Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

A Different Dog by Paul Jennings.

April 8, 2017 Comments off

different dogA Different Dog by Paul Jennings. Pub. Allen & Unwin, 2017.

Fans of Paul Jennings will not be disappointed in this long short story. Just over 80 pages of writing that will keep you on edge and keep you guessing to the end.

The boy who narrates the story is known only as the boy. He never speaks but once owned a dog called Deefer whose fate is crucial to the story. The boy lives with his mother and they are very poor but both want to break that poverty thing.

Although the boy never talks you know what he is thinking. He has no friends and is harangued at school  but an adventure in which a vehicle leaves the road and kills the owner leaving another dog, is to change the boy’s life. Read it and see how.

The illustrations by Geoff Kelly in black and white pen are a critical part of this story

Superbly constructed by a master storyteller for reluctant readers of intermediate and secondary school age.

Kitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading.

April 6, 2017 Comments off

kitty hawkKitty Hawk and the Curse of the Yukon Gold by Iain Reading. Pub.  2012.

Kitty Hawk is a redheaded 19 year old girl who is intelligent, brave, cares about the planet and everything on it and still blushes when she meets a boy whom she likes. She is also a pilot and like Amelia Earhart wants to fly around the World.

This is the first book in an adventure, travel mystery series for teens and Young Adults in which Kitty in her flying boat visit and have adventures all over the World. This novel is set on the West coast of Canada and USA and follows the route of the Yukon Gold rushes of the 1890’s.

Some legendary gold has been stolen or has it? Kitty while flying and filming the whales off the Alaskan coast stumbles across four brothers who allegedly have a hoard of stolen gold. Kitty is captured by the brothers and walks the legendary Chilkoot Pass taken by the goldrush miners. But all is not as it seems as the brothers discover Kitty has a plane and force her to help them shift the gold.

Iain Reading tells the story in some detail. We learn of the Yukon Goldrushes, of Jack London and his writings, of the whales off the Alaskan coast and of Inuit culture. Plus there is adventure and mystery.

Although the font size was small I read this novel very quickly because it was so darn interesting. Read it and see, and look for the others in the series at the web page given above.

What Not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford.

February 21, 2017 Comments off

turn-invisibleWhat Not to do if you turn Invisible by Ross Welford. Pub. HarperCollins, 2017.

One of the funniest and most interesting children’s novels I have read for some time. It is for pre – teens and teens and once you start you will not put it down.

Thirteen year old Ethel lives in the North of England with her Gram. Her mother died when she was three and her father left in mysterious circumstances and Gram has never talked to her about it. Ethel is going to find out who and what they were in bizarre circumstances that involve trying to find a cure for her facial acne.

The combination of an on-line purchase of a Chinese remedy and a sunbed cause Ethel to become invisible. She is however only invisible when naked. She panics of course and has various absurd situations that will crack you up.

Then on a visit to her 100 year old great grandmother the old dear calls her Tiger Pussy. Who or what is Tiger Pussy? Well you are going to find out if you read the book.The mystery deepens with the visit of a man who smells of cigarettes and the discovery of a tin box with newspaper articles about an Amy Winehouse type pop singer called Felina. This will rattle Ethel’s cage at a time when her invisibility is causing problems.

Brilliantly written in three parts with 96 short chapters, this novel goes along at a rate of knots that will thrill you. There are sub plots involving bullying from twin brother and sister Jarrow and Jesmond Knight that will make you angry and gleeful at the same time. Ethel’s friend Boydy a cockney living in geordie country is a revelation, but the character of the book is Gram who is full of old fashioned wisdom and says things like “it is better to be thought a fool than to open your mouth and remove all doubt”

A very satisfying read.

Horizon. survival is no game. by Scott Westerfeld

February 14, 2017 Comments off

horizonHorizon. survival is no game. by Scott Westerfeld. Pub. Scholastic, 2017.

This can only be the beginning of a new series because the end is inconclusive and elusive to the reader who is kept guessing all the way through the novel.

It is a science fiction/adventure novel with survival a major theme and is aimed at intermediate, junior secondary readers.

The novel begins with an unusual airplane crash by an aircraft en route from USA to Japan. In mid flight over the Arctic the aircraft is sliced through from nose to tail by something weird and crashes in a lush and dangerous jungle. How could this be?

