Fourteen-year-old chef /budding detective Neil Flambé finds himself on the case - and on the hook - when some of the town's best chefs turn up dead. Certain clues from the crime scenes, including apparent ties to Marco Polo, make Neil the most logical choice to solve the mystery. There's lots of humor and intrigue to be found, if the main character's arrogance doesn't task readers' patience, DE

Tarshis, Lauren The Sinking of the Titanic, 1912

101 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-20687-7 $16.99

PE ISBN 978-0-545-20694-5 $4.99

(4) Illustrated by Scott Dawson. I Survived series. George, his sister, and their wealthy aunt saU from England on the illl-fated Titanic. When tragedy strikes, George is separated from family members but, miraculously, aU survive the disaster. Though the events are contrived, reluctant readers may be drawn to this fast-paced book with short, easy-toread chapters. Shadowy black-and-white illustrations add to the text. LBC

Taylor, Sarah Stewart Amelia Earhart: This Broad Ocean

80 pp. Hyperion ISBN 978-1-4231-1337-9 $17.99

(2) Illustrated by Ben Towle. Narrator Grace, who handwrites a newspaper for her smaU Newfoundland town, is riveted by Amelia Earhart. She gets the chance to ask Earhart all about her life when the pUot comes to town. Taylor delivers just the right amount of information in the text. Towle's black, white, and cyan drawings are moody and dramatic, evoking a strong sense of place and time period. Reading list. Bib. Review 5/10. SDL

Toft, Di Wolven

325 pp. Scholastic/Chicken House

ISBN 978-0-545-17109-0 $16.99

(3) Promised a puppy by his grandfather, Nat ends up with an unusual-looking dog - that happens to also be a boy. Woody, a "wolven" shape-shifter, may be the last of his kind, and Nat quickly becomes involved in saving him from a local pack of werewolf scientists - and worse. The story's thrills come fast, accompanied by some obvious but enjoyable humor. LAL

Tooke, Wes Lucky: Maris, Mantle, and My Best Summer Ever

183 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-8663-8 $15.99

(3) Tooke's premise is irresistible, if implausible: a nerdy, unhappy, baseball-crazy boy is able, by fluke, to serve as a Yankee batboy during the season Mantle and Maris race for Babe Ruth's home run record. The fact-based build of tension at the baUpark compensates for a weaker problems-athome subplot. No matter; it's the sports angle that successfuUy drives this story, MLB

Trivas, Tracy The Wish Stealers

283 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-8725-3 $16.99

(4) A mysterious gift of eleven pennies becomes Griffin's curse. Each penny is a wish stolen from a fountain, and Griffin must return the wishes. Until she does, she'll receive the opposite of what she wishes for. The plot is contrived and the moralizing often heavy-handed, but some readers may enjoy wrapping their minds around the premise. SF

Trueit, Trudi Mom, There's a Dinosaur in Beeson's Lake

145 pp. Simon/ Aladdin ISBN 978-1-4169-7593-9 $14.99

(3) Illustrated by Jim Paillot. Secrets of a Lab Rat series. As if dealing with his genius twin sister weren't enough, summer brings new challenges for kid inventor Scab McNally These include avoiding swim lessons and trying to capture the mysterious creature in Beeson's Lake. Scab's humorous first-person voice combines with quirky illustrations and entertaining sidebar boxes (e.g., "Scab's Trick Toe") to make an entertaining boy-geared read, BLM

Twain, Mark The Adventures of Tom Sawyer

241 pp. Sterling ISBN 978-1-4027-6762-3 $19.95

(3) Illustrated by Robert Ingpen. This beautifully designed new edition is just in time for the centenary of Twain's death. Readers familiar with Tom Sawyer's exploits will enjoy revisiting famitiar scenes and characters whUe those new to this beloved classic will laugh aloud as Tom galtivants with Huckleberry Finn and pines after the charming Becky Thatcher. Ingpen's delicate illustrations are full of beauty, magic, and mischief. CP

