Tag Archives: Chapter Books

A Little Less Muggle, a Little More Wizard

21 Oct

I would be lying a little if I did not say I’m loving these books. I keep imagining my 12-year-old self reading these and they would completely blow my mind. I said this in the last post, but I will say it again: The world that J.K. Rowling has created is just astonishing and continues to be my favorite aspect of these novels.

Now on to The Prisoner of Azkaban and The Goblet of Fire: For me, The Prisoner of Azkaban is my favorite thus far. It’s the first time we meet the Dementors, which, for me, are one of the most interesting creations of Rowling in the whole series. The third book also has one of my favorite teachers thus far, the only Dark Arts professor to not (at least so far) try to kill Harry: Professor Lupin. For me, this book is really when the series begins to take off in the plot and makes it more than just books about wizards and magic. I’m not saying that the first two are not great, but they are a bit lighter and have more of a comedic side to them. The Prisoner of Azkaban really starts to immerse the reader in the issues of the world in which Harry and other wizards live, and that is why it is my favorite so far.

I could go on and on, but I don’t want to (a) ruin it for those other Muggle-less Muggles like me who have yet to read these books and (b) this post could go on forever if I don’t stop myself now. Check out the video below to find out what broom I recently acquired. At this point, I feel that I am becoming a little less Muggle and a little more wizard.


Want to relive the magic with me or read it for the first time like I am? You can find all the Harry Potter books in November’s Holiday Gift catalog.

Diary of a Wimpy Kid: IT’S ALMOST HERE!

15 Oct

Fall is my favorite season of all. Every year I wait with budding anticipation for the temperature to drop, the leaves to turn their vibrant reds and oranges, and the first Arrow catalog to mail. But, this fall, there’s something that excites me even more than apple picking and Halloween haunting. This fall, Diary of a Wimpy Kid #5: The Ugly Truth hits Book Clubs! It’s so top secret that even I haven’t gotten a sneak peek, and I am DYING to know what happens! But one thing’s for sure: It is guaranteed to be as fun and hilarious as the first four books.

When we last left Greg, he was embarking on a lazy summer vacation that turned out to be anything but. A ruined birthday, a rainy trip to the water park, a campout at The Game Hut, two fish, and one dog later bring Greg to the end of summer and the precipice of adolescence. It is here that we anticipate the release of The Ugly Truth, which promises the memorable characters and silly schoolyard antics that have come to define the series and a new generation of readers. Will Greg and Rowley still be friends? Will Fregley ever get a clue? Will the dreaded cheese touch make its reappearance? There’s only one way to find out…read The Ugly Truth. It’s not available until November 9, 2010, but you can pre-order your copy on Arrow Book Club TODAY! Can’t wait for November 9 to get here? Be sure to check out the Jeff Kinney fan page where you can watch interviews with the Diary of a Wimpy Kid author and also find out what books he recommends while waiting for The Ugly Truth to come out.

As always, happy reading!

This post was brought to you by our very own Arrow Editor, Ann Marie.

Seven Half-Bloods Shall Answer the Call…

12 Oct

Last month, we mentioned how excited we were about the imminent release of the first book in Rick Riordan’s latest series. Well, now it’s finally here! The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero hits bookstores and Scholastic Book Clubs book boxes. We’ve already read the first two chapters of The Lost Hero, and we can’t wait to get our hands on a freshly printed copy to find out what happens to Piper, Jason, Leo, and the rest of the newly discovered Half-Bloods.

To refresh your memory, what we know so far is that a new generation of demigods from Camp Half-Blood will be called upon to take up a quest:

Seven half-bloods shall answer the call,
To storm or fire the world must fall.
An oath to keep with a final breath,
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.

What will happen and who they’ll meet along the way is anybody’s guess—will these heroes quarrel with the gods like Percy did? Will they find out who their godly parents are? WILL PERCY APPEAR IN THIS SERIES? What about the prophecy and the new Oracle, Percy’s friend Rachel Elizabeth?! So many questions left unanswered. I’m looking forward to meeting these new characters, but I’m really hoping that this first book will include some familiar faces from the first New York Times best-selling series!

