One request we received from our last materials review was to give a quick run down of popular series about to have another installment that we expect will sell well in the store (and, presumably, lend well in school libraries). Okay. We will and also highlight a short list here:
|Seeker||Dayton, Arwen Elys||Delacorte||2/10/2015||YA|
|Island of Dr. Libris||Grabenstein, Chris||Random House||3/24/2015||MG|
|The Golden Specific||Grove, S.E.||Viking||7/14/2015||MG|
|The Curious World of Calpurnia Tate||Kelly, Jacqueline||Henry Holt||7/7/2015||MG|
|Clariel||Nix, Garth||Harper Collins||10/14/2015||MG|
|Completely Clementine||Pennypacker, Sara||Disney-Hyperion||3/3/2015||MG|
|Magnus Chase & Gods of Asgard: Sword of Summer||Riordan, Rick||Disney-Hyperion||10/6/2015||MG|
|Guys Read: Terrifying Tales||Scieszka, Jon||Harper Collins||9/1/2015||MG|
|Gone Crazy in Alabama||Williams-Garcia, Rita||Harper Collins||4/21/2015||MG|
These are all recommended reading.
Here's the missing book: Return to Augie Hobble by Lane Smith, coming out this May. It's not listed in any of our booksellers materials as the first in a series, but surely that's an oversight. As Smith himself said in a Publisher's Weekly interview:
“This book doesn’t end on a cliffhanger; it works as just one book, but it can continue and I would love to do another one.”
Presumably he's already working on it.
Lane Smith may not be established as a middle grade fiction writer yet, but he's already well-known for his picture books like Kid Sheriff and the Terrible Toads, Lulu and the Brontosaurus, and It's A Book (for which this worth-a-watch video made the social media rounds a few years ago). Now he has bumped his spirit and style into an older reading group without any hiccups - at least, not ones apparent in the final book.
Return to Augie Hobble is an illustrated middle grade novel. It's about a kid, working at his family's struggling amusement park, failing his creative arts project, and trying to explain weirdness in the world around him. It's one of those books that's hard to explain because it moves fast and if you give away a plot point, it ruins the magic. So, don't read other reviews, other reviewers might not be so careful. Just buy the book.
Without any plot-like discussions, two noteworthy things about the book:
1.) The illustrations are whimsical, funny, and integral to the plot of the book, not just tacked on as a nod to the author's picture book history (in case you worried).
2.) This kid Augie may be the most endearing narrator ever. He's likable in the way Olivia of the Olivia picture book series is - you slap your forehead, you think "Oh boy, kid, what are you doing?" and you ultimately wouldn't want him to change. If he were real, you'd describe Augie as A Character (in this context, he's a character and A Character).
Lane Smith is being a little coy when he says Return to Augie Hobble doesn't end in a cliff hanger - it doesn't, it stands on its own, but it's obviously also assembling the team for a longer series. So go ahead and look for Book #2 sometime in the near future.
Want a tour of noteworthy new books in middle grade and young adult fiction? Join us Friday, April 10th at 9:30 am in the Children's Room. Free, with snacks and coffee.