The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw Blog Tour: Character Introduction & Giveaway

Thank you Walden Pond Press and Christopher Healy for allowing to once again be a part of The Hero's Guide Blog Tour.  I am frequently placing this book series in the hands of teachers and students, and hand-selling it at my local indie bookstore.  So, of course, when I was asked to participate I had to say "yes".

by Christopher Healy
Audience: 9 to 13 year olds
Fiction * Fantasy * Adventure
Walden Pond Press
April 29, 2014

About the book:
Prince Liam. Prince Frederic. Prince Duncan. Prince Gustav. You think you know those guys pretty well by now, don’t you? Well, think again. The Princes Charming, along with Ella, Snow, Rapunzel, and Princess Lila are caught and arrested for the murder of Briar Rose. The heroes are simultaneously shocked and sad to hear of this news. But a series of suspicious events leads them to believe that not only is Briar still alive, but some unseen evil is working its way into the throne rooms of all thirteen kingdoms. It’s up to the League to break out of prison, find Briar, and uncover the nefarious plot before the entire country is destroyed.

This year I am introducing:

7. Erik the Mauve

Occupation: Bounty Hunter
Affiliation: Gang Greenfang
Kingdom of Origin: Jangleheim
Current Residence: A mongoose farm on the shores of Lake Stoutness
Father: Erik the Beast-Master (stage name)
Known Partners: Greenfang, Periwinkle Pete, Orangebeard, Corin Silversword, Norin Black-Ax
Longtime Rival: Dorcus the Red, the bounty hunter who took the name-color Erik was hoping to use
Likes: Bullwhips; trivia night at the Skewered Seahorse; giant mongeese
Dislikes: Fleas; bugbears; people who say “mongooses”
Signature Move: The Growl-and-Pounce Giant Mongoose
Attack Quote: “Oh, I ain’t gonna hurt you. The mongeese, though? Well, I can’t speak for them.”
Little Known Fact: Erik’s father was once a mongoose trainer for the Flimsham Brothers Circus. He was fired after an unfortunate incident that resulted in the final performance of Flimsham’s resident snake charmer.

Check out the book trailer:

About the author:
Christopher Healy is the author of The Hero’s Guide to Saving Your Kingdom, which the New York Times selected as one of its best books of the year, calling it “charming—a quest that recalls at moments the Musketeers and at others the Marxes”; as well as its sequel, The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle, which Publishers Weekly hailed as “uproariously funny” in a starred review. He is also a reviewer of children’s media. Chris lives with his wife and two children in New Jersey. You can find him online at

Check out the Hero's Guide to Being a Blog Tour 

5/1 - The Book Rat
5/5 – Icey Books
5/8 - The Book Rat
5/16 - KidLit Frenzy
5/19 - Mundie Kids
5/23 - Novel Novice
5/26 - Mundie Kids
5/28 - Small Review
5/30 - The Haunting of Orchid Forsythia


Don't forget to enter the giveaway for a chance to win a signed copy of The Hero's Guide to Being an Outlaw (The League of Princes #3). Thank you Walden Pond Press for sponsoring the giveaway.

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The Dyerville Tales Blog Tour & Giveaway

In 2011, M. P. Kozlowsky released his debut novel, Juniper Berry.  I was excited to be able to participate in the blog tour and giveaway for his second book.  Thank you Walden Pond Press for organizing the tour and providing a signed hardcover of The Dyerville Tales for one lucky reader.

by M. P. Kozlowsky
Illustrations by Brian Thompson
Walden Pond Press (April 22, 2014)

Description of Dyerville Tales from the Publisher:
Neil Gaiman’s Coraline meets Anne Ursu’s Breadcrumbs in M. P. Kozlowsky’s The Dyerville Tales, a powerfully imaginative middle-grade novel that blurs the line between fantasy and reality, from the author of Juniper Berry.

