Kidsmomo Podcast #36: “Mysterious Forces At Work”

October 26th, 2010 by

Somehow, we ended up with a strange crew of detectives in our latest podcast, all about mysteries. We’ve got a riddle-solving rodent, an investigating insect, and a mastermind Mudshark. Wha…? Guess you’ll just have to tune in if you want to get to the bottom of this enigma!

    Download the MP3 (5.1 MB)

  • A resourceful rodent and plenty o’ cheese — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our mystery picks (Mudshark and Joey Fly, Private Eye)
  • A musical interlude from Weezer
  • A book rec from YOU (Cryptid Hunters)

Also, don’t forget: to get ready for Halloween, our new theme is spooky stuff! So send us a review of your favorite spooky book and check out our picks for Halloween last year, plus our new list of even more spooky stories.

— Karen and Nancy

Countdown to Halloween: Get Pumpkin Junkin’

October 14th, 2010 by

Last October, I shared some of my favorite book-inspired Jack-o-lanterns. This year, it’s YOUR turn!

I just learned about something called the Pumpkin Junkin’ contest, where you dig up a whole bunch of stuff you have lying around the house and use it to decorate your pumpkin. Then you submit a photo of your masterpiece and wait to see if you won!

Here are some examples of junked pumpkins, created by the genius who came up with the contest:


(By the way, a parent will need to submit the photo for you, so be sure you show them all this info on how to enter the contest. Although, I’m gonna guess your parents will notice something’s up anyway when you drag home a big pumpkin and start messing up your house with glue and random pieces of paper and buttons and felt…)

If you need a little inspiration before creating your work of art, check out this trio of pumpkin books:

  • Pumpkin Decorating by Vicki L. Rhodes (how-to guide)
  • Pumpkin Painting by Jordan McKinney (how-to guide)
  • Me and the Pumpkin Queen by Marlane Kennedy (fiction)

And, of course, check out our list of spooky/supernatural tales that are perfect for setting the Halloween mood. Plus, don’t forget our list of scary books recommended by other kids!

Then get to junkin’ your pumpkin! (It’s so fun to say, I’m going to write that again: junkin’ your pumpkin junkin’ your pumpkin junkin’ your pumpkin!!!! Whew, I got a bit carried away there…)

— Karen

A few years ago, Karen carved a jack-o-lantern and displayed it proudly on her windowsill. Within a few days, it had rotted. Apparently the universe didn’t appreciate her art.

More about Karen »

Bluestar’s Prophecy (Warriors Super Edition) by Erin Hunter

June 13th, 2010 by

warriors-special-edition-bluestars-prophecy-kid-book-reviewSubmitted by Clara, Age 9 from California

Rating: ★★★★★

This is a amazing book because it shows the past of the Clans. If you have a cat, you should definitely read this.

Super Summer Series

June 1st, 2010 by

Hellooooooooooo, June! You know what that means — summer has arrived! Fine, maybe not officially, but who cares? School’s ending, and a whole season of sunny fun is stretching out ahead of you. And with all your free time, what better opportunity to get into an awesome book series? Especially with so many new series titles coming out! So grab a lemonade and start one of these super summer series:

  1. Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (Nancy’s pick) — Book 4: The Summer Camp Shakedown came out May 11
  2. Seekers by Erin Hunter — Book 5: Fire in the Sky came out May 11
  3. Lawn Boy by Gary Paulsen — Book 2: Lawn Boy Returns came out May 11
  4. Ranger’s Apprentice by John Flanagan (Karen’s pick) — Book 8: The Kings of Clonmel came out May 18
  5. Children of the Red King by Jenny Nimmo — Book 8: Charlie Bone and the Red Knight came out in May
  6. Warriors by Erin Hunter — Battles of the Clans (a field guide) comes out June 1
  7. Spaceheadz by Jon Scieszka — Book 1 comes out June 22
  8. Dear Dumb Diary by Jim Benton — Book 10: The Worst Things in Life Are Also Free comes out in June

If you’ve read any of these, send in your book review. Or send in a review of your favorite series (or your favorite book in a series). We’ll feature the best kid-submitted reviews in our next podcast!

Reminder: Boneshaker Book Giveaway!

May 27th, 2010 by

Look to the left. Check out that fiery red hair bursting into flames. And the overall-wearing girl riding the clickety-clackety bicycle, fearlessly pedaling forward on the ominous path. Don’t you want to read this book? DON’TCHA?

Well, if your answer is a resounding yes (and it totally should be), here’s a reminder that there are only a few more days left to enter our first-ever-and-don’t-make-it-our-last-Kidsmomo Book Giveaway. Learn more here, including how to enter the sweepstakes.

Have I mentioned that there are amazing illustrations inside the book, also? We’ll leave those for you to peruse when you get — or maybe even win? — a copy. Meanwhile, check out this awesome excerpt from The Boneshaker by Kate Milford:

The people who lived in Arcane were just like anyone else. They went to work, kept kitchen gardens and cats and dogs, and had jobs and children and houses with broken screen doors or squeaky porch steps. The children waited all year for summer holidays, then for winter holidays and presents, then for summer gain. There were bullies and victims, rich kids and poor ones, like there are anywhere.

