Tag Archives: adventure stories

Malkin Moonlight – Emma Cox

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malkin

Bloomsbury

September 2016

ISBN 97881408870846

RRP $12.99

I actually finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and the writing of this review has taken so long because this is so different and so charming I have found it difficult to find the right words.

I could just say it’s an animal adventure story but it is so much more than that. It really puts me in mind of such titles as Watership Down or even Mrs Frisby and the Rats of NIMH. Rarely does one read an animal story which truly projects the protagonists as completely sentient thinking creatures.

A small kitten loses one of his nine lives when he narrowly escapes drowning along with the rest of his litter. Little does he know but he is destined to become a hero. The Moon recognises this and blesses him with her naming of him – Malkin Moonlight. This small feline with a huge and magnificent tail has an acute sense for the distress of those in need and quickly loses another life in the first of many rescues.

On his third life, he is rescued in turn by a Domestic named Roux. Together this two form an unbreakable bond and fall in love. Roux chooses to abandon the comforts of domestic living and runs away with Malkin. As they search for a new home they come across a recycling centre populated by cats who are divided into two warring camps. Those on the ‘good’ side of the centre where they have accommodated themselves comfortably and are cared for by the workers; and those who lurk on the toxic dump site over ‘the wall’.

Only Malkin can unite these two factions and create a peace that will last forever. The adventures and dramas along the way are gripping and tense but the love, respect and true compassion of this singular cat and his friends are a remarkable lesson for all readers.

This first novel is destined to become a modern classic in my opinion.

Highly recommended for readers from around 9 years up.

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The Adventures of Alfie Onion – Vivian French: illustrated by Matra Kissi

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Walker Books

 

Imprint: WALKER PAPERBACK

 

  • ISBN: 9781406363104
  • Published: 05 May 2016
  • Price: $14.99

 

Fractured fairytales are a popular writing task in many schools. In the past week the secondary girls in my ‘home’ school are writing them and in one of the local primaries in which I did a supply day the Year 2s are doing likewise.

Every now and then a new spin on fairytales comes along which completely floats your boat.

 

Alfie Onion fits the bill perfectly.  The story starts with Aggie Lumpett, daughter of a road sweeper, who dreams of greater things. Specifically, she dreams of marrying a prince and rising to giddy heights of wealth and luxury. Eventually aged 16 she gives up and eventually marries a pig farmer Garf Onion, because he was the seventh son of a seventh son and everybody knows that’s got to be a winner. All the more so because Aggie and Garf have seven sons of their own and Aggie just knows that Magnifico will be their saviour. The inconvenience of No# 8 Alfie coming along was not going to interfere with Aggie’s plans.

 

The time comes for Magnifico, a lazy and cowardly dolt, to begin his quest at last and Alfie, who has spent his life sleeping in the barn and being overlooked by everyone (except his biggest brother Yurt) is delegated to be his servant on the grand adventure.

 

As you might predict the unravelling of adventures with Magnifico, the scuttling sneak, and Alfie, who proves to be both resourceful and clever are full of humour and grand deeds as well as a few hilarious talking animals, some funky trolls and nasty ogres and a mysterious sleeping princess.

 

This is great fun and will be a popular read aloud and a worthy addition to both your Fractured Fairytales unit and your library.

 

You Choose… – George Ivanoff

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RRP $14.99

Oh George, why do you do this to me? I continually bomb out – repeatedly. I must be the most hopeless ‘choose-your-own-adventurer’ ever! But they are great fun – and the kids are eating them up. I have a bunch of girls who just love the interactivity of this series – and I know that boys are just as wild for them. Hopefully they’re better survivors than I am!

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You Choose 9: Extreme Machine Challenge

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

ISBN: 9780143780199

Published: 27/06/2016

 

Of course if you are attending the Extreme Machine Expo the highlight would be actually getting to drive one for real, rather than just the simulator demos.  After all, it must be safe right? So which should you choose? Motorbikes, helicopters, jets, speedboats – so much variety it’s mindboggling.  You are so excited by all the possibilities you don’t even notice those strange characters at first.  But strange things are afoot and suddenly you are in the race of your life.

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You Choose 10: In the Realm of Dragons

ISBN: 9780143780212

Published: 27/06/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

Naturally anyone who has always been obsessed by dragons is going to try and prove a legend about them. When you find out about the rumours of dragons right near your school camp you just have to try and discover the truth. And wow! When you come across two peculiar looking eggs, maybe the legend really is true! But just because you love dragons doesn’t mean they are going to love you right back does it?

