Tag Archives: Jacqueline Harvey

Alice-Miranda Keeps the Beat (#18) – Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Random House

9780143786030

June 4, 2019

Puffin

 

RRP $16.99

Jacqueline Harvey knows exactly how to reach those high notes with her readers and the overwhelming popularity of her series, and certainly Alice-Miranda, is proof of that. The tiny girl with the big heart always plays her part in helping others, redressing injustices and solving mysteries.

Life at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies is at fever pitch with Miss Reedy acting as Head and an increasingly disgruntled and resentful staff. The new teacher Miss Crowley seems to really be a target for the short fuse of the acting headmistress.  Surely Miss Reedy cannot be as despotic as it would seem? Could there be some other hand at work behind the imperious orders and contradictory decisions?

At the same time a fire in the village which destroys the Abboud family home and restaurant causes huge consternation amongst both villagers and young ladies, with the resulting determination to help out the family to raise funds for re-building.

The spontaneous suggestion to hold a music festival strikes a resonant chord with many of the would-be helpers but not everyone is on board with it. Alice-Miranda is certainly keen particularly as she has a happy secret she’s been keeping which would mesh beautifully with the proposed event. But A-M is not the only one with a secret. Young Zahra Abboud is closely guarding her own hidden agenda while Alice-Miranda’s friend Jacinta is trying to fathom the mysterious reason behind her errant father’s sudden re-appearance.

Into the mix are the usual cast of characters of school mates, ‘boy’ friends, villagers and personalities of note with lots of interaction accompanying the main threads.

There is always so much to absorb in these stories primarily the abiding themes of kindness (often in the face of difficulty/hostility), compassion and resilience.

It is little wonder they are such a huge success with readers from 8 to mid-Secondary. I have so many kiddos who are literally panting and begging to get their hands on this new one first.

Congratulations Jacqueline on another fabulously orchestrated adventure! Now all that remains is for me to duck and weave the crash tackles when it arrives in the library 😊 ..!

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Kensy and Max #3: Undercover – Jacqueline Harvey

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9780143791904

Penguin Random House

9780143791904

March 5, 2019

Random House Australia Children’s

 

$16.99

Jacqueline Harvey has done it again with another super episode in her cracking new series about the two intrepid twins, Kensington and Maxim aka Kensy and Max.  The children’s parents are still MiA but news of them is filtering through and they know they are getting closer to unravelling the mystery of the kids’ grandparents who disappeared before the twins were born. After a couple of rather nasty incidents in London, the twins, Fitz and Song are sent off to Sydney by their indomitable Granny Cordelia, head of Pharos – the security organization with which the whole family is involved.

The twins are detailed to befriend a brother and sister at their very new posh school to prevent a possible kidnapping.  Neither is particularly impressed either with their targets or the school itself and would struggle indeed if not for their other new friend, a would-be spy named Curtis.  But what seems like a very straightforward mission at first quickly becomes more convoluted as the twins realise that somehow the fate of their parents is connected with the less than charming Dash Chalmers. The children must employ all their new spy strategies as well as their natural aptitudes to successfully resolve this new and potentially deadly situation.

It’s another superb action filled adventure which will be equally enjoyed by both boys and girls from around ten years upwards. Kensy and Max are both extremely likeable characters each with their own personality foibles that make them even more relatable. Each adventure is also liberally sprinkled with humour and lighter moments to leaven the seriousness of the ‘spy’ factor and of course, the decoding of each chapter heading also provides an extra soupçon of fun.  This series, as with Jacqueline’s previous much-loved books, focuses on important themes of family bonds, loyalty, trust, friendship, courage and resourcefulness.

Highly recommended for mid-primary students upwards – and you’d best get at least two copies!

Clementine Rose and the Bake-Off Dilemma [#14] – Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Random House

9780143780595

December 3, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP: $14.99

Clemmie is back with not only a new adventure but also some new and exciting family news!

Penberthy House is busier than ever now that Lady Clarissa and Drew are married, which means that Clemmie has a new step-brother in Will. Also of course, there’s been the revelation of Clemmie’s biological mother, Clarissa’s cousin Eliza – daughter of Great-Aunt Violet- and Clementine is still adjusting to calling the old lady Granny.  There’s also the weirdness of Granny and Uncle Digby being so ‘nice’ to each other – what’s that about? Even more so Mummy is not well. She keeps feeling sick and needing to rest – what on earth can be wrong with her? Just as the most exciting event is about to happen as well – The Great Village Bake-Off is about to staged right in Penberthy Floss!

