Wednesday, April 28, 2010

New books for kids: Reversible poems, rat-finks, and Missile Mouse

There's lots of new kids books this month, and whole worlds to explore. Graphic novels, fairies, mysteries ... and even poems that you can read two ways! Look for these here on BookBag using the WorldCatalog and Amazon search boxes ....

Mirror Mirror: A Book of Reversible Verse, by Marilyn Singer; illustrated by Josée Masse (Dutton Children's Books) Illustrated Poetry. "Who says it's true -- down is the only view?" Who, indeed? In this clever book, each poem can be read two ways: from the top line down and from the bottom line up. The poems, inspired by familiar folk tales and fairy tales, take on different meanings when read in reverse but still make sense. Some of them give the villain's point of view in a funny way, and others (such as the Snow White-themed poem "Mirror Mirror") are more on the dark and creepy side. Word-lovers and puzzle fans will want to make up their own "reversos" after reading Mirror Mirror.

Nikki & Deja: The Newsy News Newsletter, by Karen English; illustrated by Laura Freeman (Clarion Books) Realistic Fiction. When best friends and next-door-neighbors Nikki and Deja decide to create their own "newsy news" newsletter--one that reports all the really interesting stuff that's happening in their neighborhood and school--it seems like a great idea. But pretty soon, they run out of things to report, and their creative solution to the lack of news gets them into trouble. If you like fun, easy-to-read stories about friends and their everyday ups and downs, you'll love this 3rd book in the Nikki and Deja series, and you might also want to check out the first two books, Nikki and Deja and Birthday Blues.

Ratfink, by Marcia Thornton Jones; illustrated by C.B. Decker (Dutton Children's Books) Realistic Fiction. Logan wants to have a good fifth-grade year, but it's almost as if he has a special talent for getting into trouble. And this year, it seems that Emily, the new girl at school, is intent on getting him into even more trouble than usual. On top of that, Logan's grandfather, who has become forgetful and does some strange and embarrassing things, has moved in with his family. Logan is convinced that "fifth-graders are mean," and he doesn't want them catching Grandpa doing something bizarre. Looks like it's going to be a tough year. This hilarious and heartbreaking story about friends, enemies, and family rings true.

The Night Fairy, by Laura Amy Schlitz; illustrated by Angela Barrett (Candlewick Press) Fantasy. Tiny Flora, about the size of an acorn, is a night fairy who's still getting used to her wings. When she is attacked by a hungry bat, Flora's wings are destroyed, and she falls into the beautiful garden of a giantess. She decides to make a new home for herself in the cherry tree that grows there--and to become a day fairy to avoid bats ("I hate, hate, hate bats") in the future. But the world is much different in the daytime, and Flora soon learns that she'll have to make friends with the other garden-dwelling creatures in order to survive. This beautifully illustrated book is perfect for readers who like both the magical world of fairies and exciting outdoor adventures.

The Mysterious Howling, by Maryrose Wood; illustrated by Jon Klassen (Balzer + Bray) Fiction. Fifteen-year-old Penelope Lumley has a whopper of a first job: she's been hired to be the governess for three orphaned siblings who were, evidently, raised by wolves. Penelope isn't sure she can civilize the children in time for Lady Constance's holiday ball, but that may not turn out to be her biggest concern...for mysteries abound at Ashton Place, from the real origin of the Incorrigible children to the reason why Old Timothy the coachman is always lurking around to whether there is someone living behind the staircase wall. Readers who enjoy droll humor, melodrama, and deep, dark secrets will love this 1st book of The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place series and be eager for more.

Missile Mouse: The Star Crusher, by Jake Parker (Graphix) Graphic Novel. Tough-talking, no-nonsense Missile Mouse is an agent for the Galactic Security Agency, and he's on a mission to rescue a scientist who's been kidnapped by the Rogue Imperium of Planets (or RIP). The scientist, Ulrich, has information that the RIP needs in order to build a doomsday weapon with the power to destroy the entire universe, and the RIP has an evil plan to extract it directly from Ulrich's brain...but foiling evil plans is Missile Mouse's specialty. With lots of rock-'em, sock-'em action, alien monsters, double agents, and a spectacular finish, this comic-book adventure is a thrilling read.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Spring fiction for tweens: heists, escapes, and high school

Spring has sprung, so it's time to think about going outside with a good book and enjoying the warm sunshine! Here are some fun reads that will keep you entertained to the end. Look for them here on BookBag using the WorldCatalog and Amazon search boxes.

