Monday, December 31, 2007

Happy New Year!

Best wishes to one and all for a Happy New Year from Bill and me. Darth Bill is not here today; he's probably on some distant planet on the galactic rim, undergoing sith training for when he has to face all these heroes who'll come the Get To Know...Heroes programs and festival in January. Anyway, we have a new year starting tomorrow and a new comment from a new friend today. His name is Cab. He's 6 and I think he needed some help.

OK, We are new to this! My six year old son was trying to post a comment about the book Dinotopia. I think we actually created a blog on Dinotopia. Whew, this would have been easier! Anyway, here is his review:
Bix was a dinosaur. They were at a beach. The sand was yellow. The name of the book is Dinotopia. Cab, Age 6

Thanks, Cab! Good work! Come in and get your free book! I've always wanted to read a Dinotopia book. Maybe I wll now. Have any of you other guys read any of them?
Have a good 2008!

PS--It's still not too late to tell us about your favorite books of 2007!
PPS--You are the first one to be entered in our free T-shirt contest!. The boy who writes the most comments about books will win a free T-shirt like the one on our December 28 psot.

Friday, December 28, 2007


Oh, man!! Oh, MAN!!!!! This is Carl and am I excited!! Can you imagine what it would be like to receive a fantastic, unbelievable, more-than-you-ever-believed great present 2 days after Christmas? That's what happened to me yesterday. When I got in to work, there was this package sitting on my desk from Rick Riordan, the author of the great Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. The author of my favorite books sent a package to me!!! I couldn't believe it. Then I opened it and found that he had sent me a note thanking me for supporting his books on our blog AND some Camp Half-Blood T-shirts!!! Camp Half-Blood is where the demigods--kids born of Olympian and mortal parents train to...well, to survive because there are monsters coming after them all the time. (There are some places that actually hold week-long camps based on Camp Half-Blood) So I am just overwhelmed and want to say THANK YOU THANK YOU THANK YOU, MR. RIORDAN!!!! I will keep one for myself, if you don't mind, because I've always wanted one, and give one to co-blogger Bill (because I couldn't do this without him) and I have ideas about what to do with the others--in fact, I'll tell about one idea in just a minute. But first, would you like to see what the shirts look like? Here you go:

There we are, immortalized like the people in a constellation. Yeah, that's us--HimandI The Twins!! (Him and I--Twins--get it? Him and I--Gemini? Oh, I'm so brillia...oh, never mind!)

Did you have trouble reading the shirts? Here's a close-up:

Now for the sweet part--you could win one of these T-shirts! Mr. Riordan was kind enough to send us some Medium-sized shirts, just right for boys. Here's how to get one:

We're going to do a series here at Imaginon in January called Get to Know...Heroes. On January 8, I will do a program on Belerephon and the Pegasus (there's a Percy Jackson tie-in for you!) and Bill will do a Beowulf program on January 15. On January 22, we'll hold a Get to Know...Heroes Festival at Imaginon from 2-4pm. We'll have all kinds of fun activities about heroes (probably even superheroes). Sooo--the boy who sends us the most posts, talking about books, by January 21 will win one of these shirts! If you live in the Charlotte area, you can come to Imaginon on January 22 to get your shirt. (That will be a teacher workday, so you won't have to miss school) If you live too far away from Charlotte, we'll work out a way to get it to you. OK? Let's hear from you! And check out our PLCMC website to find out about our Get to Know...Heroes sessions and festival.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

Hope You Enjoyed Your Holidays

Hey all you guys in Holiday Land, it's Carl. (aka the Kandy Kane Kid) I sure hope you had a good holiday season (and if you're in the middle of Kwanzaa, I hope you're enjoying that too). I sure had a good Christmas. We had a Christmas party at our house and invited a lot of kids. One of the most fun things was the Banana-Dew Race. Did you ever hear of that? If not, that's when you take a banana and a Mountain Dew and see who can eat and drink them the fastest. (You have to eat a bit or two of banana and then drink some Dew; you can't eat the whole banana and then drink) It's fun to watch, but do you know what the most fun is??? The most fun, especially if one of the contestants doesn't know this, is that if you eat banana and then drink Mountain Dew, especially Diet Dew, they foam in your mouth!!! We had two guys try it and one didn't know. It was funny!!!

(Darth Bill: Carl, Carl, Carl you are so uncouth. My family at this special time of year likes to play pin the sharp object on the Grandma. Ho, Ho, Ho funny indeed!!!!!!)

When I got back to work today, Captain Bill did a Make-Your-Own-Pirate-Ship actitvity. Here are some pictures and I'll let him tell you about it.

Arrrrrrrrrrrrhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!! Thank ye Carl ya ole landlubber ya. Yes indeed mateys, today me and my mangy band of no good, foloten, spit-in-yer-dog's-eye pirates made Pirate Ships and, I tell ye, there be some fine ship builders in this 'ere crew. Just take a peek below ifin ya scoundrels don't believe me.

Captian Bootstrap Bill overlooking me crews fine work!!!! Arhhh!!!

Zaki works on his fearsome pirate ship!!!!

Zaki and Lugman showing off their fine craftsmanship!!!

Yours truly demonstrating how ta build a proper pirate ship. Arhhhhh!!!!!!!!

