Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens

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Badge stating Reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

Do you enjoy a good murder mystery story? Because thirteen-year-old detectives Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong are back for their second case. This time the location is Fallingford mansion, Daisy’s family home. It’s her birthday, but she’s dreading the completely awful tea party her mother has planned. However, the gruesome crime that follows is far from boring, and with the house isolated by flood-waters, the murderer must still be in the house! Yikes! Can Daisy and Hazel solve the crime before the police arrive? Are their lives in danger? Apart from the servants and Daisy’s governess, everyone in the house is her family. Imagine suspecting members of your own family of murder! How would you feel? What would you do?

 

This is the second of eleven books in the A Murder Most Unladylike series, and it’s the first one that I’ve read. It’s got some interesting characters, all with secrets they would rather not share. Can you solve the case before Daisy and Hazel? If you’re a budding detective, or just a fan of mysteries, this one’s for you.

 

Find this book here.

More Books, eBooks, and eAudiobooks by this Robin Stevens here.

 

A Great Escape by Felice Arena

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Badge stating Reviewed by Sandra, children's librarian

Set in Cold War Germany. A great point of view from a kid in Berlin when they build the Berlin wall, dividing the city and families in two. This is what happens to Peter. He is stuck on one side with his grandparents, his parents and sister are on the other side and he can’t go to them. Everybody is so angry and confused. Why have the authorities build a wall dividing the city in half? In the East where Peter is, their life is very restricted- they are sent home from school if they wear jeans! But in the West, people have a lot more freedom.

Peter decides the best way to go find his family is to build himself a pair of wings so he can fly over the wall. Let’s hope Peter is reunited with his family again.

Find a copy here

Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery by Tohby Riddle

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A badge stating Reviewed by Emily, Children's Librarian

I have always been fascinated by tales about yowies: mysterious creatures also known as the Australian Bigfoot, yahoo or hairy man. Yahoo Creek is a fascinating book that combines excerpts from Australian newspapers with first-hand tales from an Aboriginal elder, illuminating the unusual yahoo phenomenon.

The newspaper excerpts, dating from the 19th and early 20th century, include eyewitness accounts from early settlers who had strange encounters with a mysterious creature they described as “an immense ape-like animal.” Also included are words from contemporary Ngiyampaa Elder Peter Williams, who tells us about indigenous stories of berai, the hairy man.

Tohby Riddle’s beautiful illustrations perfectly capture the mysteriousness of this mythical creature and the dense, wild nature of the Australian bush. The monochromatic images are perfect to contemplate as you absorb the words on the page.

This book is perfect for inquisitive readers aged 8+.

Yahoo Creek is on the Victorian Premier’s reading Challenge list for Years 3, 4, 5, and 6. It was also shortlisted for the CBCA Children’s Book of the Year awards in 2020.

Find the book on our catalogue here.

Find out more about Australian author and illustrator Tohby Riddle here.

Sisters of the Lost March by Lucy Strange

Sisters-of-the-Lost-Marsh

Badge stating reviewed by Fiona, Children's Librarian

Sisters of the Lost March by Lucy Strange lived up to my expectations! This slightly spooky story about six cursed sisters is set on a farm in the middle of marsh lands that are harsh, dangerous, and unforgiving. The marshes hold many mysteries. What is the will-o’ the-wisp? The sisters are usually protected by their Grammy, a strong grandmother that protects the girls from their beastly father. A father who believes in superstition and curses, like so many in the village nearby. Unfortunately the curse that looms over the family is caused by one of it’s members. When Grammy is too old and frail to look after the sisters and is accused of being a witch it is Willa, the second eldest sister, that steps up to protect them all. But at what cost? Will it be the happiness of her eldest sister, Grace, forced to marry someone she doesn’t love?  Or will the marsh lands claim a life? Is their father right to believe in the curse? Read Sisters of the Lost Marsh and find out!

Other Books written by Lucy Strange.