Heist Society, by Ally Carter (Disney/Hyperion) Fiction. Katarina Bishop comes from a long line of thieves and is an old hand at running cons, but she's ready to leave "the life." By scamming her way into the best boarding school in the country, she meant to get out of the family business for good. But a powerful mobster has framed her for an act of vandalism that gets her expelled because he believes that Kat's dad stole his collection of priceless paintings. Kat's dad has Interpol on his tail, so Kat and her talented teenage crew have just two weeks to pull off an impossible heist -- stealing the paintings back -- or he'll be sleeping with the fishes. Ranging all over Europe and packed with action, intrigue, quirky characters, and a dash of romance, this fast-paced caper is a fun, popcorn-ready read.

Out of My Mind, by Sharon M. Draper (Atheneum Books) Realistic Fiction. Nearly 11 years old, Melody Brooks has never spoken a word. She has cerebral palsy and can't walk, talk, or feed herself, and her body "tends to move on its own agenda" -- but, while the kids and teachers around her don't know it, she is the smartest kid in the whole school. Being stuck inside her head is driving Melody out of her mind ... until she gets a special computer that allows her to finally express her thoughts. But are people ready to hear them? This emotionally intense and compelling story, narrated by Melody, is a tribute to the strength and bravery of every kid with challenges to overcome.

Copper, by Kazu Kibuishi (Graphix) Graphic Novel. Bright, optimistic Copper and his worry-wart dog, Fred, have adventures both ordinary and fantastic in this collection of short tales (many of them just one page). From hiking across the tops of enormous mushrooms to diving in the ocean to dancing with robots, there's no telling what sort of scene the pair will be part of ... until you turn the page. Beautiful, softly colored artwork and deep, thoughtful themes make this book calmer than creator Kazu Kibuishi's Amulet series. Artists will appreciate Kibuishi's explanation of how he made these comics, and fans of slightly offbeat stories will love Copper and Fred.

Lone Wolf, by Kathryn Lasky (Scholastic Press) Animal Fantasy. In the harsh wilderness beyond the owl world of Ga'Hoole, a wolf mother hides her silvery-gray pup Faolan, born with a twisted paw, in fear. She knows that the pack will force her to leave him on the icy riverbank to die. But when they do, Thunderheart the grizzly bear finds Faolan and raises him as her own. This first installment in the Wolves of the Beyond series vividly describes both Faolan's world and the wolves' mythology, and readers will be captivated by the young wolf's struggle to survive.

Boys Without Names, by Kashmira Sheth (Balzer + Bray) Fiction. Deep in debt, Gopal's father is moving the family from their rural Indian village to Mum
bai in the hope of finding work and building a new life. But not long after they arrive in Mumbai, Gopal's father disappears. Gopal tries to help out by taking a factory job, but he has been tricked: trapped in a sweatshop with five other boys, he is forced to work in horrible conditions for no pay and very little food. Telling stories of his previous life every night, Gopal desperately tries to befriend the other boys and rally the group for a daring escape. This moving story is based on the author's extensive research on child labor in her native India and is a haunting, eye-opening read.

Smile, by Raina Telgemeier (Graphix) Graphic Memoir. In the sixth grade, author Raina Telgemeier tripped while running, fell, and badly damaged her two front teeth. For years afterward she suffered braces, surgery, embarrassing headgear, and even a retainer with fake teeth attached--all while trying to navigate the confusing world of frenemies, fashion missteps, boys, middle school, and, later, high school. Funny, honest, and hopeful, Telgemeier's story (and her smiling picture on the back flap of the book) proves that there's life after dental drama.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

It's National Poetry Month: put a poem in your pocket April 29

April is National Poetry Month.

In the spirit of freeing poetry from the page (and the computer), anyone can celebrate national Poem In Your Pocket Day on Thursday, April 29, 2010 ...

The idea is simple: select a poem during National Poetry Month then carry it with you to share with co-workers, family, and friends on April 29, 2010.

Poems from pockets will be unfolded throughout the day with events in parks, libraries, schools, workplaces, and bookstores. Create your own Poem In Your Pocket Day event using ideas below or share your plans, projects, and suggestions for "Poem In Your Pocket Day" by emailing

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Neil Gaiman is honorary chair of National Library Week

Author Neil Gaiman, winner of this year’s Newbery Medal for "The Graveyard Book," has been named the 2010 Honorary Chair of National Library Week, which will be celebrated April 11-17.

