Friday, November 24, 2006

The Early Word: New And Upcoming Children's Books, Plus One $150 Doorstop

In last week's Early Word I squeezed in a mention of the just-released finale from Lemony Snicket, A Series of Unfortunate Events - Book 13: The End, noting that the publisher would like us to know, and I quote, ahem: “The end of THE END is the best place to begin THE END, because if you read THE END from the beginning of the beginning of THE END to the end of the end of THE END, you will arrive at the end of the end of your rope.”

In that spirit, and because this is the start of a selected compilation of Children’s Books being released for this holiday season, we will begin the beginning Children’s Christmas selections with the titles that have already been released so that we may end THAT END and start anew.

Quickly, though -- we have a long ways to go before we come to the beginning, so let’s catch-up with some titles already on the bookstore shelves: Artemis Fowl, teenage criminal mastermind, figures, it figures, in The Lost Colony (Artemis Fowl, Book 5) by Eoin Colfer. Mommy? is by Maurice Sendak - shouldn’t that be enough? Peter Pan In Scarlet, by Geraldine McCaughrean is the first-ever authorized sequel to J. M. Barrie's Peter Pan -- shouldn’t that be more than enough?

Is There Really a Human Race? asks Jamie Lee Curtis. I guess all those years in Hollywood can keep you a little too much out of touch. Gloria Estefan gets into the act -- the magic act -- with Noelle's Treasure Tale: A New Magically Mysterious Adventure. And to the manners born is Whoopi Goldberg with Whoopi's Big Book of Manners, while Joy Behar has a different view of things in Sheetzucacapoopoo: My Kind of Dog.

Did you somehow miss International Talk Like A Pirate Day a few weeks ago? Then Pat Croce’s Pirate Soul: A Swashbuckling Voyage Through the Golden Age of Pirates! might just be up your gangplank; brush up on your buccaneer skills with one of the world's foremost pirate-artifact collectors and authorities - Arrrrhh! In more otherworldly escapist fare, Jack and Annie are off on another Merlin Mission in Mary Pope Osborne's Blizzard of the Blue Moon (A Stepping Stone Book).

The following title alone should be enough to grab ya, but if not, I'll need to tell you that Frankenstein Makes a Sandwich by Adam Rex, contains illustrated poems describing the lives of well-known monsters, including -- one hopes -- hair care secrets from the Bride of Frankenstein.

YA YA YA! For the Young Adult crowd, Wintersmith is the bewitching third entry in Terry Pratchett’s Discworld story. More bothersome is the "Gossip Girl" world portrayed in Would I Lie to You? by Cecily von Ziegesar, while there’s no escaping the bewildering social whirl of college in Glass Houses: The Morganville Vampires, Book I (The Morganville Vampires) by Rachel Caine.

That was then and this is now: We're caught up with what's in the stores, and can take up where we left off with upcoming up ‘n’ comers for up-and-coming Young Adults. And what better way to start than with Terrier, the first installment in the Tortall trilogy, the latest Tamora Pierce nether worldly series -- it has that new carcass smell! -- introducing law-enforcer Beka Cooper, whose knack for communicating with the dead tips her off to the vast underworld conspiracy. But this time it’s personal! (due Oct. 24.)

Come to think of it, the following mystery wrapped in an enigmatic appellation o’ verbosity looks like just the job for Tamora... No, it’s not the matter-of-factually sassy Reckless (The It Girl, No. 3) by Cecily von Ziegesar (Nov. 1). I’m talking about The Mislaid Magician Or Ten Years After: Being the Private Correspondence Between Two Prominent Families Regarding A Scandal Touching The Highest Levels Of Government And The Security Of The Realm. It’s by Patricia C. Wrede. ‘Nuff said? 'Nuff intended (Nov. 1).

Of course, any hero or heroine is going to need a dependable reference for those dastardly situations with which a villain or two may ensnare, those dastards! DK Publishing’s The Marvel Encyclopedia, containing more than a thousand of Marvel Comic’s characters and their superhero characteristics, is a marvel of a resource tool (Oct 16).

Or, if geography gets ya not knowing if your coming or going, get your bearings with Our 50 States: A Family Adventure Across America by Lynne Cheney. Maybe she'll pinpoint some of our nation’s great undisclosed locations (Oct. 24). Or, at the very least it will help one little girl find her way in Eloise in Hollywood, by Kay Thompson, Hilary Knight, J. David Stem, and David N. Weiss. Which two of those authors do you suppose refused to ask for directions to Tinseltown in the writing of this book? (Oct. 24.)

Kid-tested, mother-approved: Fans of Jan Karon’s bestselling Mitford Years series might find their pre-schoolers delighted with Violet Comes To Stay. In this tale inspired by Karon’s character Cynthia Coppersmith, Father Tim’s wife, writer Cynthia Cecka fashions a story about a wayward white kitten who finds hospitality and comfort in a bookstore. Well, who doesn't? (Oct. 19).

Everybody talks about the Weather Fairies, but no one does anything about them! Here’s your chance to pick up an ideal stocking-stuffer with Evie The Mist Fairy (Weather Fairies), by Daisy Meadows (Nov. 1). At the other end of the size spectrum is a fascinating book about a fascinating subject -- neither of which can be considered ideal stocking-stuffers -- Elephant by Steve Bloom. A title simply put, but after 12 years in the making, this is a book with a tightly-packed trunk full of details about our pachydermic pals, in words and often surprising photographs (Dec.1).

Compared to such ginormous jumbos, you'd think the care and feeding of your sprites would come a little easier, especially after reading, um, Care and Feeding of Sprites (Spiderwick Chronicles) by Holly Black (Nov. 1). Perhaps you can placate them with Mouse Cookies & More: A Treasury, by Laura Numeroff (Oct. 24.) A Box Full of Lilly by 2005 Caldecott Medal Kevin Henkes might also make a nice gift, of the inedible kind, that is (Oct. 17).

So would Madonna’s The English Roses, Too Good To Be True. Or should you spring for that $150 Collector’s Edition Box Set of Madonna’s The English Roses/The English Roses: Too Good to Be True? (November-ish.) Talk amongst yourselves while I list some of the more notable and strictly Christmassy Christmas books:

Bah! Humbug? by Lorna Balian (Oct. 28)
Christmas Pop-up by Robert Clarke Sabuda (now available)
Christmas Toy Factory by Geronimo Stilton (now available)
Mary Engelbreit's A Merry Little Christmas: Celebrate from A to Z by Mary Engelbreit (now available)
Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica (Oct. 24)
Pablo's Christmas by Hugo C. Martin (Oct 28)
Snowmen Pop-Up Book by Caralyn Buehner (Oct. 19)
This Is The Stable by Cynthia Cotten (Oct. 31)

This is the end, of both the end and beginning. For now.


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