Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99
I’m pretty certain that I’m not the only one who’s so excited that Anthony has his Alex mojo back J – and with the talk of the forthcoming movie there are bound to be many more readers added to the fold of fans.
In this new volume, seven adventures are recounted – making them perfect read-alouds for book talks or encouraging reluctant readers. I’m finding at present that as many girls as boys are borrowing the series (especially since I bought the new editions with the stunning cover art!). Since this collection includes three brand new adventures it will have as much appeal to existing fans as to those new to the series.
Whether it’s playing the part of assassin unknowingly, having a routine dentist visit turn into something far more sinister or skiing down steep slopes in a frantic attempt to save himself and others, Alex the reluctant spy manages to come out on top, largely thanks to his uncle’s dedication to bringing him up with the skills he would need.
Anthony Horowitz does thrilling suspense so well – as we know not only from his books but also his plethora script writing ventures. I know I’m not alone in my addiction to Midsomer Murders and Foyle’s War!
As an introduction for the next generation of devotees or to add some excitement to your existing AR readers – this is a must have for your collection.
Watch the trailer here.
Imprint: Walker Books Australia: February 1, 2019
Australian RRP: $14.99
New Zealand RRP: $16.99
If you have readers who love a good fun story with a bit of interesting information plus a smattering of a conservation message this will be a huge hit. The first in a new series Kylie Howarth has set up readers for a hilarious romp following the adventures of Fish Kid.
Bodhi is not at all interested in the ocean or the creatures that inhabit it -especially the scary ones. But he has little chance to escape either with a father who is a marine biologist and a mother who is an underwater photographer. He is particularly unhappy at being trapped in a boat in the Galapagos Islands with a very annoying skipper’s daughter who keeps pranking him
When Emely persuades Bodhi to drink a special smoothie she’s made – mentioning the mango but omitting the sea cucumber and jelly fish ingredients – Bodhi has a terrible allergic reaction which ends up with them both overboard and stranded on a lonely island. But there has also been a more long term effect. Bodhi can now swim like a super fish and stay submerged for simply ages! With no sign of being rescued, the pair engineers their own escape accompanied by a rather large and ugly, though seemingly intelligent, marine iguana. Their mission is a success and along the way they manage to alert the authorities to a sea cucumber poaching racket.
Throughout the text are scattered fact pages about the various sea creatures which Bodhi and his parents encounter which offers readers a fantastic opportunity to increase their knowledge of these. Also on offer is the underlying repeated message about preserving our marine habitats.
All in all this a great package for readers from around eight years upwards.
Activity pack: Fish_Kid_Activity_Kit_FINAL_WEB.01
Walker Books Australia
Release Date: November 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $16.99
New Zealand RRP: $18.99
In the first of the trilogy The City of Secret Rivers Hyacinth Hayward managed to thwart the plot to control the magical powers of the underground waters of London and also gain some inkling about her family’s role as protectors of that city’s magic. Now in the second instalment Hyacinth is again joined in another manically paced adventure by familiar characters Little Ben and Oaroboarus, that unflappable mute yet eloquent porcine master of disguise. When ancient stones begin to be stolen from all over London, Hyacinth realises that this is yet another plot. With new characters – some friends, some foes – introduced including Dasra (suspect grandson of Lady Roslyn), Inspector Beale, Hungerford a large and somewhat awkward stone lion, the Precious Man and his daughter Minnie Tickle, Hyacinth embarks on a race-against-time to retrieve the missing magical stones and restore the balance of a structured city.
With the same hysterical humour as the first as well as the thrilling and adventurous, if convoluted, journey across and under the city, Hyacinth begins to not only surmise more about her own family’s role but to make discoveries about herself, hitherto unsuspected. Certainly aspects of her practical ‘instruction’ by female family members over the years become both understandable and frankly, very useful.
Again Weinstein has combined the gangbusters narrative with much hidden and fascinating history about this famous city which will continue to appeal to those interested in history mysteries. Once again the factual notes and photos that conclude the novel provide some intriguing background to the story.
I for one am very much looking forward to the final instalment in this highly entertaining trilogy and again I highly recommend it for able readers from around 8 years upwards.
Penguin Random House
September 3, 2018
Random House Australia Children’s
Twins Kensy and Max are back in another absolutely cracking adventure, which will delight the readers of this new series. The pair has had some time to adjust themselves to their new life as part of the important Pharos organisation, headed up by their impressive grandmother and is now agents-in-training along with some of their school friends.
Although their parents are still missing they at least now know they are still alive, so the Christmas celebrations at Alexandria, their grandmother’s home and Pharos training centre, are quite something. Their training program has been exciting and both have added many new skills to their already natural talents.
