Book reviews - fiction 5 to 11 (page 13)

The most recent reviews are at the top of the page, so these are generally the most recently published books.

Victorian House Maid: The Secret Diary of Jane Pinny by Philip Ardagh

A clever blend of fact and fiction, this gives an excellent insight into Victorian life and would make a great read for KS2 pupils studying the Victorians, bringing the period to life for them. Jane Pinny Maid Of All Work at the very grand Lytton House... and that means she has to do all the tough jobs - cleaning, dusting, scrubbing, washing. But when a priceless jade necklace belonging to the lady of the house disappears, Jane turns accidental detective (with the help of her unlikely best friend, a pigeon called Plump...). Jamie Littler's super drawings really help with the period setting and add to the fun of the book - the details are fabulous. A light-hearted and highly enjoyable read with a lovely heroine.


This is the story of an extraordinary friendship; a friendship between a boy and a fox, and their epic journey to be reunited. It is superbly illustrated by multi-award winner, Jon Klassen. Pax was only a kit when his family was killed and he was rescued by Peter. Now the country is at war and Peter must move in with his grandfather - and leave Pax behind. But before Peter spends even one night under his grandfather’s roof he sneaks out into the night, determined to find his beloved friend. This is the story of Peter, Pax, and their journeys back to each other as war rampages throughout the country. It's superbly told, with the relationship depicted with empathy and skill. The dramatic ending and the story of the boy and the fox will remain with you long after the book is finished

Middle School: Escape to Australia: (Middle School 9) by James Patterson

The success of the Middle School books has been validated by the fact that a film is to be made, called Middle School: The Worst Years of my Life - great news for fans. Finally, Rafe has won something - a school-wide art competition which mean he is off to Australia. But it's not what he hoped for -his host-siblings are far from friendly, the temperature unbearable and there are nasty creatures everywhere. So with the help of some new misfit friends, Rafe sets out to show everyone what he does best: create utter mayhem! The fabulous humour still abounds, complemented by hilarious drawings to appeal to the readership. Great fun.

Laugh Out Loud by James Patterson

Calling all young book lovers - can you imagine owning your very own book company - and having other kids running it with you? Well, that's just what 12 year old Jimmy has done - started a book company for kids – run by kids. People are laughing at him, but that doesn't stop Jimmy from dreaming even bigger! His company will be as imaginative and fun as Willy Wonka's chocolate factory... with a Ferris wheel instead of an elevator, a bowling alley in the break room, and a river filled with floating books! He just has to believe in himself and his idea. And maybe win the Lottery. This is a hilarious and empowering story which goes to show that anything is possible if you set your mind to it. It's full of clever references to children's book favourites, which children will love to spot. A great tribute to the fun of reading.

Pottymouth and Stoopid by James Patterson

Pottymouth and Stoopid - not too bad as nicknames in preschool but highly embarrassing when you get older... and that's the problem David and his best friend Michael face. Trouble is, everyone in school, including the teachers, take the labels literally.believe the labels are true. It's time for a change. Not only is this a hilarious story which kid will love, it also carries a really vital message – it shows that the worst bullying doesn't have to be physical, and that things will get better. Superbly written and wonderfully illustrated by Stephen Gilpin, this is an irresistible and thought-provoking story.

Bombs on Aunt Dainty by Judith Kerr

Based on real-life events, they have been carefully and thoughtfully selected to give us an exceptional narrative that flows superbly and keeps the reader totally gripped throughout. It is hard enough being a teenager in London during the Blitz, finding yourself in love and wondering every night whether you will survive the bombs. But it is even harder for Anna, who is still officially classified as an “enemy alien”. Those bombs are coming from Germany – the country that was once her own. If Hitler invades, can she and her beloved refugee family possibly survive? Amazingly detailed and vividly written, the book really takes us back in time, giving an excellent understanding of what life was like for a teen in war-torn London. This was previously published as The Other Way Round. I recommend you read When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit (Essential Modern Classics) first, to appreciate this book fully, and to see how Anna matures and copes with the dramatic changes in her life.

A Small Person Far Away by Judith Kerr

Partly autobiographical, this is the third title in Judith Kerr’s internationally acclaimed and highly emotional trilogy which the life of Anna through war-torn Germany, to London during the Blitz and her return to Berlin to discover the past. Long before her happy new existence in London, Anna lived in Berlin and Mama is there, dangerously ill. Anna is forced to go back, to deal with questions of life and death, to face old fears, and to discover the past which she has so long shut away. This book gives a wonderful insight into Anna's world and the way in which she is torn between two cultures. It never falls into the trap of sentimentality but is nonetheless deeply emotional and moving. Don't miss out - please make sure you read the whole trilogy, preferably in chronological order.

Skeleton Tree by Kim Ventrella

This is a really unusual book, and one which will appeal to a very specific kind of reader. Stanley Stanwright family is going through a tough time with his Dad off the scene and his sister terminally ill. Stanley finds a bone sticking out of the earth in his back garden, which mysteriously begins to grow, reaching up out of the ground until it turns into a skeleton - a skeleton with an unusual interest in his unwell younger sister Miren. She develops a strange attraction to the skeleton - but is it making her more ill? A whimsical, heartfelt story about a boy who finds a friend in Death with the help of an unusual tree growing in his back garden

Mr Penguin and the Lost Treasure by Alex T Smith

Mystery, humour and adventure combine with prolific illustrations in a striking black and orange design to bring us a book that will really appeal to children. Mr Penguin isn't just a penguin - he's an adventurer. But an adventurer without an adventure... until the phone rings! Mr Penguin and his assistant Colin are called in to find the missing treasure somewhere in the Museum of Extraordinary Objects. The quest finds them solving secret codes, fighting ferocious beasts, eating fish finger sandwiches and travelling deep below the museum to a lost jungle... Well written, well paced and full of fun.

The Hobbit by J R R Tolkein

This enduring classic is the story of Bilbo, a peace-loving hobbit who embarks on a strange and magical adventure. Bilbo Baggins enjoys a quiet and contented life, with no desire to travel far from the comforts of home until the wizard Gandalf and a band of dwarves arrive unexpectedly and enlist his services – as a burglar – on a dangerous expedition to raid the treasure-hoard of Smaug the dragon. Bilbo’s life will never to be the same again. The book is superbly illustrated by Jemima Catlin, who has kept to a muted colour palette for her detailed illustrations, which perfectly reflect the feel of the book and make this an edition to treasure.

Soda Pop by Barbro Lindgren

This classic Swedish novel is an absurd tale full of playful nonsense in a world where anything can happen. This glorious mix of Spike Milligan with Pippi Longstocking is like the Swedish Winnie the Pooh. The book is full of surprises, starting with Soda Pop himself who loves bright orange clothes and wears a tea cosy on his head.

The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

Cressida Cowell is a gifted author with a real talent for taking her readers right inside her fantasy worlds. Now we have the start of a great new series, with more to look forward to. The boy Wizard and the girl Warrior have been taught from birth to hate each other... but the time comes when their worlds collide. This the thrilling tale of what happens. Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic, and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it. In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they're going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring. The illustrations by the author are an outstanding feature of the book -they really convey the atmosphere and propel the reader into this fantastical world. Totally absorbing.

