Books to Look Out For (September/October)


All the books below are headed to shelves near YOU within the next month, and once they finally arrive, I will be among the first in line to get my hands on copies. I suggest you do the same. OR, if you’re simply TOO eager to wait that long to ensure yourself a copy, preorder now on your online bookselling site of choice.

. . .

Books to Look Out For: September 19, 2017 — October 10, 2017

IT’S NOT JACK AND THE BEANSTALK, written by Josh Funk, illustrated by Edwardian Taylor — September 19, 2017


What it’s about:

Jack is not fond of the bossy narrator of his fairy tale! When Jack is told to trade his beloved cow Bessie for some magic beans, throw the beans out the window, climb the ENORMOUS beanstalk that sprouts overnight, and steal from a GIANT, he decides this fairy tale is getting out of control. In fact, he doesn’t want to follow the story line at all. Who says Jack needs to enter a life of daring, thievery, and giant trickery? He takes his story into his own hands—and you’ll never guess what happens next!

With laugh-out-loud dialogue and bold, playful art (including hidden fairy tale creatures for kids to find), this Jack and the Beanstalk retelling will have children rolling with laughter till Bessie the cow comes home.

What people are saying:

“Once again, Josh Funk delivers something new, a little quirky, and absolutely engaging!” — Literary Fusions

“Youngsters will readily respond to this playful if sophisticated perspective wherein Jack repeatedly breaks the wall to address the storyteller.” — Kirkus Reviews

“[N]o child (or adult for that matter) is too old to enjoy an awesome picture book like this one.” — CeCeLibrarian

Why I want to read it:

Because ALL of Josh’s books are a blast, and this one promises to be just as fun as the rest. Also, who hasn’t wanted to tell off a bossy narrator at some point or another? I can’t wait to have Jack do it for me.

Visit Josh here to learn more about him and his books.

BEATRICE ZINKER, UPSIDE DOWN THINKER, by Shelley Johannes — September 19, 2017


What it’s about:

Beatrice does her best thinking upside down.

Hanging from trees by her knees, doing handstands . . . for Beatrice Zinker, upside down works every time. She was definitely upside down when she and her best friend, Lenny, agreed to wear matching ninja suits on the first day of third grade. But when Beatrice shows up at school dressed in black, Lenny arrives with a cool new outfit and a cool new friend. Even worse, she seems to have forgotten all about the top-secret operation they planned!

Can Beatrice use her topsy-turvy way of thinking to save the mission, mend their friendship, and flip things sunny-side up?

What people are saying:

“I fell in love with the unsinkable Beatrice Zinker . . . ” —  Ann M. Martin (New York Times bestselling author and Caldecott Honor winner)

“Fresh and fun!” — Sara Pennypacker (New York Times bestselling author of the Clementine series)

“A kind child in a book for middle-grade readers? There’s no downside to that.” — Kirkus Reviews

“In the tradition of Ramona Quimby . . . Beatrice stands tall among her contemporaries.” — School Library Journal

Why I want to read it:

I always love delving into the minds and lives of those who look at things from a perspective different from my own, and considering I spend 99.9% of my life right-side up, Beatrice’s upside down thinking definitely qualifies as different! Also, Clementine and Romona are two of my all-time favorite characters in the whole history of books — if Beatrice can hang with them, she’s cool with me.

Visit Shelley here to learn more about her and her books.

THE GRAVEDIGGER’S SON, written by Patrick Moody, illustrated by Graham Carter — September 26, 2017


What it’s about:

Ian Fossor is last in a long line of Gravediggers. It’s his family’s job to bury the dead and then, when Called by the dearly departed, to help settle the worries that linger beyond the grave so spirits can find peace in the Beyond.

But Ian doesn’t want to help the dead—he wants to be a Healer and help the living. Such a wish is, of course, selfish and impossible. Fossors are Gravediggers. So he reluctantly continues his training under the careful watch of his undead mentor, hoping every day that he’s never Called and carefully avoiding the path that leads into the forbidden woods bordering the cemetery.

