New releases of middle-grade science fiction and fantasy--the beginning of April 2011

I've split up the new releases of the beginning of April into the middle-grade books, posted today, and the YA books, posted tomorrow. There were too many of them for one post!

Lots to look forward to, including several time travel books (A Year Without Autumn sounds great; that's a UK release that I might have to use the Book Depository for) and there are new Theodosia and Nathanial Fludd books! Yay! Sky Pony wins, I think, for prettiest cover...and I can't wait to read The Emerald Atlas and Kat, Incorrigible! Which are you looking forward too?

THE ADVENTURES OF A LITTLE RAG DOLL by Sun Youjun "The endearing story of Little Butou, a rag doll made as a New Years present, and his myriad adventures with and without Ping Ping, the child to whom he belongs."

ALIEN ENVOY: ALIEN AGENT by Pamela F. Service "Alien Agent Zack Gaither has spent his whole life on planet Earth. His assignment: to protect humans from the knowledge of life on other planets. Finally, the time is right, and Zack has the chance to help Earth join the Galactic Union. The only problem? A small army of alien thugs is set on keeping Earth out of the picture. And they're planning to take Zach out in the process. Fortunately, Zack's got a few old friends on his side. Together, they're headed on an adventure that will take Zack off of Earth and across the galaxy. What will the future hold for this Alien Agent?"

ALICE IN TIME by Penelope Bush "Things are at a crisis point for fourteen-year-old Alice. Her mum is ruining her life, her dad is getting remarried, and Sasha, the most popular girl in school, hates her guts. . . Then a bizarre accident happens, and Alice finds herself re-living her life as a seven-year-old through teenage eyes - and discovering some awkward truths. But can she use her new knowledge to change her own future?"

ATHENA THE BRIAN: GODDESS GIRLS by Joan Holub and Suzanne Williams "Athena has always been above average. She's never quite fit in at Triton Junior High, but who would've guessed that Athena is actually a goddess? Principal Zeus's daughter, to be exact. When she's summoned to Mount Olympus Academy, Athena thinks she might actually fit in for the first time in her life. But in some ways, school on Mount Olympus is not that different from down on Earth, and Athena is going to have to deal with the baddest mean girl in history -- Medusa!"

THE BOOK OF BONES: A KIT SALTER ADVENTURE by Natasha Narayan "Kit Salter and her friends Rachel, Waldo, and Isaac tumble into another adventure when their coach is hijacked on the wilds of Dartmoor. Their arch enemies, the Baker Brothers, are behind the kidnapping. They force the children into a perilous voyage to China in search of a secret martial arts manual. From bustling Shanghai, their journey takes them to the hidden heart of Imperial China—Peking's Forbidden City. En route they battle opium smugglers, pirates, and kung-fu fighters, before a climatic encounter with the mysterious Wooden Men—giant killers armed with lethal powers and a dastardly will of their own. As the twisting, thrilling narrative reaches its climax, will Kit and her friends be able to survive the danger and mysteries of China and win back their freedom?"

THE DRAGON OF CRIPPLE CREEK by Troy Howell "Show us the gold, Kat! Show us the gold!" Katlin Graham's passion for gold and adventure has steered her family into the rowdy, historical town of Cripple Creek, Colorado. True to her curiosity streak, she strays from the Mollie Kathleen Gold Mine tour to explore a closed-off tunnel, and after an accidental fall, discovers a breathtaking secret: Deep below the mine lives a dragon--the last dragon on earth. Ye is his name, and he inhabits a glittering wonderland, surrounded by heaps of gold. Seeing the gold as the solution to her family's financial woes, Kat steals a nugget as big as her fist, right under Ye's watchful eye. Kindly befriending Kat, Ye tells her the astounding truth about gold, and reveals a mysterious cure that prevents dragons from dying. As the ailing Ye shows her the way out, Kat realizes it's up to her to decide his fate. Back in the sunlit world, where the search for the missing girl has created a public stir, Kat's nugget rolls out for all to see. Now a media-frenzy begins, until the town is swarming with gold seekers. Alarmed by this stampede of greed and by her own thievery, Kat brings her brother, Dillon, into her plan to return Ye's gold to him, and to warn him of the dangers that threaten his life and treasure. Can they outwit the gold-crazed crowds? Will Ye live, or will he die?"

THE EMERALD ATLAS by John Stephens "Kate, Michael, and Emma have been in one orphanage after another for the last ten years, passed along like lost baggage. Yet these unwanted children are more remarkable than they could possibly imagine. Ripped from their parents as babies, they are being protected from a horrible evil of devastating power, an evil they know nothing about. Until now. Before long, Kate, Michael, and Emma are on a journey to dangerous and secret corners of the world...a journey of allies and enemies, of magic and mayhem. And—if an ancient prophesy is correct—what they do can change history, and it is up to them to set things right."

