Saturday, February 28, 2009

Gabriel's Horses: A Terrific Book

Litsen up, guys, I really love to tell you about terrific books. When you look at the blog's logo, you'll see that's our whole purpose. Well, this book is Terrific!! With a capital "T"!! Gabriel's Horses by Alison Hart is one of those books that gets you so into the characters and the world they live in that you get all excited about what happens to them. And plenty happens in this book!
Young African-American boy Gabriel works in the horse barns with his Pa in Woodville Farms in Kentucky. The Civil War is on, yet it's far away from thier farm. Or so it seems. Gabriel and his Pa are going to Lexington to race one of the horses when a renegade Rebel captain and his group of raiders stop them. And that's just in Chapter Two!! There's a lot more. As I said, this book really makes you care about the characters and worry when bad things happen. And there are bad men here. And danger is always just down the road, ready to spring when you don't expect it. I really, really, really enjoyed this book. So will you. I have to be brief here but I could rave all day. So get it and read it!!

PS--this is the first book in a trilogy. Now I have more great series books to wait for!

Friday, February 27, 2009

At Last!! The Demigod Files!!

Yes, reader guys and halfbloods everywhere, the library has finally received its copies of The Demigod Files!! I got hold of one the other day and zipped right through it. (Well, it was easy for this slow reader because I'd already read two of the stories online!) Was it good? Was it worth the wait? Oh, yes indeed! Master storyteller Rick Riordan has done it again! You get all the excitement, humor, great characters, and unexpected twists that we all enjoy in the Percy Jackson series.

There are 3 shorter stories here. In the first one, "The Stolen Chariot," Percy has to help Clarisse recover the Chariot of Ares from Phobos and Deimos, the two immortal sons of Ares. (Wait a minute--did I say that Percy helped Clarisse???) The second one, "The Bronze Dragon," has Percy and Charles Beckendorf rescue Annabeth And Silena Beauregrd from an abandoned (and deadly) camp project. The third one, "The Sword of Hades," has Percy, Thalia, and Nico going on an urgent quest through the underworld (even through the Fields of Punishment) where they meet some particularly nasty enemies.

There are also interviews with the characters (there's a really funny one with the Stolls brothers), a map of Camp Half Blood, AND a great appetizer at the end--an excerpt from The Last Olympian, the full-length PJ book that's due on May 10!! The excerpt is short, only six pages, but just enough to make you hungry for more. Good stuff for all PJ fans! Highly recommended. Makes me realize how looooonnngggg it's going to be until May 10!
PS--Random thoughts:
"The Sword of Hades" starts with another of those great first lines that Mr. Riordan does so well: "Christmas in the underworld was NOT my idea."
Mr. Riordan is a master of making the characters from classical mythology come alive. Wait until you meet Phobos, Deimos, Persephone, Sisyphus, and Melinoe. No one does it better.
The scene in which Melinoe asks Percy, "Where are your ghosts?" is one of Mr. Riordan's (and Percy's) finest moments. Percy may be obtuse, as Annabeth would say, but he's nobler and smarter than the others when it counts.
AAANNNDDD--what's up with Rachel? and Percy? Read the excerpt to see what I mean.
As I've said before, this book is the ONLY place to read an excerpt from The Last Olympian. Unless there's some cyberpirate out there who's stolen an excerpt. And we wouldn't want to support him, would we?
BTW, you'll notice that I haven't answered Darth Bill's accusations about putting a pink princess book in the Sacred Shrine of Guyhood. The armor of my innocence protects me from any arrows of accusation. Besides, he should know that no guy, not even the evil titan Kronos, would defile a place of such immortal honor!

Thursday, February 26, 2009

Of Ducks and Spiders and Suspects

Well all it appears the sacred shelf of "Boys Reading" has been assaulted. As a Librarian and a Sith Lord, I must seek out and provide justice to the vile villain who would perform such an act. An act so incredibly evvvviiilll not even a Sith would perpetrate it (unless it was a female Sith, hummm.......). First I, the great Darth Bill, must present my short list of suspects who just so happen to be ImaginOn employees (convenient isn't it) and are very shady characters indeed.

Suspect Number One - The Evil Ellen

She looks innocent, but behind that smile; pure EVIL!!!!!!!!!

She was my number 1 suspect from the start. As I trailed her she was very careful to not show her face. Look:

Why so shy Ellen???????

Surely you are not guilty of anything??????

My next suspect may surprise you all, but evil has many faces. Some that we even come to trust.

Suspect Number Two - The Carlman!!!!!!!!!!!!! (Dunt, don, dunnnnnnnnnnnn!!!!!!)

When investigating this incident I noticed Carl acting awfully suspicious. When I questioned him as you see in this picture he claimed he was as innocent as an angel. he really?

Soon after this questioning I found on my desk, along with my super cool Spider-Man Comic and the latest Star Wars book I'm reading, this Princess Book!!!!!!! Who would dare!!!!!!! Then I realized this was probably the Carlman, putting this book on my desk to make me a suspect. Don't worry intrigued readers, I will get to the bottom of this mystery!!!!!!!