The Spy's the Limit (Spynosaur) by Guy Bass

Spynosaur is a very unusual being - he has the mind of a spy in the body of a dinosaur - a quirky mix bound to appeal to young readers. Spynosaur, with his sidekick, daughter Amber, is investigating e a distress beacon coming from the Arctic Circle. Could this be linked to his father Abner Gambit, last seen there? An army of penguins and a spy frozen in ice are just two of the elements of this hilarious story. It's an exciting race against time, packed with humour and guaranteeing fits of laughter.

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball by Laura Ellen Anderson

This is the first in what is a very promising new series. In Nocturnia, darkness reigns supreme, glitter is terrifying, and unicorns are the stuff of nightmares! Amelia Fang would much rather hang out with her pet pumpkin Squashy and her friends Florence the yeti and Grimaldi the reaper than dance at her parents' annual Barbaric Ball. And Amelia and her friends find just the opportunity they want when the King’s spoiled son Tangine captures Squashy. In their race against time, they begin to realise things in Nocturnia may not be quite what they seem... There's a map to help readers find their way around the kingdom, plus an introduction to all the characters which is great for young readers as it really helps their enjoyment of the book. The book is absolutely packed with illustrations, making it very appealing to children. Really looking forward to seeing more in the series.

Escape From the Tower (Royal Rabbits of London 2) by Santa and Simon Sebag Montefiore

The Royal Rabbits of London, are a secret order who live under Buckingham Palace and fight evil across the world; this is their second delightful escapade. High up in London’s famous skyscraper, the Shard, the horrible Ratzis are plotting to cause chaos during a visit from the President of the United States. When the Grand Burrow is attacked, Shylo Tawny-Tail, one of the order, is kidnapped. He must escape in order to save the day. Whimsical and charming, this is a lovely story, well written and enchantingly illustrated by Kate Hindley. The cover is just gorgeous!

The Extraordinary Colours of Auden Dare by Zillah Bethell

Auden Dare has an unusual perspective on life: he cannot see in colour. He's always had this rare condition - and life is beginning to get harder for Auden. The war for water that is raging across the world is getting a little closer all the time. Auden's father is away fighting and he Auden has to cope with a strange new town and a new school. He and his mother have moved into the old cottage of his recently-dead uncle Jonah Bloom - a scientist and professor at the university; there is mystery afoot in the cottage. Hidden away under the shed at the bottom of Jonah's garden is an engimatic and ingenious robot, This superbly written book really takes the reader into Auden's unusual word - touching and moving.

Simply the Quest (Who Let the Gods Out?) by Maz Evans

Elliot Hooper's troubles are far from over: his mum's health worsens, he's struggling at school, and a bunch of anarchic Greek immortals have moved into his home - including teen goddess Virgo, who's in trouble with the Zodiac. What's more, death-daemon Thanatos and his scary mum are at large. As even more immortal allies and enemies emerge, Virgo and Elliot must learn how to be heroes ... A witty, action-packed book with a cliffhanger ending.

Toto: The Dog-Gone Amazing Story of the Wizard of Oz by Michael Morpurgo

This much-loved classic has been given a completely new lease of life, thanks to the genius that is Michael Morpurgo. He has retold the story through the eyes of Toto, Dorothy's canine companion through her adventures; this gives a wonderful new perspective to the story whilst remaining faithful to the original. When Toto and Dorothy find themselves in the mysterious land of Oz, they meet some extraordinary characters: a scarecrow who believes he has no brains, a tin man without a heart, and a cowardly lion who may not be as cowardly as he thinks he is. Determined to return home, they set off with their new friends on a journey down the yellow brick road to find the only person who might be able to help them: the Wonderful Wizard of Oz. This sumptuous gift edition is made even more special by the superlative colour illustrations from the talented Emma Chichester Clark, which encapsulate the wonder of this classic story - L Frank Baum would be delighted!

Summer Holiday Stories by Enid Blyton

This is a wide ranging wonderful collection of 22 fantastic summer stories to read and share from one of the world's best-loved children's authors - an enduring favourite, despite periods of being out of favour. Encapsulating all the freedom of the summer holidays, children will enjoy tales about So go on a picnic in the woods, visiting the seaside, taking a trip on a magic aeroplane and many more in this enchanting collection of stories perfect for summer holidays. They are perfect for children reading alone, or to share as bedtime stories. The collection includes some stories written back in the 1930s, yet they still have a sense of adventure and excitement - and freedom - that appeals to today's children.

Making Millions (Cass and the Bubble Street Gang) by Erika McGann

The Bubble Street Gang consists of Cass and her best friends, Lex and Nicholas. They investigate crimes, solve mysteries and have brilliant adventures. They’ve even got their own secret clubhouse. It's childhood perfection! Now, in the second story, the gang need money and quick, and they have some super-genius ideas on how to make it! Like Operation Start a Company, Make Loads of Money for Nicholas’s Project and Probably Also Become Millionaires! At the same time, there's a new mystery to solve - who is the invisible boy? An easy and enjoyable read.

Attack of the Bat Army: Series 1, Book 2 (Team Hero) by Adam Blade

Adam Blade is the author of the popular Beast Quest series and this, the start of a new series, holds great promise. X-Men meets Beast Quest at the school for superheroes - and it's all told with comic-book style illustrations which will appeal greatly to the target audience, and make the book accessible for even reluctant readers. There's a new evil escaping from the dark realm of Noxx. Jack and Team Hero must harness their special powers to stop the bat army from destroying the world. Team Hero needs you! Join Jack and battle the forces of darkness in this exciting pacy novel.

A Journey to the Centre of the Earth by Jules Verne

This is a superb collectable edition of the classic story, a story that can still excite and engage readers of all ages, with its vivid description and thrilling edventure. With its bonded leather cover, classic illustrations and ribbon marker, it deserves a place on anyone's bookshelves. (Be aware this is a US edition, so the spelling is US, including the title). Published by Barnes and Noble, ISBN 978 1435144736, August 2017.


How sad that this is the last in what has been a really exceptional series. I have loved following the ups and downs of Harriet's life, and seeing her develop as a wonderful character. Harriet Manners may be a know-all - but what a likeable one she is.She knows modelling isn’t a sure-fire route to popularity and neither is making endless lists. And importantly, statistically you are more likely to not meet your Australian ex-boyfriend in Australia than bump into him there. So on the trip of a lifetime Down Under on a modelling trip with Nat, Harriet’s to-do lists are gone and it’s Nat’s time to shine! Yet with nearly-not-quite-boyfriend Jasper back home, Harriet’s completely unprepared to see supermodel ex Nick. Is the fashion world about to turn ugly for Geek Girl? An amazing and totally satisfying conclusion to a wonderful series.

The Lost Puppy (Dotty Detective, Book 4) by Clara Vulliamy

Dot, her best friend Beans and her dog McClusky, the Join the Dots Detectives, all love sniffing out a good mystery and together they will solve the case and save the day. It’s the last week of school term and the children are looking forward to the School summer fair. Dotty and best pal Beans will be looking after pet’s corner, starring McClusky and his two canine pals: Geoffrey and the little sausage dog puppy, Chipolata. But just days before the fair disaster strikes – Chipolata has gone missing. It's Dot and Co to the rescue in this lively action-packed story which is full of fun illustrations and clues to solve.

