Sunday, July 31, 2011

Between You & Me edited by Suzette Boyd

This little book of stories written by Australian authors starts with the hard hitting How Johnny went over the edge. I believe the main idea behind this story is to get students thinking hard about the consequences of being a bystander, and that by not acting in some situations, it could lead to very tragic outcomes. Then there's the story about Parker-Hamilton by Robin Klein which is all about a family who buys a robot to assist with the housework only to find out it is a snob, is obsessive compulsive and that it makes everything so bright and shiny that they all have to resort to wearing sunglasses.

Thursday, July 28, 2011

The House Guest by Eleanor Nilsson

This book has been rated as a top read for boys and girls would love it too. It's another Australian gem I couldn't put down. Gunno and his gang regularly skip school and raid houses for fun, stealing cash only. When Gunno and the gang break into The Big House, he finds that his life changes as this house in the valley is different and it holds some fascination for him. He is continually drawn back to it. and starts visiting regularly thinking of it as his house; he loves the little dog there and day by day is learning about the lives of the owners. And there's also Hugh's room, but where is Hugh?His bedroom is musty and his books and belongings are all covered in dust. Eleanor Nilsson first thought of the story of Gunno and Hugh after she saw an old rambling house near Adelaide. The house seemed welcoming yet elusive and mysterious. This is the house in The House Guest. The dog in the story was inspired by Lochie, Eleanor's own Shetland Sheepdog.

Radical Take Offs by Glyn Parry

Radical Take Offs is a versatile collection of short stories whose range of storylines will absorb young adults. Some great use of idioms in this book and its structured prose catches adolescent bravado and the usual anxieties teens pretend they don’t have. This is author Glyn Parry’s second book and it won The Western Australia’s Premier’s Award. Glyn has his own blogspot and it’s an interesting read:

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Secrets of Walden Rising by Allan Baille

Brendan and his dad move to Australia after his mum leaves home. Settling in a drought-ridden outback town does not seem much of an improvement over a green English village he is used to, and Brendan finds the local kids to be mean, narrow minded and positively hostile. They don't even use his name , to them he is just "the Pom." However, things take a turn for the better when he discovers that something weird is happening outside the dusty town and no-one else seems to have noticed. Everyone else is far too preoccupied waiting for rainfall which will break the terrible drought. It is as if a whole new town from the past has suddenly risen out of the water in front of him. Walden Rising is another worthy read from one of Australia’s best known writers, Allan Baillie

Bruises, Boys Don't Cry by Archimedes Fusillo

"So you think what you guys did is funny?" Gibbo stepped right up to Ape, almost toe to toe with him. Falco drew a breath. It was never a good idea to confront Ape like this.

Welcome to bunkhouse five, the scene of power struggles, hidden agendas, drama and power plays. There's Brad with the troubled past, there’s fat, harmless Mountain-Man Singh and then there’s cowardly Anthony Cannucia , and also the charismatic, dangerous Ape who keeps constant pressure on the group. Finally, there’s Falco, a guy who didn’t want to come on camp in the first place. He has more than enough to deal with at home and now he’s been made leader here at camp! Be a bystander OR be an upstander, this is a major theme in this book.

Author Archimedes writes primarily for boys in thier teenage years trying to make sense of the worlds and looks at the pressure placed on them in different social situations.

Read this interesting article Bullying Boys to gain more idea of whether this book could interest you:

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Witch Music and Other Stories by Gillian Rubinstein

Again, if you like the pleasure of reading a story in a sitting this may be a book you would enjoy. It contains eight short stories which mainly deal with social situations. They are like magical realism in many respects; very typical of this author. My favourite magical realism author is Isabel Allende, a Chilean writer, who has written three books for children in recent years.These stories from Rubinstein are in fact magical stories set in ordinary settings such as primary school, at the beach and at home. Each story is prefaced by a detailed ink depiction of the story by artist Malcolm Liddell. My favourite story is The Unproper Father about Mr Williams who drank, never became violent, but was a bit hazy. Once he came to your house it was hard to make him leave. One scene is reminiscent of the times when I used to put my ear to the rails of the tracks of the very narrow train bridge which ran over the Leven Bridge in Ulverstone on the north-west coast of Tasmania, to check for the possibility of a train before scurrying across it with athletic-speed. Hopefully kids don't do dumb things like this these days. Many incidents in this story remind me of my childhood. so maybe that it why it appealed to me.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Captain Cobwebb and the Red Transistor by Gordon Boshell