Well as I continue in my Sherlock Holmes mode, I also have some cool reads to present. So check it out:

Walt Disney Treasures: Uncle Scrooge - A Little Something Special by various - This is an awesome collection of some of the best Uncle Scrooge Stories ever told. The time period of stories that this Graphic Novel (GN) covers goes all the back to 1954 up till 2006. These stories are filled with high adventure, terrific comedy and are just plain fun reading. Uncle Scrooge with his every faithful relatives Donald, Huey, Louie and Dewey cover the globe and their hometown of Duckberg in this GN with a whoping 8 full length stories. My two favorite stories in this collection are " The Seven Cities of Cibola" by Carl Barks and "A Little Something Special" by Don Rosa. In the first story by Carl Barks, Scrooge, who is down in the dumps, is thrilled to be introduced to arrowhead collecting by Donald and the boys (Huey, Dewey, and Louie). Even with all the money he has, he finds collecting arrowheads worth 50 cents each is too good to pass up! While searching though, the ducks end up on the trail of bigger treasure, that of the legendary Seven Cities of Cibola. Unfortunately the Beagle Boys happen to find out what the ducks are up to. The second story by Don Rosa finds everyone trying to find a gift for the duck who has everything (that being of course Uncle Scrooge) with the person who finds out what he wants most winning a million dollars. This turns out to be an evil plot to bring down scrooge by some of his nastiest enemies (The Beagle Boys, Magica DeSpell, Flintheart Blomgold and Blackheart Beagle). Scrooge, Donald and the boys are in it deep in this story. Find out what happens; check out this GN!!!!!

Marvel Adventures Sider-Man #48 by Todd Dezago and Jonboy Meyers - I just got finished reading ImaginOn's latest issue of this comic and I have to say it was most excellent. Spidey gets both The Scorpion and Electro on his case in a serious way when he thwarts robberies each attempts separately. They both decide to hunt him down and dish out some serious pain in his direction. Talk about being between a rock and a hard place, check this issue out to see how everyone's favorite web slinger solves this "shocking" and "stinging" situation!!!!!! Good Stuff!!!!!!!!!!!

Until next time all.....Peace,


A Lot Of Buzz!

The last post generated more buzz than anything we've ever said before!! You can see the talk in the Comments section underneath that post, but it was such a good discussion that I'll put it out here:

Ms. Yingling said...
I didn't do it. Really. As much as I would love to visit, I would never do anything so horrible. But you have to admire the evil genius of it all.

Anonymous said...
Yes Sir! Boys Rule! You guys at ImaginOn ROCK! It was probably the worse type of girl, a girl Sith! who did this deed!

Carl said...
We believe you, Ms. Yinling. No Honorary Guy would ever desecrate the Sacred Shrine of Guyhood. (And please come visit if you're ever in Charlotte!) Would a girl Sith do this? Who ELSE could stoop so low!! What do you think, Darth Bill? Master Jedi Zack?

Freedom Regional Library Team said...
It was the Sith Lord at Freedom Regional. Mwhahahaha.

(not really though)

Carl said...
Should've known a Sith would take credit for a crime he didn't commit. The Great and Powerful CARLMAN, who sees through tme and space was not fooled, though--no guy, not even a servant of the dark side, would place such a dishonor on the Sacred Shrine of Guyhood.

Yes, quite a discussion. Please feel free to add more by going to the Comments section under this post or on the last one. And you can always Comment on any post we or your fellow reader guys have done. In fact, I just published a Comment on Bill's post called " The Hunger Games, A Book Review On Film, And More" (That post was published on 1-26-09)


Tuesday, February 24, 2009


Guys, I hate to tell you this but a terrible crime has just occurred. It's so dastardly that even Lex Luthor, the Joker, Al Capone would be ashamed to admit it. Brace yourselves, men! I hate to do it but it's my duty to inform you that someone has desecrated the Sacred Shrine of Guyhood. It's---it's too painful to talk about, so I'll just show you the photo.Can you believe it?????? Here at the Boys Read display at Imaginon, the Sacred Shrine of Guyhood, someone dared to put the book A Princess Primer: A Fairy godmother's Guide to Being a Princess on our shelf!!!!!! Oh, the nerve!!!! Who would dare to place a princess book in the heart of all guyness!! I was so seized with righteous indignation that I moved faster than a lightning bolt to set things right. Here is the result:

There!! The cosmic balance has been restored. Dave Barry's book Science Fair, the one about floating frogs, dads who dress like Luke Skywalker, and evil schemes to take over the US with a high school science fair has replaced the criminal deed. Goofy guy humor has replaced the pink princess book and all is right with the world!! I don't know the identity of the desecrator and don't want to know. Just understand this; anyone who commits such a foul crime again will face the wrath of--

The Great and Powerful CARLMAN!!

