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Danny Blue’s Really Excellent Dream

Max Landrak (Lothian)

A curious boy, and an inventive exploration. Readers won’t feel blue after reading this title.

Danny sees blue everywhere; it’s hard not to when in your whole world  everything is blue, even your dad is known as Mr. Blue. His favourite things are all blue and he dreams are blue too so when Danny has  a dream where he doesn’t see blue, he first sets about finding a resolution for his non-blue dream.

When that doesn’t come to fruition he begins to investigate how to reproduce his dream colour from his Really Excellent Dream (or R.E.D.). Of course not everyone in the community is pleased with the results of his experiment. Many are even unhappy when the change starts to appear but eventually a wonderful result occurs.

The endpapers are cleverly coloured as they investigate blue so make a great discussion point too. Kids will love finding and discussing other ‘blue‘ things.

This is a lovely book that will have many readers loving Blue even more.

Captain Jimmy Cook Discovers X Marks the Spot

Kate & Jol Temple & Jon Foye (Allen&Unwin)

Captain Jimmy Cook is the star of this book. Not the one who was a sailor but the Jimmy Cook who Discovers Third Grade. And Jimmy Cook’s new adventure is all to do with maps and keeping secrets, digging for treasure and dinosaur footprints and accidents that happen along the way when you suddenly realise that you are making the discovery of a lifetime!

Discovering a dinosaur is not so hard but keeping it a secret from your school mates, and teachers and your parents is exceptionally difficult. Jimmy’s dinosaur dig is meant to be top secret but being on school grounds and during school hours, means that eventually the rest of the school discovers why Jimmy is digging a hole. Of course all the other students soon want to join in … and they do, but they are sworn to secrecy. But what they don’t know is that Jimmy has also found a treasure map. It has to be, because there it is marked with a large X. And Jimmy’s enthusiastic digging complete with Captain’s jacket (he is an explorer after all) soon reveals a treasure … although maybe not the treasure he plans. Jimmy also keep a logbook for us to follow his 35 day adventure.

Jimmy Cook continues the tradition established by the creators in the first book in the series (Captain Jimmy Cook discovers Third Grade). It is well written and will engage its targeted readers. There are many humorous turns and it is amazing how that even though things don’t go quite as Jimmy plans, he has a beem on his face and he always seems to land on his feet. The line drawings also add another unique humorous twist to the story. Junior fiction readers will love getting into the Jimmy Cook books.

Find out more at the trailer here.

The Turners (series)

 

Mick Elliott (Lothian)

This series of three titles is superb. It’s freaky. It’s page turning. It’s fun! The titles are wonderful reads, surely to appeal to a wide range of readers, filled with great humour and a solid storyline flowing through all the books. The Turners will be lapped up by kids who want a good solid read that is not overbearing but thoroughly engaging.

I so did enjoy reading these.

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The Turners (#1) A thirteenth birthday party is always rather special but for Leo Lenox, the star of this series, it becomes something rather special and very memorable. This is when Leo discovers that he is a TURNER. Most Turners (and they are all over the world) can only turn at nighttime but Leo Turns during the daylight hours and this causes much concern for his father and older sister, both who are also Turners.

While scanning library bookshelves Leo suddenly feels a prickling sensation in the base of his spine. As the itch grows and Leo’s frantic scratching provides no resolution. Then when the itch becomes a twinge and when he feels a lump that turns into something long and grey lashing from side to side, Leo knows that something is not quite right. Suddenly Leo realises he has grown a tail and he has an immediate desire to eat flesh. Leo has become a Komodo dragon … Leo has Turned.

In Camp Freakout (#2) Leo insists on attending school camp without his family around and here there is trouble brewing. Leo’s shape shifting secret is about to be discovered as he gets entwined in an epic battle with a deranged scientist, his crazy assistant, the school bullies and just a few more characters, who want to expose Leo and the rest of the Turners all over the globe.

