Title: Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them
Author: J.K. Rowling
Publisher: Little, Brown/Hachette
About the book: Newt Scamander is on a trip to America with a case full of magical beasts. When some of the animals from the case escape, it is up to Newt, his non-magical friend Jacob and Tina from the American Ministry of Magic to find them.
This screenplay is about what happens next.
What I thought: I thought that this screenplay flowed very easily, although I didn’t think it would due to its format. J.K. Rowling has brought many of her famous writing elements to this screenplay, making it truly feel like another wonderful Harry Potter story.
I read this before I saw the movie, and it felt like I’d read a Harry Potter book and then watched the movie, not like the whole story had been given away in advance. I think that doing this showed me how much a filmmaker’s imagination develops the story.
I would recommend this book for ages 10+, as younger readers may find the story and format a little bit confusing.
Buy Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them.
Title: The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee
Author: Deborah Abela
Publisher: Random House Australia
About the book: India Wimple watches The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee on TV every Friday night. When India’s family suggests that she enter, she is nervous and shy, but throughout the course of the Bee she gains confidence, makes new friends and learns that sometimes you need to take risks.
What I thought: I thought this book was funny and interesting. I liked the voice of the book, which made it feel real. I liked the character of India because she reminded me of myself and my friends. Some of the spelling words were quite challenging.
I think this book is a good, easy, entertaining read that boys and girls would both like. I would recommend this book for ages 8+.
Buy The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee.
Title: Wordburger: How to be a champion puzzler in 20 quick bites
Author: David Astle
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
About the book: This book is about the English language. It teaches you how to understand and solve cryptic crosswords, and how to think outside the square when it comes to English.
What I thought: I really loved this book because I didn’t really understand cryptic crosswords until I read it. It taught me more about lots of interesting things like palindromes – sentences which read the same backwards and forwards (eg, poor Dan is in a droop) – and how to look at cryptic crossword clues in a different way.
This book is easy to understand and is a funny, entertaining and educational read. The little illustrations throughout make it feel like it’s not too serious, and there are lots of opportunities in the second half of the book to practise what you’ve learnt, with puzzles and mini-puzzles to try.
I would recommend it for ages 10+, as younger children may not understand some of the more complicated things in the book.
Buy Wordburger here.
With Christmas fast-approaching, it won’t surprise anyone to know that I’m hoping for books this year. Lots of books.
As I do every year.
These are the six books at the top of my wishlist this year – and, yes, it was hard to narrow it down to just six!
• The Invention Of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick
I saw the movie Hugo, which is based on this book, and would like to see if the book is as good as the movie. I think The Marvels by the same author also looks great.
• The Fever Code by James Dashner
I read the rest of The Maze Runner series and really enjoyed them, so I would like this prequel.
• Brotherband #6: The Ghostfaces
John Flanagan’s writing style is so engaging and I would like to see where this next book takes Hal and the gang.
• Fantastic Beasts And Where To Find Them by J.K. Rowling
I read The Cursed Child, a script based on a story by J.K. Rowling, and now would like to read a screenplay actually written by her.
• Adam Spencer’s World Of Numbers
Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers is my favourite non-fiction book, so I would like to add to my collection.
• The Amateurs by Sara Shepherd
I don’t know much about this one, but the description is so intriguing that I cannot pass it up! And it’s book #1 of a new series, which is always good!
Title links will take you to Booktopia (see ‘About This Site’ for details).
Author: Sara Pennypacker
Publisher: HarperCollins Australia
About the book: Pax, a fox, and his boy, Peter, are inseparable until one day when Peter’s father goes to war and insists that Pax is left by the side of the road. Much to the heartbreak of both Peter and Pax.
Peter then goes on a journey to find his fox, while Pax goes on a journey of his own to find his missing boy.
What I thought: I thought that this was a beautifully touching book about an amazing bond between human and animal. The language in the book made it feel soft and engaging, even though it has moments that make you gasp. I think this book has the air of a classic, like ‘Call Of The Wild’ by Jack London.
Pax, the fox, reminded me of my own dog and reading companion, Book Dog, as they share many of the same qualities. This made the story feel even more real to me.
I also really loved the cover and other illustrations throughout the book, which added to the old-fashioned beauty of the story.
I would recommend this book for ages 10+, as it feels too old for some younger readers. Anyone who likes animal stories will love this book.
With Christmas coming, I thought it might be helpful to share some books I think would be good to give as gifts. Book Boy Junior is my nine-year-old brother, and these are some books I think would be good for him, or any other nine-year-old boy.
Click the title link to read more about the book at Booktopia.
•The Stupendously Spectacular Spelling Bee by Deborah Abela. My blogging friend Jazzy reviewed this one and it sounds really good.
