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Posts from the ‘Younger Readers’ Category

the Stinky Street Stories

Alex Ratt & Jules Faber (Pan)

The first thing I noticed when I woke up on Sunday morning was a mysterious smell… 

There’s Brian (‘call me Brain – everyone does’) his best friend Nerf, Brian’s scientifically minded sister Brenda and the girls who live on Sweet Street.

When Brian wakes to a truly putrid pong, well that is when the trouble begins as Brian investigates and then tries to solve the mystery of this awful pong that has enveloped his house. Together with his friend Nerf they set out to dispose of the awful aroma, even requesting the help of Brenda and her scientific equipment. Woven into the story are cow pats and horse droppings, not-so-sweet smelling home made perfume, and even a tea party! Even a defeat, that was still an epically good trick, cannot deter these boys

Boys are going to love the stinkiness of this book and girls are going to love the victories that the girls create so all in all this will be a really well thumbed book. Good sized text, generous spread of illustrations, appropriate humour and lots of stinky jokes are in the page of this book for younger readers.



New Younger Reader Series

These three series are newly created for the younger readers moving to ‘real’ chapter books. They are great reads.  

a-very-good-ideaA Very Good Idea (Tinklers Three #1) MC Badger, HardieGrantEgmont

Marcus, Mila and Turtle are the three Tinklier children. They live alone, eat a lot of ice cream and don’t follow any rules! They are circus children and so instigate very creative ways for doing simple tasks like getting out of bed without once touching the ground (the bed a chest of drawers, the bookshelf and a mini trampoline will help). That done they then come up with another very good idea – to get to the kitchen without touching the ground. With that idea done … and the city clock tower seen through the kitchen window the next good idea is to get to there.

Lots of entertaining fun and amusement in the other characters in the book. This is a fun new series that will have younger readers asking for more.


prank-alertPrank Alert (Double Trouble #1 ) Fiona Regan &Louis Shea (Scholastic)

In this first title in the Double Trouble series, the boys are into all sorts of pranking – fist with their parents by setting multiple alarms and then with school Principal and when a balls goes astray and causes chaos their punishment is more recorder practice. SO how will they get out of that!

The new Double Trouble series, is creatively written for young boys and starring the identical 7 year-old twins, Tommy and Coop will have readers full of laughter and crazy incidents that boys seem to love! And there is a supporting website with jokes, activities and more.


violet-vanishesViolet Vanishes Ursula Dubosarsky & Annie White (Lothian)

Violet wanted to see a real magic show with real tricks – that included a rabbit! Her mother found one at the local library but as they watch the tricks Violet decides that it wasn’t as good as the one on the television adn the magician didn’t look right. But when he ors a magic trick involving the words abracadabra Violet vanishes. Has Violet really vanished?

Ursula Dubosarsky has written a gorgeous new series of books designed for the younger reader just moving to ‘real’ chapter books. The story lines are about real experiences in settings that the readers can relate to. The text is well crafted and Annie White has gentle full colour illustrations throughout.


Younger readers will be enjoying these titles.

It’s Christmas

A bundle of wonderful new picture books and junior fiction titles – even a joke book – have hit the shelves this Christmas ….

my-merry-christmasMy Merry Christmas Rosie Smith & Bruce Whatley (Scholastic)

Lovingly told this is the simple story of coming together at Christmas time.

From choosing the tree and decorating the tree to wrapping presents, hanging stockings and singing carols this picture book is about the rituals of gathering and preparing for Christmas. Full page illustrations beautifully crafted with Bruce’s delightful animals accompany Rosie’s simple, sparse but well chosen text on the opposite page. This picture book is a celebration of the fun and joy of coming together at Christmas time.

Perfect for the very young.


christmas-surpriseChristmas Surprise Yvette Poshoglian & Danielle McDonald (Scholastic)

The latest in the Ella and Olivia series finds the girls preparing for Christmas … it is their favourite time of year with puddings cans and christmas decorations. there are decorations to be hung on the tree but when it comes time of hanging the Christmas star a little tussle results in a broken star. and then there are the Christmas presents and their secret plan to open their presents a little early. Will that ruin Christmas!

