Book Review – ‘The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe’ middle grade series

Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe

It has been quite a while since I posted a book review, but I just love this new series so much I had to share my thoughts about it! So far, “The Misadventures of Edgar & Allan Poe” book series (written by Gordon McAlpine and illustrated by Sam Zuppardi) consists of two published books. The first volume is entitled “The Tell-Tale Start” and the second is called “Once Upon a Midnight Eerie”. As you can probably tell already, the author loves a good play on words (as do I!).

I was initially drawn to this middle grade (ages 8+) children’s series while browsing the children’s department at Barnes & Noble. The cover and title of the first book immediately captured my attention because I have always loved Edgar Allan Poe. When I studied the book further, I found the premise quite original. To sum it up, the books revolve around Edgar and Allan Poe, twelve-year old identical twins who also happen to be the great-great-great-great-grandnephews of the famous horror/mystery author. One thing that makes these twins unusual (and help creates some of the drama) is that the boys have a telepathic communication ability and pretty much function as one person. In both books, there are significant threats to the lives of both main characters, so it is full of action, suspense and a touch of morbid humor for kids who like that kind of thing. Of course, since it is a middle grade series, Edgar & Allan always manage to foil their enemies and survive.

I think the best thing about this book series though are the parts where you get to see Edgar Allan Poe himself in the “great beyond”. It is hilarious to see our poor Poe having to work for the seemingly grumpy and narcissistic William Shakespeare in heaven. Poe constantly finds himself in trouble in heaven because he is always breaking the rules to interfere in the lives of his nephews on earth. Of course, being in trouble is nothing new to Poe, seeing as he was quite used to it during his earthly life. I also love how in the second book, Edgar and Allan are joined by a pair of twin girls named “Em” and “Milly” Dickinson, who happen to be the great-great-great-great-grandnieces of the famous spinster poet Emily Dickinson (more name puns there). I look forward to seeing which other literary greats (and their descendants) may be written into the story in the future.

I realize that not all adults like to read children’s books like I do, but I hope that if you have kids in the middle grade age range you will have them check out this series and see if they like it. I am hoping it will become popular enough to go on for quite a while because I want to keep reading it!

New school year starting! Author visit time!

I am thrilled to see the start of another school year because that means I get to do what I love best, visit schools and share my love of literature with kids and young adults! This year will be especially happy for me because I am visiting my old stomping ground. Although most of the school author visits I conduct are close to the Dayton, Ohio area (where I currently live), this year I will be going back to my hometown of Muncie, Indiana!

Why does this excite me so much? Well, some of it is plain, old-fashioned pride. I loved growing up in Muncie and am excited to return there to share my two published books. I am also thrilled to get the chance to be the featured author and speaker at Muncie’s Young Author’s Conference. This is pretty much a dream come true for me since I went to the Young Author’s Conferences myself as a child and dreamed of someday being an author just like those I met there…and now, I have achieved that!

I also plan to visit my old elementary school and my old high school (among other school visits). I just can’t imagine how it will feel to be back within those walls of the schools I once loved so much. I really hope to be able to inspire the kids there and show them that we all have the potential to make our dreams come true!

School Author Visit Tales – Kids Say the Funniest Things

This past friday I had the pleasure to spend another day presenting my recent picture book, “Ode to Icky” during a school author visit. Although I love all aspects of the writing life – the brainstorming, the writing, the procrastination, the editing, the rush to meet deadlines, the re-editing, watching the book come to life with illustrations, holding the finished book in your hands – I think my favorite part of writing is doing book signings and author visits at elementary schools and other community centers.

Why do I love these events even though they are tiring and sometimes extremely repetitive? Because of the kids! They are funny, sweet, creative and they treat me like I am famous (which is an awesome feeling, even if I know it isn’t true).

So I thought it would be fun to share some of the funny, weird and random things kids have said during one of my author visits. These aren’t all from one school or event, it is just a hodgepodge of what I have heard the past few months while I was out promoting my new book:

“Have you ever met Harry Potter in person?”

“How rich are you? Do you have a swimming pool and your own butler?”

“I really like your book but I think you are crazy for being a writer.”

“If your cat really stinks like the cat in Ode to Icky, then you should just hold his head under water for thirty minutes. He won’t stink anymore after that.” (I didn’t have the heart to tell this little girl that my cat would be dead if I did as she asked lol)

“Is your husband the illustrator of your book or is he just a plain old husband?”

“Can you autograph my sock?”

“You get into trouble a lot, don’t you?” (How did they know?)

“My cat is really ugly and she is going bald, do you want to borrow her so you can write another funny book about a cat?”

“Have you ever been arrested? If so, you might know my dad.” (I found out his dad was a police officer, which was a relief).

“My sister wants to be a writer, but she don’t got no talent.”