Thursday, July 30, 2015

The Galactic Hot Dogs crew takes USA theme parks by storm!

Hey everyone! I hope your summer has been all sorts of awesome. The Galactic Hot Dogs crew is having a mega-fantastic time doing tons of fun summery things while we're stuck on Earth. So far we've hung out on Cape Cod and went mini-golfing in the UK. It's been really fun, but pretty mellow. So...

...this week I decided that Princess Dagger and Humphree needed to experience the awesomeness that is an American theme park! We've been to five in five days! We've gone on...

This crazy huge ferris wheel at Hershey Park
This wild ride at Busch Gardens that drops really fast
and makes your stomach drop, too
The Super Himalaya at Cedar Point that is way fun
but also kind makes me want to puke

And of course... ROLLER COASTERS!!!!

The Galactic Hot Dogs crew on the Giant Dipper at Belmont Park, San Diego!
That's us on the Giant Dipper at
Belmont Park in San Diego!

Being a tough former space pirate, Humphree is not about to admit that he is totally terrified by roller coasters, but he is. He let out this big Bronkle yell on the Giant Dipper and holy smudge, you could have heard him hollering all the way on Oftar 12! We're off to Disney World tomorrow, and I'm not sure I'm gonna get the big guy on Space Mountain!

Have you been to any awesome theme parks this summer? Let me know on Twitter or Facebook!

Have a wicked cool weekend,

Monday, July 27, 2015

If you loved The Hunger Games, try these science fiction / dystopian trilogies!

Hello all you ultra-awesome readers! Princess Dagger here, guest posting on Cosmoe's blog. That goofy-haired kid is still sleeping, so I'm taking over today and telling you about some of my favorite dystopian trilogies that are perfect for kids ages 12 and up.

If you or someone you know totally loved reading The Hunger Games series, I've got some awesome book suggestions for you. I am a BIG FAN of science fiction and dystopian trilogies. Big, big fan. HUGE. So I feel way qualified to tell you about some other radical series that I'm super sure you'll love. Ready? Here we go!

5 science fiction / dystopian series for fans of The Hunger Games

The Matched trilogy by Ally Condie

Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black. The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow.

My thoughts: I loooooooved this series. Cassia, the heroine, really grows and changes throughout the three books, and the whole theme of questioning what freedom and choice mean really spoke to me.

The Delirium trilogy by Lauren Oliver

In an alternate United States, love has been declared a dangerous disease, and the government forces everyone who reaches eighteen to have a procedure called the Cure. Living with her aunt, uncle, and cousins in Portland, Maine, Lena Haloway is very much looking forward to being cured and living a safe, predictable life. She watched love destroy her mother and isn't about to make the same mistakes.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena meets enigmatic Alex, a boy from the Wilds who lives under the government's radar. What will happen if they do the unthinkable and fall in love?

My thoughts: Okay, so I'm 14 and I admit that maybe this series is a little advanced for the average 12-year-old girl. But anyone who loves dystopian fiction and amazing writing will love this trilogy. The love story is wonderful and second and third books have lots of action.

The Selection trilogy by Kiera Cass

For thirty-five girls, the Selection is the chance of a lifetime. The opportunity to escape the life laid out for them since birth. To be swept up in a world of glittering gowns and priceless jewels. To live in a palace and compete for the heart of gorgeous Prince Maxon.

But for America Singer, being Selected is a nightmare. It means turning her back on her secret love with Aspen, who is a caste below her. Leaving her home to enter a fierce competition for a crown she doesn't want. Living in a palace that is constantly threatened by violent rebel attacks.

Then America meets Prince Maxon. Gradually, she starts to question all the plans she's made for herself—and realizes that the life she's always dreamed of may not compare to a future she never imagined.

My thoughts: Reality TV meets dystopian fairy tale. Swoon-worthy, delicious reading. It was a fun trilogy and I can't wait to read The Heir, which is the newly-released fourth book in the series.

The Uglies trilogy by Scott Westerfeld

Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. In just a few weeks she'll have the operation that will turn her from a repellant ugly into a stunning pretty. And as a pretty, she'll be catapulted into a high-tech paradise where her only job is to have fun.

But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to become a pretty. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world—and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally a choice: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. Tally's choice will change her world forever...