Goodly and Grave in a Deadly Case of Murder (Goodly and Grave, Book 2) by Justine Windsor

Mystery and magic are brought together to excellent effect in this enjoyable series.In the second story, reports have come in that valuable magical objects are being stolen. Goodly and Grave are on the case, but just when they think they know whodunit their prime suspect turns up – murdered! Will Lucy be able to track the real villain without putting herself in deadly danger? Dark and detailed illustrations by Becka Moor set the scene perfectly for a great read.

Pirate Blunderbeard: Worst. Holiday. Ever. (Pirate Blunderbeard, Book 2) by Amy Sparkes and Ben Cort

My stupid brother has tricked me into the worst holiday ever… on the Island of No Return. I’m stuck here with just a chicken for company unless I can find some treasure – then Blackbeard says he will come and get me (nice of him). All I have to do is follow a treasure map through a jungle full of pirate-eating creatures (no problem), into the deepest, darkest probably-haunted cave (not at all scary, not at all scary, not at all scary) and track down the hidden gold that is so well hidden everyone gets lost trying to find it (perfect). My life is ruined. Signed Pirate Blunderbeard.

Vlad the World's Worst Vampire by Anna Wilson

The Impaler family are the bravest vampires that ever lived... all except for the youngest, Vlad, who isn’t very brave at all. in fact, he's even a little bit scared of the dark! All Vlad wants is some friends and he thinks he knows just where to find them… Human school! So off Vlad goes, along with his pet bat Flit.But how will Vlad keep his true identity secret from his new friends? Not to mention keeping them hidden from his family? Delightfully and amusingly illustrated by Kathryn Ourst, this is an engaging story about a cute character who knows just what he wants from life.

Sam Hannigan's Woof Week by Alan Nolan

Oh dear! Animal lover and champion Irish dancer Samantha Hannigan is having a truly woof week. She and her best friend Ajay were messing around with the Brain Swap 3000, one of her grandad’s crackpot inventions, and now Sam is stuck inside the body of her neighbours’ dog – and it’ll be days before they can change her back! Full of light-hearted fun and humour.

The Family with Two Front Doors by Anna Ciddor

The Rabinovitches are a fascinating and unusual family and readers are bound to warm to them. There's mischievous Yakov, bubbly Nomi, rebellious Miriam, solemn Shlomo... and lots more! Their father is a rabbi and their days are full of ritual and adventure... and none more so that when they learn that big sister Adina is told she is to be married at the age of fifteen - to someone she has never met. What makes this book really intriguing is that it is based on the author's real family, so there is a real sense of reality. Set in Poland during the 1920s, this is a warm and engrossing read.

Escape from Planet Bogey (Pet Defenders) by Gareth P Jones

With a title like this, you can be sure children will pick this book up - and once they have done so, they will quickly be hooked on the quirky humour. Animals are disappearing from Nothington-on-Sea and the Pet Defenders suspect alien activity. Secret agents Biskit and Mitzy find themselves caught up in the Planet Bogey Games. Biskit suspects the contest might hold the key to finding his missing partner, Champ. Can our heroes win the game? And what’s more, can they get back home after? Entertaining dialogue and humorous illustrations add to the fun of the book.


Finding Serendipity by Angelica Banks

This is a wonderfully imaginative book which draws the reader into the realms of fantasy and storytelling. There's plenty going on - Tuesday and her dog Baxterr must sail a runaway boat, battle fearsome pirates, and find their way out of the Swamp of Doubt. And the reason for this? Tuesday McGillycuddy's mother, a writer, has disappeared. In search of Serendipity, Tuesday and her faithful dog Baxterr soon find themselves on a very dangerous mission in the magical world where stories come from. With the help of pint-sized heroine Vivienne Small, Tuesday will need all her wit, courage, perseverance and imagination in order to get to The End and be reunited with the people she loves.

The Pest in the Nest (Rabbit and Bear) by Julian Gough

This is an ideal series for children progressing from picture books - there are plenty of illustrations to accompany satisfying storylines. The chunky hardback book has a classic feel and the story of friendship is one to return to over and over again. All Rabbit wants is peace and quiet - but that's hard to find in the busy wood. Can he learn to accept - and maybe even to help?

The Official Pokémon Fiction: Ash's Big Challenge: Book 1 by Tracey West

Perfect for all young readers hooked on the craze for Pokemon., in Gotta Catch 'Em All! readers join Ash as he embarks on the biggest Pokémon adventure of his life! Pokémon master-in-training Ash Ketchum is delighted when Professor Oak sends him on a very important mission - to capture a unique and mysterious Poké Ball. Ash, Brock and Misty begin their journey to the famed Orange Islands and meet a host of new friends - and old enemies.. An exciting short read.

The New Adventures of Mr Toad: Toad Hall in Lockdown by Tom Moorhouse

What's not to like? New adventures from the inimitable Mr Toad, written with a real understanding of the original character with new stories to attract today's readers. The builders are in at Toad Hall and they're busy filling Toad Hall with awesome gizmos and gadgets. But there's something odd about them: why don't their bushy tails look quite right? And why are they loading Mr Toad's furniture into their van? Squirrel skulduggery! Greedy weasels! Mr Toad will need help from Teejay, Ratty, and Mo to have a REMOTE chance of defending his home. Can he keep his property safe, or will Toad Hall be in lockdown? With charming illustrations by Holly Swain, this book is a delight.

Cosmic Colin: Hairy Hamster Horror by Tim Collins

These engaging stories are ideal for young readers who are just starting to enjoy reading books on their own, and the easy reading style and captivating stories are perfect for reluctant readers too. A magic bin is at the heart of the stories and this time, it has landed on a strange planet where hamsters have developed into the dominant life form. Unfortunately, the boys are captured by the humongous hamster hosts during a sightseeing trip to the Great Wheel of the Andromeda Galaxy. Harry and Colin are imprisoned as the school pets, bundled into a human-sized cage and forced to run on a giant wheel. Things go from bad to worse when the school's laziest hamster is charged with looking after Harry and Colin for the holidays. Will the adventurers find a way to escape from their hamster hell?

The Boy with One Name by J R Wallis

Twelve-year-old Jones is an orphan who is training as an apprentice hunter alongside his mentor, Maitland. Their role is to tackle ogres, trolls and all manner of creatures that live in the Badlands. The Badlands are a hidden part of our own world, and which most people think exist only in fairytales and nightmares. Jones just wants to be an ordinary boy but Ruby, on the other hand, wants to be anything but ordinary... Together, the two must race against time to destroy a creature from the Badlands. An engrossing read, with a plot that is never predictable, and great chemistry between the two main characters.

Codebusters by Dan Metcalf

It's not easy to fit in at a new school, when everyone knows you are a maths whizz, as Jackson 'Jax' Hibert discovers. And things get worse when he is asked to join a secret group of code breakers: the Codebusters. Things started off low key but now, someone has stolen the school's maths prize from the trophy cabinet, and the only clue is a mysterious code, so now's their big chance! This is one in the Black Cats series of fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - stepping stones to reading confidence.

Lizard Music by Daniel Pinkwater

Victor's parents think they have left him in the care of his older sister while they go away for two weeks - but she has left to go on her own holiday! Able to do just as he likes, Victor is watching late night TV when he discovers evidence of a secret community of intelligent lizards. In fact there seems to have been an invasion from outer space that went almost unnoticed! In the course of some detective work, he meets the Chicken Man, an eccentric with a hen in his hat who knows about these things. Together they visit the lizards in Thunderbolt City. An unusual and intriguing story, cleverly plotted with a resourceful main character.

