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

Aug 27 2014

Hero 41: Eye of the Gargoyle by Sam Penant

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Orchard Books, 2014. ISBN 9781408328286.
(Age: 10-14) Recommended. When Dax Daley cut his tongue on an envelope and sent it off, he didn't realise how much his life would soon change. By licking the envelope he had submitted his DNA to the government and thus exposed himself to possessing the very rare Lomas Gene.
The combination of Dax having the Lomas Gene and also having parents who are quite happy to see the back of him for a while (along with a little financial compensation) means that Dax soon finds himself on the way to his new school, Scragmoor Prime. Scragmoor Prime is not the average suburban school for the average suburban kid.
Only 40 kids from around the country have been found to possess the Lomas Gene. That is until Dax turns up late one night. His unexpected arrival falls during the welcome dinner where 40 students are already feasting and excitedly wondering why they have been invited to this exclusive school. Thus we now have the 41st student and possible hero 41.
The adventure that ensues sees Dax make friends and enemies with his new peers. We meet the eccentric teachers and staff of Scragmoor Prime. Learn about the colourful past of the school buildings which happened to be a very nasty prison. Dax and his friends battle a Gargoyle hell bent on turning Dax into stone and have a lot of fun discovering the powers that the Lomas Gene can bring out in a person.
Hero 41: Eye of the Gargoyle is the first in the Dax Daley Series. It is a fun ride for younger readers from 10 - 14 with a few descriptions of past events that would prevent me reading it to readers any younger. The next book in the series, Hero 41 - The People in the Wall is already eagerly anticipated by a group of year 5 students that I have read Eye of the Gargoyle to.
Steve Whitehead

More Reviews

Aug 27 2014

Ava Anne Appleton: Catching a wave by Wendy Harmer

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Ill. by Andrea Edmonds. Scholastic Australia: 2014. ISBN 9781743622353.
(Ages: 7-9) Recommended. Wendy Harmer continues the alphabetically aware Ava Anne Appleton series about the family who has packed up and left the security of their suburban home to travel around Australia in...
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Aug 27 2014

My funny family moves house by Chris Higgins

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Ill. by Lee Wildish. Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9781444918410.
Mattie Butterfield reports on the chaotic life of her tight knit family chronicling their lives and adding to her extensive Worry List. The family home is bursting at the seams but is moving the best option?
With the arrival...
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Aug 27 2014

My Grumpy Day illustrated by Felicity Gardner

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Lothian Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780734415448.
(Ages 2 - 10) Recommended. 'Some mornings, Max wakes up happy. Some mornings, Max wakes up hungry. But this morning, Max woke up grumpy.' My Grumpy Day follows a young gorilla called Max as he contends with his day's adventures....
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Aug 27 2014

Butter by Erin Lange

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Bloomsbury, 2012. ISBN 9781599907802.
(Age: 14+) 'The only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing.' Edmund Burke
Scottsdale High seems a pretty average high school with the usual groups of teens including those who are popular and those who are not....
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Aug 26 2014

New City by Deborah Abela

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Random House, 2014. ISBN 9781742758558.
(Ages: 9-12) Recommended. Beginning with a Diary entry by Griff giving a synopsis of the first book, Grimsdon,is an interesting way of setting the scene for New City which follows the fortunes of the Grimsdon survivors as they leave their...
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Aug 26 2014

Benji the Buccaneer by Craig Cormick

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Little Rockets series. New Frontier Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781925059052.
(Age: 7+) Everyone is fascinated by pirates and so is our main character, Benji. While waiting for the school bus, Benji is given the chance to take a different bus, a bus with a variety of characters and...
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Aug 26 2014

The legend series by Marie Lu

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Penguin, 2013.
Prodigy. ISBN 9780141344096.
Champion. ISBN 9780141351964.
(Age: Teens) Prodigy is a well thought out sequel to Marie Lu's original dystopian tale Legend. With the introduction of new characters and plotlines, it continues the...
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Aug 26 2014

Florentine and Pig and the Spooky Forest Adventure by Eva Katzler and Jess Mikhail

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408824399.
(Age 3+) Florentine and Pig were sound asleep on a quiet, still dark night when suddenly they are woken by the most ghostly noise. Is it the sound of the Growling, Prowling Bog Mog? Together they decide to venture outdoors to find it so it will never...
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Aug 26 2014

