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Posts from the ‘Junior fiction’ Category

Laugh Your Head off Again


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.

Bring Me the Head of Ivy Pocket

(Allen & Unwin/Bloomsbury)
Caleb Krisp

All good things must come to an end … and so it is with Ivy Pocket in this the third and final instalment of the Ivy Pocket journey.

Ivy is infuriating, hilarious, zany, incorrigible, unreliable, irrepressible … and this time she is journeying to Prospa House. There are people to save, families to reunite, the Locks to battle and the people who are trying to lock her away!! How will the Clock Diamond impact Ivy’s adventure, now that it doesn’t work? Where will Ivy be transported? Who is the person full of nastiness who has such an impact on Ivy this time around? Veiled ladies, evil stepsisters, missing friends, carriage rides and other worlds … it’s all a terrible journey but never too burdensome for the amazing Ivy Pocket. But remember, as with all Ivy books, not everything is at it seems!

Readers will love the twists and turn in this book and if anything like me will find it difficult to put down.

Do check out the wild antics at the Ivy Pocket website including the author (Caleb Crisp) interviewing Ivy. It is well worth a look and the eventual giggle that will follow.

Polly and Buster

The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster (HardieGrantEgmont)
Sally Rippin

This is just a wonderful book. I couldn’t put it down and my young neighbour was very disappointed when he had to go to school this morning instead of finishing the book.

This new title features Polly, a young witch, and Buster, a young monster with feelings and a bunch of family and school members.  Polly and Buster have been best friends right from the moment they were born, playing in each others houses and backyards, or conversing while sitting in tree branches. But there comes an age when witches and monsters can no longer play together – witches just don’t play with monsters – at least that is what everyone tells Polly. Soon the secret friendship is sorely tested when their two very different schools meet at the National Gallery. Polly discovers a new best friend (for a few moments) and a very witchy skill that no one had any idea she had. Thankfully Polly’s teacher Miss Spinnaker can make sense of all that is unravelling and real friendships do get restored.

“Me and you,
you and me.
That’s the way it will
always be.”
– Buster.

This hardcover book for younger readers about friendships and differences, the first in a series of Polly and Buster adventures, is accompanied by Sally’s delicate illustrations and will be devoured repeatedly.

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 (
You can even see photos of Grover on Instagram here @grovermcbane

Younger Fiction

lola-s-toybox-the-patchwork-picnicThe Patchwork Picnic: Lola’s Toybox Danny Parker & Guy Shield (HardieGrant)

This is a new series for the younger readers who are moving from picture books but who sisal need the reassurance of larger text and generous, well crafted illustrations. Appropriately this is a story about toys – and especially teddy bears, that come to life!

Lola has chosen a large wooden toybox from her mother’s cleanup pile but when her older brother is about to enter her room to take it from her Lola jumps into he box to hide – and that is when everything changed. Lola soon finds herself in the Kingdom, the place where abandoned toys go and the ruler of the Kingdom is Lola’s abandoned teddy bear who is none too pleased to see Lola!

Toyboxes, sibling rivalries and squabbles, are all part of this terrific new series that is a celebration of toys, imagination and excitement. Great too for encouraging reading.

Also, with a supporting website containing games, downloads and more:


lily-the-elf-the-wishing-seedThe Wishing Seed: Lily the Elf Anna Branford, Lisa Coutts (Walker)
Another new series of early fiction titles, this time the Lily the Elf series of books, and there are four so far, originate form the pen of the creator of the Violet Mackerel series of books.

Lily wears a dress-up crown, and one that has a broken point too and so when a dandelion seed floats past, Lily, who knows that dandelion seeds are lucky, jumps for the seed to make a wish, catching the seed with the highest jump she has ever made. When a new crown doesn’t appear Lily realises that maybe those wishes don’t come true … but its amazing what can happen with a little bit of granny magic.

Short chapters, large generously spaced font and illustrations scattered throughout will make this a popular read for those transitioning from picture books.

ava-and-angus-showtimeAva and Angus: Showtime Wendy Harmer & Andrea Edmonds (Scholastic)
This early reader, for the slightly older reader still transitioning from picture books, comes from pen of the Pearlie books and the Ava Ann Appleton books. This is Ava and Angus and their adventures.

On this adventure, in the Adventurer as they travel around the country, Ava and Angus arrive at Doolimba and are off to the show. They meet the crew from the show and enjoy seeing the attractions and when two of the children, the Donnelly twins who live with the show encourage Ava to sneak into the animal’s sheds at night chaos suddenly happens. Disaster is created when the prize animals escape and suddenly Ava and Angus are blamed for the chaos. Will the twins own up to their mischief and will Ava get to enter her dog into the show?

Fun read with larger font, longer chapters and clear illustrations.

Series Titles Continued for younger readers

There are a number of continuing titles for younger readers that go from strength to strength. Here are a few that kids really enjoy reading.

lights-out-Lights Out! (EJ Spy School Series): Book 8, Susannah McFarlane (Scholastic)

The EJ Spy School Series is for younger readers. It has large font and generous graphics spread throughout the book.  effect for the younger readers who are moving from picture books. The series then leads to the wonderful EJ12 series for slightly older readers.

Training to be a spy while still at school, Emma Jacks is Agent EJ10. She goes to Spy School. This time training is for night missions. The only problem is that Emma is a little scared of the dark but she does have some spy agent times that help her along the way.

There are nine titles in the series so far. Sample book chapters and child appropriate games and other information are at the EJSpy School website ( as well as a link to the EJ12 books for the next level.


flying-highFlying High Sally Morgan, Ezekiel Kwaymullina & Craig Smith (Scholastic)

The same crew that brought Going Bush with Grandpa have teamed up to create this new title, again with attractive cover, generous text and delightful illustrations.

At school Larni thinks that everyone is smarter than she is and that she has nothing that she is good at, so it is is off to be off on a plane to visit her grandma up north. But while she is with her talented Granny she learns that there is something that she is good at – and she had it all the time.


henny-pennyHenny Penny (Once Upon a Timeless Tale) Margrete Lamond with Russell Thompson & Tamsin Ainslie (HardieGrant)

It’s lovely seeing these timeless and classic tales being issued in a small hardback format and with exquisite coloured illustrations and with the storylines sticking closely to the original. These came out last year but are still terrific to discover.

This title finds Henny Penny the chicken is pecking corn when something falls on her head. She immediately thinks that the sky is falling and that the world is about to end so with her friends sets off to tell the king. On the w someone not so friendly joins them and lures them astray – and nearly to their end!

This is also know as also known as Chicken Licken and Chicken Little and has gorgeous full page coloured illustrations.

Also available Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Twelve Dancing Princesses and more.


spelling-superstarSpelling Superstar (Ella and Olivia): Book 14, Yvette Poshoglian & Danielle McDonald (Scholastic)

This series that girls really enjoy has been around for a while is the Ella and Olivia series, two sisters who are the best of friends and live with their mum dad and little brother max. The titles have larger font, borders on each page and are scattered throughout with line illustrations.  They are a delightful read and like all the series mentioned have age appropriate subject matter that young readers are really interested in.

In this title Ella, who excels at spelling at school, has been chosen to go on her favourite TV show and with the help of her younger sister she might just be a spelling superstar …but first she has to remember some of those spelling rules.

There is also a supporting website ( with sample book chapters, activities and games and downloads.