Monday, February 23, 2009

Great Nonfiction: Brave Men In Tanks and Singers Who Still Rock The World

Hey, everyone, the Great and Powerful CARLMAN has returned! I've just fought off a cold brought on by the Giant Germs of Jupiter. They're big and deadly, let me tell you, but couldn't keep the CARLMAN down for long. Before I tell y0u about some good stuff, let's hear a comment from Ms. Yingling about Dave Barry's book Science Fair:

Science Fair was really good, but as only an honorary guy, there were some things that I found... puerile. Luckily, there wasn't any language or potty humor. Just yesterday I had the speech therapist bring a boy in to tell me that Chris Lynch's Extreme Elvin had the sh** word in it. Sigh. Only so much we can do.

I agree, Ms. Yingling. This just goes to show that boys read a lot better than people think. I've actually read articles that say guys have to have potty humor to get them to read. Give us a break! Write a good story and we'll read it! Make sure it has excitement and humor and we'll love it! Doesn't have to have language and potty humor; in fact, some guys in last year's Percy Jackson book club said that one thing they appreciated about Mr. Riordan was that he didn't put that stuff in his books. Doesn't have to! He's got a great story, good characters, lots of action and humor. Just what guys love!

Of course, guy humor doesn't have to potty but it doesn't have to be sophisticated either! Puerile humor is just what we like! Wait---does everyone know what "puerile" means?? No?? I'll give a free copy of Jerry Spinelli's book The Library Card to the first guy who sends me a dictionary definition, plus the name of your dictionary.

Now, on to some great nonfiction. I wanted to find something good for Black History Month, but, as I did last year, I waited to almost the end of the month. My bad! We get insanely busy sometimes and it's hard to get to all the books I want to read. Anyway, the first one is a really good story and also a good look at why it's important to hold Black History Month. The 761st Tank Battalion by Kathryn Browne Pfeifer tells about the first group (and only) of African-American tank soldiers in World War II. They were tough and brave men who fought the Nazis for 183 day straight! In the snow! In some of the most crucial battles of the war. Yet these incredible men were overlooked, ignored, or discriminated against simply because they were black. In fact, after the war, one member was beaten by a redneck sheriff so badly that he went permanently blind. This book will make you admire the men and also make you angry over their circumstances, yet their courage and determination in their battles on and off the battlefield will lift your spirits.

How did African-American people cope with all their troubles? One way was through music. That's what makes The Blues Singers: Ten Who Rocked the World by Julius Lester and Soul and R&B by Christopher Handyside so good--they tell about this fantastic music. Much of what we listen to now came down from them. The Blues Singers is written as a grandfather telling his granddaughter about all the great singers he's heard. He starts with the blues with singers like Robert Johnson, Bessie Smith, and Muddy Waters, goes to gospel (Mahalia Jackson), the great soul singers (Ray Charles and Aretha Franklin), and dynamic performs like James Brown and Little Richard. All of them came from terrible backgrounds. Most of them had parents die when they were children., but they all made some of the best music you'll ever hear. A couple of them have died since the publication of this book (James Brown and Ray Charles) but many are still going strong--Aretha Franklin sang at President Obama's inauguration!

The Soul and R&B book covers more ground, going from the Rhythm and Blues (R&B) of the late '40's and early '50's, the exciting sounds coming out of Memphis and Motown in the '60's, the funky, stylistic, and disco music of the 70's, and the innovative '80's sounds, including the beginnings of hip-hop. This is good quick reading, giving you short chapters that leave you hungry to know more. Plus there are great pictures, good information in the sidebars, a timeline at the end, and an excellent list of places to visit and recordings to listen to.
Now, how did African-Americans cope? They did like James Brown--they looked the world and all its troubles right in the eye and shouted, "I FEEL GOOD!!" See if this video by James Brown, The Godfather of Soul, The Hardest Working Man In Show Business, doesn't make you feel the same! (If you see any pop up ads, just click out of them)

Wednesday, February 18, 2009

The Last Olympian Cover and Eating Fried Worms

All RIGHT!! The new cover for The Last Olympian has finally been unveiled!! The only place to see it, though, is on Rick Riordan's blog or the Percy Jackson book site. (The book site also has a Last Olympian video) Go take a look, guys. This cover is really, really impressive!! And there's an interview with Blackjack, Percy's personal pegasus. How long is it until May 5, when The Last Olympian comes out? TOO LONG!!!!!

Well, while I sit patiently and wait, let me tell about another really Good Quick Read. Wait--before I do, let me ask----would you ever eat a worm?? Would you eat 15 worms?? "NO WAY!" Is that what you'd say? Would you do it for fifty dollars? Hmmm, that makes it different, doesn't it? That's the idea behind How To Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell, a book that's been making guys laugh for 36 years! Billy and his friends Alan, Joe, and Tom are sitting around one day and Alan, who's one of these pushy, come-on-I-bet you're-chicken types, bets Billy that he wouldn't eat a worm. Billy says that anyone could eat one worm. Then Alan bets Billy to eat one worm a day for fifteen days. Alan will give him $5o if Billy wins. Joe and Tom will be witnesses to make sure no one cheats. The worms can be fried, boiled, or cooked in any way and Billy can use ketchup, mustard, or whatever he wants to get them down. Can he do it??? It's pretty funny to find out. Billy starts to get grossed out (I bet!!) but then he gets used to his new diet! Alan starts to panic and comes up with goofier and crazier schemes to keep Billy from eating those last worms. It's funny, guys!! And it's a Good Quick Read. A lot of the "chapters" are only one or two pages long. Go read it! And enjoy your grilled-cheese and worm sandwich!

