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

Apr 20 2018

The shepherd's hut by Tim Winton

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143786115
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. The voice in this novel is Jaxie Clackton. He is 17, ok maybe 15, and he is tough, and distrusting of everybody. And he has reason - his father, regularly drunk, beats him unconscious; his long-suffering mother has died; he has no friends; he is the kid always in trouble at school. The only person he cares about is his cousin Lee and she is far away from him. But whilst Jaxie cares about Lee, he is also secretly scared that maybe he's not good for her, he has the same temper as his father, he gets into fights, maybe their relationship would become the same as his parents, maybe it's in his blood.
A violent incident finds Jaxie suddenly alone, and there is nowhere else to go, but head north, across country on foot, to find Lee. Although he is tough, the country is tougher, and thirst, hunger and exhaustion lead him to a confrontation with another outsider, Fintan MacGillis, a man with a secret, condemned to living in complete isolation in the bush. Jaxie knows enough to never let down his guard, never trust, never give too much away. But need forces them into an uneasy relationship.
It is easy to get caught up in this story, Jaxie's voice is so real, so brutally honest, we know all his doubts and fears, and we are drawn into his conflict. The pace carries relentlessly to its terrible climax.
The shepherd's hut is yet another brilliant novel by Tim Winton; the characters are very real, you can hear their voices as you read the words, and you want to know what is going to happen. No hints about the ending, but it doesn't disappoint; you will be left thinking about it all after you've finished the book.
Helen Eddy



More Reviews

Apr 20 2018

Everless by Sara Holland

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Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9781408353622
(Age: 12+) Jules and her father are poor, not of money, but of time. In the world of Everless, payments are collected in the form of time, which is siphoned through blood. Through alchemy, this time and blood is bound to coins (the larger the coin, the...
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Apr 20 2018

Thunder Creek Ranch by Soya Spreen Bates

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Orca Books Publishers, 2013. ISBN 9781459801127
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Thunder Creek Ranch is a short story full of adventure. When Jake visits the neighbouring ranch, even though he knows he shouldn't, a chain reaction of events unfolds. Jake and his younger brother Tommy...
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Apr 20 2018

The 1,000 year old boy by Ross Welford

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Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9780008256944
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Youth; History-fiction; Friendship; Adventure. What if you never got old? What would you do if you were stuck as an 11 year old for 1000 years? For Alfie this is his life! The stories passed down through...
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Apr 20 2018

Ruby in the ruins by Shirley Hughes

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406375893
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Ruby in the Ruins is a beautifully illustrated story depicting life in the ruins of London after World War Two. The war is over and Ruby and her mum are eagerly awaiting the return of Ruby's dad, a soldier. Ruby...
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Apr 19 2018

Dark angels by Ron Thomas

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Harbour Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781922134318
(Age:16+) Recommended. Set in Darlinghurst in the 1930s, this story centres upon Gilbert Maggs, a young teenager who is chased from the family home by a knife wielding drunken father. His only refuge is the streets which are controlled by...
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Apr 19 2018

The book of answers by A. L. Tait

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An Ateban Cipher Novel. Hachette Australia, 2018. ISBN 9780734417695
(Age: 10-12) Highly recommended. "Gabe and his companions journey to a remote mountain citadel where they learn the secret of the mysterious encrypted book that he has been tasked with protecting. But their...
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Apr 19 2018

The new kid! by Tim Cahill

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Tiny Timmy series book 7. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742993188
(Age: 6-9) Recommended. Themes: Soccer. Teamwork. Friendship.
When the new kid, Ricardo, arrives at school he comes with soccer credentials from the Representative team that means he is a rival for the 'best kid...
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Apr 19 2018

See hear: a beginner's book of senses by Tania McCartney

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Ill. by Jess Racklyeft. EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925335675
"If I stop and look around, I can see so many things."
In this sequel to Smile cry, Piglet, Bunny and Cat are looking closely at the world around them and then using their words to describe what they see - the...
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Apr 19 2018