Six – M. M. Vaughan

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six

Simon & Schuster

  • Margaret K. McElderry Books
  • ISBN 9781481420709 |
  • May 2016

This is speculative fiction for your young readers at its best. If you have kids who are into the whole premise of technology and scientific discoveries at their best – or worst – they will gobble this up.

Parker Banks hates that he has to move to America. His mum is dead, his father is determined to take up a new job working for some secretive organisation. His little sister Emma seems quite reconciled. Even her congenital deafness doesn’t deter her from making new friends. Their father’s invention of a communication implant so that Emma can ‘hear’ all Parker’s and their dad’s thoughts – a great bonus, though some might think it is simply natural telepathy.

Just as Parker thinks he can’t take any more, his father who has been working overtime on his project is kidnapped and suddenly his and Emma’s safety are jeopardised by the ‘Six’ mystery.

His only friend Michael, along with a trusty chauffeur/factotum, is his ally as he and Emma determine to rescue their dad.

A complex, fast-moving plot with twists and turns make this a riveting read.

Just how close are we to some of the scientific surprises in this story I wonder?

Take your kids from ten upwards into a world of future possibilities with this. They won’t be disappointed.

RFDS Adventures #4 & #5 – George Ivanoff

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fastflight

 

Fast Flight (RFDS #4)

Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857988829

Published: 02/05/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $14.99

 

Young Dillon is pretty much like any other boy of his age. He loves his cricket, his room is always pretty messy and he likes hanging with his best mate Jay. Pretty much the only thing that sets Dillon apart is that he has a rare genetic disorder called Crigler-Najjar Syndrome. Less than one in a million people are born with this and the essence is that it affects Dillon’s liver to a point of such damage that his only option is a liver transplant.

Finally the time arrives after so long waiting but the problem is that it’s the middle of the night when the call comes and Dillon needs to get from Adelaide to Melbourne as fast as possible. Enter the RFDS – not just the saviours of the remote outback and bush patients. Inspired by a true case this is another riveting read in the fantastic series.

 

Medical Mission (#5)

 

medicalmission

ISBN: 9780857988805

Published: 02/05/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

 

RRP $14.99

Just outside Coober Pedy a RFDS plane lands in the middle of the night at a large cattle station.  Help has arrived to help Josh’s mum with the delivery of their new baby. But when complications arise Mum and bub are airlifted to hospital and Josh is left with his Dad to help things keep on track on the property. Josh can’t help worrying about his mother and baby sister especially when no one is telling him anything.  One thing he knows is that the RFDS is

a vital service for those in remote locations and he and his classmates initiate a fundraiser for the organisation. Just as things seem to be going along okay, Josh is bitten by a deadly snake and it’s his turn to be airlifted. Lucky medical intervention has come a long way with snakebite since the early days and Josh’s outcome – as well as that of his family – is a positive one.

 

This is such a worthy series to add to your collection. The true-to-life stories, the information carefully woven in, the compelling tension of emergency situations and the opportunity for readers to ‘walk a mile in another kid’s shoes’ are all superb reasons. Of course, the fact that sales support the RFDS are another bonus.

Highly recommended for readers from around ten upwards.

t’s the middle of the night when the call comes and Dillon needs to get from Adelaide to Melbourne as fast as possible. Enter the RFDS – not just the saviours of the remote outback and bush patients. Inspired by a true case this is another riveting read in the fantastic series.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ollie’s Odyssey – William Joyce

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Simon & Schuster Australia

  • Atheneum/Caitlyn Dlouhy Books
  • 304 pages
  • ISBN 9781442473553
  • April 2016
  • RRP $27.99

 

This is a Hans Christian Andersen-style tale of magic and wonder that echoes of the same tenderness as works such as The Velveteen Rabbit.

When Billy is just a baby he has a problem with his heart which makes his parents fearful and anxious until they know the outcome. To assuage her fretting, Billy’s mother creates a special toy for him. Made of soft textured fabrics and containing the ‘bell’ heart from her own favourite childhood toy, Nina the dancing doll, Ollie becomes Billy’s best friend and most treasured companion. In short, he is Billy’s favourite and as Billy grows up, strong and happy, Ollie shares in every single A-venture.

Running parallel to the story of Billy and Ollie, we discover a dark world of hidden menace with a history stretching back to a carnival where Nina the dancing doll once entranced Billy’s mother. In those days a very popular sideshow attraction was the Bonk-a-Zozo, one of those games where patrons try to win a toy by hitting a target.  In its heyday, toys came and went regularly but there was always a happy communal feeling to the booth with Zozo the clown, the target, reigning benevolently over all.  Then the dancing doll arrived but was hung so discreetly that few customers noticed her. However Zozo had eyes only for her – and she responded with her own eyes – as no words ever passed between them. As time goes by the carnival becomes less and less popular and on a day that changed the course of events forever, a little girl came with her father and won the prized doll. Taking her away, she claimed her as her favourite toy and Zozo’s clown heart hardens and his thoughts turn dark.