Vince Elgin is an orphan, having lost his mother and father in a fire when he was young. With only a senile grandfather he barely knows to call family, Vince was interned in a group home, dreaming that his father, whose body was never found, might one day return for him. When a letter arrives telling Vince his grandfather has passed away, he is convinced that if his father is still alive, he’ll find him at the funeral. He strikes out for the small town of Dyerville carrying only one thing with him: his grandfather’s journal. The journal tells a fantastical story of witches and giants and magic, one that can’t be true. But as Vince reads on, he finds that his very real adventure may have more in common with his grandfather’s than he ever could have known.

Its unique voice and ability to combine creepiness with great story and character development make The Dyerville Tales a real standout middle-grade novel.

My thoughts on the book:
In the above description, The Dyerville Tales are compared to Coraline meets Breadcrumbs. However, it feels more like a modern twist on Grimm.  Two Vincents, the grandfather Vincent whose stories are told as tales, and the young Vincent who sets out to his grandfather's funeral and a journey to hopefully see his father again, find themselves on nearly parallel adventures to find hope and family. They are each pursued by a different nemesis and each must find their own way with the help of unlikely friends.

Kozlowsky spins together this complex tale filled very real characters whose lives are intertwined through curses and magic, and an old crone, a giant, a gnome, a talking horse and more.  The language in the story is beautiful and rich and provides a just right tone for this style of storytelling.

As you go on this journey with Vince and Vincent, you grow fond of the two heroes. You want to see them succeed and find yourself turning pages just to see what will happen next and will they find what they are searching for. However, I will caution that because of how the two tales are intertwined it does become a bit complex at times and a bit confusing.  There were a few spaces where I needed to re-read a passage to make sure that I did not over look an important detail that I would need later in the story.  When I arrived at the ending, I was a bit surprised and could not help speculating about whether another book would follow.

Students who enjoy scary tales will find a new favorite in this novel.  I suspect that they will also appreciate a number of the scenes in this book as well as the way Kozlowsky spins his tale.   
Illustration by Brian Thompson

Look for The Dyerville Tales by M. P. Kozlowsky at your local library or indie bookstore.

More about the author: M. P. Kozlowsky is also the author of Juniper Berry. A former schoolteacher, he lives in New York City with his wife and daughter. Visit him online at

Don't forget to check out all of the stops on the blog tour:

4/29 - KidLit Frenzy
4/30 - Mundie Moms
5/3 - The Book Rat
5/5 - Mundie Moms
5/7 - Small Review
5/8 - Novel Novice
5/14 - The Hiding Spot

Thanks to Walden Pond Press, one lucky reader (with a US mailing address) has the chance to win a signed hardcover copy of The Dyerville Tale.   Please complete the Rafflecopter below to enter the giveaway: 

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Hero's Guide Blog Tour

The Hero's Guide returns with The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle.  Christopher Healy has brought back your favorite Prince Charmings for more hilarity and adventure.  Walden Pond Press is celebrating with a blog tour and character profiles.  Today, Kid Lit Frenzy is celebrating Prince Frederic.

Prince Frederic
Occupation: Prince, dancer, gentleman
Affiliation: Founding member, League of Princes
Kingdom of Origin: Harmonia
Current Residence: Royal Palace of Harmonia
Parents: King Wilberforce & Queen Anabeth (deceased)
Longtime Foe: El Stripo (a circus tiger)
Likes: Proper manners, witty wordplay, picnics
Dislikes: Rudeness, poor grammar, dirt in all of its many forms
Signature Move: The Run-and-Hide
Quote: “It looks like she lost one of her glass slippers. Would you be so kind as to have it sanitized?Little Known Fact: Owns three copies of every Sir Bertram the Dainty book (one set organized alphabetically, one chronologically, and one according to the color spectrum)

If you would like to know more about The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle by Christopher Healy, check out the official book trailer.

Don't forget to enter to win:
All readers of this blog have exclusive access to a special giveaway for THE HERO’S GUIDE TO STORMING THE CASTLE. You will need this SECRET CODE to enter: PRINCE CHARMING.
Click here to enter.