As Honorary Chair, Gaiman will appear in both print and radio public service announcements (PSA) and a podcast and will participate in a National Library Week event developed by the American Library Association’s Campaign for America’s Libraries.

For libraries looking to promote National Library Week, the PSAs will be available for customization in December . Other materials are currently available in both English and Spanish, focusing on the 2010 National Library Week theme “Communities thrive @ your library.” They include a proclamation, sample press release and letter-to-the-editor, as well as scripts for use in radio public service announcements (PSAs).Libraries can download materials at

Libraries planning to participate in “Communities thrive @ your library”-themed programming are encouraged to share their stories with the Campaign for America’s Libraries, by sending an e-mail to

ALA Graphics products supporting the “Communities thrive” theme are also available. In addition to the 2010 National Library Week poster and bookmark, libraries can also purchase mini poster and new this year, a downloadable transit sign. National Library Week-themed Web files along with all Graphics products can be purchased through the ALA Store at

National Library Week is a national observance sponsored by the American Library Association (ALA) and libraries across the country each April. It is a time to celebrate the contributions of our nation's libraries and librarians and to promote library use.

The Campaign for America’s Libraries (, ALA’s public awareness campaign that promotes the value of libraries and librarians. Thousands of libraries of all types – across the country and around the globe - use the Campaign’s @ your library® brand. The Campaign is made possible by ALA’s Library Champions, corporations and foundations that advocate the importance of the library in American society.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Scientists discover a link between reading and improved brain functions

Research scientists at Pittsburgh's Carneigie-Mellon University have written about the first definite connection between reading and improved brain function. Here is the article from the Pittsburgh (PA) Tribune Review, published from staff reports on December 9. And visit the site, where you can record yourself with a musical background and create an mp3 to share with your kids. It's a great way to be with your child even when you can't be with them.

This instruction causes the brain to create new white matter that improves communication with the brain, CMU researchers Timothy Keller and Marcel Just reported today in the journal Neuron.

These findings could result in new strategies in the treatment of mental disorders, including autism, scientists said.

Keller and Just found that brain imaging of children between the ages of 8 and 10 showed that the quality of white matter — the brain tissue that carries signals between areas of gray matter where information is processed — improved substantially after children received 100 hours of remedial training.

After the training, imaging showed that the capability of the white matter to transmit signals efficiently had increased, and testing showed the children could read better.

"We're excited about these results," Just said in a statement. "The indication that behavioral intervention can improve both cognitive performance and the microstructure of white matter tracts is a breakthrough for treating and understanding development problems."

The research was funded by grants from the Richard King Mellon Foundation and the National Institute of Mental Health.

"The exciting breakthrough here is detecting changes in brain connectivity with behavioral treatment. This finding with reading deficits suggests an exciting new approach to be tested in the treatment of mental disorders, which increasingly appear to be due to problems in specific brain circuits," said Dr. Thomas R. Insel, director of the National Institute of Mental Health.

Reading aloud to kids at

Thanks to the BookDads website for the following. It's a great, creative, inexpensive way to be with your child even when you're not together, whether it's during the busy holiday season or throughout the year.

Check out this British website It provides an opportunity for dads, or anyone, to read to their kids even when they are away. For about $10 you can read one of 15 popular stories into your computer’s microphone and get an mp3 recording that your child can listen to if you are traveling or away from them.

For more information visit:

Friday, April 9, 2010

New teen books about love, life and friendship

Spring can bring lots of new ideas about relationships, school, and family. Here are some recent books that look into life from a kaleidoscope of angles, from fantasy to poetry and points in-between. Find copies using the World Catalog and Amazon search boxes here on BookBag ...

A Match Made in High School, by Kristin Walker (Razorbill) Realistic Fiction. At the beginning of Fiona Sheehan's final year of high school, the principal announces a new requirement for graduation: every senior will participate in a mock marriage to a classmate for the entire year. Fiona is appalled when she's paired with Todd, who she sees as a dumb, jerky jock--and even worse, Todd's actual girlfriend is Amanda, a cheerleader who's had it in for Fiona since second grade. Amanda gets matched with Gabe, Fiona's long-time crush, and pranks, misunderstandings, and drama ensue. This laugh-out-loud funny story will make you think twice about stereotypes and is sure to please readers who enjoy great characters and a plot with plenty of twists and turns.

