Thursday, August 27, 2015

Goodbye summer, hello new adventures!

Well, everyone, it's been a super rad summer. We've chilled at the beachmini-golfed, hit a bazillion theme parks, gone camping, cooled off at water parks, explored a ton of fairs and carnivals, and now we're chilling at a lake. We're taking one last deep breath of fresh Earth air before we're blasting outta here! 

That's right, the Neon Wiener is fixed! We are now ready to go where no wacky-haired kid has gone before. Time for us space adventurers to get back to what we do best: fighting space jerks, playing video games, and selling hot dogs!

It's been real, Earth friends! I'll update on the blog after we get settled in at Space Port Funketoun!

Stay awesome,
Cosmoe and the crew

Tuesday, August 25, 2015

Middle-grade NYT best sellers we can't wait to read!

Hi everyone! Today we've got a list of books for kids that are on our must-read lists. They are all New York Times Best Sellers, which means a whole lot of people buy them. So we're thinking they must be pretty good, right? Humphree, Princess Dagger, and I all picked two books that we each want to read. Ready? Here we go...

El Deafo by Cece Bell

Book description: Going to school and making new friends can be tough. But going to school and making new friends while wearing a bulky hearing aid strapped to your chest? That requires superpowers!

The Phonic Ear gives Cece the ability to hear—sometimes things she shouldn’t—but also isolates her from her classmates. She really just wants to fit in and find a true friend, someone who appreciates her as she is. After some trouble, she is finally able to harness the power of the Phonic Ear and become “El Deafo, Listener for All.” And more importantly, declare a place for herself in the world and find the friend she’s longed for.

Cosmoe says: I dig graphic novels, so I want to read this. It looks mega funny! I also like that it's about a kid who has to figure out how to deal with something that makes her different from everyone else. We all have something about ourselves that we think makes us weird, right? Well, except me, of course. I have a LOT of somethings that make me weird!!! Anyway, I want to see how Cece deals with her situation and how it all turns out!

Public School Superhero by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illustrated by Cory Thomas

Book description: Kenny Wright is a kid with a secret identity. In his mind, he's Stainlezz Steel, super-powered defender of the weak. In reality, he's a chess club devotee known as a "Grandma's Boy," a label that makes him an easy target for bullies.

Then Kevin gets detention for the first time, and he is assigned the nearly impossible task of teaching one of the school’s biggest bullies, Ray-Ray, how to play chess. During their weeks of playing together, the two boys learn things about each other that lead to an unlikely friendship.

Cosmoe says: This is another cool-looking graphic novel that I want to read. I like that it deals with bullying because lots of kids have to deal with stinky stuff like that, and I want to see what happens with Kevin and Ray-Ray.

Drama by Raina Telgemeier

Book description: Callie loves theater. And while she would totally try out for her middle school's production of Moon over Mississippi, she can't really sing. Instead she's the set designer for the drama department's stage crew, and this year she's determined to create a set worthy of Broadway on a middle-school budget. But how can she, when she doesn't know much about carpentry, ticket sales are down, and the crew members are having trouble working together? Not to mention the onstage AND offstage drama that occurs once the actors are chosen. And when two cute brothers enter the picture, things get even crazier!

Princess Dagger says: This book is a graphic novel and it looks like a good book for middle-school kids and older. The graphics are pretty amazing, and the story sounds great. I think Callie seems like a way-cool kid I'd be friends with!

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

Book description: Serafina lives secretly in the basement of the grand Biltmore Estate. She and her father, the estate's maintenance man, have lived in the basement for as long as Serafina can remember. She has learned to prowl through the darkened corridors at night, to sneak and hide, using the mansion's hidden doors and secret passageways.

But when children at the estate start disappearing, only Serafina knows the clues to follow. A terrifying man in a black cloak stalks Biltmore's corridors at night. Following her own harrowing escape, Serafina risks everything by joining forces with Braeden Vanderbilt, the young nephew of Biltmore's owners. Braeden and Serafina must uncover the Man in the Black Cloak's true identity before all of the children vanish one by one.

Princess Dagger says: I love a good mystery! This one sounds like it might get a little creepy, but I'm okay with that. I don't scare easily because I'm the SUPER AWESOME Princess Dagger. Duh! I also like that the book takes place in 1899 -- I dig books that take place a long time ago, in places or times I don't know anything about.

Wonder by R.J. Palacio

Book description: August "Auggie" Pullman was born with a facial difference that, up until now, has prevented him from going to a mainstream school. Starting 5th grade at Beecher Prep, he wants nothing more than to be treated as an ordinary kid—but his new classmates can’t get past Auggie’s extraordinary face.

