Kids, put fresh batteries in the flashlight for these "can't put 'em down"' Lone Star reads.
The Three Armadillies Tuff
By Jackie Mims Hopkins, illustrated by S.G. Brooks
(Peachtree Publishers, $7.95 paperback)
Jackie Mims Hopkins, who lives in Houston, is famous for her Shelf Elf series about a certain elf that lived in a library. Peachtree Press has released the first paperback edition of another Hopkins classic, The Three Armadillies Tuff, a laugh-out-loud Lone Star spin on the Three Billy Goats Gruff in which three armadillo sisters encounter a coyote and try to avoid getting turned into handbags or becoming roadkill.
By Jeff Crosby
(Disney Hyperion Books, $15.99 hardcover)
This longtime Austin artist and illustrator turned his love for wiener dogs into his first solo effort as an author/illustrator, published in July. Wiener Wolf is an engaging picture book about a restless little wiener dog that wants to run with the wolves. It's a sweet story about family and friends, the lure of adventure and the comforts of home.
By Rosemary Clement-Moore
(Delacorte Press, $17.99 hardcover)
Teens who can't get enough paranormal adventure stories will love this just-published book by Arlington author Rosemary Clement-Moore. She soaks her terrifying tale in Texas atmosphere, from the main character's famous ranching surname (Goodnight) to the packed-dirt roads, cold Dr Peppers and herb farms of the contemporary Hill Country setting. Oh, and there are witches -- lots of witches.
Alex Van Helsing: Voice of the Undead
By Jason Henderson
(HarperTeen, $16.99 hardcover)
When he's not writing for Marvel Comics, mild-mannered Grapevine dad Jason Henderson is deep into a popular young-adult vampire series starring the 14-year-old Alex Van Helsing. This second volume came out in late July and promises more witty dialogue, quick-paced action and vampire-slaying gadgetry. This is a vampire series that boys, especially, can really sink their teeth into.
The Grumpy Girl's Guide to Good Manners
By Rachel Aboukhair
(New Chapter Publishing, $14.95 paperback)
"I can be extremely unpleasant. I can be like those pictures of Beethoven with the crazy hair and the bushy eyebrows, scowling because I'm deaf or something." From those opening sentences, this teenage author from Burleson will captivate the sort of reader who doesn't suffer fools and agrees that grumpiness is often an appropriate stance in a messed-up world. Aboukhair uses a plot about an opinionated girl going to etiquette camp to impart her bracing views on everything from cellphone manners to toe cleavage. It's enough to make any natural grump all gooey inside.