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Monday, March 27, 2017

6th MMGM: Just One Thing by Nancy Viau (interview, giveaway)

Welcome to Day 27 of the 6th Annual March MG Madness, featuring Nancy Viau and her book, Just One Thing!

Just One Thing
By Nancy Viau
September 28, 2016
Anthony Pantaloni needs JUST ONE THING!—one thing he does well, one thing that will replace the Antsy Pants nickname he got tagged with the first day of fifth grade, one GOOD thing he can “own” before moving up to middle school next year. Every kid in Carpenter Elementary has something: Marcus is Mr. Athletic, Alexis is Smart Aleck, Bethany has her horse obsession, and even Cory can stake a claim as being the toughest kid in the whole school. Ant tries lots of things but – KA-BOOM – nothing sticks! It doesn’t help that there are obstacles along the way—a baton-twirling teacher, an annoying cousin, and Dad's new girlfriend to name a few. JUST ONE THING! is a funny middle grade novel about that awesome (and awkward!) final year of elementary school.

Q1. What three words best describe your book, Just One Thing?
Fifth-grade, funny, contemporary

Q2. Grab a copy of Just One Thing! and answer the following:
Favorite chapter? CHAPTER TEN: All Eyes On Me

Favorite page? 58

Favorite setting? CHAPTER SEVEN, Ant’s classroom

Flip to a random page and give us a 1-2 sentences teaser:
I freeze, but it’s not a chill that’s working its way up my spine to my cheeks. It’s fire.

Q3. Who are your favorite middle-grade hero and heroine?
Hero: Greg Heffley Heroine: Star Girl

What is your favorite middle-grade book?
Aargh! How can I pick one? There are so many great books being published every month! I can’t keep up!

Q4. Why do you think middle-grade lit is so important?
Let’s face it, things get weird during the middle-grade years. As a kid in 4th- 6th grade, you’re working on figuring out your hopes, your dreams, your face, your body, and even the world! Just when you think it’s coming together—KA-BOOM!—things change. Somehow, amidst the chaos, there’s still a know-it-all justification for thoughts and actions. (Parents, you know what I’m talking about.) Middle-grade lit addresses that crazy, exciting time, and let’s readers see they are not alone. The issues and plotlines, whether funny or serious, are relevant and universal.

Q5. If you were to create and bake a cupcake inspired by Just One Thing!, what would it look and taste like, and what would you call it?
Ugh, FYI: I’d be awesome at the creating part; the baking part, not so much. ; ) Anyway…My cupcake would be chocolate on the inside and each one would contain a different surprise filling because there are quite a few surprises in Just One Thing! No two would taste alike, representing the unique personalities and challenges kids have. The icing would be bright green (optimistic, yes?!), black lines would be scribbled across it (bring on the chaos!), and a big number 1 would sit on top. I’d call my cupcake creation: KA-BOOM!

Nancy Viau no longer worries about finding her one thing for she has found quite a few things she loves, like being a mom, writing, traveling, and working as a librarian assistant. She is the author of the picture books City Street Beat, Look What I Can Do! and Storm Song, and an additional middle-grade novel, Samantha Hansen Has Rocks in Her Head. Nancy grew up in the suburbs of Philadelphia, PA and now resides in South Jersey.

Author links:
Twitter/Instagram: @NancyViau1
Facebook: Nancy Viau
Skype: nancy.viau

Win a signed copy of Just One Thing! plus doodle notepad, markers, bookmarks!
Nancy has generously offered one (1) prize pack for one winner.
-ends 4/5/17
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Sunday, March 26, 2017

6th MMGM: Guardians of the Gryphon's Claw by Todd Calgi Gallicano (spotlight, giveaway)

Welcome to Day 26 of the 6th Annual March MG Madness, featuring Todd Calgi Gallicano and his book, Guardians of the Gryphon's Claw!

Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw
By Todd Calgi Gallicano
August 29, 2017
Delacorte Press
A new action adventure series set in our famous national parks! Enter the world of the Department of Mythical Wildlife, where our protagonist, Sam London, is tasked with protecting legendary animals that secretly live amongst our treasured wildlife.
Haunted by a dream of a mythical gryphon, Sam London uncovers an ancient secret that will change the way he sees the world forever. Recruited by Dr. Vance Vantana, an eccentric zoologist and park ranger sent by the government, Sam is whisked away on an adventure that takes him to the farthest reaches of the globe. Along this journey, Sam learns an incredible truth: mythical creatures are real and living among us in our national parks. A special department in the U.S. government ensures that their existence remains hidden.

But Sam's dream is an omen that the secret may now be in danger. Someone seeks the power to expose these creatures and overthrow humankind--and that power can only be found in a magical talisman known as the gryphon's claw.

