Monday, October 29, 2007

The Truly Fantastic Four

Hey Guys,
It's Carl. This picture is from the WordPlay Saturday festival on the 20th. You see, from left to right, Tony Abbot, Jeff Smith, James Ransome, and Eric Kimmel. If you can't see it, they're holding signs that say, "Read My Books."

Thursday, October 25, 2007

Hooray for Eric Kimmel!

Hey, guys, it's Carl. Didn't Bill make another awesome post? Don't forget-- there are only 6 more days to write if you want to see me in a dress!

We had our WordPlay Saturday festival last weekend and had a great time. One of the most interesting parts was meeting four of the authors/illustrators. I told you last week about meeting Dave Abbot, the Secrets of Droon man. Bill got to take Jeff Smith of Bone graphic novel fame to a school and spend some time with him. I also met the great illustrator James Ransome briefly, but I got to be with author Eric Kimmel the most. I found that he's one of the friendliest, jolliest, and most fun people I've ever met in all the 9 years I've been with the library. I told him about this blog and he got really excited about it. In fact, I gave him a few questions as a mini-interview and hope to get his answers soon. (He's busy, of course, and had to go to Atlanta after he was finished here) So I'm going to give him a shout-out by telling you about some of his books. (I'll arrange them in alphabetical order)

The Adventures of Hershel of Ostropol This is a group of laugh-out-loud stories about a poor man, a very poor man, who lived in eastern Europe in the 1800's. Since he was so very poor, he had to live by his wits. He always had something funny to say and also found ways to outsmart the stingy and proud and get money or a free meal. Wait until you read about the way he got his money back from a bandit, how he got money from a table, or what he said to the angel at the gate of Heaven!

Blackbeard's Last Fight A fictionalized story of the true end of Blackbeard the Pirate. It's 1718. Young Jeremy Hobbs accompanies Lieutenant Robert Maynard to see the Royal Governor of Virginia. The governor is worried because Blackbeard was about to settle off the North Carolina coast. If that happened, the feared pirate could control the whole American coast. After all, he had recently captured the whole city of Charleston, South Carolina! Lieutenant Maynard agrees to take care of the problem and Jeremy goes with him. The lieutenant orders Jeremy to stay out of the fight but the boy doesn't. Can he survive the battle with the most fearsome pirate to ever sail our coast? You've got to read it to find out!

The Hero Beowulf I've told you about Beowulf before (see my post of September 7 called "Three Grpahic Novels"). I still think it's one of, if not the, greatest hero-versus-monster stories ever. The great team of Eric Kimmel and Leonard Everett Fisher really does the story justice. The book starts off with a bang as Beowulf jumps overboard to rescue his shipmates from five sea monsters by himself! Then he goes to rescue the kingdom of the Danes from the awful monster Grendel. Beowulf says that he will fight without sword or shield, using only his strength to defeat the monster. And what a fight! You won't forget the first time you see Grendel--he's really scary! Nor will you forget their epic struggle. This is a must-read!
If you'd like to go to Eric Kimmel's website, click here.

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Sanity is just a State of Mind

Hi all out there in Blog Land! I have regained my sanity, I think, and have decided that I am almost certainly, definitely, most probably, pretty sure, I think, Darth Bill--greatest of all the Sith!!!!! Hahahahahahahahahhhahahahahahahahhahhahahahhhahahhahahahhahahahhah!!!!
Sorry, I got a little carried away there. Halloween approaches and, I must admit, it is one of my favorite holidays. I'm not sure what I'll dress as, so tell me what you think of these choices:

This Pikachu Costume I find to
be really gruesomee!!! Oh, the
sheer look of evil in its eyes!!!

Here are two pretty frightening princesses' outfits I was thinking about for Carl. (Don't forget his challenge ends on October 31, Halloween Day. If we can get 8 more of you to write and tell us about your favorite books, we will take a picture of Carl in a dress and post it on this blog!)

You know what? I think I will just go out trick-or-treating as myself!!!!
My Mom always said my red face and horns were my best features.