Ullman, Barb Bentler Whistle Bright Magic: A Nutfolk Tale

214 pp. HarperCollins/ Tegen ISBN 978-0-06-188286-9 $16.99

(4) Set twenty years after The Fairies of Nutfolk Wood, this sequel offers a welcome return to that realm. Zelly doesn't remember her father, but she's sure the answer to his disappearance lies in the forest. There she meets a fairy teen who needs her help. The let's-save-our-fairy-forest-home story line isn't new, but the pair's friendship is sympathetic, NCP

Vail, Rachel Justin Case: School, Drool, and Other Daily Disasters

246 pp. Feiwel ISBN 978-0-312-53290-1 $16.99

(2) Illustrated by Matthew Cordell. Justin shares his thirdgrade year in an illustrated diary of drop-dead funny observations. He reveals his worries, even worrying "about what to worry about," but, predictably, third grade isn't the disaster Justin imagines. The diary format creates multiple starting and stopping places, the characters and situations cover famitiar territory, and the narrative moves at a lively pace. Review 5/10. BC

Vampireology: The True History of the Fallen Ones

32 pp. Candlewick ISBN 978-0-7636-4914-2 $19.99

(3) After a historian's suspicious death, detective Joshua Kraik receives the man's manuscript. His writing includes extensive information on the origins and powers of "The Fallen Ones," plus how to identify and destroy them. Ominous clues emerge from an intriguing collage of letters, pictures, and annotations, some behind flaps, in this weUdesigned volume, KLB

Van Cleve, Kathleen Drizzle

360 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3362-6 $16.99

(3) Eleven-year-old Polly Peabody betieves in the magic on her family's rhubarb farm, complete with enchanted lake. When a mysterious mist grows over the lake, it stops raining, the plants begin to wilt, and her brother becomes ill. Polly must overcome her fears to save her home. A detightfully quirky and original story with enjoyably complex characters. CR

Van Draanen, Wendelin The Power Potion

231 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-84379-2 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-94573-1 $15.99

Van Draanen, Wendelin Sinister Substitute

213 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-84378-5 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-94572-4 $15.99

(4) Illustrated by Stephen Gilpin. Gecko & Sticky series. In Substitute, Dave's least-favorite teacher disappears mysteriously - only to be replaced by the ominously familiar Dr. Schwarz. Potion finds Dave and pet gecko Sticky tasked with detivering a package to dangerous Damien Black. The series continues to blend broad school-based humor with outlandish fantasy plots in winning, if a bit frantic, adventures. NCP

van Eekhout, Greg Kid vs. Squid

196 pp. Bloomsbury ISBN 978-1-59990-489-4 $16.99

(3) Thatcher Hill is staying with his great-uncle - owner of Professor Griswald's Museum of the Strange and Curious and Gift Emporium - in a dumpy California beach town. Soon enough, Thatcher finds himself saving the town from a witch and her army of enchanted sea monsters. The fastpaced adventure is equal parts funny, gross, and far-fetched. Thatcher is the quintessential reluctant hero who rises to the occasion. MVK

Vernon, Ursula Dragonbreath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs

206 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3365-7 $12.99

(4) Young dragon Danny Dragonbreath's second adventure is a little convoluted (like his first). Danny loves ninja movies, and when real ninja frogs appear in pursuit of Suki the salamander, Danny and his pal Wendell (an iguana) come to the rescue. Vernon humorously intersperses main text with cartoon-panel illustrations in mostly black, white, and green as readers share Danny's daydreams and adventures. BLM

Voelkel, Jon, and Pamela Craik Voelkel Middleworld

416 pp. Egmont LE ISBN 978-1-60684-093-2 $20.99

PE ISBN 978-1-60684-071-9 $8.99

(4) Jaguar Stones series. Max Murphy is a moody, selfish fourteen-year-old. When his archaeologist parents abandon a family vacation for a Mayan dig, Max's fury lasts until he's sent to rescue them in Central America. Although the characters are thinly developed, murder, smugglers, and volatile Mayan deities keep the plot moving. The extensive information on Mayan culture wiU appeal to history fans. Glos. BNT

Wallace, Rich The Ball Hogs

121 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-85754-6 $12.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-95754-3 $15.99

(3) Illustrated by Jimmy Holder. Kickers series. Ben is bummed when cocky Mark joins his soccer team. Though Ben criticizes Mark for hogging the ball, Ben himself has much to learn about teamwork. Lively banter among nine-year-olds and soccer fundamentals from Coach Patty, along with "Ben's Top Tips for Soccer Players," make this easy-to-read sports novel both believable and instructive. Lively gray-scale pictures illustrate events. NLH

Wallace, Rich Sports Camp

149 pp. Knopf ISBN 978-0-375-84059-3 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-94059-0 $18.99

(3) Eleven-year-old Riley Liston is the youngest kid at Camp Olympia. Spooked by talk of a snapping turtle that eats campers, he also feels inadequate as his cabin competes for the summer's sports trophy. Riley gradually gains confidence when he realizes his water skills can help his group win. The story boasts memorable characters, fast sports action, and an upbeat finish. JF

Walters, Eric Branded

110 pp. Orca LE ISBN 978-1-55469-268-2 $16.95

PE ISBN 978-1-55469-267-5 $9.95

(4) Orca Currents series. When the principal insists on school uniforms - even though the company that makes them is guilty of chUd labor abuses - Ian must decide how far he should take his protest. Can he practice what he has learned in the principal's social justice class? Although the characterizations of Ian and his friends are not well developed, Walters explores an interesting topic. CJ

Weeks, Sarah As Simple as It Seems

182 pp. HarperCollins/ Geringer ISBN 978-0-06-084663-3 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-084664-0 $16.89

(3) Verbena recently learned that she was adopted - and that her birth father is a criminal. She has also lost her best friend, and is feeling moody and unsettled. Things start to change when a boy named Pooch moves into the neighborhood - and he thinks Verbena's a ghost. Weeks's characters are well rounded and her story tine is engaging. ACB

Wells, Tina Secret Crush

230 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-158311-7 $10.99

(4) Illustrated by Michael Segawa. Mackenzie Blue series. Seventh-grader Zee (Mackenzie Blue) and her friends are writing and starring in a school musical. But Zee's also got personal drama: she's crushing on Landon, her former nemesis is acting like her new best friend, and her real best friend lives in Paris. Although the characters are paper-thin, some readers may enjoy the girly format, including e-mails, IMs, and diary entries. LCF

West, Jacqueline The Shadows

245 pp. Dial ISBN 978-0-8037-3440-1 $16.99

(3) Illustrated by Poly Bernatene. Books of Elsewhere series. Olive finds a pair of spectacles that let her enter the paintings in her family's decrepit Victorian mansion. There she finds cats who aren't quite feline and late homeowners who aren't quite dead. Even at their most dire - and darkly illustrated - Olive's circumstances are too fantastical to be really frightening; naive Olive figures it all out in time to regain control. SF

Wight, Eric Frankie Pickle and the Pine Run 3000

87 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-6485-8 $9.99

(3) Frankie, a Possum Scout, tries to earn merit points by entering a model car contest. Frankie's imagination is robust; his construction skills less so. Black-and-white iUustrations appear on every page; interspersed throughout the main text are humorous cartoon-panel spreads in which readers experience Frankie's granthose heroic fantasies. SE

* Wiles, Deborah Countdown

394 pp. Scholastic ISBN 978-0-545-10605-4 $17.99

(1) Sixties Trilogy series. The narrator of this first-rate novel is eleven-year-old Air Force brat (and middle chUd) Franny Chapman. With JFK facing down Communists and a father on active duty, Franny has cause to feel on edge. Eye-grabbing graphic spreads of Cold War-era images, lyrics, speeches, and headlines are shrewdly interspersed throughout the book, providing most of the social commentary and historical exptication. Review 5/10. AEQ

Williams, Alex The Talent Thief: An Extraordinary Tale of an Ordinary Boy

303 pp. Philomel ISBN 978-0-399-25278-5 $16.99

(3) "Ordinary" Adam tags along with his talented sister as she attends a summit for gifted kids. There Adam discovers that the summit's organizer is using a mysterious creature to steal the children's talents. A stand-in for readers who see themselves as ordinary, Adam will pull readers into his intriguing tale as he turns nothing-special into extraordinary. EJM

