Tag Archives: Reviews

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.

Frankly, Frannie…Frankly Adorable

6 Oct

A while back we introduced Frankly, Frannie as part of the New Kids in Class for Lucky. Well, we are excited to say that we have yet another Frankly, Frannie available in October’s Lucky—Frankly, Frannie: Doggy Day Care! Here’s what our Lucky Editor, Caitlin, had to say about it:

Did you know that Frannie’s favorite dogs are Goldendoodles and Sheep Poodles? She also really likes Skeedaddles and Puffdoodles. Frannie is going to be a veterinarian, but not just any veterinarian—a DOG vet only. When Frannie’s Aunt Magoo breaks her leg, she needs Frannie and her family to come help out! This means that Frannie will have to take care of Bark, Aunt Magoo’s dog. But when something looks funny with Bark’s walk, will Frannie be up to the canine career she wants, or will it turn into a doggy disaster?

If that’s not enough, check out this awesomely adorable book trailer for the first book:


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!

Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole

24 Sep

The owls of Ga’Hoole have had a pretty exciting fall, with the theatrical release of Legend of the Guardians: The Owls of Ga’Hoole happening this week. (Today, in fact. Right now. What are you doing here?)

I’ve been asked by the awesome Book Talk staff to talk a little bit about the film, and how it compares to the books. Beware, there might be some *SPOILERS* below. If you want to go see the film now, we’ll wait here patiently.

Back? Cool. Let’s just start.

…….

Legend of the Guardians covers the story of the first three books of the Ga’Hoole series. It’s a lot of ground to cover, but the movie handles it with skill and gallgrot (an owl word meaning nerve). Of course, certain things have to be shortened, changed, or even cut when you are turning a book into a film, but screenwriter John Orloff has done a great job being faithful to the spirit of the books. (And I’m not the only one who thinks so. Watch this YouTube video made by Kathryn Lasky to get her opinion on the film.)

The movie follows Soren, a young owlet who falls out of his family’s nest and is kidnapped by the evil St. Aggie’s—an “orphanage” that turns young owlets into mindless slaves. He manages to escape, however, and then he and his new band of friends seek out the Guardians of Ga’Hoole, a noble group of owl warriors thought only to be legend.

The movie focuses a lot more on Soren’s family, closing in and fleshing out some of these relationships. Kludd, Soren’s dubious older brother, gets a much bigger role in the film, as does his younger sister Eglantine—though she is ostensibly a ball of fluff with eyelashes. In fact, Eglantine steals pretty much every scene she’s in. Her cuteness is hard to resist, and there’s a very fluffy Beanie Baby available of her through Ty Inc.

That’s not to say the movie is all sweetness and down feathers, though. The owls of Ga’Hoole are warriors, and much like the books, there’s a lot of exciting aerial combat and clinking battle claws.

Also like the books, the film might be a better fit for kids about ages eight and up. The fighting can be a little intense (the director is Zack Snyder, after all), and the story might be a bit involved for younger viewers. (I had a toddler sitting in front of me that became very vocal about his shrinking attention span toward the end of the screening.) Still, the graphics are so beautiful and the story so fast-paced and fun, I think Ga’Hoole fans of all ages will really get a kick out of seeing their favorite characters on-screen.

Be sure to check out the first Guardians of Ga’Hoole book, The Capture, on Arrow and Lucky this October!

This post comes to us from a friend in our Trade Editorial department, Zach. He is the expert on all things Guardians of Ga’Hoole!


Books to Movies!

22 Sep

Photo by Mr. Wabu

Did you hear? They’re turning GOOSEBUMPS into a movie! When we heard this news, it got us thinking…what are some of our favorite book-to-movie experiences? While we definitely are in the business of reading and books, it’s fun to see how the silver screen compares to our imaginations sometimes. I can remember seeing The Return of the King in the theater and thinking, “That is exactly what I pictured the Mount Doom scene to look like.”

