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Archive for the ‘Intermediate Fiction’ Category

Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce.

December 11, 2018 Comments off

ellie engineerEllie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Ellie and her friends are in middle school but Ellie is in a class of her own. She regards herself as an engineer, she wears a tool belt, designs projects and is always dismantling things or putting things together.

Ellie has a best friend called Kit and school girlfriends, who she calls The Presidents because their first names are all Presidents of USA, I wonder where Jackson Pearce got the idea? She also has boy friends who won’t let her play football with them because she is a girl.

All these friends including the boys are going to assist Ellie to build a doghouse for her friend Kit, in secret mind, for Kit’s birthday. But are they acting on wrong information? Read it and find out.

Ellie is a fine character who understands that “people who are organised are way more efficient than people who aren’t”. But she may be neglecting her people skills.

Do you know what Ding Dong Ditching is? Well the boys do it and they are going to get caught. A good section on tools in the back of the book.

Easy to read in short chapters with big font and a load of laughs. The sequel Ellie Engineer. The next Level is also out now. Great holiday reading for young middle school girls in particular. Get into it.

 

Maudlin Towers2. Treasure of the Golden Skull by Chris Priestley

December 6, 2018 Comments off

golden skullMaudlin Towers2. Treasure of the Golden Skull by Chris Priestley. Pub. Bloomsbury Childrens Books, 2018.

Cor blimey O’Reilly this is good. Quality writing, crazy plot, even crazier characters, full of humour and wit and so easy to read.

Mildew and Sponge are friends at a run down private school called Maudlin Towers. The opening chapter has one of the spires falling through the headmasters office. Both teachers and pupils are full of gloom about going to the school but feel they have nowhere better to go.

Then the School Board refuse to fund the repairs and the school is rumoured to be closing. How can this change?

Well it is discovered that the founding fathers of the school were pirates led by Greenbeard, captain of the Golden Skull, and the captain’s treasure could be hidden somewhere in the school and environs.

Firstly the school Board, who look and act like pirates, remove all the teaching staff and a new boy called Newboy joins the school. Sponge is walloped on the head and keeps seeing a parrot around the school grounds but his friend Mildew is skeptical “I had a cousin once who thought he could see Charles Dickens. It turned out to be a hatstand. He’s an MP now so be warned.”

The characters are weird. Miss Bronteen pines for a lost love on the moors and Kenningworth is a total rotter out of the top drawer. Then there is Miss Nevermiss!

Superb humour and excellent pen and ink sketches of the characters make this an excellent read for even the most reluctant boy reader. I was fascinated from go to woe and there is a lot of woe.

Intermediate and junior secondary.

Ranger’s Apprentice; The Royal Ranger. Duel at Araluen by John Flanagan.

November 28, 2018 Comments off

Royal Ranger. Duel at AraluenRanger’s Apprentice; The Royal Ranger. Duel at Araluen by John Flanagan. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2018

RELEASED 3 DECEMBER

Action writing for Intermediate and Junior Secondary students doesn’t come better than this. Many will have read The Rangers Apprentice series and the Brotherband series and this new series features the characters from both series. As ever it is set in viking like era with sword fights, bowmen and cavalry.

Sir Horace, paramount knight of castle Araluen is trapped with Ranger Gilan in a fort besieged by rebels of the Red Fox Clan, while Cassandra the future queen of Araluen, is trapped in castle Araluen by Dimon, a ruthless rebel who wants to become king. Both groups are safe but need to employ clever tactics to remain safe.

Meanwhile Hal and his crew of the Heron are returning to Araluen after a mission. All three groups will spar with one another in a thrilling finale which has action aplenty.

Much of the talk is about tactics to keep the enemy at bay with Apprentice Ranger Maddie a skillful archer and master of hiding, linking all the groups.

Brilliantly conceived, and written in short chapters that keep the reader in the story. If you know the two series then you will devour this latest addition. The battles are brilliantly described.

Both girls and boys will love it equally. Maddie is astonishing.

The Ice Monster by David Walliams, illus. Tony Ross.

November 21, 2018 Comments off

ice monsterThe Ice Monster by David Walliams, illus. Tony Ross. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

The Telegraph said of David Walliams -” Dahl finally has a worthy successor”. They are right of course and this latest novel has all the craziness and brilliance of his earlier novels.