Oh well, thanks for hearing me out on that difficult choice-making decision. Well, I guess now I'll talk about some cool books I have read recently:

Walt Disney's Uncle Scrooge No. 367 by Carl Barks and others - This Graphic Novel has four really funny Uncle Scrooge, Donald Duck and Huey, Louie and Dewey stories. The first story by the great Carl Barks involves Donald and his nephews trying to squeeze 5 dollars out of their stingy, ultra-rich relative to help build a park. Scrooge resists, of course, and a great story follows. In the second story, Donald, through his usual unplanned wacky ways, becomes the manager of three boxers. Donald has no idea what he is doing and the outcome is extremely comical. The third story has our fabulously rich Uncle Scrooge losing his memory and thinking he is Donald. Enuff Said!! The last story is about Uncle Scrooge and his famous first dime earned. Once again someone is trying to steal it from him and the laughs and gags are plentiful. This book is a must read.

Marvel Adventures - The Avengers: Bizarre Adventures - Now I know I have to have some
Avengers fans out there. I'm talking Captain America, Wolverine, Iron Man, Storm, Spider-Man, the Hulk and Giant Girl all on one team in one Graphic Novel. I ask you, can it get any better? This Graphic Novel includes stories from the comic issues #9-12. The story I liked the best was the last one in the book in which a living planet called Ego thinks the Earth is a sentient being like itself and tries to pick this fine lady up. It is too funny for words to describe Ego hitting on the Earth to get it to go away with him and see the galaxy. Along with the laughs is also lots of action. The other stories are full of spectacle and adventure and you need to read them yourself. Did I mention one of the stories has a special guest star in the Black Knight? Check it out; you won't regret it.

Well, until next time guys, take it easy and peace,


Thursday, October 18, 2007

Superheroes and Superpowers

Hi all, it is I, the ever-confused Darth Bill/ Spider-Bill / Pirate Bill (it gets really confusing at times to remember who I am, I tell ya!). Well I hope all you out there are planning on submitting to the blog so we can get Juger-Carl in a dress. The X-Men would be so proud(:

Anyway besides trying to get Carl in a dress I want to talk about two really cool books I have read recently:

1) Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves - This is a really cool story about 15-year-old Joey Harker who is pretty average, except he has no sense of direction, with nothing really outstanding about him, or so he thinks. Everything in Joey's life changes when, as part of a school assignment, he and two other classmates are dropped off at a random location in town and told by their social studies teacher to find other locations without a map. Joey gets separated from his classmates and, before he knows it, he walks out of his world and into another dimension. It turns out that Joey is very special in that he is able to breach the barriers that separate the multiverse and the innumerable alternative earths that exist. To make things even more confusing, all these earths have different versions of Joey and everyone he knows. There also exists terrible forces that seek to rule all the multiverses such as HEX, an organization made up of magic users, and the Binary, composed of beings who only believe in science. Believe me when I tell you I am only scratching the surface about who Joey Harker is and the story he finds himself taking part of in this fascinating and fun book. This one definitely gets two thumbs up.

2) Tiger Moth Insect Ninja by Aaron Reynolds - This Graphic Novel begins: "Quicker than a centipede on skies. Quieter than a bugzapper in January. More lethal than salsa stinkbugs. I am Tiger Moth, Insect Ninja. Harnessing the ancient powers of the martial arts for good, I strike fear into the hearts of all criminal insects. Well, in the fourth grade, anyway." Batman, Spider-Man and all other superheroes move out of the way! There is a new super-powered hero in town that rules above all others. His name is Tiger Moth and at his side is his trusty apprentice Kung Pow, a Pill Bug. These two superheroes fight for what is right at Antennae Elementary School and, boy, are their hands full. Check out their first adventure in this Graphic Novel that moves like a butterfly and stings like a bee. You won't be sorry.

Well, guys, take it easy and blog back,


Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Meeting the Man Behind Droon (and I didn't have to go under any stairs!)

Hey, everyone, I had a real treat tonight. I got to meet Tony Abbot, author of the Secrets of Droon books. He's a very friendly guy. I told him about the blog and maybe he'll write to us! He'll be here at our WordPlay Saturday event, along with Jeff Smith, creator of the Bone graphic novels, and several others. Click here to find out about WordPlay Saturday (there will be a lot of fun stuff) and click here to see which authors will be there.

