Wednesday, September 17, 2014

T.A. Barron's ATLANTIS RISING being released in paperback! With new prequel about the villain!

TA Barron’s Atlantis Rising to be Released in Paperback Along With Companion E-book, Never Again: The Origin of Grukarr
Revealing Villain’s Painful Past

NEW YORK, NY, September 10, 2014 – Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron, the first book in an exciting new trilogy about the origin of the legendary isle of Atlantis that Publishers Weekly calls “inventive and entertaining,” will be released in paperback on September 25, 2014. Aimed at readers ages 9 and up, Atlantis Rising inspires readers to examine real-life issues of bravery, honesty, loyalty, and conservation—themes T.A. Barron consistently explores in his work. 
Atlantis Rising follows the adventure of a young boy, Promi, and his friend, Atlanta, in their quest to save their magical homeland from ruin. The two young characters battle Grukarr, the evil Deputy High Priest, and set off a chain of events that lead to the creation of Atlantis.

The scoundrel Grukarr, however, takes center stage in the simultaneously released companion story Never Again: The Origin of Grukarr. Ever wonder what makes a villain so despicable? Fans will discover how Grukarr lost his humanity and what event spurred him to become the sinister villain that Promi battles in order to save the magical world of Ellegandia. The e-book will be available for free at leading up to the release and appears in print for the first time in the paperback edition.

“Every character, including the villain, has a back story,” says Barron. “Grukarr’s upbringing is an important reminder that people are a culmination of their experience. I hope this story of Grukarr's secret past will make him even more intriguing to my readers.”

T. A. Barron is the award-winning and New York Times bestselling author of the Merlin saga, which has sold millions of copies worldwide and was recently optioned for a major motion picture by Disney. He is the winner of the 2011 de Grummond USM Medallion for "lifetime contribution to the field of children's and young adult literature." Always a believer in the heroism of every child, T. A. Barron founded the Gloria Barron Prize for Young Heroes, which honors outstanding young people who have made a significant positive difference to people and our planet.  He lives in Colorado with his family. For more information, please visit

Atlantis Rising by T.A. Barron
371 pages
ISBN Number: 9780147512215
Published by Puffin Books on September 25, 2014

Never Again: The Origin of Grukarr
By T.A. Barron
45 Pages

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

BLOG TOUR/GIVEAWAY: Pig and Small by Alex Latimer


Pig and Bug just want to be friends. But their size difference is proving to be a BIG problem. Pig wants to play games - but Bug is too small. Bug wants to make things for his friend - but Pig is too big! Just as they've given up all hope for their friendship, Pig has an idea But will it work? (Yes, it will!)


Alex Latimer lives in South Africa near the border of a national park, so when not writing or drawing he spends his free time shooing baboons out of his lounge.


Pig and Small is a delightful story about the power of friendship to overcome obstacles.  Pig and Bug want to be friends, but their difference in size makes it tough to find things to do that suit them both.  It takes some time and effort for them to find a way to be friends despite their differences.  The illustrations are cute and friendly and very appealing.  The ending made me laugh as did some of the details in the illustrations.  A sure fire winner all around.


Excerpts included with permission of Peachtree Publishing.


1 print copy of Pig and Small thanks to the publisher!
US only

a Rafflecopter giveaway


Monday 9/15- Green Bean Teen Queen
Tuesday 9/16- Geo Librarian, & Kid Lit Reviews
Wednesday 9/17- Chat with Vera
Thursday 9/18- The Fourth Musketeer 
Friday 9/19- Sally's Bookshelf 

Peachtree Publishing Blog
Peachtree Facebook Page
Peachtree Twitter

Friday, September 12, 2014

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Janitors: Strike of the Sweepers by Tyler Whitesides


"In five minutes," Walter said, "I'm going to use this squeegee to open a portal to New Forest Academy. We're going to move in and apprehend Director Carlos Garcia."

Spencer's surprised look mirrored Daisy's. Penny looked excited and Alan simply nodded.

"Tonight we finish what we almost did last November," Alan said. "We're taking the warlock's hammer and nail."

