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Posts from the ‘Independent Readers’ Category

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.

 

 

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.

Laugh Your Head off Again

(PanMacmillan)

I am not sure how but I just found this title sitting on my desk. It popped out last year and it is well worth adding to the book reading list especially if the reader likes funny stories! These nine short stories from nine terrific authors like Andy Griffiths, Morris Gleitzman, Sally Rippin and Jaclyn Moriarty and they are full of laughter and giggles and fun.

Opening with Andy Griffiths’ story about a boy in a supermarket in very desperate need of finding a toilet – yes he is busting – and the craziness that follows; as well as Sally Rippin’s story about Momo, a very mischievous little brother, who just happens to be a monkey (the dad is a scientist at a very experimental laboratory) and whose favourite food is spaghetti which can be a problem when string is discovered, and other stories about the perfect pie, a strange corn chip and more make these nine stories into one hilarious book.

The sequel to Laugh your Head Off.

A Different Dog

Paul Jennings (Allen&Unwin)

This is a wonderful story, powerfully written with more than a touch of suspense throughout. It is the story of a boy and the rescue of a dog.

A nameless boy is walking to a race when a vehicle speeds by, misses a bend in the road, and hurtles over the side leaving tell-tale marks scarring the landscape. The driver is killed and his dog remains unconscious. The boy discovers the damaged landscape and unconscious dog, and remains there waiting by his side till the dog recovers. But it’s not an easy venture out of the forest for the dog and the boy. There are overgrown paths and a bridge to cross in a forest that has its own hidden terrors. When thy finally make it back to the boy’s home (after missing the race) he claims the dog for his own but it is then that the boy realises that this dog, is no ordinary dog. This is a performing dog and this dog belongs in a circus. And eventually, the circus arrives. They want their dog returned.

In seven short chapters the tale evolves. There are black and white illustrations throughout in this book that I could NOT put down.

Grover McBane, Rescue Dog

Grover, Benji and Nanna Jean (PiccoloNero)

A new dog, Benji, arrives at the animal shelter and Grover, who looks after all the other rescue dogs at the animal shelter as well as trying to keep a nearby cat in line, is charged with the task of looking after Benji. Unfortunately, Benji is an older Pomeranian who has a number of medical issues and Grover needs some extra special care and attention to help him find a new home. But finding a new home for a dog like Benji is not easy and Mr Tiddles the cat certainly thinks that it will be extremely difficult.

This is the third book in the series about a real dog – the Rescue Dog, Grover McBane. The titles are fun, a light easy read, with appropriate sized print and a black line illustration for each chapter. These easy-to-read books are great titles for children who are independent readers and especially dog lovers. They feature Grover, a dog from the the Sydney Dog and Cat Home, an animal pound that has been taking care of Sydney’s lost and abandoned animals (not just dogs) since 1946.

This book also supports the work of the Sydney Dogs and Cats Home (www.sydneydogsandcatshome.org).
You can even see photos of Grover on Instagram here @grovermcbane