Book reviews - fiction 5 to 11 (page 5)

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall

Fun and laughter and an unforgettable summer lie ahead for the Penderwick sisters. Skye is the 'senior' sister and it's up to her to hold things together as the girls settle into their holiday cottage cottage. There's a lot going on, keeping the reader engrossed as we find out if Jane's Love Survey will come to a tragic conclusion; whether Batty is the only Penderwick capable of carrying a tune; and whether Jeffrey be able to keep peace between the girls . . . these girls who are his second family? Well portrayed and likeable characters who have been developed through the series. Definitely one of those series which should be read in order!

The Abominators and the Forces of Evil: Number 3 in series by J L Smith

Once The The Abominators learnt to live with posh boy Cecil and his panty wanty woos, you'd think life would be plain sailing - but not so! The Forces of Evil aka two mean teachers come on the scene and they're out to get Cecil. Can the Abominators save Cecil from a fate worse than detention? Another hilarious story, embellished with equally hilarious illustrations, guaranteed to raise lots of laughs.

The Fabulous Phartlehorn Affair by M L Peel

This hilarious story will appeal to both boys and girls. Bruno Pockley has a very special talent - he has world-class phartling potential. He and his classmates are taken to the court of the Knights Trumplar in the Kingdom of Phartesia, where they'll learn to play the ancient Phartlehorn. Starry-eyed, the children are determined to prove themselves to the magnificent Duke of Phartesia and his beguiling daughter. However, things are not always as they appear - and when Bruno and his friend Grace stumble upon the terrible truth about the Knights Trumplar, the wind is quite literally taken out of their sails.

Chloe the Kitten (Fairy Animals of Misty Wood) by Lily Small

This is a super new series that young girls will love to collect, with the sparkly covers, gentle animal stories and lots of fun activities. The adorable animals all have fairy wings and their own very special job which helps to make Misty Wood the very special place it is. Chloe the Kitten keeps the wood pretty by decorating it with cobwebs; Bella the Bunny makes sure all the flowers are open; Mia the Mouse helps her mum make soft cushions for all the animals to sit on; and Paddy the Puppy spreads the pollen to make sure the flowers grow. But in Misty Wood, there is also plenty of time for friendship and helping others in these enchanting stories. Each book includes quizzes, competitions, secret wishes and craft activities and there are lots more planned in the series, so start collecting!

Angela Nicely by Alan MacDonald

A brand new series illustrated David Roberts, creator of Dirty Bertie, starring Angela Nicely, who featured in Kiss! Angela looks angelic but her looks belie her nature - she is full of mischief and ALWAYS knows best. Not one to blend into the background, we find Angela proving that her head teacher wears a wig, trying to be a supermodel and finding herself out of her depth on a spa weekend. Three hugely entertaining short stories are perfect for young girls and Angela is sure to become a big favourite.

Despicable Me 2: the Junior Novel

Despicable Me 2 is a 2013 American 3D computer-animated adventure comedy film, the sequel to the 2010 animated film Despicable Me. This, the Junior Novel, is one of a series of tie-ins produced by Simon and Schuster. Gru used to be one of the most villainous villains in the world. He and his army of Minions even stole the moon! But when he adopted Margo, Edith and Agnes, Gru became a dad. Instead of stealing landmarks, he makes pancakes, blows up unicorn balloons and dresses like a fairy princess! Little does this dad know, though, he's about to make another career change - as a spy for the Anti-Villain League… A great way to encourage fans of the film to enjoy reading.

The Topaz Quest: DragonChild book 3 by Gill Vickery

In this, the third DragonChild adventure. Tia is determined to retrieve the DragonQueen's six stolen Jewels of Power from the High Witches. She has the emerald that lets her speak to animals and the opal that lets her change shape. Now she goes after the weather-altering magical topaz. But the High Witches have realised that they are under attack, and the High Witch Luona, in her icebound fastness, will not let the topaz go without a fight. Can Tia and her DragonBrother Finn continue their quest now the powerful witches are on the alert?

Dan and the Caverns of Bone (Quicksilver) by Thomas Taylor

Dan can see ghosts. See then, speak to them, and sometimes help them...for a price. In his second adventure, Dan is on a school trip to France when he gets mixed up in skulduggery down in the Paris catacombs. Can Dan save the living, help the unquiet dead, avoid getting himself killed - and do it all under the eye of an enraged French teacher? Brilliantly dark humour.


Omnibombulator by Dick King-Smith

Two super books from the ever-popular Dick KIng-Smith have been reissued by Random HOuse in an attractive almost-square format, with eye-catching covers depicting the animal stars. Omnibombulator is a very small beetle with a very long name. But despite his long name all the animals still push him around. But when Omnibombulator sets out to see the world he discovers just how useful being really small can be. An easy and enjoyable read for young readers with plenty of little bits of humour - Dick King-Smith's animal stories really do rank among the very best.

E.S.P. by Dick King-Smith

When Old Smelly the tramp mets Eric Stanley Pigeon, it's his lucky day! Old Smelly loves to bet on the horse races, but he never has much luck - until he meets Eric Stanley Pigeon, that is. For this young bird has a very unusual talent... Old Smelly dreams of winning a fortune, but will his dreams come true?

Trouble in Toadpool by Anne Fine

Perfectly pitched for its audience, this is a great comic story that will be thoroughly enjoyed by young readers. It looks as though there's a nice peaceful day ahead - until bossy Aunt Susan appears on the scene, insisting the Mountfield family help to organise a local fete - and join in with swinging on a trapeze, walking on stilts and riding a unicycle. Trouble is, the family doesn't exactly have the required skills... Wonderful fun from one of the best children's authors around.

Pea's Book of Birthdays by Susie Day

It's Pea's birthday, but the person she really wants isn't around - her Dad. He would make her birthday perfect, but can that happen? She has never known him, but is the story Mum always told her (the one about Dad being a pirate) really true? What is this mysterious Piratical Father doing now? So begins Pea's quest to track down her dad once and for all . . .

Cannibal Adventure by Willard Price

Hal and Roger Hunt are visiting New Guinea, one of the wildest islands in the world. But their adventure becomes deadly when the brothers discover that man-eating crocodiles and deadly snakes aren't the only things after their blood. They are pursued by an old enemy, who is out for revenge. Adventure and lots of animal facts have lead to the enduring popularity of this series. Also newly published is Volcano Adventure

Emerald Star (Hetty Feather) by Jacqueline Wilson

Hetty Feather is one of my favourite Jacqueline Wilson heroines - she's feisty, determined and above all, very likeable. In the third book, Hetty is no longer a simple country girl, and begins to fear she'll never truly belong anywhere. And even when she is reunited with her beloved childhood sweetheart Jem, Hetty still longs for adventure - especially when an enchanting figure from her past makes an unexpected reappearance. Will Hetty get what she wants - and deserves? A great read.