My thoughts: This is one of my favorite dystopian series. I really liked Tally, the main character, and the way her friendship with Shay changes over the three books is not what you'd expect. There's action, there's romance, there's all sorts of good stuff.

The Legend trilogy by Marie Lu

What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic's wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic's highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country's most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June's brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family's survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias's death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.

My thoughts: My favorite dystopian trilogy. EVER. It's narrated by June and Day, and sometimes having two narrators doesn't work but it totally does in this series. And there's not even a love triangle, there's more like a love square. It's awesome. PLUS ending a trilogy is always hard and so many end badly, but this author totally nails the ending. It's the best. THE BEST. I got a little teary when I was done reading and I had to tell Cosmoe I got some rock dust in my eyes because dude, I am not crying in front of that kid.

So that's 15 books that are super amazing and will keep you busy for a while. Get reading, people!

Princess Dagger

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

PPS: For more book recommendations, check out 5 great book series for girls ages 7-9 and 5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love!

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Where in the world is the GHD crew now?

Hey there, everyone! Today is a super special day. Maybe the most important day of the year. Well, except for my birthday. And any other day kids get presents. And maybe the day I beat the Boss Worm at mutant worm wrestling. I mean, I'm not even a mutant (shut it, Dags!) and I beat the dude...

Sorry, my little Cosmoe brain got distracted there.


via National Hot Dog and Sausage Council

I'll be celebrating by tweeting and Facebooking like crazy about my favorite food in the galaxy. And, you know, by chowing down on hot dogs like I usually do!

Maybe I'll mix it up and try one of the wacky toppings I wrote about in my America's Best Hot Dogs post. Or now that the Neon Wiener is flying again, maybe Humphree, Princess Dagger, and I can visit a bunch of places around the country and try a ton of different kinds of dogs! YESSSSS! That's exactly what we'll do! Oh, man, that's the best idea ever!

Wait -- I didn't tell you our spaceship was fixed? Well, it's sort of fixed. It can fly okay now, but it can't make the jump into outer space. So now that we can get around, Princess Dagger decided we needed to mini golf. She's never mini-golfed before, so she wanted to Go Big. Literally. So...

Humphree's mad because he tanked his golf game. Big time.

...we played Moby Golf at Golf Kingdom! It's just outside London in the United Kingdom. Dags read online that it's the largest mini-golf place in the UK, and she got her mind set on going there. It was pretty freakin' rad, I have to admit.

Now we're back in the good old USA at our super secret hideout. What kind of fun summery things should we do next? I'm thinking water parks, lakes, camping, amusement parks... SO MANY OPTIONS!

Have a great day -- and a hot dog or six!

Monday, July 20, 2015

5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love

Here are 5 graphic and illustrated book series for kids. Packed with action and adventure, they are perfect middle-grade books for reluctant readers!

Hey everyone! Today I've got some way-cool books for you all to read this summer: graphic and illustrated novels for kids who love action! These are THE books that will totally take you on a Summer Reading Adventure.

Visit a wild, underground world filled with otherworldly creatures. Or laugh as a clueless, goofy kid goes on some zany misadventures. Or explore mysterious lands with three "bone boys." It's up to you ... but I know if you pick any of the book series below, you're gonna have a hard time putting your book down once you get started!

Ready? Here we go!

5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love

The Amulet series by Kazu Kibuishi

After the tragic death of their father, Emily and Navin move with their mother to the home of her deceased great-grandfather, but the strange house proves to be dangerous. Before long, a sinister creature lures the kids' mom through a door in the basement. Em and Navin follow her into an underground world inhabited by demons, robots, and talking animals. Together with a small mechanical rabbit named Miskit, they face the most terrifying monster of all, and Em finally has the chance to save someone she loves.

Frank Einstein series by Jon Scieszka and Brian Biggs

Frank Einstein loves figuring out how the world works by creating household contraptions that are part science, part imagination, and definitely unusual. After an uneventful experiment in his garage-lab, a lightning storm and flash of electricity bring Frank’s inventions -- the robots Klink and Klank -- to life! Not exactly the ideal lab partners, the wisecracking Klink and the overly expressive Klank nonetheless help Frank attempt to perfect his Antimatter Motor ... until Frank’s archnemesis, T. Edison, steals Klink and Klank for his evil doomsday plan!

