Mr Penguin (1) and the Lost Treasure

Author/Illustrator – Alex T SmithMr Penguin and the Lost Treasure

Age – 6+

Mr Penguin has just set up an Adventure/Mystery Agency and advertised it in the local newspaper. On his first day he is keen to get started on solving mysteries and going on adventures! But his phone doesn’t ring. He’d paid a lot of money to set up his Adventure Agency, and if he didn’t get a job soon, he would have to go home to the Frozen South, leaving behind crabsticks and his favourite sandwiches (fish fingers of course).

Just as he’s really beginning to worry – the phone nearly rings right off his desk. There is a mystery at the local museum. Boudicca Bones needs his help URGENTLY to find hidden treasure within the museum.

Mr Penguin is very excited, but soon is wondering whether this whole adventuring thing was a good idea after all? With an X marks the spot, pitch-black passages, and a kung-fu expert spider side-kick named Colin, Mr Penguin’s courage, smarts and rumbling stomach are put to the test as he investigates.

The intricate pencil illustrations add to the fun format of white, orange and black pages of this new series. Mr Penguin is trying to do his best, and is lucky his spider side-kick is along for the adventure. This slapstick action mystery is a little Indiana Jones and a lot funny. Would make a great read-aloud/bedtime story.

(Funny, Humour, Friends, Adventure, Baddies, Villains, Mystery, Secret tunnels, Museum, Slapstick, Series)

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The Mapmaker’s Race

Author – Eirlys HunterThe-Mapmakers-Race_cover

Age – 8+

Sal and her twin siblings Joe and Francie, and little brother Humphrey are about to embark on the biggest adventure of their lives. They have been on map making adventures before with their Ma and Pa, but this time they are on their own.

Pa is missing and Ma has been accidentally left behind. With huge prizes up for grabs they decide to go ahead with the plan of entering a Mapmaker’s Race across valleys, mountains, ridges, and raging rivers – without their parents. A new railroad is to be built and the best route will win.

The stakes are high for their family, as their money has rapidly been running out. With a new friend along for the journey they are up against adult teams, some of which who will do anything to win.

First they must learn to do all the things Ma used to do. If they are going to reach their destination in the required 28 days, or even just survive, they must remember all that they have been taught and learn to work together as a team.

With their individual skills – Sal is a mathematician, Joe is great at plotting their way, and Francie has a other-worldly gift of seeing the landscape from high above them, and map-drawing prowess. Nearly-5-year-old Humphrey adds humour to their days.

Bears, wolves, mechanical horses, cowboys and constant challenges are thrown at the young group with a nail-biting finish.

The Mapmaker’s Race is a traditional adventure story with lots of action, family squabbles and sharing of stories. B & W illustrations are sprinkled throughout and Francie’s maps show their progress to the reader along their travels. Set in the time of early steam trains and traction engines but with a touch of magic and wonder.

(Maps, Adventure, Family, Race, Wilderness, Railway, Animals, Courage, Journey)

 

 

 

Scarlett Hart Monster Hunter

Author/Illustrator – Marcus Sedgwick

Age – 8+         Graphic Novel

Scarlett Hart was born to be a monster hunter, just like her dead parents. Now living with the family butler, Napolean and the housekeeper, she is carrying on the tradition of monster hunting.

Napolen is no ordinary butler and neither is the housekeeper, assisting Scarlett in killing monsters to claim the rewards posted for their demise. But Scarlett is officially too young to be a monster hunter, even if she could fence at 6, is clever and fearless. Count Stankovic is also a hunter, and will do anything for reward money. He is determined to catch and photograph Scarlett as she hunts, so she will be arrested and no longer any competition.

But that’s not all he’s up to. Why is there an increase in monsters lately? Has he teamed up with someone even worse than him, able to summon monsters from another realm?

This graphic novel is full of action from the first page! Scarlett is feisty, funny and brave, and The Count is a perfect nemesis. Loved it!