Twas great fun, Arrrhhhhh!!!!! Maybe next time some of ya sea-dog scalawags out there reading this might want ta give er a try?

Well, have a happy New Year all and watch out for black spots and wooden legged Capetian's by the name of Silver!!!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

Enjoy Your Holidays!

Santa Claus vs. Darth Vader - The Ultimate battle Between Good and Evil

School will be out for you soon, so we hope you find some time to write us about your favorite book or books that you read in 2007. Doesn't have to be long (though we love to hear as much as you'd like to say); just the title and a sentence or two would be great. And we both hope that you enjoy your break and have a Happy Holiday Season!

Carl & Darth Bill

The Kandy Kane Kid

All right, Bill, you forced me into this. I didn't want to do it, but now I have to tell you about my secret life during the holidays. You know why I couldn't make the party last week? I was out doing my duty as the Kandy Kane Kid! That's right, partners, I go around looking for the old Scrooges out there, ruining the holiday spirit, and when I find 'em, I give it to them with both barrels! Two good shots of holiday cheer, that is. Then I tell 'em about these here books ('cause I figger they're so grumpy because they had to read boring books). These books will put the holiday spirit in even the meanest rattlesnake:

Kringle by Tony Abbott

Wow! What a book! Did you ever think there could be an action-packed fantasy adventure about Santa Claus? I have to admit I was skeptical at first, but Tony Abbott won me over in the first couple of pages. The story starts off with the story of Kringle's birth (he was named after the sound of a magic bell) and his parnets' death at the hands of goblins. Kringle was taken in by a woman named Merwen and stayed there he was twelve. Then the goblins attacked Merwen's house. Kringle and Merwen narrowly escaped but were separated. There Kringle was, alone in the dark and dangerous world, trying to survive the snow, the pirates, and stop the horrible plan of the goblins. There is a lot of action, magic, and a real showdown between good and evil. The good guys really make you want to root for them and the golbins--well, they're not the cutesy goblins of Halloween rhymes. They're nasty, vile, disgusting creatures who live in nasty, vile, disgusting underground tunnels, stealing treasure and children for a truly scary master plan. As I said, there's lots of adventure--and Kringle becomes the gift-bringer for a very good reason! You've got to read this! I couldn't put it down and enjoyed every page. By the way, it's fun to read over the holidays, but this would be good any time of year. (PS--Kringle, that is Kris Kringle, is an old name for Santa Claus)

Seven Spools of Thread: A Kwanzaa Story by Angela Shelf Medearis. I said once before that I don't often talk about picture books but some are so good that I have to mention them. Like this one. In this story, seven brothers in the African country of Ghana argue and fight all day long. They never stop and they never get along. Then, when their father dies, the village chief tells them that thier father left an inheritance for them but they have to find a way to turn seven spools of thread into gold by nightfall or they they will be turned out of their house as beggars. What an impossible situation! Yet, in a way that you wouldn't expect, they make it happen. This a terrific book with great illustrations by Daniel Minter.

Tumbleweed Christmas by Alane Ferguson. Imagine driving through the desert, trying to get somewhere with your mom for Christmas. Then imagine that your car breaks down in the middle of the desert! The only place to stay is a cheap fleabag motel, and that's where you'll spend Christmas. Sound like your worst Christmas nightmare? It could have been, but the boy in this story learns a thing or two about Christmas that changes his attitude. This is one of those stories that you read and never forget.

And don't forget Hershel and the Hankkah Goblins by Eric Kimmel, reviewed on 12-13.

Well, that's it, buckaroos. Have yore selves a rootin' tootin' good holiday season!

Tuesday, December 18, 2007

Another Interview! This One With James Ransome

Hey Guys, Carl yet again. We've got another interview from one the Truly Fantastic Four who came to the Novello festival in October. This time we have the great illustrator James Ransome, who's done the artwork for some really great books. James is the second to the right, wearing the blue shirt.

Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

I think we all enjoy stories, whether we’re male or female. The story-telling you have in books unlike movies or television allows you to go into the character’s mind. Knowledge and being informed is also cool.

Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?

I would have thought it was cool to draw. It’s often seen as “magical.” There’s always something special about being able to make lines and shapes turn into images. I think it’s kind of the ultimate cool thing to do to impress people. Also, art is a means of communicating. Sometimes we find that if we have a difficult time with words, we can use art to communicate our ideas.

Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?

My all time favorite has disappeared from our comic book shelves: the Master of Kung Fu. If you can imagine a combination of Bruce Lee and James Bond tied into one, that’s the Master of Kung Fu. I just loved the drawings in these comic books. I would say that today, my favorite is Batman. I’ve grown to really appreciate the Dark Knight. I love it that he doesn’t truly have superhuman strength, but relies on his wit and inventions to fight evil.

What is your favorite sport? FOOTBALL!

What do you like to do for fun?

Nothing special;, listening to music of being with friends. I still enjoy playing football, and I have a group of guys that get together on Saturdays and play for fun.

What is the favorite book you have written?

I have favorites I’ve illustrated: Satchel Paige, Bruh Rabbit and the Tar Baby Girl and Uncle Jed’s Barbershop.

Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

I’m a cheeseburger person.

Thanks, James. Let show you a few of the books he's illustrated:

Uncle Jed's Barbershop by Margaree King Mitchell.
Jed, the only black barber in the county, tries to save enough money to open his own barbershop but, back in the day, that was hard for a man like Jed. Really good story.

The Wagon by Tony Johnston.

A powerful book. A young slave boy, raised in the Carolinas, dreams of being free. Does it ever happen? Could it ever happen? This story really makes you think about what it was like to have been a slave, to have grown up in slavery, or to hope desperately for freedom.

The Jukebox Man by Jacqueline K. Ogburn.

I love this book! Takes me back to the days of jukeboxes with vinyl records. A young girl follows her grandfather as he goes around repairing jukeboxes. She gets to try them out with him in his reapair shop.

And if you would like to visit his website, click here. As for why I was sleepy last Friday, just wait a few days and I'll tell you! There was a good reason, Bill!

Friday, December 14, 2007

Now for Something Really Big!!!!!

My Morning Make A Jedi Cry Ritual!!!!!

Hello all,
It is I, the great and Noble Sith Lord Darth Bill. I have been busy and away from the blog far too long, it appears. Let me address some issues that have arisen while I have been away:

1) Sir Samuel, if I were a mere Jedi I'm sure I would accept your gracious apology. As I am not a cowardly Jedi or Jedi friend, I find myself jiggling with glee that I have reduced you to that oh-so-sad apologetic state. Dear boy, never, ever apologize to a Sith. I am amused by your lack of knowledge in the ways of the dark side. If anyone else feels the need to apologize or grovel at my feet, please feel free to do so as I do enjoy it all so much! Hahahahahahahahahahaahhaahhahahahhahahhhhahahhahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahha!!!!
Oh, I do slay me!

2) Bravo and Hip, Hip Hooray to Mr. Kimmel (I do so love his book "Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock." He has a great Sithish Sense of humor, I would dare say!) and Mr. Abbott (his "Secrets of Droon" series I am about to start reading. I have heard nothing but good things about them! I wonder if they have in Sith Lords in them? Hum?) for sharing some cool info with us about themselves.

The Sleepmaster - Fighting Crime Before Bedtime!!!

3) I gotta tell ya; I am so disappointed in one Jedi Sympathiser that goes by the name of Mr. Carl. Yes, I think we all know who I am talking about. We recently had a little get together here at the library to celebrate the holidays. Everyone was here for the most part except--guess who? If you said Carl you would be 100% correct. What was his excuse you ask? Was he fighting crime in his costumed identity as "The Sleepmaster?" Noooooooooooooo!!!!! Was he saving the Earth by recycling insane amounts of plastic soda bottles!!!!! Nooooooooooooooooooo!!! What was his grand and stupendous excuse? He was sleepy and tired!!!!!! That's right at 6:00 p.m. Carl had over stayed his bedtime limit!!!! I gotta say guys this is lamo!!!!!!!!!! He must of had Jedi training in his youth; disgusting I tell ya!!!!!!!

Well now, I really want to talk about one of our new books that I know you cats will dig:

If Dinosaurs were Alive Today by Dougal Dixon - This a a really cool book in many ways. Not only does it give you an Overview of the Story of the Dinosaurs, Lives of the Plant-Eaters, Lives of the Man-Eaters, Lives of the Ocean-Dwellers, Lives of the Flying Reptiles, The End of the Dinosaurs, among many other interesting factoids, but it also hypothesizes through really cool writing and great pictures, like the one on the cove, what life in the here and now would be if some of these great beasts lived today. Some examples shown and written about are: a Tyrannosaurus surprising and attacking a heard of Wild Cattle; a Rhino facing off with a Styracosaurs and many, many more. This is a truly awesome book that needs to be read and looked at to really be appreciated.

Well, peace everyone and have a great holiday season,

Bill "The Kidder" Librarian

We're Still Busy!

Carl once again. Busy today, so I must be quick. We have a new comment from Colorado Writer:

Tony is the coolest guy in kidlit! I'm partial to Firegirl, but I can't wait for THE POSTCARD.
Hi Tony!

Wow---Colorado is a long way to come to get your free book. Well, if you're ever in Charlotte, come on in to Imaginon and look up Bill or me. What sort of things do you write, Colorado Writer? Tony is a cool guy; I wish I could have spent more time with him here. I'm still in the middle of Kringle and sure hope I can get some time to read more today. It's getting better every chapter!
Someone gave me a dollar-store DVD for Christmas last year called Santa Claus Conquers the Martians. I'll tell you all about it sometime after I get to watch it.
Tell us about the favorite books you read in 2007!

PS--Colorado Writer sent us another comment today about Tony Abbott. He really is a good guy, isn't he?

I have way too many favorite books to list.I met Tony Abbott at the LA SCBWI Conference in August and he is just an inspiration.I took photos of him with his Golden Kite Award and we talked with him about my budding writing career.He is a wonderful man!

That's good of him to encourage a new writer. Have you had anything published yet? Let us know!

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Wow! We ARE Busy!

Whew, it's Carl again. I told you we're busy here! We have a new comment from Zoe, a new friend. It's brief, but you can be as brief or lengthy as you'd like.