Love, Lucie by Marita Conlon-McKenna

An emotional roller coaster of a book dealing with a family who have suffered a traumatic loss. Lucie'sLove, Lucie mother was at the heart of the family and her death leaves the family struggling to cope, both emotionally and on a physical, day-to-day level. Lucie, the middle child, is also struggling to cope with approaching adolescence without the support of a mother. Told in the form of letters to her mother over a year, the book takes the reader deep into the world of a bewildered girl struggling to come to terms with loss and make sense of what is happening. A heartwarming story with a positive message.

Sylvie and Star by Julia Green

A beautiful puppy - a puppy with a very special look in his eyes. Sylvie's been desperate to return to her grandparents' farm in Italy, where their dog, Bella, is due to have puppies. Will Sylvie be allowed to keep one? It turns out that Star is the only puppy - a very special puppy. A touching story, written with great empathy and understanding but tinged with sadness; a story which will be loved by fans of animal stories.

Oliver Fibbs: The Giant Boy-Munching Bugs by Steve Hartley

Fib or story? Will you believe this book or won't you? As it's written by Oliver Fibbs, the world's biggest liar, you may well not but you will have a good laugh either way! Oliver just likes to brighten thigs up a bit so he does elaborate on the truth a little.... But when Dad gets Wenghi Benghi fever, Oliver's imagination is boundless... A hilarious story illustrated with equally hilarious cartoons, which will appeal particularly to boys but girls will love it too - perfect for encouraging children to read and enjoy books. 

Canyon Chaos (Robot Races) by Axel Lewis

I predict boys will love this series! Jimmy Roberts' favourite sport to watch is Robot Races, where drivers and their high-tech robot vehicles compete. When the races' founder announces a special version of the competition just for children, Jimmy's sad because he can't afford to make a robot. But his grandpa's comes to the rescue and soon an old taxi cab is put to new use and Jimmy is off on the adventure of a lifetime. An enjoyable story, especially for the relationship between Jimmy and Grandpa and the fun they have working together.

Rainforest Rampage (Robot Races) by Axel Lewis

After his success, Jimmy sets out to win the next challenge with his robot cabbie. It's an exciting race through the jungle, complicated by Jimmy's enemy Horace - and the fact that Cabbie is afraid of snakes! The series could well encourage children to search out things to make their very own robots, so a super way to generate enthusiasm and spark ideas.

Galactic Battle (Hyperspace High) by Zac Harrison

Hyperspace High - the school that's out of this world! Another series that will be popular with boys aged 9 - 12 and with enough interest for slightly older readers who struggle with reading. It's nearly time for the annual Space Spectacular show, and John and his friends are preparing a battle demonstration for the students parents. But when the school's battle droids go on the attack, the students must work together to save the day.

Space Plague (Hyperspace High) by Zac Harrison

It's the end of term, and the students are in the grip of revision fever...until a real fever takes over. The only possible cure lies in a distant nebula, but with the whole school under quarantine, who will be brave enough to go and get it? A setting that will enthuse children and well-written fast-moving text to keep the reader gripped.

The Black Dragon (Mysterium) by Julian Sedgwick

The Mysterium - a dark and thrilling circus. East meets West; past meets present; criminal minds meet skilled artists - welcome to the Mysterium, a circus with dark and thrilling secrets at its heart. 12 year old Danny Woo is half-Chinese, half-British whose parents are performers in the Mysterium. Following their death in a mysterious fire, Danny is sent to live with his aunt Laura, an investigative journalist. When Danny's school is closed after an explosion, he joins Laura on a trip to Hong Kong. She is researching the Triad gangs; he is trying to understand more about his cultural background. But Laura disappears, and Danny is plunged into a dangerous quest to find her - which opens the door on the past he could never have imagined, and which leads him to question everything he has ever known about his past.

Gladiator Clash (Time Hunters, Book 1) by Chris Blake

This is the first in an exciting new six book series featuring time travellers Tom and Isis, who have a little help from Cleo the mummified cat. When Tom smashes a statue in a museum he releases Isis, a young Egyptian princess and her cat Cleo. If Isis can't break the curse that holds her she will be trapped between worlds forever. In this story Tom and Isis are in Ancient Rome training as gladiators and they must find the first amulet, which is hidden in a gladiator's shield. Can they find it in time? A thrilling adventure with an authentic background, complemented by historical facts which will stimulate children's interest in the period. There are gaming cards to collect too. Look out for the rest in the series.
Petticoat Pirates: The Sea Fairies of Whirlpool Gully by Erica-Jane Waters Together, Marina, Aqua and Oceana, otherwise known as the Petticoat Pirates live on board ship in Periwinkle Lagoon and have lots of adventures. When their pirate friends are struck by a mysterious curse it's up to the girls to find the cure. It means finding the sea fairies but to reach them they have to sail through a whirlpool, testing their courage and their seamanship to the limit. These are charming stories that mingle piracy and adventure with the sorts of things all girls love - like enjoying the shopping mall.
Petticoat Pirates: The Sea Fairies of Whirlpool Gully by Erica-Jane Waters Together, Marina, Aqua and Oceana, otherwise known as the Petticoat Pirates live on board ship in Periwinkle Lagoon and have lots of adventures. When their pirate friends are struck by a mysterious curse it's up to the girls to find the cure. It means finding the sea fairies but to reach them they have to sail through a whirlpool, testing their courage and their seamanship to the limit. These are charming stories that mingle piracy and adventure with the sorts of things all girls love - like enjoying the shopping mall.
Arthur and the Yeti by Johanne Mercier Seven year olds will thoroughly enjoy this lively series of books which take a perceptive look at the world as seen by a seven year old. I'm Arthur and I'm seven, and last Saturday, at my grandparents' house, we all got a bit of a fright. The night before, the neighbour heard strange noises coming from her garden and she saw two big, black eyes staring at her. There was only one thing for it: Grandma phoned Cousin Eugene. Before we knew it, the whole world had come to see the Yeti of Picket Lake. Series Description: Arthur is a seven-year-old boy who is brilliant at being a seven-year-old-boy. When Arthur visits his grandparents' house by the lake, more often than not, he becomes entangled in a new adventure, which he must solve with the help of his pet duck and useless dog and hopefully without too much help from eccentric Cousin Eugene.
Arthur and the Guard Dog by Johanne Mercier When Arthur and Grandpa found a dog - a great big, hairy, grey and white dog - Arthur 9of course) wants to keep him - but how to persuade Grandma? Luckily, Cousin Eugene had an idea... An interesting and varied cast of characters join with Arthur to present this quirky and enjoyable view of the world.
Arthur and the Guard Dog by Johanne Mercier When Arthur and Grandpa found a dog - a great big, hairy, grey and white dog - Arthur 9of course) wants to keep him - but how to persuade Grandma? Luckily, Cousin Eugene had an idea... An interesting and varied cast of characters join with Arthur to present this quirky and enjoyable view of the world.