If you pre-ordered The Heroes of Olympus, Book One: The Lost Hero from Scholastic Book Clubs, you should be receiving it soon! If not, you can still purchase it from the Arrow or TAB October or November catalogs.  Visit our Rick Riordan Fan Page to learn more.

A Little More Muggle…

7 Oct

My life is a little more magical and Muggle-filled than it was last week. I have finished the first two books in the Harry Potter series and boy, are they good. My Book Talk cohort Preeti interviewed me about reading the first two books and it went a little long, so the video below is just some of the highlights of that interview. I will say here that one of my favorite things about the series thus far is the world that J.K. Rowling has created. It’s enthralling. The characters are great as well, but I found myself just captivated by everything from Hogwarts to the different landscapes to Diagon Alley. My other favorite aspect of the series is the beginning of Sorceror’s Stone, when we meet the Dursleys and Harry. The Dursleys, for me, were very Roald Dahl-esque. I immediately recognized who these awful people were just as if they were relatives of the Wormwoods (Matilda) or Spiker and Sponge (James and the Giant Peach). Rowling does a masterful job of establishing a framework for escapism in these novels. I can only imagine my 12-year-old self reading this. It would have blown my 12-year-old mind, and I would have applied to Hogwarts—literally, I would have written Albus Dumbledore and begged and pleaded for him to accept me as a student.

Anyway, those are just some of my thoughts. I am really enjoying the series and can’t wait to see what happens in Books 3 and 4. To find out my favorite characters, teachers, and what my owl’s name would be, check out the video below:

Don’t forget—you can find the whole series on November’s Holiday Gift Books catalog or find each book in Club Shop on our online ordering site.

Muggle-less Muggle

1 Oct

OK, so we all know that today Oprah is going to interview J.K. Roooooooooooooooooooowling! (Sorry, I couldn’t resist an Oprah impersonation). This, of course, is bringing a lot of buzz, especially with the second-to-last movie coming out in November. So I am taking this opportunity to confess something…I…oh man, this is hard to say…I have not read Harry Potter (bows head in shame).

Gasp! What! Can it be?!?! How is this possible!?!? Oh, the HUMANITY!!!!

Yes, yes. I can hear the collective doubt from everyone. You may be wondering the following questions: How did he even get hired at Scholastic? How does he get up in the morning? Why, WHY?!?!

I will answer these questions with a simple answer: It’s on my to-read pile and has been for a few years, but I have so many other books to read for work that I just never get to them. However, I would like to point out that I did read the first book a few years back, so I am not completely in the dark.

Outrage, anger, sadness, sympathy—these may be some of the feelings you are having while reading this right now and some of my coworkers are right there with you.

It’s a burden I have carried all these years and today—today!—I am proclaiming my commitment to HP. I am going to read all seven books before the movie comes out in November. I will need an outlet to discuss all things HP, and I would love for you all to share in this experience with me. Reread them, or if you are like me and have been hiding this secret and want to say to the world, “Yes, I have not read Harry Potter, but I am going to now!”, here’s your chance.

I can’t be the only one, right? I am, aren’t I. No, it can’t be! I am a Muggle-less Muggle. There MUST be others out there. Join me!

I am starting the first book today and will be giving my thoughts next week as one of my coworkers will interview me about the first two books. And who knows, maybe we’ll have some giveaways in the future (hint, hint!).

Happy Reading!

Chapter Books Band Wagon!

20 Sep

It’s an exciting time for kids heading into first and second grades this fall—some have discovered chapter books and there are so many great ones out there! Chapter books are an important milestone for new readers. I can distinctly remember graduating to The Baby-Sitters Club after six months’ worth of Baby-Sitters Little Sister—it was a momentous occasion. It meant I was finally one of the big kids! So today, in honor of all those kids jumping on the chapter book wagon, we decided we’d take a look back at some of our favorite chapter books!