I KNOW I'M LIKE SO EXCITED FOR THE GRAPHIC NOVEL, AND THE BATTLE OF THE LABRYNTH!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Brief and to the point! Well done, Zoe; come in and get your free book. I'm excited about the new book too. Don't forget, the Percy Jackson series made on my Favorites of 2007 list. What were your favorites? Tell us! (see our post of December 10 to find out more)

How Cool Is This? We Have an Interview With Eric Kimmel...

Hey, everyone, it's Carl. Lookee here! We have two, yes, two interviews with real honest-to-goodness authors, Eric Kimmel and Tony Abbott! Both of them were at our Novello festival and both are great people. Our first interview is with Eric Kimmel! (Eric is on the right; Tony Abbott is on the left The other two are Jeff Smith of Bone graphic novels and james Ramsome, the illustrator)

Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

What a question! That’s like asking if it’s cool for boys to breathe. To me, reading
is the same as breathing. If you don’t breathe, your body is dead. If you don’t
read, your mind is dead. Reading is more important than just being cool. It’s
essential. Show me a leader in any field in any field who doesn’t read. I can’t
think of any. Knowledge is power. Plug into the power of your mind. Open a

Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?

Stop worrying about being cool. Stop looking at what everybody else is doing to
figure out if it’s okay to do what you want to do. Truly cool people do what they
want and don’t care what other people think. Leaders lead. You can’t be a leader
if you’re always trying to figure out where everybody else is going. Think for
yourself. That’s the only way to be really cool.
If you want to write, write! If you want to draw, dance, paint, play an instrument,
then go ahead and do it. If you like to read or just daydream, you don’t have to
make apologize or ask anyone’s permission.
Your real friends will always support you. The people who matter will encourage
you. As for the rest, they’re just a bunch of dogs barking. Let ‘em bark. Who

Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have
a favorite character now?

My favorite comic book character was Superman. I can still recite the whole
opening of the old TV show. “Faster than a speeding bullet…” I don’t read comic
books anymore. I’m too old for graphic novels. There’s one I really thought was
stupendous. Check out Art Spiegel’s Maus (vol. 1 & 2)

What is your favorite sport?

I wasn’t any good at sports. I hated baseball. Still do. That’s because all my
experiences were negative. I couldn’t catch, couldn’t hit, couldn’t field. I spent a
lot of time standing in the outfield doing nothing and at bat doing nothing. They
told me not to swing. Maybe the pitcher would walk me. One day I brought a
book to the game, sat down in the outfield and read it. Nobody paid the slightest
attention and it didn’t affect the outcome of the game one bit.
That doesn’t mean I’m inactive. I enjoyed tennis until my knee went. I love riding
horses and my bicycle. In the summer I go on 40-50 mile rides in the Oregon
I don’t mean to put you down if you enjoy sports. Just remember this. The best
sports are the ones you play yourself. Don’t turn into the kind of person who sits
on the couch, watching others play. Don’t be a couch potato. If you’re going to sit
on the couch, at least make sure you’re reading a book. Then, at least, your brain
will be getting some exercise.

What do you like to do for fun?

Other than my bike and horses, I love to play my banjo. I love bluegrass. I can
happily spend a whole day at a bluegrass festival just listening to music and
hanging out with the banjo pickers. I’m a voracious reader. I go through 5-10 fat
history books a week. I enjoy cooking, especially baking bread. I love fiber arts.
I’m an excellent knitter. I know how to spin and I’m just starting to get into

What is the favorite book you have written?

My two favorites would be Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock and Hershel and
the Hanukkah Goblins.

Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

Are you kidding? Pizza! It wins hands down. I ‘ll eat pizza with anything on it,
except sweet stuff like pineapple. Ugh! My favorite topping is anchovies. If you
don’t want them, save them for me. If you really love pizza, you have to go to
Italy. Pizza there is completely different there. The indredients are fresh, so the
taste is out of this world.
Guess what else I love to eat. Barbecue! I’m partial to the Texas style, but did
you know that North Carolina barbecue is famous? Folks in your state use more
vinegar than the Texans. North Carolina pulled pork—my, oh, my! That’s good!!
I guess that’s the end of the questions. Thanks for giving me a chance to
respond. I loved my time in Charlotte and I love your library. There’s nothing like
it in the world!

Happy Holidays!
Eric A. Kimmel

Thanks, Eric! Next time you're in town, try the food at Bubba's Barbecue. Yum, yum! Let me tell you about those two books he mentioned. Both of them are picture books but don't let that put you off--these are great stories and fun for any age. The first is Anansi and the Moss-Covered Rock. Anansi is a spider who lives in Africa and loves to play tricks. One day he spots a strange-looking moss-covered rock. It turns out that it's a magic rock that makes people pass out. Anansi soon figures a way to use this rock to trick the other animals out of their food. Can anyone outsmart him before he steals every last bit of food? The answer is really funny. I love this book and never get tired of it. There are lots of books with Anansi stories, but this one (and the others that he and the wonderful illustrator Janet Stevens have done) are far and away the best.

