Win a meet & greet with Buddy!

We are super excited to welcome TLC’s beloved Cake Boss,  Buddy Valastro, back to Toronto for a special signing! Not only is he a master baker, he’s also a great cook—the boss of his home kitchen as well as of his famous bakery, Carlo’s Bake Shop. Buddy’s new cookbook, Cooking Italian with the Cake Boss is packed with 100 delicious Italian- American recipes from Spaghetti Marinara to Veal Saltimbocca.

Are you a Cake Boss superfan? Dying to meet Buddy in the flesh? Enter to win our Cake Boss sweepstakes and be one of 3 lucky winners to get a personal meet & greet with Buddy before his signing on Nov 10th, 2012 in Toronto. You’ll get a copy of his new book and can even bring a friend! Contest ends November 8th.

Art reveal! Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure

We’re just a few days away from the release of the fourth book in Kevin Sylvester’s Neil Flambé series, Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure and have we got a treat for you!  Over the next few days, we’ll be releasing the first 9 pages of the book that just happen to be filled with the coolest and most action-packed manga spread ever. Check out the ninja star on the cover!                                                                          

We’ll be releasing the spread a couple of pages at a time, kicking things off here today at simonreads.ca, then on beniceorleavethanks.com on Friday October 12th, 32pages.ca on Monday October 15th and finishing with a bang on the Indigo Kids Blog on Tuesday October 16th.

For more information about the Neil Flambé series, be sure visit to www.neilflambe.com. It is chock-full of videos, activity sheets, and everything you’ll ever need to know about our favourite kid chef.

So what’s Book #4 all about? In Neil Flambé and the Tokyo Treasure, something smells fishy—and it’s not the sushi. Neil isn’t thrilled when his cousin Larry moves to Japan to work on an online manga comic book. Now who’ll help him in the kitchen? But he finds a replacement in Gary the bike courier, and life, and the restaurant, moves on without Larry. That is, until the news that life may have really left Larry behind—he’s been lost at sea. Neil is devastated. But then he checks Larry’s online manga. There’s a subtle change in the plot, something Neil and Larry had discussed—something only Neil would notice. Is this a cryptic message from beyond the grave—or is Larry still alive? Determined to find out, Neil heads to Japan to solve his next mystery.

So without further ado, we present to you pages 1 and 2 of Larry’s online manga!

Dying to know what happens next? So are we! Be sure to visit beniceorleavethanks.com tomorrow for the next 2 pages.

Picture Book Preview: More fall reads

Believe it or not, we’ve got more beautiful picture books releasing this fall.  Sweet, quirky and and tons of fun — these three reads are sure to charm readers young and old.

Boot & Shoe

An endearing story from Caldecott winner Marla Frazee, Boot & Shoe is about two adorable dogs who were born into the same litter, and now live in the same house. They eat out of the same bowl, pee on the same tree, and sleep in the same bed. Their lives are just perfect… until a crazy neighborhood squirrel arrives and everything goes topsy-turvy!

Have a look at some of the beautifully detailed illustrations:

Christmas Parade

Tried, tested and true, Sandra Boynton picture books are family favourites and this year, we’ve got a new one just in time for Christmas.  Written with the irresistible rhythm of a lively marching band and chock-full of signature Boynton characters, Christmas Parade is the perfect Christmas gift for budding readers.

Santa from Cincinnati

New from the author of Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs comes the life story of Santa Claus himself.

As you might imagine, the early life of Santa Claus was a liiiiiiiittle different from the childhood of your average kid. His first words were “ho ho ho!” By five he was wearing a fake beard and mustache, and could rarely be found without his favourite stuffed reindeer. It was clear from a very young age that he was destined for uniqueness…

Full of Barrett’s quick wit, Santa from Cincinnati will delight readers young and old.

Andrew McCarthy- The Longest Way Home

With an irrepressible taste for adventure, candor, and a vivid sense of place, award-winning travel writer and actor Andrew McCarthy takes us on a deeply personal journey played out amid some of the world’s most evocative locales.

Unable to commit to his fiancée of nearly four years—and with no clear understanding of what’s holding him back—Andrew McCarthy finds himself at a crossroads, plagued by doubts that have clung to him for a lifetime. Something in his character has kept him always at a distance, preventing him from giving himself wholeheartedly to the woman he loves and from becoming the father that he knows his children deserve. So before he loses everything he cares about, Andrew sets out to look for answers.

Hobbling up the treacherous slopes of Mt. Kilimanjaro, dodging gregarious passengers aboard an Amazonian riverboat, and trudging through dense Costa Rican rain forests—Andrew takes us on exotic trips to some of the world’s most beautiful places, but his real journey is one of the spirit.

On his soul-searching voyages, Andrew traces the path from his New Jersey roots, where acting saved his life—and early fame almost took it away—to his transformation into a leading travel writer. He faces the real costs of his early success and lays bare the evolving nature of his relationships with women. He explores a strained bond with his father, and how this complex dynamic shapes his own identity as a parent. Andrew charts his journey from ambivalence to confidence, from infidelity and recklessness to acceptance and a deeper understanding of the internal conflicts of his life.

Read the first chapter.

Watch the trailer:

Chat with Andrew live online this Friday, Sept 14th, 2012. RSVP here.

Win a copy of THE LONGEST WAY HOME. Answer our trivia questions over at @SimonSchusterCA this week!

Fall picture book preview

It’s that time again!  Back to school, back to sweaters, and luckily, back to books too.     This fall, we’ve got a slew of gorgeous new picture books that are perfect for readers young and old.

Have a look at three of our story time favourites.

I’m Bored

There is NOTHING boring about being a kid, but one little girl is going to have to prove it in this anything-but-boring picture book. Fun, quirky and totally hilarious, I’M BORED is written by the one-and-only Michael Ian Black and illustrated by the very talented (and Canadian!) Debbie Ridpath Ohi.
Check out these gorgeous pages:

Bear Says Thanks

Just in time for Thanksgiving, Karma Wilson’s unforgettable character Bear is back with all his super-cute pals. Full of Jane Chapman’s beautiful illustrations and a sweet story about sharing, Bears says Thanks is a perfect bedtime read.


Nightsong

Meet Chiro, the CUTEST bat you’ll ever meet ( just look at him!) who is off to explore the night-time world on his own for the first time. This beautiful and touching coming-of-age story, with mesmerizing artwork from illustrator Loren Long and lyrical text from Ari Berk, conveys a heartwarming and universal message: No matter how far away you go, you can always find your way home.