My Parents Are Out Of Control by Pete Johnson

Embarrassing parents? This book will really hit the spot with any child who finds their parents embarrassing - and that's a lot of children! Louis doesn't think much of it when his mum and dad ask him for tips on how to be cool but then things go a bit too far. Louis and best friend Maddy need to do something quickly. The story is written in diary form and is a brilliant look at family life today. A hilarious story which will appeal to boys and girls alike

The Battle for Sally Jones (Muddle & Win) by John Dickinson

Sally Jones is good - she has never done an evil deed. But Muddlespot is determined to change this and make her bad - or things will get very bad for him. On the opposing side is Windleberry who wants to keep Sally being good. Muddlespot's mission leads him down Sally's ear and into the deepest recesses of her mind, all becomes unclear. Just what does it mean to be good? And can it be good to be bad? A twisty story of good and evil.

Katie and the Ducklings (City Farm) by Jessie Williams

Ever since Katie's mum lost her job, she just hasn't been the same, and Katie's been having to take care of herself; some days she doesn't even get to school, so the authorities stepped in and referred Katie to the City Farm. The Harvest Hope Project is there for all kids who are having problems. It's an excellent series which shows the value of a special place like this in turning lives around - Katie's life is transformed when she find a family of ducklings who need mothering, just as she does.

Darren and Basher (City Farm) by Jessie Williams

When Darren is excluded from school for vandalism, he is sent to the Harvest Hope Project at City Farm. Can the team there help to turn Darren's life around? Darren's initial resistance to the City Farm soon evaporates as he joins the other kids and learns to love the animals - and finds out that he has a part to play in the success of the show. A good story about how friendship, support and a new enviromnent can help change lives.

Treason (Secrets and Spies) by Jo Macauley

It's 1664, and Charles II is on the throne, but there is unrest in the City of London and there are still those who would remove the king from the throne. Beth, under orders from the King's Master of Secrets, is sent to investigate a mysterious ghost ship. Soon Beth is in the middle of a dangerous adventure; will she be able to unravel the plot to kill the King before it's too late? As a young reader, I loved historical novels but there were few around specifically for children, so it's great to see good historical fiction geared to a young audience.

Plague (Secrets and Spies) by Jo Macauley

Reading historical fiction is a super way for children to get a feel for the period they are studying in history.  In the summer of 1665 London is in the grip of the Great Plague which is killing huge numbers of the population. The King's Master of Secrets, Alan Strange, has an important commission and must trust Beth, actress and spy, to help him carry it out. With pestilence all around her, will Beth survive long enough to discover who is behind the latest conspiracy to kill the King? I really enjoy this series - the stories are well written, the backgrounds authentic and there's plenty of adventure to keep interest high.

Naughty Norton (Pony Tales) by Bernadette Kelly

An ideal early reader for children beginning to be confident with reading on their own, with plenty of illustrations to help the story along. Some people think Norton is a naughty pony, but his owner Molly knows he is just very clever. She is determined to train her pony, no matter how long it takes. A charming tale of a horse and his owner. The book has tips on getting to know a pony as well as very useful writing prompts and discussion questions, making the book an excellent classroom resource.  Publication 18 July 2013.

The Killer Cat Runs Away by Anne Fine

Brilliant - the return of the popular Killer Cat. Poor Tuffy has had a few minor accidents recently, like spitting at the new baby and breaking the TV but they are making an awful fuss about it and threatening to get rid of him. So Tuffy Takes things into his own hands and leaves. At first, he thinks things will be OK, but there's a BIG problem. Can he get back to his old life? You really feel that Tuffy is talking to you through the pages of this book and his amusing escapades are great fun - and never, of course, his fault!

Tiger Thief by Michaela Clarke

A stunning and beautifully written debut novel which draws the reader into the lives of Sharat and his white tiger. Emira, the tiger, and Sharat perform together in the circus and they have been summoned to the City of Jewels to perform for the emperor. Their perfect relationship is under threat when Emira mysteriously disappears in the middle of their circus act. Sharat is absolutely determined to get her back, but he finds his opponent is the mighty empire. Adventure, mystery and magic are cleverly interwoven to bring us a mesmerising tale about a very special relationship

Tiger Thief by Michaela Clarke

A stunning and beautifully written debut novel which draws the reader into the lives of Sharat and his white tiger. Emira, the tiger, and Sharat perform together in the circus and they have been summoned to the City of Jewels to perform for the emperor. Their perfect relationship is under threat when Emira mysteriously disappears in the middle of their circus act. Sharat is absolutely determined to get her back, but he finds his opponent is the mighty empire. Adventure, mystery and magic are cleverly interwoven to bring us a mesmerising tale about a very special relationship

Hickory by Palmer Brown

Another beautiful collectable book from the New York Review Children's Collection; it's a lovely series to collect and give to a child as presents to treasure and hand on through a family. Hickory, Dickory and Dock live - where else but in a grandfather clock. Hickory is a fearless adventurous mouse so he sets off to the meadow, but it's a lonely place until he meets Hop the grasshopper. Hop warns Hickory that the beauty of the meadow will fade. CHarming drawings depict the changing life of the meadow in this story of friendship.

Hickory by Palmer Brown

Another beautiful collectable book from the New York Review Children's Collection; it's a lovely series to collect and give to a child as presents to treasure and hand on through a family. Hickory, Dickory and Dock live - where else but in a grandfather clock. Hickory is a fearless adventurous mouse so he sets off to the meadow, but it's a lonely place until he meets Hop the grasshopper. Hop warns Hickory that the beauty of the meadow will fade. CHarming drawings depict the changing life of the meadow in this story of friendship.

Princess Ponies 4: A Unicorn Adventure! by Chloe Ryder

When the second youngest Princess Pony, Honey, enters the forbidden Cloud Forest, Pippa and Princess Stardust know they must follow her. They find out Honey's secret - she has made friends with a unicorn, and knows where the unicorns live in the forest. Pippa is awestruck. But when Honey's unicorn friend mentions a magical tree in the centre of the forest, Pippa suspects that one of the golden horseshoes might be hidden there. Braving fire-breathing dragonflies, she and Stardust summon all their courage and head deeper into the forest, hoping to see the unicorns, and maybe even find a golden horseshoe, too.