PS--there are no bad words in this book, but at one point Billy calls Alan a b----d and it was a real surprise to me. I wanted to make you aware of it.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Rowdy Roddy Writes!

Our friend Rowdy Roddy at the SMS Guys Read blog has just written to us about Dave Barry's Science Fair. Let's hear him:
Hey Guys,

Boy it has been a long time since I last posted on your blog. I do come by and check in almost everyday, but have only lurked for awhile. This post made me just have to hit that comment button.

I just finished Science Fair and I have to admit it was one of the best books I've read in a long time. I highly recommend it to anyone.I have to say I fall into the Star Wars fan club. I don't have any priceless props, but I do have a Jedi Luke action figure in his black outfit that was handed out at the premires of the special editions back in the 90s. That has to be worth a few bucks. So if you enjoy a zany, madcap laugh out loud book do yourself a favor and read Science Fair.
A nuclear mentos has to peak your intrest a little?

Rowdy Roddy

Thanks, Rowdy! (or is it Roddy?) Dave Barry writes very funny stuff. Have any of you other guys read this book? RR also answers a question from the original post--do any of you have collections of Star Wars stuff in your basements or bedrooms like the father did in Science Fair?Hmmmm--I wonder if Darth Bill or Master Jedi Zack do? Good question!!
PS--I never got into colllecting Star Wars stuff, but in 1977 I had a set of cards that, if you put the backs all together, would form a poster scene from the New Hope movie. Wish I still had it now!

Monday, February 16, 2009

What A Book! What A Man!

Hey, dudes, you guys voted on the What Do GUYS Love? poll and the results were overwhelming--guys love video games! No surprise, huh? It did my librarian heart good to see that "books with lots of adventure and action" came in second.

Speaking of books with lots of adventure, I just finished a book that has a true-life adventure that beats most fiction. Washington at Valley Forge by Russell Freedman is the name and it's one that you won't easily forget! What a story!! Imagine camping in the snow with no shoes on your feet. In a thin, useless tent. With nothing to eat. That's how George Washington and his army found themselves in December 1777. Things had been going badly for the Patriots, losing battle after battle against the disciplined fighting machine that was the British army. Some people didn't think General Washington was competent and spread rumors about him. Congress didn't trust him and wouldn't give him money to feed or equip his troops. Imagine how you'd feel if you were Washington! Would you feel like giving up? I know I would! But George Washington decided to stick it out. Not only that, he said he "would share in the hardship and partake of every inconvenience" of his men. Now that's a TRUE MAN for you! No wonder we celebrate his birthday 239 years later! This is an incredible book and Russell Freedman is a fantastic writer, making you feel the tension and suspense that Washington felt. You really wonder if Washington and his army are going to make it!! Get it, guys! You'll love it!

Friday, February 13, 2009

Get This Cyber Kid a Hat!

Hey, brother readers guys, cyber kid 303 has just sent us a review of The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones:

The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones is a good book by HELLEN HEMPHILL! Yes, I did go to her workshop at Imaginon. The book is filled with action and adventure. The story starts when Prometheus Jones and Homer Shine win a horse in a raffle. They got the ticket from LaRue and Pernie Boyd Dill, two dumb rednecks, who said there was no way they were gonna let a black man, even though he was born on the day of the Emancipation Proclamation and was free from his first breath, keep that horse. Prometheus and Omer (that's what they called Homer) then jump on and ride that horse to Texas where they join a cattle drive. Many adventures happen while they drive the cattle to Deadwood in the Dakota Territory. Once they get to Deadwood, those two rednecks show up and accuse Prometheus of stealing the horse. Read the book! Read it!

What did I tell you guys? This IS a terrific book! So do as cyber kid says--"Read the book! Read it!"


Thursday, February 12, 2009

Avengers digging Tunnels at the Smithsonian!!!

Greetings again all you fine residents in the land of Blog!!!!! Tis I Darth Bill and I am greatly excited about a number of things. The first being that the sequel to Tunnels (click Here to see my review of that book), Deeper has just come out and I checked out from the library today. Man I can't wait to dig (get it dig - Hahahahahahahahahaha, I kill myself sometimes) into this one starting tonight.

