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

May 30 2017

Begin, end, begin: A #LoveOzYA anthology edited by Danielle Binks

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Harper Collins, 2017. ISBN 9781460752319
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Any reader, young adult or adult will not be disappointed with the short stories found in this collection. With contributions from leading Australian young adult authors, Amie Kaufman, Melissa Keil, Will Kostakis, Ellie Marney, Jaclyn Moriarty, Michael Pryor, Alice Pung, Gabrielle Tozer, Lili Wilkinson and Danielle Binks, one would expect the quality to be outstanding and each of the stories is an exceptional example of why they are such good writers. The backgrounds range from outer space, to country Australia, to urban parties and a long bus trip from Canberra to Melbourne, so there is something to appeal to the most discriminating reader.
Each of the ten short stories have an interesting take on the theme 'Begin, end, begin'. Fans of Ellie Marney's mystery series will be delighted to read a short story about Rachel and Mycroft's first meeting and how they became friends in 'Missing persons'. Michael Pryor takes on the hard and illuminating task of setting a refugee situation in space and does this in a most heart wrenching way in 'First casualty' commenting on politics and action that will resonate with readers. Jaclyn Moriarty's quirky 'Competition entry #349' will bring a smile to the reader's face as her young heroine goes back and forward in time to see why her budding romance has faltered, and both Amie Kaufman and Lili Wilkinson have explored diversity in their relationships. In 'The feeling from over here' Gabrielle Tozer explores the feelings that bullying and name calling has and shows how difficult it can be to stand up to bullies in a school setting. Alice Pung's 'In a heartbeat', explores the difficulties of teen pregnancy and celebrates a caring mother/daughter relationship.
Begin, end, begin: A #LoveOzYA anthology showcases the authors' talents. For those who may be unfamiliar with their books it will give a wonderful introduction to their style and is sure to make readers want to pick up more of their stories. I also look forward to reading more by Danielle Binks in the future.
Readers may also be interested in exploring the #LoveOzYA hashtag on Twitter and Instagram and going to the #LoveOzYA website to learn more about the beginnings of the #LoveOzYA movement.
Pat Pledger



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May 30 2017

The midnight mystery by Clara Vulliamy

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Dotty Detective bk 3. HarperCollins Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9780008132422
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Mystery. Detective. Camps. The Join the Dots Detectives have a brand new adventure to enthral fans. Dot and Beans are off on an Adventure Camp. They're looking forward to being...
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May 30 2017

Short by Holly Goldberg Sloan

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Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743816516
(Age: 10+) The title and blurb will possibly lead you to believe that Julia's height is of major significance, that we will be reading a story about the difficulties of bullies and discrimination similar to the emotional impact and profoundness of R.J...
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May 30 2017

The fairy dancers by Natalie Jane Prior

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Ill. by Cheryl Orsini. ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733337833
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Ballet dancers. Friendship. Ballet. Saturday mornings are special for young Mia, Emma and Grace, as they dress in their dance clothes, tie the ribbons of their ballet shoes and learn to dance and twirl...
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May 30 2017

Archie and the bear by Zanni Louise

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Ill. by David Mackintosh. Little Hare, 2017. ISBN 9781760127510
Archie loves being a bear but people just see him as a boy in a bear suit. Strong-willed, determined and frustrated that people don't believe him, Archie runs away to the forest where he meets a bear who is all about being a...
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May 28 2017

Once and for all by Sarah Dessen

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Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780141386690
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Adolescent. Feel good book. Resilience. I am a fan of Sarah Dessen's novels and Once and for all did not disappoint. Louna is the daughter of a wedding planner and helps out at the wedding functions that are held in...
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May 28 2017

Chook Doolan: Un-happy camper by James Roy

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Ill. by Lucinda Gifford. Chook Doolan series. Walker Books Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781925381573
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Themes: Worry, Family life, School stories, Camping, Self-confidence. Author James Roy's Chook Doolan stories are easy to read; they explore real life...
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May 28 2017

Chook Doolan: On the road by James Roy

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Ill. by Lucinda Gifford. Chook Doolan series. Walker Books Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781925381566
(Age: 5-8) Highly recommended. Themes: Fear and anxiety; Family; Chess. Chook Doolan has other names . . . more normal names . . . but Chook is the name you sometimes get if you are a...
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May 28 2017

Chook Doolan: Up and away by James Roy

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Ill. by Lucinda Gifford. Chook Doolan series. Walker Books Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781925381580
(Age: young independent reader) Recommended. Themes: Anxiety and Fear; Resilience; Flight. A Chook is another name for a 'chicken' - a flightless bird or someone that is not very brave....
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May 26 2017

