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Archive for the ‘Intermediate Fiction’ Category

Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl.

October 15, 2019 Comments off

badobedayMadame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl. Pub. Walker Books, 2019.

If I was an old woman I would like to be like Madame Badobedah. Mysterious, well kept, says “darlink” and keeps to herself.

She arrives at the Mermaid Hotel with two dogs, two cats, a tortoise and 23 bags and moves into room 32. Mabel is a resident of Mermaid Hotel and she keeps an eye on things and she decides Madame Badobedah is suspicious.

Mabel is a young girl with imagination and she treats every room in the Mermaid Hotel as a brother or a sister.  She imagines fantastical exploits with Madame and they become good friends. Read it and see what happens.

Great illustrations portray Madame , the Mermaid Hotel and an English seaside resort . Sophie Dahl’s text  tells a whimsical story with intrigue and mystery.

For primary and intermediate readers but adults will love this as well.

Avis and the Promise of Dragons by Heather McQuillan.

October 14, 2019 Comments off

avisAvis and the Promise of Dragons by Heather McQuillan. Pub. AHOY, imprint Cuba Press, 2019.

How do you weave an ex All Black star, a manipulative dragon, a kind hearted little girl with a slovenly father and brother, a mother who has left home, a bully, an endangered species smuggler and chocolate bars into a novel?

Check out this easy to read tale and find out. Of course it is an outrageous fantasy and tall story, but it is good fun and an easy read for primary and intermediate students.

Avis is the central character and she is a very likeable. Her father is in a slump because his wife and Avls’s mother has run off with an ex All Black. Bruno the 14 year old brother is in a grump as well. Avis does everything around the house.

Then Avis gets a job minding an eccentric scientists house while she attends to a screeching peacock, and discovers a giant lizard that loves chocolate which makes it shed it’s skin and grow quickly. Not only that it becomes a dragon and is able to manipulate Avis through thought control.

I can tell you no more but it is fun.

The Strange Sagas of Sabrina Summers Pt2. The Uncomfortable Glass Slippers by Michele Clark McConnochie.

October 13, 2019 Comments off

glass slippersThe Strange Sagas of Sabrina Summers Pt2. The Uncomfortable Glass Slippers by Michele Clark McConnochie. Pub. Morgan James Publishing, 2019.

The second book in a trilogy is often the hardest to write because it hasn’t got the surprise wow factor of the first book nor the drama of the conclusion in the third.

This novel is more of the same that the first brought but it does fill in gaps and broaden the nature of the conflict in the magical land of Dralfynia. We find out more about Sabrina’s stepmother Bridget and her relationship with the bad witch, witchy Wu who has slipped through the magic barrier from Dralfynia to become a teacher at Melas school (Salem spelt backwards) where Sabrina and her friends Persis and Olive go.

We find out more of the 8 fingered Beast who wants the crown of Dralfynia and the nature of the conflict and my favourite character the horse Clyde who becomes a unicorn in Dralfynia.

The action moves along in short chapters  and there is a cleverness about the reworking of the story of Cinderella and the glass slippers. She needs rescuing in this story.

Good values for primary and intermediate readers especially girls who understand the nature of girlie relationships. I look forward to the conclusion.

Prince of Ponies by Stacy Gregg

October 5, 2019 Comments off

prince of poniesPrince of Ponies by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

This latest novel from Stacy Gregg for intermediate and junior secondary readers, is breathtaking.

If I had to summarise it in one sentence it would go “two girls, two horses, two dogs, two Germanys, two historical periods, two connections”.

Zofia is a 9 year old polish girl when the Nazis conquered her country in 1939. She survived WW2 on a horse stud  taken over by the Germans and developed a close relationship with a grey/white Arabian horse called Prince. He was a superior horse, proud muscular and awe inspiring. Her dog Olaf hated Nazis.

Mira is from Syria and now resides in Germany in 2019. She is bullied at school, loves horses and walks a dog called Rolf. She and Rolf follow a horse who has got loose through the forest to a stud where she meets Zofia as an old lady. The horse is also white/grey, is named Emir and has the same arrogance and other qualities as Prince.

Both horse are powerful expressive stallions. There is much quality horse and show jumping talk.

