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Posts from the ‘Junior fiction’ Category

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.

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


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.