Wednesday, April 8, 2015

Books in Series - New and Upcoming

On Friday, April 10th, from 9:30 - 11:30 am, we're hosting our semiannual materials review. There will be books to look at, giveaways to enjoy, and a panel of Bear Pond staff, plus our rep from Candlewick Publishing, talking about particular Titles Of Note. The focus will be on middle grade and YA fiction. We know from our fall review that there is not enough time for everything everyone wants to say. . . so here is another preparatory blog post to start the conversation. 

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:

SeekerDayton, Arwen ElysDelacorte2/10/2015YA
Island of Dr. LibrisGrabenstein, ChrisRandom House3/24/2015MG
The Golden SpecificGrove, S.E.Viking7/14/2015MG
The Curious World of Calpurnia TateKelly, JacquelineHenry Holt7/7/2015MG
ClarielNix, GarthHarper Collins10/14/2015MG
Completely ClementinePennypacker, Sara Disney-Hyperion3/3/2015MG
Magnus Chase & Gods of Asgard: Sword of SummerRiordan, RickDisney-Hyperion10/6/2015MG
Guys Read: Terrifying TalesScieszka, JonHarper Collins9/1/2015MG
Gone Crazy in AlabamaWilliams-Garcia, RitaHarper Collins4/21/2015MG

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. 

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