I couldn’t put this beautiful hardback book down, the pages kept turning and I kept reading. This gentle story of acceptance and friendships in the strangest of places, is delightful and supremely engaging. A great title for independent readers who want something a little bit scary – but not too much.
In an abandoned cemetery lives Magrit, her only company and advisor, is Master Puppet – a skeleton that is her creation from bones that lie around the cemetery. A passing stork drops a strange bundle into the graveyard which Magrit discovers. Master Puppet tells her it is an awful and ugly thing and that she should get rid of it but Magrit, who is nearly ten throughout the book, decides to keep it. Eventually the growing bundle, which Magrit names Bugrat, stumbles into a mysterious part of the cemetery where Margit never goes. Another skeleton, from long ago lies here and is intertwined with Magrit, Master Puppet and the outside world.
Toad Delight Morris Gleitzman (Penguin)
Toad is back and it is thrilling. This series of books (there are now 5 but each can be read independently) are wonderful reads, totally engaging and filled with laughter.
Too many of Limpy’s relatives are ending up flat as a pancake on the roadways. This time he decides to take action and show the humans, who ignore road rules and try to flatten the toads on the roads, that toads weren’t mean nasty greedy selfish monsters. There’s love (Goliath and a penguin back pack) and drama (Goliath and other toads are trapped in a cage, kidnapped for a TV cooking show) and there’s even a conservation message woven in too. The Toad books are ones that young readers can really enjoy and laugh about with ease. The short chapters are perfect for independent readers.
And words from Morris about Limpy are here: http://www.morrisgleitzman.com/toad-delight.htm
Well these books are not really too scary and they are super reads …
88 Lime Street – The Way In Denise Kirby (Scholastic)
I couldn’t put this book down. I was hooked into he is right from the word go and i am sure many young readers will be also.
Ellen’s family has moved into an unusually, enormously, ramshackingly nice house that her parents bought at a very good price. The local kids at school say the house is haunted and Ellen can certainly feel something stirring. There is also a tower in the ouse – but there is no door to get into the tower – not until Ellen finds the secret to unlocking it – and the staircase behind the opening doesn’t lead to the expected room. And not only is there this strange room but time seems to alter, mysterious writing appears on walls, and an overgrown dried up garden suddenly has water flowing. what is happening at 88 Lime Street?
The Bad Guys – Episode 1 Aaron Blabey (Scholastic)
They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys . . . and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! They drive around in a really cool car and perform wonderful heroic deeds, like rescuing a cat in a tree, or their first mission … Operation Dog Pound.
This super graphic novel for younger readers will have them totally absorbed in the Bad Guys’ first heroic mission. Episode 2 (to come) will find them rescuing chickens – although all is not well with the Bad Guys. Totally crazy, humorous and oodles excitement.
The Human Flytrap (Scream) Jack Heath (Scholastic)
Just be prepared for the constant opening and closing of the cover as readers listen to the inbuilt scream!
Another family moving into a new house, but this house is spooky, run-down and it is an old ruin. There are a lot of mysterious and unusual events in the town where this house is located. A new third floor appears on the public library when a fog dissipates, there are flickering street lights, and this house where the neighbour yells GET OUT as the family moves in. At school Josh’s best friend Dale’s science experiment with the Venus Fly Trap goes horribly wrong and in pursuit of further plants things go from bad to worse … and soon Josh’s friends are missing.
Anyone but Ivy Pocket Caleb Krisp & John Kelly (Bloomsbury)
Now just where has this book been? This a super read and a joy. I couldn’t put this book down and will be looking forward to the next instalment for certain.
Ivy Pocket is the now abandoned twelve year old maid of a Countess and now Ivy, who the author describes as majestically self important, frequently ill-mannered and with the intuitive sense of a pound cake has agreed for the miserly sum of £500 to be the courier of the dying Duchess of Trinity’s most precious possession – the Clock Diamond (with its fierce admirers and enemies as well) – from Paris to England, and to putting it around the neck of the Duchesses underserving heiress, the revolting Matilda Butterfield on her twelfth birthday.
There is murder. There is mayhem and total chaos and like all good mysteries someone else who also wants the necklace for their own mischievous purposes and who will stop at nothing to grab it.
Beautifully set in the era of carpet bags and carriages, housekeepers and what-nots, spiral staircases and sailing ships, this book is a glorious read. And hopefully there is more to Ivy Pocket and more to come.
Johnny Danger, DIY Spy Peter Millett (Penguin)
Filled with giggles and lots of amusement and quite a few jokes that are going to amuse boys totally, this is a fast flowing action-packed title of a young James Bond style.