I was really intrigued by this little book I purchased for a mere 20 cents. It's in great condition. I set about trying to find out about the author, Gordon Boshell. Gosh, how elusive is this author! Almost nothing exists about him on the internet. This is the only book by him I have ever come across and I have just started reading it. So what have I found out so far about the author? From what I can gather, there are ten books in this series. This book gets four or five stars in reviews, but nobody writes about it. It’s not cheap to buy anymore around $30 a copy. But since I have contacted this books it’s probably worth a drop in the ocean. The Million Pound Randsom is worth a hell of a lot more. Gordon Boshell was a journalist for more than 40 years. He also worked as a scriptwriter and a feature editor for the BBC. He wrote two adult novels. In 1951 he left Fleet Street to join The World Health Organisation as an information officer, whatever that is. He worked in South East Asia and the Western Pacific, as well as in the organisation’s headquarters in Geneva. He was born in Blackburn, Lancashire, returned to Britain in 1967 and he and his wife live in Wells, Somerset, where he wrote the stories about David and Toby Green, which were his first books for children. He illustrated his own books with cute little ink drawing of the characters. More on this once I have read the book

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Tick Tock, You're Dead by R.L.Stine

The beauty of R.L Stine 'choose your own adventure' books is that he ensures that the most improbable and interesting scenarios are available for the reader to choose from. Outstanding in this particular genre. It's all about Denny who runs off by himself in the huge Museum of Natural History. So, you go look for him...because you are guiding the story, but, instead you find the laboratory of the crazy Dr. Peebles. There is a time machine and suddenly Denny runs into it and vanishes. All the instructions are at the bottom of each page, you make the choices. If you don't find Denny in two hors he will cease to exist. This is the second book in the Give Yourself Goosebumps Gamebook series.

The White Horse Gang by Nina Bawden

Sam Peach didn't expect to enjoy having his cousin Rose to stay for moths on end. He certainly didn't expect that his hero, Abe Tanner, would like her enough to give her his dead rats, but then Rose was soon to become an indispensable member of the White Horse Gang. And here they were thinking about kidnapping someone in order to raise money so Rose could go to America to see her parents. However, their plan backfires and they find themselves in danger and a real tragedy lurks just around the corner. If you like adventure and suspense, why not try this book.
Author Nina Bawden and her husband Austen Kark, the former head of BBC World Services, were travelling in the train that was involved in the Potter's Bar train crash in May 2002. Nina suffered extensive injuries but survived, however, sadly, Austen was killed.

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing by Judy Blume

Tales of a Fourth Grade Nothing was written in 1972 and is the first of the “Fudge books”. It was followed by Superfudge, Fudge-A-Mania and Double Fudge. This book captures what it means to be a kid with a little sibling. This book is not afraid to say that little brothers and sisters can be annoying brats. This book looks at the difficulties older children have to deal with when they're forced to abandon their personal privacy and sanity for the sake of a younger brother or sister. Peter Hatcher is nine years old and has the demanding job of dealing with almost-three-year-old Fudge at all times. Fudge is what a polite person would call a lively child. However, as far as Peter is concerned, he is nothing short of a holy terror. If he's not sticking green food stamps to full suitcases or refusing to eat until Peter stands on his head, he's leaping from large boulders trying to fly, or throwing mega- tantrums in shoe shops. Peter is understandably jealous of the amount of attention Fudge gets but one good thing in his life is his pet turtle, Dribble. Basically, each chapter in this book is a small story about the daily interactions and adventures of the Hatcher boys. This book has dated a little but is still an entertaining read. Find out more about Judy Blume and why she likes to write by watching this interview:

A television series was made based on the books:

Dorrie and the Birthday Eggs by Patricia Coombs

An easy read. On an errand to buy some eggs for the Big Witch's birthday cake, Dorrie runs into the mischievous Thinnever Vetch, who steals Dorrie's galosh. While the Egg Witch and the Big Witch are busy trying to figure out which of the hens might be laying money instead of eggs, Dorrie must try to stop Thinnever Vetch from playing dangerous tricks on them all. There are quite a few books in the Dorrie series.