The stakes have never been higher, and you've never seen squeegees do this before! It is a wild and slightly unsanitary ride as Spencer, Daisy, and the Rebel Janitors find themselves chased by Mr. Clean's new and terrifying half-breed Toxites—the Sweepers. Time is short. With the fabled Manualis Custodem in hand, Spencer must figure out how to summon the Founding Witches if they ever hope to mop up and save education.


TYLER WHITESIDES worked as a janitor at a middle school while attending college. It was there he discovered the many secrets and mysteries that can be hidden in a dusty school. Tyler graduated from Utah State University with a degree in music. He enjoys fly fishing in the mountains, cooking, and vacuuming. Tyler and his wife, Connie, live in beautiful northern Utah.


Whitesides has delivered another heart-pounding adventure full of fantastic inventions, daring-do, and betrayal.  Spencer, Daisy, and their friends are determined to use the recently acquired Manualis Custodem (see book 3) to help bring back the Founding Witches.  But things aren't looking good when they come up against Mr. Clean and his new goons, the Sweepers time and time again. Can the Rebels accomplish their goal of freeing the witches? And if they do will it turn out to be everything they hope for?  I don't dare say more than that because I don't want to give anything away and there are some rather shocking twists in this book.  But the excitement and fast moving plot will keep readers glued to the pages and eager to read the final volume. Sigh. I hate having to wait a year for the next book in a series, especially the last book. Although, you'd think I'd be used to it by now.

I really enjoyed getting back into the lives of Spencer and Daisy, Walter, Alan, Penny, and Bernard, the garbologist.  One of my favorite things though is Bernard's fancy new garbage truck.  I never would have expected to find a garbage truck cool, but this one is very cool (it's been Glopified of course). This is an amazing series perfect for fantasy loving readers, but there is fantasy violence and some deaths but they aren't graphic at all. One of my all time favorite series.

Thursday, September 11, 2014

MIDDLE GRADE REVIEW: The Case of the Stolen Sixpence by Holly Webb


When George, the butcher's boy, is fired for stealing coins from the till, Maisie knows in her heart he is innocent. With her little dog Eddie as the Watson to her Sherlock Holmes, Maisie uses her budding detective skills to solve the mystery of the stolen sixpence, vindicate her old friend, and even help a new friend in need. The first book in a series!


Maisie Hitchins is a British import that provides a great deal of fun along with the mystery.  Maisie is a very appealing heroine who works for her grandmother at the boardinghouse she runs.  But her real desire is to be a detective like Gilbert Carrington.  But she doesn't expect a mystery to practically land in her lap when she rescues a half-drowned puppy or when the meat delivery boy gets fired for stealing.  But with the help of some of her grandmother's boarders, Maisie finds herself investigating a real-life mystery with real-life implications for George and his family.

The book is a fun read with plenty of mystery and adventure as Maisie works to improve her detective skills. The scenes where she disguises herself as an old woman is especially entertaining.  The illustrations are really cute and appropriate for the book.  Since I'm always on the lookout for mysteries (my students love mysteries) this is definitely a winner.

Wednesday, September 10, 2014



Freddy the Frog loves learning about the weather, and he’s known for having the best predictions in town. But what happens when the town picnic is almost ruined by a storm that catches the local frogcaster by surprise? Freddie has to step in to save the day! Well-known Fox News broadcast meteorologist Janice Dean pens this exciting and hilarious tale about an aspiring weathercaster who can’t keep his eyes off the sky. Children and adults will love the charming frog world Freddy lives in, and the fun science lessons he shares, with an activities section in the back.


Freddy the Frogcaster is a really fun way to learn about weather and the science of predicting it.  Freddy is a frog that loves the weather.  With the help of his family he builds his own weather station where he spends hours recording weather information.  He enjoys watching Sally Croaker, the local meteorologist, on TV to see if his predictions match up with hers.  But when she goes on maternity leave and her substitute is more interested in publicity that accurately predicting the weather, can Freddy step in to save the day by predicting the weather for the upcoming Leapfrog Picnic?

The illustrations are bright and colorful and appealing.  The story shows not only the importance of weather prediction but the challenges that go with it and how much people rely on it.  The length of the text makes it more appropriate for slightly older readers but this would make a fun family read-aloud or a good introduction to weather in the classroom.  The information at the end about weather prediction and the instruments used to do it is great for readers who are especially interested in weather (and if my experiences are anything to go by, many children are fascinated by weather).


