ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
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Latest Review

Jun 27 2017

Boy by Phil Cummings

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Ill. by Shane Devires. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781760277055
(Ages: 4-8) Highly recommended. Perception, communication, deafness, power. From the author and illustrator of Wang Wang and Funi comes this modern fairy tale that cleverly conveys important moral messages. The title character, Boy, lives in a small village on the edge of a forest. He also happens to be deaf. He communicates with his 'dancing hands' and by drawing pictures in the sand, but only his parents are able (or want to) understand him. The dragon that lives in the forest is always fighting the king and their battles are always noisy ('Cling clong clang!', 'ROAR!'). While Boy can't hear the endless fighting he can feel and see the fear. One day, when he accidentally finds himself in the middle of the battlefield, he writes a question in the sand: “Why are you fighting?” When the dragon and the king start talking, they discover that their fighting is the result of misunderstanding and a lack of communication. Because of his influence in solving the problem, the villagers finally see Boy as a person worthy of their time and make an effort to communicate with him. There are many layers of both simple and complex messages here; the most obvious being that we need to make an effort to understand others and that we shouldn't make assumptions. Boy may not communicate like the other villagers but he does have important things to say and the dragon may be big (and called a dragon) but he is not scary or mean. It reiterates that the pen is mightier than the sword and that power can be silent rather than loud and aggressive. There is potential to use this story to discuss issues faced by those with a hearing impairment as well as how society often overlooks or ignores the voices of people with disabilities (and even just those who are not as loud or who don't communicate in the dominant manner). It may also open more general discussion regarding different forms of communication and the importance of communicating effectively. The overall tone is one of hope and optimism; it implies that if we communicate and make an effort to hear the voices of everyone in our community everyone will get along better. This is supported by the rounded, soft illustrations in which even the dragon is cute rather than scary. There is a lot of symbolism in both the text and the illustrations and it will engage and stimulate children of different ages on different levels.
Nicole Nelson



More Reviews

Jun 27 2017

Dr Karl's little book of space by Dr Karl Kruszelnicki

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Ill. by Russell Jeffery. Pan Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781925481235
(Age: 10+) Junior Non fiction. Dr Karl's Little Book of Space is a small book full of fun activities (quizzes, puzzles, drawings, etc) related to space. As such it is not a text book, but a fun and interesting way...
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Jun 27 2017

Goodbye Mr Hitler by Jackie French

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Angus and Robertson, 2017. ISBN 9781460751299
Historical war fiction. This story follows on from Hitler's Daughter and Pennies for Hitler, however I read it as a stand alone story. This may...
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Jun 27 2017

Pride by Lazaros Zigomanis

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Busybird Publishing. ISBN 9781925585247
(Ages: 15+) Highly recommended. Luke is an 18 year old country boy who loves the regular footy game with his mates, and there is a girl he's interested in, the daughter of the footy coach. Footy training has always been casual, nothing too demanding,...
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Jun 27 2017

101 collective nouns by Jennifer Cossins

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Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734417978
(Age: Primary) Recommended. Language. Collective nouns. A list of animals and their collective nouns in alphabetical order from aardvarks to zebras, is given an entrancing backdrop of endearing illustrations by Cossins. Lists of these nouns appear now...
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Jun 27 2017

Where's my jumper? by Nicola Slater

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Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471146213
(Ages: 2-5) Counting. This fun and humorous book with cut-outs and flaps counts backwards from 10. It features bold text with number words in capital letters and retro illustrations of orange, yellow, blue, pink, red and green. We see Rudy on...
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Jun 27 2017

Zombie family reunion by Zack Zombie

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Diary of a Minecraft Zombie series. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743818336
(Age: 7+) What is next for Zombie? He's on his summer scare-cation, just back from camp and all he wants to do now is stay home, eat cake and play video games. Unfortunately, it is the time for the Zombie...
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Jun 26 2017

Raymond by Yann and Gwendal Le Bec

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406362428
(Age: 5+) Recommended, Dogs, Behaviour. Raymond is a loved dog in the family. Each year the family treat him to a surprise birthday party, but one day Raymond has a big idea. Why shouldn't he sit with the family at tea. And so he does. After that it...
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Jun 26 2017

A-Z of endangered animals by Jennifer Cossins

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Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734417954
(Age: primary) Recommended. Animals, Endangered animals. Artist and writer Cossins, has brought her skills together to present this book about some of the world's endangered animals. Each double page represents one of the animals in danger, in...
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Jun 26 2017

Dino diggers: Digger disaster by Rose Impey

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Ill. by Chris Chatterton. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408872444
(Ages: 2-5) Dinosaurs, construction, teamwork. This cleverly combines two things that young children love: dinosaurs and diggers, and the bright, cartoon-like and action-filled illustrations will keep them engaged. This is...
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Jun 26 2017

The Cherry Pie Princess by Vivian French

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Ill. by Marta Kissi. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406368970
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Magic, Princes and Princesses, Castle Life. Princess Peony lives in a castle with parents the King and Queen and her six older sisters. Their lives are ordered and organised - even a visit to the Royal Library...
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Jun 26 2017

