Two Wolves by Tristan Banks
Two Wolves by Tristan Banks is a believable drama set in Australia. Right from the start it’s made clear that the story will be told from the point of view of the main character, Ben, a thoughtful 13 year old. He is unsure about his family and the world around him, and he often feels hopeless and anxious. This is not helped by the fact that early in the book the police suddenly arrive at Ben's front door. Soon after this his parents come home and he and his sister, Olive, are bundled into a car and driven away. He is told they are all off on holiday, but is it a holiday or are they on the run? Ben has always been into detecting and problem solving but this time he must solve his own mystery, a family one. This story is part adventure and part thriller, with Ben’s sister, Olive, providing some humour to a serious situation. Olive is very stubborn! A difficult journey is ahead for both brother and sister, both physically and mentally and they have some difficult truths to find out and some difficult choices to make. Ben doesn’t always make the best decisions; he is often unsure of what is going on, but that just makes the story all the more believable. Increasing tension between Ben and his dad is well written and ensures the book keeps its fast pace. Ben’s dad is a little scary and unpredictable and is a great contract to Ben, who is always thinking. Ben and his siter form a closer bond as the story goes on but it is clear that all the characters in this story are very different from one another and each must learn to live with their choices.
The Little Match Girl Strikes Back, by Emma Carroll
You may have heard of “The Little Match Girl”, written by Hans Christian Anderson in the mid-1800s. In this story, to keep warm, an unnamed poor girl lights the matches she can’t sell. In the flames she sees visions of the life she would like to lead. Wanting to keep these visions alive, she burns through all her matches and dies from the cold. It is only then that passersby notice and take pity on her.
Emma Carroll, the author of “The Little Match Girl Strikes Back”, felt dissatisfied at how powerless the match girl was in the original story. To give the match girl a far happier ending, she has written the story of Bridie and her family.
Bridie sees visions in her match flames too. But rather than getting swept away, Bridie chooses to use these visions to drive her and the other match factory workers into meaningful action to seek better work conditions and pay.
This is an uplifting story about how people working together can change what appears to be their destiny. I liked how strong the female characters were and how the story is based on true events. It is also beautifully illustrated by Lauren Child.
I would recommend this book for those aged 10+ who like inspirational stories.
Find a print or eaudiobook copy on our catalogue here.
Wildwood by Colin Meloy
Prue McKeel is at the park, keeping half an eye on her baby brother when a murder of crows swoops down, picks him up and carries him off into the Impassable Wilderness. Not knowing how to share this news with her parents, she leaves a decoy in her brother’s cot and steals off into the woods to find him. Meanwhile, Curtis (a nerdy kid from school) has been watching from afar and decides to follow. The pair discover a fascinating society, with talking animals, warring factions and dark magic. They soon become enmeshed in a civil war and need to decide where their loyalties lie.
The book feels slow to start but I think it’s well worth the commitment if you’re up for a lengthier read that will stretch your vocabulary. By the second half, I was completely immersed in the complex fantasy world that the writer has built. I particularly enjoyed the character of the exiled Dowager Governess, mad with grief and unapologetically bloodthirsty.
Wildwood is the first book in a trilogy written by Colin Meloy from indie rock band, The Decemberists, with beautiful, intricate illustrations by artist, Carson Ellis.
Laika studios are currently working on an animated film adaptation of Wildwood. Start reading before the film is released!
Suited to readers aged 10+
Find the eBook here.
When Life Gives You Mangoes by Kareen Getten
Set in a small town on the coast of Jamaica, When Life Gives You Mangoes gives us a glimpse into the summer life of 12 year old Clara and her community. Clara spends her days hanging out with her best friend Gaynah, and wondering why she can’t remember anything from last summer. Clara knows that she loves to surf and to swim but she has no idea why she can no longer enter the water due to fear; Gaynah’s not being supportive of Clara’s memory problem either and hasn’t been acting like a best friend. So when a new girl arrives in town this summer starts to look a bit more hopeful for Clara.
This book explores friendship and the dynamics of small communities, as well as the mystery of why Clara can’t remember what everyone else in the community seems to be aware of. A real page turner that had me hooked getting to know Clara and her community, as well as unwrapping the mystery of the previous summer. I definitely recommend for those who enjoy stories of friendship and mysteries.