The little mermaid by Alex Field

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Ill. by Owen Swan. New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925059816
In 1837, Hans Christian Andersen gave the world his classic story of Ariel, The little mermaid who falls in love with a human prince and in exchange for legs so she...
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Apr 18 2018

I have lost my way by Gayle Forman

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Simon and Schuster, 2018. ISBN 9781471173721
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Mental illness. Friendship. Homosexuality. Diversity. Gayle Forman the author of the bestselling If I stay and the sequel...
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Apr 18 2018

Nobody real by Steven Camden

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008168384
(Age: Older teens and young adults) Recommended. What an unusual style for a novel, loaded with great imagery and poetry.
I found this novel difficult to understand at first as I was challenged with following who was narrating at different...
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Apr 18 2018

Go Go and the silver shoes by Jane Godwin and Anna Walker

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Penguin Viking, 2018. ISBN 9780143785521
When all your clothes are the hand-me-downs from your three wild brothers, it is important to make the most of what you have. Even though they were fourth-hand, Go Go had a knack for making them interesting and wore them proudly even if "friends"...
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Apr 18 2018

Lyla: Through my eyes by Fleur Beale

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Through My Eyes Natural Disaster Zones series. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760113780
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Earthquakes; Disasters; Mental Health; Resilience; Loss and grief; Overcoming difficulties. This series is an amazing chance to step inside a disaster...
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Apr 18 2018

Dig, dump, roll by Sally Sutton

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Ill. by Brian Lovelock. Roadworks series. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650056
(Ages: 2-5) Themes: Construction vehicles. This new instalment in the Roadworks series (Roadworks, Demolition and Construction) will delight young lovers of big...
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Apr 17 2018

The story of Tantrum O'Furrily by Cressida Cowell

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Ill. by Mark Nicholas. Hodder Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781444933802
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Cats. Survival. Stories. Cautionary tales. When Tantrum pads across the roofs in search of food with her three hungry kittens in tow, they ask for a story. So she tells them a...
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Apr 17 2018

How to be a fashion designer by Lesley Ware

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Ill. by Tiki Papier. DK, 2018. ISBN 9781465467614
The world of fashion, with its perceived glamour and glitz, always appeals to a certain number of students who care about what they wear and have the ability to make the proverbial sack look good. Sadly though, enduring emphasis on body...
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Apr 17 2018

O horsey by Christopher Barnett

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055212
(Age: Adult) Once described as 'The greatest Australian poet you've never heard of' (The Conversation, 2013), Chrisopher Barnett is a poet from Adelaide who has lived in France since 1990. His previous work When they came/ for you: elegies/ of...
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Apr 17 2018

The walkabout orchestra by Chloe Perernau

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Quarto, 2018. ISBN 9781786030795
The orchestra have an important concert to play - but all the musicians have gone walkabout! But each has sent a postcard to the Maestro saying where they are. So the challenge for the reader is to help him and his faithful assistant find them using the...
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Apr 17 2018

The last peach by Gus Gordon

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Viking, 2018. ISBN 9780670078912
As summer draws to a close, a delicious golden peach hangs in front of the two bugs, tantalising them with its perfection. But which of them should eat it? Indeed, should it be eaten at all? Should it remain beautiful and perfect or should they satisfy...
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Apr 16 2018

The great Shelby Holmes meets her match by Elizabeth Eulberg

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408871492
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Themes: Detective stories, School stories, Juvenile Diabetes. Feisty nine-year-old girl detective Shelby Holmes returns to solve a new mystery and confront an old enemy. With her friend and mystery-solving partner John Watson...
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Apr 16 2018

Count with Little Fish by Lucy Cousins

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406374193
(Ages: 0-3) Themes: Counting, Fish, Board Book, Rhyming. This is a Little Fish Book, featuring the same titular fish from Where is Little Fish and Hooray for Fish. It counts from 1 to 10 using a variety of fish (fin-fin fish,...
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Apr 16 2018