Zozo makes it his mission to recruit the Creeps whose only mission is to steal the favourite toys of all children – including Billy.  When Billy is made to attend a BORING wedding with his parents, he secretly takes Ollie with him but disaster strikes and Ollie is toynapped.

The ensuing rescue mission is filled with drama but as it must, love and bravery triumphs. ‘Never has a journey of ten blocks been so epic.’

The story is beautiful and the artwork enchanting. A beautiful hardcover with glorious glossy pages, this is a testament to books being a work of art in themselves.

Browse inside the pages here.

This is a book to treasure. As a sustained read-aloud it will engage its audience from the very beginning and I predict lead to much discussion about the demonstrated values and philosophy.

Highly recommended for children from around 8 to 12.

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Somebody Stop Ivy Pocket – Caleb Krisp/illustrated by John Kelly

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ISBN:9781408858677

Publisher:Bloomsbury

Imprint:Bloomsbury Child

June 2016

RRP $14.99

That irritating and insufferable Ivy, Child Blunder extraordinaire, is back with another hair and eyebrow raising adventure. Half dead and now living with a sinister and secretive pair of undertakers who purport to be her new ‘parents’, Ivy is on a mission to save her dead friend Rebecca becoming embroiled along the way in another mystery – the disappearance of a young man and his sweetheart. The return of the nefarious Miss Always is offset by the appearance of Ivy’s new ‘special friend’ Miss Carnage, a librarian of dubious antecedents and strangely theatrical appearance.

All of this plus dealing with the horrible Matilda, Lady Elizabeth and various other buffoons, not to mention being incarcerated in a local insane asylum keeps the unsquashable Ivy puzzling and plotting with her usual doubtful diplomacy and fallible finesse.

Between the constant harassment from Mother Snagsby to dust and clean and fetch and carry and the almost tender empathy from whisky slugging Mrs Dickens the cook, Ivy begins to detect that something is not quite right about her creepy funerary parents. There is especially something most odd about their insistence on her drinking warm milk which always seems to make her incredibly sleepy and reading death odes to people who are seemingly not ill enough to die – but who do!

As usual Ivy is sharp as a tack or at least an earthworm and with her astounding intellect ferrets out solutions to her endless problems – although fails miserably to remove that hideous wart from her new mother’s less-than-beautiful face.

Those readers with a taste for the Gothic side of humour and a secret sympathy for ghosts and ghouls will relish this second instalment of the irrepressible Ivy.

Highly recommended for crazy readers from around ten years upwards.

 

Blueberry Pancakes Forever – Angelica Banks

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ISBN: 9781760110451

Publisher :Allen & Unwin

Imprint: A & U Children

Pub Date: June 2016

RRP $15.99

 

As soon as I opened the package I was bursting to read this third and last instalment in the Tuesday McGillycuddy trilogy. And so I did in one sitting, devouring it as easily and happily as Tuesday might her father’s pancakes.

I have lately often spoken of the dearth of original and fresh stories and Angelica Banks AKA Tasmanian writers Heather Rose and Danielle Wood provide exactly the antidote to that.

This latest is a little darker and deeper than the previous two stories with a terrible sadness impacting on Tuesday and her author mother, Serendipity Smith. A year previous to this adventure, their much loved husband and father Denis died and their lives have become cloistered and cobwebby inside a once sunny and happy home and their shared world of writing, Vivienne Small’s world has become frozen in an endless winter.

The unexpected arrival of Tuesday’s eccentric godmother Colette Baden Baden heralds the beginning of healing and the start of a fresh and often dangerous adventure.

Much to her surprise, Serendipity is once again drawn by a mysterious story thread and leaving Colette to care for Tuesday returns to the Library for respite and rousing from the Librarian.

Almost immediately Tuesday is also snared by an even stranger story thread and finds herself captured by the weird and rather scary Loddon who seems to think he knows her.

As Baxterr and Colette desperately seek out Tuesday, defying all the conventions of the place where only writers are allowed, Tuesday and Vivienne face horrible dangers from the seemingly demented Loddon.

Without her faithful doggo at her side she seems to be in a very frightening situation and the defeat of Loddon seems almost impossible.

But strength and help often come from unexpected sources and Tuesday’s own story embraces both past and present intertwining threads.

These characters become so real to the reader and the whole premise of the series is so fresh and entrancing that one cannot help but become more and more engaged with their lives. I am a little sad to part with them.