Friday Barnes Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt
Friday Barnes has an extraordinary skill; she is a genius super sleuth and can solve mysteries, and she is only 11 years of age.
Growing up in a family of geniuses, she has never attended an organised school before. So, when she solves a bank robbery for her Uncle Bernie, she uses the reward money to send herself to the most exclusive boarding school in the country.
Are there lots of mysteries to solve at school? You bet there are! The school is a hotbed of crime! From disappearing homework, school pranks, a stolen clock, high tech smuggling, a mysterious Yeti living in the school swamp, and the biggest mystery of all, why her new best friend, Melanie, keeps falling asleep. What else can an amazing girl detective do but keep solving mysteries!
Can Friday ever understand the crazy world of Highcrest Academy? Can she make friends with the other students? Will she ever defeat her arch enemy, Ian Wainscott?
This book is great for a family reading out loud together or independent readers aged 8-14 years.
There are lots of books to read in this series, including Under Suspicion, Big Trouble, Danger Ahead, No Escape and Undercover. Check out the latest book in the series, Last Chance, published January 2023!
R.A.Spratt is an Australian author who has also written the Nanny Piggins and the Peski Kids series.
Click here to find all the books in the series at the library.
Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens by Allison Rushby
“It is 1872, Miss Pickering. We are living in the modern world. A girl can’t get by on daydreams and fancies you know!”
This story transports us to England during a time of great advances in science and opportunities for girls. Penny Pickering attends Miss Strickland’s School for Girls of an Enquiring Mind. Her parents are both scientists and have very enquiring minds. Penny however is drawn to the imaginative and fantastic like the ‘Penny Dreadful Stories’ published by her famous authoress Aunt Harriet.
She dreams of being rescued from the dreary school routine to embark on an exciting adventure with her Aunt. Her dream comes true when her aunt arrives at the school announcing she has been made Penny’s guardian and agrees to whisk her away.
Mysterious events call for all of Penny’s curiosity, powers of observation and inventiveness to discover the secrets behind the bizarre and unexplainable. In the end many of Miss Strickland’s wise words help guide her enquiring mind to the answers she seeks.
I loved being transported to this time and place where girls and woman were starting to be allowed opportunities for an education that opened doors for them.
Find the book here: Miss Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens
Find the e-book here: Miss Penny Dreadful and the Midnight Kittens
Festergrimm by Thomas Taylor
If something mysterious is going to happen, it’s going to happen in Eerie-On-Sea, you can bet! And when it does, Herbie and Violet are going to try to get to the bottom of things. So, when arch-villain Sebastian Eels reappears unexpectedly in town telling everyone he wants to re-open the famous but long-abandoned waxworks museum, and everyone believes he has changed his bad ways and is finally doing something good for a change, the two best friends become suspicious and start delving into his goings on! With legends of a genius inventor of clockwork marvels, his missing daughter, and a giant clockwork robot that once tore the town apart to keep Herbie and Violet enthralled, as well as the secret goings-on in the waxworks by Eels to keep them busy (and in danger) there is plenty to keep them (and you) guessing. It certainly kept me wondering what was going to happen! If you like adventure with a twist of mystery in your stories, this is one for you! Suitable for boys and girls aged 9+
Find this book here
Other books by this author at Wyndham City Libraries here
Thomas Taylor – author website
Thomas Taylor - ReadingZone Bookclub - YouTube
A Little Princess by Frances Hodgson Burnett
I loved the movie when I was a kid so I thought it was about time I read the book! The story follows a child called Sara who is leaving her father in India to move to a boarding school in London. Sara doesn’t always get along with the head mistress because Sara is very clever, independent and gets on well with everyone. Sara settles in well at school but then something terrible happens on her birthday. She finds out her father has died and now Sara has no money to pay for her school. Sara goes for the richest girl in the school to a servant who lives in the cold damp attic. She is not treated very well by the head mistress who was always jealous of Sara’s wealth. You will need to read the book to find out what happens to Sara!
Personally, I think that the Cassowary is Australia’s most awesome bird! Who doesn’t like the thought of a giant flightless bird? Mister Cassowary by Samantha Wheeler is an easy-to-read book all about cassowaries and family secrets. Ideal for kids aged 7+
The story takes place at Flynn’s Granddads old rundown banana farm and right from the start there is a mystery that needs figuring out. No one will talk about how Flynn’s Granddad died just last year or why Flynn’s dad is so scared of the local cassowaries, the strange and dinosaur-like bird found in Far North Queensland. Flynn’s dad calls them the most dangerous birds in the world. Is he correct?