Just as Ian’s friend, Fiona, convinces him to talk to his father, they’re lured into the woods by a risen corpse that doesn’t want to play by the rules. There, the two are captured by a coven of Weavers, dark magic witches who want only two thing—to escape the murky woods where they’ve been banished, and to raise the dead and shift the balance of power back to themselves.

Only Ian can stop them. With a little help from his friends. And his long-dead ancestors.

What people are saying:

“Moody packs his cemetery with magic and monsters and makes digging up the dead a lot of fun.” — J.W. Ocker, Edgar Award-winning author of Death and Douglas

“Deliciously eerie and heartfelt, The Gravedigger’s Son sweeps you into a world of Diggers, Voicecatchers, and Weavers, where only a reluctant young gravedigger can save the day.” — Sarah McGuire, author of Valiant

Why I want to read it:

The world-building sounds utterly unique, and the characters and conflicts both exciting and fascinating. Also, I’ve never met a book about a graveyard that I haven’t liked.

Visit Patrick here to learn more about him and his books.

SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR AND HIS BEST FRIEND FOREVER (PROBABLY), written by Julie Falatko, illustrated by Tim J. Miller — October 3, 2017


What it’s about:

Snappsy the alligator wants nothing more than a quiet evening to himself, but a pesky chicken who insists he’s Snappsy’s best friend won’t leave him alone. Friendship bracelets? Matching shirts? The sleepover of the century? Snappsy did not ask for any of the activities the chicken—his best friend forever?—is planning. This pitch-perfect sequel to Snappsy the Alligator (Did Not Ask to Be in This Book) explores all the ways we get friendship wrong (and why it feels so magical when we get it right!).

What people are saying:

“Falatko and Miller brilliantly add depth to the characters’ story arc.” — Kirkus Reviews

Why I want to read it:

Now that the cat is out of the bag, and you know that I’ve got some hostility toward narrators, I might as well just come right out and say that Snappsy won my heart when he told off his narrator back in his first book, SNAPPSY THE ALLIGATOR (DID NOT ASK TO BE IN THIS BOOK). But in addition to his back-talking ways, Snappsy is simply one-of-a-kind and downright hilarious. I’ve been looking forward to more from him for a LONG time.

Visit Julie here to learn more about her and her books.

THE UNLIKELY STORY OF A PIG IN THE CITY, by Jodi Kendall — October 3, 2017


What it’s about:

A little pig in a big city leads to lots of trouble!

Josie Shilling’s family is too big, their cramped city house is too small, and she feels like no one’s ever on her side. Then, on Thanksgiving Day, her older brother, Tom, brings home a pink, squirmy bundle wrapped in an old football jersey—a piglet he rescued from a nearby farm. Her name is Hamlet.

The minute Josie holds Hamlet, she feels an instant connection. But there’s no room for Hamlet in the crowded Shilling household. And whoever heard of keeping a pig in the city? So it’s up to Josie to find her a forever home.

The Unlikely Story of a Pig in the City is a heartwarming tale of family, belonging, and growing bigger when you’ve always felt small.

What people are saying:

“The tone and characters are reminiscent of classics . . . a charming tale, ideal for fans of Jeanne Birdsall’s the Penderwicks . . . ” — School Library Journal

“An appealing protagonist figuring out what’s important to her . . . heartwarming and satisfying.” — ALA Booklist

“With echoes of Charlotte’s Web, Kendall’s sweet story of family, friendship, and growing pains should charm a broad range of readers.” — Publisher’s Weekly

“Move over Wilbur, there’s a new pig in town!” — Bobbie Pyron (critically-acclaimed author of A Dog’s Way Home)

Why I want to read it:

The second I found out that Jodi Kendall had named the pig in her novel Hamlet, I knew we’d get along, and that I’d need to read her book. It helps, of course, that the characters and conflicts sketched out in the book’s synopsis are simply irresistible. I’m expecting to be charmed, moved, tickled — and very possibly inspired to consider acquiring a pet pig of my own.

Visit Jodi here to learn more about her and her books.

GREETINGS FROM WITNESS PROTECTION!, by Jake Burt — October 3, 2017


What it’s about:

Nicki Demere is an orphan and a pickpocket. She also happens to be the U.S. Marshals’ best bet to keep a family alive. . . .

