Sky Pony Books at St. Christopher’s Elementary School

Mary Alice Alvarado shares the story of how Sky Pony books found a home in the library of St. Christopher’s Elementary School. Check it out below!  


Over President’s Week 2016, six major pipes burst in St. Christopher’s Elementary School, in Baldwin, New York. While students and teachers alike were elsewhere enjoying their winter recess, water spilled into several classrooms, ruining countless books and other classroom necessities. Many teachers received the heart-breaking phone call that their classroom was one of the ones affected by the water damage, and that the books they had lovingly accumulated over the years to share with their students, were destroyed.

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Faculty member Mary Alice Alvarado shared the news of the devastation with her daughter, Ronnie, an alumnae of the school and an employee at Skyhorse Publishing. When Ronnie informed some of her fellow Skyhorsers and Sky Ponies about the school’s need for books, Skyhorse galloped to the rescue.

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With a helping hand from many great Skyhorsers (especially Julie Matysik and Brianna Scharfenberg), Skyhorse was able to send dozens of Sky Pony books to the students of St. Christopher’s, who were overjoyed at being able to read with their friends again during recess and play time.

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While all the books that Skyhorse sent were special, some of the students’ favorites included:

Thank you, Skyhorse for your outstanding donation! The students and teachers of St. Christopher’s greatly appreciate it!

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Q & A With Richard Fairgray

Sky Pony author/illustrator Richard Fairgray takes on the Sky Pony Q&A. Check it out!


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Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

It’s kind of a sad story: the day Maurice Sendak died I went into a book store to pick up a copy of Pierre (his best book, possibly THE best book) and discovered that not only did they not have it, but they had NOTHING by him. To add insult, the entire picture book section had been taken over by shrink wrapped books with toys included. Now, I’m someone who loved nothing more as a child than reading books on the floor of a book shop while my mother wandered away to buy hideous plastic shoes or earrings that looked like prizes from a carnival. I would paw through books, finding ones I needed and now that was impossible, I had walked in to a place that was once very special and I had found the books wrapped in plastic. I looked through the meagre selection and was struck by how many of the books just seemed terrible; stories about cows farting or goats farting or people farting, the kind of books I would have laughed at when I was three but never needed to read more than once. Where were the books that would stay with people? Where were the books that kids would cherish and hold onto and reread their entire lives? Those books don’t come wrapped in plastic, I guess. So, I went home and started writing a picture book. Three days later I sent it off to the printers and a month after that it was on shelves nationwide (just not in that terrible chain where everything was untouchable by the kids who liked to read). Since then I’ve been splitting my time between picture books and comics (my usual job).

Q: What are you reading right now?

I just read The Persistent Gappers of Frip by George Saunders, it’s wonderful and I want to write a book that good as soon as possible. I’m also rereading Fortress of Solitude by Jonathan Lethem, one of my favorite novels ever, and I have misplaced my copy of Oh What a Paradise It Seems by John Cheever when I was about a chapter from the end (I think I left it on a plane).

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

Does the phone book count as a children’s book? If so I would like to be R. Fairgray (this joke makes no sense, I am not really in the phone book).

Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

In my office, at my desk.

Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

I think Rear Window is a perfect film, but in terms of rewatchability I would have to go with Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

It’s unfair to ask me that while my dog is in the room. Check back when he isn’t around to read this over my shoulder.

Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

None of the above. Give me sour candy any day, then tip some tartaric acid on it so it really burns.

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Hallowe’en.

Q: What’s your favorite emoji?

I cannot answer this question. I am an old grump.

Q: What did you want to grow up to be when you were the age of your book’s main character?

The main character in my book is an elderly dinosaur. I’m not yet an elderly dinosaur. But I always wanted to be a writer.


Gorillas In Our Midst by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones

9781632206077-frontcoverGorillas can be hard to spot, because they are masters of disguise and really good at hiding. Gorillas often have jobs where they get to wear masks—that’s why so many gorillas are surgeons, astronauts, scuba divers, and ninjas. There are adult gorillas and kid gorillas. There are even gorillas that go to school with you. You may think you’ve seen a gorilla swinging by before, but it’s much more likely that he was an orangutan—orangutans are terrible at hiding. You will know when there are lots of gorillas living in your midst because the grocery stores will be entirely out of bananas. In fact, you should always carry a banana with you, because you never know when there might be a gorilla around.