Todd Gallicano is the author of Guardians of the Gryphon’s Claw, the first book in the Sam London adventure series. Visit him at

Win an ARC of 
Guardians of the Gryphon's Claw!
Random House has generously offered one (1) ARC for one winner.
-ends 4/5/17
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes
a Rafflecopter giveaway

Saturday, March 25, 2017

6th MMGM: The Sand Warrior (5 Worlds #1) by Mark and Alexis Seigel (spotlight)

Welcome to Day 25 of the 6th Annual March MG Madness, featuring Mark and Alexis Seigel and their book, The Sand Warrior!

The Sand Warrior
(5 Worlds #1)
By Mark Seigel and Alexis Seigel
Illustrated by Xanthe Bouma, Matt Rockefeller, Boya Sun
May 2, 2017
Random House BFYR
The Five Worlds are on the brink of extinction unless five ancient and mysterious beacons are lit. When war erupts, three unlikely heroes will discover there's more to themselves and more to their worlds than meets the eye. . . .

The clumsiest student at the Sand Dancer Academy, Oona Lee is a fighter with a destiny bigger than she could ever imagine.

A boy from the poorest slums, An Tzu has a surprising gift and a knack for getting out of sticky situations.

Star athlete Jax Amboy is beloved by an entire galaxy, but what good is that when he has no real friends?

When these three kids are forced to team up on an epic quest, it will take not one, not two, but 5 WORLDS to contain all the magic and adventure!

Praise for The Sand Warrior
“This stellar team has created a gorgeous and entrancing world like no other!” —Noelle Stevenson, New York Times bestselling author of Nimona
“Epic action, adventure, and mystery will draw you in, but the heartfelt characters and their seemingly impossible journey will keep you turning the pages.” —Lisa Yee, author of the DC Super Hero Girls™ series

Friday, March 24, 2017

6th MMGM: The Door in the Alley by Adrienne Kress (review, guest post, giveaway)

Welcome to Day 24 of the 6th Annual March MG Madness, featuring Adrienne Kress and her book, The Door In The Alley!

The Door in the Alley
(The Explorers #1)
By Adrienne Kress
April 25, 2017
Delacorte BFYR
Featuring a mysterious society, a secretive past, and a pig in a teeny hat, "The Explorers: The Door in the Alley" is the first book in a new series for fans of "The Name of This Book Is a Secret" and "The Mysterious Benedict Society. "Knock once if you can find it but only members are allowed inside.

This is one of those stories that start with a pig in a teeny hat. It s not the one you re thinking about. (This story is way better than that one.)

This pig-in-a-teeny-hat story starts when a very uninquisitive boy stumbles upon a very mysterious society. After that, there is danger and adventure; there are missing persons, hired thugs, a hidden box, a lost map, and famous explorers; and there is a girl looking for help that only uninquisitive boys can offer.

"The Explorers: The Door in the Alley" is the first book in a series that is sure to hit young readers right in the funny bone."

Sebastian, a studious; no nonsense; all logic kind of boy, and Evie, an orphan who doesn’t mind a bit of nonsense and illogical adventure, are about to have their worlds collide. And it all starts with a pig in a teeny hat, a door in an alley, and a secret society full of explorers. The middle is full of nasty thugs, puzzles to solve, and adventure to be had. While the ending is all startling revelations, mysteries solved, and cliffhangers to dangle’s safe to say that Sebastian and Evie’s lives will never, ever, no-way, no-how, cannot be the same!

Adrienne Kress’ The Door In The Alley is a delightful and rollicking romp of a story! Sparkling with adventure, mystery, humor, likable characters, and zany fun, I found myself smiling the whole way through this middle-grade.

The Door In The Alley is, giggle-snort inducing, actually lol’ing kind of funny. With a charmingly cheeky and whimsically wacky voice and witty footnotes, this story is seriously amusing, entertaining, and clever.  The mysterious society Sebastian finds himself employed at (via punishment) is a wondrous, topsy-turvy place, full of the unexpected, incredible bits and bobbles, and sometimes the downright weird and creepy...and young readers will love every nook and cranny of the wack-a-doodle place!

Kress takes Sebastian, Evie, and readers on a thrilling and unforgettable adventure, full of melted men, crabby TAs, giant snakes, helpful llamas, plane crashes, and yes, animals in teeny hats! Sebastian, Evie, and the grown-up explorers we meet, are likable, engaging characters that make wonderful adventure companions for readers.