The Long Patrol (A Tale of Redwall) by Brian Jacques

Author Brian Jacques sadly passed away in February this year but he has left a wealth a wonderful literature behind. I think this is the best of the Redwall books. In this story Tammo, a young hare, runs away from home only to find himself in the Long Patrol, a group of hares who fight evil. Damug Warfang , an evil rat is endeavouring to take over a peaceful woodland region known as Mossflower. Damug and his thousand vermin attack the Long Patrol. There are many battles in the book and good doesn’t always win out! The characters are developed well and the book abounds with descriptive narrative. Some of the books in the Redwall series were made into a television series. Here is episode 1:

And... look at his website to find out more about him and his other books:

The House at Pooh Corner by A.A. Milne

The House at Pooh Corner is the second volume of stories about Winnie the Pooh, written by A.A. Milne and illustrated by E.H. Shepard. I loved this book as a child and so did my daughter Nicola. I used it as a party theme for a birthday party in Queenstown when she was a little girl. The title of the book comes from a story in which Winnie the Pooh and Piglet build a house for Eeyore the donkey. The game of Poohsticks is also invented. There are hints running throughout the book that Christopher Robin is growing up and this comes to a head in the last chapter wherein the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood give him a farewell party after learning that he must leave them for good. Pooh and Christopher Robin say a long, private farewell, in which Pooh promises never to forget him. Australian singer, Josh Pyke, has even written a song about this classic.

Ratbags and Rascals: Funny Stories by Robin Klein

This is a collection of seventeen short stories, including The Anti Snore Machine, Parker Hamilton (about a family robot) and How Clara Bepps Put Strettle Street Properly on the Map. (Young Clara thinks her street is so boring but she soon rectifies this by adding stars on the footpath, a swimming pool inside a disused house and a stage).It is brimming with delightful little ink sketches by Alison Lester.

Our Snowman Had Olive Eyes by Charlotte Herman

Author, Charlotte Herman, is probably better known for her novel My Chocolate Year, but this little book is very endearing and examines a young girl's relationship with her grandmother. The book tells the story of a girl called Sheila, whose elderly maternal-grandmother, Bubbie, comes to live with her family and share her room. The grandmother has a heart condition and the girl's mother wants to keep her quiet and fairly inactive, but the girl sees how unhappy this makes her grandmother. The book also looks at the on Sheila’s relationship with her older sister, Muriel (whose diary she regularly dips into)

Breakdown by Budge Wilson

This novel explores the experience of thirteen-year-old Katie Collicut as she and her brothers face a challenge to family harmony, unity and a fairly routine lifestyle when Mr. Collicut suffers a nervous breakdown. Canadian author, Budge Wilson, introduces her readers to the obstacles a family must overcome when confronted with emotional illness: blame, helplessness, anger and social stigma. Breakdown describes what exactly a "nervous breakdown" is and is not. Such clarification is necessary to reassure the reader who may be wondering, "Is my father or mother having a nervous breakdown?" "Am l?" Do children worry about such issues as emotional and mental health? An unspoken answer to this question is the undeniable popularity of Breakdown. Not many books deal with this issue.

