Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Pirate and Princess Day and More Pirates and a Fourth-Grade Nothing

Hey, all you readers guys, it's Carl and we had a great time with the Pirate and Princess Day here at Imaginon yesterday. Well, I should say that I had a great time after the initial shock wore off. You see, due to circumstances totally beyond my control, I got here right as the thing started. All the cool pirate stuff had been taken so I was pressed into princess duty. And here's the result:Yeah, go ahead and laugh. Bootstrap Bill can't believe what he sees either. But anyone who didn't like it would have gotten a knuckle sandwich! Everyone had a good time, though, and that's what counted. We're going to have another good event here on October 29, a HARRY POTTER DAY!! We'll tell you about it as it gets closer.

Speaking of pirates, there's going to be an extremely cool play at the Children's Theatre of Charlotte in March. It's Treasure Island, the greatest pirate story ever. It'll be March 12-28. (I'm telling you now so your parents can be sure to order tickets) This one's got buried treasure, bloodthirsty pirates, and adventure in the South Seas. What more could you want?

And there's another show in January that you ought to know about--Tales of a Fourth-Grade Nothing. This one's all about the misadventures of Peter Hatcher and his "impossible little brother Fudge." This story is really funny, especially the birthday party scene. And wait until you find out what Fudge does with Peter's turtle! The Children's Theatre does first-rate shows and I've liked every one I've seen. So don't miss them! There are plenty of others. Check the Children's Theatre of Charlotte site to find out.

Right now they're doing a good version of Beauty and the Beast. (Yeah, it has mushy stuff but you have to admit the Beast is a truly macho guy to fight off those wolves) Anyway, that reminded me of a song. Actually, it's a song from a vanished civilization. A long time ago in a galaxy far away, the Empire commissioned a play called Jedi and the Sith. I guess it was propaganda for the Empire. The play is lost but there was a song in it about a very famous sith lord. You might even know who it is:

DARTH BILL (sung to the tune of "Gaston")

"There's no other sith who's admired like you
You're Palpatine's favorite guy.
Storm Troopers are awed and inspired by you
And it's not hard to understand why!

No one's brash like Darth Bill
Fights with dash like Darth Bill
No one uses the Death Star to smash like Darth Bill
"I'm especailly good at obliterating!"
Oh, what a sith--DARTH BILL!!!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Graphic Novels, Pirates, Princesses and GOOF OFF Day; AAArrrhhh!!

Hello all in "The Land of Blog," tis I, Capt'n Blackheart Bill. It is time again to talk about some some good reads. But first something completely different:

Yingling had this to say about our recent review of "Catching Fire" by Suzanne Collins (to see the review click Here): "It was with great reluctance that I turned over Catching Fire to one of my students before I read it. Maybe he'll turn it in late on Friday afternoon and I can take it home for the weekend..." Well, Mrs. Yingling, I hope you get hold of it soon because dare I say, I do, I do, it may be even better than the first book!!!!!!!

G-Man: Learning to Fly by Chris Giarruss - This is a great Graphic Novel featuring G-Man and his brother Great-Man and all their superhero buddies.They're superhero friends (all kids also) such as Billy Demon, Tan Man, Sparky among many others. Also in this Graphic Novel are special appearances by "The Mighty Skullboy Army," Santa Claus, a Psychotic Christmas Tree, "The Savage Dragon" and more. Enjoy such epic storylines as the Origin Stories of G-Man and Great Man and The Crisis of Multiple Dimensions. This is definitely one of the most fun Graphic Novels dealing with Superheroes I have read in a long time. The artwork is too cool and the stories are hilarious so you really need to check this book out (literally)!!!! As a side not I met Mr. Giarruss at Heroes Con this summer and he drew me this great picture of Spider-Boy (from Mini Marvels) who both fights crime and delivers papers and you would be surprised at the challenges posed by both occupations. Great stuff from a great guy!!!!!!