Cartoon Kings by Alan Silberberg

Best friends Matt and Craz are two very different boys, but they have one thing in common - they love cartooning.  One night, the boys find a website that offers them the chance to be 'the best cartoonist ever' - how could they resist? When the pen arrives, it's a magic pen that makes whatever they draw come to life. Just imagine! But then things start to go wrong... Full of humour and acute observations of family (and other) life, this is a really, really funny book - with, of course, lots of cartoons. The author is passionate about the power of cartooning in children's literature and this book certainly reflects that.

Welcome to Weirdsville (Happyland) by I M Strange

Happyland holds that strange fascination common to abandoned places, so when Toby and his friends get a mysterious invitation to Happyland, the abandoned funfair in town they seize the opportunity. Getting in was easy but getting out again is another matter - in fact, just surviving is a problem in this place filled with fear. The first in a new series set in Weirdsville - a town full of spooky places - with the same feel as the Goosebumps books.

Frankie's Magic Football: Frankie vs The Pirate Pillagers by Frank Lampard

An interesting and unusual combination - football and magic - is the basis for an enjoyable new series for readers of 5+. Frankie and his team love playing football. There's always time for a game. But when they win an old football at a carnival, they're going to be transported to a magical world of football they never knew existed! Can Frankie and his team beat the Pirate Pillagers and make their way home? As we would expect, the book gives plenty of insights on football and Frank Lampard's name will guarantee lots of interest. There are game cards to collect too.

Humphrey's Tiny Tales 7: My Really Wheely Racing Day! by Betty G. Birney

Humphrey the classroom hamster returns in another shorter adventure for younger readers. Humphrey gets the surprise of his classroom life when he gets a whizzy hamster racing car. It's bright red with a stripe down the side and he LOVES-LOVES-LOVES it! He practises as hard as he can, because there's going to be a pet race. If he tries really hard, will he win? Humphrey's in for another fur-raising adventure!

Hide! The Tiger’'s Mouth is Open Wide! (Zsl London Zoo Edition) by Adam Frost

Tom and Sophie Nightingale live on a barge with their zookeeper dad and vet mum, and as many animals as you can get on a small boat. Surely there's no room for any MORE animals in their life? When a tiger at the zoo has a dental dilemma, Tom and Sophie can't help but get involved. But there is a carnivorous culprit closer to home that they must also diagnose - and quickly! This series of animal-mad adventures, written with the help of the brilliant team at ZSL London Zoo, is super for young readers.

Billie Templar's War by Ellie Irving

Just by reading the back cover of this book, with Billie's letter to 'Your Majesty' you know this is going to be an emotional and moving story... but then we find out that Billie is desperate for him to come home so they can defend their four-year record of winning the three-legged race at the school carnival. It's this mix of humour and seriousness that gets to the heart of the reader.Billie appeals to Her Majesty to help and hatches a plan to get the Queen to her village. Beautifully written with a feisty and likeable heroine and a book which conveys a heartfelt message.

Johnny and the Bomb (Johnny Maxwell) by Terry Pratchett

Terry Pratchett's books need little introduction - they have been firm favourites for many years and it's good to see that Random House are reissuing a whole batch. Humour and fantasy don't always mix well but in the stories about Johnny Maxwell they certainly do.  Mrs Tachyon is not just a bag lady - she's a time travelling bag lady. She holds the key to different periods, including the Blackbury Blitz in 1941. Johnny finds himself in an intriguing and very different world. Keenly observed and full of insight, this is an excellent read for all Terry Pratchett fans.

Johnny and the Dead: A Johnny Maxwell story by Terry Pratchett

Johnny Maxwell can see the dead - and he knows something they won't want to know. The council want to sell the cemetery as a building site and the dead aren't going to allow that, not now Johnny is around. An imaginative story which is a great read. The first in the trilogy is Only You Can Save Mankind (Johnny Maxwell) but the stories stand well on their own, as the background of each is so very different.

The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents: (Discworld Novel 28) by Terry Pratchett

For those who don't know the series, Discworld is a comic fantasy set on the fictional Discworld, a disc which stands on the backs of four elephants who themselves stand on the back of a giant turtle. In a twist on the story of the Pied Piper, Maurice the tomcat works out a clever scheme to earn lots of money and he leads a group of educated ratty friends and a not-so-clever child into his schemes... but things don't go all his own way. A hilarious story with a moral twist.

Tiger Adventure by Willard Price

These are the original Willard Price adventures, and many parents and grandparents will have fond memories of this series - I remember them being hugely popular with 11 year old boys in my school library. Good old-fashioned adventures. In this story, Hal and Roger Hunt are in India, investigating rare and dangerous animals for their father. But on the trail of the rare white tiger, high in the Himalayas, disaster strikes and the brothers realise they are walking into the jaws of death. Also available is Whale Adventurewhich finds the brothers on board a whaling ship working for the wicked Captain Grindle - and the excitement moves up a gear when the boys find themselves shipwrecked.

Osbert the Avenger (Tales from Schwartzgarten) by Christopher William Hill

The first book of four in the highly original Tales from Schwartzgarten series. Meet Osbert Brinkhoff, a most unlikely avenger, who has won a scholarship to The Institute- a sinister school with a very selective intake. The teachers terrorise the children and Osbert, with the help of Isabella Myop, is set on revenge. A gruesome but funny story which will appeal to those who like a somewhat darker side to their reading.

To Be A Cat by Matt Haig

Could life be any worse for Barney Willow? A skinny kid, teased by Gavin Needle, and apparently persecuted by headteacher Miss Whipmire... and even worse, his Dad has disappeared. Any other life would be better - even a cat's, he thinks. But is can be risky to wish! And just what is the secret that has made Miss Whipmire what she is? This witty story shows the reader the importance of being true to himself. A fast-moving story with some superb characters - I love Guster, the King Charles spaniel.

Buster's Story (Battersea Dogs and Cats Home) by Sarah Hawkins

When Kirsten's best friend Carmen moves away, she doesn't have anyone to go on adventures with - until her parents agree to get a dog from Battersea Dog's Home. And Buster, the bouncy Labrador puppy, is the perfect dog to share her adventures. When the family sets off on a camping holiday, can Buster unearth more than just trouble? There are lots of extras - the history of Battersea, how to adopt a pet and care for it, puzzles, games and jokes. Royalties from the book support the work of Battersea Dogs and Cats Home

The Julian Stories by Ann Cameron

This enjoyable book, along with Julian's Glorious Summer, is perfect for young readers of 7+. Short, enjoyable stories, complete in each chapter, each telling one of Julian's adventures - eating a very special pudding, eating fig leaves to make him grow, an old-fashioned way to remove a tooth and many more. An easy read, with entertaining illustrations which is great for children to read alone, these are traditional-type stories and Julian is a likeable character.