GOBLIN AT THE BEACH by Victor Kelleher "From the ski slopes of the Snowy Mountains to the rainforests of Far North Queensland—and everywhere in between—Gibblewort the goblin has blundered, crawled, and winged his way through Australia's vast landscape. So surely a relaxing day at the beach will be safe? Not if "fun in the sun" includes frying your feet on hot sand, accidentally chugging down sun cream, and hitching a ride on an angry shark. Can Gibblewort beat the heat and finally get back home to rainy old Ireland?"

GHOST MESSAGES by Jacqueline Guest "In pursuit of stolen treasure in 1865 Ireland, thirteen-year-old Ailish winds up trapped on the Great Eastern as it sails! The largest ship ever built, the Great Eastern's mission is to lay the fi rst undersea telegraph cable across the Atlantic Ocean. On the journey, Ailish gets help from a young boy, Davy, who seems to live belowdecks. She makes friends with an Irish sailor and tries to track down the hiding place of her father's treasure. The crew must battle the seas and the mishaps of their cable-laying mission, some of which would appear to be sabotage. Through many adventures, Davy is her constant companion. But why won't he ever come topside? Can Ailish use her wits, her determination and
her friendships to survive the trip, let alone save the day?"

JACK FLINT AND THE REDTHORN SWORD by Joe Donnelly "Jack Flint is 13.
He's never known his mother and has—literally—lost his father. On a stormy Halloween he steps from his humdrum world of school, chores, and getting by, into a maelstrom. Scaling the dark-walled coppice known as Cromwath Blackwood, he and his best friend, Kerry Malone, find a mysterious circle of 13 standing stones—stones that almost seem to be breathing, pulling the boys to a place of myth and mayhem, the legendary world of Temair. Here Celtic myth comes to life as Jack, Kerry, and Corriwen Redthorn, the orphaned daughter of a Temair Chief, face the terrifying cunning of goddess of death Morrigan, along with her servants—the Scree, and the cruel, black-feathered Roaks. As they embark upon their fast paced and furious quest, Jack realizes they are not just saving their own lives, but finding clues that might lead him to his father."

KAT, INCORRIGIBLE by Stephanie Burgis "Twelve-year-old Kat Stephenson may be the despair of her social-climbing Step-Mama, but she was born to be a magical Guardian and protector of Society--if she can ever find true acceptance in the secret Order that expelled her own mother. She’s ready to turn the hidebound Order of the Guardians inside-out, whether the older members like it or not. And in a society where magic is the greatest scandal of all, Kat is determined to use all her powers to help her three older siblings--saintly Elissa, practicing-witch Angeline, and hopelessly foolish Charles--find their own true loves, even if she has to turn highwayman, battle wild magic, and confront real ghosts along the way!"

POWER PLAY: KINGDOM KEEPERS by Ridley Pearson "For the five teens who modeled as Disney Hologram Imaging hosts, life is beginning to settle down when an intriguing video arrives to Philby's computer at school. It's a call for action: the Overtakers, a group of Disney villains, seem to be plotting to attempt a rescue of two of their leaders, both of whom the Disney Imagineers have hidden away somewhere following a violent encounter in Epcot. A staged attack by new Overtakers at Downtown Disney, startles the group.

One of their own, Charlene, is acting strange of late. Has she tired of her role as a Kingdom Keeper or is there something more sinister at play? When caught sneaking into Epcot as her DHI, acting strictly against the group's rules, Finn and Philby take action. Has the "impossible" occurred? Have the Overtakers created their own holograms? Have they found a way to "jump" from the Virtual Maintenance Network onto the Internet, and if so, what does that mean for the safety of the parks, and the spread and reach of the Overtakers? Are they recruiting an army from outside the parks?

A dark cloud in the Kingdom Keeper era is unfolding, and with dissention in their own ranks, it's unclear if there's any chance of escape."

NIXA THE DEATH BRINGER: BEAST QUEST, AMULET OF AVANTIA by Adam Blade "Fight the Beasts. Fear the magic!
Taladon the Swift has returned! But to Tom's horror, his father is a ghost. To save Taladon, Tom must battle the Ghost Beasts and collect the pieces of the shattered Amulet of Avantia. First is Nixa the Death Bringer. Will her deadly disguises lure Tom to his death?"

THE RUNAWAY SPELL: B MAGICAL by Lexi Connor "B's magical adventures will cast a S-P-E-L-L on middle-grade readers in this funny, fast-paced series!