With their manny Fitz also absent and the unexpected arrival of Uncle Rupert, a somewhat dubious character, the twins have much to occupy themselves but their school trip to Italy promises to be a welcome distraction.
But of course, this turns out to be no normal school trip with a missing boy, a den of thieves and Mafioso-like goons threatening all-round chaos. It would seem that the twins will be on their first mission much earlier than could be expected.
Jacqueline Harvey has a real talent for creating very believable characters and scenarios which immediately engage her readership and leaves them begging for more.
While her two hugely popular series are eaten up ferociously by girls for the main part, this new series has equal appeal for both genders and will be, I predict, creating another huge following from the pre-teen crowd.
With neat touches like the coded chapter headings, this will have the problem-solvers competing for first place in deciphering!
Highly recommended for your readers from around Year 3 upwards who enjoy everyday stories with a hefty twist of wild adventure, sleuthing and drama.
Release Date: August 1, 2018
Australian RRP: $16.99
Even in holiday mode it’s a big ask for me to read a book in one sitting but this one is a corker!
At once a coming-of-age story and a beautiful reflection on accepting differences its country setting along with an environmental theme provides a strong contrast for city dwelling readers and a point of real engagement for those in rural areas.
Audrey knows she doesn’t fit in; even her little sister calls her ‘Nerd Girl’. Her passion for birds including knowing so many of their scientific names is just one aspect that sets her apart. Even so, leaving her old city school when her parents relocate to a country vineyard is fraught with misgivings about how she will even attempt to blend in with new school friends and country ways. Her father is filled with optimism about the new venture having spent a long time unemployed. Her mother has left her legal secretary job which has kept the family and is far less enthralled with their new prospects. Little sister Chloe is excited and happy and has no trouble at all being accepted into a crowd of new friends.
Then Audrey makes a secret friend, a boy hiding out in a nearby cave with his little dog. Finch and Snowy connect with Audrey in a way no one else has done before. Although rather surprisingly her elderly neighbour Mavis becomes more and more like a friend as well. And somehow there appears to be a ‘bird’ connection between all three. The mystery surrounding Finch takes Audrey into a new awareness of herself and ultimately also into an inner resilience she didn’t know she possessed.
This is just delightfully written with excellent and resonant characterisations and a truly great theme of adapting to new circumstances and embracing one’s own differences.
Highly recommended for readers from around Year 5 to Lower Secondary.
April 2, 2018
In 1910 Paris flooded. A ‘once in a century’ possibility saw the Seine rise to over 30 feet above it’s normal level and the citizens of Paris having to adapt to their city in ways they had never experienced. For many of them this meant actually evacuating their homes and being housed in makeshift centres across the city.
This new historical novel from Felice narrates the stories of three children, all very different, and their own dramas amid the floodwaters. Frederic lives with his mother since his father was killed in a botched robbery at the Louvre, where he was a security guard. Thierry, the would-be author, is also fatherless – his builder father having died in a construction accident when Thierry was small. Claire, it appears, also has only her mother but there is something odd about the way her mum can never been seen in the shelter.
The children band together to make the most of the drama unfolding around them each day and find themselves in the roles of rescuers and heroes saving cats, children, horses – and helping track down thieves In the process Frederic uncovers the villains who murdered his father and burns for revenge.
As the narrative unfolds, the personalities (and secrets) of the children, the extraordinary circumstances impacting on them and the growing friendship between them draws the reader further into the adventures of Fearless Frederic and his Floodwater Friends.
Felice has a really deft way of weaving adventure, history and realistic fiction together in a manner that appeals to both genders.
I would highly recommend this for readers from around Year 5 upwards.
Mar 27, 2018 | 9780734417695 | Rrp $14.99
The intrepid outlaw girls and boys are back in the next exciting instalment of the Ateban Cipher – Gwyn, Merry, Scarlett along with Gabe and now Eddie (aka Prince Edward) are on a quest to deliver the Book of Secrets to the rightful recipient. When Gabe first took charge of the mysterious book he knew nothing about it except that it was dangerous in more ways than one. Now with the help of his new comrades some progress has been made and the group are on their way to the isolated Hayden’s Mont and Lord Lucien where they hope to rid themselves of the book (and their deadly pursuers) and be able to get on with other business. But more than answers about the book are in store at Hayden’s Mont – Gabe receives a shock regarding his birth origins, they are all in a quandary about what to do next when Lucien says he cannot take charge of the book and Eddie still needs to reach his father the King with the proof of his identity – not to mention Gwyn’s determination to save her own father from his unjust and false imprisonment. While some threads appear to be tied up, others are just unravelling – what is in store next time for this brave band?
This is the kind of thrilling adventure that has readers turning the pages as fast as they can devour the story along the way discerning many important themes about trust, loyalty, ingenuity and courage.