4F for Freaks by Leigh Hobbs

A hilarious story about the unfortunate Miss Corker and Class 4F - the class that just doesn't want to learn. Miss Corker is new to teaching and what an introduction she has when she meets her new class - there's Scary Mary and Unfriendly Irwin and all their friends. It's all too much for poor Miss Corker - so along comes a completely different teacher... perhaps! Cartoon style, with minimal text, this will have children giggling aloud and maybe even identifying some of their own traits!

Freaks Ahoy! by Leigh Hobbs

Taking 4F on a boat is surely a recipe for disaster! The class determines to uncover Miss Schnorkel - but she's cleverer than them and they find a whole boatload of teachers to contend with. Another hilarious story which will give teachers something to think about! Plenty of amusing drawings complement the text and will appeal to children.

My Funny Family Gets Bigger (The Butterfields) by Chris Higgins

Mattie thinks the year should begin in September as so much new happens then. It's the new school term and she loves school. But poor Mattie is a born worrier and there's lots to worry about, especially V, who is having trouble at school. And with Christmas and a new baby on the horizon, there's lots more to worry about. A hilarious story, but one which is firmly rooted in a happy and loving family.

Guinea Pigs Online: Viking Victory by Jennifer Gray

The guinea pigs woodland is under threat - but how best to protect it? ?Go online and tell everyone? Write a protest song? Or just get on with it? Then they meet Olaf the Viking guinea pig who claims to be over 1,000 years old. Can they use his ancient tactics to help fight the builder? This light-hearted story is perfect for children starting to read on their own, with its friendly characters and amusing illustrations. There are even some Viking activities to enjoy.

Zero to Hero (Ghost Buddy) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

The first in a humorous, easy to read series that boys will thoroughly enjoy. Billy is the main character, ably supported by Hoover Porterhuse (aka the Hoove), a ghost with all the answers. When Billy moves to his new house, he finds he has a roommate - yes, the Hoove. The Hoove is funny and cool, a great baseball player.  When the school bullies set out to demolish him, Billy needs help and with Hoove by his side, Billy just might get in style, get even, and conquer the school.

Mind if I Read Your Mind? (Ghost Buddy) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

It's time for Moorepark Middle School's annual Speak Out Challenge, and Billy Broccoli thinks he's got it made. With his best friend Hoover Porterhouse - the ghost with the most - by his side, Billy's got the competition in the bag. Who wouldn't vote for a demonstration on mind reading? Great characters, unexpected quirks in the story and plenty of fun make for an enjoyable read.

How to Scare the Pants Off Your Pets (Ghost Buddy) by Henry Winkler and Lin Oliver

Billy Broccoli is on a mission. If he can help the Hoove - his very own personal ghost - learn to be responsible, Billy may finally get his room to himself! And Billy has come up with the perfect plan. He's going to get the Hoove a pet - one the Hoove won't b able to resist caring for But the Hoove is not exactly an animal enthusiast. He thinks dogs are dull and hamsters are cheesy. And all because he has his heart set on a goat that would destroy everything. With all of these pets on parade, Billy's room has become a zoo. How can calm be restored?

Daring World War Two Stories for Boys by Jim Eldridge

I am a huge fan of short stories. They are an excellent way to encourage reluctant or struggling readers, as they are far less daunting than a full length book. This contains three action-packed adventures - Night Bomber; Depth Charge Danger and Island of Fear. From the very first, the reader is drawn straight into these exciting stories, which are descriptive and vivid. Fact and fiction are interwoven to give excellent reads, perfect for boys 9 - 11.

The Sleeping Baobab Tree by Paula Leyden

An eye-catching cover immediately prepares the reader for a book which is out of the ordinary. Three friends - twins Bul-Boo and Madilla - and neighbour Fred find everything is pointing them to the burial site known as the Place of Death. When Fred’s Aunt Kiki goes missing, the children think things are linked. The three friends and an old woman journey into the heart of Zambia in this evocative and compelling story.

The Princess and Curdie by George MacDonald

A beautiful fairy tale, the sequel to The Princess and the Goblin, which takes struggle between good and evil as its theme. Curdie the miner's son is the only person who can defend the ailing King against the evil plotters in his castle. Queen Princess Irene, who can change her shape at will, gives him the gift of a magical handshake, so that Curdie can know the true nature of every person whose hand he grasps. The powerful magic dog Lima accompanies Curdie on his quest in which Curdie learns the meaning of courage. Despite the fantasy setting, and the fact the book was first published in 1882, the story takes a refreshing and valid look at human nature. Younger children may find the language a little hard going, but reading aloud and sharing will overcome this.

Champion Horse by Jane Smiley

An excellent example of the genre - horse stories as part of a series can become somewhat stereotyped and predictable, but not with Jane Smiley's exceptional story-telling coupled with her knowledge of and love for horses. Abby loves her horse, True Blue, but when Sophia can't ride Pie in the Sky, Abby steps in. But Pie in the Sky is demanding and takes Abby's attention away from mystery that is True Blue. And on top of that, Abby has high school to contend with. Her view of life changes with all this going on, and her character grows and develops through the book..

The Daring Escape of Beatrice and Peabody by Kimberly Newton Fusco

A mysterious and haunting story that has the reader wondering and thinking. Bee is an orphan who lives with a travelling carnival; she has just one friend but when Pauline leaves, Bee is desperately lonely. When she finds a dog, lonely as she, she decides to find them both a home... but the home she finds is full of mystery and unexplained questions. Just who are these women? Whoever they are, their role is to show Bee that she does have a place in the world.

Wendy Quill is a Crocodile's Bottom by Wendy Meddour

As intriguing titles go, this takes some beating - you feel you must read the story to find out the reason for the title! Wendy is a determined character who is not easily deterred. Back half of a panto horse? No, Wendy plays the crocodile's bottom in Act 1 of this hilarious book. More adventures follow, with tap dancing and dressing up for a school project. The three short stories with their extremely clever and amusing illustrations are perfect for young readers starting to tackle books on their own. Family, friendship, humour combine to make an excellent book, warm, funny and visually appealing.