You Don't Even Know Me: Stories and Poems about Boys, by Sharon Flake (Jump at the Sun/Hyperion Books) Poetry/Short Stories. Lots of books tell stories about the trials and tribulations of being a teenage girl; the poems and stories in this companion to the girl-focused collection Who Am I Without Him? are all about guys and their lives. From 17-year-old Tow-Kaye, who's both excited and scared about marrying his pregnant girlfriend, to James, who's contemplating taking his own life after the death of his twin, to Eric, who loves his North Philly 'hood, the African-American young men you'll meet in this book are realistic characters that you'll care about and remember.

The Wandora Unit, by Jessy Randall (Ghost Road Press) It's the Duran Duran 1980s: Wanda Lowell and Dora Nussbaum are two word-obsessive girls, as well as being the two editors of
Galaxy magazine, and between them there isn't an unexpressed thought about literature, love, and how it is definitely better to be weird than boring at Brighton High. Their friendship is surrounded on all sides by doubt, and not just the kind that questions the middle-class values of prom dates and getting into good colleges. Call it the price of being self-aware. Unfortunately for Dora this means watching her friendship with Wanda change until it shatters into a million pieces outward into the expanding universe. It's a clever story told in fractured fragments, with quotes from poets like Diane Wakowski and Gwendolyn Brooks acting as guideposts along the way. The poems that make up the "Galaxy" magazine at book's end are real ones, from the real Brighton High literary magazine of the 1980s, and the authors are duly acknowledged; the poems are made of equal parts teen-age anxiety and aspiration, and they're good, too.

All Unquiet Things, by Anna Jarzab (Delacorte Press) Mystery. Jaded, sarcastic Neily Monroe, a senior at the exclusive Brighton Day School, is still haunted by the murder of his ex-girlfriend, Carly, whose lifeless body he found on a bridge one year ago. But Neily is determined to get through high school and move on--almost as determined as Carly's cousin Audrey, who believes that her father was falsely convicted of the murder, is to find out who really committed the crime. As Audrey and Neily attempt to untangle a web of secrets and lies at Brighton, the dark side of their privileged world is revealed. Those who enjoy deep psychological explorations of a story's characters and smart, tense whodunits will be enthralled by All Unquiet Things.

Before I Fall, by Lauren Oliver (The Bowen Press) Fiction. Samantha Kingston, one of the most popular girls in her high school, dies in a car accident after a wild party...but instead of seeing her whole life replayed before her eyes, she wakes up to live her last day over again. And again. And again. As Sam tries to change her destiny by altering small decisions and acts in the course of that one repeated day, she begins to realize how she has affected other people--and who she really wanted to be. This compelling debut novel is full of realistic characters, believable dialogue, and heartbreaking insights, and the suspense of wondering whether Sam will finally get it right (and what will happen if she does) will keep you turning the pages.

Num8ers, by Rachel Ward (Chicken House) Thriller. British 15-year-old Jem Marsh has got everyone's number. Whenever she makes eye contact with a person, a number--the date of that person's death--pops into Jem's head, making it hard for her to get close to people. But when gawky, troubled Spider doggedly pursues friendship (and more) with her, Jem finds that she can't resist him. When the two of them go to London on a date, Jem has the horrifying realization that many of the people in line to ride the London Eye Ferris wheel share the same death date -- that very day. Like an amusement park ride, this gritty, fast-paced thriller starts slowly, but once it takes off, you won't stop reading until you reach the firework ending.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Graphic novels you might have missed

Graphic novels can be great fun! Some are even based on movies and stories you may know. If you're a fan of graphic novels and looking for some new reads, here are some to check out from your local library (use the WorldCatalog search box to see if your library has them) or find a copy using the Amazon search box also here on BookBag.

The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, written by F. Scott Fizgerald & adapted by Nunzio DeFilippis & Christina Weir; illustrated by Kevin Cornell (Quirk Books) Classic. Perhaps you've seen the 2008 movie starring Brad Pitt as a man who ages backwards after being born a full-grown, elderly man in Baltimore in 1860. This witty and handsomely illustrated graphic novel sticks closer to the original F. Scott Fitzgerald short story than the somewhat melancholy film does, preserving its satirical humor (among other things). Literature buffs--and anyone who enjoys tales about people who fail to meet society's expectations of them--should thoroughly enjoy this version of the story that Fitzgerald himself declared to be "the funniest thing ever written."

