Book reviews - fiction 5 to 11 (page 18)

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

Slime and Grime: Fame! Horror! Aliens! (Dirty Bertie)​ by Alan Macdonald

This is a real treat for all fans of Dirty Bertie - a bind-up of three hilarious stories - and with an attractive gold cover for extra appeal. As all fans will know - and love - Dirty Bertie has some quite revolting habits! This bumper book has nine revolting stories from FAME!, HORROR! and ALIENS! and with each hilarious story split into bitesize chapters, Dirty Bertie is ideal for reluctant readers and those just beginning to read independently. David Roberts' lively illustrations make the book ideal to encourage this group of readers.

The Naughtiest Unicorn at Sports Day by Pip Bird

Unicorns have an enduring appeal, with their aura of mystery making them much-loved. It's time for sports day at unicorn school but how can Mira persuade Dave (the naughtiest unicorn), who doesn’t do sport, to join in? He will really miss out if he doesn't join in, and the winning team will win a super shiny medal and go on a magical rainbow quest... These are charming stories, with situations all children will experience, but given a special touch of magic. An easy but rewarding read with a real feel-good factor.

Return to Wonderland

This is a very special book, celebrating one of the most-loved children's books ever. It's a remarkable collection written by some of today's very best authors, including Peter Bunzl, Pamela Butchart, Maz Evans, Swapna Haddow, Patrice Lawrence, Chris Smith, Robin Stevens, Lauren St John, Lisa Thompson, Piers Torday and Amy Wilson.Just what happens down the rabbit hole when Alice isn't there? Now's your chance to find out... revisit Carroll's amazing cast of characters – including the Queen of Hearts, the Mock Turtle, the Dormouse, the Cheshire Cat and Alice's Sister in these brand-new stories, that will bring a new generation of readers to Wonderland. Each story is very different in nature, yet they keep to the common theme cleverly; witty and original, this is a worthy celebration of a great book.

Hoot by Carl Hiaasen

Roy Eberhardt has recently moved to Florida. His family moves around alot, so getting used to new places and people is no big deal for him. He gets caught up in a mystery - a boy who has no books, no backpack and, most oddly, no shoes. His pursuit of the boy brings him into contact with many weird Floridian creatures: potty-trained alligators, some cute burrowing owls, a fake-fart champion, a sinister pancake PR man and some snakes with sparkly tails. Carl Hiaasen is a winner of the Newbury Honor Medal; the books are very American in their feel and use of language, which may affect your perception and enjoyment of his books. As always, it's a very personal thing.

Squirm by Carl Hiaasen

Squirm is a funny, topical and wildly entertaining adventure about the great outdoors and protecting the environment. Billy Dickens, who lives in Florida, is a determined character who comes from a very unusual family. This summer, Billy will fly across the country, hike a mountain, float a river, dodge a grizzly bear, shoot down a spy drone, save a neighbour's cat, save an endangered panther, and then try to save his own father.


Where the River Runs Gold​ by Sita Brahmachari

So much is at stake for Shifa and her brother, Themba in this exciting adventure. Not just for them but for a whole nation. The children are among the millions who live in poverty, governed by Freedom Fields - an organisation that looks after you, as long as you opt in. Bees have succumbed to disease and in this thought-provoking story, children must pollinate crops by hand. When the children are cruelly treated, Shifa knows the must escape for her brother's survival. Shifa is a superb character, strong and determined, who follows her instincts to reach safety. Written with compassion and understanding, the book gives us a real insight into the stories of two remarkable children.

Agent Weasel and the Fiendish Fox Gang: Book 1 by Nick East​

A delight from start to finish. There are funny goings-on in the United Woodlands. Rabbit warrens peppered with itching powder; squirrels' nuts going missing and Badger's bottom has been shaved! All the clues point to the Fiendish Fox Gang and it must be time to call Agent Weasel, woodland super-spy. But before they can even finish their stakeout picnic, Weasel and his trusty dormouse friend Doorkins are captured by the villainous Vixen von Fluff. A book which is great fun - the sort of book that will make children really appreciate the gift of reading as it envelops them in a world of humour. Plenty of lively illustrations complete the appeal.

The World's Worst Teachers by David Walliams

Children revelled in The World's Worst Children and they are going to go wild for The World's Worst Teachers from the inspired David Walliams, who has the perfect approach for his target market. Children's perceptions of their own teachers may well be changed by this hilarious book. These ten stories of the world’s most splendidly sinister teachers will have you running for the school gates. Dr Dread teaches science and is half man, half monster... Watch out for the ghastly Miss Seethe who is ALWAYS furious – and she’s on a detention rampage. And as for Pent, he’s a teacher with a real difference. He is bone-shakingly terrified of...children! Of course, the book is complemented to perfection by Tony Ross' wonderful colour illustrations - it wouldn't be the same without them. Perfect to instill a love for books and reading.

Grandma Dangerous and the Toe of Treachery: Book 3​ by Kita Mitchell

Grandma Dangerous is no ordinary grandma, as we have already discovered in the first two books of this hunorous series. As long as she has her hot air balloon and her biscuits, Grandma Dangerous is ready for anything... This time, Grandma flies Ollie and Piper in her hot-air balloon for a cursed adventure in Cairo. Unexpected adventures greet the reader at every turn as they enjoy the excitements of Ancient Egypt.

