Battle for the Planet of the Imps*

h1 September 3rd, 2008 by jules

Remember how I indicated in 7-Imp’s blog-identity-crisis post that I’ve had less time lately for reviewing books? Well, that’s still the case, but I figured I could touch base with our dear readers and share what it is I’m reading now — or at least have lined up to read. And my focus today is going to be sequels, ’cause Eisha had this great idea a while back to have a 7-Imp Sequel Week. As you can see, sometimes we have great ideas and then it takes a bit of time for life to slow down for us to make them happen. But in the meantime, here are some sequels I’m either reading or have read or am getting excited about reading (and don’t forget Adam Rex’s Frankenstein sequel, which Kelly Fineman and I already covered):

Traction Man Meets Turbodog by Mini Grey (Knopf Books for Young Readers; on shelves in September, I believe) — Traction Man is back! Guess how many starred reviews it’s gotten already? Five — from the The Horn Book, School Library Journal, Publishers Weekly, Booklist, and Kirkus, no less. There may even be more stars floating around for it, for all I know. Bottom line is it’s great. Traction Man and his faithful pet Scrubbing Brush are back for more heroic rescues — this time Traction Man must rescue Scrubbing Brush, since the family chucked him after a trip to the northwest slope of Mt. Compost Heap (“it’s just so unhygienic, it must be FULL of germs…”), though it takes Traction Man a while to figure this out while he’s off having adventures with the battery-operated Turbodog. In Grey’s further tributes to the imaginative play of children—not to mention the very real bonds wee ones have with their toys—Traction Man meets up with Handbag Dwellers, the Lone Sock, the Grand Sofa Canyon, the Dark and Terrible Underworld of the Bin and its Evil Creatures and Bin-Things, and much more. How much do I love Mini Grey’s books? Let me count the ways. And she’s supposed to stop by for a seven-questions-over-breakfast interview soon, so we’ll chat with her more then.

Max’s Dragon by Kate Banks and illustrated by Boris Kulikov (Farrar, Straus and Giroux; March 2008) — Remember Max’s Words, reviewed here at 7-Imp back in ’06? Well, Max is also back (he has been since March, but I’m slow in getting to this one). Banks’ Max is, as Child Magazine once hinted, our poster boy for thinking outside of the box. Last time, Max accumulated words; this time, rhymes. School Library Journal wrote, “{s}uffused with a golden light… a celebration of child imagination wherein words do indeed have power.” Now, that golden-light bit? They’re on to something. I think Kulikov’s sunlight-infused illustrations are his best, and there are plenty here, as Max and his brothers are out on the lawn, Max playing with words and, once again, putting his imagination to work. This could be a Poetry Friday entry, what with Max’s rhyme play, a wonderful introduction to poetry for young children.

Remember Piper Reed, the protagonist with a first name I LOVE but, ahem, hope doesn’t catch on and become so popular that every other kid in America will have that name, since I may or may not have a daughter who answers to it? Yes, she’s back, too, in Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy. I highly recommend Piper Reed to early chapter-book readers. These books spring from the mind of the very talented Kimberly Willis Holt, interviewed here at 7-Imp at the end of last year. (If you missed that interview, do go have a look. It was the holidays and comments were scarce.) Piper Reed: Navy Brat was Holt’s introduction to the Piper Reed series, a rousing, lively read of Piper and her family’s dramas, especially her attempts to find balance in the world as the family’s middle sister. Piper Reed: The Great Gypsy apparently picks up where the last book left off, with Piper in her new home and her father, the Navy Chief, away once again. Piper’s got new neighbors, a spaceship beach house, a trip to New Orleans, and a Gypsy Club pet show in this, book two of the series. Illustrations are once again by Christine Davenier.

And Moxy with the moxy is also back in Moxy Maxwell Does Not Love Writing Thank-You Notes (Scwartz & Wade, August ’08) by Peggy Gifford. Last time it was Stuart Little Moxy wasn’t too pumped up about (reviewed here at 7-Imp in April ’07), and I could see how young readers would take a serious liking to Moxy and look forward to this sequel. Kirkus Reviews has already written, “{r}esourceful and resilient, Moxy is a pleasure to meet again.” Hmmmm…hopes remain high.

I’ve got more but should stop. I’ll attempt to finish this later. And what, you ask, are Eisha and I reading together and hoping to cover jointly here at 7-Imp? The return of the Penderwicks. Lynne Jonell’s Emmy. Emily Jenkins’ TOY DANCE PARTY! (Sorry, but very exciting..). Laurie Keller’s Scrambled States of America. And Petr Horacek’s Suzy Goose. Until then…enjoy your sequels.

Oh, and you can also enjoy Entertainment Weekly’s “25 Worst Sequels Ever Made.”

*And no, EW, “Battle for the Planet of the Apes” should NOT be considered one of the twenty-five worst sequels ever made, but that’s a post for another day.

9 comments to “Battle for the Planet of the Imps*”

  1. Okay, I’m so out of it, I just now read your cutting-back post. You had a gajillion comments to that post, so I’ll add my two cents’ worth here. I took a two-month vacation from Ellsworth’s Journal. I was away teaching, tired, overworked and underloved (I can whine too). I too will be posting a little less often–if you think it’s hard to review a book a day, try dressing up a 16-pound cat every day and take his picture!

    I think it’s good to redefine and revamp blogs. They have a way of snowballing, as most of us have found. The blog should be fun, not a millstone. I would fall down on the floor and scream if you quit, so I’ll take Imp Light and be very happy!

  2. I’m squeeing over here about Piper and Moxy, and the upcoming skinny on Emily Jenkins and the Penderwicks! And is the Mini Grey of which you speak the same Ginger Bear Mini Grey? Can’t wait!!

  3. Jama, you’re back!

    Yes, that’s the same Mini Grey. Can’t wait to get her responses — and hope she’s still gonna send ’em. (I always kind of assume that interviewees may decide to ditch us and not do their interviews if, say, I say something stupid one day. Stinkin’ thinkin’, I know, but welcome to my brain.)

    MUST go catch up on your blog, now that I know you’ve returned. (And I promise to email about our interview idea. I’m just slow sometimes.)

  4. Oh how I loved the first Traction Man book. Cannot wait to read the sequel.

    And I still have to track down and read the first Moxy book. For shame!

  5. Oooh, my girls loved Max’s Words, and I hadn’t heard about the follow-up yet…should be excellent. I have passed up the original Moxy book several times in the library, but just read the ’07 review and it looks like I should grab it…thanks for that.

    The first Penderwicks book was a big hit with my seven-year-old and the follow-up is already on hold at the library — I should probably read it too, by the sounds of it.

    I just finished The Mysterious Benedict Society, having got it for my daughter, but then my wife couldn’t put it down, and then I read it in about two days….SO good…and SO looking forward to the follow-up. Might be a bit advanced for my girls yet, but we’ll give it a try out loud. I couldn’t find a review of either on 7-imp…did I just miss it?

  6. Oh! We are so scooped! Actually, we are doing a sequels edition next week at the coop! Clearly, great minds think alike!

  7. Nope, Jeremy, you didn’t miss a review. I haven’t read it. I’m slow sometimes. Don’t know if Eisha’s read it or not.

    Andrea, I’m sure you all will beat us to it. And that yours will be a delight to read.

  8. Oh I want the new Traction Man! Squeeeee!

  9. Yay! I loved “Traction Man” and am so happy to see a sequel. I read in Mini Grey’s author notes for “The Twin Giants” that she got her name because she was born in the back of a Mini Cooper! I wonder if that’s true…

    Please do that Sequel Week soon!!!!

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