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A dynamic and hilarious new hero for early middle-grade. Andrew "Danger" North is no ordinary third-grader. He, his brother, Jack, and his father are spies. That is what Jack has always told him, and everything Andrew has learned from his dad's favorite spy movies tells him it must be true. When Andrew comes across his brother's graphing calculator, he's sure it's a communication device that will put him in touch with the secret spy headquarters. But instead of punching in a greeting to the spy society, Andrew accidentally punches in a code that might blow up the world! And if that isn't bad enough, his math teacher then confiscates the top secret communication device and takes it to the mysterious Storage Room B. Now Andrew is on a spy mission to find his brother's communicator and save the world from mass destruction. Will he be able to save the world? From the Hardcover edition.
Jennifer Van Der Berg would like you to know that the book ostensibly written about her--Born to Be Extraordinary by Eileen Codlin--is a bunch of bunk. Yes, she had a fairy godparent mess with her life, but no, she was not made into a princess or given the gift of self-confidence, and she sure as hell didn't get a hot boyfriend out of it. Here's the REAL scoop . . .From the Hardcover edition.
Flickering Empire: How Chicago Invented the U.S. Film Industry tells the fascinating but too little known story of how Chicago served as the unlikely capital of film production in America in the years prior to the rise of Hollywood (1907--1913). As entertaining as it is informative, the book straddles the worlds of academia and popular non-fiction alike in its vivid illustration of the rise and fall of the major Chicago movie studios in the mid-silent era (principally Essanay and Selig Polyscope). Colorful, larger-than-life historical figures like Thomas Edison, Charlie Chaplin, Oscar Micheaux and Orson Welles are major players in Flickering Empire -- in addition to important but forgotten industry giants like 'Colonel' William Selig, George Spoor and Gilbert 'Broncho Billy' Anderson.
It all starts with an assignment. Leon's "gifted and talented" class has to make educational videos for the sixth and seventh graders. Leon originally chooses "sex ed" as his subject in the hopes of showing a flash of boob. But as time goes on, his project starts to mean something. He wants to tell the younger kids that puberty is tough, but what they're going through is normal. After researching the avant-garde movement, Leon crafts his video in the style of Fellini:La Dolce Pubert. It's deeply disturbing yet comforting. But when the gifted program's director sees it, she suspends Leon--and he finds himself at the center of a townwide debate over censorship. Who gets to decide how far is too far? From the Hardcover edition.
Algonquin "Ali" Rhodes, the high school newspaper's music critic, meets an intriguing singer, Doug, while reviewing a gig. He's a weird-looking guy--goth, but he seems sincere about it, like maybe he was into it back before it was cool. She introduces herself after the set, asking if he lives in Cornersville, and he replies, in his slow, quiet murmur, "Well, I don't really live there, exactly. . . . " When Ali and Doug start dating, Ali is falling so hard she doesn't notice a few odd signs: he never changes clothes, his head is a funny shape, and he says practically nothing out loud. Finally Marie, the school paper's fashion editor, points out the obvious: Doug isn't just a really sincere goth. He's a zombie. Horrified that her feelings could have allowed her to overlook such a flaw, Ali breaks up with Doug, but learns that zombies are awfully hard to get rid of--at the same time she learns that vampires, a group as tightly-knit as the mafia, don't think much of music critics who make fun of vampires in reviews. . . .
COME SPELLING BEE season, the tiny town of Preston erupts in excitement: the bee is televised, and the hottest ticket in town. This year, an assortment of sixth-grade miscreants is going for the top prize: Jennifer, an overscheduled free spirit whose parents are obsessed with her college applications; Mutual, a previously home-schooled outsider who's enrolled in public school for the first time in order to participate in the bee; Harlan, the class clown who has spectacular plans for making the most of his time in the spotlight; and Chrissie, the constant observer, who suspects something is off at the bee and will stop at nothing to get to the truth. Principal Floren is acting shady to everyone--but, as he insists, "I am not a crook. " From the Hardcover edition.
Come spelling bee season, the tiny town of Preston erupts in excitement: the bee is televised, and is the hottest ticket in town. This year, an assortment of sixth-grade miscreants is going for the top prize: Jennifer, an over scheduled free spirit whose parents are obsessed with her college applications; Mutual, a previously home-schooled outsider who's enrolled in public school for the first time in order to participate in the bee; Harlan, the class clown who has spectacular plans for making the most of his time in the spotlight; and Chrissie, the constant observer, who suspects something is off at the bee and will stop at nothing to get to the truth. Principal Floren is acting shady to everyone--but, as he insists, "I am not a crook. "
Leon and his miscreant buddies from the gifted pool are mad as hell, and they're not going to take it anymore! Their favorite downtown coffeeshop, Sip-the only survivor in the barren moonscape of decrepit Old Downtown-is in danger of being run out of business by the ubiquitous and oh-so-corporate coffee chain, Wackford's. Wackford's doesn't host readings or smell funky or support the arts the way Sip does-it's basically a glorified office. With the help of the Wackford's manager-a self-described "McHobo" who's worked for every chain along the strip-Leon and his friends decide to protest by taking over the Wackford's and making it into a middle-management office. Meanwhile, Leon deals with an unwanted crush, a Mohawked father, and his friend Dustin's ongoing quest to take down the gym teacher via depressing poems. Nothing quite goes as expected, but that's the great thing about life in the gifted pool. From the Hardcover edition.
A committed slacker enlists the help of his best friend (who may or may not be the devil) to get his act together in this novel filled with humor, awkwardness, and honesty, ideal for fans of The Perks of Being a Wallflower.Leon Harris isn't exceptional and he isn't popular. He's the kind of guy that peaked in middle school, when once upon a time he was in the "gifted" program and on the fast track to Ivy League glory. Now, a high school senior, he's a complete slacker who spends his time hanging out in a third-rate ice cream parlor with his best friend, Stan, a guy who (jokingly, Leon thinks) claims to be Satan. Committed to his sloth, Leon panics when he finds out that Anna, the love of his life aka middle school girlfriend, might be moving back to town. Determined to get his act together, Leon asks Stan for help. Stan gives him a few seemingly random and mysterious assignments. Date a popular girl. Listen to Moby-Dick, the audiobook. Find the elusive white grape slushee. Join the yearbook committee. As each task brings Leon one step away from slacker city and one step closer to Anna, he starts to wonder if maybe he shouldn't have promised Stan his soul after all...
Do you know America? No, I mean, do you REALLY know America? Would you recognize John Adams in a lineup? Can you identify any presidents between Lincoln and Roosevelt? Hmmm. I thought so. Well, youreallyneed this book. Not only will it improve your sorry historical knowledge, it will crack you up, and give you material to throw your teachers off-balance for entire class periods. Identify their lies! Point out their half-truths! And possibly, just possibly, gain some extra credit for yourself. From the Trade Paperback edition.
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