Do check out the Ella and Olivia website at for games and lots more!


redcap-s-christmasRedcap’s Christmas Sue Cason & Ben Wood (Scholastic)

Redcap is an elf who really really really wants to work in Santa’s workshop so he sets off for the North Pole to seek a job and hopefully meet santa. But there is a flashing sign in the window – No Workers Wanted! but all is not lost for right at that moment one of the workers is dismissed. Soon Redcap has the job and is fixing the Bubblemaker machine! But still Redcap has to meet Santa and his new friend Jellybean is no help. There is a rowdy workshop pet, the icy North Wind, and oh no – the Christmas List goes missing all of which involved Redcap.

A junior hardback chapter book that is a fun Christmas read liberally sprinkled with illustrations.


my-christmas-crackersMy Christmas Crackers Bronwen Davies (Scholastic)

Why does Santa always come down the chimney?
What do monkeys sing at Christmas time?
What do elves learn at school?
What is Santa’s dog called?
And a heap or other Christmas jokes fill the pages of this illustrated book of Christmas jokes – perfect for all young comedians!


blossom-possum-and-the-christmas-quackerBlossom Possum and the Christmas Quacker Gina Newton & Christina Booth (Scholastic)

It was Christmas Eve down under,
Koala Claws’ last stop for the night.
‘I’m sooo hot and tired,’ he thought.
‘A quick nap will see me right.’

This is the opening stanza of this partly rhyming picture book where Father Christmas, a koala, decides to take a nap before the long journey of delivering presents all around the bush. So Blossom Possum and her Australian bush friends try everything they can to wake Koala Claws, but he remains sleeping. Qwhat can the animals do to save Bush Christmas? Originally drawn by the late Kilmeny Niland, Christina Booth now has added her own touch to bringing the characters to a new audience.


the-twelve-days-of-christmasThe Twelve Days of Christmas Karen Erasmus (Lothian)

This picture book is a retelling of the beloved 12 Days of Christmas carol. It is created here in its original form with pen and ink wash illustrations placing the book in a very modern setting. A beautiful addition to this book is the sparkling cover with embossed text.

The final page also includes the words and music.


Treats for Younger Readers

Three delightful books for younger readers.

Rainbow Street Pets – Wendy Orr (Allen&Unwin)

Rainbow Street Animal Shelter is not the usual animal rescue centre. It has a talking cockatoo in the reception area greeting visitors as they arrive.

The roll call of characters through the shelter include Bear the border collie, Buster the marmalade cat, a pony called Pebbles and Bessy the goat, as well as rabbits and guinea pigs and mice – and of course the children who interact with the animals. Even a lion cub is part of the Rainbow Street story. The stories include Mona, her grandparetns and a very old house, and the creation of the Animal Shelter is delightful; a dog who was lost by one and found by another; a cat that is lost and rescied and then needs a new home.

This is a lovely book, perfect for younger readers who love animals. First released internationally as six individual stories, this compilation will be rapidly read. The stories are warm and show the loving relationship between humans and their pets – or the pets and their humans! Great lessons too about the responsibility of pet ownership and giving pets as presents.

Tournament Trouble (Sword Girl #3) – Frances Watts & Gregory Rogers (Allen&Unwin)

She is back again … Thomasina, the scruffy maid, who became the Flamant Castle’s Keeper of the Blades (Sword Girl) who one days hope to become a squire. To do that she first must learn to ride and to joust but her task is to maintain the castle swords in perfect condition for the knights. She fears that the castle will never let a girl ride in a tournament but that soon changes when one of the squires is injured during jousting training. Sir Benedict offers Tommy a place in the tournament but first she has to learn to ride but how can she do that in just a few days. And to make things worse her horse Bess throws Tommy every time she sits on his back. Why doesn’t the calmest horse in the castle like Tommy? Or is there something more sinister involved?

The Sword Girl series for younger readers – especially girls who want a strong girl character – are just a delight. Tommy is a wonderful, strong-willed, determined and daring. She is also kind, thoughtful and a little vulnerable as well. There is a talking cat that gives advice, a crocodiddle who also talks and int his story provides the essential riding lessons that sword girl needs. There are the castle swords that talk – and of course a trouble-making boy!