The Door In The Alley has so much fun, laughs, and imagination bubbling out of it, making it such an irresistible and impossible to put down read!

by Adrienne Kress

There are many interesting, odd, brave, and sometimes dangerous, characters in The Explorers: The Door in the Alley. But none has found its way to such instant fame as quickly as the pig in the teeny hat:

(Illustration by Matt Rockefeller)

And why shouldn’t he be so popular? A well-dressed animal is always held in high regard. At least, I know I always consider animals in outfits to have a real sense of pride in their own grooming habits. This is why I have compiled a list of what I consider to be some of the better-dressed animals from classic children’s novels. I have decided to entitle this list:  


1. The White Rabbit – Alice in Wonderland (by Lewis Carroll)
Being an animal has many benefits – the ability to fly, run very fast, be generally adorable and fuzzy. But there is at least one drawback: no pockets.  So what is a rabbit supposed to do when he must keep track of the time but has no pocket in which to place his pocket watch? I suppose, yes, a wristwatch could be a solution, but why sacrifice style when there’s a far better fix: get yourself a distinguished-looking waistcoat.

(Illustration by Sir John Tenniel)

2. Puss – Puss in Boots (by Charles Perrault)
Sometimes as an animal you decide you prefer to walk on two legs instead of the usual four that you have. Then you get a new owner and want to test him to see how much he likes and respects you. So you ask for a pair of boots. And your owner is kind enough to provide an elegant pair. Not only do you now look rather dashing, but you also know you have his full respect. And you end up helping him win the hand of the princess. Because that’s what loyal pets do. Especially loyal pets in quality footwear.

(Illustration by G.P. Jacomb Hood)

3. Mr. Toad – The Wind in the Willows (by Kenneth Grahame)
Clothing can definitely make you look stylish, but it can also just be a practical necessity. Especially when you have no fur to shield yourself from the elements as you drive your car at extremely fast speeds around the countryside. For such a thing you’ll need a good large overcoat and a pair of goggles, of course, as well as gaiters, gloves and cap to complete the look. And if you are as well off as Mr. Toad of Toad Hall, such items will be of the finest quality.

(Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard)

4. Piglet – Winnie the Pooh (by A.A. Milne)
Sometimes one needs to hunt for Woozles. Obviously. But sometimes the weather quite simply will not co-operate with one’s plans. So, while Woozle hunting is obviously a far more comfortable thing to do in the warmer months, when Woozle tracks appear in the snow, what is a little pig to do? Well, he must dress himself for the weather so that he is appropriately attired for the chase. And what better way to stay warm and cozy while tracking Woozles than wearing a nice scarf, as demonstrated in this case by the ever practical Piglet? (Interestingly, this particular pig chose not to wear a hat, despite the cold, thus demonstrating that not all pigs think alike.)

(Illustration by Ernest H. Shepard)

5. Stuart – Stuart Little (by E.B. White)

It’s a very special thing to be adopted by a loving family.  And even if you happen to be a mouse and they happen to be human, that doesn’t mean you can’t have things in common, for example: a fondness for dressing well.  It’s always wonderful to have elegant role models. But to have them living under the very same roof with you is the height of convenience. So follow their example.  Get yourself a suit, a hat and a cane and look stylish.

(Illustration by Garth Williams)

6. Nana — Peter Pan (by J.M. Barrie)
Like humans, animals have a variety of jobs they can perform. There are carrier pigeons, there are workhorses and there are mice who run through mazes for example. And as a true professional one must dress to suit one’s job. So of course when one is a nursemaid to the three rambunctious children of the Darling household, one must make sure to command due respect by wearing an iconic nurse’s cap. Now not only do the children know who’s boss, so too does the rest of the neighborhood when Nana takes the children for their daily walks.

(Illustration by Trina Schart Hyman)

Adrienne Kress is a Toronto-born actor and author who loves to play make-believe. She also loves hot chocolate. And cheese. Not necessarily together.
She is the author of the award winning and internationally published children’s novels Alex and the Ironic Gentleman and Timothy and the Dragon’s Gate (Scholastic). Published around the world, Alex won the Heart of Hawick Children’s Book Award in the UK and was shortlisted for the Red Cedar. The sequel, Timothy, was shortlisted for the Audie, Red Cedar and Manitoba Young Readers Choice Awards, and was optioned for film.  She has also published two YA novels:  Outcast (Diversion Books), her quirky paranormal romance, and the Steampunk adventure The Friday Society (Penguin), released to a starred review from Quill and Quire and shortlisted for The Quill Awards.
2016 saw the release of Hatter Madigan: Ghost in the H.A.T.B.O.X., an exciting collaboration with NY Times bestselling author Frank Beddor (set in the same world as his Looking Glass Wars YA books). And this April she releases the first book in her new Middle Grade series: The Explorers: The Door In The Alley (Delacorte, Random House).

Win an ARC of The Door in the Alley!
Random House has generously offered one (1) ARC for one winner.
-ends 4/5/17
-winner will be emailed and must claim prize within 48 hours
-Word Spelunking is not responsible for lost, damaged, or stolen prizes

a Rafflecopter giveaway