The marshals are looking for the perfect girl to join a mother, father, and son on the run from the nation’s most notorious criminals. After all, the bad guys are searching for a family with one kid, not two, and adding a streetwise girl who knows a little something about hiding things may be just what the marshals need.

Nicki swears she can keep the Trevor family safe, but to do so she’ll have to dodge hitmen, cyberbullies, and the specter of standardized testing, all while maintaining her marshal-mandated B-minus average. As she barely balances the responsibilities of her new identity, Nicki learns that the biggest threats to her family’s security might not lurk on the road from New York to North Carolina, but rather in her own past.

Jake Burt’s debut middle-grade novel Greetings from Witness Protection! is as funny as it is poignant.

What people are saying:

“The biggest complaint that readers may have about Burt’s debut novel is that it ends.” — Publisher’s Weekly

Why I want to read it:

As soon as I read the title I was hooked — and also, frankly, shocked that I hadn’t ever seen a novel about the Witness Protection Program before. Then, after thoroughly judging the book by its excellent cover, I actually read what it was about — and promptly ordered myself a copy.

Visit Jake here to learn more about him and his books.

SVEN CARTER & THE TRASHMOUTH EFFECT, by Rob Vlock — October 3, 2017


What it’s about:

Sven Carter—part boy, part robot—is on a mission to save himself from destroying the human race in this fun and funny novel!

Ever since Sven Carter was caught eating a moldy blueberry muffin under the gym bleachers, earning himself the nickname “Trashmouth,” he’s been his school’s biggest outcast.

But he soon discovers that having a lame nickname is the least of his worries. After a horrible wipeout involving a bike, a ramp, and a chocolate-anchovy-garlic-mint wedding cake (don’t ask), his left arm just…well, it falls off. But before Sven can even remove the stray anchovy from his nostril, his arm drags itself across the pavement and reattaches itself to his shoulder!

That’s when Sven learns he’s not a kid at all, but a “Tick”—a high-tech synthetic humanoid created as part of an elaborate plot to destroy the human race. Now Sven, his best friend Will, and his tough-as-nails classmate Alicia must face down a host of horrors—killer clown-snakes, a giant Chihuahua, the stomach-churning Barf Bus, murderous roast chickens, and even Sven’s own brain—to save humanity from permanent extinction.

What people are saying:

“Vlock’s debut is a totally out-there adventure that switches things up at every turn.” — Kirkus Reviews

Why I want to read it:

Um, did you read that description? If you’re not already eager to go on this rip-roaring adventure, you’re nuts. I’ve been lucky enough to get a few behind-the-scenes peeks at Sven and his crew’s story, and I can assure you, this is going to be a off-the-wall, edge-of-your-seat, eye-popping ride you’re not going to want to miss.

Visit Rob here to learn more about him and his books.

THE PECULIAR INCIDENT ON SHADY STREET, by Lindsay Currie — October 10, 2017


What it’s about:

A girl unravels a centuries-old mystery after moving into a haunted house in this deliciously suspenseful mystery.

Tessa Woodward isn’t exactly thrilled to move to rainy, cold Chicago from her home in sunny Florida. But homesickness turns to icy fear when unexplainable things start happening in her new house. Things like flickering lights, mysterious drawings appearing out of nowhere, and a crackling noise she can feel in her bones.

When her little brother’s doll starts crying real tears, Tessa realizes that someone—or something—is trying to communicate with her. And it involves a secret that’s been shrouded in mystery for more than one hundred years.

With the help of three new friends, Tessa begins unraveling the mystery of what happened in the house on Shady Street—and more importantly, what it has to do with her!

What people are saying:

“Shivers aplenty; just the ticket for a cold autumn night.” — Kirkus Reviews

Why I want to read it:

Well, I mean, how can you resist that title? It’s a whopper. And as soon as the calendar flips over to October, I’m always looking for new, spooky and mysterious stuff to read. And if flickering lights and dolls that shed real tears aren’t spooky and mysterious, then I don’t know what is.

Visit Lindsay here to learn more about her and her books.

. . .

Are you looking forward to a book this month that I haven’t mentioned? Let me know! That way, I can start looking forward to it, too!

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