But strange things can happen at the crossroads, and even if you were a perfectly normal child in a crossroads town you’d grow up hearing stories, maybe even see one of those odd happenings yourself. For instance, by the time she was thirteen years old Natalie Minks knew all those strange stories by heart. She knew the one about how the Old Village became an abandoned shell, and all the tales of that ancient forest to the southwest of Arcane, in which strange things had  walked long ago. She even knew why Mrs. Corusk, who kept a little farm at the north edge of town, insisted on living by candlelight when most everybody else had had electricity since before Natalie was born.

It was hard sometimes to tell which stories were true and which ones weren’t, but if Natalie was sure of anything, it was that in Arcane, you couldn’t be sure of anything at all.

Remember, the giveaway is open only until June 1st, so download an entry form and mail it in!

(No purchase necessary. A purchase will not increase your chance of winning.)

Book Trailer: Number the Stars

May 25th, 2010 by

This book trailer for Number the Stars was originally the Mystery Book Theater video for our War Stories theme. For more on Number the Stars, check out our “Lock and Load” podcast.

You’re probably familiar with the story of Anne Frank, who lived in a secret attic for years to escape the Nazis. But did you know lots of Jewish children hid in plain sight during WWII, pretending to be parts of other families? In Lois Lowry’s Number the Stars, the police investigate a family in Denmark when one “daughter” doesn’t look like the others. Watch our video to see what happens.

All Letters Are Not Created Equal

May 22nd, 2010 by

Yesterday I learned that in the English language, we supposedly use these letters the most, in this order:

often < e t a o i n s r h l d c u m f p g w y b v k x j q z > not often

Well, it makes sense to me that Z is at the end. But I definitely didn’t except N (Whoo! Go, Ns!) to make it in the Top 10.

Well, I spent my Friday night putting together a game based on this fascinating information. What? It’s not fascinating? Well, it is to me. Because I’m a nerd.

Here are the steps — my answers are in green.

  1. Pick a book title. Charlotte’s Web
  2. Count the number of letters in the title. Spaces and punctuation don’t count. 13
  3. Assign each letter points, based on the super-duper-official-patent-pending Nancy’s Arbitrary Game for Letters in Book Titles GameTM Guide:
    1 e t a o i
    2 n s r h
    3 l d c u
    4 m f p
    5 g w y
    6 b v
    7 k x
    8 j
    9 q
    10 z
  4. Divide the Total by the Number of Letters: 29/13=2.23

Arbitrary Game Letters in TitleTM Score for Charlotte’s Web : 2.23

Other Scores Calculated
Bridge to Terabithia: ~2.0555…
The Phantom Toolbooth: 2.0
Holes: 1.9

And to save anyone else the trouble, I also calculated The Tale of Despereaux: Being the Story of a Mouse, a Princess, Some Soup, and a Spool of Thread and got a measly 2.15… so, longer is not always better!

So far my first title is still winning. Maybe one day an author will title a book with the sole purpose of winning this game… (Authors: Just kidding. Do not do this.) Get out some scratch paper, and see if your favorite book title beats Charlotte’s Web!

— Nancy
Nancy makes games like this all the time, because as she’s mentioned above, she’s a big nerd. With way too much free time.
More about Nancy »

Ye Olde KidsmomoMO: An Ode to Royalty Books

May 11th, 2010 by

Ah, weary wanderer, come in! We see that you have traveled long and hard, crossing many foreign lands before arriving in our Kidsmomo Kingdom. Sit down, rest your tired feet, and let our court minstrel entertain you with a ballad. Perhaps a tribute to books about royalty? Please, enjoy our humble verse:

Kidsmomo Podcast #19: “Love Is All You Need”

February 16th, 2010 by

First romance, lifelong romance, even anti-romance — we’ve got it all in our latest podcast, all about (you guessed it!) books involving romance. PLUS, how Nancy informed boys she liked them as a kid, and why Karen is single (according to her, at least).

So whether or not you caught the love bug yourself this Valentine’s Day, you can always cuddle up with our podcast:

    Download the MP3 (7.3 MB)

  • Stargirl hearts Leo — aka our mystery book revealed
  • Our Romance book picks (Allie Finkle #3 and Flipped)
  • A review from YOU (The Tale of Despereaux)
  • We reveal our literary crushes! Ooh la la!

And in case you missed it, we’ve also got a very BIG announcement: Up until now, we’ve focused on one theme per week. But we’ve heard from the masses (that’s you!) that one week is just not enough to really get into a theme. So from now on, all our themes will be two weeks long. Starting… NOW!

And don’t forget: our next theme is food! (Nom nom nom…) So check out these delicious books involving food and watch this Mystery Book Theater that will definitely get your stomach rumbling!

— Nancy and Karen