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Posts from the ‘Reluctant Readers’ 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.

Fiction for Independent 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-footysThe 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.

Visit the website ( and also look for FootyBot Face-Off (that’s full of laughter too).


stuff-happens-fadiFadi (Stuff Happens); Scot Gardner (Penguin)

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.


derek-danger-daleThe 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.

Books for Reluctant and Emerging Readers

Recently I presented a talk at the MANTLE teacher librarian conference in Newcastle on books for reluctant readers. Here are some of the recently published books I mentioned, great for reluctant readers – and some for emerging readers too (those who are just moving from picture books).

Andy Roid and the Superhuman Secret (Andy Roid Series #1) Felice Arena (Penguin)
Andy’s parents seemed to be normal parents who ran a bakery and he was a normal human boy — until the day of the accident. Then his parents (who were really scientists working from the store basement)  created Andy Roid – half boy, half machine with amazing robotic applications.
When a Silverback gorilla goes on the rampage at the zoo Andy starts to discover just how heroic a boy with robotic parts can be, much to his parents dismay, and nothing is ever the same again!
A great new series with lots of action and twists that will have readers wanting to grab the next book and find out Andy’s next adventure.
See the trailer at:

Meet the Supersons (Freak Street #14) Knife & Packer (Scholastic)

On Freak Street live rather average families – the Aliensons, the Humansons, the Wizardsons, the Zombiesons, the Vampiresons and now also The Supersons.
The Supersons are a family of (wanting to retire) superheroes and they should make the whole neighbourhood safe and sound even if they have given up fulltime crime fighting – they now only come out in emergencies so when a super villain arrives it is time to put their powers into super use.
The Freak Street titles have full colour glossy illustrations on every page and a website for downloadable wallpapers and activities.
Code Crimson (Arkie Sparkle Treasure Hunter #1) Petra James (PanMacmillan)
Arkie’s parents are archaeologists and they have been kidnapped but the kidnappers have left clues and set Arkie seven tasks to find seven treasures located on seven continents that must be completed in seven days if her parents are to be found so with her genius cousin TJ and her basset hound Cleo, Arkie begins.
With links to history scattered within the story (this time it is ancient Egypt and a treasure located in the temple of the Egyptian pharaoh Ramses 11), gadgetry, time travel, and codes and illustrations throughout the book this is an engaging read.
This is the first title in a seven part series.
Fun and exciting read.
Spilling Secrets (Star Girl #13) Louise Park (Scholastic)
Star Girl Adelaide Banks is back and now she is in her final year at the space agent boarding school, Space Education and Action School (SEAS). Starting her third year training as Space Agent-in-Training Star Girl and her team, complete with protective visors, space boots and all the space gadgetry needed, like Molecular Movers, set off to investigate strange happenings on planet Catlabrator and where the catralabs are drowning. When they arrive they discover sluice channels and rushing water and they also find a missing third year student who might be up to no good!
Especially for emerging readers:
Losing Turtle (Walker Stories) Adrienne Frater & Cat Chapman (Walker Books)
Three short stories about Sam, and his family. Sam and Gran and lots of jumpers; Sam and his dad’s special scary birthday present; and Sam making scrambled eggs for his injured Gran.
Sam’s Gran knits lots of jumper. She is an excellent knitter and she gives one to Sam every time she comes to stay. Sam has lots of Gran’s hand knitted jumpers. None of Sam’s friends have hand-knitted jumpers so when she gives him a turtle jumper Sam decides to accidentally loose his new turtle jumper.
When Sam’s dad’s birthday is approaching Sam unsuccessfully tries to come up with all sorts of ideas for a birthday present until he goes into his fathers shed.
Sam’s gran has injured her ankle so it is up to Sam to make the scrambled eggs for dinner. The only problem is that he doesn’t know how to scramble the eggs.
The Deep End Sally Rippin & Aki Fukuoka (HardieGrantEgmont)
Billie’s class used to swim in the lttle pool. This year they have moved to the bigger pool but Billie is scared of the deep end – and so is another of her classmates which is a real surprise for Billie! Find out how they battle their fears and conquer the deep end.
An earlier post about these titles:
Billie B Brown is a terrific new star for the younger readers – especially girls – who want to move to their first chapter books. The books are 44 pages in length and have a large font size. There are generous illustrations scattered throughout. BUT most importantly Billie B brown is a delightful character. She is strong, determined, brave, and clever … and a bit sassy too! This girl will soon be in demand!
And what does the B in Billie B Brown stand for? So far it is something different in each title. She also has her best friend Jack appearing in the titles, so the boys are in there too.
There is also fun at the supporting website:
The Worry Monster Sally Rippin & Stephaie Spartels (HardieGrantEgmont)
And Billie’s friend Jack has his own series too – Hey Jack!
In this new title Jack has a spelling test coming up but he hates spelling and doesn’t want to practise his words so it’s up to his dad to come up with an ingenious method to help Jack learn the words.

