Archive for the ‘Mystery’ Category

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:

Truly Tan. Hoodwinked by Jen Storer, Illus. Claire Robertson.

May 30, 2016 Comments off

truly tanTruly Tan. Hoodwinked by Jen Storer, Illus. Claire Robertson. Pub. HarperCollins ABC Books, 2016.

This is the 5th book in this superb series for girls between the ages 7 – 11 years.

Tan is no ordinary grade 4 school girl. She is very observant, intelligent with a great sense of humour and is obssessed with mysteries and spying on people. She lives with her mum and dad who is a vet and has 3 sisters who are interesting cases themselves.

Truly Tan keeps a diary of her observations, suspisions and her daily life but with 3 sisters she needs to be wary of what she writes in her diary.

Tan has a best friend in Gloria  who always sees the best in people, she is a great leveller when Tan gets carried away. Her main enemy is Verity Crisp who is a bit domineering and uppity. They all live in a small Australian country town called Peppercorn Valley and they go to school together. School life is thrilling because of an irascible teacher called Miss Dragone.

When Verity Crisp’s cousin Ophelia comes to town and acts suspiciously Tan and Gloria are on the case. What will it reveal? Read the novel and find out.

Easy to read in seven Episodes with short chapters. A highlight is the explanation of words and phrases that are in common use but not always obvious in meaning.

Well illustrated by Claire Robertson whose drawings add depth and meaning to the characters in particular.

Treasure Hunters Danger down the Nile by James Patterson

October 1, 2015 Comments off

treasure huntersTreasure Hunters. Danger down the Nile by James Patterson illus Chris Grabenstein. Pub. Random House, 2014.

An easy to read rollicking adventure of a family of four who are seeking the treasure of King Solomon’s mines as well as trying to find their mother and the death or otherwise of their father.

Narrated by Bick one of twins, her brothers Beck and tailspin Tommy and the brains of the group Storm with the photographic memory. They are brave fearless risk takers and have a false uncle after their fortune and the ruthless Guy Dubonnet Merck, a classic villain, chasing them.

Lots of adventure on the Nile and sharp witted conversation. Well written in short chapters with Chris  Grabenstein’s illustrations providing great characterisation and enhancing the plot.

Reluctant boy and girl readers will love this novel, it is madcap. Primary, intermediate and some high school students.