Friday, April 25, 2008

Caught on Tape

Lights. Camera. ACTION! In the third book of the Hollywood Sisters series by Mary Wilcox, there's a lot of drama going on on the set of the hit TV show Two Sisters, so amateur sleuth Jessica Ortiz (yes, the sister of TV honey Eva) has got her hands full. First of all, Eva has paired Jessica up with a fake boyfriend, which could cause lots of problems with Jessica's real crush, Jeremy. As well as this, an obnoxious tour bus keeps on disrupting the Ortiz sisters' neighborhood, Jessica's about to head to a new school, and someone keeps on pulling not-so-funny pranks on the set! Whew. This funny, down-to-earth girl has got her hands full on set-and off! After reading this quick, Hollywood-packed book, they'll be craving more!

As If Being 12 3/4 Isn't Bad Enough, My Mother Is Running for President!

Spelling whiz/ governor's kid Vanessa Rothrock has got a lot to deal with! As if being 12 3/4 isn't bad enough, add in the following factors: her love of her life, Reginald Trumball, is ignoring her, she's getting mysterious letters from a secret admirer, is constantly tripping over her size 9 1/2 feet, completely humiliates herself in gym class, is totally flat-chested, and oh, yeah-her mom's running for President of the United States of America! Now Vanessa has a huge bodyguard following her everywhere, hardly gets to see her mom anymore, and creepy death threats are putting both her and her mother's lives in danger! Could life get ANY worse? 
In her debut novel, author Donna Gephart tells a fantastically funny story that readers will adore. Girls of all ages will be able to relate with sincere and lovable Vanessa, and will be begging for a sequel!

DRAMA! #2: Everyone's A Critic

BIG drama is coming to super-elite Orion Academy: the famed Hartley Blackstone (director-actor-writer-songwriter-choreographer extraordinaire) is coming to select 2 talented actors to participate in his summer theatre camp (In New York City!). But what these 30 Drama Geeks (including Bryan Stark and his pals Sam, Hope, and Jason) AREN'T expecting is mean girls who'll stop at nothing to get selected, a tough breakup, lots of hard work, and Hartley Blackstone's harsh critiques that might ruin Bryan's career as an actor...
Can Bryan and his theatre friends get their act together (literally), and create a kick-butt performance that'll blow Hartley Blackstone away? Or will it result in crushed dreams and broken hearts?

Saturday, April 19, 2008


Heartbeat is a story about a girl named Annie who loves to run. She loves to feel her heartbeat (thump-thump, thump-thump), and feel her feet on the pavement (slap-slap, slap-slap). She runs with her friend Max, silent but strong. And he wants to run track, but doesn't have the shoes. Annie's mom is going to have a baby, and that baby has a heartbeat too (a-woosh-a, a-woosh-a). Her grandfather is changing, the apple she is assigned to draw for 100 days is changing, her mother is changing, and, inside, the baby is changing. Max is more intense and moody-changing. And Annie is, too, her heart is, but she just doesn't know yet. Sharon Creech made this book so interesting by having it in poetic form. It was a wonderful story, and I recommend it for third to fifth graders.

Little Women

This charming classic by Louisa May Alcott is a comforting, sweet novel about 4 sisters growing up in Massachusetts in the Civil War era. Life is not like they like it after their dad is forced to go off to the war, and they are struck by poverty. Somehow, these four different sisters manage to have adventures, friendship, and romance. There's Jo, the scheming, tomboyish writer (who might be based on Alcott herself); Amy, the proper, youngest, and artistic sister; Meg, the motherly, bossy, eldest sister; and Beth, the shy, musical homebody. Readers will both laugh and shed tears as they watch the girls grow up right before their very eyes, and will be deeply satisfied when done with this touching story. Join the March sisters as they struggle through hardships like school, romance, death, friendship, and sisterly jealousy. Little Women is truly a gem, loved in the 1800s (when it was first published), and still loved today!

Friday, April 18, 2008

Meet Trudi!

Hello Readers! This month I had the honor of interviewing Trudi Trueit, talented author of the Julep O' Toole books. Kick back, relax, and enjoy the interview (and pick up a Julep book when you're all done)!