The Trumpet of the Swan

This is my absolute favorite E.B. White story. Some may prefer Charlotte and her salutations, but for me it was always about Louis and his trumpet.

The BFG

Roald Dahl’s story of a giant catching good dreams is certainly one of his more friendly pieces. There’s a tiny bit of me that still wants to be Sophie!

Where the Red Fern Grows

Billy’s love for his two dogs, Old Dan and Little Ann, is the integral (and heartbreaking) part in this story about friendship and loss. I dare you to read this without getting teary eyed.

Bunnicula

I have to be honest—the Bunnicula cover terrified me when I was younger. But when I finally got around to reading it, I couldn’t believe it’d taken me so long. It is about a bunny vampire who sucks the juice out of vegetables—a.k.a. Instant Hilarity!

Pippi Longstocking

Pippi Longstocking was definitely one of my idols growing up—she’s brash and headstrong, but so caring and adventurous that it didn’t matter! (Also, I reeeeally wanted to live in her house!)

So there you have it, Book Talkers—some of our favorite chapter books growing up. Now you tell us! What were some of yours?

Authors Go Back to School!

14 Sep

This past weekend Book Talk went to the Brooklyn Book Festival for books, fun, and…rain (boo!). Despite the rain, we got a chance to catch up with some of our favorite authors! Since it is September and everyone is back in school, there was one thought burning in our collective Book Talk minds when we were speaking to these authors: What do you remember about going back to school?


We’d really like to thank Tad Hills (How Rocket Learned to Read); Judi Barrett (Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs); Michael Rex (Goodnight Goon, The Runaway Mummy); Jon Scieszka (the Spaceheadz series); Michelle Knudsen (Library Lion); and Mac Barnett (The Brixton Brothers series) for taking the time to talk to us!

October Dollar Books!

1 Sep

It’s that time again! Time for a sneak preview of next month’s dollar books. Look at all the great books we’ve got for you in October!

Continue reading

Back to School!

31 Aug

 

Strange new teacher.
Strange new toys.
Lots of kids and lots of noise!

Llama Llama Misses Mama! Like many kids this fall, Llama Llama is heading to school for the first time. Anna Dewdney has provided teachers and parents alike with a great story to encourage social and emotional development. Brand new on Firefly this September, Llama Llama must learn how to get along with a new teacher and new friends and without Mama Llama. Check out our Firefly editor’s review of Llama Llama Misses Mama! Our friends at Penguin have also put together a collection of classroom activities go along with Llama Llama Misses Mama, grab them here!

In celebration of back to school stories, we Book Talkers thought we’d let you know about some other great September titles for all ages!

Ready for Kindergarten, Stinky Face?

On SeeSaw this September, Stinky Face has a million questions for his mother – What if the sink pours grape juice instead of water? Just how strange will Kindergarten be?



Amelia Bedelia’s First Day of School

Meet our favorite mixed-up lady as a young girl, in this Lucky September offer! Amelia Bedelia can’t WAIT for school!



Dexter the Tough

On Arrow this fall, Dexter starts his first day in the fourth grade at a new school by slipping and falling in front of everyone – could it get any worse? This is a wonderful chapter book chronicling a boy’s trouble fitting in – in school and life.

 

What are some books that have helped your kids get ready for school? Leave a comment and let us know!

The 39 Clues® Book 10 Is Here!

27 Aug

When The 39 Clues® series launched in September 2008, we just couldn’t wait to read the first one! But when we found out that the series was not just made up of ten adventure-filled novels written by seven of the best children’s authors today, but that it was also a multiplatform series that combined books, collectible cards, and an online game, we were absolutely floored! There was nothing like it on the market and we just knew that kids were going to go wild for this interactive way of reading–we were right!