 

 

My Grandpa Is A Dinosaur by Richard Fairgray and Terry Jones

My Grandpa Is a DinosaurThis little girl has been watching her grandpa for a very long time, and she is almost absolutely certain that he is a dinosaur. So why is it that nobody believes her? Why can’t anyone else see what she sees? He roars! (And no, it’s not just a snore.) He has green skin! (And no, he’s not from outer space.) He even has a tail! (And no, he’s not a horse!) Determined to get to the bottom of this mystery, the little girl goes straight to the source. It’s time to ask Grandpa once and for all: is he a dinosaur?

 

 

 

That is Not the Monster We Ordered by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black, and Terry Jones

9781510711365-frontcoverThe day the Turner family gets their very own monster is a momentous event in the neighborhood. Everyone gathers for the occasion. The monster can roar louder than a lion, leap down the stairs better than any Slinky, and eat grass so no one needs to mow. Based on the Turners’ experience, investing in a monster seems like a great idea!

Except, the monster that shows up isn’t the monster they ordered at all. Their monster likes to pull pranks and paint murals, and when he eats grass, he gets gas! He isn’t a good baker and he smells! Will the family return their defective monster? Or will the monster find a way to win their love?

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New Books for Sky Pony Press

When the Sky Pony team starts working on a new book, we normally wait to announce it to the world through the usual places folks get new-book news: Publishers Weekly, Goodreads, retailer websites, and so on. But right now we’re working on a couple of new books that are so exciting, so high concept, so moving, and just so darn GOOD that we can’t keep quiet about them anymore. So, with much hoopla and not a lot of permission from our bosses, we are excited to announce these soon-to-be bestsellers:

 

Julie of the Wolves(ish)

4197466599_096fd2f8c2_zExactly like the Newbery Award winning novel first published in 1973, except Julie is a pony. When Julie runs away from her stable in Alaska, headed for the warm, horse-friendly countryside of California, she never expects to find herself stranded on the Alaskan tundra. But her sense of direction fails her, and with winter fast approaching, Julie’s only choice is to seek a wolf pack’s acceptance—by pretending she’s one of them. Despite some pretty obvious tells (smells like food, looks like food), Julie blends into the pack, learning to communicate with the other wolves, finding a place in the pack hierarchy, and ultimately being accepted as one of their own. For every reader who’s ever wondered what a pony would sound like if it howled like a wolf, Julie of the Wolves(ish) is the greatest wilderness survival story of all time meets literally any viral video of unlikely animal friendship.

 

A. Corn McGhee and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Diet

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Sky Pony Express’s friendly logo squirrel gets his own story in this soon-to-be classic! The Venerable A. Corn McGhee knows it’s going to be a terrible, horrible day when his mom offers him nuts at breakfast. His friends offer him nuts at lunch. His dad offers him nuts at dinner! Doesn’t anyone remember that A. Corn is on a juice cleanse? This charming picture book is sure to appeal to a new generation of children who understand that you’re never too young to detox.

The Really, Super, Possibly Criminal, Practical Book of Tips for Kids

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Finally, the child-friendly guide you’ve always wished you could give you kids, published in a single, attractive volume just in time for the holidays. Forget about crafts, science, and college planning; this book will teach your kid everything you’d ever really wished your kid knew. Tired of plunging the toilet? Balancing your bank account? Filing your taxes? Scheduling your root canal? Put this book in the hands of your two-to-eighteen-year-old child, and soon they’ll be doing those things for you—and more!


 

Weeeeell… okay, maybe we’re not publishing those books. April Fool’s!

Happy April, from Sky Pony to you!

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Q & A With Author/Illustrator Nancy Cote

 Author/illustrator Nancy Cote answered the Sky Pony Q & A. Check out her interview and see all of Nancy Cote’s books below!

FullSizeRenderNancy Cote is a children’s book author and illustrator whose playful style has garnered her international attention. She is the recipient of multiple awards, including the Oppenheim Toy Portfolio Gold Seal Award, the AGA “Pick of the Lists,” the Smithsonian Notable Book for Children, and the Society of School Librarians International Honor Book.

 

 

 


 

Q: Why did you gravitate to the genre that you write in?

It’s the perfect outlet for me to be as creative as I can be through words and images. I absolutely love picture books!

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Q: What are you reading right now?

This morning I re-read Room on the Broom by Julia Donaldson, illustrated by Axel Scheffler. I’m truly inspired by Ms. Donaldson’s storytelling ability in rhyme. It’s as flawless as the artwork that my all-time favorite illustrator, Axel Scheffler, creates. Their collaborations are in perfect harmony and I am uplifted every time I read this story about friendship and loyalty. I am also reading a short story by Franz Kafka called The Metamorphosis that I’ve read many times because it encourages me to see the world uniquely and to embrace the unexpected. It’s a story about transformation, a concept regularly used in children’s stories to show how a character can change through unpredictable circumstances.