Wonder begins from Auggie’s point of view, but soon switches to include his classmates, his sister, her boyfriend, and others. These perspectives converge in a portrait of one community’s struggle with empathy, compassion, and acceptance.

Humphree says: I bet everyone's surprised that I picked this book because I'm a fun-loving dude, but I think it looks really interesting. Big dudes like good books, too, you know. I want to know all about Auggie and find out how going to school works out for him.

Escape from Mr. Lemoncello's Library by Chris Grabenstein

Book description: Kyle Keeley is the class clown and a huge fan of all games—board games, word games, and particularly video games. His hero, Luigi Lemoncello, the most notorious and creative gamemaker in the world, just so happens to be the genius behind the construction of the new town library.

Lucky Kyle wins a coveted spot as one of twelve kids invited for an overnight sleepover in the library, hosted by Mr. Lemoncello and riddled with lots and lots of games. But when morning comes, the doors stay locked. Kyle and the other kids must solve every clue and figure out every secret puzzle to find the hidden escape route!

Humphree says: This book sounds way fun. I want to see how the library's books and video games come together -- like, will books be turned into video games somehow? Sounds pretty awesome! We need to get ourselves an interactive library on our ship. I gotta talk to F.R.E.D. about that.

Happy reading,
Cosmoe, Princess Dagger, and Humphree

PS: If you like today's post, click the "way cool" box below!

PPS: We've written tons of posts about awesome middle-grade books. Check them out:

6 awesome middle-grade books for adventure lovers

Thursday, August 20, 2015

I'm feeling right at home at the county fair!

Hi you guys! Cosmoe here, still hanging out on Earth. Humphree and F.R.E.D. think the Neon Wiener's hyper-warp-speed thingamajig will be fixed this week! Hot butts! That's the best news I've heard since I found out a new Star Wars movie is coming out in December! I've been having fun on Earth, but I'm ready to blast on outta here and back into space.

This week we're hitting country fairs around the USA, and they totally remind me of the circus. If you read Galactic Hot Dogs: Book Two (free online!) you know that I have a big history with the circus -- bad history and good history. I don't want to ruin it for you if you haven't read the book yet, but this might give you an idea:

And you know, this kind of happened during our adventure...

Basically, carnivals and circuses are in my blood and are pretty much why I'm the goofy space kid I am!

So far we've hit four or five different fairs around the USA. At the last one, Humphree didn't exactly make the Neon Wiener incognito with his choice of parking, if you know what I mean.

But people just thought our ship was part of the fair, so we took advantage of that and sold like a gajillion hot dogs! SWEET! Plus we went on a ton of rides, ate too much fried food and ice cream, went to some concerts, and saw fireworks. It's been way cool.

Have a rockin weekend and we'll see you back here Monday!

Stay awesome,

Monday, August 17, 2015

An awesome 9 year old girl tells you about books she loves!

Hey everyone! Princess Dagger here, guest posting again on Cosmoe's blogariffic blog!

Back when I wrote about great book series for 7-9 year old girls, I said that the girls I talked to had a gazillion book suggestions. Well, I wasn't kidding. Those kids wouldn't stop talking about books!

So today I have more books that girls and boys who are around eight or nine years old would really get into, straight from an Earth kid named Lily. Ready? Here we go!

Judy Moody by Megan McDonald, illustrated by Peter H. Reynolds (first in a series)

Book description: Judy Moody doesn't have high hopes for third grade. Her new desk won't have an armadillo sticker with her name on it. Her new classroom will not have a porcupine named Roger. And with her luck, she'll get stuck sitting in the first row, where Mr. Todd will notice every time she tries to pass a note to her best friend, Rocky. But when Mr. Todd assigns a very special class project, things start looking up because Judy really gets a chance to express herself! This is a feisty, funny chapter book for every kid who has ever felt a little out of sorts.

Lily says: Judy Moody is funny and I think both girls and boys would like these books. I like how she isn't perfect and she feels all different ways: happy, mad, grumpy -- just like a regular kid. The TP club is super funny, too!

Otherwise Known as Sheila the Great by Jude Blume

Book description: The Tubman family's plans to summer in Tarrytown actually sound like fun until Shiela discovers that their rental home comes with a dog and she'll have to take swimming lessons ... two of her greatest fears. But her new friend Mouse helps her learn that in order to conquer her fears, Sheila must first admit to them.

