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 – Philip Ardagh
Illustrations – Jamie Littler
Age – 7+
Jane is very excited to be starting work at Lytton House. ‘House don’t describe it. It looks more like a palace,’ exclaims Jane in her diary. Despite a page full of rules she must soon learn, the mistress and master are good employers and the many other staff friendly.
All is well until a jade necklace is stolen from the mistress’s bedroom. One of the maids is under suspicion, but is too well thought of to be blamed outright. Jane decides to try and figure out who stole it. After checking drainpipes, looking for footprints and thinking through the staff schedules she finds a real clue. Will she unmask the culprit?
This story set in Victorian times was something different. Jane speaks just as she would do as an uneducated maid, and as the story unfolds, footnotes are added at the bottom of the page for the reader to understand Victorian terms or behavior. It added so much more to the story for those who are interested, or they can be skipped at the reader’s choice. This is part of the ‘Only the facts are true‘ series.
(Victorian, Maid, Mystery, Diary, Series)
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 – James Russell
Animations – Courtney White
The Pitbull (menacing leader of the gang that raided Paddy and Flynn’s island in book 1), is waiting for his stolen egg to hatch a dragon. When he discovers the truth, he is enraged and out for revenge!
Returning to the island with many men, weapons, and helicopters, he is keen to achieve what he wanted before, but this time, take the dragons themselves. But first he has a score to settle with the two boys that made him look a fool. Revenge has made him even nastier and Paddy and Flynn are in terrible danger. Now, not only are the island’s dragons under threat, so is their entire family!
A fantastic follow-on to this popular series, once again including a link to the App that brings this book to life digitally. Whether using the App or not, The Pitbull Returns has even more action and thrills than the first book and will be sure to please dragon lovers, and adventure seekers. Great Kiwi Fiction!
(Dragons, Series, Brothers, Siblings, Adventure, Action, Revenge, Island)
Author/Illustrator – Joe Berger
Age – 7+
Sam Lyttle is a liar. He can’t help it, it just happens. After all, life is complicated. So of course, anything and everything that happens at home that shouldn’t – is automatically blamed on Sam.
School is complicated too – especially when it comes to Feeny, the class bully. The school legend says that if you cross Feeny 3 times, life as you know it will change forever.
Unfortunately, Sam crosses this line.
1) A lie about an imaginary cheese burger
2) Theft of a foot long super salami
3) Saving a cat from Feeny’s dog
Now he has to face the famous Feeny deadeye, AND face up to his family about the broken items at home. Will he finally tell the truth? Will he survive Feeny?
Part Black & White Graphic format and part novel, this story is funny! The truth is finally divulged to his family – or is it? Loved the conclusion.
(Series, School, Friends, Bully, Lies, Magic, Family, Funny)
Author – Jane Bloomfield
Illustrator – Guy Fisher
Age – 8+
Lily Max is looking forward to meeting her BFF Greer at the beach for the summer holidays. They have planned to hang out together the whole holiday at Way Wave Bay – surfing, sunbathing and having fun.
But things aren’t going to plan. The batch they hire has no view of the sea as advertised, the movie that Lily Max’s mum is supposed to be employed by is experiencing major delays, and Greer seems more interested in a boy called Ryder than hanging out with Lily Max.
She feels hurt by the snub, but tries to make the most of it, selling things at the local market, enjoying the sunshine, learning to surf with her surfie dad, and finding out more about the history of the Bay and the topic of the movie.
There is a lighthouse at the end of the Bay that is just asking to be explored. But everyone says it is dangerous and to keep away from it. It can’t be that bad can it? Lily Max has a plan to test Greer’s friendship once and for all.
I liked the character of Lily Max. She is believable, funky, funny, kind, and a design/fashion freak! She is always looking at what people are wearing and how they are wearing it. Her ideas for new styles or fashions are never ending, and I think any young, keen designers will gobble this story up and also get a mystery in the mix.
(Fashion, Style, Design, Series, Friendship, Jealousy, Movie)
Author / Illustrator – Luke Pearson
Age – 8+
Hilda has joined the Sparrow Scouts and wants to make her mum proud by achieving her first badges. But camping hasn’t turned out that well, and neither has insect collecting or any of the others that her fellow scouts are aiming for. Hilda has been spending all her time looking for a Nisse (a house spirit) that has been thrown out on the street for stealing.
But the Nisse denies it and suddenly other Nisses are in trouble too. Does it have anything to do with the huge black wolf that has been seen in Hilda’s city of Trolberg? Is everyone in danger or is everything just a big misunderstanding? Hilda is determined to find out.
This is my favourite out of Hilda’s four adventures so far. She is a determined, animal loving, feisty little girl who just wants the best for the Nisse – and maybe even the dreaded black wolf too. With fantastic muted colour illustrations and full graphic novel format, Hilda and the Black Hound might also explain where things go when they disappear down the back of the couch or behind a piece of furniture…
(Graphic Novel, Series, Magical Creatures, Scouts, Badges, Courage)