Yay! It's Library Day by Aleesah Darlison

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Ill. by Australian children. Wombat Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925563238
(Ages: 3-6) Themes: Books, Libraries, Reading. Illustrated by children from around Australia, Yay! It's Library Day reminds readers of the importance of libraries and books. Oliver and Ivy visit the library with...
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Apr 16 2018

Message in a sock by Kaye Baillie

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Ill. by Narelda Joy. MidnightSun, 2018. ISBN 9781925227383
Highly recommended. Picture book. One hundred years ago and Australian soldiers are fighting in the waterlogged, mud-filled, rat-infested trenches of the Western Front and almost as great an issue as the enemy's bullets is...
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Apr 16 2018

The tale of the Anzac tortoise by Shona Riddell

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Ill. by Matt Gauldie. Tortoise Shell Press, 2015. ISBN 9780473318949
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Matthew and Marama loved playing soldiers in the backyard of the old big, old house they had just moved into. Using water pistols and plums as weapons, there were plenty of bushes and shrubs to...
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Apr 13 2018

Lightning men by Thomas Mullen

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Little, Brown, 2017. ISBN 9781408710623
(Age: Senior secondary-adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Crime, Atlanta, USA, Historical novel, Racism, Jim Crow laws. Atlanta, Georgia in the 1950's is laid bare for all to see in this stunning new crime story by Thomas Mullen.
Listening to...
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Apr 13 2018

Trans mission : My quest to a beard by Alex Bertie

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Hachette, 2017. ISBN 9781526360687
(Age: Adolescent) This well written and easy to understand autobiography goes a long way to helping you understand the struggles facing transgender men and women.
Bertie's honest account of his childhood, the difficulties he faced with family,...
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Apr 13 2018

A garden of lilies: Improving tales for young minds by Judith Rossell

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ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733338229
(Ages: 9+) Recommended. Themes: Morality tales, Social life and customs, Manners, Alphabet books. Judith Rossell's award-winning novel Wormwood Mire, referenced the cautionary tales of the fictional Victorian writer Prudence A. Goodchild. Young...
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Apr 13 2018

The lost puppy by Clara Vulliamy

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Dotty Detective series. Harper Collins Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9780008248376
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Detectives; Pets. Dot is an amateur detective - she uses clues to join the dots to solve her cases. In fact her detective agency is called: "Join the Dots...
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Apr 13 2018

A boat of stars: New poems to inspire and enchant ed. by Margaret Connolly and Natalie Jane Prior

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ABC, 2018. ISBN 9780733337932
A boat of stars came down tonight
and sailed around my bed -
it sprinkled stardust on my eyes,
put dreams inside my head . . .

Poetry, with its vocabulary, rhythm and sometimes rhyme, and its nuances that are the sounds of our spoken...
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Apr 04 2018

In the lamplight by Dianne Wolfer

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Ill. by Brian Simmonds. Fremantle Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925591224
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: World War One, Hospitals, Nursing, Spanish influenza, Armistice.  With copious charcoal illustrations, archival material and a story told through diary entries alternating with...
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Apr 04 2018

Digger by Mike Dumbleton

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Ill. by Robin Cowther. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760296735
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: World War One, Kangaroos, Children in war, Villers-Bretonneux. A link between Australia and France is created in Dumbleton's stunning picture book concentrating on the battle around the...
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Apr 04 2018

The war I finally won by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

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Text, 2017. ISBN 9781925498851
Highly recommended. Sequel to the award winning The war that saved my life. "When Ada's clubfoot is surgically fixed at last, she knows for certain that she's not what her mother said she...
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Apr 04 2018

Gladys goes to war by Glyn Harper

cover imageIll. by Jenny Cooper. Picture Puffin, 2016. ISBN 9780143507208
Auckland, New Zealand in the very early 20th century when girls were still supposed to be seen and not heard, despite having had voting rights since 1893 - still very much an English colonial mentality where they busied...
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