•Danny Best: Never Wrong by Jen Storer and Mitch Vane. I’m actually not going to give him this one because he’s already reading it to review for the blog, but he’s liking it so I think that other little brothers would also like it.
•The Turners: Camp Freakout by Mick Elliott. Book Boy Junior loved the first book in this series (his review is here), and this is the second.
•Space Demons by Gillian Rubenstein. I read about this book on Children’s Books Daily, which is a website where I sometimes review books. Lily, who reviewed the book, made it sound really interesting, so I think I would give it to Book Boy Junior so I could read it myself.
•Adam Spencer’s Number Crunchers by Adam Spencer. If you read my review of Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers, you would know how much I like this author. This new book has lots of games and puzzles in it and I think Book Boy Junior would really like it.
•The Unforgettable What’s His Name by Paul Jennings. I thought that this book would be perfect for my brother because it is funny, clever and imaginative, much like all of Paul Jennings’s other books.
Other books that little brothers might like that we have already reviewed (click links for reviews):
Artie and The Grime Wave by Richard Roxburgh
The 78-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton
The Other Christy by Oliver Phommavanh
Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan by John Flanagan
My Life And Other Massive Mistakes by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon
Countdown To Danger: Shockwave by Jack Heath
The Impossible Quest by Kate Forsyth
Tiny Timmy: Soccer Superstar by Tim Cahill
Weirdo 3: Extra Weird by Anh Do (and Jules Faber)
Title: Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers
Author: Adam Spencer
About the book: This book contains all the weird, wonderful and wacky facts about the numbers 1 to 100. It includes quizzes and problems so that you can test your maths skills as you learn.
What I thought: I thought this book was brilliantly surprising and funny. Yes, funny. Maths can be funny. I really thought that the addition of quizzes was helpful as it helps people to learn if they actually do it for themselves. This is the best non-fiction book that I’ve read.
I would recommend this book to everyone, although it would be helpful to be a little bit older (10+) as some of the problems are difficult. If you really like numbers, or you’d like to know more about them, you’ll love this book.
Younger readers may like to start off with Adam Spencer’s Enormous Book Of Numbers, which is aimed at the 7+ age group.
Buy Adam Spencer’s Big Book Of Numbers
Title: Counting by 7s
Author: Holly Goldberg Sloan
Publisher: Scholastic Australia
About the book: Willow Chance is 12 years old and a genius. She is obsessed with nature and diagnosing medical conditions. She also finds it comforting to count by sevens.
Adopted as a baby, Willow is independent and not concerned about her oddness at all. When her supportive adoptive parents die in a car crash, her life is turned upside down, meaning she can no longer avoid interacting with other people.
What I thought: This is a very touching and heart-warming book about overcoming challenges and accepting who you are as a person. I really loved the character of Willow Chance, and also Dell Duke, her bored counsellor. The book is written in the first person, so we get a close look at what Willow experiences and her thought processes as she tries to work things out.
I recommend this book for ages 10+ as younger children may not get to grips with the themes. If you like ‘Wonder’ by R.J. Palacio you will probably enjoy this read.
Buy Counting by 7s.
Author: Julie Hunt
Illustrator: Dale Newman
Publisher: Allen & Unwin
About the book: In this graphic novel, KidGlovz is a musical prodigy with a gift so precious that he is kept under lock and key by his manager (also his uncle). When a thief helps him to escape, Kid must go on a dangerous journey, through which he will discover the terrifying nature of his talent.
What I thought: I thought that this was a great graphic novel because the illustrations are beautiful and the fact that it is all in black and white just adds to the texture of the book. The story is interesting and feels like a magical fable. Being a lover of music myself, I could really connect with the book.
I would recommend this book for ages 10+ as it contains some dark scenes. Kids who like music will love it, and even kids who don’t will still enjoy it.
Buy KidGlovz here.
Title: The 78-Storey Treehouse
Author: Andy Griffiths
Illustrator: Terry Denton
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
About the book: Andy and Terry are back at it again in their ‘spectacular 78-storey treehouse’. They’ve added 13 new levels, including an all-ball sports stadium, a combining machine, a high-security potato chip storage facility and an open-air movie theatre.
When a big-shot Hollywood director decides to make a movie without Andy in it, trouble inevitably results.
What I thought: I thought that this was a good, light read. I’ve read all of the Treehouse series and this one does not fail to live up to the Andy Griffiths/Terry Denton humour, although I have to say that the illustrations are my favourite part of the books (sorry Andy!).
Fans will love the new book, and new readers will probably be begging to read the other five books in the Treehouse series. I recommend this book for ages 7+.
Buy The 78-Storey Treehouse here.