The humorous illustrations by Gregory Rogers are a perfect part of the Sword Girl stories.

Also available The Siege Scare (Sword Girl # 4)

New Junior Fiction

All new titles for younger readers … grab them and enjoy!

Brigid Lucy Wants a Pet Leonie Norrington & Tamsin Ainslie (Little Hare)
This is the first title in the new Brigid Lucy series. These are terrific books with generously sized text and each page has a few ‘enhanced’ words. There are lots of delightful coloured illustrations (some full page) and solid covers that make for great page markers – all important for these titles. The storyline is well written and appropriate for the intended audience.

In this title Brigid Lucy has a pet slug but it dies in very unhappy circumstances so a new pet is required but unfortunately Brigid’s dad is allergic to just about every pet available – except for a goldfish which Biddy has to choose. That is no easy task with so many good looking goldfish. And then there are the other pets to distract them too … and when all the cages in the store happen to get unlocked, a little trouble develops. Home with her goldfish Brigid Lucy has to care for it and help it and … she even tries to train it. All of which makes great reading. as does the invisible imp hiding in Brigid’s hair who is the cause of much of the chaos – and tells the story! Delightful.

Mr Moonlight (Aussie Bites) Jane Carroll & Anne Spudvilas (puffin)
A new Aussie Bites title is always terrific and this one continues that tradition. A “what was that noise under the house last night?” asks Tom at breakfast. It certainly isn’t rats or rabbits as other family members suggest and it definitely is not a possum. There are lots of possums on Tom’s farm and the noise he heard does not sound like any other possum noise. So Tom sets about finding out what animal is making the noise and discovers a very wonderful resident. But when the creature goes missing more investigation is required.

Aussie Bites are great for younger readers moving into chapter books. the text is well spaced and there are ample illustrations. The stories are also always terrific reads.

Mr Badger and the Difficult Duchess Leigh Hobbs (Allen&Unwin)
This is the third title in the Mr Badger series. They are delightful amusing reads, again with generous text and humorous illustrations in Leigh Hobbs’ quirky and very amusing style. A great fun read!

In this Mr Badger adventure we discover that Mr Badger has to deal with a very difficult guest, at the same time as the Philatelic Society is having its annual dinner. The difficult guest causes quite a commotion and is most definitely not who she seems to be. She is a Duchess, although she didn’t make a reservation for her stay at the hotel and she is extremely TALL (and so will require an extra long bed), and she requries the Royal Suite. Mr Badger wl certianly have some work this time.

The titles in the Mates series from Scholastic are great. The stories are very Australian. The titles are very short chapter books with very generously spaced text and lots of full colour illustrations. The books are short – ideal for younger readers moving out of picture books.

Hanging Out Catherine Bateson & Adam Carruthers (Scholastic)
Ben has told lots of fibs to his cousin and that is a big problem because his cousin Weston is coming to stay for a week. After failing to convince his parents that it is not a good idea, and that they have already seen all that there is to see in the city, Weston has arrived and he is itching to do all the great things that Ben has told him about. How will this get resolved?

Also look out for Barnesy (Allayne Webster and Tom Jellet)