The other one is Hershel and the Hanukkah Goblins. This book (illustrated by the fantastic Trina Schart Hyman) is another story about Hershel of Ostropol, which means it's another laugh-out-loud story about another trickster. This time Hershel wanders into a village on a cold, snowy night. He doesn't worry about going hungry because it's the first night of Hanukkah and everyone will be willling to share--or so he thinks! This village doesn't celebrate Hanukkah anymore because the goblins have taken over the synagogue and blow out the candles whenever anyone lights the menorah. The only way to drive them off is to stay in the old, desrted, creepy synagogue, light the candles each night, and, finally, get the king of the goblins to light them hismself on the last night. No problem for Hershel of Ostopol! He can outwit any goblin. Or can he? Wait until you see the king of the goblins. He's scary! This book made me laugh and shiver and I bet you will too! (Check out our October 25 post, "Hooray for Eric Kimmel!" to see more about Hershel) If you want to visit Eric's website, click here.

...and Tony Abott!

Mini-interview with Tony Abbott!

Why do you think it's cool for boys to read?

There is so much world out there, and none of us has the time or opportunity to know more than our own little space of it, unless we read. Reading opens our minds, and our experience becomes greater. The really important thing about reading is that – unlike movies or television – the reader has to work to uncode the words. Words on the page are just smudges of ink unless the reader brings them into his head. Once he does, he begins to see the scenes, hear the characters, and feel what they are feeling.

Is it cool for boys to write/draw? Why?

Absolutely! Boys are often shy or awkward socially (I sure was!), and writing and drawing can help them to express themselves. They can be a sort of open window for them. I also think it’s one of the most amazing powers to go through your life being open to what you see and feel and imagine and then using your creativity, your art, to make something, a story, a poem, a picture, a sculpture, a film.

Who was your favorite comic book character when you were a boy? Do you have a favorite character now?

I actually didn’t have a good time with comics. Something about the business on the page kept me from really getting into comics in a big way. However, there was never any question with me. Batman was and is the greatest hero. He doesn’t have powers. He is just a guy who wants to do the right thing. The thing I loved and love about Batman is that I could be him. I could do that. The only thing separating me (or anyone!) from being a “Batman” is that we are afraid. Batman all the way.

What is your favorite sport?

I like watching football and tennis, and playing tennis. I am not good at all, but it’s a great sport, and can be played by someone who is not super strong or big or hugely muscled. I played golf for a while, but it’s very slow; too slow for me.

What do you like to do for fun?

I read, but that’s probably part of my writing life. I love to mow the lawn. Does that sound silly? Other parts of yardwork are okay, but cutting the grass is the best. I like seeing the increasing progress of my work, and the fragrance of newly mown grass is one of the best smells ever.

What is the favorite book you have written?

Hard question. I love FIREGIRL because it’s very personal and may be my best book so far. I love KRINGLE because of its theme, combining Christmas with a fully imagined fantasy. I suppose these days, I’m in love with my upcoming novel, THE POSTCARD. It’s a comedy/mystery set in Florida, has two timelines, and is a bit complicated, but so much fun. I really came to think of the two characters, Jason and Dia, as part of my family. I can’t wait for it to come out!

Which do you like better--cheeseburgers or pizza? What do you like on them?

Again, hard question to answer. I don’t eat cheeseburgers as much as I eat pizza – I suppose because of the cholesterol in beef, so I’ll have to say pizza. I like plain cheese, but I also like margarita pizzas, with basil, and mozzerella. Mmm. Now you’ve made me hungry.

Thanks, Tony! Sorry I don't have a pepperoni--ground beef--mushroom--black olive one on me. Hmmm---now I want one! Well, I'm reading Kringle and will post about it when I'm finished. I'll tell you what--I can't wait to finish it! It's great! If you'd like to visit Tony's website, click here.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

The Three Faces of Sir Samuel

Hello, hello, it's your firendly neighborhood bloggerman, Carl. We've been getting a lot of activity on the blog lately; in fact, it's hard to keep up with it all! We've got new comments from Sir Samuel, we've listed our favorite books of the year, and we're expecting to hear from some of our terrific Novello authors. This is great.

First of all, we actually had a visit from Sir Samuel yesterday when he came to pick up his free book. Here's a picture:

See how he strikes a knightly and noble pose. His trusty sword is raised on high, ready to smite evildoers and boring books with his mighty arm. (The book he holdeth is The Eternal Flame, v.III of T. A. Barron's The Great Tree of Avalon series) Not only did he pay us a visit, however, but he also sent us two new comments:

Hello, me fine friends and siths. First and for-most, I must apoligize for the assault I made on a certain sith. I realize it was against my code of chivalry and that it would be wise to halt things before they get started. You know, I never have been fond of hiring ninjas to assault enemy households anyhow. But, I am here to book review and review books, wot wot, so I must now fulfill my duty.I wilt review TWO books in this ONE post. Quite stunnning, I know- they should make me a wizard for such a feat! That's it. I'm now Samuel the Wizard!!!! ...... Sorry about that.

The reviews: Children of the LampThis is a story about two children who, one day, find out they are descendants of a long running line of genies- or djinn, properly speaking. They are thrust into an adventure as they find out about the duties and responsibilities of a true djinn. It is a mystery filled with intresting facts and mythology, and explores many places in Egypt. Every one of its 355 pages is filled with humor, intrique, and an overhanging sense of peril. Who could wish for more?(Get it! They're genies/djinn and I said wish? I know. Beyond words.)