Prince of Persia, created by Jordan Mechner; written by A.B. Sina; illustrated by LeUyen Pham & Alex Puvilland (First Second) Adventure. Based on the Prince of Persia video games and composed by the game's creator, Jordan Mechner, and Iranian author A.B. Sina, this "magnificent and complex" (Booklist) graphic novel illuminates the underlying legend of the games' world. Make no mistake, there's plenty of action, adventure, and mayhem here--but players who appreciate the substantial storylines of the games will be eager to delve deeper into the mythology laid out in the book, which should also please fans of historical fantasies rich with political intrigue, battles, and elemental magic. Both the new Prince of Persia game The Forgotten Sands and the movie The Sands of Time (which stars Jake Gyllenhaal) will be released this May, making April a great time to check out the book!

Aya of Yop City, by Marguerite Abouet; illustrated by Clément Oubrerie (Drawn & Quarterly) Fiction. This sequel to Aya plunges readers right back into the "good-humored soap opera" (Booklist) of studious, responsible Aya and her boy-crazy friends, all of whom live in the Ivory Coast of the late 1970s. Aya's friend Adjoua has had her baby...and he looks nothing like her rich, slacker husband, Moussa. Meanwhile, Bintou thinks that she's found the perfect man--but is he too good to be true? Once again vibrantly bringing all of Yop City's characters and their day-to-day drama to life, this 2nd of three graphic novels in the series -- Aya: The Secrets Come Out is next -- will have readers laughing, crying, and sighing as that drama unfolds. (New to the series? Be sure to start with Aya, or you'll be lost.)

Kin, by Holly Black; illustrated by Ted Naifeh (Graphix) Urban Fantasy. Goth-girl Rue Silver ("like kangaroo or like 'you'll rue the day we met, MWA-HA-HA!'") claims that she's not a worrier--but when her mom goes missing, her father is accused of murder, and she begins to see impossible creatures that no one else sees, worrying might be sensible. Rue thinks she's going crazy, but in the course of this darkly compelling graphic novel, the existence of the faerie world and the source of Rue's connection to it are revealed. Fans of Charles de Lint's books (such as Dingo) or of Neil Gaiman's highly imaginative and menacing Neverwhere will be entranced by this first volume in the Good Neighbors series--and will clamor for the second volume, Kith.

Emiko Superstar, by Mariko Tamaki; illustrated by Steve Rolston (Minx) Realistic Fiction. Being a geek never really bothered Emiko...but now her geeky friends are excited about attending a young executives' retreat over the summer, and Emi isn't interested. Then, just when it seems that her summer will be all babysitting, all the time, shy Emi is handed a flyer advertising weekend performance-art "Freak Shows," and she's both intrigued and terrified. After she finally works up the nerve to go to one of the shows, her whole life changes. Check out this slightly angsty, gently funny, and completely engaging read to see how Emi goes from geek to superstar on the road to becoming herself.

Pride of Baghdad, by Brian K. Vaughan; illustrated by Niko Henrichon (DC Comics) Fiction. As American bombs rain down on Iraq in 2003, four lions escape from the Baghdad Zoo--only to struggle for survival in the battered, unfamiliar city. Having relied for so long on their keepers, the lions ponder the benefits of their captivity and the price of their freedom as they wander in search of food and safety. Both a gripping adventure and "a thoughtful allegory about the war in Iraq" (Library Journal), this provocative, expressively illustrated, and occasionally violent graphic novel was inspired by a pride of lions' real-life flight from captivity.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Inspiring stories of American women in history

The books below feature just a few great women from American history, but your librarian can guide you to many more books about amazing women from all over the world. Look for copies at your local library by typing the title in the World Catalog search box, or use the link to buy any book you read about on BookBag.

A Whole New Ball Game: The Story of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League, by Sue Macy (Puffin Books) Nonfiction. During World War II, the U.S. workforce was depleted of men, and "more than 6 million women joined the work force for the first time." The baseball diamond was also emptied--more than half of major-league baseball's players were drafted--and women were for the first time allowed to play baseball professionally. A Whole New Ball Game is a fascinating read that gives insight into the day-to-day lives, struggles, and triumphs of the women of the All-American Girls Professional Baseball League in addition to revealing a little-known yet important piece of sports -- and women's -- history.