Horizon by Scott Westerfeld

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Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743817605
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Science fiction, Survival, STEM. On a flight from the USA to Tokyo, eight teens on the plane are the only survivors when it crashes. But where they expect snow and ice, is jungle, with strange birds and even stranger...
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Jun 23 2017

Whatcha building? by Andrew Daddo

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Ill. by Stephen Michael King. Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780733334153
(Ages: 4-8) Recommended. Construction, recycled materials. Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King have created a multi-layered book about how our world is changing around us. When the old wooden milk bar is torn down...
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Jun 23 2017

Is this an emergency? Ambulance. The adventures of Toby the Teddy by Catherine Buckley and Amelia Harrison

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Ill. by Emma Stuart. Amelia Harrison, 2016. ISBN 9780646952901
(Ages: 4-6) Medical emergencies, ambulances. An Australian primary school teacher and an illustrator with experience in emergency medical services have created this book to fill a specific educational resource gap. They...
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Jun 23 2017

Never a true word by Michael McGuire

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Wakefield Press, 2017. ISBN 9781743054734
(Age: Adult) Recommended for Adults only (and only for those with political interest) Themes: Politics; Elections; Public relations. This is a thinly veiled expose of the political process - McGuire lifts the tent flaps and reveals the soiled...
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Jun 21 2017

Beyond the wild river by Sarah Maine

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Hodder and Stoughton, 2017. ISBN 9781473639683
(Age: Senior secondary-adult) Recommended. This is a terrifically well researched novel, and the story, and indeed the plot, are finely wrought. I was captivated by the settings, described in rich detail, from the new city of Chicago to the...
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Jun 21 2017

A patch from scratch by Megan Forward

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Penguin/Viking, 2016. ISBN 9780670078295
Living a country life in the city is an appealing prospect for many. Picking fresh fruit and vegetables from the garden bed instead of the supermarket shelves; having your own chooks to provide fresh eggs; recycling waste instead of sending it to...
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Jun 21 2017

Margherita's recipes for love by Elisabetta Flumeri and Gabriella Giacometti

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Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471162695
(Age: 15+) Well, this is a delicious read, a feast for the senses. The writers almost dare us to not relish or enjoy the food, the convoluted love stories, the solving of issues of love, loyalty and friendship all set in the delightful towns...
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Jun 21 2017

The curious case of the missing mammoth by Ellie Hattie

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Ill. by Karl James Mountford. Little Tiger Press, 2017. ISBN 9781848694484
Bong! Oscar is woken by the town clock striking midnight and strange noises in the street. As he looks out his window he sees a huge, hairy woolly mammoth. Instead of being scared, he is dressed and outside in a...
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Jun 21 2017

Bring me the head of Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

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Ill. by John Kelly. Ivy Pocket series; book 3. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408858721
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Themes: Orphans and orphanages; Jewellery; Ghosts; Supernatural stories; Mystery and suspense stories; Ghosts; England - Social life and customs - 19th century. This...
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Jun 21 2017

Rose's red boots by Maura Finn

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Ill. by Karen Erasmus. New Frontier Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9780957988446
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Autumn, Rhyming story, Play, Clothing, Weather, STEM. Rose goes out to play in the blustery wind with her dog, Banjo. Leaves gently drift to the ground, the sky is full of fairy floss clouds,...
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Jun 21 2017

The Mysterious Mr Jacob : Diamond Merchant, Magician and Spy by John Zubrzycki

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Transit Lounge Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9780995359437
(Age: 16+) This story, claimed by William Dalrymple to be 'one of the most exciting narrative histories to come out of India', is indeed utterly fascinating. Set in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the story is centred on Alexander...
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Jun 20 2017

Bronze bird tower by Carole Wilkinson

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Dragonkeeper book 6. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781922179586
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Dragons. Fantasy. Myths. Mythical worlds. Carole Wilkinson has ended the Dragonkeeper series with another thrilling, fantasy journey into the mythical world of Huaxia (China) in the safe...
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Jun 20 2017

Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons by Gary Northfield

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Julius Zebra series. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406373721
(Age: 8+) Ancient Rome. Animal stories. Gladiators. Humorous stories. Champion gladiator Julius Zebra returns in another crazy adventure accompanied by his zany animal friends. Life for the People's Champion should be...
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Feb 02 2017

Literature to support the Science curriculum Foundation -7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Highly recommended for educators. Subjects: Science curriculum; Fiction; Annotated bibliography. Fran Knight and Pat Pledger continue to write first-rate reference tools for teachers in primary school education, which focus on key curriculum...
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Jan 30 2017

Literature to support the Australian curriculum: HISTORY. Foundation - Year 10 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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LinksPlus, revised 2016. ISBN 9781876678265
Highly recommended - for educators. Subjects: History curriculum; Fiction; Annotated bibliography. Fran Knight and Pat Pledger are committed to providing educators and librarians with excellent reference tools that support the Australian...
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Feb 21 2016

Fiction gems: Recommended fiction lists for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678456
Teacher reference. What a great resource for those charged with purchasing or recommending reading material for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students. The Middle School aged reader can have specific interests or reading demands and keeping...
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