Amulet (Book 2): The Stonekeeper's Curse by Kazu Kibuishi - This is the second book in the Amulet Graphic Novel Series (The first: Amulet: Book One, The Stonekeeper I reviewed on this blogs 3/27/2008 posting - Click Here to see that review. This Graphic Novel has brother and sister Navin and Emily continuing on their quest to save their sick mother. At the start of this book the elves are in hot pursuit of the new Stonekeeper (Emily), who must travel via walking house to the city of Kanalis (where people are cursed to slowly turn into animals but they do retain their intelligence and ability to speak). In this city they pickup an ally in the swashbuckling fox Leon Redbeard. When they find a doctor in the city, he tells them that the only way their poisoned mother can be saved is through the fruit of the Gadoba Tree which grows at the peak of Damon's Mountain. The only problem with this is that anyone who has taken this journey has never returned from it. Also Emily finds the Magical Stone that grants her magical abilities trying very hard to take control of her. Leon Redbeard offers to train her how to use the Magic Stone, but can she trust this mysterious mercenary? The artwork and story in this Graphic Novel are breathtaking. You really should tag along in this great quest full of action, strange machines, stranger creatures and all manner of good and evil characters. Highly Recommended!!!!!!!

Artemis Fowl, The Graphic Novel: The Arctic Incident by Eoin Colfer, Andrew Donkin and Giovanni Rigano - In three simple words: Artemis Fowl Rules!!!!!!!!!! This is the second Graphic Novel adaption of the second book (duh....am I stating the obvious????) "The Arctic Incident." The highest praise I can give to this Graphic Novel is that it is just as good as the book (which is excellent)!!!! The story starts with Artemis discovering that his father who he thought was dead showing up alive, but there is one small catch. He is being held hostage by the Russian Mafia. While this is happening underground where the creatures of fairy live an uprising is taking place in the form of a goblin revolution. Through a misunderstanding Artemis (a teenage criminal genius) and his bodyguard Butler are arrested by Captain Holly Short (an elf) of the LEPrecon fairy police. After the misunderstanding is cleared up Commander Root (a cigar smoking, short tempered elf), head of the LEPrecon fairy police, and Holly agree to help Artemis and Butler rescue his father. Things quickly go from bad to worse for Artemis and company, as soon as the reach Russia, Commander Root is betrayed by a disgraced former associate and ally Cudgeon (an elf) and the
brilliant, but not very stable scientist Opal Koboi (a Pixie). Let's just say things really just go to heck from there. This Graphic Novel is a great read so what are you waiting for???? Read it already!!!!!! Oh I just remembered that although I did not review it, I also read the first Artemis Fowl Graphic Novel that deals with his first encounter with the fairy folk that you should definitely cheek out also. Artemis Fowl Rules!!!!!!

Well that's all for now yea scallywags!!!!

Until next time this is Blackheart Bill saying,


Monday, September 21, 2009

New Lightning Thief Trailer!

Hey, all, Deasy at Percyquest has posted the new trailer for the Lightning Thief movie. Take a look:

Can't wait!!


Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW Questions

The good people at the Book Bloggers Appreciation Week are holding daily events for book bloggers this week and today's event is to answer some questions in five words or less. There were a ton of questions, so I won't try to answer them all, but here are a few:

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?

Too into reading to snack!

Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?


Hard copy or audiobooks?

Hard copy--home

Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?

Rick Riordan, Kaza Kingsley, Loren Long and Phil Bildner (8 words--sue me!)

All right, guys, see if you can answer these questions in five words or less. Oh, all right--ten words or less! Zack, Bill, how about you?


Tuesday, September 15, 2009

Congrats, Young James Bond, Spider-Man and Catching Fire!!!

Hi everyone in the Land of Blog. I have returned from the reaches of outer space after a very enjoyable week off. It is also my happy and sad news to report we have lost our last single guy of the three of us who run this blog. Last week Jedi Master Zack tied the knot with a very lovely young lady. Here's looking at you kids:

The Zack Man and his lovely wife Laura!!!!

Congrats from Darth Bill and wishing you a very happy future together!!!!

And Congrats from the CARLMAN! We're both very happy for you and I join Bill in wishing the two of you a long and happy life!