Take-Off! American All-Girl Bands During WWII, by Tonya Bolden (Knopf) Nonfiction. Big-band swing music was the hottest thing going in the late 1930s and early 40s--and it was played almost exclusively by men. But when most of America's men were drafted into World War II, women stepped in to fill the void on the bandstand. This interesting and fun history of female orchestras (or "orks," in the slang of the day) is packed with photos, posters, and newspaper clippings that bring the bands' stories to life, and there's a CD of swing music included to give readers a taste of the "tunes that still make folks jump, jive, and wail today."

Vision of Beauty: The Story of Sarah Breedlove Walker, by Kathryn Lasky (Candlewick Press) Nonfiction. This picture book for older kids tells the life story of the first African-American female entrepreneur. Born Sarah Breedlove Walker in 1867 to former slaves, Madame C.J. Walker would go on to own and operate an extremely successful beauty product company. And, after making her fortune, Mme. Walker used her money and influence to make life better for other African-Americans. Giving readers a vivid sense of the time during which Mme. Walker lived and a strong example of one person changing things for the better, Vision of Beauty is a powerfully inspiring story.

Mary on Horseback: Three Mountain Stories, by Rosemary Wells; illustrated by Peter McCarty (Puffin Books) Fiction. Mary on Horseback showcases the remarkable life of early 20th-century nurse Mary Breckinridge, a midwife and founder of the Frontier Nursing Service (which is still going strong today). After the deaths of two of her own children, Mary set up her medical practice in eastern Kentucky in order to save the lives of rural people who had no other access to doctors or medicine. The three dramatic stories in this book are based on Mary's autobiography and plainly show both how difficult life was for people in 1920s Appalachia--and how much Mary and the FNS helped them.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Fun mystery books for young readers

Is life getting a little dull? Maybe you need a little mystery in your life! Here are a few books that are fun and exciting, filled with strange and mysterious doings that are bound to spice up a dull afternoon. Look for these books at your local library (use the WorldCatalog box on BookBag to locate a copy near you) or on Amazon (there's a search box on BookBag, too!)

Masterpiece, by Elise Broach; illustrated by Kelly Murphy (Henry Holt) Mystery. Two families live in the Pompaday household: one consists of 11-year-old James Terik, his mother, and his stepfather, and the other is a family of beetles. James longs for attention from his family, while young Marvin the beetle longs for a little space from his overprotective clan. When James receives a pen-and-ink set for his birthday, Marvin tries it out in secret--and discovers that he has artistic talent! Marvin leaves his masterful drawing as a gift for James...and then things begin to get out of hand. Before long, Marvin and James are not only friends, but partners in an attempt to foil an art heist at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. If you liked either The Borrowers or Chasing Vermeer, don't miss the deliciously suspenseful Masterpiece.

Hannah's Winter, by Kierin Meehan (Kane/Miller)Mystery. Hannah would really rather be home in Australia than living with the Maekawas in Kanazawa, Japan while her mother tours the country. But just as she is getting to know and enjoy the small, old-fashioned town and the Maekawa family, Hannah is swept up in a curious and creepy mystery involving a ghost-boy and an ancient message. Fast-paced and spooky but with well-timed comic relief, this unusual mystery has supernatural elements and yet gives readers a vivid and realistic picture of modern, small-town Japan as well as the country's culture and history.

The Case of the Stinky Socks, by Lewis B. Montgomery; illustrated by Amy Wummer (Kane Press) Mystery. Who wants a yucky pair of stinky socks? Up-and-coming detective Jazz's brother Dylan, that's who. Dylan pitches for his high school's baseball team, and the pair of socks that he's missing aren't just stinky--they're lucky, and Dylan needs them for the big game coming up. So when Jazz's neighbor Milo sees her reading Whodunnit magazine and suggests that they practice solving mysteries together, the two of them already have a case to solve! This easy-to-read book is the 1st in a fun new series that features detectives-in-training Milo and Jazz.

What Really Happened to Humpty? (From the Files of a Hard-Boiled Detective), by Jeanie Franz Ransom; illustrated by Stephen Axelsen (Charlesbridge) Humorous Mystery. "Humpty Dumpty was pushed." At least, that's what his kid brother, Joe Dumpty--a "hard-boiled" detective complete with trench coat--believes and aims to prove. Tracking clues and snooping around the likes of Goldilocks, Miss Muffet, and the Big Bad Wolf, gumshoe Joe is sure to catch the culprit...and make you laugh! Written in the style of old-school private-eye movies, this book may be shelved with the easy-reader picture books, but it's full of groan-worthy jokes and puns that older kids and fans of fractured fairy tales will appreciate.