Q: If you could be a character in any children’s book, who would you be and why?

I would be Joseph from Joseph Had a Little Overcoat by Simms Tabak because I love how resourceful he is and how he always makes something out of nothing. It’s perfect advice for an author/illustrator.

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Q: Where’s your favorite place to write?

I write whenever I become inspired by an idea. That could be anywhere. But when I’m working on a poem or manuscript, I like to find a cozy chair, curl my legs up under me and write for hours. I always write with pencil and do lots of erasing throughout the process.

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Q: What’s your favorite classic movie?

The Nightmare Before Christmas by Tim Burton is my favorite movie. I adore how the character Jack, who lives in Halloween Town, enters Christmas Town and is amazed to see everything completely brand new and different. His ecstatic refrain, “What’s this?” builds as he sees everything for the very first time and it reminds me that this is the way children view the world.

Q: If you could have any animal as a pet (current or extinct), what would it be?

I love animals of all sorts but I could not get along without a dog.

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Q: Milk, dark, or white chocolate?

Yes, yes, and yes please . . .

Q: What’s your favorite holiday?

Halloween is my favorite holiday because it gives everyone the opportunity to live out a little fantasy. Fall, candy, glowing jack o’ lanterns, laughter, and excitement—a recipe for fun!

Q: What’s your favorite emoji? OR What’s your favorite GIF?

I don’t really like them. They’re generic images that take the place of using words to describe how you feel.

Q: What did you want to grow up to be?

I grew up with a pencil in my hand, always drawing or writing little poems. I had no idea that a career in picture books would be something that I could achieve.

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Nancy Cote’s books for Sky Pony Press:

9781620879917-frontcoverDixie Wants an Allergy by Tori Corn, illustrated by Nancy Cote

It’s Dixie’s first day of school, and some of her classmates are sharing details about their various allergies. Bridget tells of her wheat allergy and how she gets to order a special meal from restaurants. Dixie thinks that must be a really special meal! And Charlie had to be rushed to the hospital in an ambulance once due to his dairy allergy. Dixie thinks that must have been thrilling! Even Hannah gets to wear a fashionable bracelet due to her peanut allergy. Dixie races home and begins to eagerly search for the slightest sign of an allergy. After many failed attempts, Dixie discovers that she is allergic to something after all. But is getting what you wish for actually as exciting as it once appeared?

Watch the Cookie by Nancy Cote

9781629146300-frontcoverSam and Mousey are best friends, and Mousey is always looking up to Sam and following his lead. They do everything together and share everything, too. So when Sam surprises Mousey with a big chocolate chip cookie, they can’t wait to split it. Unfortunately, Sam really has to go and he has to go NOW! “Watch the cookie. I’ll be right back,” he tells Mousey. Mousey diligently watches the cookie, but it turns out that he isn’t the only one. Pigeons come pecking and ants come marching. Mousey does his best to shoo them away, but it’s only when he yells in his loudest voice that he can scare them off. Just when Mousey thinks he has saved the cookie, a hungry cat appears—and this cat isn’t hungry for a cookie.

Puddle Jumpers by Anne Margaret Lewis, illustrated by Nancy Cote

9781634501859-frontcoverIt’s a rainy day in the month of May and Sam spots a rainbow, and then a puddle. A perfect spring puddle. His mother warns, “No! No jumping in puddles! You must keep clean today!” but Sam can’t stop himself from testing the water with his galoshes. And then the puddle invites him to play. The puddle whispers, “Jump, Puddle Jumper, jump!” and with that very first jump, Sam is off on an adventure of the imagination. He’ll be a frog in a pond, with a hat and some spots and a magic wand. He’ll be a crocodile with pink polka dots and teeth like blades, and a polar bear with purple polar hair. He’s going to jump, leap, dance, plunge, swim, and jump again. Sam is having so much fun in his puddle that even Mom can’t resist. With a leap and a thwump, she’s jumping too, cheering, “Jump, Puddle Jumper, jump!”

9781634502023-frontcoverWatch the Birdie by Nancy Cote

Mousey was watching a baby bird when it fell from its nest. The baby bird is okay, but she can’t fly yet! So how will she get back up the tree to safety? Mousey may be too small to get the baby bird back up by himself, but maybe he can find somebody else who can! Maybe a frog can jump high enough. Or maybe a bunny can hop far enough. Maybe a snail will be able to crawl his way up the tree . . .