When Johnny uploads spy adventures to the website of a fictional spy called Johnny Danger that he operates he doesn’t realise that the will soon be embroiled in the adventure of his dreams – that of being a super spy! All his life he has dreamed of being a spy, complete with fast cars, amazing gadgets like the mucosa exploder or the bubblegum parachute (and some more that he designs himself – M16 has downloaded and constructed his inventions) and zooming off to exotic locations to battle villainous villains.
When M16, on the lookout for a new recruit stumble on his website they think they have found their new operative and so the adventures of Johnny Dangerfield begin.
Having already made the Queen stumble as she read her opening speech for the Mothers and Fathers Festival from the teleprompter, Dr Disastrous on his evil island is ready to unleash his nasty computer virus that will infect computes worldwide.
And it’s up to Johnny to save the day!
Forest of Bones David Kennett (Scholastic)
The dominant Romans have been triumphant in all the battles before them. Their colonial expansion has been unrelenting. But when the Germanic tribes unite under a man who was previously a Roman hostage the victorious Romans are defeated – the victors leaving a field of bones in their wake.
Canus is a Roman dog boy, a slave looking after the general’s dog pack. Ursus is from the Cherusci tribe and the grandson of a warrior priest that the Romans have conquered. He has also learnt to hate the Romans yet he discovers through their growing friendship and united love of a wolf that Canus is a Roman he might not kill. And it is through their two sets of eyes that this story is told.
This is a true story wonderfully told with both words and rich illustrations and will appeal to a wide range of readers.
So here we go … Some recent fiction titles releases for independent readers. And these titles will really have lots of giggling going on.
The Fanged Footys (Crawf’s Kick it to Nick # 6); Shane Crawford & Adrian Beck (Penguin)
The Crocs have gone through the whole season win less so this last game will make or break their season. At training Nick and his friends are Kicking a footy that tumbles into a hole that the workmen, have stuck a weird looking layer of soil are digging. The footy is returned, touching a few other footy’s as well, before Nick has one last kick of the ball – and as he does the ball splits open, sharp pointy teeth appear – and that is when the trouble really begins because the other foot’s that were touched are infected. Now Nick and the gang have to dispose of the fanged footy’s – and play a game as well.
This is the 6th title in the Kick it to Nick series (featuring Saints’ footy star Nick Riewoldt) and for sport loving readers of any code, but especially those who love AFL this is a great. The books are short, and easy-to-read and full of footy action. They are fast paced with references to the game and the end of the book has a double page spread of footy tips. Clear font and illustrations throughout also make this series great for those needing themed and books they can relate to.
Stuff happens sometimes. Everyday stuff. At school, at home, with sport, with mates.
At home Fadi is the right size but at school he is a big boy who has not quite grown into his body yet. He’s strong and a bit cumbersome – he covered his teacher in paint and he collapsed onto another student’s project. So when he tackles Jack at lunchtime things get really messy but with the help of his family he learns to overcome his clumsiness and things are soon transformed with his cool dance moves.
The Stuff Happens series are books about boys, for boys. The books are short and fast paced with real-life stories of being a boy. The characters are well developed and should be easily identified with. The boys are emotional and have feelings that are clearly expressed in the books. Great for reluctant boys readers, especially if they need to read titles about other boys and themselves! Each title can be read on its own and is about one boy.
The Case of Animals Behaving Really, REALLY Badly Michael Gerard Bauer & Joe Bauer, (Scholastic)
Derek Danger Dale is big and muscly and just a bit dopey so it is totally amazing that he can solve crimes and mysteries. There is an evil criminal mastermind who wants to steal the worlds biggest diamond, the super agent who attempts to thwart the criminal, dangers aplenty – especially with the four most deadly creatures on the planet, and lots and lots of luck for the agent.
From the Eric Vale books (where he was the cartoon character in a comic strip) comes Derek Danger Dale Secret agent from Secret Agents R Definitely Not Us!! These books are an absolute laugh out loud, giggle if you have to read. Unique font and comic illustrations will have all sorts of readers sitting down and turning the pages. This is terrific fun.
also available Derek Danger Dale and the Case of the Really, Really Scary Things.
Rescue on Nim’s Island, Wendy Orr & Geoff Kelly (Allen&Unwin)
When I first read Nim’s Island yolks ago i loved it and that has continued through to this the third instalment.
This time Nim is not being rescued. This time a group of scientists are visiting “Nim’s Island” invited there by her father Jack to study the algae with the view to creating a new fuel that will power any motor without polluting the earth or sky or sea. But the scientists who arrive are not all they seem and place the island and its inhabitants in grave danger – especially after the discovery of opal from a completely fossilised sea turtle. Alex Rover is creating her next great work in this secluded island getaway and Nim’s friend Edmund has come for as well.
Fast paced, and with wonderful crafted memorable characters readers (young and older) are going to be thrilled that Nim is back and stronger than ever.