Lily says: My mom told me she loved this book when she was a kid, and I love it too! Sheila is funny and acts like a know-it-all when she doesn't know something and she tells white lies instead of just admitting it. Her new friend Mouse is really nice and helps Sheila and they have lots of fun. I read this book over and over. Oh, and just because this book has a pink cover doesn't mean it's for girls. I think boys would like this book too.

Lunch Lady by Jarrett J. Krosoczka (first in a series)

Book description: Hector, Terrence, and Dee have always wondered about their school lunch lady. What does she do when she isn’t dishing out the daily special? Where does she live? Does she have a lot of cats at home? Little do they know, Lunch Lady doesn’t just serve sloppy joes—she serves justice! Whatever danger lies ahead, it’s no match for LUNCH LADY!

Lily says: I learned in school that this is called a graphic novel. It's kind of like a long comic strip. The book's author came to my school and it was awesome. I really like all the Lunch Lady books, and so did my whole class!

Ramona Forever by Beverly Cleary (part of a series)

Book description: Life can move pretty fast—especially when you're in the third grade, your teenage sister's moods drive you crazy, and your mom has a suspicious secret she just won't share. Plus, Mr. Quimby's new job offer could have the entire family relocating. It's a lot to handle for Ramona. But whatever trial comes her way, Ramona can count on one thing for sure—she'll always be Ramona…forever!

Lily says: I have been reading the Ramona books for a few years. My mom read them to me when they were a little hard for me to read, and now I've read them all on my own. This is my favorite Ramona book. She is funny and I like reading books like these where the kid goes through the same kind of stuff I do, like having a sister who can be annoying.

Nancy Clancy: Star of Stage and Screen
by Jane O'Connor, illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser (part of a series)

Book description: It's Nancy's time to shine as she takes center stage in the school play! There's no way Nancy will get stuck in the chorus again this year—she's been practicing guitar for months and her audition was superb. So when Nancy gets a callback, she's overwhelmed with joy! But after Nancy's performance during the play is captured on a video that gets posted on YouTube, it seems her stardom has gone viral. Will Nancy's humiliation get the best of her, or will she find a way to embrace her newfound fame?

Lily says: I loved the Fancy Nancy books when I was little, so it's fun to read about Nancy as a kid my age. She is a regular girl who isn't the best at everything. I think lots of kids know how that feels. Nancy is funny and smart and has an awesome best friend named Bree. I really like these books!

Happy reading,
Princess Dagger (and Cosmoe, too)

PS: If you like today's post, click the "way cool" box below!!!

PPS: We've written lots of posts about awesome middle-grade books this summer. Check them out:

5 great book series for girls ages 7-9
6 awesome middle-grade books for adventure lovers
5 science fiction / dystopian series for fans of The Hunger Games
5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love
6 fun book series for kids who think they don't like books

Image credit: This image is a derivative of “Mikaela_Cooper-Age-10-DOB-July-14-1996-image011” by mikaela.cooper and is licensed under CC BY 2.0.

Thursday, August 13, 2015

Cooling off at the best water parks in the USA!

Hey everyone! Happy Thursday! What's going on with you? I know a lot of kids are back to school in the USA, but a bunch are still squeezing the last bit of fun out of all things summer -- including me, Princess Dagger, and Humphree!

We, the super-rad GHD crew, are still hanging out on Earth because the Neon Wiener isn't exactly working. F.R.E.D. and Humphree say the part they need is on its way from Oftar 12, but the goofy aliens there are taking their sweet time. Helping a little human dude back on Earth isn't exactly their top priority, I guess. Smudge.

BUT. Me, Dags, and Humps are determined to have a super awesome Earth summer since we're stuck here anyway. We've hit the beach, mini-golfed, hit a bazillion theme parks, gone camping... and now it's WATER PARK TIME!!!

We've splashed in wave pools, zoomed down some crazy scary steep water slides, floated down lazy rivers, and conquered water obstacle courses. One of the water slides we went on was just like this one:


Have you been to a water park this summer? Click the "way cool" button if you've cooled off on some wicked water slides!

See ya back here next week,
Cosmoe and the crew

Monday, August 10, 2015

6 fun book series for kids who think they don't like books

Hi everyone! I think you all know by now that I'm a big fan of reading. Like, HUGE fan. But I wasn't always a book-loving dude. When I was younger, reading wasn't really my thing, for a lot of reasons. I guess I was what adults call a "reluctant reader." But then I discovered graphic novels and I was like hot smudge! This reading thing is kind of awesome! Then I moved on to adventure books, and science fiction, and just kept going and going... and now I love books and read every night!