Will Mousey be able to save the baby bird? Or will the hungry cat get in the way of Mousey’s valiant attempts? Sometimes it’s just the size of your heart that really counts.

Coming Fall 2016:

Leonard’s Beard by Nancy Cote

9781510707962-frontcoverLeonard is a writer with many stories to tell. In his house on a hill, with his dogs and his frog, he writes stories of adventures and excitement. He is so consumed with his stories, though, that he loses touch with all of his friends and feels very lonely.

Each day Leonard’s beard grows longer and longer, and more wild and untamed, as he fills up pages and pages of stories. His life becomes dull and much less exciting as he focuses too much on his writing. Leonard is so busy that he doesn’t notice a storm is brewing until the wind shakes the windows, the roof, and the floor and a strong gust knocks off his door. Once the storm passes, Leonard discovers just how out of control his beard has gotten. He finds strange things that have gotten stuck in there, including a mouse, a bird, and some apples. As Leonard removes the items from his beard, he comes to realize that being consumed with writing adventures has prevented him from having his own.

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Nine Egg-cellent Facts about Eggs!

Easter is just around the corner. On Sunday, there will be plenty of eggs hidden around gardens and backyards and little hands and feet running off in search of them. In honor of the holiday we recommend that you check out one of our favorite egg-related picture books, Hattie Peck by Emma Levey. And don’t forget to read the nine egg-cellent facts about eggs that Julie put together below!


 

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Poor Hattie Peck simply loves eggs, but she has only ever laid one egg—and it never hatched. Eggs are all she thinks about, all she dreams about. No egg is too big; no egg is too small. So if she can’t lay another egg, she’s going to have to go out into the world to find one.

Hattie embarks on a journey in search of all the abandoned eggs. She dives to the deepest depths of vast oceans. She soars over gigantic cities and climbs up mountains towering above the clouds. Through gloomy dark caves, deep below the ground, Hattie searches. And she doesn’t find just one egg. There are so many abandoned eggs, just waiting for her to find them!

With her newly gathered eggs in tow, Hattie Peck returns home. Sitting on so many eggs at once is quite the task, but Hattie doesn’t mind. Days and weeks pass, until one day, finally, there’s a Crack! Scratch! Tap! But what will happen when all those eggs hatch together?


 

Nine Egg-cellent Facts about Eggs!

1.       Spin an egg to see if it’s hardboiled or raw. If it spins easily, it’s hardboiled! If it wobbles, it’s raw!

2.       On average, a hen will lay more than 250 eggs each year!

3.       Did you know that sharks also lay eggs?

4.       It’s possible that dinosaur dads were the ones to help hatch the mom’s eggs by sitting on the nest!

5.       Only five mammals lay eggs: the duck-billed platypus and four types of spiny anteaters, or echidna!

6.       Hens sometimes sing an “egg song” before laying an egg.

7.       An emu’s egg takes 58 days (or almost 2 months) to hatch. A chicken’s egg only takes 21 days (or 3 weeks).

8.       Ostriches lay the largest eggs of any land animal. But whale sharks lay the largest eggs in the world!

9.       Hummingbird eggs are the size of a jelly bean.

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Leprechaun Mischief

Happy St. Patrick’s Day! To celebrate, the author of an upcoming book has some advice on how to keep an eye out for mischievous leprechauns today. How to Trap a Leprechaun by Sue Fliess hits bookshelves February 2017! Check out Sue Fliess’s leprechaun preparedness tips below!

Do you think you have what it takes to trap a leprechaun? If so, you’d better get ready to deal with some elven mischief! Be on the lookout for some of these spritely ways leprechauns can cause mayhem:

• They steal things that are sparkly, shiny, or glimmering. Better lock up your jewels and coins!

• They hide your things. Could you swear you put your pencil on the desk? Thought you left your hairbrush next to the sink? You probably did—but a leprechaun has probably hidden them from you!

• Leprechauns make messes and don’t clean them up—and then they make it look like you did it. From unraveling the toilet paper to squirting out the toothpaste into the sink, you’d better tell Mom or Dad now that you had nothing to do with it!

• They disappear when you take your eyes off of them. If you’re lucky enough to spot a leprechaun, keep a close eye on him or POOF! he’ll be gone!

• They break things. Time to keep your latest prized LEGO construction out of reach or it may be in tiny pieces by morning!

• They move your belongings. You might find your brother’s shoes in your room. Or your coloring books in your dog’s bed. Silly leprechauns!

• A leprechaun will lead you to nowhere. He may tell you he’s leading you to a pot of gold, but don’t be fooled! He wants the gold for himself and he’s willing to send you off in the other direction to protect it.