Frog Thunder by Jill Morris

This book is part of the tar Glider Series aimed at readers 7-12. The little book is all about a colony of rare frogs, hiding in a secret subterranean cavern One day they send a team of brave young warriors, led by Silas, to investigate a possible return to the rainforest world above. There are detailed, full page and double page ink drawings scattered throughout the book by illustrator Heather Gall. Author, Jill Morris has a lovely website worth a look:

Face at the Window by Julie Ireland

There's not a lot available about author, Julie Ireland, on the internet, but she has written a few books for children. This novel is full of suspense and if you like mysteries, you will most likely enjoy this one. The decaying old mansion, Wundilla, had always been given a wide berth, especially after the owner, Miss McKenzie’s week-old corpse had been discovered, full of maggots. It was supposed to be empty but Toby found it wasn't. Whilst trying to escape some local bullies, a strange girl called Leanda comes to his rescue. She has been using the old barn as her private sanctuary, and inside the house itself Toby discovered a boy and his mother, both ill and both on the run.

Jacob Have I Loved by Katherine Paterson

This a novel by Katherine Paterson won Newberry Medal back in 1981, and the title refers to the sibling rivalry between Jacob and Esau in the Bible where it is written, "Jacob have I loved, but Esau have I hated…” Sara Louise Bradshaw is sick and tired of her beautiful twin Caroline. Ever since they were born, Caroline has been the pretty one, the talented one, the better sister. Even now, Caroline seems to take everything: Louise's friends, their parents' love, her dreams for the future. For once in her life, Louise wants to be the special one, but in order to do that she has to find out who she essentially is and to try and make a special place for herself outside of her sister’s shadow.Click on the link below to hear author Katherine talk about her life and this book, the book of which she is most proud:

Izzy, Willy-Nilly by Cynthia Voigt

Before, the accident, Izzy's life had been wonderful, she was an attractive cheerleader with lots of friends. But now the greyness of her life is swallowing her up, and whilst her family try to make things okay, her friends are too uncomfortable to be around and she is finding life as an amputee difficult. Then Rosamunde bounds into her life, providing her with support and teaching her persistence to overcome the hurdles of school. This book is all about human survival and growth. Izzy makes you laugh and cry, but mostly she makes you want to stand and applaud.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Over Sea, Under Stone by Susan Cooper

I found this in an Opportunity shop, it used to belong to one of my university friends, Jennifer Yearsly. It is all about the Drew children, Simon, Jane, and Barney who find an old map in a hidden room while summering at the Grey House in Cornwall. Along with their Great-Uncle Merry, they become embroiled in a web of intrigue that surrounds an Arthurian legend. In the beginning the story seems a bit slow and tedious as the plot and setting dominate, but it gets better. Barney has the youthful vulnerability of the youngest sibling, Jane is the the sensible and soft-spoken middle child, and Simon speaks with the assurance and bravado of the older brother. This is the first in a five book series called The Dark Rising. This first story in the series is much more in the vein of a mystery than the later novels in the sequence which fall much more into the fantasy category.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Gazza's Gone by John Larkin

Now, here’s one one for you soccer-loving girls who like to train in the rain on Wednesday nights. I felt sorry for you and went home and lit a fire. Charlotte said it actually wasn’t so bad. Now here’s a great read to snuggle up with on a cold winter's evening. The Western Wildcats can't get enough players together to make a decent team, not even a full team. So they reluctantly take on Peta, "Gazza" Gascoigne, to make up the numbers. Then they quickly discover that she's the best player they've got! She's also got an attractive and only loosely attached mum. And Splinters is looking for a new partner for his dad. So it's not just the Wildcats' plans for the football season that are wrecked when Gazza and her mother suddenly disappear! It’s all about mad games on the field and off for the worst soccer team in the universe.

Against the Odds by Robin Klein

Against the Odds...well, what are the odds of buying a book at a second hand shop, and to find out it was a present bought by one of your colleagues for one of their relations? Against the odds I'd say. But, then again, Tasmania is such a small island! Don't have the time for a full blown novel? Well why not try this book of short stories. Are you into the Master Chef telly programs, well, The Two Chefs may be the story for you. In this story the disastrous competition between two chefs results in gastronomic chaos. Or maybe you'd prefer the story where a little girl sees the sky for the first time...hmmm gotta ask yourself why. Or maybe you would rather read about Zarab-Hasaka, a genie who has been sealed inside little green bottle for several hundred years, a bit like been stuck in your house writing reports for two weeks.

Playing With Fire ny Anthony Masters

Tim's school has just moved into a brand new building, but I bet he doesn't have views out of his classroom window like we do in Bay unit. No views, but ghosts. You see, the new school has been built on the site of an ancient abbey. This is what the local newspaper had to say about it:
The new St Elmer's Primary school opens on Monday on land that has remained derelict since the eleventh century. Until now, local superstition has always prevented the land from being used. Legend has it that there was once a small abbey on the site and that the last few monks there forgot their own vows and began to rob the local community. They were thought to have amassed a fortune before the abbey was struck by lightening and burnt to the ground. The Masked Monks as they were known, perished in the flames, but it has always been suspected that the treasure survived as the monks were reputed to have hidden it down a well...
This is a fun read with quirky ink drawing scattered throughout. It has strong characterization and moves along at a good pace. British author, Anthony Masters, is no longer with us, but his books live on. Click here to see just how many books he has penned:

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Thura's Diary by Thura Al-Windawi

Simon, I know you like books set in WWII but this book is worth reading as it is written by a young girl who experienced war first hand and writes a diary as a way of coping with all that is going on around her. The original version was written in Arabic but has been translated by Robin Bray. It is set in Bagdad . She writes on the first page:
I dedicate this diary to the people of Iraq, America and Britain - and to people everywhere who have lost loved ones in war

Read a book review on this book written by 13 year old Rose Brazeale and decide whether it is a novel that might interest you :
I couldn't put it down once I started reading it.

Deadly, Grope (Book 5) by Morris Gleitzman & Paul Jennings

I don't think too much of her green lipstick, but remember the golden rule; don't judge a book by its cover. So this is book five in the Deadly series and Amy is on a mission to rescue Sprocket, who has been kidnapped. They get to drive a Hummer, wish I had a Hummer. This time there is a weird nudist colony. And what are the weird scientific experiments which are keeping the colonists alive? The books says you could die laughing...but I don't think you will. We have all the books in this series except for book 3 in our Little Library of Rescued Books.

The Lonesome Howl by Steven Herrick

Now this might be a good book to take a look at since we are doing a big poetry unit in third term when I get back from France. Steven Herrick was the youngest of seven children, thought you might like to know that Caleigh. Lots of descriptive poetry about two families and bush life: Dad accidentally shooting Winnie the pig, a son escaping onto the shed roof for some peace and quiet, a wolf at Wolli Creek, Lucy crouching by the creek, Jake getting mad with Lucy at the swamp. The poems all link together to give you insight into family life: fun times, arguments, resentments and children with too many questions. Want to meet the author, see what he's like? Click on this link to hear him recite his poem Ten Things Your Parents Will Never Say:

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Once Upon a More Enlightened Time by James Finn Garner

Calling Hayley, Simon and Lucinda (yeah I know I have already overloaded you with books Lucinda and Simon) but you will maybe appreciate this one. Okay, here's how the first fairy starts..very politically correctly!

Deep in the forested bioregion stood a small, humble chalet, and in that chalet lived a small, humble family. the father was a tree butcher by trade, and he was doing his best to raise his two pre-adults named Hansel and Gretel. The family tried to maintain a healthy and conscientious lifestlye, but the demands of the capitalist system, especially its irresponsible energy policies, worked carelessly to smother them. Soon they were at a complete economic disadvantage and found themselves unable to live in the style to which they had become accustomed, paltry though it may have been...

Read the politically correct version of:
The Ant and the Grasshopper
The Princess and the Pea
The Tortoise and the Hare and...
Beware this is only for students who love challenging texts!

The Gizmo by Paul Jennings

Now looking at the cover you'd think this one was all about Christmas decorations and you have to ask yourself who's so daft that they'd put paper clips in their ears? To top it all off, one of the character's names is Floggit. The main character, Stephen, is plain weird and some gizmos are pretty weird, but this one is the weirdest one won't go away. Stephen's bra is starting to slip. His pantyhose are sagging and his knickers keep falling down. Oh, the shame of it all! He stole this gizmo, and now it's paying him back. If you enjoyed the book Sucked In, you'll love this one

Hell's Gully & Night of the Vooddoo Doll by Paul Collins

Hi Jye, I dug deep into my resources and I think I have something you haven't read from the Shivers Series. It is two books in one. In Night of the Voodoo Doll Mardi has been given a Mumbo T-shirt with two smouldering eyes, and her sister has just given her the weirdest doll ever, a voodoo doll and she is about to go to bed...In Hell's Gully there's a blackberry bramble, looks pretty innocent except when you take a bite of a blueberry you get more than a nasty skin rash!

