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)
Author – Teri Terry
Age – 12+
(This is the 1st in a series)
16 yr old Shay (Sharona) is being teased about her full name again. When she fights back, leaving the bully on the floor, she flees bumping into a noticeboard on the way out. She snatches up flyers she has knocked off and escapes. When she is free, she opens the scrunched flyers and one of them shows a face she recognises. It is a photo of 11 yr Calista Tanzer, missing for a year. There is a contact number beneath the photo and Shay rings to say she has seen Calista.
1 year before, on a bike trail, Shay had noticed the young girl walking alone. She’d asked if she was ok then saw her get into a car with a man. Calista’s grieving brother (Kai) answers Shay’s call and wants to know everything she can remember and comes to see where his little sister was seen.
At the same time, some sort of virus seems to spreading through Scotland – fast. And it’s no ordinary sickness. It involves a temperature and pain – lots of pain. Is Calista part of this contagion?
Contagion is a thrill-ride that builds in intensity as Shay and Kai get to know each other, following anything they can find out about Calista’s last movements. It takes Shay to hell and back while people they know die around them. But where did the contagion come from and was it an experiment?
(Series, Love, Contagion, Experiment, Death, Revenge, Mystery)
Authors – Kate & Jol Temple
Illustrator – Jon Foye
Age – 6+
Jimmy is at it again. Doing stuff he shouldn’t, causing chaos and mayhem and not understanding what the fuss is all about. He’s found a dinosaur print. Any decent explorer knows that all you have to do when you find a footprint is start digging to find the rest of the dinosaur. Easy right?
But in pursuit of explorer fame, Jimmy discovers a treasure map, causes a craze at school, tries to contact a pirate, and once again is in a competition against Alice Toolie (the most annoying girl in school and his nemesis.) The result is laugh out loud hilarious and results in his suspension, which Jimmy thinks is very understanding of his principal to give him a few days off while he recovers from the stress of it all.
Loved this even more than the first Captain Jimmy Cook. Full of funny illustrations and would be great as a Year 3-4 (NZ) read aloud – age 7-8
(Humour, School, Explorer, Family, Secret)
Author – Jeremy de Quidt
Illustrator – Dave Shelton
Age – 11+
When a boy gets on a train home it isn’t long before he realises something is wrong. Nothing looks familiar outside the windows. Somehow he has boarded the wrong train. When he finally does see a station he gets off to find nothing but the platform and darkness. I’ll just wait for the next train he thinks, wishing his phone hadn’t died after he sent his last text to his dad.
A small light appears in the darkness, getting closer and closer. An old man and a small dog arrive, the light a glass lantern he is carrying. At first the boy is okay about the old man offering to keep him company while he waits for the next train. But then he begins to tell stories to pass the time.
These stories are increasingly disturbing until the boy can’t bear to listen any longer. But there is nowhere else to go….
Super creepy, this book surprised me. It is a book of short stories, all stranger than the last, with a small illustration and title of the story to begin each chapter. There is a warning on the back – ‘not for faint hearted passengers’ and it’s not there for nothing. If you like to be a little scared, read this during the day. If you like to be freaked out a little, read it in your bedroom alone at night!
(Spooky, Train, Scary, Alone, Short Stories, Freaky)
Author – Christian O’Connell
Illustrator – Rob Biddulph
Age – 8+
Spike Hughes loves radio. His biggest dream is to be a radio host like his idol DJ Howard Wright. When his radio show is cancelled at the hospital his mum works at he is devastated. His show (with apparently no listeners) is to be replaced by an extension of a gardening show.
He and his friends Holly and Artie, who are also the only three members of the school AV (Audio Visual) club now rest their hopes on a drawn out promise of the St Brenda’s School principal – they will get a school radio show.
Finally at a school assembly it is announced the long awaited radio show is to be launched, and the host will be….. (the entire school, and even some of the teachers turn to look at Spike.) Everyone knows he’s the man for the job. BUT…
Spike and his friends fight back at the injustice of it all, and Radio Boy and The Secret Shed Show are born. Finally, his dream has come true. Fame, fun, and fans are growing day by day – but so is his ego. And things that grow too fast sometimes explode!
Radio Boy is a funny story about following your dreams and being brave enough to be yourself while you do it. The illustrations, random lists (as Spike tells his story), and zany characters all add up to a great read.
(Belief in yourself, Follow your dream, Humour, Funny, Friendship, School, Revenge, Secret)