Furthermore during the ripping of the fuselage all 500 adults disappeared leaving behind 8 teenagers and there seemed to have been some sort of electric selection system that decided who survived. Could this be true?

The teenagers wonder where they are. The plants and animals seem to indicate they are on Earth but two moon like lights in the sky suggest another planet. As the teenagers face what has happened to them they find an anti gravity device which allows them to explore the surroundings and they encounter a flesh eating vine and birds with razor sharp beaks that hunt in a flock.

Cool heads are needed to get out of this because if they got there, there has to be a way back. Read it and find out.

Imaginatively written by Scott Westerfeld, this series will be a winner.

SNARK Being the true story of the expedition that discovered the snark and the Jabberwock by David Elliot after Lewis Carroll

November 21, 2016 Comments off

snarkSNARK Being the true story of the expedition that discovered the snark and the Jabberwock  by David Elliot after Lewis Carroll. Pub. Otago University Press, 2016.

This brilliantly illustrated book of the tales of the Jabberwock and the Snark might well be called a “snail of a tale”. To understand why I say this you will need to read the book.

Basically Elliot tries to get to the bottom of all the literary questions that have been posed by both Lewis Carroll’s nonsense fantasy poems. He creates a fictional book allegedly written by The Boots who was the helmsman on the voyage to hunt the Snark and the only character without an illustration.In this book he is the only character to survive the voyage and discovers what indeed a Snark was and more importantly what it looked like.

The Boots account of the story of Jabberwock and Snark is beautifully merged with Lewis Carroll’s poems without destroying the mystery of them.

It is fine writing by David Elliot and even better illustrations.

This book is for the child inside all adults who wondered  what the devil the opening line to the Jabberwock meant “Twas brillig, and the slithy toves Did Gyre and gimble in the wabe”

The Notes in the back of this 42nd edition add authenticity to David Elliot’s work and that of Lewis Carroll. I believe it would bring a smile to his face.

Categories: Mystery, Senior Fiction Tags:

Frankie Potts and the Bikini Burglar by Juliet Jacka, illus. Phoebe Morris

June 22, 2016 Comments off

Frankie potts bikiniFrankie Potts and the Bikini Burglar by Juliet Jacka, illus. Phoebe Morris. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2016.

The second mystery story of a new series about sometime detective and red head, Frankie Potts. The first is reviewed below.

On the day that Frankie meets new boy Mac who says he is from Borneo and once had a pet boa constrictor it is announced in the paper that someone has stolen the teachers pink bikini that she planned on wearing on holiday. Other things pink begin to go missing too.

Frankie is on the job and when she sees the school bully and arch enemy ,Ralph Peter-McGee carrying his newly acquired ginger cat with something pink hanging out of his bag could the mystery be solved. Me thinks not. read the rest and find out.

A well written story for confident readers of age 7-10 years with short chapters and excellent illustrations by Phoebe Morris. Good values plenty of humour and characters that stand out.

Frankie Potts and the Sparkplug Mysteries by Juliet Jacha, illus. Phoebe Morris

June 21, 2016 Comments off

Frankie Potts sparkplugFrankie Potts and the Sparkplug Mysteries by Juliet Jacha, illus. Phoebe Morris. Pub. Penguin Random House, 2016.

Frankie Potts loves mysteries and in this first book of a new series for readers aged 7 years-10 years the mystery starts out when she finds a dog outside Ye Olde Sweet Shoppe.

The dog shows a lot of skills. he can dance, turn in circles, skate board and seems to understand everything humans say. Frankie calls him Sparkplug and pleads with her parents to keep him.

Enter Frankie’s grandma who is known as the Formidable Mildred and she seems to have an immediate rapport with the dog. Grandma also has many secrets and a secret tattoo.

When the circus comes to town many mysteries are revealed. At the end of each chapter Frankie sums up all the mysteries that have been created in a list. But the list is to change quickly.

Fantastic little story for newly confident readers beautifully illustrated by Phoebe Morris who captures the personality of all the characters with my favourite being the bully Ralph Peter-McGee. Isn’t it a mystery that so many bullies have hyphenated names.

Categories: Junior Fiction, Mystery Tags: