Tag Archives: chris grabenstein

Blog Tour! Beach Party Surf Monkey by Chris Grabenstein

26 Jun

Beach Party Surf Monkey
Series: Welcome to Wonderland #2
Written by Chris Grabenstein
Illustrated by Brooke Allen
320 pages – ages 8+
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on May 23, 2017

Synopsis from the Publisher- “There’s always something wacky happening when you live at a motel, and P. T. Wilkie has grown up at the world’s wackiest one yet! When word gets out that the hottest teen idols in Hollywood will be filming their next movie-BEACH PARTY SURF MONKEY-right in St. Pete’s Beach, P.T. and Gloria know that Wonderland would be the PERFECT location. Now they just have to convince the producers! But when things start to go wrong (Crazed fans? Missing stars?!) it will take all of Gloria’s business genius and P.T.’s wild stories to save the movie before the movie AND the Wonderland are both all washed up!”

What I Thought- I didn’t know what to expect with this. I love Mr. Grabenstein’s books, but I hate starting a book in the middle of a series – I am reading the second book before the first. Grabenstein brings the reader up to speed that in the best way I’ve ever seen! P.T. is known for his wild stories, so he is introduced by telling a tall tale about the previous book, giving major plot points, but not ruining the entire climax. Genius! From there, I just kept liking the book more and more. I  am getting my hands on the first book asap!  The story did take a little bit to reveal the plot, but I was so immersed in the details and Grabenstein’s masterful story-telling, I didn’t even notice! Once the plot is revealed, the reader is totally hooked into the story! The characters don’t want their hotel to falter (and a bit of fame would be nice!), so they are trying to have the movie at their motel. But then everything goes wrong. It’s awesome. Grabenstein has a cool way of writing scenes that are completely wacky, yet still believable – it’s wonderful reading the book! One of the things I liked were the black-and-white illustrations, some with word bubbles like a comic. They added a lot of humor to the story. Brooke Allen has a great way of combining cartoon with realism. I loved this book, and want to see more from this series!

I give this book five out of five bookworms!

CHRIS GRABENSTEIN is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Island of Dr. Libris, Mr. Lemoncello’s Library Olympics, and Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library, which was nominated for over 30 state awards lists!

Follower him on Twitter at @CGrabenstein, and visit him online at chrisgrabenstein.com.

Review! The Island of Dr. Libris by Chris Grabenstein

24 Mar

Before I get to my review, I get to announce that Mr. Laj won the James Patterson Prize Pack o’ Books I am giving away on my blog!!! CONGRATULATIONS! I will be emailing you to see where you’d like the books sent.


So the FABULOUS James Patterson series- I Funny, Treasure Hunters and House of Robots have a SUPER FANTABULOUS co-author CHRIS GRABENSTEIN! Felicia and I just interviewed Mr. Grabentein on the Write Chat – Click HERE to see the vlog! AND Mr. Grabenstein just happens to be the author of the book I am reviewing today! (I feel like I am playing the Kevin Bacon game) .

Now today is not only the day I review Chris Grabenstein’s new book, it is the day it is released! HAPPY BOOK BIRTHDAY!!! WOO! Mr. Lemoncello’s Library fans will NOT be disappointed in Chris Grabenstein’s latest fantastic story!

drlibThe Island of Dr. Libris

By Chris Grabenstein

256 pages – ages 9+

Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on March 24, 2015

Synopsis- Billy Gillfoyle’s parents may be getting separated. This may explain why his mom is spending the summer at a rented lake house owned by one of her colleagues, Dr. Xiang Libris, and Billy is to spend the summer with her while she works on a very important paper for work. The house is on the shore of a lake overlooking an island in the middle of the lake – Dr. Libris’ Island. Dr. Libris owns it all. The lake house has no TV or video game system, and shortly after coming, Billy accidentally breaks his iPhone (and simultaneously made a friend and some enemies). Desperate for entertainment, Billy decides to turn to the library room, which has a bookcase full of amazing books, with one drawback – the bookcase is locked. After an intensive search, Billy finds the key, and when he opens the books and reads them, he seems to hear the swords clashing, the voices yelling, the feet trampling. And it all seems to come from Dr. Libris’ island in the middle of the lake…

What I Thought- This was an amazing book. It really creates a world one would love to join. Characters coming to life by reading – in my mind, that is PARADISE! The story is cool and very suspenseful. I like how everything ties together in the end. Mr. Grabenstein has written a fun action-adventure book that, I bet, almost every reader will hope were true! Billy still likes his parents and believes that they will stay together. Billy, thinks they have the perfect marriage and they seem like a nice family. His mom is more serious, but still fun, in a way, while his dad is more laid back and thrill-seeking. It was good that his parents didn’t hate each other, and that they seemed to have a nice relationship with each other. All that added to the depth of the story. I REALLY loved this book! The characters in the book feel so realistic that you believe that this could happen. It was cool that Dr. Libris himself was kind of a background character in the story – kind of remaining mysterious.

I give “The Island of Dr. Libris” five out of five bookworms!fivebooks

WANT TO LEARN MORE?!? You can read sample chapters and get an educator’s guide to go with the book at Chris Grabentein’s website – CLICK HERE!

Review & Giveaway! I Even Funnier by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein

4 Dec


Have I got a great giveaway to tell you about today! 😀

One lucky person will win a copy of “I Funny” PLUS a copy of  “I Even Funnier”! That’s right – both books in this awesome series by award-winning authors James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein! Read to the end to find out how to enter!


IEvenFunnierHCI Even Funnier

by James Patterson

and Chris Grabenstein

Hardcover: 368 pages -ages 8+

Published by Little, Brown and Company on December 9, 2013

After being declared “Funniest Kid in New York State” in I Funny (Book 1), Jamie Grimm is ready to go to the national semi-final comedy competition! Jamie, along  with Gilda Gold, Joey Gaynor & Jimmy Pierce, is ready to make you laugh until you bust a gut!  Jamie is totally psyched about the competition, but everything seems to be going wrong. Joey’s mom is dealing with having cancer and after getting into MAJOR trouble at school, Joey ends up having to move in with Jamie’s super-nice uncle  Frankie. Jamie is still living with his terrible Aunt and Uncle and his horribly mean cousin (we learn in Book 1 that Jamie was hurt (and is now in a wheelchair) and his parents killed in a car crash before the series starts and he lives with his mom’s sister and her family). When Joey moves in with Uncle Frankie, Jamie also goes to live with him, which is good because Jamie’s cousin is being worse than ever. Things are going pretty well until Uncle Frankie has a heart attack! With all this going on, will Jamie become “The Planet’s Funniest Kid” or will all of his dreams go down the drain?

This book was one of those where I remember the characters really well. I really enjoyed the story. The best part of the book – that no matter what happens, the characters don’t give up. All the hardships the characters in the book go through make me care for them even more. The characters are believable middle school kids. Some of the story plot seems a bit sad, but it’s really the kind of things kids have to go through every day. The humor in the book is hysterical and I had a few laugh out loud moments when I was reading it. I love Jamie’s motto – “Laughter is the best medicine” 🙂 Mr. Patterson and Mr. Grabenstein’s writing style is enjoyable to read. The book is very appropriate for middle school age kids even though it deals with some sad topic. I think this book can inspire everyone to persevere and follow your dreams. I can’t wait for the next book (I Funniest) to come out.  🙂

I give I Even Funnier 5 out of 5 bookworms!fivebooks

To learn more, please visit Mr. Patterson’s Middle School Books official website HERE!

Visit Mr. Grabenstein’s website HERE!

Follow Mr. Patterson on Twitter HERE and Mr. Grabenstein HERE!

Like Mr. Patterson on Facebook HERE and Mr. Grabenstein HERE!

Now for the Giveaway!

To enter the giveaway, all you have to do is comment saying you want to enter. But you can ALSO give me your best joke, OR your best evil laugh (because I like evil laughs)! MWAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!! 😈

The contest runs until Tuesday December 10th. I will put all the names of people who enter in a hat (I haven’t decided what kind of hat, but I guess it should be funny). My sister Josie will pick a name out of the hat and I will announce the winner on December 11th! Good Luck!

Reading for Renn Total!!! and Lititz Book Festival Fun! :D

12 Nov


Today I get to announce the total amount I collected for my Reading For Renn Challenge. First I want to thank every single person who supported my challenge by spreading the word, cheering me on and donating money, time and/or talents to help me out. The good news is that Renn has gone through his surgeries. The doctors have removed the part of his brain they think is causing the seizures. He is still in the hospital (he went in on October 28th) but it looks like he may get out soon. So far things are looking good for him. Mrs. Telles explains it all (much better than I can) at The Brain of A Jedi blog (click HERE to read more). He still has a long way to go, but he has his big smile back!


Master Jedi Renn

When I started this I was hoping that I would be able to raise at least $500.00 to help the Telles family with all the bills they are getting due to Renn’s surgeries and the fact they have to live away from home while he gets all his treatments. The fact is that the kid-lit community that I blog about is the most kind and generous part of the world out there. I was able to raise $1,552.00 BUT WAIT, it gets better. The kind people at NY Media Works offered to match any amount that I raised. I am SO happy to say that in total we are sending Renn and his family $3,104.00 to help pay for his medical expenses! It is really appropriate that this is happening right now because November is National Epilepsy Awareness Month and before I met Renn I was never AWARE how bad epilepsy can be. I am asking the Telles family that if they have anything left over from the donation to donate the rest in Renn’s name to the Epilepsy Foundation, an organization that helps tries to find a cure for epilepsy and raise  awareness of it.


Thank you all – YOU ARE ALL AWESOME!!!

And now for something COMPLETELY unrelated…

Since many of you asked to see pictures from the Lititz Kid-Lit festival…

First if you’ve never been to Aaron’s Books in Lititz PA you should! Lititz is a very nice town and Aaron’s Books is an awesome independent book store! Click HERE to check out their website. Miss Sam (one of the owners of Aaron’s books, and Aaron’s mom 😉 ) told me that the book festival grows and grows each year. I can understand why! What is really cool about this festival is that kids like me get to take classes taught by some of our favorite authors and illustrators! Plus, the authors and illustrators interact with all of us. Also, this year was extra fun because my friend Neighbor Girl from the Stanley and Katrina gang met us at the festival! 🙂


Neighbor Girl and I 🙂

It is a great experience! Take a look at who I got to talk to!

Amy Ignatow! Ms. Ignatow taught a really fun illustration class. We talked about rattlesnakes sneezing out unicorns! 😉 (and no that is not a typo). I read Ms. Ignatow’s latest book “Love and Other Fiascos – Book 6 of The Popularity Papers” on my way home from the book festival and I thought it was GREAT! I love The Popularity Papers!



Me and Neighbor Girl taking Ms. Ignatow’s class

Matt Phelan! I got to hear an amazing talk that Mr. Phelan gave on his book Bluffton and how it relates to the silent-movie actor Buster Keaton (who I really didn’t know who he was).


Mr. Phelan talked about his illustration process and also told us about really cool research he did into the life of Buster Keaton and the actor’s colony that was in Bluffton, Michigan. Besides being a wonderful book, I now have a new love for the story in it. I also watched my first Buster Keaton movie (The General). My sister watched it with me and both of us want to watch more Buster Keaton movies because we almost “busted” a gut watching them! 😉 Mr. Phelan said his book is a success if he gets at least one kid to watch a Buster Keaton movie. Well he got the two kids in our house to do it! 🙂


Plus, Mr. Phelan and I also had a good conversation about hats and how cool they can be and how more people should wear them. 🙂

Debbie Dadey! Ms. Dadey gave an exciting presentation entitled “Monsters and Mermaids” where she talked about her books and how she published her first book “Vampires Don’t Wear Polka Dots.” I learned a lot about the writing process from her talk. Plus she’s a super nice person and very fun to talk to!


David Wiesner! Mr. Wiesner gave a fascinating talk about his illustration process and how his books “Tuesday” and “Mr. Wuffles” came about.


He talked about how the stories started as ideas years and years before and that they really changed over time. He really stressed that you should “go where the story takes you” and not get stuck on what you think the story should be but rather what it wants to be. For example, “Mr. Wuffles” started out as a picture book called “Greetings” and there was no cat in it. He also said he is as surprised as anyone that he wrote a book called “Mr. Wuffles.” 🙂


I was very inspired by his talk. I learned a lot.

Chris Grabenstein! I read Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library in October as part of my Reading For Renn Challenge and I LOVED it! I was very excited to see that the author, Chris Grabenstein was giving a talk at Lititz. On the drive out to Lititz I brought a book I am reading to review called “I Funny” (I got an ARC of the sequel to this book, “I Funnier” to review and wanted to read the first book in the series, too). When I looked at the authors of the book I saw James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Cool! I think I am officially a fan of Mr. Grabentein’s writing style. 🙂 Mr. Grabenstein gave a talk about writing his books and read a bit from Escape from Mr. Lemoncello’s Library. His talk was just awesome. He had everyone laughing . Plus he seems like a really nice person (as a kid and a huge reader, I think it is great when you see that the author that writes the books you read and love is a really nice person).


Me and Neighbor Girl with Mr. Grabenstein (I’ll let you figure out who’s who 🙂 )

A.S. King! A.S. King is the perfect example of how cool kid-lit writers are. I have never read any of her books because she is a YA author and I am a MG reader (although “Everybody Sees the Ants” and her new book “Reality Boy” (my mom just read that one and said “it kept me up all night because I wanted to finish it”) are on my TBR in the future list 😉  ) but she is happy to talk to me about books and writing. We had a great talk about Reality Boy and Honey Boo Boo and how weird reality TV is (just FYI – I never saw Honey Boo Boo, but I know who she is) and how the protagonist in her new book was forced by his parents to be in a reality TV show when he was very young and now he is all messed up (great plot for a book!). amy&me-cropped

I met a mother and daughter who co-wrote a book called CinderSkella. Amie Borst and Bethanie Borst! Bethanie helped her mom Amie write Cinderskella when she was only 11 (she’s now 13). Stay tuned for more on this because Bethanie agreed to do a Creative Kid interview with me and I will be reviewing her book!


Well that’s all for now. Have a great Tuesday! Happy Reading! 😀

Lititz Kid-Lit Festival November 8-10th 2013

7 Nov

It’s that time of year again. The air is getting colder, leaves are falling on the ground, days are getting shorter. You know what that means!

No, I don’t mean it’s fall…



Why do I get so excited to go to the Lititz Kid-Lit Festival? Well, let me tell you.

First the festival is organized and put on by an awesome independently owned book store – Aaron’s Books (click HERE for their website).

Second, the festival is PACKED with kid-friendly things to do. There are seminars taught by authors and illustrators that are meant for kids like me! Just imagine being able to take an illustration class from Eric Wight and Matt Phelan (I did!)! I got to take writing classes with Courtney Sheinmel and attend a read-aloud by Daniel Kirk or Brian Biggs (I did!)! Get to hear authors like Tom Angleberger and Nick Bruel speak (I did!)! There are events for all ages at the festival. You can check out the schedule HERE to see what’s going on this year.