Contagion by Teri Terry

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Dark Matter, bk 1. Orchard, 2017. ISBN 9781408341728
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Science fiction. Infections. Dystopian fiction. When Shay sees a poster with the face of a missing girl, Callie, she knows that she saw her get into a car with a man over a year ago. She contacts Callie's...
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May 26 2017

The twin friends by Kim Kane

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Ginger Green, Playdate queen series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2017. ISBN 9781760129606
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Friendship. Problem solving. Ginger Green is the playdate queen but runs into trouble when the twins Georgie and Zara, come to play. First of all Ginger has problems trying...
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May 26 2017

Supertato: Run, veggies, run by Sue Hendra and Paul Linnet

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Simon and Schuster Children's, 2017. ISBN 9781471121036
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour. Vegetables. Sports Day. Supertato has decided that it's time for all the vegetables in the supermarket to get fit and so he organised a sports day with lots of prizes. Then along comes the Evil Pea,...
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May 26 2017

Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy by Cassandra Clare and others

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Tales from the Shadowhunter Academy bks.1-10. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406373585
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Fans of Cassandra Clare's series will be delighted with this compilation of ten illustrated stories previously published individually as e-books. The stories by...
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May 26 2017

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406373189
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Friendship, Grief, Single parents, Aged care, Competition. When her father leaves, Raymie is distraught. She joins a baton twirling class in the hope of winning Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975, so having her...
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May 25 2017

Animal activity: Cut, fold and make your own wild things by Isabel Thomas

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Ill. by Nikalas Catlow. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408870068
(Age: Independent readers) Recommended. The subtitle 'Cut, fold and make your own wild things!' gives a good indication of what the user can find inside. Once opened the words 'This book will self-destruct' are sure to intrigue...
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May 25 2017

School daze by Zack Zombie

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Diary of a Minecraft Zombie: Book 5. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743818312
(Age: 7+) Set in the intriguing location of Scare School and containing characters well known by all those enthralled with the game Minecraft; School daze follows the story of Zack Zombie and his aim of...
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May 25 2017

The pink snowman by Alan Horsfield

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Ill. by Pat Kan. Big Sky Publishing. 2017. ISBN 9781925520439
(Age: 6-8) Snowmen. Blue Mountains NSW. Problem Solving. Krystal Clearwater is bored. She lives in the Blue Mountains and there is nothing to do. Outside there's a heavy blanket of snow covering the yard and inside her father...
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May 25 2017

Disappearing off the face of the earth by David Cohen

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Transit Lounge, 2017. ISBN 9780995359482
(Age: 15+) This contemporary story is set in a self storage business in Brisbane. Narrated in the first person by the owner Ken, it details the decline of the business where defaulters of the storage units disappear and Ken is able to sell the...
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May 25 2017

Dream little one, dream by Sally Morgan

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Ill by Ambelin Kwaymullina. Viking, 2016. ISBN 9780670078868
"When Moon shines and earth breathes a breath of deepest night dream, little one, dream into the peace of a wonderful world."
As the first fingers of light of the rising sun bring new life to a new day, the creatures begin...
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May 24 2017

Wombat big, Puggle small by Renee Treml

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Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143782940
Wombat is big and puggle, the baby echidna is small. But that doesn't stop them having a lot of fun is this delightful new book by Renee Treml who brings Australian wildlife to life with her stunning illustrations. Having already delighted our...
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May 24 2017

Wolfie an unlikely hero by Deborah Abela

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Ill. by Connah Brecon. Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143781509
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. 'I, The Wolf, am sick of being the bad guy. I'm taking over this book.'
Wolfie is cross, more than a little peeved with the negative portrayal of wolf's characteristics and actions in...
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May 24 2017

Forever Geek by Holly Smale

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Geek Girl series. HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780007574667
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Humour. Feel good book. In the finale to the very popular Geek Girl series, Harriet Manners, the geek, the model and the control freak is on her way to Australia with her grandmother Bunty and her...
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May 24 2017

The things we promise by J.C Burke

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN: 9781760290405
(Age: 15+) The Things We Promise describes the year of Gemma as she looks forward to her first school formal. Set in the 1990s this novel depicts the typical aspects of growing up as teenagers during this time period. Most notably is...
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May 24 2017