It is the story of Elsie, an orphan who has escaped from a cruel orphanage in the year 1899 when Victoria was on the throne. She lives on the streets while the wealthy live extravagant but ignorant lives. Anti poverty is a consistent theme of David Walliams.

Elsie learns that a woolly mammoth has been found frozen in a block of ice and is being taken to the Natural History Museum in London. With the help of a crazy professor who has invented a lightning-catching thingammyjig, and a cleaning maid Dotty, she revives the baby mammoth and escapes to the Chelsea Pensioners a group of doddery old ex soldiers and naval officers.

They plot to return the mammoth to the North Pole using Lord Nelsons old ship the HMS Victory. Will they succeed? Read this rollicking hilarious adventure and find out.

Full of toilet humour and bottom explosions this will get the most reluctant of readers interested. Elsie is a wonderful heroine and role model and Dotty a true friend.

Tony Ross’s illustrations as always are superb. Easy to read with a variety of fonts. Plenty of scope for those who like to read aloud and can do bottom explosion noises.

For children from 5-12 and anybody brave enough to try it.

The Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, Illus. P,J. Lynch.

October 28, 2018 Comments off

lost barkThe Dog Who Lost His Bark by Eoin Colfer, Illus. P,J. Lynch. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

Many people would be glad to have a dog that didn’t bark but not the dog in this story. This dog has been badly mistreated as a puppy and has lost his confidence in humans and in life, so much so that he cannot bark.

Then he is saved by Patrick a boy who calls the dog Oz. Patrick is a boy who has problems of his own. Patrick and his mom go to stay with his granddad while his father is touring Australia with a band. But is this the only reason he is away?

Patrick is going to find out soon enough that parents are not always honest with their children and Oz is going to learn that not all humans are bad. Will he get his bark back? There is a music connection in the story that is just wonderful.

Great read-a-loud for children 5-10 years and a good read for newly confident readers.

The illustrations are superb brilliantly capturing the predicament of the dog and the emotional problems of Patrick and his mom. The granddad is excellent. You will love it.

When Dad Came Home by Vanessa Hately-Owen, illus. Rosie Colligan.

October 25, 2018 Comments off

dad came homeWhen Dad Came Home by Vanessa Hately-Owen, illus. Rosie Colligan. Pub. Oratia Books, 2018.

RELEASED 8 NOVEMBER

When the guns fell silent in World war 1 for many the war didn’t end. The noise, the trauma and the inhumanity of war stayed with them in their heads.

Rita and Thomas wait eagerly for their dad to come home. They are apprehensive as they see other dads come home with wounds and scars. They wonder what their dad will be like. Will he laugh and joke and carry them for piggy back rides?

They soon find out. Their dad is shell shocked. Noise upsets him. Rather than tiptoe round him they sing their favourite song when working with him or in his presence. It works and dad is soon recovering.

A heart warming story brilliantly illustrated by Rosie Colligan. She captures the faces of hope, of despair, of pain, of sadness and eventually of joy.

A beautiful story for everyone.

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, illus. Chris Riddell

October 23, 2018 Comments off

beedle the bardThe Tales of Beedle the Bard by J.K. Rowling, illus. Chris Riddell. Pub. Bloomsbury, 2018.

Witches and wizards have been reading these tales since the 15th Century but I have just read them in this illustrated edition that has been created for J.K. Rowling’s charity Lumos. I feel privileged to have received this copy because the tales are told in large hardback with large print and superbly illustrated by Chris Riddell.

The five tales are on the weird side as you would expect and they really are modeled on Muggle cautionary tales. Basically they are what not to do or attempt to do with magic. If you are going to be mean, try to grab power, deceive anyone with magic or bring someone back from the dead, then these tales will deter you I can bet you that.

Each tale is accompanied by notes of historical origins of the tale and comments by Prof Dumbledore on the tales and all brilliantly illustrated. I loved The Warlocks Hairy heart but they are all good.

If you are a big fan of Harry Potter then this is essential to get, even if you are not this is a volume well worth getting. Your kids will love you for it. I am giving it to my granddaughters.