There is keen competition for the title of winner and Clementine is super happy that there is to be a kid’s competition as well. She is spending lots of time practising some very interesting cake ideas. When the actual competition begins though there are numerous inexplicable disasters from flopped cakes to broken ovens. Someone is sabotaging the bake-off! Nobby and Florence Loveberry, the show’s hosts seem to think this is quite normal but Clementine and Will are quite sure that someone is up to mischief and of course, are determined to solve the mystery.

Fortunately there is a happy outcome (of course) and not only is the bake-off puzzle resolved but also the problem of Mummy’s sickness. She’s not sick at all – she’s pregnant! Wow! Clemmie and Will are going to have a little brother or sister to play with.

Clementine Rose has established herself as a huge favourite with the younger readers and this delicious episode will, no doubt, take the cake with them all! I foresee an upswing in my usual Book Week cooking competition as a result once my girls get their hands on it!

This is such a happy series with delightful characters and a great sense of family solidity. It’s no wonder these books are never on the shelves of the library and are so highly sought after in the returns line!

Highly recommended for readers from around seven years upwards.

Total Quack Up- Edited by Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck. Illustrated by James Foley

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9780143794905

Penguin Random House

9780143794905

October 15, 2018

Puffin

RRP $14.99

 

Here’s another super choice for the kid who loves humour – and again, very timely with Christmas rushing in upon us.

 

The cream of our Australian children’s writers have contributed a wealth of funny stories: Deborah Abela, Tristan Bancks, Adrian Beck, Jacqueline Harvey, Paul Jennings, Alex Miles, Oliver Phommavanh, Sally Rippin, R.A. Spratt and Matt Stanton are all crowd pleasers at any time.

 

Oliver P’s poem about writing a poem, Rhyme Time!, made me laugh aloud – definitely going to use that the next time I do a library unit that features poetry to ward off the inevitable groans. Jacqueline Harvey’s Pet Sit Pandemonium: Operation Snowball is also a cracker – the image of Puss with poor Pavarotti clamped in his jaws balefully glaring had me falling about. And of course, Nanny Piggins is a guaranteed chortle-inducer and Pigerella, R. A. Spratt’s contribution, is no exception.

 

From football loving pigs to a principal with a rat phobia, from vegetarian bikini-wearing hippos to a crazed vacuum cleaner, this compilation will have something for every reader.

The book also includes the first publication of the winning entry in the Kids’ WB competition by Ella Wallace.

 

Royalties from the sales of this book go directly to Dymock’s Children’s Charities with all the authors as well as James Foley, illustrator, thrilled to be part of the project donating their talents and work.

 

So buying this book will not only give the kids you love some pleasure but also help to provide some for children in less fortunate circumstances.

 

Highly recommended for kids who love to laugh, from around eight years upwards.

 

Kensy and Max #2: Disappearing Act – Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Random House

9780143780632

September 3, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP: $16.99

 

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.

 

Alice-Miranda in Scotland [#17]– Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House Australia Children’s

ISBN 9780143786016

May 2018

RRP $16.99

 

What could possibly be more delightful than our favourite BFF immersed in Scotland’s culture and icons?  The inaugural Queen’s Colours leadership program for children is kicking off in the land of Burns, Bruce and Braveheart and Alice-Miranda (after a tricky start) as well as friends from near and far are part of the cohort.

 

With some colorful and memorable new characters to entertain as well as some tricky puzzles to solve along the way, the kids are bound to have loads of fun and great experiences.  Whether its caber tossing or Highland dancing the leaders of the future are keen to have a go and earn some points for their team. Of course, as always there are a few less-than-positive participants although after one initial hiccup this is not the ubiquitous Caprice causing most of the upsets. A rather nasty cousin of Alice-Miranda’s bestie Millie, one Madagascar Slewt is quite the most obnoxious child and makes no bones about her indifference to rules, socially acceptable behavior or consideration of others. What a toad!  Even Alice-Miranda has difficulty overlooking her appalling behavior.

 

Despite that negativity the program is going pretty well until  the intrusion of a real ‘monster’ as well as the fabled one in Loch Ness which threatens in a very real way the safety of Alice-Miranda and her team. Fortunately some resourceful thinking and some daring courage will save the day and as always, Alice-Miranda’s innate compassion and empathy for others shines through.

