Win a signed copy of Elliot and the Goblin War! Details at the end of this post.

When he was eight years old, Elliot Penster started an interspecies war. Don’t blame him. As anyone who has ever started an interspecies war will tell you, it’s not that difficult to do.

Elliot had spent the evening trick-or-treating. Everyone thought he was dressed as a hobo, but he wasn’t. He didn’t have money for a Halloween costume and so he’d just gone in his everyday clothes.

On that night, his everyday clothes were a pair of his big brother’s old jeans with a hole in one knee, a t-shirt that sort of fit if he didn’t lift his arms up, and a long-sleeved plaid shirt over it that did fit. He also wore two different shoes, which weren’t part of his everyday clothes. It’s just that he couldn’t find their matches.

Either way, he was on his way home with a big sack of candy, which is all that ever really matters on Halloween. He dipped his face into his sack and sniffed up the blend of chocolate, fruit, and sugar smells. And lead? Elliot pulled an orange pencil from his sack, then dropped it back in. Who gives pencils for Halloween? Probably the dentist over on Apple Lane.

Elliot wrapped his sack up tight to keep the smell inside until he got home. He planned to share a few candies with his family, then go wild with the rest in one night of sugar-crazed insanity.

“Help!” a voice cried.

Elliot turned to see a little girl running toward him. Her right arm flailed wildly, and in her left arm she carried a sack almost as big as she was. She was dressed as an elf. Every time she screamed, all the dogs in the area howled. Chasing her were two kids about his own size dressed as Goblins.

“Hey!” Elliot yelled at them. “You’re not supposed to take someone else’s candy!”

Elliot ran toward the kids in the Goblin suits. He tossed his heavy sack of candy over his shoulder then swung it toward them. It hit one Goblin in the shoulder and knocked him into the other. They fell on top of each other on the ground.

“Stay out of this,” the Goblin on the bottom snarled. “You’re only a human boy.”

Excerpt © 2010 Jennifer Nielsen

About the book:

For most kids, accidentally starting an interspecies war on Halloween would be the biggest event of their lives. But for Elliot Penster, it was only the beginning. Three years later, the Brownies, who are hopelessly losing that war against the Goblins, make 11-year-old Elliot their king.

Elliot dodges the Goblins’ attempts to do away with him, until they finally go too far and blow up his house. Now it’s time for the king to fight back and end the war once and for all.

What people are saying:

“Never before have the secrets of the Underworld been exposed with such flair and self-assured hilarity. It is a winning combination, one that is sure to delight young readers eager to dip their toe into the world of the fantastical. A perfect mix of goblin antics, a likeable hero, and droll humor! Even the most reluctant of readers will be pulled in.” – R.L. LaFevers, author of the Theodosia, Nathaniel Fudd, and Lowthar’s Blade series

Released: October 2010 from Sourcebooks

About the author:

Jennifer Nielsen lives at the base of a very tall mountain in Northern Utah with her husband, three children, and a fat lizard. She loves the smell of rainy days, hot chocolate, and old books, preferably all at once. Although she has never actually met any Underworld creatures, she did see someone once who might have been a troll.

Win a signed copy:

Jen has been kind enough to contribute a signed copy of Elliot and the Goblin War for a giveaway!

To enter simply leave a comment on this post.

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Please list your extra entries in the comments.

The contest is open in the US and Canada and ends on December 27th at midnight EST.

Good luck!