Bookworm:What inspired you to write the Julep O' Toole books?
Trudi: I think I knew what I didn't want to write before I knew what I did want. I didn't want to create a tragedy with sick or dying family members. And I didn't want to write a fairy story (no magic dust or special powers). I wanted to write about an ordinary girl who has to grapple with everyday realities like uncooperative hair, a crazed PE teacher, and a wardrobe her mom picked out (ugh). Although many of Julep's challenges bend toward the extreme (not many of us get sucked into an automatic toilet), all the things that happen to Julep could happen to you or me. We all struggle to find our place in the world. If readers see that in Julep, and see the humor in it, then maybe it will help them get through the rough patches in their own lives with a lighter heart.

Bookworm: Did you always know that you were going to be an author?
Trudi: I always knew that I was going to be a writer, but not an author. I got hooked on storytelling in the second grade when I wrote a ghost story and my teacher read it to the class. I saw the way the other kids listened intently, and I realized that writing could be a powerful thing. It could capture people, get them thinking, and entertain them all at once. It became a passion. I wrote a teen newspaper column for my local newspaper at age 13 (it was the closest thing we had to a blog back in those days). I fell in love with journalism; telling other people's stories and sharing their issues. In my career, I've been a TV news reporter (and weather forecaster), a media specialist, and a freelance writer. After doing all of these things, I felt I was ready to tell my own stories.

Bookworm: What was childhood like?
Trudi: I grew up in Kent, WA, a middle-class suburb of Seattle. My mom stayed home for most of my childhood, then went to work part-time when I was 12. My dad was a computer programmer (for some reason, I did not inherit his math genes). My parents were, and still are, my biggest supporters. However, one of my siblings was emotionally difficult and rebellious, and that disrupted our family harmony. I think I was over-compensated. I felt it was my responsibility to be the perfect daughter and the perfect student. I was hard on myself. Maybe that's why Julep is just an average student. She's far from perfect. But she is all the things that really matter: compassionate, unselfish, and loving.

Bookworm: Is Julep based on you?
Trudi: Like Julep, I am a middle-child, with an older sister and a younger brother who has asthma. Julep's longing to find her value certainly came from my own experience. But Julep is definitely her own person. She is feisty, defiant, and an average student. I was a shy, straight-A, never-break-the-rules type of girl. But that's the beauty of writing. Your characters can say and do things that you would never dare. I am probably most similar to Julep's BFF, Bernadette (who, by the way, is named after my calico cat). Bernadette is Julep's conscience. She thinks everything to death. That's me.

   Bookworm Readers would like to give a big thank you to Trudi Trueit. Also, watch out for her new series, Secrets of a Lab Rat, about a fourth-grader named Scab, who "loves concocting strange inventions and tormenting his sister, Isabelle"! Book #1, No Girls Allowed (Dogs Okay), published by Simon and Schuster's Aladdin Books, will be coming out in the spring of 2009, so keep your eyes peeled!

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

The Mysterious Case of the Allbright Academy

Eighth grader Franny Sharp is majorly excited when she is accepted into the Allbright Academy, a prestigious boarding school in Maryland that has produced some of the world's smartest leaders, scientists, doctors, and more. So Franny has a lot to live up to! But there's something strange about this fancy academy-it seems to Franny that the kids are a bit too perfect. Wouldn't you think it's strange when all the kids on the campus are gorgeous, have flawless manners, straight As, and perfect behavior? Franny does, so she and her new friends Brooklyn, Cal, and Prescott begin to investigate the dark secret behind the academy's creepy perfection. But what if some of the perfection begins to rub off on them? Will they be able to uncover the mystery before it's too late for the Allbright students?  And there's always the danger of being caught... Author Diane Stanley has created a fast-paced novel that's riveting, creative, and recommended for all readers with a good taste in mysteries that are in grades 5-7!

Monday, April 14, 2008

Exclusive Interview with Fiona Dunbar!

This month, Bookworm had the extreme honor of interviewing the lovely Fiona Dunbar, author of the Lulu Baker series and Toonhead! We hope you enjoy the interview (below)!