(Graphic Novel, Courage, Orphan, Monsters, Betrayal, Humour, Funny)

King Flashypants and the Boo-Hoo Witches (4)

Author/Illustrator – Andy RileyBoo-Hoo Witches (King Flashypants #4)

Age – 6+

9 yr old Edwin is the King of Edwinland, and in this episode he learns the truth about Minister Jill’s past. (Minister Jill is the grown-up who helps him with all the boring stuff).

One evening, Edwin and his best friend Megan (the court jester) decide to break a few of Minister Jill’s rules, with hilarious but horrendous consequences. Suddenly Edwin is on his own without Jill’s guidance, (Who would have thought that breakfast doesn’t make itself) and Edwin knows what he must do. But only after he’s made a few laps of his castle in screaming panic!

Edwin and Megan set off (on the coolest rowboat ever, because the original was just too boring), to find Minister Jill.

No. 4 in this funny series, it is just as zany as the rest. With lots of laugh-out-louds, this would make an entertaining read aloud or be a fun step up for young readers into more substantial chapter books. Black & white illustrations inhabit every page spread in the book, adding even more crazy fun. I love this series.

(Series, Humour, Funny, Zany, Crazy, Appreciation, Taking for granted, Blended family)

Changing Gear

Author – Scot Gardner39858219

Age – 15+

Merrick is 18 and there is only 2 weeks left before his final exams and the end of his school life. He has always been a good student, but lately his school is concerned that he’s ‘lost his mojo.’

Merrick is struggling with the loss of his grandfather to a sudden heart attack. Grandad taught him how to surf, and how to cope with both his parents remarrying and giving him several stepbrothers/sisters, all the while giving Merrick gems of wisdom along the way.

One morning Merrick makes a sudden decision to get on his beloved motorbike (he calls Brunnhilde) and just ride, leaving behind his friends, study and blended family. On his journey he meets Victor, an old, bearded, homeless man, a girl called Felicity, a dog with no name and…himself.

This is not just another ‘road-trip’ story. Merrick is grieving for his lost friend and mentor – his grandfather. He’s trying to figure out where he fits in his family, what the future might hold and how to deal with its expectations of him. He learns about relationships; no matter how long or fleeting, his habits that seemed entrenched and necessary but are not, and what’s important to him. The banter between Merrick and Victor is brilliant, the journey both inner and outer – superb.

(Road-trip, Relationships, Quest, Friendship, Grief, Motorbike, Australia)

Charlie and Me

Author – Mark Lowery36254737

Age – 10+

Martin is taking his younger brother on a journey, by train, foot, taxi – in fact any way possible, as long as they get there before dusk. The only problem is that they have crept out of the house before their parents have woken, taken something precious from the house and left Martin’s cellphone behind – on purpose.

Martin knows there will be challenges. Charlie is excitable, intelligent, unpredictable and according to Martin, his best friend. It’s a long way and he has to look out for Charlie even more than usual. He feels under scrutiny from train conductors, police on platforms and other passengers. Do they know they shouldn’t really be there?

Interspersed between their journey chapters, are chapters about the previous summer in Cornwall and the dolphin they saw that captivated Charlie’s heart. But is the dolphin the real reason for their travels back there?

(Dolphin, Road trip, Train trip, Travel, Spectrum, Secret, Friendship, Siblings, Family, Poetry)

 

Jack Scratch

Author/Illustrator – Craig Phillips           
Age – 8+

Jack Scratch is a young cat eager for adventure. Before he knows it he is caught up in a treasure hunt with his Uncle Silver and a famous ex-mariner Captain Catnip.

But right on their tails is a deadly pirate and his crew. Captain Catnip has stolen half of their treasure map and they are determined to get it and the treasure by any means.

Sunken treasure, long-lost love, a savvy ship’s cook and a crazy crew of evil pirates; this new, lushly illustrated Kiwi graphic novel is part Pirates of the Caribbean, part The Goonies (80’s movie), and a whole lot of adventure!

(Graphic Novel. Kiwi Author, New Zealand Author/Illustrator, Pirates, Cats)