Also I was looking on the Internet to see what cool movies will be coming out this summer and found "Night at The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian." I loved the first movie, starring Ben Stiller, and this one looks like it is going to be pretty funny also. Check it out:

Preview for Night at The Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian

Well that's quite enough silliness, I say!!!!! Now for some reviews of some killer books and graphic novels I have read recently:

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney -

Man this is a book series that just gets better and funnier with each new addition. The continuing adventures of Greg Heffley to navigate the traitorous waters of school and home life continues in this third volume. Greg chronicles his day to day existence in this diary formatted book in with he shares his triumphs and really and not so great accomplishments that any guy no matter how young or old can totally identify with because we did or have done very similar things that while at the moment may not seem funny, but down the line make us look back and laugh hysterically (the drawings that accompany the stories are pretty dog gone funny also and really add to the book). In this book Greg has to face many challenges that he deals with in his own unique style such as being forced to play team soccer by his dad, having to be responsible for his own laundry (gesh!!!), and somehow avoid being sent to a summer military academy. I ask you, what's a guy got to do to get a fair chance in this here life? Read this book to see how Greg manages to get by despite all this adversity!!!!! I tell ya I cried laughing at some of the events in this terrific book and finished it way to fast; I'm gonna die waiting for the next one. Two Thumbs Up!!!!!!!!!!!

Marvel Adventures The Avengers: Some Assembling Required - Do you like adventure? Do you like good laughs? Do you like Super Hero Team Ups? Do you like cool stories and art? Well do I have the book for you. In this volume of the very cool Avengers' Graphic Novels (the core team of this volume is made up of Captain America, Storm, Spider-Man, Giant-Girl, Iron Man and Wolverine) we have guess stars galor and super baddies to the extreme. The first story has one of my favorite Marvel Superheroes: "Hawkeye." He is an expert archer with all kinds of cool trick arrows (He is the Marvel equivalent to Green Arrow; also one of my all time favorite Super Heroes). What makes the story he appears in even cooler is that the Avengers are taking on the New Masters of Evil (made up of Man-Bull, The Melter, Whirlwind and Egghead). Loved this story. Other stories in this book feature such special guest as The Vision (an android that is all to human), the mythical Hercules, and the mutant Quicksilver (taking on the Super Adaptoid).

Well until next time all - Happy Trails,


Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Another (Pretty) Good Quick Read

Hey, gang, it's Carl and it's February 11. That means I should be dancing around the place with my new copy of The Demigod Files. Well, I can't because the library doesn't have one yet. It takes longer for the library to get books than it does for the bookstores and not even the Great and Powerful CARLMAN can bend the laws of time and space and get it here sooner. So I wait.

In the meantime, I just finished another book that I call a Good Quick Read. These are books that are short or that you could read quickly. This wasn't short (it was 232 pages) but the type was big and so there weren't that many words on a page. Anyway, the book was Getting Air by Dan Gutman. It's a survivial story about 14-year-old Jimmy and his little sister Julia plus Jimmy's friends Henry and David. They're all flying out to California to participate in a skateboarding tournament. What happens next? Well, I don't want to say because it took me by surprise. I'll just tell you that it took a lot longer to get there than they planned! You'll like it. And you can read it quickly. I read it in a couple of hours and that's an accomplishment because I read slsowly.

How did I like it? I thought it was pretty good. It wasn't terrific but was still good--good enough to make me want to keep reading until the end, but not so great that I wanted to drop everything else until I finished. Like the Percy Jackson books. Or the Akimbo books. Or the Barnstormers or the Erec Rex books. On the scale of 1 to 5 stars, I'd give it a 3. Try it and tell me what you think.

And if you want to find more Good Quick Reads, click on the Good Quick Reads tab (or lLabel) under this post.
PS--I updated the list of all books we and you have talked about. You'll find in the Links on the left-hand side of the page.
And be sure to vote in the poll to find out, during Valentine's season, what GUYS love!

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

This Is One Crazy Science Fair!

Our faithful firend anonymous has written to us again! This time it's about a Dave Barry book:

New Book Review
I just finished a very Funny and COOL book by Dave Barry and Ridley Pearson.The book is called "Science Fair". Toby Harbinger and his two best friends, Micah and Tamara are students at Hubble Middle School near Washington, D.C. Every year the school has a science fair and for the last few years, the rich kids have been winning the prizes by cheating. They, with the help of their super-ambitious parents, have been paying someone to do their projects for them. Well this year Toby and his friends want to try and change this. Toby has a special reason for wanting to win the prize of $5,000.00. He made the BIG mistake of selling his Dad's "priceless" original Star Wars blaster to a guy who thinks he is Darth Vader. Toby's parents are HUGE Star Wars fans. They have a whole basement of movie memorabilia, like costumes the cast wore, models of star ships, light sabers, etc. Unfortunately, now this Darth Vader wannabe wants the rest of the collection. That would be bad enough, but once Toby and his two friends start to investigate how the ME (Manor Estates) kids are getting their projects done for the science fair, things quickly become more complicated.This year, an EVIL mastermind has gotten himself involved and is planning to use the science fair as a way to destroy the United States.