Here There Be DragonsThis is my all time favorate of all time. It is simply amazing, full of suprises, and has a deep yet funny plotline that will keep your eyes glued to the page. It is the tale of a young university man who studys under a very eccentric proffessor. When his proffessor mysteriously dies, a short man dressed in strange atire knocks on his door and declares him the new keeper of the Imaginarium Geographica- or the book of imaginary geography. Seconds later he is chased by half wolve, half humans, sailing into the lost kingdom of Avalon, and embarking on a colossal quest to save the entire land from the grips of a dark ruler. It is the kind of book that will keep you awake reading hours past your bedtime.

Signed,Samuel the Wizard(P.S.: Never again will I be a wizard- for unlike knights, wizards have to obey grammar rules and can be critisized for bad spelling!)

Well done, indeed, Sir Samuel! Now he is Sir Samuel the Brave, the Wise, and now, well, for a moment, the Wizard. I think being a knight doth suit thee best, however. It was very noble of you to make peace with Darth Bill. A duel between you two would have been messy. I mean, if the indestructible steel of a true knight met a light saber of a sith lord, who would win? What do you think, guys?

BTW, I'm glad you talked about the Children of the Lamp. I saw that book on another site yesteday. I had never heard of it and it looked interesting. You've got me curious now. Well, now that you've apologized to our sith lord, I wonder if he has anything to say. How about it, Bill?

Monday, December 10, 2007

What was your 2007 favorite?

Hey, once again, it's Carl. It's getting toward the end of December and grownups like to think back on what happened during the year. So that got me to wondering---what was the best book I read in 2007? What did I enjoy the most? Before I give an answer, I'm going to ask you guys the same thing: What was the best book you read in 2007? What did you enjoy the most? It can be a chapter book, graphic novel, biography, nonfiction, series paperback, whatever. Tell us what it was and why you liked it. And you can tell us about more than one book.
Here are my faves:
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (The first in the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series) (reviewed on 9-22-07)
Man, this was the best book I've read in...well, I can't tell you how long because it's been so long since I enjoyed a book this much! Fast, funny, action-packed, it makes you keep turning pages and not want to stop! Percy suddenly finds that monsters from the old Greek myths are out to kill him. Not only that, they want to do away with him because he's the son of Poseidon, the Greek sea god, and a mortal woman. The only safe place is Camp Half-Blood, where other half-mortal kids live. But he's got more trouble--he finds that he's destined to be a hero and stop a war between the old Greek gods. Along the way he fights monsters on the top of the St. Louis Arch, sends a package to the 600th floor of the Empire State Building, and rescues his mom from the underworld. This is great stuff! The other 2 books in this series are The Sea of Monsters and The Titan's Curse. The fourth book, The Battle of the Labyrinth, is due to come out on May 6 and I can't wait!!!

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick (reviewed 8-7-07)
This is another book that sucks you in and doesn't let go until the end. Twelve-year-old Hugo is an orphan who lives in an abandoned attic room of the Paris train station in 1931. He spends his time doing 3 things--hiding from the police, keeping the clocks in the station running, and filching small mechanical toys from an old toy seller's stand in the station in order to work on a mechanical contraption. The old man finally catches Hugo and threatens to turn him in, but Hugo manages to escape. Hugo and the old man form a relationship, yet the more Hugo finds out about the toyseller, the more mysteries he uncovers. You won't believe what he finally learns! This story is told in words and pictures and this way of telling the story works--you're reading about Hugo being chased by the police on one page and then you see pictures of Hugo running into the crowds of the Paris train station the next page. It helps the story move along. It's like reading a book and watching a movie at the same time--which, once you finish the book, you'll understand why! I really, really liked this book. I would always hurry back to my desk after doing library work so I could read some more. (PS--I read a comment somewhere from a boy who said don't be put off by how thick this book is. You won't want to stop once you start reading!)

Those are my two favorites books. My third favorite isn't a book; it's the Bone graphic novel series by Jeff Smith. Bill has been a fan for a long time and now I've become one. There are a lot of good fantasy comics out there but this one stands way above the rest. The art is nothing short of fantastic, the Bone brothers are funny, irritating, and heroic, and the books have enough danger, adventure, action, and surprises to keep any reader on the edge of the seat. So get off your seats and get them! And these other two.

OK, I can't stand it, I've got to tell you about one more: Around the World in a Hundred Years: From Henry the Navigator to Magellan by Jean Fritz. (reviewed 11-1-07)This book is proof positive that nonfiction is not boring! Do you tales of adventure? Do read want to read about epic voyages, unbelievable feats of endurance, storms at sea, deadly battles, as well as some funny stories? Then get this one. You won't be bored and you'll be amazed that all these stories are true!

Now, Bill, what were your favorites?

Some of my best friends!

So, I get to pick my favorites second! Hum, I tell you it's discrimination because I am a Sith!!!!! I think Carl is a Jedi sympathiser. That doesn't make me a bad person, does it? Sure I torture the occasional rebel leader to extract important information and yes I do enjoy offing the occasional Jedi fools (oh and I almost forgot destroying the occasional planet with my own personal Death Star). But really, does that make me such a bad guy? Hum..........well maybe a little, but don't I deserve to be loved? Wait a minute, don't answer that.

