Alert: Your summer vacation may be half over. For those of you in certain school districts, it might be soon over! How have you been spending your time away from the classroom? At the beach, camping, or activity-filled day camps? Are you making new friends at summer school? Or enjoying the air conditioning and the thousands of amazing free books in your local library?
No matter how you’ve been spending your vacation, take a break from your break, ’cause you’re gonna want to see these movie trailers and teasers for upcoming book-to-movie adaptations!
There ain’t no party like a book launch party ‘cause a book launch party is AWE-SOME! What happens at a book launch party? The author talks. The audience asks questions. Drama unfolds. An animal runs wild. Snacks are eaten.
At least, that’s what happened at the launch party for C. Alexander London’s new book series, The Wild Ones, held at Books of Wonder in NYC on August 29th.
The event kicked off with a performance that the author described as “one little scene to give you a taste of the action of The Wild Ones” — a scene where a rescue occurs in Ankle Snap Alley:
Left: Eliot Shrefer. Right: C. Alexander London (with temporary animal ears).
Afterwards, there was a civilized conversation between the author and Eliot Schrefer, who has also written several books for teens and two books in the Spirit Animals series! Here’s some inside scoop that we’re reporting back to Kidsmomo readers:
C. Alexander London was inspired by reading Brian Jacques’ Redwall series as a kid, so he always wanted to write a fantasy series with talking animals. (As you read The Wild Ones, keep an eye out for Martin the mouse, a tribute to Redwall!)
The series follows the adventures of Kit, a raccoon:
Kit is a country raccoon who finds himself alone in the big city when a pack of hunting dogs destroy his home and kills his parents. Kit finds himself in Ankle Snap Alley, a city in the midst of a turf war between the Wild Ones and the people’s pets who call themselves The Flealess. There he uncovers the secret that they died for — an ancient truce that gives Ankle Snap Alley to the Wild Ones. But the Flealess will stop at nothing to keep that secret buried forever, and Kit is in serious danger. Only the brave of heart and quick of paw can save the Wild Ones now.
The idea came to London when he encountered two raccoons in his backyard. One of them lifted a paw, so he raised his hand up in response.
Not the raccoon in question. From Twitter User @CuteEmergency
Meanwhile, his pet dog was snarling at the raccoons from inside the house, which made sense because London later discovered that raccoons hold their paws up to show aggression. Here, he shares the details of the drama-filled origins of the book:
Since London mentioned his pet dog, our question was: Did Baxter make it into the book as a character? The answer: The main baddie, Titus, was once based on Baxter, a Boston terrier. However, after much consideration, Titus was changed to a thin Italian Greyhound with spindly legs and a deep gruff voice, inspiring London’s favorite sentence in the book, describing Titus’ voice as being “like dynamite in a silk purse.”
Stand-in for C. Alexander London’s dog, also a Boston Terrier
An Italian Greyhound. Photo (c) Flickr User louies
In preparation for writing The Wild Ones, London read many books featuring animal characters, such as the classics The Rats of NIMH and The Wind in the Willows. Like the Redwall series, many of them were very British, so he thought: What would the American counterpart be? London decided it could be an immigrant story — someone coming to a new place and finding a home: That is Kit’s story. Ankle Snap Alley is based on the historical Five Points neighborhood in Manhattan, infamous for crime and poverty.
So what will we be looking forward to after reading The Wild Ones? The sequel, of course! In the sequel, we’ll get a taste of a villainous coyote, a gang of otters, and the mysterious alligator in the sewer that everyone’s heard about. London just finished the first draft, which was a little held up because he invented a lot of new words for the world, but had a tiny bit of trouble keeping track of it all. A lot of the jargon used by the animals is similar to what thieves and magicians say.
After the Q&A, we stood in line for the book signing and enjoyed some compost cake and animal crackers:
And in case you’re worried that we’re reporting this from the grave after an intense life-ending stomachache: Nope, compost cake is NOT made of actual compost, but actually consists of crushed cookies, chips, pretzels and more fun, yummy snacks. Compost cake, naturally, is the closest homage to what the Wild Ones eat, which is… trash and compost. The animal crackers, however — the author admitted that was a little odd. He doesn’t want to us to EAT Kit, he wants us to READ about him, obviously. So… pick up a copy of The Wild Ones today! Or enter below for a chance to win a copy!