Knights of the Lunch Table series by Frank Cammuso

The Arthurian legend is reborn--in a funny, average-joe, middle-school boy and his pals! Artie King just wants to ease into life at Camelot Middle School. He’s got new lunch buddies, Percy and Wayne, and his science teacher, Mr. Merlyn, is pretty cool. But then there’s scary Principal Dagger and big bad Joe and The Horde, a bunch of brawny bullies who rule the school.

Timmy Failure series by Stephan Pastis

Take eleven-year-old Timmy Failure--the clueless, comically self-confident CEO of the best detective agency in town, perhaps even the nation. Add his impressively lazy business partner, a very large polar bear named Total. Throw in the Failuremobile--Timmy’s mom’s Segway--and what you have is Total Failure, Inc., a global enterprise destined to make Timmy so rich his mother won’t have to stress out about the bills anymore. Of course, Timmy’s plan does not include the four-foot-tall female whose name shall not be uttered. And it doesn’t include Rollo Tookus, who is so obsessed with getting into "Stanfurd" that he can’t carry out a no-brainer spy mission...

(Side note: Timmy Failure is coming to Poptropica!)

The BONE series by Jeff Smith

The BONE adventures tell the story of a young bone boy, Fone Bone, and his two cousins, Phoney Bone and Smiley Bone, who are banned from their homeland of Boneville. When the cousins find themselves mysteriously trapped in a wonderful but often terrifying land filled with secrets and danger--and special new friendships--they are soon caught up in adventures beyond their wildest dreams.

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 great book series for girls ages 7-9 -- and see all my other book recommendations here!

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Hello from Hyannis on Cape Cod!

Hey everyone! As you probably know from my post last week, the Galactic Hot Dogs crew is stranded on Earth for a while. Not to worry, my fellow humans. F.R.E.D. is on the job, working on getting the Neon Wiener up and running again. And in the meantime, me, Princess Dagger, and Humphree are having a wicked awesome time in Massachusetts! Cape Cod, to be exact.

Check out my ridonkulously amazing sand castle to beat all sand castles:

Goober and I were guarding that thing with our lives. We almost won the sand castle contest on the beach that day. ALMOST. But this one girl built this:

photo credit: Castle of sand via photopin (license)
And I have to admit, it was a way-cool sand castle of awesome. She totally deserved first place!

We also hung out with some Galactic Hot Dogs fans in Hyannis! We went swimming and body boarding, and collected rocks and seashells on the beach.

This is summer, you guys. Beach, sun, and surf. Good times, good times. We totally dig Cape Cod!

I hope you all are having a great summer vacation, too! See you back here on the blog on Monday when we'll have some more fantastic summer reading suggestions for you.

Later gators,

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

Monday, July 13, 2015

5 great book series for girls ages 7-9

Hey everyone!

Today I've got a super special guest blogger: Princess Dagger! You know how we're telling you about new books each week? Well, this week we're talking about books for younger middle-graders. The Princess is going to tell you all about some way-awesome reading for seven, eight, and nine year old girls. Take it away, Dags!

Thanks, 'Moe!

So, the other day we were hanging out with some Galactic Hot Dogs fans (so cool to meet people on Earth!!!) and I asked these two girls, Lily and Maya, what they've been reading. Well, apparently 8 and 9 year old Earth girls live off of reading or something, because these kids had a gazillion suggestions! They talk even more than Cosmoe does! They talked about so many books, I'm gonna have to do a couple of blog posts to cover them all.

We'll start off with Lily and Maya's favorite books series for second, third, and fourth grade girls!

Five perfect chapter book series for 7-9 year old girls -- recommended by girls! Great middle-grade books for second, third, and fourth graders.

First up is a series that I know and love:

Ivy and Bean (10 books in the series)

Book description: The moment they saw each other, Bean and Ivy knew they wouldn't be friends. But when Bean plays a joke on her sister, Nancy, and has to hide quick, Ivy comes to the rescue, proving that sometimes the best of friends are people never meant to like each other.

The girls say: So, so, so funny. My mom and I laugh a lot when we read Ivy and Bean books. I love them all!