Today I'm going to tell you about some great books for kids who are having a hard time getting into reading. These books are so action-packed, so fun, so completely way cool, there's no way you can't totally dig them. Princess Dagger told me about some, and some of them are books I love. Hang onto your butts, you guys, and get ready for some awesomeness!

6 fun book series for kids who think they don't like books

The Terrible Two by Jory John and Mac Barnett, illustrated by Kevin Cornell

Miles Murphy is not happy to be moving to Yawnee Valley, a sleepy town that’s famous for one thing and one thing only: cows. In his old school, everyone knew him as the town’s best prankster, but Miles quickly discovers that Yawnee Valley already has a prankster, and a great one. If Miles is going to take the title from this mystery kid, he is going to have to raise his game.

It’s prankster against prankster in an epic war of trickery, until the two finally decide to join forces and pull off the biggest prank ever seen: a prank so huge that it would make the members of the International Order of Disorder proud.

Whatever After by Sarah Mlynowski

Ten-year-old Abby and her seven-year-old brother, Jonah, are living a normal life in a new town until they discover the mirror in the basement. When they knock on its surface three times, they’re whizzed away to fairy-tale land and find themselves at the home of Snow (yes, White). Just as Evil Evelyn, her wicked stepmother, is about to hand over the infamous poison apple, Jonah intervenes. But if Snow doesn’t eat the poison apple, then the prince can’t save her, and that means Snow’s love life is ruined, not to mention Disney’s whole movie!

Clueless McGee by Jeff Mack

Clueless McGee is just your average fifth-grader: snarky, awkward, and a magnet for trouble. The only difference: he's also an amateur detective. Determined to make his absent father proud, he uses the skills he's learned playing video games to solve mysteries. Only he's no Sherlock Holmes. Or Encyclopedia Brown. Or even Scooby-Doo. When the school bully is framed for filling the orchestra teacher's tuba with macaroni and cheese, Clueless is on the case. But can he catch the culprit before he strikes again? His only obstacle, as Jeff Mack shows us in his hilarious new illustrated series, is his own ineptitude . . . questionable talent . . . and limited intelligence. No problem!

The Kicks by Alex Morgan

Twelve-year-old Devin loves to play soccer. If she hadn’t just left Connecticut to move across the country, she would have been named seventh-grade captain on her school soccer team.

But now that Devin is starting seventh grade in Kentville, California, all bets are off. When Devin shows up for tryouts, she discovers that the Kentville Kangaroos—otherwise known as the Kicks—are an absolute mess. Their coach couldn’t care less whether the girls win or lose. And Devin is easily one of the most talented players. Can Devin and her new friends pull together and save the team from itself?

Big Nate by Lincoln Peirce

Nate knows he’s meant for big things. REALLY big things. But things don’t always go your way just because you’re awesome. Nate barely survives his dad’s toxic oatmeal before rushing off to school—minus his lunch. He body slams the no-nonsense principal. He accidentally insults his least favorite teacher, the horrifying Mrs. Godfrey (aka Godzilla). And school has barely started!

Trouble always seems to find him, but Nate keeps his cool. He knows he’s destined for greatness. A fortune cookie told him so.

Cinderella Smith by Stephanie Barden, illustrated by Diane Goode

Cinderella Smith has problems with a capital P. Her new teacher laughs at her name, she has to sit at the smart-boys table, and her old best friend is ignoring her. Now the new girl, Erin, has asked for her advice on wicked stepsisters. But Cinderella doesn't have any stepsisters, wicked or otherwise! And to make things worse, she's got to find her ruby red tap shoe before the fall dance recital!

How will Cinderella solve her capital P problems before it's too late?

Happy reading, everyone!
Cosmoe and Princess Dagger

PS: If you like today's post, click the "way cool" box below!!!

PPS: For more book recommendations, check out:

6 awesome middle-grade books for adventure lovers
5 science fiction / dystopian series for fans of The Hunger Games
5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love
5 great book series for girls ages 7-9

Friday, August 7, 2015

The Galactic Hot Dogs crew goes camping!

Helloooooooooo from the middle of nowhere, USA. Seriously. I have no idea where we are right now. Maybe North Dakota? Minnesota? I never was really good with geography. But I do know that we are camping in the most awesomesauce place ever!

We're basically living on hot dogs, lemonade, ice cream, and s'mores. You know, the four basic food groups of summer. Oh, and the wild blueberries we found. They are ridonkulously delicious, even if they are healthy.