 

I hardly need to recommend this as the series is perpetually ‘off the shelf’ in our library, one returned copy being snapped up by another borrower time and time again. However, the alacrity with which my review copy was pounced upon for two extremely keen sisters demonstrates admirably the popularity of this character and her stories.

Triple Treat: Jacqueline Harvey, Belinda Murrell and R. A. Spratt

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Such fun to open parcels with books from the most popular authors in my library – and my literary circle! The titles from this trio are highly sought after among my readers and there is always much exchanging in the returns line up with ‘She had this but I want to borrow it next’.

To make it an even more interesting mix there is a beginning, a ‘middle’ and, sadly, an ending.

Kensy and Max #1: Breaking News – Jacqueline Harvey

K&M

9780143780656

February 26, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $16.99

Without a doubt, Jacqueline Harvey has the girls from 7 to teens eating out of the palm of her hand with her Clementine Rose and Alice-Miranda series.  And if you have not had the pleasure of Jacqueline presenting at your school I suggest that you do as she is without doubt the most energetic and engaging author I’ve seen in action.

Now Jacqueline has turned her considerable talents to a series pitched at both boys and girls with a hugely popular premise – espionage! Kensy and Max are twins both alike and also very different. They are well used to living all over the globe as their parents, apparently, are first responders in both tourist resorts and in crisis/humanitarian situations. However, when the pair finds themselves in a completely strange house with only their ‘manny’ Fitz in loco parentis things being to turn very mysterious indeed with their parents missing in a civil revolt and house inhabitants who are both strange and yet oddly familiar.

The two are in turn baffled and curious and begin to piece puzzle pieces together of their own initiative. It would seem that MI6 is a ‘family’ thing!

This new series has both memorable characters and believable circumstances which will thoroughly intrigue readers from around 8 years upwards. I don’t need to use my considerable powers of ESP to predict that this will be as big a winner as Jacqueline’s other series.

Highly recommended for readers from mid-primary up – get it on your shelves ASAP!

 

Pippa’s Island #3: Kira Dreaming – Belinda Murrell

pippa3

9780143783701

January 2, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $14.99

 

Without fail, if I put a Belinda Murrell book, whether Lulu Bell or one of the time slip series into a girl’s hands, I have her hooked from that moment. I’d like to think it’s my skill as a teacher-librarian but really its Belinda’s talent at knowing exactly what will grab her readers!

 

This is the third in her latest series and already I have girls clamouring for the next so this will be a huge hit when school goes back. There is something just purely delightful and happy about Pippa and her friends and family, even though there are serious moments e.g. Pippa’s absent dad. This doesn’t detract as I believe so many children can relate to the ambivalence about a parent who has absconded from the family. It’s difficult for them to reconcile their own love for that parent and the feeling of rejection/abandonment.

In this new episode, the Sassy Sisters are entering the school talent quest and while Pippa’s besties, Cici, Meg and Charlie are rapt about this opportunity, Pippa has real problems with her stage fright. Unexpectedly, it is this which provides a catalyst for Pippa to resume some ‘friendly’ relations with her MIA father.

These stories are fabulous narratives about real life situations to which readers can relate – despite the fact that they may not live on a tropical island!

Again, highly recommended for readers from around eight years upwards and if you’ve missed the first two, put them on your ‘to buy’ list as well!

 

Friday Barnes #8: Never Fear – R. A. Spratt

fridayfinal

9780143784203

January 2, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $15.99

 

When I gently broke the news to my avid Friday readers that the forthcoming book would be the last in the series there was full scale caterwauling and gnashing of teeth. The only thing that saved me from literary lynching was the promise of a new series in the pipeline – whew!

 

I’ve mentioned this before. I love Friday! I love her geekiness, her gauche-ness, her daggy clothes and social ineptitude.

 

Highcrest Academy has a new principal and she is one seemingly mean and shockingly capable young woman. She promptly promotes Friday to Year 12 to ‘extend’ her and Friday is convinced that this means she’s just one step away from being ousted from what she regards as her home.

Along with this is the persistent rumour of long hidden gold somewhere in the school grounds and when implosions and explosions begin to disrupt the regular (!!) routine of Highcrest everyone is on edge.

