Thursday, December 1, 2011


Annotation: When the inventor of a fantastical hotel goes missing and an evil businessmen plots the hotel’s demise, it’s up to the janitor’s son Leo, his pal Remi and the inventor’s beloved pet ducks to follow clues and brave the hotel’s magical and treacherous secrets to foil the businessmen’s plot and save the hotel.

Book Talk:
You will prosper in the field of wacky inventions”

When his father uttered those final words on his deathbed, 15-year-old Merganzer Whippet took them to heart. He’d been away at boarding school for ten years, and couldn’t possibly have known his father had been speaking such gobbledygook for weeks. But it didn’t matter because Merganzer believed the words and so he made them come true; he grew up and built the most outrageous, absurd and fantastical hotel New York City had ever seen! And then he disappeared.

Meanwhile, across town, sinister businessman Bernard Frescobaldi plots against the Whippet Hotel. He has accessed Merganzer’s private files and is about to set in motion a plan to take down the inventor’s greatest creation!

Leo Fillmore lives in the basement of Whippet Hotel and assists his father, the hotel’s janitor. He has always known the Whippet is a special hotel, but it’s only after Merganzer has been missing for one hundred days that he learns its true magic. When a mysterious box with Merganzer’s image and Leo’s name appears in the special elevator for the inventor’s beloved ducks who live on the hotel’s roof, he doesn’t have a choice, but to follow the 4 peculiar instructions on the enclosed note from Merganzer’s attorney. Especially after he reads the note’s final warning:

“Don’t fail, young Mr. Fillmore, for if you do, the Whippet Hotel and all it stands for will come to an end. Only you can save the Whippet now. He’s counting on you to set things right.”

But it won’t be easy! Even with help from the new door boy Remi and Merganzer’s ducks, danger lurks along every secret tunnel, trap door and hidden floor of the hotel. Clues magically appear and then vanish on walls, and one misstep in the wrong direction and Leo could explode into fairy dust! Merganzer’s whimsically themed rooms can turn deadly too, like when Leo is forced to play his way to safety in the life-sized pinball machine room!

Will Leo be able to crack the codes, follow the clues and race his way through the maze of Merganzer’s most secret and magical creations in time to halt Bernard Fescobaldi’s evil plot? Time is ticking and it’s up to Leo to save the Whippet Hotel and set things right once and for all!

Learn more about the strange and mysterious Whippet Hotel, straight from author Patrick Carman!

"Floors by Patrick Carman" Online Posting. YouTube, 12 September 2011. Web. 1 December 2011.

Carman, Patrick. Floors. New York: Scholastic, 2011. Print.

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Tuesday, November 29, 2011


Annotation: This first installment launches The Wildwood Chronicles as Prue and her pal Curtis embark on a rescue mission to the forbidden "Impassable Wilderness of Portland, Oregon after her baby brother Mac is carried off by crows. Along the way the pair find themselves caught in the middle of an epic conflict among the divided human, talking animal and magical creatures who inhabit the wood.

Book Talk:
Prue had been warned about the Impassable Wilderness since as far back as she could remember. No matter how cool or laid back the artsy hipster parents of Portland were, they all forbid their children from ever setting foot near the I.P. Prue had never given the woods a second thought, and besides, you’d have to cross the Industrial Wastes to get there, and who would want to do that? She was content to cruise around Portland with her baby brother Mac’s wagon hitched to the back of her bicycle. Until the day the murder of crows stole him, that is! Right from the back of the wagon, in the middle of the safe old park! They just swooped right down, lifted him up in his blanket and flew him away into the Impassable Wilderness!

Determined to rescue Mac, Prue ignores the echoes of the warnings from her quirky, yet sensible parents and sets off on an adventure with very little clues to guide her journey. And to make matters worse, Curtis, a kid from the neighborhood, has followed her out of Portland and he’s not exactly coming in handy as an adventure buddy; more like an adventure liability!

Just crossing into the woods is risky enough, but what awaits Prue and Curtis is far more treacherous. The magical woodland creatures are at war! Prue and Curtis find themselves smack in the middle of an epic political struggle for control of the wood. From the coyote soldiers and the Dowager Governess to the mystics, the bandits and their king and the privileged bourgeoisie human and animal town folk, it isn’t easy to discern just who or what Prue and Curtis should trust and align with. It will take all the courage, smarts and luck they have to rescue Mac and battle their way out of the Wildwood.

Awards: None yet

Get started reading Wildwood right away! Click here to download a free preview except of the book!