Well enough sappy stuff, let's talk books and such!!!!. First I have to tell you I just finished the second book of "The Hunger Games" Trilogy by Suzanne Collins and literally flew through it!!!! I can't wait for the final installment and the waiting is going to kill me!!! If you have yet to read "The Hunger Games" check it out now and do so!!!! You will not be disappointed. To see my review of this book click HERE. So you, come over here and let's talk:

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins - Well without blowing too much for those who have yet to read the first book (see above), Katniss and Peeta from District 12 have won the 74th Hunger Games. That's the good news. The bad news is that President Snow, who runs the Capital and the defeated Districts, is not happy at all about the series of events that have lead to their co-victory (the first ever in the games). He is so unhappy that when their victory tour is about to start he visits Katniss and warns her to be on her best behavior as she has become a sort of symbol of rebellion for some of the Districts. Well even with the best intentions everything begins to fall apart and some of the Districts go into full rebellion mode. To hopefully solve this problem President Snow fixes the 75th Hunger Games so that previous winners must compete against one another. District 12 only has three living victors: Katniss, Peeta and Haymitch. At the very minimum, because she is the only living girl winner, Katniss is horrified to learn she must again go into the games to fight for her life (or perhaps some else's). I guarantee you will love this book, so if you are not on the waiting list for it get on it NOW!!!!!!!

Marvel Adventures Spider-Man, Issue 53 (All Ages) by Paul Tobin & Matteo Lolli - I didn't plan on doing a review of a Comic Book again this soon, but I just got finished reading this one and was very impressed. This story gives a recap of how Peter Parker became Spider-Man no thanks to some mind probing by the very mischievous Emmy Frost (X-Man with telepathic abilities). Her friend Chat (mutant with the ability to talk to animals) does not like Emma's intrusion into Peter's life but with Emmy what can you do. In the end a new soon to be important character (whose name is not given) is introduced into the Spider-Man mythos; along with Chat developing a crush on Peter and her asking Emmy if she can use her mental powers so she can become a student at the school. This was a very cool story showing a slice of life in Peter Parker's world. If your local library does not have it, you may want to think about picking it up at your local comic shop (We do carry this title at ImaginOn). Most Excellent indeed!!!!

Blood Fever by Charlie Higson - On my week off I finished this one and can't wait to pick up the next one!!!!! What's so cool about these Young Bond books is they are written in a very realistic manner. Nobody is safe and James is in just as much danger as anyone (although we know he can't die because he grows up to be the coolest spy ever, 007). In this book James is up against pirates and a secret society bent on world domination. It all starts out very innocently with James joining a school trip to the Italian island of Sardinia. From there things get strange and exciting. James learns about an ancient Roman secret society called the Millenaria that is up to no good and the kidnapping by pirates of a girl who is the sister of one his friends from school. How is all this connected or is it? That's what James has to figure out without being crushed by some serious bad guys. My favorite villain in this book is Zoltan the Magyar, leader of the pirates, he has such a strong personality and likability to him that even though he is clearly bad to the bone you still like him. I highly recommend this book and series and can't wait to read the next one (Double or Die).

tly I want to remind everyone that on September 24th at 6:30 the Comics Camp Program starts back at ImaginOn after breaking for the summer. Check it out:

Hello one and all!!! Comics Camp is back and the next event will be held at ImaginOn in the Round on 9/24/09 with registration starting on 9/10/09. Come join local artists & comic book creators John DaCosta and Eraklis Petmezas (Herc) as they present this awesome workshop that focuses on many different areas of Comics, Graphic Novels and working on creating your own. The only requirement is that you be between the ages of 8 to 12 years old. The program starts at 6:30 p.m. and last approximately 1 1/2 hours. John and Herc will answer any questions you have about how Comics and Graphic Novels are made such as writing, drawing, the process and what ever else you can think to ask!!! Also a continuing part of the program will be creating from your own ideas and art your own comic stories. These workshops have limited space so be ready to sign-up starting 9/10/09 to attend. The number to call and register is 704-416-463.

<--Artwork by Eraklis Petmezas (Herc)

Artwork by John DaCosta-->

Peace until next time all,


Monday, September 14, 2009

City of Ember Books

Hey, guys, it's Carl once again and I want to thank all you reader guys for turning me on to these terrific books. I had always meant to read them but never got around to actually picking them up. So many of you reader guys wrote to us about them last winter, though, that I finally sat up and took notice. In fact, so many of you wrote about them that we decided to start a book club based on them! That's what finally got me to read and enjoy them. Thanks! These books ROCK AND ROLL!!