Two years later, the groundbreaking series comes to an end with Book 10, which releases nationwide next Tuesday, August 31. In it, Margaret Peterson Haddix picks up the quest of Amy and Dan Cahill as they face their final challenge on a mysterious lost island. Margaret, who is also the author of the exciting Shadow Children series, agreed to speak to Book Talk about her experiences writing this final installment of The 39 Clues®. We can’t wait to get our hands on this one!

One-on-One with Margaret Peterson Haddix:

BT: What branch of the Cahill family do you belong to?

MPH: Ekaterina.

BT: Which member of the Cahill family would you team up with on the hunt?

MPH: Oh, definitely Amy and Dan!

BT: If you could change the identity of the man in black from Book 9, who would he be and why?

MPH: Interesting question! I think if the man in black weren’t…uh…who he really is, I would want him to be Amy and Dan’s grandfather. Partly this is because I feel so bad for Amy and Dan that all their closest relatives (except each other) are dead. I’m not sure how it could be explained why everyone thought the grandfather was dead—or where he’s been for most of Amy and Dan’s lives—but it might be fun to try. Or, possibly the man in black could have been their grandfather on their father’s side, so it would turn out that they have Cahill connections on both sides….

Photo Credit: The Backstage Studio

MPH: Still having exciting adventures.

BT: If you could join Amy and Dan on one of their adventures, which one would it be and why?

MPH: The one in Book 10. Because they know the most about what’s going on then.

BT: Did you work with the other authors of The 39 Clues® series in planning/writing Book 10?

MPH: Rick Riordan, who wrote the first book in the series, also wrote brief outlines for all the other books, including Book 10. But, given that he wrote it before the other books were finished, that outline was fairly sketchy, and I was happy that it left a lot of room for me to use my own imagination. I had a lot more contact with Linda Sue Park, who was writing Book 9 about the same time that I was writing Book 10. Linda Sue and I—and The 39 Clues® editor, Rachel Griffiths—had a long conversation early on to make sure that our character development and plotlines would work together. And then while Linda Sue and I were both in the writing process, we occasionally exchanged e-mails along the lines of, “Someone’s going to need to address this particular issue before the end of the series. Are you handling that in your book, or should I take care of it?”

BT: Did you have any input in the planning/writing of Books 1–9?

MPH: None at all with Books 1–8. But, as I mentioned in my last answer, Linda Sue and I did compare notes while we were writing Books 9 and 10.

BT: How was writing Book 10 different from writing other books you’ve written?

MPH: This was the first time I’ve ever written a book based on a situation and characters that someone else came up with. I was a little worried about being able to write from the perspective of certain characters who were very different from me—for example, the Holts or Jonah Wizard—but it turned out that their scenes were some of the ones that I had the most fun writing.

The other big difference was that this had to be a much more collaborative process than I’ve ever been involved in before. In one sense, this made me less decisive than I usually am as a writer, because certain things were outside of my control. But I also felt a huge sense of responsibility, because I absolutely did not want to mess up anything when so many other people were also working hard to make The 39 Clues® project great.

BT: How long did it take you to write Book 10?

MPH: It took two months to write the first draft of the book, then about another two months to revise. Then, for a couple months after that, I worked on the book for a few days at a time, here and there, to deal with line editing, copy editor questions, etc.

BT: Was it more difficult to write the last book of this EPIC series after so many other great authors (besides yourself, of course) had contributed to it?

MPH: Absolutely! After nine books of incredible, dramatic, heart-stopping action, it was really hard for me to think of something that hadn’t already been done!

We want to thank Margaret for so graciously agreeing to stop by our blog and Book Talk with us!

You’re invited to a LIVE GLOBAL WEBCAST EVENT for the release of The 39 Clues®, Book 10 on August 31, 2010!

The 39 Clues®, Book 10: Into the Gauntlet and the complete boxed set of Books 1–10 are being offered this September in the Arrow, TAB, and Teachers’ Picks catalogs! If you haven’t already, join the hunt!