Flynn, who is ten, meets a local girl called Abby and together they discover two orphaned baby cassowaries and the adventure, and the mystery continues.
The book weaves information about cassowaries into a story about relationships very effectively. Flynn must tread carefully between doing what he is told to do and finding the answers to his many questions. Hidden family secrets are uncovered, like why Flynn’s Granddad is called Mister Cassowary, and Flynn becomes closer to his dad through the investigative process.
The chapters of this book are short and steadily paced, most are event based with lots of dialog. There is some terrific factual information at the end about Cassowaries in a special section which is an excellent resource for projects and for readers who want to know more about this endangered bird. There are also three other books in the series, all animal based. So if you like animals or want to know more about Tasmania Devils, Sea Turtles or Wombats check out these other books!
Find all Samantha Wheeler books here
Seven Wherewithal Way by Samantha-Ellen Bound
Looking for a whimsical, fast-paced fantasy adventure that both younger and older readers will adore? Look no further! In Seven Wherewithal Way, Celeste and Esme are two sisters who are about to spend a boring summer at their Gran’s house, when suddenly, their cousin Ferdinand literally crash-lands in front of them. Ferdinand soon whisks them away on an adventure to Seven Wherewithal Way, a place where magical portals and curious creatures abound.
There is so much to love about this book, including its laugh-out-loud humour and charming characters (I fell in love with Ferdinand instantly). Moreover, it is written by an Australian author and features a non-binary main character, so it is perfect for those who want to read more stories with gender-diverse figures. This novel invites you to a world that is as magical and captivating as Narnia or Hogwarts, with delightful humour that reminded me a lot of Howl’s Moving Castle. I highly recommend it for ages 7+.
You can request a hard copy or download the eBook version here!
The Legend of Hobart
Hobart is tired. Tired of being bullied by the local Lord’s nephew. Tired of being mocked by his siblings. Tired of failing. To prove his worth, Hobart feels his only chance is to be offered a spot in Knight School. And the only way he can think to get into Knight School is to slay a dragon.
So Hobart sets off on a quest to find a dragon. He expects danger and adventure, both of which he finds in great supply. But on the way, he meets some interesting characters who seem to be able to see that he is already a person of value.
Hobart’s quest takes some unlikely turns, with unexpected friendships formed along the way. So did Hobart succeed in his quest? You’ll have to read to find out!
I recommend this book for those that like medieval, fantasy tales but sometimes struggle with longer stories. At only 90 pages, this book is short but still captivating and I hope there will be a sequel.
A Bad Beginning by Lemony Snicket
Trouble comes knocking on the Baudelaire children’s door with the death of their parents in a house fire that destroys their home and possessions. That is just the beginning of a Series of Unfortunate Events spanning another 12 volumes. Violet and Klaus work together to protect themselves and their baby sister Sunny from the evil Count Olaf who is determined to find a way to steal the fortune they have inherited from their parents.
Who doesn’t like a good orphan story? Harry Potter, The Graveyard Book, The Secret Garden, Frozen, Anne of Green Gables, Cinderella, Peter Pan- the list goes on and on. I love seeing the underdog triumph by resilience, kindness, courage, and inventiveness.
Find this book here
More books by Lemony Snicket
Lemony Snicket Wikipedia
Lemony Snicket Goodreads
A Series of Unfortunate Events Activities
A Girl called Corpse by Reece Carter
‘If my hair looks like bright green seaweed, it’s because that’s exactly what it is. My eyes, a pair of abalone shells, polished blue by sand. Teeth, two rows of pebbles. And my skin is made of wax.’
Hiding in the attic of a witches’ shack, on a rock that can’t be seen by living eyes, is the ghost of a child called Corpse. Unlike the ghosts who have slipped away into death proper, Corpse is desperate to escape the rock and uncover her past. Who was she before she died? Where are her family? How did she meet her gruesome end at such a young age? One day a strange visitor arrives and gives her the chance to find out. The story follows Corpse as she searches for answers, coming up against evil witches and other unsavoury characters along the way. What I like most about this story, is that Corpse isn’t your usual hero. She gets scared, stuffs up and isn’t always a nice person but she makes it through in her own way. Be warned, this book is not recommended bedtime reading, mainly because you’ll want to read until the end. I can’t wait until the next book comes out.