These are fun lovely titles.

Fiction for the Younger Readers.

Here are books for the reluctant reader and also for the younger reader. They are all books in new or near new series ….

Dance of the Deadly Dinosaurs Jackie French (HarperCollins)
Oh this book is FUN!

Boojum Bark is a werewolf puppy, and a student at the School for Heroes. His mother has also been kidnapped so with his friends (that include a zombie, a warrior mouse and other ‘beings’ who are all trainee heroes) he sets out to find her. but to do this he has to go into the Ghastly Otherwhen … and strange things start to happen here. There are dinosaurs, and bogeys, and a strange hypnotic spell that causes chaos.
Following on from the previous School for Heroes book comes this new title which will have readers giggling all the way through at the craziness and silliness and the ‘weirdness’ within these pages.
This series is designed for reluctant readers … but with lots of pages to develop their reading confidence. And this series should do that!

EJ12 #1: Hot and Cold Susannah McFarlane (Scholastic)

This new series stars Emma Jack but Emma Jack the school girl is also known as EJ12 Special Agent. She is a member of SHINE, a secret agency that protects the world from evil-doers. EJ12 cracks codes and foils plans all over the world while at the same time coping with all the issues of going to school like mean girls, and best friends. This is a fun book for the younger readers – especially girls who want a girl superhero.

In EJ12 #1 someone is melting the polar cap. There is a furious scientist who is creating chaos and wants to sell her invention to the highest bidder. there are secret agent tools for EJ to use to get the job done and when she does, she still has to go back to school and cope with the not so nice girls and the Ice Queen of Mean!

See: and drop in here to see a message from the author.

And especially for beginning readers comes the new series Pen Pals Forever …
Pen Pals Forever 1: Summer Days Lenny Pelling (Random House)

In this first title, Polly and Jez are the closest of friends but wile Polly begins an adventure around Australia during the school holidays Jez is stuck at home so to keep in touch Polly sends postcards form all the places she visits. As Polly reads each postcard her imagination is let loose and her summer days aren’t quite so lonely without Polly there.
With large print, simple storylines and generous illustrations this is a series for the beginning readers that should be enjoyed. This title also includes Pen pal tips at the back.

Great New Fiction

Turn off the TV and turn over these pages. These books are terrific reads and children should enjoy them – they might even ask for more.

The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen Deborah Abela (Random House) From the author of the great Max Remy series comes this wonderful new book about Aurelie Bonhoffen, a 12 year old girl who is born into a family of entertainers. They live at their delightful seaside pier but rising taxes and a nasty trickster mayor who wants to destroy the pier so that a luxury hotel development can be built on the pier makes life very unpleasant. And there is also the evil school headmistress Mrs Farnhumple who causes Aurelie to be removed from her family so that all the family will be removed from the pier. Then on Aurelie’s 12th birthday the most remarkable family secret is revealed that will help Aurelie and her family survive.
I loved this story and hope there is more!
The Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures Sam Bowring (Pan Macmillan)
Twelve-year-old Zackary is the youngest child in the royal family and he is proving to be a great disappointment. Whatever tutor is engaged to instruct him proves unsuccessful so he is set to the castle administrator Barnabas. He sends Zackary on an errand to the Zoo of Magical and Mythological Creatures and here Zackary finds his calling as the assistant to the zoo’s sorcerer. The zoo’s creatures are extraordinary but when the zoo is about to take delivery of the famous and vicious creature it is Zackary who solves a mystery, foils the plot to destroy the creature and most importantly is acclaimed by his family!

Lightning Strikes
These two books are part of the Lightning Strikes series of fast-paced great reads for reluctant readers latching onto short chapter books.

Freaky Sue Whiting (Walker Books)
City kid Jayden is forced to stay with his totally cactus-mad country loving aunt and uncle and their computer geek son. But when the group visit the local botanical gardens and purchase an exotic and extremely rare cactus plant Jayden gets the shivers and knows things are not quite right. The freakiness soon begins because this cactus is a rare and dangerous plant that houses tarantula eggs which stay dormant for years until there is heavy rain. and when Jayden’s uncle asks him to water the newly planted cactus erupts with horrific results.

The Meteorite Kid Carol Faulkner (Walker Books)
Morgan takes a stunning catch at the baseball finals. unfortunately it wasn’t a ball. Something blue and solid has fallen from the sky into her grasp and it is Morgan’s job to protect this blue meteorite that everyone in town wants to see. what is the object that has strange powers over anyone who touches it (except Morgan), what is sending Morgan messages that only she can see, can she hide it from inquisitive reporters, can she look after it until ….

Have fun reading!