 

Some huge questions are answered in this final volume. Will Friday ever kiss Ian? Can Melanie stay awake long enough to observe it? Who will still be a student in the academy at the end of year? Is the new principal who she says she is or an imposter? And will Friday ever kiss Ian? 😉

 

There will be some sad faces at this the final Friday chapter but reassure your readers that more great stuff is on its way from R. J. Spratt’s imaginative mind!

Highly recommended for readers from around mid-primary upwards.

 

Alice-Miranda in Hollywood (#16) – Jacqueline Harvey

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AM

Penguin Random House

August 2017-09-03
ISBN 9780143780618

RRP $16.99

My girls are already super-excited awaiting this latest Alice-Miranda and well they should be because I think it is the most exciting thus far!

A-M and her pals are in the midst of being part of a real Hollywood movie – as child actors in A-M’s Uncle Lawrence’s latest film, a musical western – almost an anachronism. This in itself is thrilling but of course it would not be complete without mysteries and puzzlements and even a spot of very real danger. There seems to be just one thing after another with problems with the filming from strange reactive makeup to missing scripts to nasty accidents. Of course, A-M is far too sensible to believe in the old story of Nellie’s curse (the Nellie being the subject of the movie) but why do so many odd things keep happening? And why does it seem that this is not the first time an attempt to make this movie has happened?

Amid making new friends on the set and exploring the fascination of Hollywood the children are off to the desert near the Grand Canyon for location shooting where anything can and does happen, particularly when a paparazzo photographer, not particularly well-liked by A-M’s family, becomes the object of kidnapping and violent threats. A chance encounter with a reclusive old lady whose name seems vaguely familiar to A-M saves the day – and unravels the mystery of the cursed movie.

What a great adventure this is! As usual, Alice-Miranda acts with aplomb and generosity even towards the less than amiable Caprice. How can Jacqueline top this one? Although, I have no doubts given her talent that she can – she knows exactly what her readership loves and provides it time and time again.

Highly recommended for your readers aged around 8 upwards. I know mine will be tussling over this copy when I take it to school tomorrow!  Take a peek inside here.

Clementine Rose and the Paris Puzzle (#12) – Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857987884

Published: 27/06/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

 

RRP $14.99

With great timing for Bastille Day favourite of many Clementine Rose is off to Paris with her family – both the old and the new (following the engagement of her mother Clarissa and Drew).

Clemmie is beside herself with excitement not only because of all the exciting things to see like the Eiffel Tower but because she will be visiting her very best friend Sophie. Readers will remember that Sophie’s family had to return to Paris for a time to take care of their unwell grandfather. As usual there are many adventures in store but most especially that revolving around a very famous but very strange puppeteer, a mysterious neighbour and a pig-napping!

How absolutely adorable is the new cover with its tri-colour design?  And the image of Lavender in his beret and jacket is just too sweet as well.

This will be a highly sought after new book on your shelves and I highly recommend for those little readers who will devour up their series of beginning chapter books.

Clementine Rose and the Special Promise #11 – Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780857987860

Published: 04/01/2016

 

RRP $14.99

Clemmie Rose is such a favourite around here and as I well know with many little girls. This is the new volume so many of us were waiting for as finally a marriage proposal is in the air! However there are some other complications to mar such a happy announcement.

Clemmie’s best friend Sophie, whose parents own the local French bakery, has to return to France for a year so the family can help an aging grandparent. CR is devastated at the loss of her lifelong friend and even more so when the new occupants of the bakery appear with their rather vile and nasty young daughter, Sassy. Even the thought of having her own international penpal does not help when Sassy starts her petty meanness toward both Clemmie and Will, completely turning the pair against the thought of their parents becoming engaged.

The gentle humour of the series continues as Aunt Violet becomes mellower and the wonderful Digby remains the completely unflappable ex-butler even when faced with Sassy’s equally horrid mother and her snobbery. Lavender the teacup piglet and Pharaoh the Sphinx cat are of course back in the cast of characters and remain the oddest pair of best friends.

Grandparents’ Day at the school seems fraught with problems as Mrs Bottomley unwittingly falls for Sassy’s untruths and gives her the plum role of announcer.   Fortunately despite Sassy’s fibs it seems she does indeed have grandparents and those not quite as forgiving or malleable as her pretentious parents.

All in all another great read for girls six years old and up. I’m sure many of our girls who started out with Clemmie in the first story are still reading them – just so they can find out what happens next!