A .L. Tait’s knack for creating these gripping and often tense exploits has been well demonstrated in her Mapmaker Chronicles series (as a reader said to me in the last week of school – “I just LOVE this series – it keeps you on the edge of your seat!”) and now continues the success with this new series.
Hear A. L. Tait talk about the inspiration for this new series here.
Highly recommended for Upper Primary/Lower Secondary readers both boys and girls.
Harper Collins Australia
- ISBN 10: 0008257019
- Imprint: HarperCollins – GB
Stacey Gregg’s series of which this is the fifth has been a stellar hit with my ‘horsey girls’. And though I’m not particularly horsey myself (aside from paying for Miss Small’s passion) I have thoroughly enjoyed them as well as each weaves some excellent factual and historical information into the narratives.
In this newest book it is not only the devastating impact of the Christchurch earthquakes which form a dramatic part of the plot but the little-explored incidence of mental illness in children. Although society is becoming more open about such illnesses, rarely I have seen references or certainly novels which take on such concepts.
Evie is 12, her father is gravely ill with cancer and she and her mother are dealing with this trauma as best they can. For Evie, her anxiety over her father has manifested into OCD (obsessive compulsive disorder) which is having significant impact on her everyday life. When her tiny town of Parnassus is evacuated due to the severity of earthquakes, Evie refuses to leave without her beloved pony. Her mother has been injured so does not know that Evie has rejected the evacuation plan and has, instead, set out cross country with Gus, her pony, plus Moxy the cat and Jack the dog. Facing many situations which require initiative and daring, Evie’s mental health is tested to its limits.
This is a thrilling adventure for girls and one which will offer them real insight into the acuity that mental pressures/ill-health can impose on children just like themselves.
Highly recommended for readers from around ten years upwards.
Teaching Guide here
We all know some young explorers; the ones who love adventure, the ones who watch Bear Grylls for the survival tips, the ones who pore over atlases and illustrated books of exotic places. These are the ones who will adore this new book from Katherine Rundell with its adventure, courage, resilience and spirit.
Four children are in a plane crash and find themselves stranded alone in the depths of the Amazon rainforest. Fred, Constantia along with brother and sister, Lila and Max are not the stuff of which the usual jungle survivors are made but as the plot moves along each has a different strength to bring to their joint survival. Of course being so young their chances would be slim no matter how great their competence were it not for the fact that they stumble upon evidence of another earlier person who had lived in the spot in which they find themselves.
Fred, who has always devoured the accounts of the great explorers, is wildly excited about the meagre finds which indicate an explorer has pass this way before and the children collectively are reassured when they find a map. So begins their adventure proper with the building of a raft, scrounging for food and water and setting off down the Amazon following the directions.
To their immense surprise they find themselves in a lost city of stone where indeed an old irascible explorer is in residence. His reluctance to accept them into his space or help them mellows over the ensuing days and eventually when things go terribly wrong he comes to their rescue with a self-sacrifice that is immeasurable.
All in all this was a thrilling adventure, well-paced and with echoes of earlier grand novels for children. Indeed, Rundell says she was inspired not just by her own trip to the Amazon but Eve Ibbotson’s hugely popular Journey to the River Sea.
This is a fabulous read for both boys and girls from around eight years upwards and for those who might be looking for a class read-aloud or group reading it would be an excellent choice indeed.
Highly recommended for your middle to upper primary readers.
Download a teacher pack here.
9780734417671 | RRP $14.99
So imagine if you will Robin Hood and his band of Merry Men hiding out in Sherwood Forest. Now replace that image with a feisty band of young girls adept in woodcraft, hunting, disguise and escape. This is the group that young Gabriel a naïve and inexperienced novice monk encounters when he is forced to flee his monastery.
When Gabe finds Brother Benedict beaten and bloody and is given a mysterious precious book to keep safe, he is completely at a loss as to what he should do. Strange things are happening in the cloisters of the only home he has known since he was left on the step, a foundling. The Abbott appears to be ill, the Prior is consorting with sinister knights and there are rumours of the Sheriff’s dishonesty.
Taking the advice of Brother Malachy, Gabe flees to the woods where he narrowly escapes capture by the Lord’s men but is rescued by a band of outlaws. These are no ordinary outlaws though. Gwyn, Merry, Scarlett and Midge are all for various reasons living in the woods completely concealed from the outside world. They survive by their wits and their skills and agree to help Gabe in return for his help.
These are Mighty Girls indeed, undaunted by any obstacle or difficulty and ready to stand and defend not only their own rights but those of others.
A wrongfully imprisoned father, a substituted royal prince, nefarious dealings between lords and church all combine to make this one absolutely top-notch adventure. It will appeal to both boys and girls and they will no doubt not only embrace it but be eager for more.
Highly recommended for readers from around eight years upwards.