WHAT YOU WIN: If you are one of the first three people to enter the giveaway TODAY (5/10/13), you will receive a signed copy of The Hero’s Guide to Storming the Castle. EVERYONE who enters the giveaway from 5/6 to 5/26 is eligible to win a $200 gift card to the bookstore of his or her choice.

Don't forget to check out the Twitter Chat on Fractured Fairy Tales with Christopher Healy (The Hero's Guide) and Marissa Meyer (Cinder/Scarlet) on Monday, June 3rd at 9 p.m. ET.  To join in follow the hashtag #talesretold.  There will be giveaways!

Platypus Police Squad Blog Tour and Artwork Reveal

To celebrate the debut of Jarrett J. Krosoczka's middle grade mystery - Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked - which comes out on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, Walden Pond Press is hosting a Blog Tour featuring exclusive artwork from the book.

From HarperCollins' website:
Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked is the first in a series of zany, action-packed middle-grade mysteries featuring platypus police detectives Rick Zengo and Corey O’Malley.

When a call comes in about a crime down at the docks involving a missing schoolteacher and a duffle bag full of illegal fish, Zengo and O’Malley are going to have to learn to set their differences aside if they want to get to the bottom of this. Especially when the clues all point to Frank Pandini Jr., Kallamazoo’s first son and its most powerful, well-respected businessman.

Fans of Adam Rex, Jon Scieszka, and Jarrett J. Krosoczka’s own Lunch Lady graphic novels will flip for Jarrett’s new series of illustrated middle-grade novels.

Book Description
From the Files of the Platypus Police Squad

Case #1138
Detectives of record: Rick Zengo and Corey O'Malley

Case brief: A local schoolteacher is missing, and the only thing fishier than the circumstances surrounding his disappearance is the smell coming from the bag he left behind. All clues point to billionaire businessman Frank Pandini Jr.—but why would Pandini get his paws into the illegal fish trade?

And now I am excited to reveal several pieces of the finished artwork from Platypus Police Squad:

Zengo's first time with O'Malley in the squad car. 

O'Malley's boys get a ride in the squad car.

Zengo and O'Malley checking out suspects' pictures. 

Zengo outside of the Roar (owned by Pandini).

The new Kal East Football Stadium.

Doesn't this make you want to read the book?  Pick up a copy of Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka at your favorite bookstore, and shop Indie whenever possible.

All artwork copyright © 2013 by Jarrett J. Krosoczka

For more information on author/illustrator, Jarrett J. Krosoczka: website | blog | facebook | twitter

To download the Zengo and O'Malley's Rookie Rules Activity Kit, click here

Join in on the Platypus Police Squad Virtual Launch Party on May 23, 2013 - click here for the link.

Check out the official book trailer for Platypus Police Squad:

Walden Pond Press is providing one lucky reader with a signed copy of Platypus Police Squad.  Enter below for a chance to win a copy:

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Do you have these Walden Pond Press Titles on your To-Read List?

Walden Pond Press (the off-spring of HarperCollins & Walden Media) focuses specifically on Middle Grade novels.  As a result, they have some amazing books.  Here are some upcoming releases.  If you don't have them on your "to-read" list, what are you waiting for.

April 30, 2013

The Hero's Guide to Storming the Castle (The League of Princes #2) by Christopher Healy - The sequel to last year's The Hero's Guide to Saving the Kingdom - this funny, witty twist on fairy tale Prince Charmings is sure to have you laughing. 

Check out the official Book Trailer:

May 7, 2013

Platypus Police Squad: The Frog Who Croaked by Jarrett J. Krosoczka - Mystery, Humor, Great Artwork and something all new from the creator of The Lunch Lady

Check out the official book trailer:

June 25, 2013

Sidekicked by John David Anderson - I just discovered this one and can't wait to read it.  I love this comparison "the Avengers in Middle School..."  I know what I will be reading soon.  Enter to win a copy here.