Check out a book trailer with illustrations from the book!
"Wildwood by Colin Meloy, Illustrated by Carson Ellis" Online Posting. YouTube, 28 July 2011. Web. 29 November 2011.

Enjoy a video clip of the author and illustrator talking more about creating Wildwood!
"Colin Meloy and Carson Ellis Discuss Wildwood" Online Posting. YouTube, 15 June 2011. Web. 29 November 2011.

Meloy, Colin. Wildwood. Illus. Carson Ellis. New York: Balzer-Harper, 2011. 

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Real teens speak! Olivia & Sofia, 11

Friends Olivia and Sofia, both 11, are major fantasy fans and visit the library constantly to check out the latest fantasy titles! 

Olivia thinks "fantasy books are very exciting and they just seem more interesting than real life because real life can get really boring!"

Sofia likes to read fantasy books "because they're always adventurous and very different from what you do in real life, and so this is different, and it's cool that people write books about things we might not experience because we get to open ourselves up to new worlds!"

Sunday, November 27, 2011

The Frenzy

Annotation: Teenage Liv struggles to understand changes within her body and a connection to a pack of werewolves living in the nearby woods. 

Awards: None yet

Digital avatar created with

Block, Francesca Lia. The Frenzy. New York: Harper, 2010. Print.

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Saturday, November 19, 2011

Real teens speak! Serena, 13

I talked to thirteen year old Serena, to learn more about the kinds of fantasy books she likes the most. She told me "I like when fantasy and reality are entwined because I don't like just a fantasy world. I like when it's kind of my world too! I like a blend of stuff because if it's one certain type it gets boring. And I don't like reading things about unicorns and fairies!"

Serena just started reading Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs because she saw the book trailer on the author's Youtube Channel. See if it piques your curiosity! 

"Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children: Director's Cut!" Online Posting. YouTube, 7 June 2011. Web. 29 November 2011.

The Magician's Nephew and Real Teens Speak! Olivia, 13

Annotation: A prequel installment of The Chronicles of Narnia series explores the origins of the fantasy world Narnia, when a set of magical rings launches two young children from London on an adventure exploring fantastical worlds, waking an evil witch and fighting to protect the new world and return home.

Book Talk:
You might have thought the Chronicles of Narnia began when Lucy Pevensie stumbled through the wardrobe during the game of hide and seek in The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. But the truth is that the story began much earlier, when Professor Kirke, owner of the wardrobe, was just a boy. While playing in his London neighborhood, young Digory and his new pal Polly accidentally stumble upon Uncle Andrew dabbling secretly in magic! Uncle Andrew produces a yellow ring and when Polly touches it she disappears! Digory follows after her by touching a second yellow ring, but not before receiving two additional green rings from Uncle Andrew, with the promise they can be used to return from other worlds!

In the first new world, Digory and Polly learn they can explore even more worlds still, travelling among connected pools of water. But such travel is not without risks! Unable to resist the temptation to ring a bell bearing a curious riddle, Digory awakens Jadis, an evil witch! Frightened by the witch and her ruined world, the children try to escape using the power of the rings, but Jadis latches on to them and the trio set off on an adventure through worlds that sets in motion the creation of Narnia by Aslan and the transformation of Jadis into a witch even more treacherous who will threaten Narnia for years to come.

But when challenged with one final temptation, can Digory find the strength to resist it? And will he and Polly get the chance to find out if the green rings will really transport them home to London? Plus, learn how the old lamppost came to stand in Narnia and where the legendary magical wardrobe really came from!

Olivia is 13 and she read The Chronicles of Narnia a few years ago. She also acted in a play inspired by The Chronicles at summer camp. Olivia “liked reading all the Chronicles of Narnia because they're adventurous; they're just fun! And I liked the interesting characters because their names are cool. I like how imagined it all is!”

ALA Notable Children’s Book

Lewis, C.S. The Magician’s Nephew. New York: Scholastic, 1955. Print.

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Friday, November 18, 2011

Real teens speak! Caroline, 13

Thirteen year 8th grader Caroline's favorite literary genres are Sci-Fi and Fantasy. With Sci-Fi she likes that "you always have to understand what you're reading and it's scholarly and you can also learn things, but it's also fun because it has mutated creatures with superpowers and stuff!" When she's reading Fantasy, Caroline likes "the escape from the real world because I'm always busy, I'm always studying, but then when you read Fantasy books it's so out of this world, so completely different; it's a total escape!"