The Guggenheim Mystery by Robin Stevens

Ted Spark was the brainchild of Siobhan Dowd and the mantle has now been taken up by Robin Stevens. We first met Ted in The London Eye Mystery and this time the story takes place in New York.Written in the first person, this starts off as a holiday in New York. But soon things change a painting was stolen from the Guggenheim Museum, where Ted's Aunt Gloria works. Ted really isn't fussed about paintings (he has a strange brain which works differently to other people's) but when his Aunt Gloria is blamed for the theft, he can't just stand by. The he realises just how important it was to find the painting, and discover who really had taken it. This is an excellently written sequel, just as exciting and gripping as the original - a really good example of the genre.

Marge and the Great Train Rescue by Isla Fisher

Marge is every child's dream babysitter. She has rainbow hair and tells wild stories. Things don't always go to plan when Marge is around, but hilarity is guaranteed. Perfect for reading aloud, or for beginner readers, there are three stories in this book about Marge's escapades with Jakey and Jemima. They know that Marge is the best to rescue a train, help Jakey's wobbly tooth or cause chaos at the zoo! This is the third in the hilarious series of fun family stories, and it is illustrated throughout by Eglantine Ceulemans; the plentiful illustrations make a good transition from picture books and add hugely to children's enjoyment.

How to Get Rid of a Vampire Using Ketchup, Garlic Cloves and a Bit of Imagination by J M Erre

You just know from the title that this is going to be a really funny book - and you won't be disappointed. Zazie is a highly imaginative girl who decides to keep a diary in her beautiful new notebook. Is her new teacher, Mr Labat a vampire? He certainly looks like one, with his pale skin and blood-red lips. So Zazie decides that in order to save her life and those of her classmates, she will follow the advice found in Bram Stoker's Dracula. Fun presentation and a wacky story combine to bring us a book that is great fun and that children will relish.

Wish Trap (Star Friends) by Linda Chapman

Linda Chapman is a very good author for young girls who enjoy reading on their own - her books are accessible and easy, enjoyable reads to build confidence. Ionie and her friends believe in magic and when they meet the Star Animals, a whole world of adventure unfolds. Ionie's star animal is a wildcat called Sorrel, and together they must fight against dark magic. Wish Shades are responsible for dark magic and one of them has set out to make trouble for the gymnastics team. Can the Star Friends stop the girls on the team from getting hurt and send the Wish Shade back where it came from?

The Sprites' Den (Evie's Magic Bracelet Book 3) by Jessica Ennis-Hill

Jessica Ennis-Hill is a great role model and her fictional character Evie is also a good role model for girls - she's determined, feisty and fun. Just imagine - a bracelet with magical powers - and that's just what Evie's grandma sends her! Evie's going to need the bracelet's powers - and a brave heart - to deal with some mischievous sprites. But she's always ready to have some magical adventures! Full of imagination and a great way to encourage young readers to look for the special things in everyday life.

Pigs Might Fly! (Mudpuddle Farm) by Michael Morpurgo

The Mudpuddle Farm series is bound to make excellent reading, coming from a master storyteller who also has a keen interest in farms. These two funny farmyard stories, with comical illustrations from Shoo Rayner, are perfect for readers of 5+. The first story is 'And Pigs Might Fly' which is the story of Pintsize the piglet, who thinks that perhaps the sky might be cooler during the long hot summer... but he causes no end of problems for the other animals. In 'Jigger’s Day Off' Jigger the sheepdog has one day off a year and he loves to chase all those little animals hiding in the corn... but things don't go quite to plan! In the same series is Cock-A-Doodle-Do! (Mudpuddle Farm). In Mossop’s Last Chance we meet Mossop the old farm cat. All he wants to do is sleep, but the farmer expects him to catch mice. Luckily, the other farm animals are on hand to help out. In Albertine, Goose Queen, a fox is on the loose, and all the animals except Albertine the goose have hidden themselves inside... except Albertine, who thinks she is safe on her island in the lake...

Hee-Haw Hooray! (Mudpuddle Farm) by Michael Morpurgo

This is a brand new pair of stories to add to the series about the lovable family of animals who live behind the tumble-down barn on Mudpuddle Farm. 'Nowt to Worry About' sees the animals trying to warn Farmer Rafferty about an approaching storm - but he won't listen. The second story is 'Tickety-Boo', which introduces a strange new creature - one who doesn't want to stay at the farm. Alien Invasion! (Mudpuddle Farm) 'Martians at Mudpuddle Farm' and 'Mum's the Word' are the two stories in this book. In the first story, Farmer Rafferty thinks Martians have landed at the farm, so it's up to clever Albertine, Goose Queen, to work it out. Luckily she’s the cleverest goose in the whole world, so if anyone knows what to do, she will. Something strange is going on at Mudpuddle Farm in 'Mum’s the Word'. Egbert the goat is not himself at all. Instead of grumbling, he’s singing and dancing! And he’s even greedier than usual. These are perfect books for young readers, with captivating stories and fun-filled illustrations - ideal to instill a love of reading. They will enjoy meeting familiar characters through the series, and these new editions are very attractive to collect.

Darkmouth: Hero Rising by Shane Hegarty

Gripping and wildly exciting, these are the continuing adventures of the most unfortunate monster-hunter ever to don armour. Things can’t get any worse. Legends are running riot. Half-hunters are out of control. Darkmouth has been taken away from Finn and Emmie, and Finn’s dad Hugo – proud Legend Hunter – is washing dogs for a living. But great horrors are to come and it's up to Finn to come to the rescue... but is he up to the challenge? Humour and tension mix in an exciting way to ensure the reader's attention is held throughout..

Stanley and the Magic Lamp (Flat Stanley) by Jeff Brown

Flat Stanley has been delighting children for over 50 years. For those unfamiliar with Flat Stanley, he was flattened when a giant pinboard fell on him, and the outcome allows him to get into all manner of bizarre situations, which are invariably hilarious - and he's a great character too. The superb new illustrations by the award-winning author/illustrator Rob Biddulph really set off the stories and bring a whole fresh look to the books, just right for today's young readers. Stanley can’t believe it when he finds a genie inside a teapot which means he can have anything he wants - but so can everyone else, with chaos as a result. Can Flat Stanley put things right before he runs out of wishes? Great fun.


I reviewed the hardback edition and placed it with games, so to be different, I am putting the paperback in with stories. This is a fascinating look at a game which appeals to young and old, across the world; and the book will have the same wide appeal. When kings ruled the land, dragons filled the sky and magic still existed, two small children, Pip and Holly, stumbled upon the game of chess. Alongside the story, readers can immerse themselves in the whole experience, with interactive puzzles and games, along with clear instructions and tips on how to improve your technique; delightful illustrations complement all of this. It's an excellent book and a really good way to introduce children to chess, as well as offering a fresh look for current players. There is a website and app to accompany the book at

The Explorer by Katherine Rundell

Inspired by the author's own trip to the Amazon and Eva Ibbotson's Journey to the River Sea, this is an exciting story which incorporates important messages. From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred is excited to see the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. His wish to land comes about in a disastrous way as the plane crashes into the trees, and he and three other children must fight for survival. Their chances seem slim of escaping the vast and inhospitable jungle. But is this uncharted territory or has, someone has been there before them? Vividly described, you really feel that you are sharing with the four strongly portrayed characters in their adventures, fears and thrills.