Authors website

 

Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren

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Badge stating reviewed by Monica, children's librarian

Pippi Longstocking has been a favourite book of mine since I was in Grade 3.

Pippi lives on her own with just her horse and pet monkey for company. You can only imagine what Pippi gets up to without parents to tell her what to do! But Pippi does get lonely. Lucky for her, she meets some new neighbours, Tommy and Annika, to share her life with. I really like seeing how the three characters grow as they spend time with each other.

Pippi Longstocking has lots of fun characters and unbelievable adventures and is an exciting read for any primary schooler. You can start your “Pippi Longstocking” reading adventure here.

 

 

Charlotte’s Web by E.B. White

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A badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie, Children's Librarian

A pig’s life on a farm is DANGEROUS. But with the help of wise and caring friends a pig can find peace and protection. 

Our hero, Wilbur the pig, is rescued from certain death by the intervention of a sensitive farm girl- Fern. 

Fern raises the little runt with love and care until he is big enough to be sold. 

Once again, she pleads for Wilbur’s life and he is sold to her uncle, where he continues to live.  

There he meets a wise and magical friend Charlotte.  

This was a favorite of mine from my own childhood. I can picture the wonderful scenes on the farm and fell in love with all the characters.  

Find this book here

Other books by E.B.White

E.B.White Wikipedia

E.B.White - Goodreads

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl

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A badge stating reviewed by Angela, children's librarian

Roald Dahl’s classic Dirty Beasts is a collection of gruesome kid friendly poems full of wacky animals doing unmentionable things. From the tale of the super smart pig to the very hungry ant eater, all get their just desserts. Or do they? My favourite poem is The Tummy Beast. Who doesn’t have a growly, yowly monster in their tummy? If you like funny poems with a twist this book is for you.

Find a paperback copy of this book here, read the eBook, or listen to the audiobook

Like Roald Dahl stories? Find more here

 

 

 

Huda and Me by H. Hayek

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A badge stating Reviewed by Fiona L, Children's Librarian

Stealing your aunt’s credit card, booking plane tickets, and boarding an international flight to the other side of the world might seem drastic, but 9-year-old Huda manages to convince her somewhat more cautious older brother, Akeal that it’s their only option.

As we follow these two unaccompanied minors on their journey to Lebanon, wondering at what point they’re going to get caught, the story flashes back in time, slowly revealing the events that made life unbearable for Huda, Akeal and their 5 siblings. The sense of action and drama makes the book hard to put down. I found this book incredibly funny and the characters very likeable. The story is set in the western suburbs of Melbourne which might be why it is so relatable! It provides insight into the lives of a large Muslim family, with its usual everyday fun and busyness, while also conveying the complexities of being from a migrant background and living in Australia.

Huda and Me was shortlisted in the Younger Readers category for the 2022 CBCA Book of the Year Award.  This cheeky, clever and engaging read is recommended for ages 8+

 

Find this book here.

See what other kids are saying about the book here.

H. Hayek - Website.

Ming & Flo Fight for the Future by Jackie French

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A badge stating Reviewed by Dayle, Children's Librarian

Sick of constantly hearing about the great achievements of historic men, 12 year old Ming wishes she could learn more about impactful historic women. This wish is answered by Herstory, History’s sister, who sends Ming back in time to live as Flo Watson in 1898 on a struggling farm in rural Australia. Ming is soon rescued by her Wealthy Aunt McTavish and taken to Sydney where Aunt McTavish lives and has her eyes open to how people are struggling to survive. Ming is desperate to help change the world but how she’s supposed to do that when she’s supposed to be acting like a good young lady?

Follow along with Ming as Flo to find out!  

Find it as a eAudiobook, eBook, or regular print book on our catalogue here.

