Title: Artie and The Grime Wave
Author and illustrator: Richard Roxburgh
Publisher: Allen and Unwin
This week I am handing over to Book Boy Junior (9) for the review.
About the book: While Artie and his best friend Bumshoe are riding to town to replace Artie’s shoes (which were thrown on a power line), they stumble upon a cave of possibly stolen stuff! They try to get proof that it’s stolen and get themselves captured so they have to escape. Lots of other funny things happen.
What I thought: This book was exciting and very funny. The illustrations are detailed and really add to the book. My favourite character was Mary, who is a scary guy with a tattoo on his face.
I would recommend the book for ages 7-9. If you like Anh Do’s books or the Tom Gates series, I think you would also like this book.
Buy Artie and The Grime Wave.
Title: Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children
Author: Ransom Riggs
Publisher: Quirk Books (Random House Australia)
About the book: Jacob Portman is a curious 16-year-old boy. His grandfather has always told him stories about peculiar people on a peculiar island. When his grandfather dies, Jacob is unsure whether to take these stories as true or false, so he goes in search of the magical island. Saying any more here would be spoiling the story as it moves so fast.
What I thought: This story is beautifully written, spooky and absorbing. Once I started reading, I couldn’t put it down because the story is so enthralling and the eerie photographs in the book just add another level of depth. I found that even though the main character was older than me, he felt so real and I felt like I could connect. I really loved how the story flows on and keeps your attention.
I would recommend this book for ages 12+ because it is scary in places – both the story and the photographs – and because the character is older and younger people may not connect with him.
Buy Miss Peregrine’s Home For Peculiar Children.
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: Michael Grant
Publisher: Electric Monkey (Egmont)
About the book: When everyone over the age of 15 disappears, it is chaotic for everyone left behind. Sam Temple finds himself caught up in this mess, and must figure out where everyone has gone and how to get them back. This is the first book in a six-book series.
What I thought: This book was gripping and had me on the edge of my seat. The plot was fast-paced and you could really relate to the characters. I would really like to read the second book in the series (Hunger), but haven’t been able to find it yet at any of the libraries I frequent (I think everyone else must have loved it so much they kept it!).
I would recommend this book for ages 12+ as it contains scenes of cruelty (to people) and violence. It also has supernatural themes. Readers who like The Maze Runner by James Dashner would probably like this book.
Buy Gone here.
Title: Harry Potter and The Cursed Child
Author: J.K.Rowling, John Tiffany & Jack Thorne (original story), Jack Thorne (play)
Publisher: Little, Brown
About the book: Written as a script, this book carries on from the original Harry Potter stories, but 19 years later. Albus Potter, Harry Potter’s son, is struggling, as is Harry.
Albus has found that he cannot do much magic and is finding it difficult to live up to his father’s legacy. While Harry tries to deal with a past that refuses to stay where it belongs, both father and son will learn the truth, that darkness comes from unexpected places.
What I thought: This book has not failed to live up to the Harry Potter legacy and is as intriguing and captivating as the original series. I found that even though the book was a script it was not hard to follow.
I thought that the characters were nearly as good as the original trio of Harry, Ron and Hermione – although, during some parts of the book, I was left wondering how they would manage to do this as a stage production!
I think that kids will probably love the story and the format is not too difficult to understand. I recommend this book for ages 12+, but only if you’ve read the Harry Potter series first. It does contain some dark, scary scenes.
Buy Harry Potter And The Cursed Child here.
Title: The Other Christy
Author: Oliver Phommavanh
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
About the book: Christy is in a class with another girl called Christie. Christy doesn’t get noticed much whereas the other Christie is popular … and mean. Christy would like for just once to be noticed, and to have a real friend.
What I thought: This book was touching, funny and well written – it touches on themes of friendship, understanding and inclusion. I have read some of the author’s other books and thoroughly enjoyed them, mostly because of the humour and the themes of the story.
This book was similar, but written from the perspective of a girl, which gave it a different feel and would have been hard to do, given the author is male.
I would recommend this book for girls and boys, ages 9+.
Buy The Other Christy here.
Title: Steve Jobs: Insanely Great
Author + Illustrator: Jessie Hartland
Publisher: Random House
About the book: This graphic novel is about the life of the creator of Apple technology, Steve Jobs. I thought that it was really clever putting it into graphic novel format because it makes it easier to understand and it makes a biography fun.
What I thought: I loved all the little illustrations in the book and how it was set out in different chapters for each few years of his life. I learnt a lot that I didn’t know about Steve Jobs and I found the information very easy to understand.
I would recommend this book for ages 11+ as there are references to adult themes. I think that kids who are interested in electronics and the history behind computers would really like this book.
I found Steve Jobs to be an interesting and even inspirational person.
Buy Steve Jobs: Insanely Great here.
Title: The Turners
Author: Mick Elliott
Publisher: Lothian Books
I’m handing over to Book Boy Junior (aged 9) for this review.
About the book: Leo Lennox has an epic problem. You’d think that growing a tail in the middle of the school library would be the worst thing that could happen to you, but Leo is about to discover that things can always get worse and a whole lot weirder… (in a really funny way).
What I thought: Leo is funny – he’s not crazy, in fact, he’s sensible (kind of), but the way he thinks is funny. He’s surprised when a family secret comes out on his birthday, and the story is really adventurous.
I thought this book was really exciting because there were always shape-shifters and different surprises just around the corner.
Mick Elliott has a great imagination and I look forward to reading the next book in this series.
I recommend this book for kids aged 8-11.
Buy The Turners here.
Title: The Outsiders
Author: S. E. Hinton
Publisher: Puffin Modern Classics
About the book: The Socs are the rich kids, the Greasers are from the poor side of town. The Socs’s idea of having a good time is beating up greasers like Ponyboy, who lives with his two brothers. Ponyboy knows what to expect and knows he can count on his brothers and friends, but one night things go too far.
What I thought: Even though this book was written in 1967, it is still a great book that I would recommend to everyone. It’s about gangs in the 1960s and I could really connect to the characters because they felt so real.
I really liked how well it was written and how even in the darkest of scenes there was still humour. I was surprised to learn that S.E. Hinton was only 17 when this book was published.
I would recommend this book for kids 12+ because it has some grown-up themes, violence, some coarse language and sad scenes.
Buy The Outsiders here.
Title: Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan
Author: John Flanagan
Publisher: Penguin Random House
About the book: This book is a prequel to the very popular Ranger’s Apprentice series. It is about Crowley as a young ranger who is trying to thwart the plans of the evil Lord Morgarath. He is accompanied by Halt, a gruff Hibernian, and picks up other rangers along the way.
What I thought: I thought this book was really good. It keeps the same qualities of the other Ranger’s Apprentice books – adventure, good vocabulary, humour and a good story. I have often been disappointed by prequels, but this one really stood out. I really liked finding out more about Halt before he became a Ranger. You could start the series with this book, or you could read it after you’ve read all the others.
I would recommend it for good readers of 8+ and, really, anyone who enjoys a good fantasy adventure would love this book.
Buy Ranger’s Apprentice: The Tournament at Gorlan here.