Battle for the Shadow Sword (Team Hero) by Adam Blade

This is the start of a brand new series from the creator of the very successful Beast Quest. Join Jack and your other new classmates at this secret school, where the lessons are more exciting than Maths and PE. When a portal from the evil underground realm of Noxx is discovered beneath the school, Team Hero needs your powers. The next invasion is upon us ... The comic-book style illustrations will really appeal to readers, and will add hugely to their enjoyment of this adventure story. Don't miss the other three equally exciting books in the series.

Rubies and Runaways (Rose Raventhorpe Investigates Book 2) by Janine Beacham

This is an excellent addition to the popular genre of historical mysteries for children; it balances the period detail and the sense of mystery to perfection. Christmas spirit is sadly lacking in Rose Raventhorpe's home, thanks to the visitation of hers unpleasant cousin Herbert, and his equally horrible butler, Bixby, who is at loggerheads with Rose's butler. When an orphan boy named Orpheus interrupts the Cathedral's Mistletoe Service, saying that his sister has been kidnapped, Rose vows to help. But the investigation is more complicated than Rose has anticipated and will lead her and her butler friends through fancy tea-rooms, horrible factories, secret underground passages and more... Excellently plotted, with realistic and well-rounded characters.

Miraculous Miranda by Siobhan Parkinson

Miranda has a Big Imagination, and always wins Word of the Day at school. When her sister Gemma is taken into hospital, Miranda escapes into her own fantasy land, Magnanimous. With giraffe police, ham sandwich trees and a Crystal-Clear Glass Hospital for Getting-Better Children, Magnanimous grows and grows. As her sister gets worse, things Miranda writes seem to trigger small miracles she has been asking for: her gran stops smoking, horrible Darren Hoey is nice to her ... Can Miranda write a miracle for her sister? Sensitive and touching with a glorious and sympathetic heroine who will really grab readers' hearts.


This is the third book in the fantasy series from bestselling author Angie Sage. In SandRider, Alice TodHunter Moon, saved the last-ever Orm egg from the evil machinations of sorcerer Oraton-Marr, and now she's looking forward to a quiet life back at the Wizard Tower. But what no one realised was that without the Orm Egg safely embedded in the heart of the Magykal Ways, all the Magyk in the world would begin to fade. Can Tod find a way to reverse the destruction? Could the mysterious StarChaser spell be the key? Or will the Magyk be lost forever? A breathtaking story which brings the trilogy to an exciting and very satisfying conclusion. The story-telling is vivid and spell-binding, full of atmosphere, the characters have real depth, and the plot is wonderfully woven. Alice TodHunter Moon is a superb character, a worthy star character to follow the superb Septimus Heap (who does, of course, play a significant part in this story) and I am wondering what magical wonders Angie has in store for us next.

Confetti and Cake (The Secret Cooking Club Book 2) by Laurel Remington

Just like her Mum, Scarlett has a successful cookery blog - it's a runaway success. She could even have a TV show! Home life is good too - her mum is getting married, and Scarlett is baking the wedding cake. But are things really as good as they seem? Her estranged father has arrived in town and Scarlett's friends reckon fame has gone to her head. As the wedding approaches, she has much more on her mind than the perfect bake ... Taking as its theme a really topically popular subject, girls will love this story with its feisty lead character. Chicken House say 'Fame - Family - Baking' - i love this way of summing up a book.

Simply the Quest by Maz Evans

This is the hilarious sequel to Who Let the Gods Out? Elliot Hooper's troubles are far from over: his mum's health is worse, he's struggling at school, and a bunch of anarchic Greek immortals have moved into his home - including teen goddess Virgo, who's in trouble with the Zodiac. What's more, death-daemon Thanatos and his scary mum are at large. As even more immortal allies and enemies emerge, Virgo and Elliot must learn how to be heroes ... Chicken House say this book is 'Funny - Epic - Fast paced' - read it and see if you agree. It's cleverly written, with all the disparate strands cleverly interwoven in a totally natural way.

Funny Kid For President (Funny Kid, Book 1) by Matt Stanton

This is the first in what promises to be a hilarious new series - and children will be laughing right from the first page (poop will have that effect!). Max is determined to get even with his unjust teacher, Mr Armstrong... and becoming class president is the way to go. But with Mr Armstrong against him, Max faces an uphill battle. He will have to become the candidate his voters want, and need... the funny kid! With the help of his campaign manager and temporary best friend, Hugo, this election has it all: poop scandals, stalker ducks, a vomit-o-pocalypse, tell-all interviews, alley-oop accidents, a classroom break-in and rigged ballots. Will Max make Redhill Middle School great again? Or, will one of his fellow know-it-all contenders steal victory. Hilarious illustrations match the humour of the text to perfection.

I Funny: School of Laughs by James Patterson

What a challenge! Jamie must teach his schoolmates how to be funny - and if he fails, his school library will be shut down for good. The stakes are high - can he succeed? Whatever happens, the reader is guaranteed a hilarious journey as this fabulous series continues to delight. Jamie is not the first to discover that being good at something does not make you able to teach it - but he is determined to succeed, whether by giving homework and tests, or simply by example. With the fate of his school's library on his shoulders, Jamie has to dig deep to see if he has what it takes to succeed at his most difficult challenge yet. But just wait until you reach the end of the book - it's touching, poignant and heartfelt.

Roller Girl by Victoria Jamieson

Astrid and Nicole have been friends most of their lives - until Astrid falls in love with roller derby and signs up for derby camp. Nicole decides to go to dance camp instead. Astrid faces real problems as she struggles to keep up with the older girls at camp. As the end of summer nears and her first roller derby bout draws closer, Astrid realizes that maybe she is strong enough to handle the bout, a lost friendship, and middle school... in short, strong enough to be a roller girl. It's a superb story about friendship, overcoming challenges and believing in yourself. What sets it apart - and gives it a wide appeal - is the graphic novel form which girls will love, even reluctant readers.

Tilly's Time to Shine (World Elite Dance Academy) by Kimberly Wyatt

This is the second book in the World Elite Dance Academy series from an international superstar, wellbeing guru and Pussycat Doll, and her background knowledge shines through, bring us a book rooted in reality. Fashionista Tilly has never fitted in – her unique sense of style, her overflowing creativity and her 'attitude problem' means that she's not the average WEDA student. But Tilly is struggling with things hardly anyone knows about – and they're affecting her dancing and school work. Can she manage all her issues and succeed at WEDA? Tilly is a strong and feisty girl, who has the reader rooting for her through the gripping story.

Bob's Lunar Adventures by Simon Bartram

If you have a child who loves space, wants a bumper read and enjoys plenty of lively illustrations to accompany their reading, then this is the book for them. Hours of Bob fun with this collection of his finest fiction adventures which includes Clone Chaos, A Right Royal Disaster, The Disappearing Moon, The Heartless Robots and Bob's Film Fiasco. This anniversary anthology celebrates 15 years of Bob's adventures. Brilliant stories, cleverly written and perfectly matched by the illustrations which really complement the storylines and will encourage young readers.