This quirky read would appeal to fans of Tim Burton, Neil Gaiman and readers aged 8+.
Find a copy of the book here.
The Elemental Detectives by Patrice Lawrence
If you enjoy a good fantasy adventure, then this is the book for you. Set in historic London, where the city is ran by the Elemental spirits, the fiery Dragons, airy Fumis, earthbound Magogs and the watery Chads. One of our lead characters is Marisee, her grandmother is what they call the Keeper of the Wells, and is regularly in contact with the Chads, so Marisee is familiar with the magic of the world, but when a strange sickness takes over London and Grandma disappears, Marisee finds there’s a lot her grandmother hasn’t told her!
Down the road at the Hibbert estate, 12-year-old Robert Strong lives as a slave to Lady Hibbert, after he was taken from his family on the plantation in Barbados. As he watches everyone around him fall to the sleeping sickness, including his best friend, he ventures off to the Keeper of the Wells house to hopefully get something to help them. That’s where Robert finds Marisee trying to fit off infected people, together they escape them and team up to find Marisee’s grandmother and cure the sleeping sickness that’s infecting London.
This book is full of adventure and magic, and is the first in an upcoming series. I definitely recommend if you’re a fan of fantasy, mysteries, adventure and/or magic!
The Mystery of Banshee Towers by Enid Blyton
I must admit that I’ve not read any Enid Blyton until now and I was pleasantly surprised after reading The Mystery of Banshee Towers. The Find-Outers gang plus Ern were all there to explore the spooky towers with dogs in tow in the final case of the series. As Chief Inspector Jenks said, it is a mystery that only children might find, because adults hardly ever observe things in that much detail. The book was quick and easy to read and would be ideal for someone starting out on chapter books who loves mystery. A variety of characters and dilemmas are presented, including a new dog, Bingo, who provides relief from the mystery itself being the only focus of the story. The kids start off with no mystery to solve but after visiting Banshee Towers on Banshee Hill after a long bike ride a mystery is presented to them. They must discover what is making the hideous wailing banshee sound, whether the owner of the towers is a bit of a crook and if the painter they encounter is all that he seems to be. It appears that some art work is also not what it appears to be on first glance. What can you make of a painting that seems to have a small boat in it one day, and not the next? I did enjoy the scenes with the two dogs, Buster and Bingo, as they provided most of the comical situations in this book. I also liked the groups meeting place scenes, a location for Ern to hide out and keep his new dog under control, as these scenes provide another focus of the story. And who doesn’t want to have their own little shed in the backyard where friends can hang out and eat biscuits all day with dogs!
This story is available as a book and eAudiobook
Ballet shoes by Noel Streatfield
Would you like to go to a school that teaches you to dance? Would you like to earn money performing in pantomimes, ballets or plays? Then put on your ballet shoes and meet the Fossil sisters….
Pauline, Petrova and Posy are three orphans raised as sisters by their guardian Sylvia. Deciding to put their family name of Fossil into the history books and because of a burning need to follow their passions, they embark on an exciting journey at the school the Academy of Dance and Stage Training. Here they learn the skills they will need to start earning their own living on the stage, performing in plays and dancing troupes. As they take classes in acting, ballet and performance, each sister goes on a very different journey, battling through financial hardships, personal triumphs, and some tragedies. Along the way, the three sisters learn that being a star isn’t as easy as they first thought; but if you work hard enough, you can follow your dreams.
This classic book can be read aloud by the family or by independent readers aged 9+.
Also part of the Shoes series by the author, including White Boots, Dancing Shoes and Circus shoes.
Find the book here.
Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens
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
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.
Yahoo Creek: An Australian Mystery by Tohby Riddle
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 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.
Pippi Longstocking by Astrid Lindgren
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
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 - Goodreads
Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl
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
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
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
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
Michael Bond and Paddington in 60 seconds
Amari and the night brothers by B. B. Alston
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!
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B. B. Alston – Author website
B. B. Alston – Goodreads
Paul Biegel – The King of Copper Mountain
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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