There's a lion in my cornflakes by Michelle Robinson

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Ill. by Jim Field. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408845608.
(Age: 4+) Recommended, Animals, Humour, Competitions, Family. Seeing a competition on the cornflake packet inspires Eric and Dan to collect the 100 tokens to win a lion. They use all their pocket money to buy the packets from the...
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Aug 22 2014

Awe of Mercury by Elon Dann

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Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471401190.
(Ages: 14+ ) Highly Recommended. Survival. Friendship. Gruesome. Deceit. The Spiral is an underground, circular prison that rotates each prisoner one cell to their left each day. This will continue until the prisoner has reached the last cell...
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Aug 22 2014

One rule for Jack by Sally Morgan and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

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Ill. by Craig Smith. Omnibus, 2014. ISBN 9781742990330.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Aboriginal themes. Family life. When Jack wants to slide out of jobs to do around the home, he has one rule, 'do it badly'. When showering in the morning, he turns on the tap, wets his hair, then walks out...
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Aug 22 2014

An English boy in New York by T.S Easton

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Hot Key Books 2014. ISBN 9781471401497.
(Age: 13+) While this is the sequel to Boys don't knit there are sufficient explanatory references dotted throughout the story to keep the new reader up to speed.
Having...
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Aug 22 2014

Alice-Miranda in Japan by Jacqueline Harvey

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Random House, 2014. ISBN 9781742757599.
'Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones attends boarding school at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies. A truly positive heroine, she is funny, kind, optimistic and able to solve just about any...
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Aug 22 2014

Analogue men: a novel by Nick Earls

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Vintage Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781864711523
Recommended for anyone with a sense of humour.'Do you ever feel like you might have just one more chance to get on top of your life and make things happen?'
Andrew Van Fleet has been a long-distance husband, father and son for some years...
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Aug 21 2014

Rivertime by Trace Balla

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316337
Highly recommended for around Year 3 upwards. Every now and then a book comes along and you just look at it amazed. This apparent picture book is really a graphic novel that recounts an extraordinary trip along the Glenelg River undertaken by a...
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Aug 21 2014

1914 by Sophie Masson

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Australia's Great War series. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743622476.
Sophie Masson is to be congratulated for writing about Australians in the Great War without feeling an obligation to open with Gallipoli in 1915. She introduces brothers Louis and Thomas Julian who are French on...
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Aug 21 2014

Jasper Zammit: Soccer legend by Deborah Abela

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Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857983206. (Age: 10+) Recommended. Deborah Abela obviously greatly admired Johnny Warren, captain and vice-captain of the Socceroos from 1964 to 1974. Johnny was involved in the sport for 50 years and Deborah has drawn on his experiences when writing...
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Aug 21 2014

Whiffy Wilson, the wolf who wouldn't go to school by Caryl Hart

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Ill. by Leonie Lord. Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9781408325858.
(Age: 3-8) Recommended. Picture book. School. Learning. Whiffy doesn't know how to hold a pen, he has never been to school. He cannot write his name or count to ten, and when his father tells him it is time for school, his response...
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Aug 21 2014

Superhero School: The revenge of the green meanie by Alan MacDonald

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408825235
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Alan MacDonald is a master of exciting stories that lead the young reader through incredible adventures. In Superhero School, Stan Button dreams of becoming superhero Dangerboy, taking on evil super villains at every...
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Aug 19 2014

Rescue on Nim's island by Wendy Orr

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316788.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Conservation, Sustainability, Island life, Adventure. After the first two successful stories of Nim and her island (Nim's island, and Nim at sea) it is a pleasure to read another about this...
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Aug 19 2014

Badudu stories by May L. O'Brien

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Fremantle Press, 2014. ISBN 9781922089823.
(Age: 6-10) Recommended. Chapter book, Aboriginal themes, Early learning, Western Australia.
Four short stories, first published by May L. O'Brien in 1994 have been collected together to contribute to the growing store of literature about...
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Aug 19 2014

Cryptic casebook of Coco Carlomagno and Alberta: The quivering quavers by Ursula Dubosarsky

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Puzzles and illustrations by Terry Denton. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743319512.
(Age: Middle primary and adults) Highly recommended. This is a new to me series by the ever reliable Ursula Dubosarsky. This is a funny mystery when Alberta receives a coded letter from Coco to come...
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Aug 19 2014