There are a lot of chapters in this book that were fun to read, but several of my favorites are, (1) a chase scene where our heroes are being chased by federal agents and police while riding in the Oscar Mayer Wienermoblie, (2) a duel between Toby's father dressed in a Luke Skywalker costume and the wannabe Darth Vader using light sabers and finally (3) the various "adventures" of Fester, Micah's frog who is part of his science fair display.(Just try and imagine a frog "floating" in mid air.) Of course, I won't tell you what happens; you are going to have to read for yourselves about this and the rest of what happens at the science fair.

Will the Evil mastermind manage to use the science fair displays to destroy the US?
Will an other ME student win the top prize this year?
Will Toby's Dad beat Darth Vader or lose his priceless collection?
Will Fester really float?
Once you start reading, you won't want to put the book down!!!

Thanks again, anonymous! Oh, man, this sounds good! Floating frogs, duels between a fake Luke Skywalker and Darth Vader--how much better could it get? I know we have a lot of Star Wars fans out there--do any of you have huge Star Wars collections in your basements or bedrooms? Let us know!


Monday, February 9, 2009

What Do Guys Looooove?

Hey, readers guys, it's Carl. Fisrt off, let me correct an error--I had meant to put a link to Kurtis Scaletta's site on that post from Saturday. He was good enough to let us interview him and I wanted to link to his site so we could follow his progress as he waits for his book to come out. Check it out here or in the links on the left-hand side of the page.

Secondly--drum roll, please--The Demigod Files comes out TOMORROW!!!! Wahooo!!!

Thirdly, we all know that Saturday is Valentine's Day, the holiday devoted (yeesh!) to looooovvve. Now we manly guys at the Boys Read blog have no objection to looooovvve;, after all, Darth Bill got married not long ago, Master Jedi Zack got engaged recently, and I've been married for a long time. But all this talk about loooovvve got me to thinking---what do GUYS love? I mean, what do guys really LOVE? What about

video games?
superhero movies?
pizza buffets?
really close basketball/football/baseball/soccer games?
books with lots of action and adventure (the librarian in me had to ask that)

This all sounds like real GUY stuff to me. Did I leave anything out? Can you think of anything else? Write and let us know! And vote on the poll on the left-hand side of the page.

Let's hear it, manly men!


Saturday, February 7, 2009

The Jedi Take on Helen Hemphill's Visit

Hello guys and Honorary Guys, Master Jedi Zack here once again.

I had the pleasure of meeting Helen Hemphill while she was visiting ImaginOn and listened to her outstanding presentation. She taught us about all of the work that went into writing her book, The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones. Miss Hemphill also taught us a good deal about American history in the process.

Carl put up a bunch of great pictures, so I will just post one that I took. You can see all of the pictures I took on the Matthews Flickr page. Here is Miss Hemphill accepting her Honorary Guy certificate from Carl.

Thank you Miss Hemphill for the visit, it was a blast meeting you!!!

Wow! ANOTHER Interview!

Hey, evryone, this is Carl. Isn't the internet great? You can do all sorts of cool things on there--play games, find out interesting stuff, and read other blogs. This last one is great because I learn about great new books through other blogs. Sometimes I get to find out about new books before they come out. That's how I found out about Mudville by Kurtis Scaletta. It sounds like a good story and Mr. Scaletta sounds like a good guy. (I was so intersted in this book that I contacted him through his website) Do you know what?? This book hasn't even come out yet!! And do you also know what? This is his FIRST BOOK!!! I wonder what it must be like to be a first-time author. Well, we're going to find out because Mr. Scaletta gave us an interview!

Could you tell us about your new book? What is it about? How did you come up with the story? How long did it take to write it?

Mudville is about a town where it’s been raining for 22 years, so a generation of kids haven’t been able to play baseball unless they drive to another town. There used to be a big baseball rivalry with the town next door, but that town has been washed off the face of the earth. When the rain finally stops, the kids decide to put a team together and stage a rematch, which is hard since most of them don’t know how to play and their rivals don’t exist anymore.

What is it like to have a book published for the first time?

It takes a while for a book to go through editing, so there’s plenty of time to get used to the idea and start fretting that it won’t be a successful book and that the publisher will regret investing in you… but when the book is actually out – just 22 more days! – I think I will be able to stop fretting for a second and just enjoy the moment.

You have another book coming out! Tell us about that one too.

I have a work in progress that will most likely come out next year. It’s about an American kid who lives in West Africa because his father is in the foreign service – that part is based on personal experience. This kid befriends a mamba, though – one of the deadliest snakes in the world – that part is definitely not based on personal experience!
What did you like to read as a boy? Did you have any favorite comics? Any favorite heroes?

My favorite writer when I was a kid was Daniel Manus Pinkwater, who wrote silly but often poignant books. My favorite comics—if I’m being honest—were Archie comics. I read crates of them. I liked Spiderman a little but didn’t really get into the superhero genre very much. My heroes were Indiana Jones and The Fonz.