Future Ratboy and the Quest for the Missing Thingy by Jim Smith

Future Ratboy is the brainchild of the author of the highly successful Barry Loser, and the stories are just as superb. An unlikely superhero, Colin Lamppost, aka Future Ratboy, was shot forward in time by hundreds of years when a bolt of lightning hit him, turning him into into a half boy, half rat, half TV (yes, that is what the book tells us!). With new superkeel powers and a real life sidekick in Not Bird, Future Ratboy was born. In this new adventure, Future Ratboy sees a surprising new side to his enemy, evil Mr X, goes on a journey to the centre of the earth and faces a race against time to find the missing thingy. Gloriously presented, with wonderful graphics, this is an irresistible book that kids will adore.

Flat Stanley by Jeff Brown

These wonderfully imaginative stories have been charming readers for 50 years - and still continue to do so. Stanley Lambchop was an ordinary boy until, one night, a giant pinboard fell on him, leaving him completely flat. At first, Stanley enjoys the benefits of his strange predicament - it can be fun going in out of rooms simply by sliding under the door. And it's a hoot being posted to your friends in California for a holiday. But it's not always easy being different, and, once the novelty begins to wear off, Stanley wishes he could be just like everybody else again. But how will he ever fill out? The short chapters with plenty of illustrations make this perfect for beginner readers.

The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving

Matilda loves science and inventing and her ambition is to be an inventor. But when she doesn't win the school science fair, she is really upset - and more so because the judges didn't believe a girl could have come up with the Handy-handy-hand. When Matilda shares her woes with her Grandma Joss, she's astonished to learn her grandma was once a scientist herself – an astrophysicist, who discovered her very own planet. Trouble is, Grandma Joss was also overlooked. Determined to get justice for her Grandma, Matilda sets off on an exciting and hair-raising journey against time. Matilda is a great character, a brilliant role model, and the book is a real affirmation of women as scientists.

A Storm of Strawberries by Jo Cotterill

12 year old Darby has Down's syndrome. Her favourite things are music, chocolate, and her big sister Kaydee. The highlight of Darby's year is the annual chocolate hunt, but Kaydee has brought a friend home for the weekend - a friend who thinks Darby is weird because she has Down's Syndrome. Suddenly both the chocolate hunt and her favourite person are in danger of slipping away... and to make things worse, the family's strawberry farm is hit by a tornado. When the storm clears, what will be left? And can Darby mend what's been broken when nobody will listen to her? A touching and moving story which gives us a real insight into Darby's world.

The House in the Tree by Bianca Pitzorno

Aglaia has what so many children dream of - her own secret house. She lives at the top of a magical tree together with her friend Bianca and an incredible host of flying dogs, talking cats, carnivorous flowers and children who speak in verse.Inventively illustrated by the wonderful Quentin Blake, who has perfectly reflected the magical theme of the book, Aglaia's adventures - and her battles with the gruff Signor Brullo and the woodmen who want to cut down the tree - are sure to enchant and inspire the imagination of every child. Superbly imaginative and descriptively written.

The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame

Every child should read Wind in the Willows - and if you didn't read it as a child, then do read it as an adult (or reread it, as there is always something new to pick up and enjoy) I love the cover illustration of this book from Alma Classics - the cartoon-style characters are spot-on. Rat, Mole, Badger and Mr Toad are, of course, the stars of the book, along with the beautiful riverside setting, The Wind in the Willows sees these four animals getting into all sorts of trouble as they wander along the river, through the Wild Wood and around the grand Toad Hall. Unmissable!

Help! I'm a Genius by Jo Franklin

This is the second book in the super Help! series and it will have readers in fits of giggles right from the first page. Daniel Kendal has the smallest brain in his family and the smallest brain in the world. He knows absolutely nothing about anything. So when an unfortunate mix-up propels him into representing his school in the National Brainiac Championships, he is convinced he is heading for total humiliation. Luckily the true genius, Gordon the Geek, is at hand to help him improve his brain power. ​But will it be enough to ensure Daniel avoids the title of National Brainiac Loser? A laugh-a-minute (or more) book, this is great fun and a super way to encourage children to enjoy reading.

The Porridge Plot by Che Golden

Magic and fantasy blend to bring us an imaginative story, centering on and celebrating family life. When Maya and her family move to the countryside, they are intrigued to find a house sprite living in their new home. This unwanted resident, which identifies itself as a Brownie, gets very upset when it realises it won't be getting its bowl of porridge, which Brownies expect to receive in exchange for doing the housekeeping. As the furious creature wreaks havoc on the household, will Maya and her family find a way to resolve this situation, or will they have to leave their new home? Quite charming.

The Accidental Billionaire by Tom McLaughlin

I love this series - the books are really cleverly written and will appeal to adults almost as much as to children, making it a great choice to read aloud. Science-mad Jasper Spam has a bit of a problem - all of his experiments tend to end in a BANG, until one day quite accidentally Jasper manages to invent something that will change the world forever ... A crazy experiment involving a shed, a mallet, and a poorly aimed laser beam results in Jasper's cat Rover, becoming the world's first talking cat. Finally an invention that works - the Cat Chat 2000! Soon people are handing over all of their cash to get a talking cat. With his new found wealth Jasper can finally live the life he's always dreamed of - buying a mansion, sports team, and producing a Hollywood blockbuster. But is there a huge price to pay for bringing talking cats to the world, and money won't be able to solve the problem that the Cat Chat 2000 has caused. Wonderful!

The Demon Headmaster: Total Control by Gillian Cross

Since the mysterious new Headmaster arrived at Lizzie's school, everyone has become exceptionally good at something. Her classmate Ethan, who previously had no interest in sport, is now incredible at football; her brother's suddenly an expert in robotics; and Lizzie has become really good at being bad. But when she tries to remember what awful thing she's just done, all she has is a blank space in her mind. How come they've suddenly changed so much? And why can't they talk about it? It's as though they have no power over their own actions. A new school, new children and a new scheme to dominate the world... but as mesmerisingly and superbly written as its predecessors, this is a great read.


Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse by Chris Riddell

Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. Why does Ada always wear large clumpy boots? So Lord Goth can always hear her coming because he believes that children should be heard and not seen.. This makes it hard for her to make friends and poor Ada is very lonely. It all changes when the very unusual William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the and, together with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael, the three children begin to unravel a dastardly plot that Maltravers, the mysterious indoor gamekeeper, is hatching. Ada and her friends must work together to foil Maltravers before it's too late! This is a multi-faceted book which pays homage (in the most humorous way) to all manner of literary classics. It had me looking out for allusions throughout. Quirky and unusual with illustrations to match, this is unmissable.

The Misfits Club by Kieran Crowley

Despite the description of the book, this is not the end of the series but a stand-alone mystery. It's the beginning of the summer holidays and Brian, Hannah, and twins Chris and Sam, the members of the Misfit Club, still haven't solved any mysteries.. But then Amelia comes on the scene and once they have recruited her to the club, they persuade her to investigate a spooky old house. There they find some stolen goods... and it's their chance to solve a final mystery. A well-written traditional mystery story, with a great team of characters and plenty of intrigue.

Class Six and the Eel of Fortune (Black Cats) by Sally Prue

Class Six are on a mission - to keep that nosy Mrs Knowall from finding out that their school is secretly magic. Their favourite teacher Miss Broom has been sent back to teacher training so there are no more magic escapades. But the school needs money for magical supplies, so Class Six will have to band together to make this year's school fete the best yet. And everyone knows that no fete is complete without an eel that can see the future... "Funny, exciting or a little bit spooky, Black Cats are fast-paced stories with short chapters and illustrations throughout - stepping stones to reading confidence." The stories in the series are varied but always well written and there's plenty to appeal to different tastes.