Stella Batts  (7 books in the series -- book 8 available 8/1)

Book description: Stella decides to change her name after a boy from her class keeps calling her "Smella." How hard can it be to pick a new name? It's not as easy as it sounds.

The girls say: I like that Stella seems like someone I'd be friends with. And she's a writer. I love to write! She has a little sister who's a lot like mine, too. I wish my parents had a candy store like Stella's!

Anna and Elsa chapter books (4 books in the series -- book 5 available 7/28)

Book description: Now that the castle gates are open, Anna and Elsa are thrilled to be finally getting to know their kingdom. Anna bubbles with enthusiasm for all the things to do and the people to meet in Arendelle, and Elsa loves using her magic to help the town. But sometimes even a queen needs a day off.

The girls say: I love reading about what happens to Anna and Elsa after the movie ends. It's so fun to read about their adventures and get to know them more!

Bliss Bakery trilogy (3 books in the series)

Book description: Rosemary Bliss's family has a secret. It's the Bliss Cookery Booke--an ancient, leather-bound volume of enchanted recipes. Rose and her siblings are supposed to keep the Cookery Booke locked away while their parents are out of town, but Rose and her siblings want to experiment with just a couple of recipes. A few Love Muffins and Cookies of Truth couldn't cause too much trouble ... could they?

The girls say: I love reading these books. The girls in my class all wanted to read the Bliss series, and we had to take turns. It was torture waiting to read the second book!

Starring Jules (4 books in the series)

Book description: Jules doesn't want to ruin THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME, and she's willing to turn to anyone for help--even her know-it-all ex-best friend! If only that lovely new girl in class would turn out to be the new best friend of her dreams, maybe, just maybe, Jules will be ready for her close-up....

The girls say: I was surprised how much I liked these books. Jules is in second grade but she seems older than that to me. Maybe because she lives in New York City, I don't know. It's fun reading about her acting adventures!

So there you go. 28 books to keep you busy this summer. Well, soon it'll be 30 with those two new books coming out! Enjoy!

Happy reading,
Princess Dagger (and Cosmoe, too)

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

PPS: For more book recommendations, check out 5 graphic and illustrated book series that kids love!

Thursday, July 9, 2015

We've crash landed and we're not going anywhere for a while...

You all are never in a gazillion years going to guess where I am right now. Like, right this very second.

Earth. I'm on Earth! And I will be for the foreseeable future because the Neon Wiener's spaceship mode is kaput and we can't figure out how to fix it!

It all started when me, Princess Dagger, and Humphree decided to make a quick pit stop on Earth for supplies. We were running low on hot dogs and other way-crucial stuff. But while we were cruising to our super-secret landing spot, something went wrong. Very wrong. Humps and I managed to make an emergency landing without blowing us all up, thank the Great Pants in the sky!

We ended up on Nauset Beach in Orleans, Massachusetts. That's on Cape Cod. Check it out:

Hot butts! Surf's up!

I found an old surfboard on the beach and gave it a go. I think my surfing lessons on planet Waalio paid off!

So now we've found a good hiding spot for the ship and it looks like we're going to be hanging out on Earth for a while. The Wiener is beat-up bad. With communications down and no way to contact space stations for the parts we need, it's gonna take F.R.E.D. a while to get the ship's space mode fixed. So we're going to make the best of it -- today we're all about the beach! Check out these waves!

I didn't take this pic but this is what it looks like today!

I'll check in every week and tell you all about where we are. We can pretty much go anywhere in the USA -- do you have ideas for us? Let us know on Twitter or Facebook! Now we're off to the beach to catch some waves!

Later, dudes!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Go on a Summer Reading Adventure with Galactic Hot Dogs!

Hi everyone! Today me, Princess Dagger and Humphree have something awesome for you: We're launching our way-cool Summer Reading Adventure!

Go on a Summer Reading Adventure with the Galactic Hot Dogs crew!

The Galactic Hot Dogs crew thinks reading is rad, and we bet you do, too! And we're also guessing that a lot of you have summer reading goals from your schools or libraries. But there are so many books out there -- how do you pick? Well, we're here to help!