For one who has spent the past fourteen months in intense grief this new story has particular resonance and offers the hope of healing. I cannot help but think that anyone in similar circumstances would also find it so.

If you have not yet discovered the magical world of Tuesday I recommend that you rush to buy this series and promote it to your readers who are hungry for a new hero – a girl of resilience, courage and compassion.

Highly recommended for readers aged around 8 to 13.

 

A Lottie Lipton Adventure: The Scroll of Alexandria – Dan Metcalf

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Allen & Unwin Australia

Bloomsbury Publishing

February 2016-04-02

ISBN 9781472911872

RRP $12.99

If you are looking for a new series to engage newly independent readers, you need look no further!

Imagine living in a museum full of rare and wonderful objects. Lottie Lipton, nine years old, lives in the British Museum with her Great Uncle Bert and absolutely adores the Great Library with its vast collection of rare and valuable books.

Rapacious Sir Trevelyan Taylor, the new Head Curator of the museum, has other views and sees the disposal of the books as a prime money raiser, claiming that books have no place in a library and no regard for the Royal Appointment that placed them there by King George – which came with unbreakable instructions that the collection must not be split.

But if Lottie and Great Uncle Bert can find the last remaining scroll of the ancient library of Alexandria, which would definitely constitute a museum artefact then the nasty Sir Trev’s plot will be well and truly foiled.

Young readers will love helping Lottie with her puzzle and decoding secret messages as this determined girl follows the clues to find the missing scroll.  Her fellow investigators, Great Uncle Bert and Reg the caretaker are fun characters adding humour to the story. A glossary of more difficult words is included at the end of the book along with a couple of additional brainteasers to solve.

Look for at least three more titles forthcoming in this terrific interactive series. Highly recommended for readers from around 7 years up.

Royal Flying Doctor Service Series – George Ivanoff

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Oh George! These are just fabulous! How often have we looked for really engaging thoroughly Australian adventure stories that will work for both boys and girls? And with this new series you have totally nailed a gap in the collections of many – well done!

The stories are true to life and written in a very accessible way that will suit not-so-strong readers as well as those who are sailing competently through their literary quests. They revolve around the outstanding and unique work of the RFDS and the many patients, emergencies and emotional dramas this wonderful service supports.

LOVE the outstanding covers and the alliterative titles especially!

Each has some illustrations ably rendered by Maria Pena and the first ends with a brief history and explanation of the RFDS. As if this isn’t enough purchase of the books supports the tremendous work of one of our greatest institutions.

RRP $14.99

Royal Flying Doctor Service 1: Remote Rescue

ISBN: 9780857988768

Published: 01/02/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

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Ten year old Dawson is on a road trip with his dad and two sisters, one older and one younger. Their mum is held up with work for this family holiday to Uluru and intends to fly up from Adelaide to join them. In the meantime the travellers are heading for the famous Oodnadatta track exploring along the trek.

The adventure takes a serious turn for the worst when the family camp at Farina, a deserted ‘ghost’ town and the kids’ dad has a dreadful accident in an abandoned building, breaking his leg badly as well as sustaining a nasty bang to his head. Dawson and his older sister Samantha must set aside their usual sibling rivalry in order to secure help for their father and to keep their little sister Em calm. Fortunately they are assisted by a kindly pair of ‘grey nomads’ and experience first-hand the spirit of the outback and the invaluable help of the RFDS.

Royal Flying Doctor Service 2: Emergency Echo

ISBN: 9780857988782

Published: 01/02/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

emergencyecho

Twelve year old Alice lives in the outback mining town of Mount Magnet with her mum, two year old brother and their grandfather. Sadly the family lost Alice’s dad to a serious illness and times have been tough for the whole family. Luckily Alice has her best buddy Ben and their shared love of cricket to help with the sad moments.

 

But a cricket game is cut short when Alice becomes really ill and suffers awful stomach pains. With Ben and Grandpa to look out for her, it appears that Alice may have appendicitis and events move very quickly as the local medical team suspect the offending organ may have ruptured.

 

Alice’s first experience of a plane trip and going to Perth is certainly not what she could have imagined as she and Grandpa are rushed off in a RFDS plane for emergency surgery. The raging storm which accompanies their flight is certainly not going to ease any anxiety but Grandpa’s own appendicitis and RFDS story along with the kind Dr Helen who is their support person relating her family history with the RFDS help greatly.

 

 

Both of these stories were a delight to read and children will not only enjoy the adventure and drama but gain a real insight into remote  life in Australia and the work of the RFDS.

 

Two more titles are on the way: Medical Mission and Fast Flight so be sure to get all these on your order list.

 

Highly recommended from Year 4 to Year 7.

 

Check out George’s website here for more.