How to Trap a Leprechaun by Sue Fliess

9781510706705-frontcoverLegend has it that if you catch a leprechaun, he’ll grant you a wish. But, be careful! Leprechauns are full of trickery. To catch one, you’ll need to be clever in crafting your trap. Grab some glitter and glue and get prepared for your wily holiday visitors!

On the night before St. Patrick’s Day, leprechauns show up to steal your treasures and then disappear as quickly as they came. However, if you’re careful you might be able to catch one and then he’ll grant you a wish. You’ll have to be sneaky and set just the right trap to trap a leprechaun.

Sue Fliess’s read-aloud text and Emma Randall’s whimsical illustrations will provide much fun for young readers eager to catch their very own leprechaun! But beware: leprechauns may leave you with nothing but a cardboard box and a shoe or two.

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Beyond the Book: Catherine Bailey on Hypnosis

Hypnosis Harry author, Catherine Bailey, is an expert on the subject of hypnosis. She wrote a book on it, after all. Catherine has put together some activities for you to take hypnosis to the classroom or bring it into your own home. Check out the discussion questions, coloring sheets, and activity page below!


BEYOND THE BOOK:

IDEAS FOR USING HYPNOSIS HARRY IN THE CLASSROOM AND AT HOME

Thank you for allowing me to write a guest post for your blog, Sky Pony. Oh sure technically I hypnotized you into letting me do it, but thanks all the same.

I am excited to share some fun ways to expand on Hypnosis Harry—either at school in the classroom, or at home in your playroom. So look deep into your screen, and read on.

Discussion Questions

Right versus wrong, consequences both good and bad, the ins and outs of dealing with family—Hypnosis Harry addresses all of these concepts. Young readers can be encouraged to explore these ideas through the following discussion questions.

(1) What are some things that Harry’s parents say no to, before they are hypnotized?

(2) Why do they say no to these things?

(3) Why do you think Harry thinks they are saying no?

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(4) What are some things your parents say no to?

(5) If your parents had to say yes/could not say no, what kinds of things would you do?

(6) What makes Harry change his mind and undo the hypnosis?

(7) Do you think Harry’s parents will be mad at him when they stop being hypnotized?

(8) What do you think Harry’s sister will do/ is doing with the watch?

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(9) If you could hypnotize anyone, who would it be?

(10) Do you think Harry will hypnotize anyone again?

Hypnosis Harry coloring sheet:

Hypnosis Harry coloring sheet:

Hypnosis Harry activity sheet:


 

Hypnosis Harry by Catherine Bailey, illustrated by Sarita Rich

9781634501712-frontcoverNo pajamas at the park. No toys in the toaster. Harry’s parents say no to everything! That is, until Harry learns about hypnosis.

With a little practice, and Grandpa’s watch, Harry puts his parents in a trance and envisions a future full of fun and yes’s!

Comic books by the crate, night-vision goggles for his teddy bear, a pet monkey (or two)—no request is too big or too bizarre. Harry loves his new freedom and, not to mention, all that bacon. So what if his robot goes rogue and playmates are hard to find? But when his ninja moves result in a playground pile-up, Harry starts to wonder if he really wants his every wish granted.

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Sky Pony Presents: Shadow Puppets

In honor of the release of My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Sara Sanchez assistant managing editor, Sam Levitz, and editorial assistant, Kylie Brien,  decided to learn how to make some shadow puppets. Check out their attempts below!


My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Sara Sanchez

9781634501781-frontcoverInside, outside, climbing up the stairs, or jumping into bed, your shadow may be following you! He may even be one step ahead as you run down the street! Complete with a cast of the whole family, a cat, a dog, and a teddy, this story is for everyone. Little ones who are just discovering their shadows for the first time will find inspiration between these pages, while older, more experienced kids are sure to learn new ways to play with their shadows. Get ready to laugh and giggle and then find the nearest light source and try out some shadows of your own!

Sara Sanchez has created soft and inviting illustrations to creatively interpret Robert Louis Stevenson’s original lines from the poem “My Shadow,” which was originally published in his classic for children, A Child’s Garden of Verses. Sanchez’s pictures are filled with humor and help propel this timeless poem into the twenty-first century. My Shadow is sure to become a bedtime favorite for the whole family.

For children ages 3 to 6, this is a wonderful read aloud as well as a quiet bedtime story. Parents and teacher will love exposing children to one of the classic authors in children’s literature through this simple and often humorous poem. The first time this poem has been illustrated since the 1990s.