Okay, some of my favorite books from the past year are as follows:

The Battle of Guadalcanal: Land and Sea Warfare in the South Pacific by Larry Hama and illustrated by Anthony Williams - This is one of the really great graphic novels in the Graphic (as in the format, not the depiction) Battles of World War II Series. I reviewed a lot of these graphic novels in our November 7, 2007 blog. This graphic novel is about the start of the United States' key offensive against the Empire of Japan to reclaim the Pacific. It is an incredible true story about the horrors of war, the bravery of the men on both sides of the battle and an important reminder of real events that occurred in recent history that should not be forgotten. I don't want to say anymore as I think it is important to read about the Battle of Guadalcanal rather than have me just tell you about it. This graphic novel and the series it comes from are all gems.

Interworld by Neil Gaiman and Michael Reaves - I reviewed this book on October 18, 2007 for the blog. This is a story about 15-year-old Joey Harker who finds out that there exists a multiverse and there is a battle between the forces of science and magic to control it. The only thing standing in their way are a multitude of different versions (some very close in appearance to those who have wings and can fly) of himself from other muliverse worlds who live on a secret base known as InterWorld. If you like science fiction or magic with a good dose of non-stop excitement, this is the book for you.

Gorilla, Gorilla by Art Baltazar - This is a really funny graphic novel about two roommates Gorilla and Lizard. Gorilla also happens to be the superhero Gorilla Gorilla and Lizard just happens to be the evil Lizard Lizard. They do not know each others secret identities and as roommates are the best of friends. The stories presented in this graphic novel are extremely funny and witty. A must read for all ages. This graphic novel was reviewed by Carl in our October 5, 2007 blog (I'm sure I could have done a better job but....).

Roanoke: The Mystery of the Lost Colony by Lee Miller - This book is about the English Roanoke Island Settlement at the end of the sixteenth century. The colony mysteriously disappeared and people have speculated for years as to what happened. Mrs. Miller sheds light on to what probably happened and also gives the inside story of what was going on at this time in history and the individuals who played a part in the Settlements tragedy. This book was originally reviewed on the blog on July 30, 2007.

Well that's that. Peace out all,

Darth Bill

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Oh, Man, Wait Until Darth Bill Reads This One!

Hey, one and all, it's Carl again. This is great! We're getting good respnse from you guys out in blogland. Like Bill, I'm proud of the good work you're doing. Keep it up! And lookee here--we've got another comment from Sir Samuel:

Before I choose to let the cobwebs settle, I feel like I ought to make one more comment, wot wot. Now, first off, reading the introduction thingamabob, I relized that I had not stated why I liked the book! I myself seemed quite the frogwalloper then, here here. But back to buisness: I likes the jolly old book because they are extremely descriptive, the battles are cunning and well paced, and the villian seems so alive. (Instead of just being the pure evil black-hearted thug you expect him to be)
However, I suppose I might as well review another ole story- can't have an outlandish sith beating me, wot ho? So here I go:The Lost Journals of Ven Polypheme: The Floating Island. The main character in this adventure is Ven himself, a dwarfish creature known as a Nain. He is the son of a shipbuilder but truly longs for adventure. One day when testing a new boat out at sea, he is attacked by fire pirates and left out at sea to die. But through a great lucky turn of events, he starts down the road on a sort of mystery quest, most questions coming from the floating island, the home of the element of wind. This is a fairly straightforward story at first, but near the end forms itself into quite the complex puzzle. And you'll be on yer toes when you turn to that last chapter, believe me.

That's that, me old chums! And take THAT, ya bloody sith!
Signing off,
Sir Samuel the Wise

Whoa, just wait until Darth Bill reads this one! He really got in DB's face, didn't he? Well, what do you think, guys? Can you outread a sith? Or will you sith readers take this lying down? And what about the rest of you readers who are neither sith nor knights? Do you think you can outread them both? Let's hear it!

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Kelly the Technowizard Comes Through!

Hey guys, it's Carl again. You may have noticed a new addition to the Links section on the left-hand side of the page. We've included a link to a list of all the books we've talked about since the blog started. We thought it would be too hard to go back through all the posts to find books, so we made a list and divided it into Chapter Books, Graphic Novels, Series Paperbacks, Nonfiction, and Others. We've also put the dates on which the books were reviewed so that you can go back to that post and see what people said.

This was hard to do, though. A blog isn't like a website where you put everything on the site and it stays in one place forever. I had to figure a way to put that list into cyberspace so the blog could link to it. Pea-brained Carl didn't what to do, so I called Kelly, our technowizard, and she came down and waved her magic wand over the keyboard. Poof!! The list suddenly appeared. Don't believe me? All right, here's the picture to prove it:

There's me and Darth Bill looking on in amazement as Kelly works her magic. Kelly has an advanced degree from Hogwarts in Computer Magic. But, unfortunately, her other favorite class was Transformations and she just couldn't resist:

Thanks a lot, Kelly!!! It's a good thing our boss came along and made Kelly change us back. (I'll let you guess which one of us was the frog and which one was the pig)

So you still don't believe me? Well, maybe it didn't happen exactly that way, but Kelly really is one of the computer experts in our Tech Central area. They are all very smart; in fact, they're so smart that they seem to solve all our problems by magic. She was great and I would never have known what to do if she hadn't helped me. So check out the list. We'll do our best to update it by the end of the month, if not sooner.