Bookworm: What inspired you to write the Lulu Baker trilogy?
Fiona: Well, I am very interested in food! Initially, I just had the 'magic recipe book' idea, then the other stuff stemmed from that. It seemed logical that Lulu's nemesis should be someone who's obsessed with dieting. I hate the pressure that girls of today are under to be skinny and glam; I wanted to tell them "There's more to life than that!"

Bookworm: What was your childhood like?
Fiona: Happy but dysfunctional. My father left when I was 7 years old; my stepfather was an alcoholic jazz musician; pretty soon my mother became an alcoholic too. There were always financial problems; we lived in a snobby suburb of London because my mother had upwardly-mobile aspirations, but she couldn't afford it and couldn't fit in; she was always an Essex girl at heart, I reckon.

Bookworm: Are any of the characters based on real-life people?
Fiona: Not literally, but there are some composites/wild exaggerations. Lulu's a bit of me and a bit of my daughter. Varaminta LeBone bears some resemblance to a friend of my mum's, and Torquil to the brother of a friend. LJ Sylva resembles someone else, but I'm not saying who.

Bookworm: Which was your favorite book to write?
Fiona: So far I think it has to be Toonhead, because it was after I'd gone through the learning curve of writing The Truth Cookie, but before I'd got published, so I was purely entertaining myself. (I wrote Lulu Baker books 2 and 3 after Toonhead)

Bookworm: What is your favorite children's book today, and which were your favorites as a kid?
Fiona: As a child: Greek myths, The Little Mermaid and The Snow Queen by Hans Christian Andersen, Malory Towers series by Enid Blyton, and The Midwich Cuckoos and The Day of the Triffids by John Wyndham. Today: Alice in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll, Peter Pan and Wendy by JM Barrie, Holes by Louis Sachar, Skellig by David Almond, and The Story of Tracey Beaker by Jacqueline Wilson.

Bookworm: What is your new series, The Silk Sisters about? 
Fiona: After doing a trilogy with a food theme, I decided on fashion next. Again, that was the starting point from which everything else evolved. I got interested in clothing and identity, and in Smart clothing (see the 'My Wardrobe' page on my site for more details). At 12 or 13, many girls become very preoccupied with image; they are trying to discover who they are. I thought it would be interesting to take that idea to an extreme level: what if you could try 'being' other people? But I didn't feel that concept alone was enough to carry a whole trilogy, so I explored the identity theme further. When we speak of "identity theft", we mean electronic data relating to bank account, etc...but imagine a world in which people's identities were really being stolen! This is a rather sci-fi concept, which is one reason why I set it in the future; the other is that I am satirising the world we live in now, imagining a world in which multi-billionaire corporations have control over everything we do.

Bookworm:  Are there any new/upcoming books of your that are coming out?
Fiona: Blue Gene Baby [the sequel to Pink Chameleon], the second book in the Silk Sisters series, is coming out next month. 

Bookworm Readers would like to give a hearty thanks to Fiona Dunbar for this awesome interview! We can't wait to read what's coming next from you! (:

Sunday, April 13, 2008

Lucy Rose #4: Working Myself to Pieces and Bits

Lucy Rose is up to her shoulders in things to do! She's helping her best friends' family set up their new bakery, trying to make some money, volunteering at the old folks' home, and, on top of that, the meanest girl in  the class/big-time liar Ashley is being totally rude to Lucy Rose and Lucy's good friend! 
   Luckily, this laugh-and-a-half of a character has plenty of spunk and wit to get her through it all! Readers who want to move up from Junie B. Jones, or fans of Christine Kole MacLean's Mary Margaret series will love these funny books by Katy Kelly!

The Game Plan

Football superstar Joe Kingman (Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson) is used to the high life-both on the field AND off- as lead quarterback for his team, the Boston Rebels. But he's got a surprise in store for him when eight-year-old sweetheart Peyton shows up at his doorstep, claiming to be his daughter! Although Joe hates to admit it, Peyton really IS his daughter. But with the football championships coming up, Joe doesn't have time (and doesn't want to make any) for Peyton. Now this buff athlete is juggling BeDazzlers, ballet classes, bedtime stories, and, well-dad stuff. But as the movie drags on, viewers can clearly see this tough guy's heart begin to soften as he realizes how much he actually loves his daughter. Pass the popcorn, because this hilarious-yet-charming family flick is one you and your kids won't want to miss!

Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium

Molly Mahoney (Natalie Portman), a former piano star, is an ordinary girl who works in an extraordinary place: Mr. Magorium's Wonder Emporium, owned by the kooky Mr. Magorium (Dustin Hoffman) himself! This, however, is no ordinary toystore: it's a magical place to play, filled with mystical rooms, a real rocketship, a zebra, enchanted toys, and a magical book. But after more than 200 years on earth, the lovable Mr. Magorium is fading away, much to Molly and her friend Eric's dismay. The toystore is more than reluctant to make the huge change, so when Molly inherits the toystore, she'll need to begin to seriously believe in herself-and in magic-to save the toystore. This enchanting movie will touch both parents' and childrens' hearts.


Nim's Island: The Movie!

How would you like living on your very own private island, with only your scientist dad and animal friends for company? An island full of adventure, secret hideouts, and tons of places to play? Welcome to eleven-year old Nim's world!
   When her dad, Jack (Gerard Butler)  jets off on a seafaring adventure to search for plankton, Nim has the whole island to herself for two whole days! At first she's thrilled, but then disaster strikes-Jack gets shipwrecked in a vicious tropical storm and Nim's all by herself! So she turns to her favorite author and hero, Alex Rover (Jodie Foster), for help via email. But what she doesn't know is that Alex isn't a man-and certainly not a hero! This cowardly author must summon up all of her courage to save the day for Nim and Jack! But will she be too late? And can Nim save her island from tourists? Readers will clap with joy as they watch the bestselling novel by Wendy Orr come to life on the big screen.

Wednesday, April 2, 2008

Chloe, Queen of Denial

16-year-old Chloe of Seattle, Washington, is reluctant to spend a whole month at an archaeological dig in Egypt. After all, she has her nickname of "Queen of Denial" for a reason! Chloe's always been scared about almost everything and is timid about trying new things. But her parents force her to embark on her Egyptian adventure anyway ("It'll look GREAT on your college application!"). But what Chloe was not expecting was scorching heat, scorpions in her bed, a nasty dig-mate, an evil chaperone (who freakishly resembles the female version of Ronald McDonald), mummies, spooky tombs, a water thief, stolen artifacts, danger, and a very ancient well as some surprising changes that Chloe discovers in herself! Luckily, she has some great friends and a little romance to get her through her Egyptian adventure..and she might just enjoy it, too! While reading this phenomenal YA novel, readers will feel like they are right there in the sandy desert and spooky burial shaft with Chloe and her friends, thanks to Naomi Nash's marvelous descriptions. Recommended for young adults in grades 7-10.

Julep O'Toole: Miss Independent

11 years old is plenty old enough to be able to wear makeup, have stylish clothes, and own a cell phone, don't you think? Julep O' Toole certainly thinks so, but her mother has different ideas about her daughter's independence. While Julep wants to grow up and become an independent person, her mother seems like she's not letting her, especially after a mortifying experience at the mall! Soon, mother and daughter aren't even speaking to each other, and Julep's afraid she's ruined things permanently between herself and her mom! Can Julep fix things between her and her mom AND become an independent girl at the same time? Trudi Trueit, author of this fabulous book writes sincerely and with humor in this sweet and funny second book of the Julep O' Toole series. Mothers and daughters will both love and enjoy this novel about growing up.


Life has always been normal for Evyn Linney (well, as normal as it could be for a girl who doesn't have a mother). She has a regular life in Maine: a best friend, an OK school, a comfy house, etc. But then her dad breaks the news to Evyn and her brother Mackey. He's getting married to a woman that he hardly knows-and they're moving to Boston to live with her and her kids. That's right. Six new quarreling siblings and stepmother that looks like Betty Boop. Could life for Evyn get ANY worse? Oh, yes. She has to adjust to a new school, and the most popular girl in the eighth grade hates her. And, on top of that, the only friend she has (who lives in Maine), isn't being so friendly anymore. Evyn's hating all the changes around her: her dork brother becoming Mr. Theatre Man, her dad pretending to be someone who he's not, her best friend being exactly opposite of that...Why can't things be the way they used to be? Natasha Friend, bestselling author of Perfect and Lush, speaks truthfully and tells an excellent story that'll make you laugh and cry-about a girl who must bounce along and cope with the overwhelming amount of changes in her life.