Witness the changing of a season through a watchful child's eyes in this story of nature and discovery from award-winning author Tony Johnston and New York Times Best Illustrated artist Jim La Marche.

Day after day, a girl goes to her favorite place in the woods and quietly watches from her tree house as the chipmunks, the doe, the rabbits prepare for the winter. As the temperature drops, sunset comes earlier and a new season begins. Silently she observes the world around her as it reveals its secrets. It takes time and patience to see the changes as, slowly but surely, winter comes.


The text is beautiful.  The illustrations are gorgeous.  Overall, the book is an all around winner.  Jim LaMarche has long been one of my favorite illustrators, so whenever I see a new book by him I have to get it.  But in this case I ended up loving the text in verse as much as the illustrations.  The soft and expressive illustrations demonstrate the joy that can come in watching the seasons change.  The text allows the reader to feel the joy the girl feels as she sees the animals searching for food, taking notes and drawing pictures to remember it, all from the safety of her tree platform.  I also loved the way the illustrator took details from the text and included them in his illustrations all while adding his own special touches.  Both the text and the illustrations convey the passage of time (the girl's changing clothes for example).  A wonderful example of the joys that can be found in the world around us.

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Stanley's Garage by William Bee


Ring! Ring! Another phone call for Stanley's Garage - but can he fix all the cars with problems today?There's an overheating radiator, a flat tyre, and a bit of an oily mess! What a job for Stanley and his pick-up truck.

Join Stanley and friends for a mucky adventure in this colorful new series from William Bee...


William Bee is an artist and commercial designer who has worked for renowned fashion houses, including Issay Miyake and Paul Smith.  As well as writing children's books, he races a vintage sports car, is an international skier, and when home tends his lawns and meadow. He lives in England.  For more information visit his website:


Stanley the Hamster runs his own garage where he helps his friends with their car trouble.  The simple yet colorful illustrations contrast beautifully with the white space creating very eye-catching pictures for young readers.  Preschoolers are bound to love Stanley.  I like how helpful and friendly Stanley is as he fills gas tanks, changes flat tires, fills radiators, and gets oily fixing cars.  The simple text is short and sweet and perfect for sharing with preschoolers and even toddlers who have very short attention spans.  A winner through and through.


These images are copyrighted and shared with the permission of the publisher.


Thanks to the publisher I have one print copy of Stanley's Garage to give away.
US only.
Ends 9/16/2014

a Rafflecopter giveaway

For more great giveaways and reviews see the rest of the tour:

Monday, September 8, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GUEST POST: The Haunted Library by Dori Hillestad Butler


When ghost boy Kaz’s haunt is torn down and he is separated from his ghost family, he meets a real girl named Claire, who lives above the town library with her parents and her grandmother. Claire has a special ability to see ghosts when other humans cannot and she and Kaz quickly form a friendship. The two join forces to solve the mystery of the ghost that’s haunting the library. Could it be one of Kaz’s lost family members?


Dori Hillestad Butler is a chapter book series and mystery author who is eager to share her love of story with readers of all ages. She’s written magazine stories, educational materials, plays, book reviews, characters for a board game, and by the end of 2015 she will have published 42 books for kids, including 10 that were “ghostwritten.” She’s been nominated for children’s choice awards in 19 different states, and her Trading Places with Tank Talbott won Maryland’s Black-Eyed Susan Award in 2008. Her Buddy Files: Case of the Lost Boy won the 2011 Edgar Award for the best juvenile mystery published in 2010.  Dori has two grown sons. She lives in Kirkland, WA with her husband and a big black dog named Mouse. She enjoys reading, playing the mandolin, teaching her dog new tricks, zumba, hiking, biking, and a good game of Scrabble!


I’m very excited about the release of my new Haunted Library series. The Haunted Library is about a ghost boy who is separated from the rest of his ghost family and is blown into a library, where he meets a “solid” girl named Claire. Claire can see him even though he’s not glowing and she can hear him even though he’d not wailing. The two eventually form a friendship and work together to solve ghostly mysteries.