And get this: Remember how Princess Dagger completely freaked out when she first tasted real Earth chocolate for the first time? She's totally addicted to the stuff. Well, she couldn't believe that chocolate could get any better than a plain old chocolate bar. And then I introduced her to s'mores.

Holy smudge, you guys. It's a good thing Dags isn't human because if she was, I think she'd be in the hospital from a mega-huge s'mores overdose. I think she's out-eaten Humphree, and that's saying something!

Time to go jump in the lake and cool off! Wahooooooo!

Later gators,

Monday, August 3, 2015

6 awesome middle-grade books for adventure lovers!

Hi everyone! How's your summer reading going? Are you craving something new -- maybe a little action and adventure in your day? Well have I got some books for you! Check these out:

Calling all adventure lovers: Here are 6 exciting middle grade books!

The Unwanteds by Lisa McMann (book one of a series)

Each year, all the thirteen-year-olds in Quill are labeled as Wanted, Necessary, or Unwanted. Wanteds get more schooling and train to join the Quillitary. Necessaries keep the farms running. Unwanteds are set for elimination.

It’s hard for Alex, an Unwanted, to leave behind his twin, Aaron, a Wanted, but he makes peace with his fate—until he discovers that instead of a “death farm,” what awaits him is a magical place called Artimé. There, Alex and his fellow Unwanteds are encouraged to cultivate their creative abilities and use them magically. Everything Alex has ever known changes before his eyes, and it’s a wondrous transformation. 

But it’s a rare, unique occurrence for twins to be divided between Wanted and Unwanted, and as Alex and Aaron’s bond stretches across their separation, a threat arises for the survival of Artimé that will pit brother against brother in an ultimate magical battle. 

Dangerous Plays (Nancy Drew: All New Girl Detective) by Carolyn Keene (book 16 of a series)

Nancy, her Dad, and her friend Bess are all set to go to London when a professor they know asks them to do a simple favor: take a look at his townhouse while they're there, since the professor can't seem to locate the housekeeper and fears something's wrong. Sounds easy enough...

Eager to cross the favor off their list, they stop by 53 Banbury Square shortly after they land. Let's just say things in the townhouse aren't quite tip-top. And the key? Well, it unlocks a Pandora's box of serious trouble!

The Search for WondLa by Tony DiTerlizzi (book one of a trilogy)

Eva Nine was raised in an underground sanctuary by the robot Muthr. But when it's destroyed, the twelve-year-old girl is forced to flee aboveground. Eva Nine is searching for anyone else like her: She knows that other humans exist because of an item she treasures—a scrap of cardboard on which is depicted a young girl, an adult, and a robot, with the strange word, “WondLa.” A New York Times Bestseller!

City of Orphans by Avi

The streets of 1893 New York are crowded and filthy. For thirteen-year-old newsboy Maks Geless, they are also dangerous. Bruno, leader of the awful Plug Ugly Gang, has set his sights on Maks and orders his boys to track him down. Suddenly Maks finds himself on the run, doing all he can to evade the gang, with only his new friend Willa by his side. And that’s just the start of Mak’s troubles. His sister, Emma, has been arrested and imprisoned for stealing a watch from the glamorous new Waldorf Hotel. Maks knows she didn’t do it—but will he be able to prove it in time?

Goblin Secrets by William Alexander

In the town of Zombay, there is a witch named Graba who takes in stray children, and Rownie is the youngest boy in her household. Rownie’s only real relative is his older brother Rowan, who is an actor. But acting is outlawed in Zombay, and Rowan has disappeared.

Desperate to find him, Rownie joins up with a troupe of goblins who skirt the law to put on plays. But their plays are not only for entertainment, and the masks they use are for more than make-believe. The goblins also want to find Rowan—because Rowan might be the only person who can save the town from being flooded by a mighty river. A National Book Award winner!

Crown of Three by J.D. Rinehart

Family secrets combine with fantasy in this epic tale of battle, magic, strange creatures, power, and fate! Toronia, a kingdom composed of three realms, is wracked with civil war. Cruel King Brutan rules with an iron fist. The kingdom’s only hope comes in the form of Brutan’s illegitimate triplets, prophesied to kill the king and rule together in peace. Separated at birth and scattered throughout the realms, the triplets face a desperate fight to secure their destiny. Will they survive long enough to rule?

Happy reading, you guys!

PS: If you like today's post, click the "way cool" box below!!!

PPS: For more book recommendations, check out:

5 science fiction / dystopian series for fans of The Hunger Games
5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love
5 great book series for girls ages 7-9