A Bear called Paddington by Michael Bond

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Badge with Reviewed by Caroline, children's librarian

What would you do if you met a Bear at the train station who needed a home? Mr and Mrs Brown found a bear at Paddington station. All he had was a label around his neck that said, “Please look after this Bear, Thank you.” Life was never going to be the same again for the Brown family. So that is just what they did. From the very first night when he attempted his first bath and ended up nearly flooding the house, Paddington was seldom far from imminent disaster. How does a bear cope with eating tea and cakes, using the underground train, going to a department store, cleaning up old paintings and going to the Theatre? Especially a bear from Darkest Peru who has never had these experiences before.

This book uses humour to explore the situation of being a refugee in a new country, where everything is new, exciting but very different from home. Paddington is very happy being different and brings joy to his new family. A collection of stories that can be read to any age and loved by 7+ readers.

Find this book here

More Paddington at Wyndham City Libraries

Michael Bond wikipedia

Paddington website

Michael Bond and Paddington in 60 seconds

Amari and the night brothers by B. B. Alston

The cover of Amari and the night brothers with a badge stating reviewed by Lorrie

When her brother goes missing at a prestigious school, and the authorities seem not to care, Amari attempts to find out why. Clues lead her to become involved in a secretive school where she displays a supernatural talent that alienates her from other teenagers. Meanwhile, she has try to locate her brother and prove to everyone that she’s not the enemy because an evil magic is lurking in the sidelines that could destroy the whole of the supernatural world. This is a story about underdogs battling bullies and conquering challenges. It’s about finding your purpose and your tribe. And it’s also about a school for magic. Sound familiar? If you enjoyed Harry Potter and are looking for the next great fantasy adventure - this is the book for you!

Find this book here

Find the eAudiobook here

Find the eBook here

B. B. Alston – Author website

B. B. Alston – Goodreads

Paul Biegel – The King of Copper Mountain

Cover of the King of Copper Mountain with a badge stating Reviewed by Gary

King Mansolain is hundreds of years old and slowing down fast. Some days his heart is barely beating at all! A very rare plant located a long way away from his castle can save him, hooray! But only the Wonder Doctor knows its secret location. While he goes in search of it, the king’s heart must be kept ticking! And interesting stories can do that! Word is sent around the kingdom and everyday a new visitor arrives at the castle with a unique story to tell the king. But will enough visitors come? Will their stories be good enough to keep the king interested and his heart beating? And, importantly, will the Wonder Doctor find the special plant and return to the castle in time to save the king’s life? Containing a host of animal characters, all with their own special story to tell, if you like a good fairy tale, this story will appeal to you.

Find this book here.

Paul Biegel - wikipedia.

The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor 

The cover of The Grandest Bookshop in the World, Reviewed by Fiona

I’d been waiting to read this book as soon as I heard about it.  I knew it was based on a real bookshop, right here in Melbourne that used to trade in the mall!  Was it really the biggest in the world? Did it really have animals and plants inside? Indeed Cole’s Book Arcade was the grandest bookshop of its time.  The book perfectly describes areas in the shop that existed in real life, like the Toy Land, Wonder Land and fernery. 

I loved the main character of Pearl, a headstrong and intelligent ten-year-old. Her father strikes a deal with a devilish and tricky magician, who calls himself Magnus Maximillian or the mysterious Obscurosmith. One very slippery character! The deal could see the end of the Coles family ownership of the bookshop, so Pearl and her siblings try to save it. It’s a race against time, with puzzles at every turn, some which see the children put their lives at risk should they fail! It did get a little dark in places, touching on themes of grief, death of a loved one and loss of memory.  

It was indeed a mysterious story. I ended up loving Pearl and her family and wishing them on to win the bookshop back. The characters had great development throughout the story.  I thought perhaps the magical elements of the story were not needed, but they do add to the urgency of the story as it progresses. It is a very fast paced book, and at times I found this a little unsettling and I needed to pause to catch up! But overall the story mixes magic and realism well and all its descriptions are very vivid. I wish I could visit this bookshop now!  