Every week we will tell you about a book (or maybe a bunch of books) that scores high on the GHD Awesome Meter -- and that's perfect for middle-grade readers (that basically means kids in grades 3-8). We'll talk about all sorts of books for boys, girls, tweens, teens, anyone and everyone!

Ready for this week's book? It's one that Princess Dagger and I both really liked:

Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli

Here's the lowdown on Jake and Lily by Jerry Spinelli:

Jake and Lily are twins. Even though they seem pretty different—Jake is the calm one and Lily has a temper; Lily is obsessed with trains and Jake collects cool rocks—they feel exactly the same, almost like two halves of one person. When one of them gets hurt, the other can feel it. They can communicate without words. And mysteriously, every year on their birthday, they sleepwalk to a train station in the middle of the night.

But the year they turn eleven, everything changes. Their parents announce it’s time for separate bedrooms, and Jake starts hanging out with a pack of boys on the block. Lily is devastated—not to mention really, really mad. And as she struggles to make friends and get a life apart from her twin, Jake finds himself dealing with a neighborhood bully and has to decide what kind of person he really is.

We hope you like the book as much as we do! Zoom over to your local library and grab a copy. Oh, and speaking of libraries, be sure to find out if your library is part of the national summer library reading program. This year's theme is "Every Hero Has a Story!" Different libraries do different things, but many have cool activities and stuff to check out all summer long.

Need more reading motivation mojo? Check out this awesome list of 10 reasons to read this summer by author Kate DiCamillo (she wrote The Tale of Desperaux, the Bink & Gollie books, and many more):

Okay, I gotta run. We're actually cruising on over to Earth for a quick stop to load up on supplies. And yes, we getting lots of chocolate for Princess Dagger. Me? I just want to eat ice cream for breakfast, lunch, and dinner for a couple days. I miss real Earth ice cream!

Later gators,

Friday, July 3, 2015

Who are awesome space heroes? WE ARE!!!

Hello everyone! Happy almost July 4th to all you Americans. Do you know what's super-duper American? Eating hot dogs! And not-so-coincidentally, July is National Hot Dog Month. I mean, if you need an excuse to eat hot dogs all the time, I can't think of a better one!

According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, during this July 4th weekend, 155 million dogs will be downed. That makes July 4th the biggest hot dog holiday of the year. BOOM. Eat up, you guys!

Okay, let's get to the real meat of today's post. Ha ha. But for really real. Time for our last chapter in Galactic Hot Dogs: Book Two!

Galactic Hot Dogs: Book Two - Chapter 26 - Snap!

When we left off, Humphree and the Wrangler were about to get devoured by the Gargantuid. SMUDGE! Princess Dagger and I show off some way-cool moves to interrupt the monster's meal. Well, sort of. See what happens next and how our adventure wraps up in Chapter 26: Snap!

Have an awesome weekend, everyone, and I'll see you back here on Monday. Me, Princess Dagger, and Humphree have got some cool stuff for you here on the blog this summer!

Later gators,

Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Book 2 bonus art for you!

Hello everyone! Can you believe that this Friday is when the final chapter of Galactic Hot Dogs: Book Two comes out? It's pretty frapping unbelievable to me! I feel like we just kicked it off. Man oh man, time flies when you're reading a rad book.

Well, I've got some way-cool stuff to show you today -- never-seen, super-awesome, behind-the-scenes art from Book Two!

When the illustrators, Rachel and Nichole, work on the art for the book, they don't draw a scene, just like that. Like if they're drawing a scene with a new character in it, first they do a whole lot of work to decide exactly what someone's outfit will look like. Check this stuff out:

Different outfits for my dad and mom.

Different ideas for the rocky arena where me and mutated
Humphree battled.

All sorts of clown bots!

Here the illustrator is figuring out how to tatter up
our clown disguises for later chapters.

This is the illustrator's different drawings of mutated
Humphree. She was trying to figure out exactly
how to portray his horribleness!

It's pretty amazing to see how much work goes into the illustrations. So much time and effort goes into every character and every page!

If you're behind on Galactic Hot Dogs: Book Two, never fear! You can catch up on everything here. Be sure to come back here on Friday to read about the very last chapter -- and I'll tell you all about the cool stuff coming up on the blog this summer!

Stay awesome,