The Last Duchess (A Silver Service Mystery) by Laura Powell

Mystery stories, and especially those with a historical setting, are becoming increasing popular and I really enjoyed this example of the genre. Pattern is only thirteen, but is already rising through the ranks at Mrs Minchin's Academy of Domestic Servitude and seems destined for a life below stairs. But fate intervenes when she is packed off to the small and secretive Duchy of Elffinberg, to serve as lady's maid to the lately orphaned Grand Duchess. Pattern's young new mistress is excitable and paranoid, yet despite their differences the two girls forge an unlikely friendship that quickly turns into a battle for survival. For picture-perfect Elffinberg hides an extremely dark and deadly secret and life as a lady's maid is fraught with problems. Written with a light, deft touch, there is mystery, humour, loyalty and friendship well balanced throughout the book. A very good read.

National Trust: The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge, a Medieval Knight in Training (The Secret Diary Series) by Philip Ardagh

Completely engrossing - if you want to know about life in a medieval castle, then look no further! Young page John Drawbridge has moved to Widemoat Castle to learn to become a knight... and he tells us his story through an engaging (but imaginary) diary. He still has a lot to learn - and we can learn along with him. Things really liven up when the castle is attacked by an invading Welsh party - but can John foil their plot before it's too late...?Superbly illustrated by Jamie Littler, children will revel in the pictorial material. Lots of fun along with an excellent historical background, ideal to familiarise children with the period.

Saxon Tales: The Witch Who Faced the Fire by Terry Deary

Terry Deary always brings a lively approach to history and these short stories for young readers are perfect to encourage an interest in history. Wilfred, the Saxon village Cunning Man, is loved by all for his wondrous healing powers. But the time is coming for his apprentice Ardith to take over It's a risky job, and Ardith's about to learn the hard way that you need more than potions and magic words. As Wilfred's name shows, you need to be cunning too. In Saxon Tales: The King Who Threw Away His Throne we have another exciting and humorous story - this time, not-very-bright King Vortigern faces attack from two sides. Can his loyal servant Nervyn help him keep his throne? Saxon Tales: The Shepherd Who Ate His Sheep Upton is greedy and lazy... and hungry. He just fancies some nice mutton stew - but the sheep his son looks after belong to the thane. Stealing is punishable by death so how will Upton get his stew? Saxon Tales: The Lord Who Lost His Head In Saxon Britain, the taxes are too high, there are bandits everywhere, and rabbit porridge for dinner every night. Now the local thane, Lord Ethelbert, is plotting to take King Offa's throne, and the villagers are caught in the crossfire. Can clever young Marian keep the peace? More importantly, can she keep her head? These stories are great fun but they also contain plenty of authenticity and Tambe's illustrations add to the period feel.


Cosmic Colin: Hairy Hamster Horror by Tim Collins

In case you haven't met Colin before (and if not why not?), he has adventures travelling through time in a wastebin with his friend Harry. And theier adventures are hilarious. In this, the third story, the spacebin lands on a strange planet where hamsters have developed into the dominant life form. Unfortunately, the boys are captured by the humongous hamster hosts during a sightseeing trip to the Great Wheel of the Andromeda Galaxy and find themselves imprisoned as the school pets, bundled into a human-sized cage and forced to run on a giant wheel.And things go from bad to worse...

Cosmic Colin: Ticking Time Bomb by Tim Collins

With plenty of action and adventure to keep children hooked, this is the fourth of Colin's adventures. Harry finds the most evil villain in the galaxy, Galactic Gary, has escaped from prison. Galactic Gary is on a quest to discover the whereabouts of a special time bomb that muddles the days of the week. Wednesday can become Saturday and Sunday can become Tuesday! The parts of the bomb are hidden on three different planets and it's up to Harry and Colin to save the day (again!) in this action-packed, light-speed adventure. John Bigwood's illustrations, which appear prolifically throughout the book, set off the stories perfectly and make them ideal for children making the transition from picture books to early chapter books.

Boyband of the Apocalypse by Tom Nicoll

When When Sam agrees to take his little sister, Lexie, to see the world’s most popular boy band, Apocalips, little does he realise what the consequences will be. It seems that sinister things lie behind the band's facade and, when nobody believes him, Sam is left with no option but to take part in a contest to join the band to try and save the world from Armageddon. That's a problem when he's hopeless at singing and dancing. Can he do it... with a little help from his friends? A gripping read for 7 - 10 year olds, who will enjoy the insight into the world of stardom and the lively presentation of the book.

Rowan Oakwing: Night of the Fox: Book 2 by E J Clarke

Rowan Oakwing is a fairy... and who would have thought that being a fairy could be so dangerous? When her mum was kidnapped by evil Vulpes and his army of foxes, Rowan sets off on her most dangerous mission yet. With the help of her fairy friends - plus a tiger released from London Zoo! Positive and feisty as she is, Rowan is quite certain that she can rescue her mum... but she hasn't accounted for the evil and wily Vulpes who is trying to lure Rowan into his trap. Superbly imaginative yet incredibly believable, Rowan Oakwing is a real new star.

Super Creepy Camp (Beaky Malone) by Barry Hutchison

Beaky, Theo and Wayne have been chosen (randomly, not by ability!) to take part in the annual inter-schools contest with Foxley Hill. The competition includes a debate, a quiz and an overnight team-building exercise. Wayne is determined that their team be crowned the victor, and Beaky’s only hope is to keep his mouth firmly shut … unfortunately his brain has other ideas. Cue chaos, calamity and things that go bump in the night. Great fun, full of laughs and a really enjoyable read.

The World's Worst Children 2 by David Walliams

Acclaimed for his children's books, which hit the spot every time, this is another brilliant collection of cautionary tales. Here we have ten more stories about a brand new gang of hilariously horrible kids, illustrated in glorious full colour by Tony Ross. Children will find this book has instant appeal because of the wonderful way the illustrations are interwoven with the text - perfect to captivate even reluctant readers. The beastly boys and gruesome girls in this book are even ruder, even more disgusting and as bad as you could imagine. Just be thankful this is fiction! This superbly presented hardback will make a brilliant gift for any primary age child.

The Fox and the Ghost King by Michael Morpurgo

“Every fox in the whole town, in the whole country just about, is a football fan… And we all have an impossible dream.” Just like all the foxes, the family who live in a cosy den under a garden shed love to watch football like all the foxes do. But their favourite team keeps losing and losing, and it seems like things will never look up... until Daddy Fox finds the ghost of a king, buried underneath a car park. A king who wishes only to be free. Can the foxes release him? If they can, he will grant them a wish... The king is of course, Richard III; the club, Leicester City. Michael Morpurgo has woven together a short but magical tale, combining these elements with a superbly depicted family of foxes, to show us that the seemingly impossible can become reality. A magical story, superbly illustrated by Michael Foreman.


How Harry Riddles Made a Mega Amount of Money (Shoutykid, Book 5) by Simon Mayle

 The loudest kid in fiction is back brand-new story. And he’s still got a lot to shout about! Follow Harry’s hilarious ups and downs as he tries to raise money to save his school, told through laugh-out-loud letters, emails, texts and more! The presentation is bound to appeal to today's children and it's a great way to encourage children to read - and to show them that books can be fun.