Children of the Diadems: Book One - In The Beginning by Sonia Braithwaite

Seven friends search for Hephzibah, the keeper of the diadems. If they are successful in their quest, evil will be banished from the earth and peace will reign supreme. Who or what is the strange being Eleanor encounters during her evening walk, and why does it seem to be following her? Many readers will identify with Tom’s feelings of anxiety and joy, when his pet cat Hildegarde, has her kittens. Why is Clovis the weak sixth kitten, so special, and will he survive to grow strong and healthy? This gripping story intertwines with family and school life.

Mondays Are Murder (Poppy Fields Murder Mystery) by Tanya Landman

Perfect for aspiring readers of Agatha Christie who are not quite ready yet, is this entertaining series of murder mysteries. Poppy Fields is looking forward to a week of climbing, hill-walking and horse riding, but murder seems to follow her and her instructors rope was cut, leading to his death. Then more of the instructors start to have "accidents"... and Poppy and Graham must investigate. A well developed story which keeps the reader guessing (and wondering who will be the next victim!). Very enjoyable and good to know there are lots more in the series.

The Great Ice-Cream Heist by Elen Caldecott

It seems that the McIntyres are not quite the sort of family Eva's over-protective dad wants as neighbours. Eva is a imaginative girl, still coming to terms with the loss of her mother, and she also has to cope with being dyslexic. Eva wants to get to know the new family - and to find out just why son Jamie spends time on the roof of the garden shed. When Jamie is accused of vandalising the local park, Eva is there for him - but then Jamie disappears. Can Eva get to the bottom of what has happened? An enjoyable story about friendship, trust and loyalty, with well depicted characters who are highly credible.

Big Change for Stuart by Lissa Evans

Fast-paced and packed with clues and puzzles, this is the second outing for Stuart Horten (ten, but looks younger). He is now the owner of a magician's workshop but he's got a problem, because he needs his great-uncle's will to prove it so he gains ownership of seven magnificent stage illusions. When Stuart starts to investigate he find each is the gateway to a magical adventure, with a puzzle to solve, and a clue to extract. What is more important to Stuart - friendship or solving the puzzles? Stuart is a likeable and resourceful character and the book, with its puzzles to solve, is engrossing.

Diary of a Cricket God by Shamini Flint

Marcus would rather do maths than play sport, so when his dad wants him to play cricket, he's not happy. His dad on the other hand thinks Marcus can achieve anything he sets his mind to… with hilarious results. The format, with its liberal use of cartoon-style illustrations, makes the book really appealing, especially to the more reluctant reader. As we all know, cricket can be a hard game to understand and the reader will enjoy sharing Marcus' bewilderment and then learning a surprising amount about the game.

Diary of a Soccer Star by Shamini Flint

Marcus is a likeable character who, strangely, prefers maths to playing games - but his dad wants him to play soccer; his dad also says that writing down his goals will help Stuart achieve them. Laugh aloud stories which really appeal to children's sense of humour, there is plenty for boys and girls to enjoy. These books should be a big hit, with their sporty background, hilarious text and amusing illustrations - it's a format which will have great appeal. Quite a quick read but still plenty to enjoy and satisfy.

The Adventurous Snail by Dick King-Smith

From one of the best-ever authors of animal stories comes a new edition of a fun story about an intrepid snail. He doesn't just explore his own garden - he goes all the way to America! He makes some very important friends - Mr Ambassador and Mr President - and they take their new friend Siegfried very seriously. Another magical story from a hugely talented writer. I love the cover image and the quirky drawings!

Holiday Heartbreak: 6 (Dork Diaries) by Rachel Renee Russell

This has become a hugely popular series for tweens, who love the quirky format - part diary, part notebook, which makes the books eminently readable. It's the biggest dance of the year and Nikki Maxwell is hoping her crush, Brandon, wants to be her date. But time is running out. What if he doesn't want to go with her? Or worse - what if he ends up going with Mackenzie?!! The story flows well, which isn't always the case with a diary style, and girls will find this a thoroughly enjoyable read with some great characters. Publication date 6 June 2013. is the place to go to find out more about this engaging series.

Magic Ink by Steve Cole

When Stewart Penders' granddad dies, he leaves his house and all its contents to Stewart's family - but the greatest gift Granddad left Stew was his love of comic books. Stuart loves drawing his own creations, especially the adventures of his fantasy alter ego, Stupendous Man! . When Stew explores their new house , he finds a discarded comic strip in the attic - featuring an image of the pig he saw running around the house. There's a pot of ink beside it and magically, when Stew starts drawing, his pictures come to life - with hilarious results. Unusual and entertaining, this is an excellent read, enlivened by lots of cartoon-style illustrations.

Joe and the Hidden Horseshoe by Victoria Eveleigh

The book opens with Joe and his family setting off for a new life away from the city, in the country. Joe doesn't want to go. When Joe finds a horseshoe in his garden, his Romany neighbour tells him it's a wishing horseshoe - so he makes some wishes just for fun. Two horses come into the family - but that seems initially like more problems. Gradually, things start to fall into place for the family and Joe discovers life is much better than he expected. It's a refreshing change to finda novel about horses with a boy as the lead character and I'm looking forward to more in the series.

Vicky Angel by Jacqueline Wilson

Jade's friend Vicky is killed in an accident and Jade can hardly believe that her friend is no longer around. But somehow, Vicky continues to make her presence felt for just as long as she is needed. Initially, this seems a strange topic for a children's book, but Jacqueline Wilson never shies away from the reality of life, and the sensitive handling of the subject means the book has a positive feel. It's a book which will be long remembered by the reader, emotional and haunting yet strangely reassuring.

Dustbin Baby by Jacqueline Wilson

April knows she was abandoned in a rubbish bin as a newborn baby, fourteen years ago. Now she's happily settled with her foster mother, Marion - but there's a part of April that's desperate to know where she really came from, and who she really is, so she sets out to find out who she is and where she has been and what has happened in her life. She doesn't find out all she wants to know, and this may disappoint some readers who want a fairy tale happy ending, but she does find out she is well off where she is and the ending is positive and encouraging.

Finding Fortune by Pippa Goodhart

A gripping story, firmly based in the reality of the 1898 Klondike Gold Rush. When Ida's mother dies, Fa is supposed to look after her, but Grandmama deems him unfit for the responsibility and plans to send Ida to boarding school. But Ida is no meek Victorian heroine - instead, she joins Fa as he sets out for the Klondike to join the gold rush and prove once and for all that he is a fit father. A vivid and absorbing story of hardship, determination and endurance which vividly portrays the pediod and carries a message of hope and promise.