When B tries to help her friend George improve his soccer game, she accidentally turns him into a part-boy, part-zebra! Can she make his tail and ears V-A-N-I-S-H before the big game?"

SIGN OF THE MOON: WARRIORS, OMEN OF THE STARS by Erin Hunter "The dark forces that have driven a rift between the four warrior Clans are growing stronger. Jayfeather, Lionblaze, and Dovepaw now know that unless they can unravel the true meaning behind the prophecy that binds them, the warrior code could be destroyed forever. While Lionblaze remains focused on protecting ThunderClan from anotherdeadly battle, Jayfeather receives a desperate plea for help from the Tribe of Rushing Water. He must travel to the mountains in search of answers that link the Clans to the Tribe in ways no cat could have imagined. But with the summons comes an ominous warning that suggests the power of the stars may not be enough to save the Clans."

SKY PONY by Elaine Breault Hammond "Twelve-year-old Katie resents her beloved parents when they decide to move their family to the Yukon for Dad's new job. But when they take in six-year-old Siggi as a foster child, Katie is REALLY mad. She escapes from her unhappiness quite by chance when she realizes her pony, an Icelandic horse called Peggy, can fly—through time as well as space. By accident she takes Siggi to nineteenth-century England, where the two are adopted into a loving family. But when Peggy and Siggi are kidnapped and forced to work in an underground mine, Katie must rescue them or risk losing them forever. Through the danger and the triumph, and the connections she makes through time travel, Katie comes to understand the meaning of family."

THEODOSIA AND THE LAST PHARAOH by R. L. LaFevers "In this fourth book in the series, Theodosia sets off to Egypt to return the Emerald Tablet—embedded with the knowledge of some of the ancient world’s most guarded secrets. Accompanied by her cat, Isis (smuggled along in a basket), Theo plans to return the artifact, then explore the mysteries surrounding her own birth and oh, yes— help her mother dig up treasures on her archeological expedition. But nothing ever works out as planned, especially when a precious treasure appears suddenly, and then just as suddenlydisappears. . . When the Serpents of Chaos get involved, Theo finds she’s digging up a lot more than she expected!"

THE TIME-TRAVELING FASHIONISTA by Bianca Turetsky "What if a beautiful vintage dress could take you back in time?

Louise Lambert has always dreamed of movie starlets and exquisite gowns and longs for the day when she can fill the closet of her normal suburban home with stylish treasures. But when she receives a mysterious invitation to a vintage fashion sale in the mail, her once painfully average life is magically transformed into a time-travel adventure.

Suddenly onboard a luxurious cruise ship a hundred years ago, Louise relishes the glamorous life of this opulent era and slips into a life of secrets, drama, and decadence. . . ."

THE UNICORN'S TALE: NATHANIEL FLUDD, BEASTOLOGIST by R. L. LaFevers "Is there no rest for the travel worn and weary? Not if you’re Nathaniel Fludd, the world’s youngest beastologist-in-training! All Nate really wants is to track down his missing parents, but when a unicorn falls mysteriously ill, Nate’s Aunt Phil makes it clear where a beastologist’s duty lies: to the beasts.

And if taking care of the world’s beasts isn’t difficult enough, Nate and Aunt Phil must also keep them safe from the villainous Obediah Fludd, who intends to do them harm. With all this taking up every last bit of his energy and time, will Nate ever find the parents he is so absolutely convinced are alive?"

WHEN APPLES GREW NOSES AND WHITE HORSES FLEW: TALES OF TI-JEAN by Jan Andrews "In these three imaginative stories, Jan Andrews introduces us to Quebec’s traditional folktale hero, Ti-Jean. He’s an endearing
character who is both wise and foolish, and though he does find himself in hard situations (often of his own making), in the end, he somehow manages to do what needs to be done. In “Ti-Jean and the Princess of Tomboso” he eventually outwits a greedy princess; in “Ti-Jean the Marble Player” he gets the best of a pint-sized scoundrel; and in “How Ti-Jean Became a Fiddler” he turns the tables
on a too-clever-for-her-own-good seigneur’s daughter, and finds truelove in the process."

A YEAR WITHOUT AUTUMN, by Liz Kessler. "If you could see into the future - would you look? Jenni Green doesn't have a choice. On her way to visit her best friend, Autumn, Jenni suddenly finds she's been transported exactly one year forward in time. Now she discovers that in the year that's gone by, tragedy has struck and her friendship with Autumn will never be the same again. But what caused the tragedy? How did Jenni skip a year? And can she find her way back to the past to try to change what lies ahead? With humour - and her customary light touch - the author of the EMILY WINDSNAP books plays a fascinating game with time, and explores the changes that take place in friendships and families in the aftermath of a disaster."

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