This series is just plain FUN to write because I get to play in this whole new world that I've created. But sometimes it’s challenging, too, because I’m also limited by the world I've created. Sure, I make the rules. I decide what Kaz and the other ghosts can and cannot do. But once I've established those rules, I have to stick with them.

One of the first decisions that was made about this series was that the ghosts would not be dead people. 

My first editor, Jordan, felt so strongly about this that before she committed to publishing the series, she wanted to know whether I thought of the ghosts as dead people?

Well, that was a very interesting question because I knew that the two chapters she had in front of her were set in an old abandoned schoolhouse and it wasn't really clear whether the ghosts in those chapters were dead people or not. What she (and my agent) didn't know was I had started the first book over and written a whole different beginning. A beginning that was set in a graveyard.

The characters were ghosts. Shouldn't you start a ghost series in a graveyard? I liked my new beginning quite a bit. I wasn't sure why I hadn't written it this way to begin with.

Jordan said, “Especially for this age group, I really don’t think the ghosts should be dead people. We want to keep the series light and fun and age appropriate.”

I agreed. I wanted to keep the series light and fun and age appropriate, too.

No dead relatives or graveyards or anything like that,” Jordan went on.

No graveyards?


Of course the real question we were discussing here was “what is a ghost?” Ghosts are dead people, aren't they? That’s what prompted me to go back and start the book in a graveyard to begin with.

But do ghosts have to be dead people?

Was Casper a dead child? There’s actually some controversy about that. It depends on who you ask and which version of Casper you’re talking about. In the 1960s and 1970s, Casper was a ghost because his parents were ghosts. They were all just another sort of supernatural being.

“I’d rather think of the ghosts as transparent people with superpowers,” Jordan said. “What do you think about that?”

“Oh, I like that!” I said. Transparent people with superpowers! And I've been borrowing that phrase ever since!

I put my “revised” chapters away and went back to the original proposal and started building the world from there. Rule #1: my ghosts are not dead people. They’re transparent people with superpowers. It was absolutely the right choice.



The Haunted Library is a delightful new series perfect for ghost loving young readers.  Kaz is a sympathetic main character as a ghost who isn't comfortable doing a lot of ghost things like passing through walls.  But when he is separated from his family he must find a way to cope with the strange new world in which he finds himself.  He ends up in a library where a girl named Claire can apparently see him even when he isn't glowing.  He avoids her at first until he discovers that she may be his best ally in finding his family and they may just solve a mystery along the way.

The illustrations have a cartoon flavor too them and are very appealing.  They aren't scary in any way.  Kaz's ghost abilities are clever and kids will love his ability to shrink and expand and the fact that he doesn't sleep.  The story moves along quickly and will draw the kids into wanting to know the whole story. A winning new series for early chapter book readers.

Be sure to check out the second book in the series:


After successfully solving the mystery of the ghost in the library, Kaz and Claire land the first case for their detective agency—a haunted attic in a neighbor’s home! With a little help from Grannie, Kaz and Claire discover that what appeared to be something spooky has a much simpler explanation.

Thanks again to Dori Hillestad Butler for appearing.  For other stops on the Haunted Library Blog Tour please check

Friday, September 5, 2014

FANTASTIC FRIDAY: Hollow City by Ransom Riggs


Miss Peregrine's Home For Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike.

This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine's island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.

Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.


Peculiar really describes this book and its predecessor very well.  And yet despite its strangeness or perhaps because of it this series is also fascinating and compelling.  The inclusion of the photographs adds to the atmosphere of the book and makes the unbelievable, believable at least for a time.  I'm almost not sure what to say here because I don't want to give anything away and yet so many things happen to Jacob and the other peculiar children that one can't help but empathize with them.  The peculiar children were forced to flee the island where they had been hiding in order to seek help for Miss Peregrine who is stuck in bird form (see previous book).  They are told that only another such as Miss Peregrine can help and the only one available is in London trying to help the others of their kind.  So after several death-defying encounters, the children travel to London only to run into obstacle after obstacle, yet their determination and courage keeps them going.