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Sky Pony Books for March!

Here’s a list of the Sky Pony titles you can look forward to this month!


 

March 1, 2016:

Hypnosis Harry by Catherine Bailey, illustrated by Sarita Rich

9781634501712-frontcoverNo pajamas at the park. No toys in the toaster. Harry’s parents say no to everything! That is, until Harry learns about hypnosis.

With a little practice, and Grandpa’s watch, Harry puts his parents in a trance and envisions a future full of fun and yes’s!

Comic books by the crate, night-vision goggles for his teddy bear, a pet monkey (or two)—no request is too big or too bizarre. Harry loves his new freedom and, not to mention, all that bacon. So what if his robot goes rogue and playmates are hard to find? But when his ninja moves result in a playground pile-up, Harry starts to wonder if he really wants his every wish granted.

Hypnosis Harry is a wildly funny, sweetly silly look at the real meaning of the word no. Children will delight as little Harry answers the delicious question: What would you do if you could do anything? This charming romp is perfectly captured in the lively, layered illustrations of Sarita Rich. Each read reveals clever new details, making this the perfect reread for parent and child.

Beyond the Red by Ava Jae

9781634506441-frontcoverAlien queen Kora has a problem as vast as the endless crimson deserts. She’s the first female ruler of her territory in generations, but her people are rioting and call for her violent younger twin brother to take the throne. Despite assassination attempts, a mounting uprising of nomadic human rebels, and pressure to find a mate to help her rule, she’s determined to protect her people from her brother’s would-be tyrannical rule.

Eros is a rebel soldier hated by aliens and human alike for being a half-blood. Yet that doesn’t stop him from defending his people, at least until Kora’s soldiers raze his camp and take him captive. He’s given an ultimatum: be an enslaved bodyguard to Kora, or be executed for his true identity—a secret kept even from him.

When Kora and Eros are framed for the attempted assassination of her betrothed, they flee. Their only chance of survival is to turn themselves in to the high court, where revealing Eros’s secret could mean a swift public execution. But when they uncover a violent plot to end the human insurgency, they must find a way to work together to prevent genocide.

Hacks for Minecrafters: Mods by Megan Miller

9781510705937-frontcoverMinecraft was designed to allow other people to modify it. And while there are several successful game guides on the market already, this book is the first unofficial “hacker’s” super-guide dedicated to adding mods (modifications) to your Minecraft game.

Mods add content to the game to alter gameplay, changing the creative feel of the game or giving the players more options for how they interact within the Minecraft world. Mods can make your game run faster, they can add new mobs, mechanics, and quests, and even entirely new dimensions to play in. Change the rules of your world with each mod you add—anything is fair game! This book explores today’s range of modded Minecraft play, from the must-haves to the fanciful—from utilities like Inventory Tweaks and JourneyMap, to full-fledged gameplay extensions and modpacks, like Thaumcraft, Twilight Forest, and Agrarian Skies.

Written for seven- to twelve-year-old Minecrafters this is the ultimate guide on Minecraft mods—keep your game new and exciting with all these expert tips and tricks.

The Unofficial Holy Bible for Minecrafters: Old Testament by Garett Romines and Christopher Miko

9781510702257-frontcoverMinecraft has swept the world by storm. More than one hundred million games have been sold. Parents of children who play Minecraft will love this fun, educational collection of Bible stories. With the world of Minecraft as a backdrop using vivid, full-color screenshots, children will experience the Bible as never before.

Authors Garrett Romines and Christopher Miko are teachers who have used Minecraft to create imaginative worlds in their classrooms. Now, they have created Bible stories with virtual blocks to produce vibrant, 3-D worlds filled with adventure and astonishing imagination.

 

 

March 8, 2016:

The Almost Girl by Amalie Howard

9781510701717-frontcoverSeventeen-year-old Riven comes from a world parallel to Earth, a world that has been ravaged by a devastating android war. As a Legion General, she is the right hand of Prince Cale, the young Prince of Neospes. In her world, she’s had everything: rank, responsibility, and respect. But when Prince Cale sends her away to rescue his long-lost brother, Caden, who has been spirited to modern day Earth, Riven finds herself in uncharted territory.

Armed with the mindset of a soldier and racing against time to bring Caden home, Riven must learn how to blend in as a girl in a realm that is the opposite of all she’s ever known. Will she be able to find the strength to defy her very nature? Or will she become the monstrous soldier she was designed to be?

