Author – Zach King
Illustrator – Beverly Arce
Age – 7+
Zach is home schooled as he is part of a magical family. But when his magic still hasn’t arrived at the age of 11, his parents believe he has beeen ‘skipped’ and the best thing for him is to go to middle school and learn to be ‘normal’ like other non-magical kids.
His first day at Horace Greeley Middle School finds him inside a vending machine in nothing but his boxers. But how did it happen? When an online video of ‘the trick’ goes viral, his new friend Aaron is keen to know how he did it, and for him to do more tricks like that. That’s not his only problem – the coolest kid in school has decided to make him look a fool – as often as possible.
When Zach does finally find his magic, it’s way cooler than he ever dreamed, but how does he hide the truth from his new friends when they are keen to see more of his ‘tricks’ online?
Zach soon finds a way, but has to face the bully, his parents and an alligator!
This is the 1st in a new series, made up of both text and full page, full colour illustrations. Set mostly in Horace Greeley Middle School, it’s a fun read.
(School, Bully, Friendship, Magic, Secret, Series, YouTube, Popularity)
Author – Jay Jay Burridge
Illustrator – Chris West/Jay Jay Burridge
Age – 10 +
Beatrice Kingsley can’t understand why her grandmother (nicknamed Bunty) has brought her halfway around the world to look at the Raptors of Aru. Sure they are said to be beautiful and elusive but it was such a long way to go. Along with them was Theodore, loyal to Bea and Bunty after being ‘adopted’ into the family many years before.
But there is another reason for them to visit the wild Islands of Aru, and Bunty isn’t ready to tell Bea why just yet.
But this island has more secrets than they know, and as they enter the jungle with the help of a plucky nine year old porter and his father, they encounter many dangers. This island may have the most beautiful raptors, but it also hides very dangerous ones too. Not to mention the arrogant, vicious leader of the island, Christian Hayter, who isn’t happy about strangers in ‘his’ jungle.
What they find is beyond their imagination, but worth fighting for. But first they have to survive!
This is the 1st in a series of 6 books – with two more out 2018. If you’re after Dinosaurs, Courage, and Action, this story has bucket loads. Both Bea and Bunty are brave and determined, despite all Bunty’s rules on behaving like a lady. Jam-packed with luscious B&W illustrations, this adventure is going to popular!
(Dinosaurs, Courage, Adventure, Jungle, Orphan, Grandmother)
Author – Helen Peters
Age – 10+
Evie is not happy. Her Mum has remarried and gone off on honeymoon, leaving Evie to stay with a godmother she has never met. The room she is shown on the first night looks just like any other room – except for a message scratched into the glass of the window.
Her godmother tells her of a tale told about her room. The message is said to be left by a girl over 200 hundred years before, after being locked in there by her own father.
Evie soon learns more about this girl first hand – waking up in 1814 in the same house, wearing maid’s clothing. Life is very different in 1814 and she has to learn her dawn to dusk duties very quickly or be fired and forced to leave the house. But how would she get home again?
The more she learns about the house and its occupants, she soon meets the girl who scratched the message in the window. Evie knows she has to warn her about her father before it is too late – hoping this righting of a terrible wrong will return her to her own time.
Another great read by Helen Peters – connecting our time with the past in a unique way.
(History, Historical, Godmother, Courage, 1814, Time Travel)
Author – Morris Gleitzman
Age – 10+
It’s 1946. The war is over and Felix and his friends Gabriek and Anya are heading back to Gabriek’s farm – keen to live a life without fear. But all does not go to plan and they are soon running for their lives.
The 6th in Morris Gleitzman’s ‘family’ of books about Felix’s life – before, during and after World War 2, Maybe he’ll finally be able to find a life without having to look over his shoulder, avoid death all around him and become the doctor he wants to be?
Maybe this will happen when he wakes up in an airbase? Maybe it will happen when he flies to Australia? But there is always the threat of Zliv, the younger brother of a man they killed in Poland, who does not care that it was in self defense.
Drawn right into the continuing narrative on the very first line, the reader is back in Felix’s life. At age fourteen, he has seen terrible things, lost loved ones and suffered throughout the war. But the war has ended and now he has hope for the future. This ‘family’ of books has been written and intended to be able to be read in any order. Once, Then, After, Now, Soon are as beautiful and heartbreaking as each other. Maybe they’ll be one more in this family?
(War, Loyalty, Courage, Australia, Series)
Author – Rachel Delahaye
Illustrator – Jamie Littler
Jim is in his father’s study again – strictly against the rules. But he’s intrigued with his dad’s job and wants to find out more. The Death Dictionary is his favourite, telling him about all sorts of things to do with Dad’s occupation as a Grim Reaper. One day he looks up gloves, because there is a special glass glass with a white glove in it and it goes with his dad when he’s working and it stays in the box when he’s not. Jim is intrigued. He finds : The Glove of Death – how scary and cool is that!
But when he borrows it to raise some money for a DVD he wants, things go terribly wrong – so wrong, there are dead people all over his neighbourhood and it’s all his fault!
He’s got to fix things before Mum gets home, before Dad finds out and before any more people drop dead!
A white glove, a black cat and a very red face! The Glove of Death is another funny story in this series about a young boy and his Dad – The Grim Reaper. You don’t have to read No. 2 to enjoy this episode – but the first in the series – Jim Reaper – Son of Grim is a must!
(Humour, Funny, Friendship, Accident, Cat, Death, Secret, Mistake)
Author – Philip Pullman
Age – 15+ (Sexual Content)
When Chris helps a girl escape a group of guys at a posh party he is working at, he finds a love that consumes him. Jenny is smart, beautiful and independent. She lives in a squat with two friends and one weekend he invites her to stay with him as he house sits his dad’s place and looks after their cat.
When Jenny goes home, her squat is boarded up, her friends arrested for drug dealing and she is without a home. Not wanting to go back to Chris’ dad’s place to ask where he lives, she loses contact with Chris. She doesn’t know his surname and doesn’t know exactly where he works. They both spend months searching for each other in the city of Oxford.
Jenny gets a job baby-sitting. She doesn’t know Chris works for the child’s father, or that the father is being hunted down by a killer. Somebody is going to die…
Quick but thrilling read by this master story-teller,
(Thriller, Love, IRA, Betrayal, Lies, Growing up, Blended family, Step mother, Abuse)
Author – Tom Moffat
Illustrator – Paul Beavis
Age – 8+
Grandad is barking mad! Literally! He has licked the postman and is running around on his knees barking like a dog!
Finn (nicknamed Fingers because he is always dropping things) thinks Grandad is the coolest person he knows. Why does he think he is a dog? Finn and his older sister Sally soon discover what’s happened. One of Grandad’s inventions is the cause and all they have to do is find out how to use it and get it to Grandad in hospital.
But he’s been acting like a dog there too, and the hospital staff can’t cope. Grandad is going to be transferred to a higher security hospital for disturbed patients – which means Finn and Sally will never be able to break him out. They have to solve the problem, and fast!
A muddle of mix-ups and mind-swaps follow as they deal with a growling grandpa, a zealous hospital security guard and Finn’s butter fingers. Just when you think everything is going to be okay, another mix-up muddles things.
Winner of the 2015 NZ Tom Fitzgibbon Award, this is a family funny, fantastic read. Make sure you keep track of the mind-swaps or you’ll be muddled indeed.
(Award, Kiwi author, NZ, Dog, Invention, Family, Grandparent, Grandad, School, Humour)