I'll fill you in on a couple of books that I like a whole, whole lot. One is Qwerty Stevens Stuck In Time With Benjamin Franklin by Dan Gutman. What if you had a report on the American Revolution due in less than a hour? What if, instead of typing on a computer, you'd sat down to your genius friend's Anytime, Anywhere Machine, which could bring back people from any time in history? And what if you accidentally brought back Benjamin Franklin? And took him to school with you? It gets better--what if some loser guy found out about the Anytime Anywhere Machine and sent himself back into time to make himself King of America? Could you stop him? Could even Benjamin Franklin stop him? You'll find out if you read this funny and exciting book!

The other is another great true story. It's Marooned: The Strange but True Adventures of Alexander Selkirk, the Real Robinson Crusoe by Robert Kraske. You've heard of Robinson Crusoe, right? The original Survivor? Stranded on a desert island by himself for years? Well, it turns out that the story really happened to a Scottish sailor named Alexander Selkirk. He was left alone on Juan Fernandez Island (360 miles west of South America) for four years! Incredible! But he had even more adventures after that! This is a short book but one that will hold your attention through every page. More proof that History Is Not Boring!

Well, that's my contribution for tonight. Bill is working on a really great post that should be up soon. Hope to see you at WordPlay Saturday!
And don't forget my challenge!

Monday, October 15, 2007

A Response to Our Second Response

Our friend Max, the author, has written back already with an interesting offer:

Hey, Carl. I'm doing my part toward the dress.The following might also be helpful to your readers.
Next FREE Chapter – BIG RIG RUSTLERS -On Monday morning, you can find the next FREE chapter from an action-adventure or mystery by Max Elliot Anderson. This week, an exciting chapter from BIG RIG RUSTLERS will be posted. You’ll find the chapter at
Two other sample chapters are already up on that site. You can read a sample from SECRET OF ABBOTT’S CAVE and LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF.From now until November 12, a sample chapter from a different book will be posted.
See you tomorrow!Max Elliot Anderson
PS. SUGGESTION FOR TEACHERS & HOMESCHOOLERS: After reading the chapter, students can do a writing assignment. They can choose to write: 1) What happens next? 2) Where will the story go from here? or 3) How will this story end? Remember, there are no wrong answers.

How about it guys? Want to read a free chapter of a book? Take a look. Have any of you read any of Max's books?

Our Second Response

Hey, everyone, it's Carl. Here's a comment from Max, an author who writes books for boys. Let's hear what he has to say:

It's true, I grew up hating to read. Now I write action-adventures & mysteries especially for boys 8 - 13, who also may not like to read.NEWSPAPER CAPER, TERROR AT WOLF LAKE, NORTH WOODS POACHERS, MOUNTAIN CABIN MYSTERY, BIG RIG RUSTLERS, SECRET OF ABBOTT'S CAVE & LEGEND OF THE WHITE WOLF, are compared by readers and reviewers to Tom Sawyer, The Hardy Boys, Huck Finn, Nancy Drew, Tom Swift, Scooby-Doo, Lemony Snicket, and adventure author Jack London.My blog, Books for Boys, ranks in the top 5 on Yahoo and the top 20 on Google and you can find it at There you will also find links to my author's web site and another blog with 50 pages of reviews.If you have any questions, please let me know.
Thank you,Max Elliot Anderson Author
Now, from an author who hated to read...comes books kids hate to put down.

I remember his writing to us back on September 4. The Library doesn't have any of his books, but I've looked at his website and they seem pretty good. Check them out if you'd like.

Well, that makes 2 responses. We need only eight more to see me in a dress! Look at my challenge on the side bar on the left to see what it will take to get me into a dress, wig, and make-up!

Friday, October 12, 2007

Throw That Pass! Run Those Bases! Rah Rah Read!

Hey, guys, didn't Spider-Bill make an awesome post? I have to agree that Cowboy and Octopus is one of the most unusal books of the year. It will make you laugh. Well, since it's the time of year when football and baseball are going on at the same time, I want tell you about a couple of sports books.