 

Amelia Mellor – 30 authors in 30 days YouTube 

Other books by Amelia Mellor at Wyndham City Libraries 

12 Curly Questions with at Kids Book Review

Amelia Mellor – Publisher website

Inkling by Kenneth Oppel

The cover of Inkling by Kenneth Oppel with a badged stating "reviewed by Monica, children's librarian"

How do you impress your friends, make money, and help your family deal with the loss of your mum? The answer lies with Inkling – a tiny inkblot from a comic sketchbook that magically comes to life. 

The main character, Ethan, initially uses Inkling to help with a school project. But over time, Inkling becomes his friend. And when friends are in danger you do everything you can to protect them – even break the law. 

Inkling is a great, easy to read book for middle to upper primary school kids. If you like books about real life experiences but enjoy a little bit of magic, humour, and mystery, Inkling could be the next book for you! 

 

Find this book here

Other books by Kenneth Oppel at Wyndham City Libraries

Kenneth Oppel - Website

Kenneth Oppel - Wikipedia 

Kenneth Oppel - Youtube 

Kenneth Oppel - Publisher website 

 

 

Undone! By Paul Jennings

Cover of Undone with a badge stating Reviewed by Lorrie

Paul Jennings short stories on audiobook are read by my favourite narrator- Stig Wemyss. All the voices he uses bring these bizarre stories to life. Because these are short stories you can listen in short bursts- but I doubt you will be able to drag yourself away. Many of the characters are underdogs who battle through twists in the stories to triumph against bullies and harsh circumstances. These books were originally published over 30 years ago and have stood the test of time. I listened to these stories with my children (who now have children of their own) and we both enjoyed them very much. 

 

Find this book here

To listen to it being read by Stig (my favourite narrator) click here 

Other books by Paul Jennings 

Other books read by Stig Wemyss

 

Percy Jackson and the Olympians series by Rick Riordan  

Cover image of Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief with a badge stating Reviewed by Dayle

Percy Jackson is a 12-year-old boy who always has good intentions, but trouble seems to follow him wherever he goes. After being expelled from every school he’s ever been too, he always feels like he is an outsider and someone, or something, is out to get him. When his teacher turns into a monster and tries to kill him, his mother finally decides it’s time take him to the one place he might be safe, Camp Half-Blood; where he discovers who he really is, the son of a Greek God.

Join Percy, alongside Annabeth, daughter of Athena, and Grover the Satyr, as they make their way through different adventures and challenges, in this modern day take on Greek Mythology. This compelling series shows that heroes come in a diverse range of characters.  

Find books in this series here 

Other books by Rick Riordan books at Wyndham City Libraries 

Rick Riordan – goodreads 

Rick Riordan - website 

‘Swimming on the Lawn’ by Yasmin Hamid

The cover of Swimming on the Lawn with a badge stating Reviewed by Fiona

Spend some time with Farida and her family. Small and simple chapters delight in Swimming on the Lawn by Yasmin Hamid.  Full of sensory detail, everyday actions are explored as Farida goes to school, does family chores, enjoys a holiday and plays with siblings and friends. What I enjoyed most was the book's attention to detail. I could smell the molasses and overripe fruit! The story took me on a journey through 1960’s Sudanese culture, customs and food. A visit to the remains of Nubian pyramids and vivid descriptions of twirling dancers at the Mawlid festival bring alive a time and place that is so unlike my own. Can happiness last forever? Read this celebration of family life to find out.

Find this book here.

See Yasmin Hamid’s bio here

Murder at the Museum by Lena Jones

The cover of Agatha Oddly with a badge stating reviewed by Caroline

There’s something rather odd going on. Have you noticed? Agatha Oddly has. She’s a bold, determined 13-year-old, who wants to be a detective. She lives in a cottage in Hyde Park with her father, surrounded by detective novels and her invisible mentor, Hercule Poirot, the world-famous detective. The mystery? The water system in London is polluted with toxic algae, there’s been a murder at the British Museum, stolen gold bullion in a disused tube station, a missing curator at the National Gallery, and what is the secret society that holds the key to her mother’s disappearance? Can Agatha and her friends solve all the crimes, thwart the villains and keep London safe? For ages 9 and up, this is a fun, action packed series that will appeal to fans of Nancy Drew/Hardy Boys, Enola Holmes, Murder Most Unladylike and the Friday Barnes series.