The Catawampus Cat by Jason Carter Eaton

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Ill. by Gus Gordon. Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780143785583
(Ages: 4-7) Highly recommended. Cats, change, perspective. The back cover helpfully informs us that the word 'catawampus' means to be askew or at an angle. A Google search confirms that it is indeed a word, albeit usually considered a...
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May 24 2017

I don't know what to call my cat by Simon Philip

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Ill. by Ella Bailey. Simon and Schuster, 2017. ISBN 9781471124129
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Cats, Family, Decision making. All readers will enjoy reading the covers of this inviting book, seeing the cats' names reflecting their attributes. I laughed out loud at Dali's moustache, Elton's...
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May 24 2017

First Baby Days series

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Pat-a-Cake, 2017
Funny Faces. ISBN 9781526380005
On the Move. ISBN 9781526380012
(Ages: 0-2) Recommended. Board books, high-contrast illustrations. These high-contrast board books have been designed to stimulate even the youngest children. Testing them out on my own...
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May 24 2017

Toddler's world series

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Hodder and Stoughton, 2017.
ABC. ISBN 9781526380029
123. ISBN 9781526380050
Animals. ISBN 9781526380036
Colours. ISBN 9781526380043
(Ages: 1-3) Recommended. Board books, concept books. Each of these bright, colourful board books has playful...
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May 23 2017

But then I came back by Estelle Laure

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Orchard Books, 2017. ISBN 9781408342541
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Eden's life was all figured out - she was going to go to New York and dance with the Bolshoi, she was going to be a star!
After the accident however, all her plans are thrown into doubt. Having woken from a coma a...
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May 23 2017

Aquatica, a beginner's field guide by Lance Balchin

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Five Mile Press, 2017. ISBN 9781760404147. Hardcover, 32 pages.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Dystopian fiction. Future settings. Environmental issues. Animals. Robots. Science fiction. Lance Belchin's Mechanica introduced a futuristic world where the extensive use of fossil fuels...
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May 23 2017

Welcome to Willowvale by Rebecca Johnson

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Vet cadets bk 1. Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780143782711
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Boarding School. Veterinary training. Animal husbandry. School life. Horse riding. Friendship. Science. Biology. Parasites. Willowvale Girls Academy offers a special Vet Cadet Program for Year 7 girls. New...
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May 23 2017

The princess and the frogs by Veronica Bartles

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Ill. by Sara Palacios. Balzer and Bray, 2017. ISBN 9780062365910
Princess Cassandra had everything she could possibly want - hundreds of dresses, thousands of books and servants to bring her anything she wanted. She should have been the happiest princess in the world. But there was one...
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May 23 2017

The most perfect snowman by Chris Britt

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Balzer and Bray, 2016. ISBN 9780062377043
Built in the first flurry of winter snow, Drift was the loneliest of snowmen. With his stick arms, small mouth and coal eyes he stood forlorn and forgotten amongst the bare winter trees. He dreamed of having a smart scarf, warm gloves and a long...
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May 22 2017

A fearsome beast and a dumpling feast by Yves Stening and Nigel Buchanan

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Dinner Detectives, bk 1. Publish Creative Books, 2017. ISBN 9780648008705
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Chinese New Year. Dumplings. Detectives. Clementine and Aksel are off to celebrate the Chinese New Year banquet at their cousin Ying's house in Chinatown. When their father is...
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May 17 2017

Into the white: Scott's Antarctic odyssey by Joanna Grochowicz

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760293659
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Antarctica, Exploration, Heroism. This extraordinary story of Captain Scott and his ill fated race to be the first to make it to the South Pole, is given new resonance for younger students in this highly readable book,...
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May 17 2017

Henrietta and the perfect night by Martine Murray

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Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760290245
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. This fifth book continues the adventures of 'Henrietta the Great Go-Getter'. She is going to have a new sibling, start school and discover a friend. Henrietta is trying novel things such as sleepovers and performing in...
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May 16 2017

Harry Kruize, born to lose by Paul Collins

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Hybrid Publishers, 2017. ISBN 9781925272628
(Age: 11+) This book draws heavily on one of the best-known poets and fiction writers of Australia's colonial period - Henry Lawson (1867-1922). One of Lawson's recurring themes in his yarns is dogs. Many a boy wants to have the mateship and...
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May 16 2017

The secret science of magic by Melissa Keil

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2017. ISBN 9781760127763
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Coming of age. Mathematics. Magic tricks. Sophia is very smart - she loves mathematics and finds it easy to relate to logic. Joshua loves his magic tricks and is obsessed with finding a way to get to know...
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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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