I think one of the things that I found most interesting about this book were the heavy ethical and moral issues confronted by the children, everything from changing the past, to sacrificing for others at the risk to oneself, and above all the costs of survival.  I appreciated how each of the children and Jacob himself were complicated individuals with long histories as well as strengths and weaknesses. Sometimes it was easy to like a particular character and sometimes not, and one of the characters was hard to like at all and yet his attitude wasn't hard to understand, just hard to tolerate.

Overall, a thoroughly engaging book with an incredible amount of detail regarding the different places the children visited with a good amount of character development and plenty of action.  There is some romance but nothing inappropriate for younger middle grade readers.  The density of the text though makes it most appropriate for skilled readers. The ending left me eager to get my hands on future books. 

Thursday, September 4, 2014

BLOG TOUR w/ GIVEAWAY: Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age by David Zeltser


A hilarious middle-grade novel about a misunderstood caveboy perfect for fans of Ice Age, Happy Feet, The Time Warp Trio, and Platypus Police Squad.

Lug is a caveboy who would rather paint than club other caveboys. The clan even mocks him, calling him "Little Slug." Like all the other caveboys, Lug must enter the contest to become the clan's next Big Man and attempt to catch the Biggest Beast--even though he would much rather spend his days painting in his secret art cave. When Lug is banished for failing to catch a jungle llama, he thinks he is alone in the world but finds others who believe in him: his clanmate Stony and a new friend, Echo, a girl from a rival clan who can talk to animals and just may be prehistory's first vegetarian/animal rights activist. Together they face even bigger challenges--Lug discovers the Ice Age is coming and he has to bring the warring clans together to save them not only from the freeze but also from a particularly unpleasant migrating pride of saber-toothed tigers. It's no help that the elders are cavemen who can't seem to get the concept of climate change through their thick skulls. With both funny, anachronistic humor, charming characters, and strong themes, Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age is sure to be a hit with many readers.

Illustrated with black and white line art throughout.


DAVID ZELTSER emigrated from the Soviet Union as a child, graduated from Harvard, and has worked with all kinds of wild animals, including rhinos, owls, sharks, and ad executives. He is the author of Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age, the first book in a satirical series about the world’s inaction on climate change, for ages 8-12. He also has a forthcoming picture book, Ninja Baby, with Caldecott Honor illustrator Diane Goode (Chronicle Books). David lives with his wife and daughter in Santa Cruz, California. He performs improv comedy and loves meeting readers of all ages. His second book about Lug is scheduled to publish in Fall 2015. Visit David’s website at He’s also on Twitter: @davidzeltser


Hello, Heidi and Geolibrarian Blog readers!

The name of this blog makes me smile.

For me, libraries have always been like treasure islands in the midst of a stormy sea. And I have a special place in my heart for two in particular:

1) The New York City Public Library  (I lived in NYC from 1999 to 2001. I Iove that library so much so that I wrote a picture book about it. More details soon...)

2) Every school library in the world (To me as a kid, these places were the ultimate sanctuaries, and I still feel that way today.)

As I say on my website’s Educators page, the librarians in my life have had a huge influence on me. Especially the early ones who actively encouraged exploration and creativity.

I’d like to end this short post by saying thanks for your interest in LUG! I hope you’ll visit my website, learn more about all of my upcoming books, and see the LUG book trailer here:


Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age presents the story of a young cave boy who isn't interested in hunting or playing 'Headstone' the rough and tumble, bash other players heads in game that the rest of the clan is into to.  He would rather paint on the walls of his secret art cave.  Unfortunately, he fails to catch a jungle llama to use in the big game and is banished. He also seems to be the only one who has noticed the rapidly changing climate which threatens their entire way of life. With the help of Stony, another boy who is banished, and Echo, a girl from a rival tribe, can Lug save not only himself but his clan despite the opposition of the clan leader and his bully of a son?

The modern language spoken by the characters is a bit off-putting in terms of historical believability, but the target audience isn't going to care.  The characters are appealing and funny, the plot moves quickly with the characters facing numerous challenges, and the setting is well-defined.  I truly enjoyed reading about Lug and his friends.  The themes of friendship, being yourself, and observing the world around you are all well integrated into the story.  Lug is winner from beginning until end.


1 SIGNED print copy of Lug, Dawn of the Ice Age
US/Canada only

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Blog Design by Imagination Designs all images from the Story Time kit by Kristin Aagard