The first is Long-Arm Quarterback by Matt Christopher. I hope you know about him already. He writes sports books and I haven't read one yet that I didn't like. Cap Wadell is frustrated because his little Texas town is so small that they can't get enough guys together to make a football team. His grandfather Tully remembers when he was in high school and played with six-person teams; in fact, there was a high school league made of six-person teams. Tully suggests that all the small towns in that area get together and make such a league. Cap's friends get excited at the idea and, before long, there's a league going. Tully agrees to coach Cap's team but there's a problem--Cap's friend Jimmy joins the team. That's not so bad, but Jimmy's grandfather Sable comes along to help coach. Sable used to play on Tully's league on a different team and was a good player. Tully won the championship that year and Sable is still mad about it after all these years. Will that old rivalry tear the team apart? Will Sable ever put his anger away and think about the good of the team? I had to read all the way to the end to find out!

The other is Hey Batta Batta SWING!: The Wild Old Days of Baseball by Sally Cook and James Charlton (great illustrations by Ross McDonald). Did you know that baseball goes way, way back, even to the days of the Civil War? This book talks about baseball from the 1880's to the early days of the 20th Century. There were no pitching mounds in those times. A runner off base could be put out by being hit with the ball. Ow! You'll learn this and other interesting things in this book--like how Babe Ruth got his nickname or why players would put hot sauce on the other team's ball.
OK, guys, hope you cheer your favorite team this weekend and remember to write in if you want to see me in a dress!

Wednesday, October 10, 2007

To Be or Not To Be or I Want to See Carl in a Dress

Hi all,
It is I the one, the only Spider-Bill. What's up with this new title you may be asking? Well you see I've recently gotten hooked on the PS2 version of Marvel Ultimate Alliance. My team consists of Spider-Man (gotta love old Web-Head), Iceman, Wolverine (Bad to the Bone) and Blade!!!! I also use Captain America and Iron Man a bunch. I just loving throwing Cap's shield at the bad guys and the firepower of Spidey, Iceman and Shell-Head. This game really rocks and right now I am in Asgard trying to save it with my team from Loki and the Masters of Evil!!!!! We have a PS3 here at ImaginOn that has Marvel Ultimate Alliance up in Tech Central that anyone can sign-up to play on, but I haven't gotten a chance to try it out on the PS3 yet. I bet it rules!!!!

Well that's why I'm Spider-Bill this week, maybe next week I'll be Wolver-Bill. Come back and checkout the blog to see!!!!!

I don't know how many of you guys out there are Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith fans, but if you are not yet I promise you will be after reading the two following books (oh and this is my vote/blog for Carl to put on a dress):

Cowboy & Octopus by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith - This is truly one of the strangest and funniest older guy type of picture books that I have ever read. The basic premise of this book is that Cowboy and Octopus are best friends. They share some very short adventures together that involve hammering (ouch!), knock, knock jokes, baked beans and bacon, and more. You have to give this book a chance. I promise you will laugh! Also check out Cowboy & Octopus on Youtube ( or just click on the link to go straight there).

Another great older reader picture book by these same guys is:

Science Verse by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith - Science from chemistry to evolution has never been this funny. The book comes along with a audio CD that is meant to be played as you read the book. Some interesting and comedic experiences are sure to follow as you read and listen to this most excellent book.

Welp time for me to jump on my trusty steed (that's a horse son) and ride into the sunset. Audios Amigos,


Friday, October 5, 2007

3 Quick Picks

Hey, everyone, it's Carl. It's been busy today, so I'm going to be quick. Here are 3 graphic novels that I really enjoyed. The first 2 come from the Disney Adventures magazine. One is Gorilla Gorilla by Art Baltazar. It's really funny. The stories are short, only one to three pages, but they're funny. Gorilla Gorilla is a giant hero who constantly fights the giant evil Lizard Lizard. However, when he's normal-sized, he shares an apartment with his best friend Lizard. But for some reason, everytime he has to change into Gorilla Gorilla, his firend Lizard disappears. Could Lizard really be.... Read this one to find out--and to laugh.