The Last Apprentice: The Painted War by Imogen Rossi

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Hot Keys Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471402616.
Recommended by readers 12+. Imogen Rossi's A Painted War, the conclusion to The Last Apprentice series illustrates a Renaissance like no other. With magical paintings and a paintbrush-turned-key, this novel puts a spin to a classic...
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Aug 19 2014

Ciao EJ! by Susannah McFarlane

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EJ12 bk 18. LemonFizz Media, 2014. ISBN 9781921931666.
Recommended for readers from 8-10 years of age. Emma Jack's eighteenth mystery adventure takes the SHINE Stars off to Italy. Famous statues are mysteriously being targeted, stained with black paint and the combined skills of...
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Aug 19 2014

The Graveyard Book volume 1 by Neil Gaiman

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Graphic adaptation by P. Craig Russell. Ill. by Kevin Nowlan, P. Craig Russell, Tony Harris, Scott Hampton, Galen Showman, Jill Thompson, Stephen B. Scott. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN: 9781408858998.
This graphic version of the very popular Graveyard Book covers the first half of the...
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Aug 19 2014

The sequin star by Belinda Murrell

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Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857982056.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Belinda Murrell is an accomplished Australian writer of teen fiction and the Lulu Bell series for younger readers. The Sequin Star is one of several stories that she has written that involve a journey...
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Aug 19 2014

Billy is a dragon series by Nick Falk

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Ill. by Tony Flowers. Random House Australia Children's, 2014.
Billy is a Dragon: Shadow Shifter. ISBN: ISBN 9780857983152.
Billy is a Dragon: Eaten Alive. ISBN: 9780857983176.
Billy is back with two more exciting adventures for newly independent readers. When Billy was bitten...
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Aug 18 2014

Every word by Ellie Marney

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316511.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Crime, Thriller, Melbourne, London, Sherlock Holmes. When Rachel Watts hears her boyfriend, Mycroft has boarded a plane for London, accompanying the forensic investigator, Dr Walsh, she is devastated. She knows...
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Aug 17 2014

Are you seeing me? by Darren Groth

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Woolshed Press, 2014. ISBN 978857984739
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Disability. Cancer. Twins. Journeys. Canada. Using their inheritance for a trip to Vancouver with her twin brother, Justine opens her father's diary to read on the plane. Her brother is in his seat on the other side...
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Aug 17 2014

Plenty by Ananda Braxton-Smith

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Black Dog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742032429.
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Journeys. Moving house. Refugees. When ten year old Maddy is told by her parents that they are moving to the small country town called Plenty because her grandmother is becoming less able to cope by herself, she is...
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Aug 17 2014

Warrior heroes: The viking's revenge by Benjamin Hulme-Cross

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781472904492.
Recommended.(Age 10+ for good readers; or 13+ for those who struggle to read. Will be enjoyed by male readers, does not patronise young readers.) Vikings. Quest fiction. Adventure. Historical fiction. Time travel.
This is the first book I have...
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Aug 17 2014

Construction by Sally Sutton

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Ill. by Brian Lovelock. Walker Books Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781922077301
Young readers will love this onomatopoeic picture book that takes them on a journey filled with construction as a library is being built. From the award-winning duo Sally Sutton and Brian Lovelock, this book is...
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Aug 17 2014

Oi frog! by Kes Gray

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Ill. by Jim Field. Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9781444910865.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Picture book. Rhyming words. Animals. Idioms. 'The cat sat on the mat' is a very familiar refrain, and in this book, Kes Gray takes that wellknown phrase a little further, applying a rhyming word to a multitude...
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Aug 15 2014

Razorhurst by Justine Larbalestier

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743319437.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Sydney 1932. Crime. Ghosts. Gangs. Prostitution. Hungry, homeless Kelpie believes the ghost, Tommy, when he tells her that there are apples inside the room in the old boarding house. But breaking in, she finds a...
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Aug 15 2014

My dog doesn't like me by Elizabeth Fensham

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University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702250170.
(Ages: 8+) Recommended. Dogs. Pets. Responsibility. Eric's dog does not like him, and he wants to do something about it. He feels rejected by the pet given to him by his family when he was eight, and since then the dog, Ugly,...
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Aug 15 2014

Outside by Libby Hathorn

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Ill. by Ritva Voutila. Little Hare, 2014. ISBN 978192189688.
(Age: 3 to adult) Recommended. Picture book. Gardens. Exploration. Imagination.
Moving from couplets to stanzas, using half rhymes and full rhyming words, Hathorn gives the reader, child and adult alike a series...
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