 

Welcome to Camp Pikachu by Alex Polan

Welcome to Camp Pikachu_coverWelcome to Camp Pikachu, where kids can act out adventures from their favorite Pokémon games and cartoons, battling other teams to earn points ans badges and, if they’re lucky, make it into the Summer Camp Hall of Fame! During their first week at Camp Pikachu, Marco and his friends on Team Treecko find the perfect secret base: a tree house straight out of Fortree City. They proudly post their team flag out front. But during a game of capture the flag, someone vandalizes their base. Who did it?

Marco thinks he knows: Team Fennekin, led by Stella and her brother, Sam. Sam is always up to no good. And his big sister is as mean as Meowth, the cat that prowls the camp. During the next round of capture the flag, Team Treecko bands together and tries every Pokémon trick they know. Logan makes mud balls and Pitfall Mats. Nisha creates a catapult inspired by Clemont. And Maddy? Well, she’d help, too, if she weren’t so busy making Poké Puffs.

Just as Pokémon can Mega Evolve with Mega Stones, can a bully change his ways? Team Treecko is about to find out!

Zombie Invasion by Winter Morgan

9781510705944-frontcoverOne fateful day, Lucy is invited to study at the prestigious Overworld Academy. The Academy offers her the opportunity to learn all of the secrets of the Overworld—and it’s an opportunity she can’t miss. She’s sad to leave behind her friends Henry and Max, but it’s time for her to have an adventure on her own. At Overworld Academy, she meets two new friends, Jane and Phoebe. Jane is an expert fighter, and Phoebe is a talented alchemist. With Lucy’s own knack for treasure hunting, the trio makes an incredible team. And when the school is attacked by zombies, the three girls are going to have their skills put to the test.

Together they prove that they can take on almost anything, but when Lucy overhears the school headmaster conspiring to take over the Overworld, Jane and Phoebe don’t believe her. As a newbie at the academy, Lucy hasn’t gained their trust yet. Her new friends turn against her and she gets kicked out of school. When she goes back home to get help from Henry and Max, she’s shocked at what she finds waiting for her in town. Will Lucy and her friends be able to work together to fight the evil rising in their world?

This is the first book in a new three-book series spin-off of the original Unofficial Gamer’s Adventure series with its bestselling book, Quest for the Diamond Sword. Fans of Minecraft won’t want to miss this new adventure.

The Phantom Virus by Mark Cheverton

9781510706835-frontcoverHerobrine, the artificially intelligent virus, was deleted. The computer it resided in was completely destroyed. Without their leader, the few survivors of its evil army were cast away into the shadows. It looked as if there would finally be peace and happiness throughout the servers of Minecraft.

But suddenly, and mysteriously, software began misbehaving. Sheep fell from the sky. Snowballs appeared out of nowhere. What seemed at first like harmless glitches quickly became dangerous. Pigs begin walking backwards, it starts to snow in the middle of the desert, and sheep are falling from the sky.

Gameknight999, the User-that-is-not-a-user, has no choice but to investigate. But the odd yet harmless pranks are turning deadly, and it’s not long before entire villages are completely destroyed. Examining the arrogant clues, Gameknight is no longer so sure that Herobrine was destroyed after all. Is it possible he escaped? Everything points towards a deadly trap far worse than anything that Minecraft has seen before. Will Gameknight solve the puzzle before the Overworld is destroyed?

 

March 15, 2016:

My Shadow by Robert Louis Stevenson, illustrated by Sara Sanchez

9781634501781-frontcoverInside, outside, climbing up the stairs, or jumping into bed, your shadow may be following you! He may even be one step ahead as you run down the street! Complete with a cast of the whole family, a cat, a dog, and a teddy, this story is for everyone. Little ones who are just discovering their shadows for the first time will find inspiration between these pages, while older, more experienced kids are sure to learn new ways to play with their shadows. Get ready to laugh and giggle and then find the nearest light source and try out some shadows of your own!

Sara Sanchez has created soft and inviting illustrations to creatively interpret Robert Louis Stevenson’s original lines from the poem “My Shadow,” which was originally published in his classic for children, A Child’s Garden of Verses. Sanchez’s pictures are filled with humor and help propel this timeless poem into the twenty-first century. My Shadow is sure to become a bedtime favorite for the whole family.

Hattie Peck by Emma Levy

9781634501705-frontcoverPoor Hattie Peck simply loves eggs, but she has only ever laid one egg—and it never hatched. Eggs are all she thinks about, all she dreams about. No egg is too big; no egg is too small. So if she can’t lay another egg, she’s going to have to go out into the world to find one.

