Archive

Archive for the ‘Intermediate Fiction’ Category

The Restless Girls by Jessie Burton, illus. Angela Barrett.

October 16, 2018 Comments off

restless girlsThe Restless Girls by Jessie Burton, illus. Angela Barrett. Pub. Bloomsbury Children’s Books, 2018.

From the people that brought you Harry Potter comes this superb hardback novel that is old yet new at the same time.

It is old because it is about a king with 12 daughters who believes girls are not as important as boys and shouldn’t have license to explore their talents and imagination. It is new because the girls will not be subjected to the king’s decisions and use imagination to change things.

After their bright and breezy mother, Queen Laurelia is killed in a car accident while driving around the beautiful kingdom of Kalia, the King, Alberto, goes into grieving and takes away all the rights and privileges from his 12 daughters. The Palace becomes like a morgue and the girls are unhappy.

Led by eldest and very intelligent and creative daughter Princess Frida, the Princesses use imagination to visit a wondrous land where they party and dance till dawn. Unfortunately the dancing wears their shoes out and poses a mystery that the king needs to solve.

When the girls refuse to tell him how their shoes became worn he banishes Frida from the kingdom and offers one of his daughters and the crown of Kalia to any man who can solve the problem. Find out what happens, it is brilliant.

The illustrations are superb and leave room for your own imagination. Easy to read for primary and intermediate students. Adults will love it too.

Good Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, Pictures by Harry Bliss.

October 11, 2018 Comments off

Good rosieGood Rosie! by Kate DiCamillo, Pictures by Harry Bliss. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

This sophisticated picture book, come comic book made me laugh.

It is the story of Rosie, a good but lonely dog and her good and probably lonely master, George. Each day begins with George having two poached eggs and Rosie having a shiny bowl of dog food. Rosie sees her image in the bottom of the bowl and says hello. The other dog never answers.

Then George has  a good idea and they go to the dog park. This changes life for both Rosie and George but you will have to read it to find out how. All I will say is that Rosie meets big dog Maurice and his bunny, plus Fifi with the bejeweled collar. George meets their owners.

Kate DiCamillo’s tight script is complimented by Harry Bliss’s superb illustrations. Each illustration is a work of art  with detail that enhances the text. You will read this more than once I can assure you and it will make you laugh.

Take your time reading this. savour every page. For everyone.

The Quest Series Pt1. How to set the World on Fire by T.K. Riggins.

October 2, 2018 Comments off

world on fireThe Quest Series Pt1. How to set the World on Fire by T.K. Riggins. Pub. Franchise Publishing Vancouver, 2017.

After reading literally hundreds of fantasy novels it is refreshing to read a really good one. For fantasy to be successful with me it must have  a number of things -firstly mythical dragon like creature or a unicorn. This novel has both. A half lion half dragon beast called a langara which is the guardian of the Forest of Morais and two unicorns one white one black.

Secondly it must have magic. There must be magicians who can do wonderous things, and thirdly there has to be bad things and bad people that need to be overcome to return a troubled land or society to peace and harmony.

This novel has them all, and there is the sage mirror. Find out what it is.

Kase wants to be a warrior and him and his elder sister Cali, who is a scholar, go to a school called the Academy. The Academy caters for warriors, scholars and wizards but never the twain shall meet until now.

Every year the Academy has the Quest for older students before they leave school and teams of all scholars, all warriors, all wizards are the norm. This year is different. Kase Cali, Lena and Talen are not in their final year, not all from one class and they form a team called Liberati to contest the Q. Their first task is to bring hot lava back in it’s natural condition without it solidifying. Tough stuff.

How will they do against older teams? What about school bad boy Niveous? What about the unicorns and the langara? I am not going to tell you any more, you will have to read it yourself. And it is very good.

Great introduction to fantasy for kids from 8-15 years. Good values too. Friendship, families, teamwork, leadership and selflessness are themes. Lots of science and problem solving.

The second book in the series Money Jane is already out.

Scared to Death by Anthony Horowitz

September 28, 2018 Comments off

scared to deathScared to Death by Anthony Horowitz Pub. Walker books, 2018.

This book came to me on a day in which I received 14 other books to read. I checked them all out but there was no doubt that this was the one I would read first and I was not disappointed.