Williams, Maiya The Fizzy Whiz Kid

277 pp. Abrams/Amulet ISBN 978-0-8109-8347-2 $16.95

(4) Sixth-grader Mitchell goes from geeky new-kid to star when he appears in a popular TV commercial. Williams's text contains lots of inside information about the business end of Hollywood. The tone, which starts out bright and funny, becomes a little pedantic as all the story's loose ends are tied up too neatly. CJ

Williams, Sarah deFord Palace Beautiful

233 pp. Putnam ISBN 978-0-399-25298-3 $16.99

(3) The attic where sisters Sadie and Zuzu and their new friend Bella find a journal from 1918 becomes their beloved "Palace Beautiful." Sadie, who remembers her mother's death at Zuzu's birth, sees her fears for her pregnant stepmother's health echoed in young Helen's diary entries about the influenza epidemic. Set in 1985, this novel harks back to the quiet, family-focused novels of that era. SF

* Williams-Garcia, Rita One Crazy Summer

218 pp. HarperCollins/ Amistad bbn 978-0-06-076088-5 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-076089-2 $16.89

(1) Eleven-year-old Delphine and her two younger sisters spend the summer of 1968 in Oakland visiting the mother who deserted them and getting an unexpected education in revolution from the Black Panthers. Wiltiams-Garcia writes vividly about that turbulent summer through the intelligent, funny, blunt voice of Delphine, who observes outsiders and her own family with shrewdness and a keen perception. Review 3/10. SDL

* Wilner-Pardo, Gina The Hard Kind of Promise

200 pp. Clarion ISBN 978-0-547-24395-5 $16.00

(2) In kindergarten, Sarah and Marjorie promised to be best friends "forever." By seventh grade they've begun to grow apart, much to Sarah's dismay - even though she's the one moving on. The novel is about not just loss but discovery, as graduaUy both girls gravitate toward doing what they love; still, Willner-Pardo never minimizes the pain of the girls' break in this perceptive, poignant novel. Review 7/10. MVP

Wilson, N. D. The Chestnut King

185 pp. Random ISBN 978-0-375-83885-9 $17.99

LE ISBN 978-0-375-93885-6 $20.99

(3) 100 Cupboards series. Though Henry's family members have been reunited, their troubles are far from over; Nimiane must still be destroyed. Readers will have to pay close attention throughout this third well-plotted and complex installment; because of Wilson's abitity to bring characters to life, it will be a pleasure to do so. RLH

* Wittlinger, Ellen This Means War!

213 pp. Simon ISBN 978-1-4169-7101-6 $16.99

(2) For Juliet, the Cuban Missile Crisis coincides with turbulence in her fifth-grade relationships. While her former best friend ignores her, a new friend's brash fearlessness can be annoying and even scary. Wittlinger conveys a sober knowingness that deepens the seemingly bland innocence of 1960s girlhood. Her prose has the same bracing good sense and down-to-earth humor of her main character. Review 5/10. DFB

* Wood, Maryrose The Mysterious Howling

268 pp. HarperCollins/Balzer + Bray

ISBN 978-0-06-179105-5 $15.99

(2) Illustrated by Jon Klassen. Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series. Miss Penelope Lumley is governess to three uncivilized (understandably, as they've been raised by wolves) children on a full-of-secrets country estate. Let the over-the-top characterizations, ludicrous situations, and tongue-in-cheek humor begin! This first installment is practically all setup, settling Penelope in and introducing various mysteries. Like Lemony Snicket, Wood has the gift of simultaneously sending up and inhabiting the story she's telling. Review 5/10. MVP

Zahler, Diane The Thirteenth Princess

245 pp. HarperCollins/ Harper ISBN 978-0-06-182498-2 $15.99

LE ISBN 978-0-06-182499-9 $16.89

(3) Twelve-year-old Zita narrates this take-off on the classic Grimm tale "The Twelve Dancing Princesses." After her mother dies in childbirth, redheaded Zita, the unlucky thirteenth princess, is banished to live with the servants. But when her flaxen-haired sisters mysteriously fall ill it takes all of Zita's perspicacity and gumption to save them. A well-rendered retelling. LCF

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