Gotta go. I've a sudden urge to sit on a lilly pad and eat like a...maybe I'd just better go! See ya!
PS--check out our Time-Warner CableTech Central area. It's great!

Tuesday, December 4, 2007

A Crazy Little Post From Captain Bootstrap Bill

Well now, it seems we have a character here a name of Sir Samuel the Brave. Ya knows what I think should be done with characters reviewing books! Do ya really want ter know!!!!!!

John "The Duke" Wayne

They should be complimented on a job well done, ole bean!! Wot, wot very good indeed. Haven't seen such an insightful review of the first Redwall book since the Great War (some time ago indeed). Bravo, Sir, Bravo indeed! Not trying to be a cheeky monkey, but did you know that a Graphic Novel version of this book has just recently come out, wot, wot? The title is Redwall: The Graphic Novel by Brian Jacques; illustrated by Bret Blevins; and adapted by Stuart Moore. I wouldn't dare say it's better than the work it is based on(Redwall by Brian Jacques published in 1986), but it is a jolly good read!

Redwall: The Graphic Novel (------------------------------------) Redwall the Novel (1986)

Similar, but different!!!! Kinda like dogs and cats. No that's not a good example. Hum, how about NASCAR cars and Indy cars. Yea, that works!

Also I really liked the books The WeirdDude(MHR) recommended--Chasing Vermeer, Artemis Fowl (I really love this whole series) and Science Verse (Jon Scieszka rules!!!!). If this gentleman, and I use that term loosely, is not yet a Sith, I see a bright future for him in this field of work!

Well, everyone who contributed did and outstanding job and I say keep it up. Hip, Hip Hurray!!!!!!!!

And now for something completely different!

Well, let's talk about some good books that I have read recently and maybe you would like to read also:

The Latke who Couldn't Stop Screaming: A Christmas Story by Lemony Snicket - If the title to this book does not make you laugh, I don't know what will. Mr. Snickett has written here a wonderfully funny book about what happens when Hanukkah and Christmas collide. I will quote from the beginning of the book: "This story ends in someone's mouth, but it begins in a tiny village more or less covered in snow." Interesting sounding, isn't it? Well, in this village a Latke (a potato pancake) is made or, more to the point, is born. Because of the high temperature in the pan in which it is made/born, it starts screaming and runs out the house. As the Latke makes its way through the peaceful village and runs into Christmas objects who do not understand who or what he is or represents (Latke
is a part of Hanukkah), he gets so frustrated that he continues to scream. You really have to read this book because it literally will have you in tears with laughter. On top of all this, there is a twist ending that will also blow you away with laughter. Do yourself a favor and read this wonderful book. I know you will enjoy it.

Star Wars: Clone Wars Adventures (Volume 9) by the Filbach Brothers - This is the 9th volume in this terrific graphic novel adventure series set in the Star Wars' Universe during the Clone Wars. This volume includes 4 stories that range from comical ("Appetite for Adventure" staring Dexter Jettser) to the truly poignant ("Salvaged" staring a Clone War Trooper). Also included in the mix are stories featuring Jedi Mace Windu (my favorite Jedi) and Quilan Vos (Jedi on the cover of the book). So if you feel like visiting a galaxy and time far, far away, give this graphic novel and the rest a try. Good Stuff!!!!!!

Well, guys, take it easy and continue to send in those great posts. If you haven't posted yet, come on!!!! It's fun and we would love to find out what books you are reading and enjoying (plus, first time posters get a free book!).


Darth Bill

"We're Knights of the Round Table, We Blog When We Are Able..."

What ho, good readers! Forsooth, 'tis Carl, keeper of the noble blog scrolls. We have a comment from a new and knightly friend, Sir Samuel the Brave. Let us hear what he hath to say:

Three new comments, eh? Well, ye old frogwallopers, I'll make it four! Bet ye didn't see that comin', wot wot. Anyhap, might as well get on with things. Books, yes...I'd say a jolly good ole book would be Redwall, sirs. It tells the tale of a young mouse, Mathias, and his friends. The tale starts right peaceful and all, but things start to get a might bit tight when an army of rats lead by Cluny the Scourge sets upon the peaceful Abbeydwellers, and begins to lay siege to the famed Redwall. Mathias goes on a quest to retrieve the ancient sword of Martin the Warrior, guardian of Redwall, while the creatures of Redwall take up arms against the intruders. It is filled with constant action, involving massive clashes between the two sides, a desperate race against time to claim an aincient blade, and a final clash that wil remain imprinted on yer mind furever. (Get it? They're animals, and I said 'fur' ever?) It sounds like jolly good reading, wot wot!
Signing off,
Sir Samuel the Brave

Most excellently done, Sir Samuel! Come and get thy free book! Has anyone else read the Redwall books? How'd you like them?