Since there are four of them, I'll give you quick reviews:

The City of Ember by Jeanne DuPrau
Somewhere under the earth, there's a city is lit by floodlights and powered by a giant generator. It was made by the Builders to ensure that some of humanity would survive the great holocaust they expected. But it's 250 years later and the generator is wearing out. So is the food and all the other supplies. Two kids, Lina and Doon, believe the city is dying but have trouble getting anyone to believe them. Then they accidentally come across the old instructions for getting out-but half the instructions have been torn up! Can they put together enough of the instructions to understand? And can they lead the rest of the people to safety? This is one terrific book! Lots of suspense and a slam-bang finish. And you won't forget what it's like to live in that undeground city. Jeanne DuPrau has a real gift for meaking you feel what it's like to live in a completely different environment.

The People of Sparks
The people of Ember escape the undergroud city but are totally unprepared to live on their own. Fortunately, they come to the village of Sparks and find some help. But the people of Sparks are also unprepared to assit that many people for long. Both groups worry that there won't be enough to go around and they almost start a war over it. This one is every bit as good as the first one. Ms. DuPrau also has a gift for building up tension in a story until it explodes.

The Prophet of Yonwood
I'm sorry, but I was bitterly disappointed. The publishers advertise this as a prequel to The City of Ember. That lead me (and Bill) to think this would be a story about the events that made people go into the underground city. Well, that's sort of what you get, but just barely. It would have been a much better story if she had written such a book. The events in this one are so distantly realted to the building of Ember that they're hardly connected. Not that this is a bad book--Ms. DuPrau is a powerful writer and this book also has a lot of tension that builds to the end. I just wish they had advertised it as a book in the Ember series instead of a prequel (BTW, I have one other complaint--this is one of those books, like The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle, that tries to say that those who believe in absolutes of right and wrong are control freaks trying to impose their will on others. It happens, yeah, but not always)

The Diamond of Darkhold
A return to the tension-and-action-packed books in this series. The people of Sparks and Ember are having a very tough winter. Many are sick and half the food supplies have been ruined. Lina and Doon return to Ember to find supplies but instead they find---well, you'll just have to read to find out! Let's just say that they find something worse than they could have ever expected! I really enjoyed this one. A fitting end to a terrific series.

And if you want to see what other guys have written about the City of Ember books or what we did during our book clubs, hit the Labels under this post.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

A Cool Graphic Novel Collection

Although Darth Bill is the graphic novel meister, I still like them and just finished a really good collection called The Best of the Fantastic Four, Volume One. It's so good that I had to tell you about it. It goes all the way from Fantastic Four #1, published in November, 1961 to a story called "Inside Out" from October, 2002. All this was a lot of fun to read!! Even these older stories were great. You'd think they'd be old and out-of-date but, no, they're still exciting after all these years. And the newer ones keep the thrills going too! There are 14 stories in this collection and it'd take too long to tell you about all of them, so I'll just hit the best:
"A Blind Man Shall Lead Them"--Daredevil leads the FF against Dr. Doom. "The Alien, the Ally, and Armageddon!"--Dr. Doom has to help the FF against The Overmind!"Impossible As It May Seem...The Impossible Man Is Back In Town!"--The FF and the Impossible Man meet the Marvel writers and artists (in 1976) "Terror In a Timy Town"--The Puppet Master teams up with Dr. Doom (sheesh, that guy always shows up!) to shrink the FF into...oh, I can't spoil it for you! And "Remebrance of Things Past" (the 2002 version)--This one takes Ben Grimm back to the rough streets of his old neighborhood.
I can't say enough good things about this collection. The stories and the artwork are all first-rate! And it's fun to see how the artwork changes over the years and how the look of the characters changes, especially The Thing. If you have any interest in graphic novels or comics at all, this on is for you! (and if you want to find out about other graphic novels, click on the "graphics novels" label under this post)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Book Bloggers Award Week

Hey, everyone, you've probably noticed a new picture in the sidebar on the left-hand column of this page for the Book Blogger Appreciation Week. There are a lot of blogs about books in The Land of Blog and a very nice lady has set aside a week to honor them. And guess what? They're going to give awards for the best book blogs. And guess what? We were nominated for a Best Kidlit Blog! And guess what? We didn't make the cut. But that's totally all right--we're honored that we were nominated. Thanks to Lenore for nominating us and thanks to Amy for creating the BBAW! (click on Amy's name to find out more about the BBAW)


Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Magic Tree House Audiobook

Hey, reader guys everywhere, it's Carl and I've just come back from a Labor Day weekend at North Myrtle Beach, a really fun place, as you can see. We took some audiobooks with us but listened to only one, Magic Tree House, Book 38 and 39 by Mary Pope Osborne. There are two discs in this set; Monday with a Mad Genius and Dark Day in the Deep Sea. (We listened only to the second one) A lot of our younger readers guys are fans of the Magic Tree House and with good reason! These books are exciting! Mary Pope Osborne knows how to write a good story, but guess what? She also knows how to read one! She reads these audiobooks herself and does a terrific job. In Dark Day in the Deep Sea, Jack and Annie travel back to 1875 to join the crew of the H.M.S. Challenger, the first ship devoted to scientific reaearch of the oceans. A storm comes up, however, and Jack and Annie are swept overboard. And then they're picked up by a giant octopus! I tell you, I didn't know how they'd ever survive! If you're a Magic Tree House fan or if you just like exciting stories, this is for you!
BTW, if you wonder why we listened to only one disc of one audiobook, it's because my wife and daughter got hold of a copy of Beyond the Grave, the fourth 39 Clues book and read it. They got to read it and I didn't! Not fair!

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Jana and Her Boys Tell Us More!

Hey, guys, Jana has written again about audiobooks and one of her sons has sent a review of a graphic novel! (Remember I asked them to tell us about the audiobook of Stormbreaker and Where the Red Fern Grows?)Let's hear what they have to say:

I will get them to write in and tell of their love or not for Stormbreaker, and I remember the post about dead dogs, but I am not sure I want to give that away about Where the Red Fern Grows. It might be the original dead dog story though...still worth a look. We do audiobooks because we just seem to get too busy to read aloud every night but my boys still like to hear good books! And I want to introduce them to books I loved growing up, audio is the best way for me to do just that!

One more thing...I checked out Lunch Lady and the Cyborg Substitute today and my oldest son (6th grade)read it tonight. Here he is:

This was a quick book to read. It reminded me of Captain Underpants. It was funny with lots of good drawings. It is the first graphic novel that I have really liked because it was so easy to read. I think most kids would like it!

Thanks, Jana--and son! I just finished one of the Lunch Lady graphic novels myself! It was Lunch Lady and the League of Librarians, about a bunch of evil school librarians who try to dominate the world by destroying all video games and Lunch Lady (with her trusty assistant Betty) must stop them! I agree with you; this one was funny, had lots of good drawings, and was easy to read. Yes, indeed, most kids would like it. I sure did. I want to go find the one you talked about! (BTW, if you want to find out about more good quick books or graphic novels, hit the tabs below) Besides, how could you not love a graphic novel about EVIL LIBRARIANS?

BUT--let me say that Bill, Zack, and I are not like the League of Librarians in that graphic novel. We LOVE video games. In fact, we have some the classic arcade video games like Pac-Man, Frogger, Donkey Kong, Tetris, etc. on our computers here in the Imaginon library. Come in and see!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Jana Tells About Audiobooks Her Boys Listened To and Liked

Our good friend and faithful follower Jana has written to us about yesterday's post that told of good audiobooks for guys.

My sons and I listened to and LOVED all of the Henry Huggins books by Beverly Cleary. They are read by Neil Patrick Harris and he does a fantastic, hysterical job. My oldest son (6th grade) even commented on how even though the books are older this same kind of stuff could happen today. We are currently listening to Stormbreaker (the first Alex Rider book) and are loving the action! Lastly, we listened to Where the Red Fern Grows on a long trip, another great one!

Thanks, Jana! Yes, those Henry Huggins books are older but those same sorts of things could indeed still happen. Even if technology changes, guys don't change and the same funny stuff that happened then still happens now. Go get those books or audiobooks, guys! You'll love them, just as Jana's boys did!! And let us know how your boys like Stormbreaker--or, better yet, get them to write and tell us! And did you like Where the Red Fern Grows? Was that a "dead dog" story--you know, the type where the dog dies at the end? Bill wrote about a great book called No More Dead Dogs--check out his review here.