 

Find this book here.

Other books by Lena Jones

‘The Graveyard Riddle’ by Lisa Thompson

Cover image of Graveyard Riddle, with a badge stating reviewed by Gary, children's librarian

This is the story of Melody Bird, who stumbles across a hidden, abandoned house. And within it, a boy. The boy tells her that he’s a spy on the trail of a notorious criminal, and the theft of an expensive jewel. But is he telling the truth? Wanting to believe him, Melody becomes involved in solving some mysterious riddles that could break the case wide open. In the process, she convinces her friends, Mathew and Jake, to become involved in helping the boy, too. But the question is, is there a case to be solved at all? Can the boy be trusted? And how much of his story is true? The Graveyard Riddle is not just a great little mystery that’ll keep you guessing until the end, it’s also a story about friendship and trust. I highly recommend it!

Find this book here.

Other books by Lisa Thompson

Lisa Thompson website

Video interview with Lisa Thompson

The Wishing Spell by Chris Colfer

The cover of Wishing Spell with a badge "reviewed by Monica, children's librarian"

Do you think you know everything about the fairy tale world? I certainly did, until I read “The Wishing Spell'. This book follows 11 year-old twins, Alex and Connor, on a journey through the fairy tale kingdoms, getting to know the true stories of a variety of fairy tale characters. As much as I liked learning new things about the traditional fairy tale characters, my favourite part was cheering Alex and Connor on through the challenges they faced, both in the Land of Stories and in their own world. I also enjoyed how Alex and Connor spoke to each other - making fun of each other but also supporting each other during hard times, just like real siblings. This book was first recommended to me by a Grade 4 student, so I decided to read it to my 9 year-old daughter. She became hooked and has now finished all six books in “The Land of Stories” series! I highly recommend this book for fantasy fans in middle to upper primary school.

Find this book here.

Other books by Chris Colfer

Chris Colfer wikipedia

Land of Stories website

‘Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow’ by Jessica Townsend

cover image of Trials of Morrigan Crow with a badge stating "Reviewed by Sandra, Children's Librarian"

Morrigan is a cursed child, doomed to die on her 11th birthday. Just in time, a mystery man appears to take her away to a magical place called Nevermoor. He has chosen Morrigan to be his champion in a series of exciting and dangerous trials to earn her place at a magical school. All the other kids competing seems to have a special magical talent, but Morrigan does not know what hers is. Will Morrigan be able to successfully earn her place in the Wundrous Society competing against the other kids who understand magic more than she does? Of course, something is bound to go wrong, putting Morrigan’s life in danger once again! A great read if you love Harry Potter.

Find this book here.

 

Other books by Jessica Townsend

Jessica Townsend Wikipedia

Video interview with Jessica Townsend

 ‘The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane’ by Kate DiCamillo

Cover image of Edward Tulane with a badge stating "reviewed by Gary, children's librarian"

Edward Tulane is a white toy rabbit made of china. Rather privileged and self-centred, he doesn’t much care for anything, and certainly doesn’t love anyone, other than himself. One day he is removed from his comfortable world and thrown into a remarkable adventure. There, he meets lots of different people, and he experiences many different circumstances that make him re-think his life and who he is. I have to admit, this book is one of my all-time favourite stories! I never get bored reading it. The story is so well written, and aloof Edward is a wonderful character. It’s both funny and heartbreaking to read the problems he finds himself in, and to see how he changes as a result. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes adventures with great characters and a story that makes you think. Find this book here.

 

Other books by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo Wikipedia

Video interview with Kate DiCamillo

 

 

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