Why is it cool for boys to read/write?

There’s really nothing more natural than sharing stories. Human beings have been storytellers from the first time cavemen gathered around a campfire and talked about how they caught their dinner. Whether you do it in book form or not, you listen to stories every day– you watch movies or play video games, even look at ads in comic books. They are all stories. You probably tell stories too -- you tell your buddies about your trip to Florida and maybe exaggerate a bit to make it more exciting, or you reenact your favorite scenes from a movie you saw.

Reading is just one more way to share stories, but I’ve always thought it was the best way to really get pulled into the story, and as a writer I find nothing more rewarding than making up the stories that kids can get pulled into.

What are your favorite sports? Favorite teams?

As you might guess, my favorite sport to watch is baseball. I’m a Twins fan, since I live in Minnesota. I also root for the Gopher football team and the Vikings. The only other sport I watch is golf, which I also sort of play, if you can call what I do “golfing” instead of just tearing up the golf course and cursing a lot.

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

When it comes to guy food, my favorite is a plate of hot wings with plenty of bleu cheese to dip them in. However, if pressed to decide between the two options listed, I am not averse to a bacon cheeseburger with lettuce and tomato and a side of onion rings. In fact you’ve got me craving that now and it’s only 7:30 in the morning.
Thanks, Mr. Scaletta! The library has already ordered copies of his book, so be on the lookout for it.

Friday, February 6, 2009

You've Got a Ticket to Read with Capt'n Jack Sparrow and Bone!!!!

Hello all in the land of Blog!!!! I know it's been a whole week sinse I posted, but it seems like The Carlman and some of you guys out there have been pretty busy posting stuff!!!! I'm really bummed that I missed Mrs. Hemphill's visit yesterday, but I was busy speaking to the local Sith Association of Charlotte (was not sick Carl, don't know why he is always telling people this kinda stuff). See our logo below:

Now I bet you're wondering were the title for this Blog Entry comes from? Well I'm a big Beatles fan from way back and they have this really cool tune "Ticket to Ride." Truth be told, I just wanted an excuse to get them on the blog. Check it out:

The Beatles Performing "Ticket to Ride"

And now for something completly different; Book Reviews by Darth Bill!!!!!

Pirates of The Caribbean, Legends of the Brethren Court: The Caribbean by Rob Kidd -
Well if you are a fan of Captain Jack Sparrow, you will love this new series. This series has some familiar characters serving our beloved Captain: Jack's First Mate Hector Barbossa (I love Barbossa almost as much as Jack), Billy Turner (future father of Will Turner) and Jean Magliore (from the previous and also excellent Jack Sparrow Series). Some new additions to the crew include Alex (a zombie) and Catastrophe Shane (possibly the worst pirate ever) among others. In this series Jack and his fellow Pirate Lords of the Brethren Court are not only battling each other, but a new deadly enemy known only as the Shadow Lord. The Shadow Lord wants to rid the seven seas of all pirates and rule them himself. His army consists of inanimate objects he brings to life that serve as his army. How can you kill or stop an enemy army that is not alive? In this introductory story of the series Jack is looking for the answer to this question along with trying to stay two steps ahead of the Spanish Pirate Lord Vilanueva who is also after him. This book is filled with action and lots of laughs. A really fun read!!!!!!!!

Bone Vol. 9: Crown of Horns by Jeff Smith - Well this is the Graphic Novel (GN) I had been waiting for for such a long time. The final volume of the "Bone" Series where all reader's lingering questions are answered and the final battles fought. I read this last volume with a mix of excitement amid sorrow. Excited because I had another installment to read; saddened because I knew this would be the last one (but hey, I could always reread the series again). In this final installment The Lord of the Locust is bringing the battle to everyone in the form of the Dragons' Queen, the very first of all dragons, Mim. Also Briar, Gran'ma Ben's sister and loyal servant of The Lord of the Locust, makes full-fledged war on all with the rat creatures, an evil army of men, Rock Jaw and Kingdok. Also find out how our heroes end up: Thorn, Gran'ma Ben, Fone Bone, Smiley Bone, Phoney Bone, The Red Dragon, Ted the Bug, Lucius and Bartleby. This book will make you laugh at times, cry or sniffle at some points and make your heart race at the thrilling adventure. This is a great GN that brings to a close a great series. Bone Rules!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Well all, that's all I gots this time. Until next time remember "No Matter Where You Go, There You Are!!!!!"



Thursday, February 5, 2009

Helen Hemphill Visit!