The next one is Kid Gravity (by several people) It's a combination of science fiction, action, and humor. Kid Gravity attends a school in the distant future that trains kids to be Science Heroes--or Science Villains. Kid Gravity wants to be the greatest hero the galaxy has ever known but his arch-rival Kid Apocalypse (who wants to be a Science Villain) always tries to mess him up. That's not hard to do, since Kid Gravity doesn't always pay attention in class. Do these two decide the fate of the galaxy? Well, actually, they usually end up on the detention asteroid! You'll love this one. I did!
The last one is Baron: The Cat Returns by Aoi Hiiragi. The main character is a girl but don't let that stop you--the story and artwork are great! Haru has rescued a cat from being run over by a truck. It turns out that this is no ordinary cat, but the son of the King of the Cats. In gratitude, the King offers to marry her to his son, where she could live forever in the magical cat kingdom. She thinks it's a good idea at first but by the time she changes her mind, the cats kidnap her. The only one who could rescue her is The Baron, another magical cat. The story is suspenseful and the artwork!! Wow! It really conveys of a sense of being in another world, something that even the best graphic novels don't do very often.
Have a good weekend. And if you live in the Charlotte area, come to Imaginon and see the Bill of Rights exhibit. It's the actual North Carolina copy of the Bill of Rights. Very old and very valuable and hasn't been seen in public for 140 years! So come on down--the reason we're free to read what we like is because we have a Bill of Rights.

Thursday, October 4, 2007


Am I shouting? I've got a good reason. THE COVER OF THE NEW PERCY JACKSON BOOK IS OUT!!! If you haven't guessed, I'm a big fan of Rick Riordan's Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. Mr. Riordan released the cover of the newest book today. Check out his blog here and take a look. That blog page also has a link to an article about the new book. The only problem is that it takes a long time for a book to come out and this one won't be here until May! Aaaauugghhhh! Well, nothing to do but wait. And keep reading. And look for you guys to tell me about your favorite books. Don't forget about my challenge!
P.S. If you haven't read a Percy Jackson book, go out and find one now. They are the funniest, most exciting, most action-packed, most fun books I've read in years and years.

Wednesday, October 3, 2007

The Challenge Is Accepted!

All right! A reader has taken up the challenge! The chase is on! The game is afoot! No, no, no----I meant we're off to a good start. Here is what our reader, identified as Anonymous, has to say:

Anonymous has left a new comment on your post "Carl's Challenge! Are You Up For It?":

the book i am reviewing is "Chasing Vermeer." the book is about 2 kids that are trying to find a missing picture.the kid's names are Calder and Petra.

Well done, Anonymous . Come in and get your free book. Has anyone else out there read this book? I haven't but I hear it's pretty good. There's a sequel called The Wright 3 in which Calder and Petra and their friend Tommy try to save a mysterious house built by the famous Frank Lloyd Wright.

We're busy at the library, so I haven't got to do much reading but I'm working on 2 books right now. One is Long Arm Quarterback by Matt Christopher. He writes great sports stories and I always enjoy his books. The other is The Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff and it's about the Roman troops in ancient Britain. The first couple of chapters have been good. I'll tell you about them when I'm done. In the meantime, keep those comments coming in. There's a dress for me if we get 9 more by October 31---not to mention a wig if we get 14 more and make-up if we get 19 more!

Monday, October 1, 2007

Carl's Challenge! Are You Up For It?

Hey, guys, it's Carl. Today is October 1. The last day of this month is the day a lot of us dress up. That got me to thinking about a challenge to all you readers out there. Do you remember Darth Bill's challenge back in August? He said that if he got 5 comments from Jedi readers that he would put on a dress! Well, we got only 4 comments and it didn't happen. But now that it's October, the month to dress up, I'll issue my own challenge. If we get 10 comments from any of you by October 31, I, Carl, will put on a dress and let Bill post the picture. But that's not all---if we get 15 comments by October 31, I'll put on a dress and wig! But that's not all---if we get 20 comments by October 31, I'll put on a dress, wig, and make-up! You heard me! So let's start writing. All you have to do is tell about any book you've read and liked. It could be a chapter book but it could also be a graphic novel, a biography, non-fiction--or one of the books that have been mentioned on this blog. (You can go through the archives to see what books have been talked about) And you don't have to be Sith or Jedi (though you could if you want to), you only need to have read something good.

Hmmm---do you think I should live dangerously and let Bill pick out the dress? Maybe he'll choose the retro Mod look:
Or maybe (gulp!) he'll pick a Princess dress:

Or make me go Country:

We won't know until you write! So let's hear by October 31!