Raccoon Photo (c) Flickr user fatedsnowfox
ENTER BY SEPTEMBER 30TH FOR A CHANCE TO WIN…
GRAND PRIZE: A SIGNED HARDCOVER COPY OF THE WILD ONES AND A HARDCOVER COPY OF IMMORTAL GUARDIANS!
TWO RUNNER-UP PRIZES: A HARD COVER COPY OF THE WILD ONES!
P.S. In case you were keeping track: The “animal running wild” that we mentioned at the beginning was an adorable service dog who walked around the bookstore like he owned the joint. It did not seem professional to take a picture of him, as he was doing important dog work.
It’s October! Time for pumpkins, costumes, candy, and things that go bump in the night! In that spirit, we have a super frightening video for you today. Why’s that? Well, nothing’s scarier than Karen’s horrible attempts at so-called “drawing” when we play KidsmomoMo Pictionary!
If you’ve missed any previous rounds of our competition, here’s how it works: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past. Watch Part 7 and play along! How many titles can YOU guess?
We’ve never appeared in a play, but we definitely still know all about drama — and that’s because we attended middle school!
As you guys know, life at school is more than just classes and homework; there’s a lot of crazy and meaningful stuff that happens in the halls, during lunch period, and in the middle of extra-curricular activities. And at Eucalyptus Middle School, drama certainly abounds.
That’s the setting in the new graphic novel DRAMA by Raina Telgemeier, which involves drama both on stage (in the school production of Moon Over Mississippi) and off stage (new friendships, a school dance, tears, laughter, and multiple unrequited crushes).
DRAMA just came out this week, and to celebrate, Raina stopped by Kidsmomo to give us a special behind-the-scenes look at how she draws Callie, the main character in the book. Check out the exclusive video below:
So cool to see an artist in action, isn’t it? And if you like that illustration of Callie, well, you’re in luck! We’re giving away the original illustration and a signed copy of DRAMA to one lucky winner!
Enter our sweepstakes below, and stay tuned for a Q&A with Raina in a couple weeks!
The new movie ParaNorman is full of creatures with no pulse, but it’s guaranteed YOUR pulse will quicken as you watch all the fast and funny zombie action in this flick!
We give it two thumbs up — watch our video for our commentary on the trailer and read on for our thoughts on the filmand the book! (Warning: we tried to pack in as many spooky puns and references as possible, so be prepared to groan…)
Storyline Karen says:I’m a huge scaredy cat, so I deliberately read as little as I could about the story before going to see it. I knew that if I thought about it too much, I’d start to get irrationally afraid of the zombies and my anxiety would overpower my BRAAAAAIIIIIIN and I’d chicken out of watching the movie. So I was really happy that it turned out to be not too freaky. Actually, I thought it was pretty sweet and heart-warming for a movie about the undead!
Nancy says: Unlike Karen, I did read the book (by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel) before watching the movie — and it was awesome! There are barely any differences in storyline between the book and movie, and I thought the WICKED twist with the witch was really clever.
Spooky Reference Running Tally: 2
Characters Karen says: I immediately liked Norman — but then again, you’d have to be a CORPSE not to like him! I also loved his new friend, Neil. But the rest of the characters seemed a little stereotypical — almost like GHOSTS of truly unique people. I especially would have liked Norman’s dad to have more depth because his character was as shallow as a SHALLOW GRAVE. But still, this didn’t detract too much from my enjoyment of the movie.
Nancy says: So what you’re saying, Karen, is that you would have liked to see Norman’s dad more FLESHED out? Heeheehee! In the book, Salma is a lot more involved and funnier, so I missed her. She was the BRAAAAIINNNSS of the operation. I liked how Norman eventually came around to being Neil’s friend; in the book you find out why he’s so shy and introverted, so when Norman gets the GUTS to come out of his shell in the movie, I had that in the back of my mind. I mean, BRAAAAIIINNN.
Spooky Reference Running Tally: 9
Visuals Karen says: I absolutely loooooooved the way this movie looked — and we didn’t even see it in 3D! Actually, I feel like the visuals are so good, the 3D is probably unnecessary. Of course, I can’t say that for sure — I’d have to pick the BRAAAAAAAIIIIIIINS of people who did see it in 3D — but I thought all the detail and richness of the visuals were great in 2D! Also, I don’t know about anyone else, but I kept staring at Norman’s eyebrows. Is that weird? Probably…
Nancy says: At first, I was kind of GROSSED OUT by the way some of the people look in the movie — especially Norman’s mom and sister, who have teeny-tiny waists and giant butts and heads. But in the end I thought, hey — I’m probably supposed to be grossed out. I also thought the climatic scene with Norman and the accused witch was beautiful — no spoilers here, but let’s just say… it was ELECTRIFYING!