Go Saddle The Sea (Felix Trilogy) by Joan Aiken

There have been some great reissues of popular children's books recently, and it's excellent to see that these books are still being enjoyed. Right from the start of this exciting adventure, Joan Aiken's wonderful prose brings the setting and the characters bursting to life. Felix lives a lonely life and when a dying woman urges him to find his real family, he sets off to track down his long-lost English family. Felix packs his bag, jumps on his trusty mule and heads for the coast and a new life. But his journey across the mountains and over the sea does not prove to be plain sailing - as Felix soon discovers . . .

Bridle The Wind (Felix Trilogy) by Joan Aiken

Safety in England does not offer Felix what he wants so he runs away, intent on returning to Spain. But his journey is ill-fated - his ship is caught in a storm off the French coast. Shipwrecked, he loses his memory and is held prisoner in a remote monastery by evil Abbot Vespasian who has powers not of the ordinary. He sets of back to Spain, with Juan, whose life he saved and their dangerous and frightening journey is evocatively described in this engrossing story.

The Teeth Of The Gale (Felix Trilogy) by Joan Aiken

"Don Francisco wants you home, and in double-quick time, too. We must leave tomorrow at dawn . . ." Felix's heart sinks at Pedro's words. What can be wrong? Is his beloved grandfather ill? Dashing and loyal, he speeds towards Villaverde - and a rescue mission. Donna Conchita's children are kidnapped and Felix may be reunited with the feisty Juana, if he agrees to help. Despite warnings of a conspiracy and his own suspicions of a trap, Felix fearlessly plunges into a plot thick with intrigue and danger. His grandfather said it was a matter of life and death - but whose? Imaginative and exciting, this trilogy is children's fiction at its best. Evocative language and stirring story-telling keeps the reader's attention gripped throughout each of these books - definitely in the category of unputdownable.

African Adventure by Willard Price

These are the original stories, first published in the 1950s. Brothers Hal and Roger Hunt are on the trail of a vicious man-eating leopard. Yet they are also being hunted themselves, by a merciless band of killers known as the Leopard Society. Can they trust their own tracker, Joro, despite knowing that he has pledged to lead them to their deaths? Attitudes have changed towards wildlife and conservation but these are still great yarns and informative as well.

Diving Adventure by Willard Price

Hal and Roger Hunt dive straight into danger on a specimen-collecting trip to Undersea City. But it's not just sharks and killer whales the brothers have to fear when they are plunged into the depths of another adventure. Merlin Kaggs, the boys' old enemy, is sharing their cottage in the undersea village. The book is packed with fascinating facts about fish and sea creatures - informative as well as enjoyable. The books are very much of their period - straightforward adventure stories. I read them many years ago, and thought perhaps they would seem dated for today's readers but they are not - they are as exciting as ever!

The Secret Seven: 1 by Enid Blyton

In their first adventure, the gang are dressed in disguise, following a lead to a spooky old house in the snow . . . A traditional mystery story which allows the reader to share in the investigation. The text is simple and easy for children to follow and they will quickly get hooked, like generations of children before them, on the adventures of the seven friends. This popular series has been brought up to date in appearance with bright new covers and illustrations by Tony Ross. I love the extras included - the cartoons by George Brook, facts about the Secret Seven, and a club for children to join.

The Roman Beanfeast by Gillian Cross

It's time for Davy's class to study the Romans - this book will instantly appeal to children who are also studying the Romans; teachers - share it with your class. Everyone has to produce a piece of work based on the visit to the museum. Davy comes up with some great ideas, but bossy, sneaky Molly keeps going one better. Then Davy has a better idea inspired by Julius Sneezer the Roman soldier. A perceptive story, written with great insight into children's ways of thinking, which laso magages to pack in plenty of information about the Romans.

Arabel's Raven by Joan Aiken

A hilarious story for young readers about four year old Arabel and a raven brought home by her taxi driver father. Life is far from quiet with Mortimer (as Arabel names him) on the scene - a flood in the bathroom, a mess in the kitchen and no food left are just some of the problems. And then there are a series of thefts and Mortimer disappears. The lovable duo are happily reunited at th end of the story and Mortimer is a hero. Quentin Blake's comical ilustrations complement the story perfectly.

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Assassin by Grace Cavendish

Meet Lady Grace - "My name is Lady Grace Cavendish, and I'm Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth's favourite Maid of Honour. Everyone thinks growing up at the Royal Court is all parties and feasts and jewels - but mysterious, dangerous things always seem to happen! And because I am small and smart and very good at sneaking around, the Queen has made me her very own special secret investigator." The Queen decrees it is time (at age 13!) for Grace to find a husband, and three suitors are lined up at a ball. But after, one of them was found dead and the prime suspect is Grace's chosen suitor. So it's up to her to clear his name. The accurate historical detail transports the reader to the court of Queen Elizabeth I, with all its plotting and intrigue - and our feisty heroine is right at the centre of it all. An excellently crafted series which is not formulaic but has freshness in every story.

The Lady Grace Mysteries: Betrayal by Grace Cavendish

When Maid of Honour Lady Sarah disappears, it's up to the Queen's very own private investigator to find out where she has gone. So Lady Grace sets off on a nautical adventure and finds herself as a stowaway on Captain Drake's ship - a stowaway disguised as a boy. Another exciting adventure, which twists and turns, keeping the reader gripped throughout. The diary format, which is used throughout the series, is a popular one and this manages to avoid what can be time constraints by using devices such as 'a few moments later'. As a child, I loved historical stories and I would have been thrilled to collect a series like this and I am sure girls today will feel the same about this series. In The Lady Grace Mysteries: Conspiracy Grace is out hunting with the Queen when there is an atempt on the Queen's life - could court favourite Robert Dudley be responsible? The famous Frost Fair is the setting for The Lady Grace Mysteries: Deception and Grace must find out why a man was killed. The authentic historical backgrounds really bring the period and its people alive and this is a most enjoyable series.  Look carefully at the titles - A, B, C, D - so we are promised many more exciting adventures!

Doll Bones by Holly Black

A chilling story, haunting and memorable. Imaginative twelve-year-old Zach is too old to play with toys, says his father. But even though he stops hanging out with Poppy and Alice, stops playing with his action figures, it's no good. There's one toy that still wants to play with him. A doll that's made from the bones of a dead girl. The only way to end the game is to lay the doll to rest forever. It's time for a journey to Spring Grove cemetery. It's time to grow up.