In our opinion, the best movies based on books have to stay true to the character and the story, and most of all, leave you wanting to read (or reread!) the book. Here are a few favorites that we definitely couldn’t skip:

Harry Potter

Of course we have to pick Harry Potter—we are already rereading the series in anticipation for the seventh movie!

Charlotte’s Web

This E.B. White classic chapter book has an equally classic movie to go alongside it—I still sing Templeton the rat’s carnival song every so often when I’m feeling particularly silly!

James and the Giant Peach

The animation and technology of this movie perfectly encapsulated the whimsy and adventure of Roald Dahl’s book about a boy braving the seas with his crew of ragtag insects!

Freaky Friday

The original, of course. Jodie Foster brought the smart-talking Annabel Andrews to life in this Mary Rodgers classic. She sure figured out that her mom’s life wasn’t nearly as enviable as she thought!

A Series of Unfortunate Events

Equal parts distressing and hilarious, this movie was perfect for the Lemony Snicket set. Even with us at the edge of our seats, the Baudelaire children came back time and time again from everything the evil Count Olaf threw at them.

Go on! Tell us some of your favorites!

Book Trailer Friday!

10 Sep

We here at Book Talk decided that we want to do something fun on Fridays, so we are starting Book Trailer Fridays! “What are book trailers?” you may be asking. Book trailers are just like movie trailers…but for books! There are some really great ones out there, and we want to share them with you! Book trailers can be a great resource for teachers in the classroom; because they are another way kids can interact with the text, and teachers can use trailers when doing a book talk as well!

One of my favorite book trailers out right now is for Scott Westerfeld’s Leviathan! Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton has a really great trailer as well. But to kick off the first Book Trailer Friday, we are going to highlight the trailer for Tad Hills’ How Rocket Learned to Read. You can find How Rocket Learned to Read in October’s Firefly! And don’t forget that we have an exclusive “I Can Read Like Rocket!” reading certificate that you can download to use in your classroom!


NYTIMES Came for a Visit…

2 Sep

…To talk about you! Thanks for helping to make our social media community, well, such a community! Check out this NYTIMES article that featured our Twitter, Facebook and Blog (that’s you!) collective missions: to help connect teachers to teachers, teachers to parents, and children’s booklovers across the nation.  Let’s keep helping children nationwide become readers!

Teacher Advisors: Our Eyes and Ears

16 Aug

Although we here in Book Clubs love to read children’s books, and some of us even have children of our own, we rely heavily on the teachers out there on the frontlines to help us understand the pulse of the classroom year to year.  We are so lucky to be able to work with these wonderful educators who are just as excited as we are about new books and finding new ways to use them in their classrooms.  This year, you’ll be hearing from a few of these “Scholastic Teacher Advisors” as they  review hot new titles, but don’t be surprised if they pop up on the blog from time to time just to say hi!

Here’s a sneak peek of two of the September Teacher Advisor Reviews that went up on our Facebook page this morning:

Miss Mingo and the Fire Drill

[Available in Seesaw September]

It’s fire safety week in Miss Mingo’s room!  This book introduces fire drills and safety in a unique and fun way. This would be a perfect read aloud for teachers to introduce fire safety or for parents to ease their child’s worries! This book is great for animal lovers as well because it gives fun non-fiction facts about the animal characters in the book. If your child loves animals or learning about school, they would love this book. Enjoy!

—Brittany Begg Lee, First-Grade Teacher

THE SLIGHTLY ODD UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
[Available in Arrow September]

Scholastic fans young and old would enjoy THE SLIGHTLY ODD UNITED STATES OF AMERICA if they (1) have ever dreamed of being a contestant on Jeopardy, (2) would like to meet Alex Trebek, or (3) could impress millions of television viewers with their intelligence. If only (2) applies to you, I can’t help you much. Try his agent? THE SLIGHTLY ODD UNITED STATES OF AMERICA reinforced for me what a great, sometimes zany, country America is. Continue reading