Spooky Reference Running Tally: 12
Favorite part Karen says: This was a huge surprise to me, given that I normally am DEATHLY afraid of the idea of the living dead, but the zombies were my favorite part of the movie! I thought all their mannerisms were really funny, and it especially SLAYED ME up when one of them ended up riding in a car with Norman!
Nancy says: I already mentioned how much I loved the scene with Norman and the witch, so I’ll go with… every funny part of the movie! Seriously, the movie made my RIBCAGE rattle from giggling so much. Even though the hockey-mask scene is in the other ParaNorman trailer, it’s still a HOOT in the movie.
Spooky Reference Running Tally: 16
Overall impressions Karen says: I would definitely recommend this movie. It’s got everything you could ask for: an unlikely hero, an action-packed story, awesome stop-motion visuals, lots of humor, and lots of heart. Definitely not one of those dumb movies made by people who expect kids to just enjoy anything; the people behind this film definitely used their BRAAAAAAAIIIIIIIINS to make something really cool! So I give it a thumbs up for sure!
Nancy says: I would also recommend this movie, and the book by Elizabeth Cody Kimmel. I think it’d be enjoyable to read the book first or in the AFTERLIFE of the movie.
Have you seen the new movie ParaNorman? Leave a comment with YOUR review! Did you love it? Did you hate it? Did you freak out when the zombies appeared and wail like a baby who’s diaper needs to be changed? We wanna know!
The Olympics may be over (boo hoooooo), but the games still go on! If by “the games,” you mean our ongoing game of KidsmomoMo Pictionary, that is…
If you’ve missed any previous rounds of our competition, here’s how it works: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past, and Nancy repeatedly trounces Karen. I mean, she really stomps all over Karen. She COMPLETELY puts Karen to shame. You get the picture.
Can Karen break the cycle in Round 6? Watch and find out — and play along! How many titles can YOU guess?
And in case anyone is curious about how who’s winning, here’s a running tally of Correct Guesses:
It’s been a while since we’ve played KidsmomoMo Pictionary — not just because Karen needed all that time to get over the humiliation of her poor attempts at drawing!
If you’ve watched any previous rounds of our competition, then you know how it goes: all the answers are titles of books we’ve recommended on Kidsmomo in the past, and Karen consistently freezes up in anguish because she has no artistic skills whatsoever.
Will the pattern continue in Round 5? Watch and find out! And, of course, please play along! How many titles can YOU guess?
This picture has nothing to do with anything. We just thought it was hilarious!
Tomorrow is America’s birthday, and what do we do on birthdays? Why, sing in celebration, of course!
But for this Fourth of July, we decided to stay away from the National Anthem. Instead, we’re celebrating independence of a different kind — the freedom to dig into any old book you want! Summer reading is all about your choice: No teachers with required reading lists. No class assignments. All you and no rules!
That’s certainly enough to inspire us to burst out into song! (Well, that and also all the sugary popsicles we’ve been eating to stay cool…)
So, without further ado, here’s our version of “Yankee Doodle Dandy” — dedicated to summer reading!
(PS – If you’re on the go — or maybe busy chowing down on hot dogs and apple pie — just download the audio.)
As you guys can tell, we spared you from Karen’s so-called “singing” this time around. Instead, we got a professional musician to lend us a hand — our friend Tom from the band Men and Whales. (He’s also a teacher when he’s not rocking out, and he looooooooooves Wimpy Kid!) A BIG thanks to Tom for helping us out!
Imagine a film about tiny people living in the walls of your house, sneaking into your room at night, taking little items while you sleep. Is it the newest horror movie to hit theaters? No, it’s The Secret World of Arietty, based on Mary Norton’s classic children’s book The Borrowers!
Yeah, we were just kidding with that horror film stuff. Although the question still remains: Is this movie a delight, or a fright? Check out our video review below:
(PS – If you’re on the go — or busy hiding from the household cat because you’re about the size of his paw — don’t worry, you can still listen to our review. Just download the audio.)
Have you seen the new movie The Secret World of Arietty? Leave a comment with YOUR review! How do you think it compared to the book?