Pirate Blunderbeard: Worst. Pirate. Ever. (Pirate Blunderbeard, Book 1) by Amy Sparkes and Ben Cort

Can the worst pirate ever win the Pirate of the Year Award? Pirate Blunderbeard, one of a family of pirates, has been forced by his mum to enter the Pirate of the Year Award. Told by Pirate Blunderbeard himself, this is the hilarious account of fighting an enormous sea monster, (doom), beating his brother at something (anything) and finding the legendary treasure that no one has ever found. Blunderbeard might be the worst pirate ever but he’s also the funniest – laugh-out-loud fun for young readers of 7+. Great fun.

The Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster

Amir is mad. He’s crazy. But the hospital wouldn’t let a crazy person in. They must have interviewed him and checked his qualifications. But maybe he didn’t even meet them? Maybe he hasn’t even come from India. He might have arrived on an alien spaceship and snuck in here in the middle of the night. Eleven-year-old Joe can't remember a life outside of his hospital room, with its beeping machines and view of London's rooftops. His condition means he's not allowed outside, not even for a moment, and his few visitors risk bringing life-threatening germs inside his 'bubble'. But then someone new enters his world and changes it for ever. This is the story of how Joe spends his days, copes with his loneliness and frustrations, and looks - with superhero-style bravery, curiosity and hope - to a future without limits. Expect superheroes, super nurses and a few tears from this truly unique story.

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 2: Middle School Mayhem by Rachel Renee Russel

l Following the phenomenal success of The Dork Diaries, the author has now brought us the first two books in an equally enjoyable series. We last saw Max Crumbly having crash-landed on top of a Mighty Meat Monster pizza after taking a late night tumble through the vents at South Ridge Middle School - and he was completely surrounded by three ruthless criminals! How will he escape from this desperate situation? He is in dire need of help and luckily, his friend and sidekick, computer whiz Erin, is on hand to help. Rachel Renee Russell has a deft, light touch which really appeals to her audience; she writes just as well with a boy hero as with a girl and these books will appeal to both sectors of the market. Another excellent read - highly recommended. Publication date 15/06/16.

Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith

This is a very promising start to a laugh-out-loud funny adventure series for 8+ readers. Of course, there will be an immediate interest as the book is comes from popular radio personalities Greg James and Chris Smith. Murph Cooper is very out of place in his nwe school - and not for any of the normal reasons. No, it's because his mum has enrolled him at a school for superheroes by mistake. And unlike his fellow students, who can all control the weather or fly or conjure tiny horses from thin air, Murph has no special abilities whatsoever. But you don't necessarily have to be a superhero to achieve good things. When there is a great big bad guy around who is half man and half wasp, full of evil plans, Murph gets his chance to shine. A highly enjoyable read with plenty of diversity in the story to keep readers hooked throughout - and plenty of unexpected twists.

The Seaside Family by Enid Blyton

The Family Series may not be as well known as some of Enid Blyton's other series, but they still have all the hallmark of fun family adventures, set in a time when children had much more freedom. This perfect summer holiday reading (and I well remember lying on the beach, avidly devouring Enid Blyton stories!) sees the Caravan Family spending their summer in beautiful, sandy Seagull Cove. They are staying in their caravans, right at the edge of the sea, and are going to have the best seaside holiday ever. But a new friend, Benjy, is with them and he's not very happy - can the family cheer Benjy up and help him enjoy the seaside? The Caravan Family (Family 1) sees the family sees the first caravan adventure when Mike, Belinda and Ann's Dad buys two caravans for them to live in. They become the Caravan Family, and they are really lucky - not only do they have wonderful homes, but they go on amazing holidays and see the world. Perfect for newly confident readers, and these books have super new line drawings by Aleksei Bitskoff, which really bring the story and the characters alive. Great escapism.

Darcy Dolphin is a Little Bit Magic! by Sam Watkins

There are some great series for young readers coming out at the moment, and this is another, ow on its second book. This time, appropriately enough, it's time to join Darcy Dolphin and her friends for some underwater adventures. But is Coral Crab what she seems to be and can Darcy trust her? Meanwhile, there's lots of activity on the reef when a pebble-collecting craze hits the school and Darcy needs a little bit of magic to help her win the talent show. Great fun, lively and with plenty of line drawings to help the transition from picture books.

The Powerpuff Girls Book 1: Brain Freeze

The Powerpuff Girls star in a popular TV show where they are crime-fighting superhero sisters. This original story have all the quirky fun of the TV series, so fans are going to love it - and so will those new to the characters. When Blossom, Buttercup and Bubbles find out that the Towsnville Ice Cream Parlour is holding a contest to create a new flavour, they're determined to enter... but they can't agree on a flavour. So they use their superpowers to deliver their ice cream around Townsville, But things get a little messy, and then the girls have to contend with Mojo Jojo who wants to get rid of the girls. With plenty of extras to capture attention at the end of the book, this is a good read to follow on from early chapter books, and there are plenty of pictures too.

Princess Smartypants and the Fairy Geek Mothers by Babette Cole

Amazingly, this celebrates 30 years of cheeky and lovable Princess Smartypants - and she is still as much fun as ever! Far from a ssteroetypical princess, Princess Smartypants is a feisty and strong character. Princess Smartypant's long lost Fairy Godmother Doris needs her help because In Fairy tale land, Fairy God Mothers are being made redundant, and replaced by Fairy Geek Mothers who have their own website where people can buy wishes online... what could possibly go wrong? Well, in Fairy Tale Land, it's the fairy tales which are suffering. For example, Princess Beatrice has bought a wish: to magic an ugly wart on her sister's nose, and her sister is annoyed, to say the least. Meanwhile, Goldilocks has a sore tummy because certain bears have wished for her porridge to go bad. If the fairy tales don't get fixed, children will never know the real ones! Can Princess Smartypants help Doris find a way to make fairy tales good again? With a well-known princess, three fed-up bears and a parade of motorcycling grannies, this is a great take of fairy tales and a highly enjoyable read.

A Kitten Called Tiger (Animal Stories) by Holly Webb

Here we have another story from a very popular author of animal stories for children who are confidently reading chapter books, and who enjoy the familiarity of the format which gives them confidence. Ava’s new kitten, Tiger, is small in size but has a big personality and a taste for adventure. Ava has always been able to rescue Tiger until the night he gets stuck up in a tall tree, cold and alone. Next day, Ava spots Tiger. The girls go to get Jess’s dad, who has a tall ladder, but the terrified kitten only retreats further into the tree as he sees a stranger approach. Ava bravely climbs up with some cat treats, and she and her beloved kitten are reunited. A sweet and heartwarming tale.

Tiana the Toy Fairy: The Land of Sweets (Rainbow Magic) by Daisy Meadows

This is another brand-new Rainbow Magic story featuring YouTube star Tiana from Toys And Me - bound to be popular, again. Join Kirsty and Rachel for another adventure with Tiana the Toy Fairy! When Jack Frost steals Tiana's magical candy key, the magical Land of Sweets is under threat. Can the three friends get it back before Fairyland turns sour? An easy and enjoyable read with short chapters and plenty of illustrations to break uo the e=text, making the book easily accessible.

St Grizzle's School for Girls, ghosts and runaway grannies  by Karen McCombie

11 year old Dani was very put out when her mum prefers the chance to study penguins in the Antarctic to staying at home with her and in the first sstory, Dani was not happy to be sent to a strict girls’ boarding school... but things turned out unexpectedly.

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