Princess BMX by Marie Basting

This is an engaging mix-up of a story as the traditional world of fairy tales meets the modern world of BMX. Ava is very different from traditional princesses - and she thinks being a princess is boring. She used to think about locking herself in a tower and throwing away the key but she was very glad she hadn't, when she discovered BMX. Along with her dog Jeb, Ava discovers a whole new world in this upside-down fairytale adventure.

The Loneliest Kitten by Holly Webb

Holly Webb is a very popular author with children - especially girls - who are enjoying the beginnings of independent reading. Her books are easy reads, with faliliar settings, plenty of lovable animals and friendly identifiable characters. Darcy loves her lively new tabby kitten, Charlie, but when Darcy is picked to join her school football team and suddenly she hardly has any time for entertaining a kitten. Charlie is bored, and makes a new friend. Darcy soon starts to notice that Charlie keeps disappearing and one night he doesn’t come back at all. What if he doesn’t want to be her kitten any more? A cute animal story that shows we must care for our pets.

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday by Jo Simmons

Like most children, Tom can't wait for his birthday. It's going to be something really special. But, as you will quickly learn right from the start of this hilarious story, Tom's family is far from normal and after several disasters involving a flattened chihuahua and a curse from the tooth fairy, his party is cancelled. But Tom won't give up and with the help of his friends (and a pig painted like a zebra), Tom decides to throw himself the party he deserves. Full of wacky humour, some memorable characters plus lively illustrations, this is a fun story about a very unusual family.

My Babysitter is a Robot by Dave Cousins

In this, the first in an entertaining new series, Grandma has made a robot babysitter for twins Jake and Jess. But they think Robin is embarrassing and clumsy and, worst of all, makes them do their homework. They're also pretty sure he thinks their dog is a baby. The twins decide they have to do something before everyone realizes that Robin is a robot. But getting rid of their new babysitter will mean putting aside their sibling squabbles and working together, which might be an even bigger challenge... Great fun, with lively characters, a pacy storyline and lots of humour to keep children's attention.

Bad Mermaids: On Thin Ice by Sibeal Pounder

Mermaids definitely seems to be enjoying an upsurge in interest, so this book is guaranteed to be popular. In the kingdom of Frostopia, mermaids Beattie, Mimi and Zelda have come to the aid of Maritza Mist, a famous water witch who supplies magic spells to the underwater kingdoms. Maritza's map that shows the locations of twelve magical objects has been stolen and the friends must help her find it. When brought together, these objects will create the most powerful water witch the world has ever known. Beattie, Mimi and Zelda set off to travel the underwater kingdoms to stop them. But they haven't counted on meeting a bunch of over-zealous spies, the oldest shark in the world or their faithful companion Steve the seahorse going rogue ... A lively compelling story with great descriptive text, lively dialogue and loyal friendships.


 Summer Adventure Stories by Enid Blyton

With 25 short stories to enjoy, this is just perfect to take away on a summer holiday, giving hours of fun reading. Typical of the stories of this much-loved author, there are stories about stolen dogs, clever jackdaws, a sailor's telescope, disappearing necklaces, journeys to faraway lands, and much more. These traditional fun-filled stories are full of excitement, mystery and adventure. Ideal for newly confident readers, each story is relatively short to make for confidence-building reading. Ideal for reading aloud, for bedtime or in the classroom.

Zanzibar by Catharina Valckx

This is an uplifting, warmhearted early chapter book about a crow, who proves you can move mountains (or even dromedaries) and perform truly heroic deeds if you believe in yourself. It all comes about when Achille LeBlab wants to write about an exceptional character, and Zanzibar comes up with an idea for an incredible feat...

Tommy Turner's Battle For Yorintown (Tommy Turner's Travels Book 2)​ by Ali Seegar

Tommy Turner wanted another adventure, but being sucked headfirst into a bottle isn't quite what he wanted. And he doesn't want to be the only creature in the universe who can save an alien planet from dying. He certainly didn’t mean to time-travel with Uncle Harry and Digby to the great Maya city of Pakatoka, where they must first save themselves before they can find the pyramid with the secret chamber. But when you’re a time-traveller, you just have to accept whetever comnes along. A thrilling race-against-time story.

You Won't Believe This by Adam Baron

The back cover of this book tells us we will "Get swept up in the most stunningly moving and hilarious mystery of the year." That's quite a claim but this is indeed an outstanding book. This is a story full of twists and turns, with plenty going on to keep the reader engaged. Cymbeline Igloo’s favourite teacher is Mrs Martin and when horrid things start to happen to her, Cymbeline has to find the culprit. He’s also got to help his friend Veronique, whose grandma is dangerously ill. It seems Nanai has a secret, connected to her arrival in the UK as a Boat Person from Vietnam, a traumatic journey in which she lost her twin sister. Can Cymbeline figure out the mystery in time? One thing is for sure: even the most unexpected people can change your life in wonderful ways, as this book clearly demosntrates.

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