Terrific Series Titles

For younger and older readers here are books that they will surely enjoy.
Series books are great, especially because if the readers enjoy the title they will want the next one.
For independent readers:
August (Conspiracy 365 #8), Gabrielle Lord (Scholastic)
6 August, 148 days to go ….
10.32 am
Overpowering fear and worry about Gabbi had me pacing the room, desperately looking around for an escape. Together with the loss of the Ormond Riddle and the Ormond Jewel, and the long hours of boredom, it took everything I had not to start kicking the door and screaming my head off.
But the days I spent in this room had helped me get clear about one thing: I had to get away from this hospital …..
Callum is trapped underground, buried alive, and his friends Boges and winter are trying to find where he has been buried.
This is a fantastic read. The titles (and this is number 8 in the series, naturally) are absolutely absorbing reads. Kids – especially boys, love the adventure and the fast paced action. There is always a twist or a turn in every book and of course the reader is left wondering what is going to happen to Callum in September!
Excalibur (The Dragons #2), Colin Thompson (Random House)
Hooray — for the wonderful Days of yore have begun. Peace has settled and dragons are no longer at war with humans for Brat, the false old king of Book 1 has been deposed. He is now a lowly kitchen hand and not very happy. He escapes of course and wants to return the kingdom to the Dark Ages, with the aid of Bloat, a teenage dragon.
On the run as a highwayman with a big walking potato, all covered in cuts and bruises, they snaffle another king’s daughter riding to the celebrations at the palace, who isn’t so princess like and takes over the gang making her own trouble along the way. So Sir Lancelot, Morgan le Fey and vampire set out to make sure no ill comes to the celebrations.
A fun read that will really suit kids who like crazy humour and impossible happenings.
For younger readers:
Great for younger readers just moving away from picture books and wanting to move to the next level. Both these titles have simple text and wonderfully vibrant full-page illustrations.
Pearlie in Central Park Wendy harmer & Gypsy Taylor (Random House)
Pearlie is not in Jubilee Park this time. Now she is in Central park New York where it is cold and snow and freezing. she has come to stay with Crystal (another fairy), arranged by Queen Emerald but when she arrives a grey squirrel is waiting with a note for Pearlie. Crystal has gone on holidays and is leaving Pearlie to run all of Central park – which is much bigger than what Pearlie is used to. She needs a place to stay and to help the squirrels find food but how? An ice show might just do the trick!
The Pearlie books are heaps of fun and loveable!
Danger in Redwitch Villa (Belmont And The Dragon #4) Robin Gold & Mike Zarb (Random)
They’re back, Belmont, a would-be knight and a chicken of a dragon and this time they have to save Old York from an explosive destruction!
Three Beastly Bedraggled Batniks have stolen a top-secret compound called Kablooey for the Boss, tripping over Belmont along the way (who doesn’t recognise them at all). Belmont soon discovers that the compound can blow solid matter into itsy-bitsy, teeny-weeny pieces.
Who is the Boss? Will Belmont and the dragon escape? Will the Kablooey for kablooey? All will be revealed.

And these two titles have a little more depth and are fun reads too:

Kumiko and the Dragon’s Secret Briony Stewart (UQP)
Kumiko has a guardian, Tomodo, a dragon. Her family is of dragon heritage and so have great powers and the Shadow Catchers, spirits of the earth who want to add dragon powers to their own, have discovered this family secret.
When her sister is kidnapped by the Shadow Catchers, even the dragons are powerless to stop them for they cannot let their magic get too close. Only Kumiko can save her sister and defeat the shadow catchers. But first she must convince the dragons that she alone can do it and then she has to descend from the clouds and find her sister … all without being caught by the Shadow Catchers.

Making Waves (EJ12: #7) Susannah McFarlane (Scholastic)
School girl Emma jacks is also Special Agent EJ12 who cracks codes and foils evil plans all over the world. She receives text messages on her mobile phone and when she does she has to get to the last cubicle in the toilets which will transport her to SHINE’s headquarters where she can begin her special agent assignment to battle the evil agents of SHADOW.
At school Emma Jacks is nervous about the school swimming carnival and swimming in deep water but when she gets a text message from SHINE and she finds out that SHADDOW are making waves and the coral reef is in danger EJ12 is quickly into action. But how will a secret agent who is nervous of the school swimming carnival save the reef?

For beginning readers:

Rascal Runs Away Paul Jennings & Bob Lea (Penguin)
This series of small story books are designed for beginning readers. It has simple clear illustrations and a single line of text running across the bottom of each page.
Rascal is a small dragon and the world of this book dragons are just like pet dogs. When Rascal runs away from his home a crazy chasing game follows. He is soon captured but the fun continues when he is taken to the Stray Dragons’ Home because he escapes again — soon everyone around wants Rascal and is in hot pursuit.
Finally, after gathering many chasers, Dragon makes his way back to the Home for Stray Dragons and not only is Rascal reunited with Ben but the chasers all find dragon pets too.