Whale Boy by Nicola Davies

Michael, a young boy growing up on the tropical island of Rose Town, has always dreamed of being out on the ocean in his own fishing boat, and of whales. When a terrible storm wrecks his home, it seems as though his dreams are doomed when he is forced to take a job working for a rich, mysterious newcomer named Spargo. Spargo wants him to search for whales and Michael's reward will be his own boat. Is this too high a price to pay? It's a deeply moving story, the memory of which will stay with the reader - and hopefully will raise awareness for the plight of these beautiful creatures.

Rescuing Gus by Melissa Wareham

Melissa Wareham loves her job at Battersea Dogs & Cats Home, caring for lost and abandoned animals. When Gus - elderly, smelly and poorly - arrives at the Home one day, she knows that she has found the dog for her - and that he has found the human for him! Life with Gus takes some getting used to... from him insisting on drinking out of the toilet bowl, his sleep-destroying snores and his bath-aversion tactics. Despite all this, Gus' lovable character shines through and he becomes Melissa's constant companion. Not really fiction, but reads like a good story!

Double Daisy (Daisy Books) by Kes Gray

Meet Daisy - a wonderfully endearing character. Two stories in one, to ensure the reader has hours of enjoyable reading - Daisy and the Trouble with Life and Daisy and the Trouble with Zoos. However hard she tries to do things right, things just don't quite work out for Daisy, with hilarious consequences. The young reader will readily identify with this feisty young girl, who is dt=eterred by nothing and has great fun in life. This is a really fun read, easy to read and very satisfying with lots of laughs.

Layla Queen of Hearts (Kingdom of Silk) by Glenda Millard

A beautiful and touching story about an unusual friendship. Layla things she might as well be a Silk, as she spends so much time with the family and is very special to them. When her school has a Senior Citizens' Day, Layla is sad because she has nobody of her own to take but Griffin Silk has a good idea and Miss Amelie comes into Layla's life. A delicate and thoughtful read.

What Could Possibly Go Wrong (Almost Naked Animals)

Fans of the popular TV series which stars a cast of pants-wearing animals will be delighted to see this book. The Banana Cabana Hotel is run Howie and his friends but they're not very good at it - and things are even more challenging because Howie's sister poodle, who runs a rival hotel, wants to close the Banana Cabana. Howie really wants a dog friend, but with poodle the only dog around, that seems unlikely. Will he finds out who his true friends are? A hilarious story illustrated throughout with colour cartoons.

The Knights of Neustria (Secret Breakers) by H L Dennis

This is the second adventure for Team Veritas who are based at Bletchley Park. This time, a secret message hidden in a Shakespeare Portfolio gives them (and all the readers of the book) a code to break. They uncover the history of the Knights of Neustria, a brotherhood that goes back to the time of King Arthur charged with protecting a legendary secret. Will this help them in their quest? Danger pursues them as they endeavour to break the code and keep safe from a terrifying enemy. Fast-moving, exciting and full of suspense, this is an excellently constructed novel that will enthrall readers and have them guessing all the way through.

Legend of Tom Hickathrift (Freaky Folklore) by Jason Cobley

Based on an old legend set in the mysterious area of West Norfolk known as The Smeeth, this is the story of Tom, seven feet tall and as wide as a wall, who sets out to prove himself to his mother and his girlfriend. His quest leads him to face man-eating ogres, ghostly dogs, talking tree spirits, dragons, bears, wolves - and worst of all, his own ravenous hunger for pie. This is an unusual and entertaining version of a old tale.

Ghostwing by Kenneth Steven

Most people dislike autumn, finding it a dull and depressing time of year, but not Douglas - he finds it magical. Douglas and his father are sad and lonely, as Douglas' mother has died. When Douglas finds an injured goose, he and his dad care for it and strange things begin to happen. This is a sensitive and thoughtful story about loss, coming to terms with grief and beginning to look to the future with hope. It tells of a loving relationship between father and son and their support for each other and is emotional and beautifully written.

Unlocking the Spell (Tales of the Wide-Awake Princess) by E. D. Baker

Annie has an unusual gift - anyone who comes near her loses their magic. After she helped her sister Gwendolyn (otherwise known as Sleeping Beauty) wake up from the 100-year curse by reuniting her with Prince Beldegard, so you'd think that things would be back to normal. Think again! The beloved prince is stuck in the body of a bear and the only way that Annie can be free of the two irritating lovebirds is to come to his rescue - she must find the evil dwarf who cast the spell, and quickly . . . Luckily, Annie has her own handsome prince to hand - and many tricks up her non-magical sleeve. An imaginative modern take on fairy tales which is great fun.

Ellie May is Totally Happy to Share Her Place in the Spotlight by Marianne Levy

Ellie May is a brilliant character - I love her! "Dear Everybody, I'm an incredibly famous film star! Everyone knows who I am, even Eskimos and people in France. And I've just made friends with an amazingly beautiful model. In fact, she's going to be in my next film! Jeffrey's worried I won't like sharing the spotlight. But I'm sure it'll be fine. After all, I always share my fudge cake. Well, almost always, anyway ...Love, Ellie May xxx" Our lovable heroine enjoys a series of hilarious episodes as she learns to share with model Fleur, who seems to get all the attention.

Summerkin by Sarah Prineas

This is the sequel to Winterling and is another gripping fantasy which draws the reader into a new world. Fer is a girl who belongs in two places. She is the Lady of the Summerlands - a magical realm on the other side of the Way but she is also just a girl. There are many in the lands who think she should return to her own world. To prove herself, Fer must face the toughest contest of her life against leaders with powers far greater than her own. And if she loses, she risks plunging her beloved lands back into a terrible darkness... Atmospheric and compelling, this is a well-told story about a girl torn between two destinies.

New Friends (Angel Wings) by Michelle Misra

This is a new collectable series for young girls, who will love the mix of magic, friendship and humour. Ella is far from a normal girl - she's a trainee angel at the Guardian Angel Academy. But Ella is no docile angel and she gets into all sorts of trouble. Luckily for Ella, help is on hand in the shape of her friends Poppy, Tilly and Jess - who try their best to keep her out of mischief, and away from their dreaded classmate Primrose! Join Ella as she sets off on an adventure to Rainbow's End, a magical place and home to the Forgotten Flower. Will Ella's penchant for trouble prevent her from earning her wings and becoming an Archangel?

Toothy! (Dirty Bertie) by Alan MacDonald

A character bound to appeal to young boys, Dirty Bertie is a boy with some quite revolting habits. Bertie takes a reluctant trip to the dentist, tries to keep his cool on the hottest day of the year, and causes a mid-air emergency whilst flying with a very nervous Dad! Perfect for young readers with a short attention span, there are three short stories each divided into chapters, making it manageable and encouraging - and I am sure that boys will continue once they start to enjoy Bertie's hilarious adventures.

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