In return for writing Zofia’s story Mira gets horse riding lessons from Zofia who tells her after her first attempt at riding Emir “it takes a hundred falls to make a true rider”. Zofia’s story in berlin and the last days of Hitler are mind blowing as is Mira’s progress in the show jumping circuit. The ending is very emotional.

Find out the rest for yourself and you will love it. Zofia’s story is stunning and Mira has much to deal with too. One of the best of the year so far.

Boy Giant. Son of Gulliver by Michael Morpurgo, illus. Michael Foreman.

October 4, 2019 Comments off

Boy GiantBoy Giant. Son of Gulliver by Michael Morpurgo, illus. Michael Foreman. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

This is story telling at it’s very very best. It combines a real situation of refugees leaving their homeland because of war, with the classic tale of Gulliver and his adventures in Lilliput.

Omar and his mother leave their village in Afghanistan after it is bombed and destroyed  with the loss of a sister and father. Their journey is long tortuous and soul destroying but they stick with it. Eventually mother and son are forced to separate with Omar taking a boat hopefully to England where his uncle owns a shop.

That journey is hazardous to the extreme and after a massive storm Omar finds himself washed up on Lilliput where the small people hail him as Son of Gulliver. We learn of the story of Gulliver who fixes a feud between the Lilliputians and the people of the island of Blufescu. Things are still not right between the two islands and Omar is forced to take action akin to Gulliver.

The novel is full of wisdom and is a quest for peace and understanding between Peoples and Nations. How is this for wisdom? “children don’t mind if you make mistakes. They don’t think anything is wrong with it. They know making mistakes is how you learn”.

But how will it end? If you don’t read this you are mad.

As always Michael Foreman’s illustrations are superb, creating the world of Lilliput perfectly and enhancing a brilliant story for primary, intermediate and junior secondary readers.

The Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer

October 2, 2019 Comments off

fowl twinsThe Fowl Twins by Eoin Colfer. Pub. HarperCollins, 2019.

The Artemis Fowl novels are some of the most inventive fantasy/adventure novels ever written for children and now they are back with younger 11 year old twin brothers, Myles and Beckett.

Myles is ultra clever and the schemer of the two but Beckett has the capacity while seeming simple. to drive enemies to distraction.

Behind every Artemis Fowl novel is the Fairy world, with it’s gold and superior weaponry, living underground out of the ways of humans. Artemis shook this world to the core and now they are back but why?

When a troll burrows his way to the surface near the Fowl fortress on Dalkey Island he is followed by a fairy and shot by a scurrilous 150 year old rogue called Lord teddy Bleedham-Drye. Invisibility filaments were used in this escapade and detected by a fairy fearing group called ACRONYM led by a Spanish speaking nun called Sister Jeromina.

Sister Jeromina captures the Fowl twins for their own safety but wants to learn what if anything they know about how Dalkey Island suddenly became invisible. Is it the fairies?

Probably but you will have to read the book yourself to find out.

Ultra clever, hugely imaginative, highly inventive, totally tongue in cheek, with action and adventure in abundance. Don’t miss this one.

For primary intermediate and junior secondary readers. The font size is large and this is so essential when reading technical stuff that Eoin Colfer throws at you in a totally believeable way. Go on enjoy yourself.

Adventures of Anders by Gregory Mackay

September 25, 2019 Comments off

andersAdventures of Anders by Gregory Mackay. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2019.

This is a graphic novel structured in comic book fashion about an unusual  creature somewhat like a cross between a dog and a cat, called Anders.

He has a best friend called Eden who is just like him, and in the first novel of three in this compendium he meets an elephant like creature who becomes another friend called Bernie.

Anders, Bernie and Eden play together and have enviable imaginations and as such have adventures that just happen rather than are contrived. They are good to each other and to everyone around them. They have respect and deserve their good fortune.

In these three novels they find a comet, search an extinct volcano and find their way through a maze in a castle.

They meet an odd friend in Skip who is a beetle who lights up when he eats sweets, what kid doesn’t? he can fly Anders around. They also meet a mad scientist called Dr Larsen who provides all the interesting stuff in these stories.

Great for kids who are visual readers who will be able to read fast with simple text and good illustrations. A necessity in every school library. It meets a need.