The cover boasts “read this at your peril” and it was not wrong. Ten stunning short stories, eleven really if you read the Note from the Chairman of Walker Books at the end. Each of the stories pushes boundaries and the endings of all of them are particularly satisfying.

Bet your life pushes the TV quiz show to deadly heights. You Have Arrived is what you wish would happen to those thugs out there. The Cobra challenges the cynic in the lovely city of Marrakech. Robo Nanny takes child care to a new level. My Bloody French Exchange brings the vampire into reckoning.

If you want to know about any of the other five you will have to read it yourself but Power was most satisfying and the J Train awoke my new York experience.

Each story is wonderfully constructed and told. Every story will surprise you. Anthony Horowitz is a master story teller.

Short stories evoke the imagination and will attract the most reluctant of readers. One of the best collections I have read and apart from Juniors they are for all reading levels.

Fire Stallion by Stacy Gregg.

September 18, 2018 Comments off

fire stallionFire Stallion by Stacy Gregg. Pub. HarperCollins, 2018.

This is the best Stacy Gregg book about girls and horses yet. It has everything – action, two horses, history in a wonderful place, a film set, romance, transmogrification and the line “she swept into the stable like she was walking onto a yacht”. You can’t beat that Carly Simon.

Set in Iceland where the horses are pure bred and been untainted for more than 1000 years. No other horses are allowed in Iceland and if an Icelandic horse leaves the county it can’t get back in again.

Brunhilda is an Icelandic legendary warrior Queen and 14 year old Hilly and her mother are on a Hollywood film set in Iceland making a film of her life. A Hollywood starlet named Jamisen has the part of Brunhilda and Hilly is her stunt double doing all the horse riding scenes. Jamisen is true brat pack and her male lead man is a Justin Bieber double named Anders Mortenson. Romance looms and there is a wedding but between whom?

Hilly is advised by a cultural adviser in Norse affairs named Gudrun who has the power to send Hilly back in time into the body of the real Brunhilda.

The action is stunning and the horse talk endless. Strong girls confront the male opinion of “a man should be in control, it’s the natural order of things”

A wonderful story, spellbinding in parts which takes fans of Stacy Gregg forward in age a little into the puberty thing. Intermediate and junior high school kids will love it and I suspect younger girl readers will prise it out of your hands given a chance. Boys should give it a crack too the action is brilliant

The Turnkey by Allison Rushby

September 4, 2018 Comments off

turnkeyThe Turnkey by Allison Rushby. Pub. Walker Books, 2018.

This award winning novel from Australia is a delight to read. It has a believable plot, interesting characters and is written in a style that is reminiscent of old style writing.

Set during the Blitz in world War 2 it pits the twilight world of the dead against a Nazi plot to win the war.

Flossie Birdwhistle died of rhumatic fever when she was twelve, now she is the Turnkey of Highgate Cemetery responsible for looking after the needs of the dead. She is in the twilight world and can function in the world of the living but cannot be seen or heard.

During a bombing raid of London she sees a Nazi officer on top of St Pauls  and realises he too is of the twilight world. He clutches a bright skull in his hands and when he sees Flossie he vanishes.

What is the meaning of the skull. Is Viktor Brun, the Nazi officer, spying for the Nazis? Can he communicate with the living? and is Highgate cemetery and the other six cemeteries of London involved in a Nazi plot to win the war?

The beginning of each short chapter announces what is going on in the chapter and there are hooks at the end of each chapter to keep you reading. The tension in the plot is spellbinding and the ending is gripping.

For confident junior readers and intermediate readers. Check it out you will be moved.

William’s Waitangi Day by David ling, illus. Nikki Slade Robinson

August 28, 2018 Comments off

william waitangiWilliam’s Waitangi Day by David ling, illus. Nikki Slade Robinson. Pub. Duck Creek Press, 2018.

Sometimes it takes a children’s picture book to explain what something really means. In this case it is New Zealand’s National Holiday, Waitangi Day.

William and Sarah are of Asian descent and when asked by their teacher what they are doing on Waitangi Day, they do not know what it means. Maori children Joe and Ani explain in the simplest terms about the Treaty of Waitangi which is a “sort of an agreement for both Maori and settlers to live here”.

They explain about what they do at Waitangi, the wakas, the hangi and the great kai.

Then the parents invite William and his family to share the day with them. Lovely.

Nikki Slade Robinson’s bright and perceptive illustrations make for a satisfying read. Eating the yummy kai is a beauty.