Hey! Carl here, telling you about the great time we had this morning with Helen Hemphill, author of that terrific book The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones. Ms. Hemphill is a very cool person as well as being a fantastic writer and we all enjoyed having her here. She spoke to the 4th graders from Metrolina Regional Scholars Academy (as well a couple of homeschooled guys) about her book. She talked about finding out about Nat Love, the African-american cowboy who wrote a slam-bang autobiography that got her interested in the subject. She also talked about researching what it was like to be a cowboy in 1876, what Deadwood, South Dakota was like back then, and driving out west to see all those places. Then she had them do a writing exercise from a photo of a deserted old house she found out west. (Don't forget, 4th graders, you can send in your stories and I'll post them!) After that, she answered questions on what it takes to get a book published. Later she gave away a copy of her book. We also gave her an Honorary Guy certificate. Here are some pictures:

Ms. Hemphill giving away a book

Signing the book

cyber kid 303 and Master Jedi Zack were there (Darth Bill was sick)

And here's a video of us presenting her with her Honorary Guy certificate:

Thanks for coming! We sure enjoyed it!

Another New Friend Writes In!

This is so great! We have another new reader guy friend writing to us for the first time. His name is Elias. Let's hear him:

I would reccomend all the bionicle books by Greg Farchtky and C.A. Hapka. They are my favorite series, they're Just really great, especially Prisoners of the Pit. So all readers I reccomend these books!

I've always wanted to look at a Bionicle book but never had the time to read one. How about it, guys? Any out there like Bionicle? Thanks, Elias! Be sure to come and pick up your free book!

Only 5 more days until The Demigod Files!!!

Rick Riordan now has Twitter. Take a look here if you've ever wondered why the Oracle is a mummy, what Thalia's last name is, or what monster makes a reappearnce in The Last Olympian.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Yukon CARLMAN Pushes On!

Yes, guys, this is Yukon CARLMAN, resting up after driving my dogsled through the driving snow to open up this library for all you book-hungry people. It was tough, pushing through the Great Blizzard of '09, but I had a duty to perform!!! No matter how cold it was, no matter how deep the snow, even if the library opened a whole TWO HOURS late, I had to get through!! And here I am, ready to answer those homework questions and find just the right book for you desperate guys who are going to be snowed in until June----what did you say, Bill? The sun is shining? The snow's already melted? The streets are clear? Ummmmm---well, then, Yukon CARLMAN has, um, fulfilled his mission!! (Now, what am I going to do with all this leftover whale blubber??)

OK, enough silliness. We did have some snow and school was cancelled and I was somewhat worried that tomorrow's author visit would be called off, but it should still happen. If you get a chance, come to Imaginon tomorrow, Thursday, February 5 at 11:00 am, and hear Helen Hemphill talk about her terrific new book The Adventurous Deeds of Deadwood Jones. If the weather looks bad, call us at 704-973-2720 and find out.

Under the "my bad!" category, I wrote last week about Ian and his blog Books To Read and Games To Play. I told him I'd link it to our blog but forgot to do it. My bad!! I'm sorry, Ian, and have posted with all the other links on the left-hand side of the page. Check it out--it's run by a reader boy just like you all!

Speaking of authors, I'm working on posting an interview with Kurtis Scaletta, an author who's got a new book coming out. It's called Mudville and is so new that it hasn't been published yet! (but I have a copy already and will tell you guys about it. Just started it and it's good so far) Anyway, Mr. Scaletta runs a website and a blog and wrote one of the coolest things I ever saw about boys and reading. He talked about running a 4th-grade Guys Read group in the summer and seeing that boys are smart enough t0 read over their heads:

Yesterday we closed the books (heh) on another Guys Read. I learned that fourth grade boys don’t get Dianna Wynn Jones, like Will Hobbs and Gary Paulsen OK, and would rather talk about movies than books anyway.

If I learned anything else from this round, it’s that kids read over their head. When groups promote reading, they generally talk about gaining academic skills, as if reading is only a ladder to get somewhere else. I would trade that image for one of a mountain climber tossing a grappling hook up to a new peak and then slowly inching up the sheer side of a cliff. When kids who squirm in the chair and wander off topic in seconds tell me they’ve read and enjoyed Jules Verne, Brian Jacques, Christopher Paolini, and other big thick books with strange worlds and new vocabularies, I remember I was the same way as a kid. I read way over my head, and slowly spent the rest of my life trying to reach the intellectual and emotional maturity to speak and behave like the person I was when I was reading.

He's right! I've heard several of you guys talk about reading "big thick books with strange worlds and new vocabulaires." That takes brains, guys!! Keep it up!! There's a lot of talk out there that boys don't read or that they're not good readers. Well, you guys are proving them wrong! I can relate to what Mr. Scaletta said. I remember being in 7th grade and reading H. G. Well's book The War of the Worlds with a dictionary close by to look up unfamiliar words. (cyber kid 303 and some friends read that in a book club once) Guys like to push themselves in sports and a lot of you push yourselves in reading. It is like mountain climbing--you imagine yourself as a great athlete and you push yourself to get to the top. After a while you find that you've become the athlete you imagined. Readers who pick books that may be a bit above them actually reach the "intellectual and emotional maturity" they imagine. Way to go!!

AND NOWI have to tell you how excited I am that The Demigod Files comes out in less than a week!!! Oh, yeah! Uh huh!! Can't wait!!! Go back to the post of January 30 and see what it's about.
Hope to see some of you tomorrow,