Hattie embarks on a journey in search of all the abandoned eggs. She dives to the deepest depths of vast oceans. She soars over gigantic cities and climbs up mountains towering above the clouds. Through gloomy dark caves, deep below the ground, Hattie searches. And she doesn’t find just one egg. There are so many abandoned eggs, just waiting for her to find them!

With her newly gathered eggs in tow, Hattie Peck returns home. Sitting on so many eggs at once is quite the task, but Hattie doesn’t mind. Days and weeks pass, until one day, finally, there’s a Crack! Scratch! Tap! But what will happen when all those eggs hatch together?

Divah by Susannah Appelbaum

Divah 9781634506748Seventeen-year-old Itzy Nash is spending the summer at the exclusive Carlyle hotel in New York City. But the hotel harbors more than the rich and privileged; it is host to a gorgeous fallen angel, reclusive movie stars, and—Itzy soon learns—demons of the worst sort. When the Queen of the Damned checks in, all Hell breaks loose. Itzy is called upon to save herself—and all of humanity—from the ravages of the Underworld. There’s only one problem: Itzy’s possessed.

Part gothic thriller, part historical fiction, the novel straddles the Upper East Side and the lush trappings of the Carlyle hotel, and Paris during the Reign of Terror in 1789. Marie Antoinette is the Queen of the Damned. Marilyn Monroe is an expert demon hunter. To kill a demon, Hermès scarves, Evian water, and a guillotine are the weapons of choice.

For anyone who loved Daughter of Smoke and Bone, this has an epic battle between angels and demons with a doomed love story at its core. But it’s also darkly funny, for fans of Hold Me Closer, Necromancer, and more than anything it’s something original—dark, funny, clever, and glamorous.

The ORVIS Kids’ Guide to Fly Fishing by Tyler Befus

9781634503389-frontcoverKids can fly fish, too! Fifteen-year-old Tyler Befus loves to fly fish. He has won awards and traveled all over the world to fish in different places. In this guide, Tyler shows that any kid can learn to fly fish. Discover fascinating information about where fish live and what fish eat, and learn tips about what equipment you’ll need, casting techniques, and much, much more to get you started on your own fly-fishing adventure. Fly fishing is an awesome way to spend time outdoors with your family, and with this book, any kid can become an expert!

The ORVIS Kids’ Guide to Beginning Fly Fishing is filled with a personal collection of photos and drawings done by Tyler himself. Because it has been written by an actual kid, this fully revised and updated book is a one-of-a-kind guide that kids can understand and easily learn from. Filled with all kinds of great tips and tricks, this is a valuable resource for any kid who wants to know more about fishing. After all, fly fishing isn’t just for the adults!

For fishing enthusiasts ages 8 and up, this is the perfect first stop shop for learning all you can about fly fishing. The pefect gift for those who love to fish and want to teach younger kids the skills behind fly fishing or for that kid who just loves reading about the outdoors.

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Ged Adamson

It’s no secret around this blog how much we love our mascot, Winston Sparkles. Winston pranced into existence from the imagination of author/illustrator, Ged Adamson and straight into our hearts.

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However, Winston Sparkles isn’t the only illustration Ged Adamson has to share with the world. You can check out his website to see what else Ged has running around his imagination. 

You can also check out two books that Ged wrote and illustrated for Sky Pony below.


Elsie Clarke and the Vampire Hairdresser

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Elsie hates getting her haircut. There’s absolutely nothing more terrifying for her. “They squirt you and they pull and they snip!” she cries in her most horribly loud voice. “I’m never going again. EVER!”

But after some coercion from her parents, Elsie reluctantly tries a new hairdresser named Boris Lazzario. Almost immediately, Boris is eager to cut her hair, but then learns of her fear. Reassuringly, Boris explains that his father, Count Lazzario, also dreads haircuts and is unhappy by Boris’s profession Boris. When confronted with the mean Count Lazzario, Elsie learns that she must be brave, in the end, both she and the count learn that haircuts are not so scary after all.

Meet the McKaws

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Captain Stan and Tiny McKaw are rough-and-tumble pirates. Whether it’s searching for treasure or battling on the high seas, this adventurous duo is up for anything. But then Tiny’s parents come to visit. Suddenly, the big pirate ship starts to feel very small. Mrs. McKaw is always nagging—even in her sleep! Mr. McKaw insists on telling endless stories. And they both make the cook cry when they insult his food! After they stick Tiny in a very un-pirate-like suit and tie, Captain Stan has had enough. “Get off my ship!” he orders. Only moments later, though, a massive storm envelops the boat. Will the McKaws forgive Stan’s outburst and help to save the ship and crew?

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