Monday, July 18, 2011

A little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett

This book is one of my all time favourites and set in the early 1900’s. It tells a story of the extremely rich and the extremely poor. It shows how differently they were treated and how much they were segregated. Sara Crew was born in India to a very rich man named Ralph Crewe, he is very close to his daughter Sara so he is very upset when he has to send her away to boarding school because at that time India wasn’t a safe place for children to live; the climate was terrible and there was a war going on. Since Sara was very wealthy she was treated very well at the boarding school, she had her own toy room, a pony, and a very extravagant wardrobe. But when Mr. Crewe dies of Brain Fever, a very common disease in India at that time, and she is told she has no money and is an orphan. Mrs. Minchin; the lady who owns the boarding school wants to throw her out on the streets, but instead she keeps her as a servant, she takes all her belongings and makes her sleep in the attic, and she deprives her of food. Then when an Indian man moves in next door to the boarding house Sara befriends him. She speaks to him in Hindi and he was very impressed, but he wasn’t really just an Indian man, he is a friend of Sara’s father. He becomes her legal guardian and keeps the fortune until she is of age. Click on the link below to watch the trailer to the movie:

Riding the Rough by G Brassi

This is a novel for upper primary or lower secondary. It is told by Angie who is 13. In the two years since her father left them, Angie Flynn has been expected to take more and more responsibility for the running of the house and the care of her younger brother and sister. When Robert finally coaxes his boat, Assassin, into starting, she joins Mo and the Williams family in learning to water-ski. It is then that Angie finds her mother’s unfair demands and expectations run contrary to her dreams. Their relationship sours further, until the school parent interviews, when Mrs Flynn realises how Angie has become more of a mother than she is and she takes action.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

The Games Board Map by Stephen Elboz

This is quite a bizarre book, so beware. It is not straightforward. Hebe receives a snakes and ladders board game from Grandma Behan, but it turns out to be more like a map of the world. This novel is a fast-moving mixture of humour, crazy puns, and weird happenings. Hebe has to share the games board with all kinds of creatures: the bishop from the chess game who complains about 'those confounded draughts', various pawns (or prawns?), and probably snakes too - after all, there are ladders. What Hebe really wants to do is to get home, eventually. But it's not as easy as all that.

The Blossoms Meet the Vulture Lady by Betsy Byars

When we first meet the protagonist of this novel, Junior, he is trying to fly with his home-made wings. After recovering from two broken legs he is trying to make the best coyote trap ever. But, a dangerous coyote is surely no match for Junior Blossom. He sets out to with his trap to try and win the big reward that's on offer! However, Junior’s inventions aren’t exactly known for their success. A malfunction sets off a series of events that leaves Junior trapped far from home in a place no one would think to look for him. Will the rest of the Blossom family be able to rescue him?

The Great Elephant Chase by Gillian Cross

When the elephant came to town, Tad and Cissie went to the show like everyone else. Little did they know it would change their lives for ever. Because of the elephant, Tad and Cissie get involved in a chase across America, by train, by flatboat, and steam boat. Close behind is HannibalJackson, who is determined to have the elephant for himself. And how do you hide a large Indian elephant? This novel was the winner of the Whitbread Children's Novel Award and the Smarties Prize. Gillian Cross has also won the Carnegie Medal and is a highly-acclaimed author. For me information about the author go to her website:

I Hate Fridays by Rachel Flynn

Well I must admit I love Fridays, because the weekend is just around the corner. This is a book of diary entries written by the students at Kola Hill Primary. Read it to find out just why they hate Fridays. The first character introduced in the book. Is Peter Karlos. He is shown to be completely arrogant and holds a very high opinion of himself, believing himself to be more intelligent than all of his peers in the 4th grade. Kathryn is the second character introduced in the book. She is a smart girl but also holds an extraordinarily high opinion of herself (much like Peter) and is incredibly pretentious. Joan Smith is Kathryn's best friend at the beginning of the series, although as the series progresses she becomes more of an independent character in her own right. Sam Lancer is portrayed as a typical immature grade school boy who revels in many gross and puerile things and loves being able to constantly humiliate and tease the girls. David Pierce is a relatively normal boy and best friends with Thadeus after having to sit next to him in 4th grade. He is also the object of many different girls' affections.

Then Again Maybe I Won't by Judy Blume

When his hardworking inventor father strikes it rich and moves the family from working class Jersey City to wealthy Rosemont, Tony Miglione finds that everything from friendships to school takes on a new and confusing twist. Suddenly his mother is intent on climbing the social ladder. His grandmother isn't allowed to cook for the family anymore because they have hired a housekeeper. His older brother, Ralph, who's always wanted to be a teacher has suddenly decided to go into business. Tony misses his friends and struggles to fit into this new posh neighbourhood. He increasingly dislikes the boy next door who is not to be quite who everyone else thinks he is. He is a compulsory shop lifter and Tony is finding his whole new life extremely awkward.

Who is author Judy Blume, watch this clip to find out more why she likes to write:

The Kingdom by the Sea by Robert Westall

Harry's family are running to the shelter when the bomb hits. As the rescue team pull him alone out of the rubble, Harry realises he'll be sent off to live with moping, fussy Cousin Elsie - the last thing he needs on top of the shock of losing his family. He runs away, meeting Don, a dog who's also lost his home, on the beach. In wartime every step is full of danger. Getting a meal, sleeping in a haystack, it seems that everywhere Harry goes he finds people full of suspicion, ready to turn in a boy on his own. But Harry encounters sudden kindnesses too. A family have left a caravan open, filled with tinned food for anyone who needs shelter. They all died when a bomb hit their home, but they help Harry when he needs it most. Joining eccentric Joseph Keilty by the sea, Harry learns to scavenge along the beach and makes friends with some nearby soldiers, until once more he is driven on alone. Meet the author...see what Robert has to say about cats!

The Contest Kid and the Big Prize by Barbara Brooks Wallace.

This book was originally published under the title of Hawkins. Harvey loves getting things for free and he loves contests. He finds a newspaper on the sidewalk with a panel that offers something for free. What is it? He's not sure because the bottom part of the panel is torn off. He fills it out anyway and one day a big surprise arrives at his front door and he can't believe his eyes. It's an easy read with some full page, detailed ink sketches scattered throughout the novel which adds interest.

Dicey's Song by Cynthia Voigt

This book was a Newberry Medal winner. It is the beginning of summer and Dicey Tillerman’s mother has abandoned her and her family and is later found in an asylum unaware or anything around her. So Dicey Tillerman, her brothers James and Sammy, and her sister Maybeth have to live with their grandmother, Gram, whom they have never met before. Dicey finds looking after her siblings quite a demanding task, after all she is only thirteen. Alll she really wants is some time to herself and time to restore an old sailboat she has found. This book would appeal to students in grade 6 -9.

Underground Hero by Elaine K. McEwan

Josh hasn't learnt not to listen to Ben Anderson's bright ideas. Together they decide to explore the old Klum place which was once a stop on the Underground Railroad. They find evidence to suggest that this house isn't deserted as people think. And on top of this Ben is trying hard to deal with his parents' divorce.