Enola Holmes and the Case of the Bizarre Bouquets

Enola Holmes, younger sister of the famous Sherlock, is back in this thrilling third installment of mystery books that might just be the best yet! This time, Sherlock Holmes' lovable companion Dr. Watson has gone missing! Enola is dying to figure out the mysterious case, but since she's still hiding from her brothers, she's afraid of being caught by them while investigating. The mystery grows when a bizarre bouquet of white poppies, hawthorn, yew and asparagus show up at the Watson residence, symbolizing death! Enola covers herself in her best disguise yet to crack the case, venturing all over the dangerous streets of Victorian London. This story climaxes perfectly, and Springer sneakily weaves in tricky ciphers, dark secrets, and botanical code. In the end, the case works out perfectly and, once again, readers will be satisfied with this awesome mystery in the fantastic Enola Holmes series!

Dragon's Breath

Witch-in-training Princess Emeralda (or Emma, for short), is back in this witty and humorous novel by E.D. Baker. This time, Emma and her no-longer-froggy friend Eadric have a lot going on:
first, Emma's country of Greater Greensward is in danger of being invaded, and Emma's aunt needs to protect the kingdom, with her magic or else it'll be gone forever! But Grassina the Green Witch has other things on her mind, including reversing the spell that will turn her old beau, Haywood, from otter back to man. But first Emma and Eadric need to find all the ingredients for the spell reversal, including a gossamer hair from a mother-of-pearl, a husk from a magic bean, a green dragon's breath, and an aged horse's feather. This terrific fantasy is full of colorful adventure and humor, taking the reader from a fishbowl sea, a magic marketplace, the Dragon Olympics, and much, much, more! Readers will NOT be disappointed in this second book of the bestselling Frog Princess series!

Dear Dumb Diary #7: Never Underestimate Your Dumbness

Whoa! Jamie's got a lot going on! First off, her aunt's wedding is just around the corner, and Jamie is secretly dreading it because, a) she has to wear a hideous brown dress and clogs, and, b) she'll officially be related to Madame Perfection, aka Angeline! Ick! Plus there's the dance coming up, a sticky situation, and a fight with her scheming BFF, Isabella. One things for sure: never underestimate your dumbness! Jim Benton's 7th book in this series published by Scholastic is just as funny and irresistable as the first 6!

Tuesday, April 1, 2008

Book of a Thousand Days

Dashti, and ordinary farm girl or "mucker" in medieval Mongolia is expecting a boring life of sitting around and serving when she becomes maid to the moody Lady Saren. But not for long: Saren disobeys her father by not marrying the man he wants her to, a man with a very dangerous secret, and so she and Dashti are locked in a tower for seven years. At first it's not so terrible, but then the rats eat their entire 7-year food supply, and the man that Saren refused to marry keeps coming and threatening the girls...And Dashti might be falling in love with Saren's other suitor, the gallant Khan Tegus! This beautiful story, loosely based on the little-known Brothers Grimm tale of Maid Maleen is an adventurous story of two brave girls in a tower and their many adventures afterwards. Fans of Shannon Hale's previous books "Princess Academy" and "The Goose Girl" will be more than happy to indulge in this fantastic novel-they have a real treat in store for them!

Bad Kitty

Jas is expecting a normal family vacation in Las Vegas: trying to avoid the Evil Hench Twins (aka her snobby cousin Alyson and her ditzy pal Veronique), try not to get in too much trouble with her dad (the Thwarter), hang out by the pool (and stare at the cute snack hut guy), and maybe gamble a bit. But Jas is in for a big surprise: she finds herself smack-dab in the middle of a rollicking mystery, involving two celebrities-in-hiding, lots of red herrings, and a murderer on the loose! Luckily, Jas has a great backup crew: her 3 BFFs Polly, Tom, and Roxy, who crash her vacation and BeDazzle her favorite cowboy boots. Can Jas solve the mystery before someone gets hurt-or worse? And all because of that darned cat! Michele Jaffrey weaves a hilarious, glittering teen novel that is dangerously addictive! Bad Kitty is truly five-star material!