And finally in Fully Doomed (#3) it’s not just at school, or at camp that Leo finds himself embroiled in all sorts of chaos. This time chaos stretches from one end of the globe to the other and he has a simple task. This time he has to save ALL the Turners scattered all over the world from a deranged scientist – yes him who has been causing the problems from the start – who wants to expose the worldwide Turners for what they are. This crazy person wants to make all Turners Turn-blocked so they remain in their Turned state – permanently!

Integral to all the titles is the fast moving plot and the well-crafted characters including Leo’s friends (some who are also Turners), the crazy villainous henchman and his sidekicks (in their various guises), and Abbie his sister who isn’t such a terrible sister after all.

 

Dino Hunter

D-Bot Squad #1, Mac Park & James Hart (Allen&Unwin)

Hunter Marks is a dinosaur enthusiast. He knows dinosaurs and he loves dinosaurs and for the Book Week parade at school his character is a Dinosaur Hunter. The problem is that a few other kids think that a dinosaur hunter is not a character and definitely no super hero. After a minor confrontation Hunter is looking out the classroom window when he sees a real dinosaur fly past. Alas, his teacher does not believe him and sends him on an errand to the library instead, little knowing that this is the start of Hunter and his joining Dino Corp. But first Hunter has to pass the online test set for him in the dinosaur cave built by the librarian (who is secretly one of the Dino Corp team) for Book Week. Dinosaurs are on the loose and D-Bot Squad must catch them!

Young readers moving from pictures books are going to adore this series if they are lovers of DINOSAUR books … and there are quite a few of them. This is a masterful series by the creators ZacPower, EJ12, Boy vs Beast and a whole heap more. Fast paced, well structured content, appropriate words that young readers can read, and liberally scattered with illustrations including a flip-book animation in the corner of the page, are part of what makes this a terrific series of eight titles.

 

 

The Vampire Knife

Jack Henseleit (HardieGrant)

This is creepy and spooky and oh so much fun. Readers will love this title with its fairy tale references and allusions – there’s even a lolly trail much like a crumb trail from Hansel and Gretel.

Anna tells terrifically scary stories – especially the ones where her brother Max is the her. This is what she is doing as their father, a visiting professor, is driving through a stormy, dark Transylvanian forest. With the father research bound the two children are left with a creepy innkeeper. Thankfully she has a granddaughter, Isabella.

The children decide that it is all too creepy at the Inn and need to get away but there is no phone in the inn and then Max is abducted so in the deep dark of night the two girls set out to find him. Soon they encounter, spells and fairies, a magic knife, an enchanted bear, a vampire … and way much more. A howling storm and huge perils face the children and Max must be found that very night. Thankfully Anna is not afraid of the horrors and she is very resourceful – all of which she will need if the girls are to find Max.

Lots of action, suspense, horror (but too much) and a fast paced tale make this a wonderful, and a little spooky, fantasy. This is the first book in The Witching Hours, a spine-tinglingly spooky new series. It will be rapidly read and enjoyed by many readers – especially if they are needing a little spookiness in their night!

Patty Hits the Court: Game Day! #1

Patty Mills & Jared Thomas (Allen&Unwin)

This new series should be well consumed by young readers who love basketball. Co-authored by Patty Mills, the Australian Olympic and NBA basketballer, Patty Hits the Court stars, none other than Patty, a sports mad character, who like the author also lives in Canberra … there are a few other similarities as well.

Patty is sports mad. He excels at every sport he puts his hands, or his feet too, so nasketball is expected to be another. His favourite sport though is AFL. He has one goal to kick to break his season goal kicking record but when the relieving coach (who is the basketball coach) drops Patty to the backs that opportunity is missed. Still, the end of season approaches and Patty is convinced by the coach to give basketball a go. The rules are very different to those of other sports that Patty excels at. The field positions aren’t the same as AFL, Patty is a little shorter than many players, and there are other players who seem much better at this sport. Patty also has to do well in his studies and when his parents insist that he has to practise his spelling instead of getting to football practise Patty thinks his word is falling apart.

The Patty Hits the Court series are short chapter books, but not too brief, great for newly independent readers – especially if they like baseball. The text is slightly larger and it is well sprinkled with black and white illustrations.