The Scarecrows by Robert Westall

The Scarecrows is a children's novel by Robert Westall was published in 1981. The novel was awarded the Carnegie Medal 1981, and this is the second Carnegie award for Robert Westall. It is a psychological novel with a supernatural twist, dealing with themes of rage, isolation and fear in a plot concerning a thirteen-year-old boy's reaction to his mother's remarriage. The story is a third-person narrative, but the point of view is entirely that of Simon Wood. The novel begins at Simon's boarding school, where the poisonous atmosphere of bullying and denigration has nurtured Simon's "devils", as he describes his blind rages. Here he first sees Joe Moreton, who has given Simon's widowed mother a lift to an event at the school. Simon loathes him at first sight, regarding him as yob and is unimpressed by his fame as an artist…

Monster Blood II by R.L.Stine

Hey this one yet? How could anyone not like a book that has "monster blood" in it? This book is full of R.L. Stine's trademark suspense and kid-friendly horror. Evan Ross, the main character, can't stop thinking about Monster Blood and all that happened last summer. It was just so terrifyingly horrible! Even Evan's science teacher doesn't believe him and now he has to clean out the hamster's cage as punishment for making up stories. Then, his friend, Andy, arrives in town and things go from bad to worse…

UPDATE: Jye just informed me he has read all the Goosebumps series...hmmm I will come up with something.

Silas and the Winterbottoms by Stephen M. Giles

Hey, here is a brand new addition to our little library. Silas and the Winterbottoms is a gothic tale of intrigue, adventure and humour, complete with evil relatives, orphans, crocodiles, secret schemes and great escapes. If you enjoyed the Lemony Snicket series, chances are that you will enjoy this one, the first in a series. Click on the link below to check out the website about the book:

Saturday, July 16, 2011

Scorpia Rising by Anthony Horowitz

This is a bit of a doorstop at 431 pages but a great read. Maybe Simon or Hamish would enjoy this author. You don't need to have read the preceding novels to understand or enjoy it. Mrs P has some of his books on her side of the double unit too. I think Sean has read some of them. Alex Rider is a series of spy novels, by British author Anthony Horowitz about a teenage spy named Alex Rider. The series is aimed primarily at young adults but some students in the unit would handle them okay.This gripping final mission brings together Alex Rider's old enemies to frame the teenage superspy in an unstoppable plot of revenge, from which he can never return. Pursued from Europe to North Africa and Cairo's city of the dead – this is the twistiest and most deadly plot of any Alex Rider mission yet, and will reveal Smithers' ultimate gadget and see the shocking death of a major character. Watch a clip with Horowitz talking about this novel:

and check out the author reading an extract from his book:

Stories to Eat With Watermelon by Jackie French

This the sequel to Stories to eat with a Banana but can be read without having read its predecessor. Phredde and Pru go off to save Sleeping Beauty from the handsome Prince, and meet a frog named Bruce who is no help whatsoever. Also there is the girl who likes eating rose bushes, pirate ships, a giant Thingummie, piranas in the moat and a werewolf brother who will keep lifting his leg on the geraniums. There are five stories in all and I must say I thought they were all a lot of fun and a good book when your brain wants something light to munch on.

Friday, July 15, 2011

The Pocket Book of Board Games devised by John Astrop

Well the wet weather is here. This is a great little book of board games. I have played most of them with my children when they were growing up. We have all the counters and dice we need in the maths store, or just grab one of the maths kits in the room. Some of the games include: Leapfrog, Robots, The Law of the Jungle, Vicious Circles, Tiger, Rat Race and a Viking Game called Hnefatal. Try your hand, challenge your best friend.

Travellers by Night by Vivien Alcock

This is a fast-paced book about two children named Belle and Charlie who are determined to save an old elephant from the slaughterhouse. The two circus children kidnap the animal and begin a dangerous journey, traveling by night across the English countryside to a safari park where they hope to find the elephant a home. The novel becomes more believable and suspenseful as the journey progresses. This novel was turned into a popular television series and the following clip might influence you to give the novel a go:

Did You Know...About Insides and Outside? by David Suzuki

This book is one in a series by well-known scientist David Suzuki. It deals with human anatomy but also contain some very interesting snippets about animals. An insect doesn't have lungs, so how does it breathe? What is that strange powder on a butterfly's wings? How does a woodpecker eat? You'll be amazed at the answers to these questions and others. The text is accompanied by quirky illustrations. Matthew has read it, ask him all about it.