 Third, They have awesome authors and illustrators there. Here are some of the awesome authors/illustrators that are going to be at the festival this year.

Debbie Dadey! I love Ms. Dadey’s Bailey School Kids and Key Holders series… okay I admit that I also read her Mermaid Tales series too.

Ms. Dadey’s latest book is the 6th in her Mermaid Tales series and it’s called “The Secret Seahorse.” I have read it and I liked it! I especially like the plot of this one. Echo wants a seahorse of her own to ride but everyone is telling her seahorses are happier being free. Echo is convinced she can make a seahorse happy… or can she?

Ms. Dadey is giving a talk called “Monsters and Mermaids ” at the festival this year.


Matt Phelan! I am in total amazement of this guy! His story-telling through illustrations is incredible. I love his books, Around The World, Storm in the Barn and  his newest, Bluffton –  (which totally ROCKS).

Mr. Phelan is giving an illustration class at the festival this year and also giving a talk about his new book!


David Wiesner! How cool will it be to have story time with a 3 time Caldecott Award Winner! Mr. Wiesner writes and illustrates amazing picture books. I wore out my copy of Art and Max because I read it so many times!

I just got Mr. Wiesner’s newest book, Mr. Wuffles (I LOVE the title). This book is brilliant! Who thinks to combine a sneaky kitty-cat and space aliens?!? Awesome!


Amy Ignatow! I have read each of Ms. Ignatow’s Popularity Papers books at least twice I like them so much. I am looking forward to getting her latest book in the series, Love and Other Fiascos (Book 6) while I am at the festival.

Ms. Ignatow is having an illustration workshop at the festival.


Chris Grabenstein! I just got done reading Escape From Mr. Lemoncello’s Library and LOVED it! The copy I read was from the library, but I am hoping to pick up a signed copy at the festival!

Mr. Grabenstein is giving a presentation at the festival.


Courtney Sheinmel! Ms. Sheinmel writes books for YA and also younger kids. Her book, All The Things You Are is a great read for my age level. It is about a girl who has everything and then loses it overnight when her mom is arrested. 

Ms. Sheinmel also has a series out for kids 7+ called Stella Batts. Stella is an 8-year-old 3rd grader. I love what Ms. Sheinmel says on her website about this series. “It’s an autobiography. That means I wrote it and it’s all about me. I’m eight years old, I’m in third grade, and I live in Somers, California.” 🙂 Pretty cool!

I have gone to Ms. Sheinmel’s writing seminars every year I’ve gone to this festival. She teaches a great class for us kids!


A.S. King! Ms. King is a YA author. I haven’t read any of her books (because I am 11 and so, not YA 😉 ), but Ms. King is at this festival every year, and every year she is super nice to me and takes time to talk to me (and I am sure she is that way with everyone else 😉 ). She is also secretly a Vulcan (but she clipped her ears), but don’t tell her I told you because she’ll use that Vulcan-grip-thingy on me…


Ms. King’s new book Reality Boy sounds excellent. Here is the book’s description –

“Gerald Faust started feeling angry even before his mother invited a reality TV crew into his five-year-old life. Twelve years later, he’s still haunted by his rage-filled youth–which the entire world got to watch from every imaginable angle–and his anger issues have resulted in violent outbursts, zero friends, and clueless adults dumping him in the special education room at school. No one cares that Gerald has tried to learn to control himself; they’re all just waiting for him to snap. And he’s starting to feel dangerously close to doing just that…until he chooses to create possibilities for himself that he never knew he deserved.”

Ms. King is giving a seminar at the festival for “young writers to ask questions about writing, editing, and getting published.” Guess who will be going to that one? *wink wink* 😉

If you are in the Lititz area, stop by (even if you aren’t, it’s worth the drive 😉 )! I am very excited that Neighbor girl and Cool Mom from the Stanley and Katrina gang are meeting us there too! It will be great to take the classes with Neighbor Girl! 😀

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