Blood Ties, Spirit Animals Series : Book 3, Garth Nix & Sean Williams (Scholastic)
In the world of Erdas, every child who comes of age must discover if they have a spirit animal. This rare bond can unlock incredible power. A dark force has risen from the past, and now the fate of Erdas depends on four brave kids, Conor, Abeke, Meilin and Rollan. They each have the gift – the spirit animal bond that bridges the human and animal worlds and together they have to battle the Conquerors, an ancient threat that has returned, destroying all the cities in its path as it searches for the legendary talismans. But the children are first to Dinesh, who has to be convinced to give up his talisman, and an enormous battle begins which the children must defeat the approaching army if they are to take hold of the Slate Elephant – Dinesh’s talisman.
There is a dedicated website: http://spiritanimals.scholastic.com where readers can join in the fun and create their own spirit animal, watch the trailer, play games and a whole lot more.
The Big Book of Old Tom, Leigh Hobbs (Allen&Unwin)
Oh this was sooooo much fun revisiting the Old Tom books. It’s a big book, with the five Old Tom books Old Tom, Old Tom at the Beach, Old Tom Goes to Mars, Old Tom’s Guide to Being Good, and A Friend for Old Tom, combined into one.
For those unfamiliar with the Old Tom books, the tells begin when Angela Throgmorton, who lives a very secluded life, finds an unusual bundle on her doorstep. That bundle is Old Tom, (a very unusual baby) and Angela brought up Old Tom even through she had never fed a baby before. And Angela’s life is never the same again.
Heavily illustrated with only a few lines of text for each page, the Old Tom books are a great read, full of humour and craziness and impossibilities.
This post has some of the wonderful new series titles that have been appearing recently as well as a few wonderful standalone reads:
That Boy, Jack Janeen Brian (Walker Books)
Set around the early Cornish mining townships of Moonta and Moonta Mines in South Australia in the 1870s this book shines a light into the life and times of that era.
Jack and his best friend Gilbert are sons of Cornish miners and have made a pact that they will work together in the copper mines just like the sons of other Cornish miners. The problem for Jack is that he is not comfortable working in the mines underground so while they are still at school Jack does’t have to confront that fear. Jack does well at school and it is mostly a comforting place for Jack – until the new school master arrives. Then when Gilbert’s father is injured in a mine accident and forced to leave school Jack is torn between his pact with his best friend or what he would really like to do.
A beautiful work that I couldn’t put down.
Accidental Adventurer, #1 Ava Anne Appleton series Wendy Harmer & Andrea Edmonds (Scholastic)
In Ava Anne Appleton’s family everyone’s first name starts with A – including her dog! They are the A-team and they all live in Australia Avenue (not street). And for Ava, everything is perfectly ordinary – until her dad arrives driving up Australia Avenues in a “huge beast of a thing” that was a motor home. Ava’s parents then announced that they were going to leave Australia Avenue and go on a grand adventure around the big wide land. And right from the very first day, while searching for her dog who has wandered away from the rest stop Ava’s adventures begin starting with meeting wild and zanny Zander – who lives in the bush! This is a new series for the junior readers just right for those readers, especially girls, who are moving from picture books. The fun storyline and generous sized font makes it easily read and with many full page illustrations throughout.
Weirdo Anh Do & Jules Faber (Scholastic)
Weir is the new boy in school and with a family name of Do he knows that his nick name – weirdo – will soon be common knowledge – even the teacher has to leave the classroom to settle her hysterics.
Weir is hoping to make a good impression on his first day but he starts off badly by making a fool of himself in front of Bella – the most beautiful girl in the world, he trips on his own shoelace, his pants get set alright in the gym class and at times he can’t even get his words right. And then when a new kid arrives in class the very next day who makes Weir look normal things might be on the improve – and instead, he and Weir become best friends.
This book is full of giggles and snorts – I know! It is a a wonderful new series with red highlighted text spotted throughout and full of jokes fun and quirky illustrations – the picture of Weir and the pigeon on the cover is just the start of the giggles.
Boys and girls will enjoy this read!
Smooch and Rose Samantha Wheeler (UQP)
This is a heart warming story about making a difference and that one person – even one child – can make a difference. It’s also about teh wildlife, and caring and social awareness.
Rose lives with her Gran in the country on a strawberry farm that is struggling to survive financially. One morning Rose discovers the results of a pack of blood hungry dogs, a mauled koala and her joey. The adult koala dies but the joey, which is named smooch survives and is nursed back to health by a wildlife carer to be released back at the farm.
But a letter from the bank and pressure from an uncle soon has bulldozers looming on the horizon and the strawberry farm turned into an estate with no consideration for the wildlife and the trees. That is of course unless Rose and the community can do something about it so that in the end both the wildlife and the human life can coexist!
For koala lovers there is also a list of websites, some fun koala facts and information about helping injured koalas.