Monday, May 9, 2016

THE DRAKE EQUATION and a guest post from author Bart King -- PLUS a giveaway!





The Drake Equation by Bart King (May 10, 2016, Disney Hyperion, 320 pages, for ages 8 to 12).

Synopsis (from Indiebound): Noah Grow is a bird-watcher. If you're picturing some kid in a big floppy hat, peering up into trees through giant binoculars . . . well, good job. That's exactly what he does. Right now, Noah is on a quest to find a wood duck. According to his calculations, aka the Drake Equation, the odds are good--really good--for spotting one.

That's why he gets off the bus at the wrong stop. And that's how he ends up running down a hill, crashing into a fence, and landing right next to a strange, glittery object.

Noah and his best friends, Jason and Jenny, soon discover that the mysterious disc is, well, mysterious. It gives Noah peculiar powers. As things go from odd to outrageous, Noah is swept up in a storm of intergalactic intrigue and middle-school mayhem. There's much more at stake than Noah realizes.

Why I recommend it:  I recently spent a fun weekend with this book and was a little sorry to see the story end. Rich in humor (I haven't read such a memorable bathroom scene since The Fourth Stall) and filled with organic imagery ("My stomach dropped like a diving osprey"), this is an entertaining and imaginative tale that's perfect for the 8 to 12 age range. With its timely and subtle environmental theme, this book reminded me of Carl Hiaasen's MG novels. Kid readers will love the wild and crazy adventures that ensue after Noah figures out how to access the power of the disc, and of course they'll hoot over the bathroom humor. Teachers will appreciate the curriculum tie-ins to English vocabulary and science, used in such an ingenious way, kids won't realize they're learning!


I'm honored that author Bart King agreed to write a guest post. Take it away, Bart!






Hi! Bart King here. In the unlikely event you’ve heard of me, it’s probably because of my funny non-fiction books for younger readers, like The Big Book of Superheroes.

I began writing nonfiction books in 1999, with the gripping title, An Architectural Guidebook to Portland. (Yes, really!) Since then, I’ve stuck with that style. I mean, fiction? Puh-leeze. Novels are the province of the literati, the artists who can build imaginary worlds with graceful flourishes of their pens or keyboards. Hmm, maybe not the latter. (It’s hard to look elegant while flourishing one’s keyboard.)

Two years ago, I undertook a new writing project. It was one that tested my resolve, cursed me with sleepless nights, and basically made me want my mommy. Because what I was trying to do was write a novel.

Yes, fiction!

[cue horrified shrieks]

Today, I find myself the proud father of The Drake Equation (Disney Hyperion, grades 3-7). My goal was to write a story that was entertaining and funny, but that also had a redeeming message that didn’t seem “preachy.”

And guess what? Writing that novel really WAS incredibly hard. But after 13 drafts, I *think* it came out the way I intended. And now it’s on to the next project. So if you’ll excuse me, I need to practice my keyboard flourishes!




Bart, I'd say you more than accomplished your goal. I'm so impressed that The Drake Equation is your first novel. Writing all those humorous non-fiction books really prepared you for this.





Visit Bart's website

Follow Bart on Twitter, Find Bart on Facebook

Here's Bart on Instagram

Bart's previous appearance on my blog




Giveaway details: The publisher has generously offered a hardcover copy for giveaway. To enter, you must be a follower of this blog and you must comment on this post. This giveaway is open to US mailing addresses only and will end at 10:00 pm EDT on Sun May 29.  Winner will be announced on Monday May 30. So you have three weeks to enter!






29 comments:

  1. My daughter is obsessed with birdwatching right now, so I'll have to find this for her!

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    1. Sounds like the perfect match, Faith.

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  2. I loved Bart's THE BIG BOOK OF SUPERHEROES so I'm thrilled he wrote a novel, and it took only thirteen drafts to make it perfect. It sounds like a great story.

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    1. Greg, I was thrilled when I first heard Bart had written a novel, and the book definitely fulfilled my expectations.

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  3. I loved the Big Book of Superheroes! And thought - gee, this current premise sounds like a super-hero story.... then see it's Bart who wrote it. Wood ducks + sci-fi = a great combination.

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  4. Hello! Thank you so much, Joanne, for the lovely write-up and opportunity to share some thoughts on your site.

    And much appreciation to Faith, Greg, and Sue for the kind words. It means a lot! :)

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    1. Thanks so much for stopping by, Bart.

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  5. This sounds like a really good story and very mysterious. Awesome that Bart decided to try to write a story as well as nonfiction. I'll let someone else win the giveaway.

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    1. That's kind of you, Natalie. It's a great story!

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  6. We're big fans of Bart King in our house, as my son won't part with his copy of THE BIG BOOK OF BOY STUFF for anything. This book is already in my Amazon cart!

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  7. I love Bart King's books (especially "An Architectural Guidebook to Portland" - that was a really thrilling book!)! You don't need to enter me into the giveaway because I also have a review copy. :)

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    1. Ha ha, Erik! Love your sense of humor.

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    2. From a review to "An Architectural Guidebook to Portland":

      "I couldn't put this book down! (Of course, I never picked it up in the first place." :)

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    3. Oh ha ha, Bart. Glad you can see the humor in that review.

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  8. New author and title to me. Thanks for the introduction. I think my son will enjoy this one. I am going to check it out.

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    1. You're welcome and thanks for stopping by!

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  9. Sounds like such interesting story. I love mysteries. Thanks for the introduction to this book.

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    1. Thanks for stopping by, Romance Reader.

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  10. Another intriguing read! I love his whacky sense of humor and so will boys. I know the right grandchild for this pick! Fun interview with Bart!

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    1. Boys and girls would enjoy this book, Patricia. Glad you have a grandchild who would love it.

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  11. I do want to read this one --a bird watching hero, yay!

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    1. Yes, Andrea, I can't even think of another book with a bird watcher as the hero. Bart picked a great subject.

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  12. This book would pair well with picture books Nerdy Birdy by Aaron Reynolds and Every Day Birds by Amy Ludwig VanDerwater! It would be a fun to add a copy of The Drake Equation to my classroom library! Thanks for the opportunity to win one!

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    1. Thank you for being my newest follower, Jana!

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  13. I love bird watching in my yard. This sounds like a great book. I love a funny read. :) Thanks for sharing!
    ~Jess

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    1. The humor is perfect in this, Jess. Not too much, not too little.

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YAY for comments! I read and appreciate each one and I always try to answer. All opinions welcome. Let's have a conversation.