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 04 2015

Green Valentine by Lili Wilkinson

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760110277
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Gardening. Environmental protection. Conservation. Humour. Astrid is smart and pretty and a favourite with all the teachers. Hiro is rude and resentful and always in trouble. They meet at the shopping mall when Astrid is dressed in a lobster costume and Hiro is working gathering shopping trolleys. They give each other superhero nicknames Lobster Girl and Shopping Trolley Boy. When Hiro is assigned to Astrid to help her in the school garden that she is trying to get going, he doesn't recognise her and begins to get to know Astrid only as Lobster Girl. But the path of love is not easy.
This is a very funny, but also thought provoking book that tackles some big themes in an easy to read way that make it quite difficult to put down. Astrid is the perfect girl but can be quite annoying about her belief that she knows best for everyone. Hiro is smart but lives to make trouble at school. When the two get together, Astrid learns not only about gardening and how to make things grow, but about tolerance and respect for the opinions of others, realising that not everyone has the same aspirations to be good and go to uni that she has. The secondary characters in the book are also very well rounded. I found the blossoming of Astrid's mother after finding out that her husband was having an affair and kicking him out a great take on a marriage break-up. Hiro's grandmother too is a wonderful character and her garden is one I would like to visit.
The beliefs of the mayor and Astrid's science teacher about what they want their community and school to be like clash with Astrid and Hiro's attempts to beautify their part of the city and Astrid's crusade for the environment. Wilkinson is able to introduce (by way of very funny footnotes) lots of information about protecting the environment and the difficulties that campaigners face when they are trying to sway public opinion, not to mention lots of hints about growing vegetables and community gardens.
This is a feel-good book, with a romance that feels real and plenty of humour to keep the reader laughing until the end. It would also be a great novel for a literature circle or a class text as the themes of protecting the environment, disengagement from school, the responsibilities of local government and tolerance for others' beliefs give ample opportunity for discussion and thought.
Pat Pledger

More Reviews

Aug 04 2015

Tashi series by Anna Fienberg and Barbara Fienberg

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Tashi and the Golden Jawbone. ISBN 9781925267020
Tashi and Giant Squid. ISBN 9781925266993
(Ages: 6-8) Recommended. Based on the Popular Television Series. Tashi has been a much-loved character since 1995, when mother and daughter Anna and Barbara Fienberg published...
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Aug 04 2015

YIKES, Ticklysaurus! by Pamela Butchart

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Ill. by Sam Lloyd. Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408839690
(Ages: 2-6) Sam Lloyd's vibrant multi-coloured dinosaurs bring to life Pamela Butchart's rhyming picture book, YIKES, Ticklysaurus!
All of the dinosaurs are bored and glum on a hot day in their muddy swamp home....
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Aug 03 2015

Go set a watchman by Harper Lee

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Cornerstone, 2015. ISBN 9781785150289
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Scout is now the grown-up Jean Louise, 26 years old, living in New York, but returning to Maycomb County, her childhood home, for her annual visit to see her father Atticus, now aged 72. But at heart she is still that fiercely...
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Aug 03 2015

The Guy, The girl, The Artist And His Ex by Gabrielle Williams

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Allen & Unwin. 2015. ISBN: 9781743319550
(Age:14+) Highly recommended. This book is impossible to put down. It tells of the main characters Guy, Rafi, Luke and Penny - and the reader is simply compelled to find out what will happen next.
The book uses a real life event as the...
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Aug 03 2015

The Last Place by Michael Adams

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Last trilogy bk 4. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743316740
(Age: 15+) The last place concludes the fast paced sci-fi trilogy by Michael Adams.
The action from the first book to the last is compressed into a few months, and the young protagonist, Danby, has by now...
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Aug 03 2015

Amulet Keepers by Michael Northrop

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Tombquest bk 2. Scholastic Australia, 2015. ISBN 9781760150389
The Tombquest series follows the model of Scholastic's previous offerings with an interactive game promoted in association with the books. Fans of this series will need an interest in all things related to mummies...
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Jul 30 2015

Under My Skin by James Dawson

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Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN: 9781471402968
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. 'You have changed me so much and, here's the thing: I needed to change. Before you I thought I was weak scared and uncertain . . . You made me see I was wrong. You made me realise I could do things I never thought I...
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Jul 30 2015

New Boy by Nick Earls

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Puffin Books, 2015. ISBN 9780143308393
(Age: 10+) Nick Earls is a popular award-winning author whose recent novel New Boy tells the story of Herschelle, a South African boy of Dutch ancestry. Upon arriving in Australia with his family, Herschelle unexpectedly discovers he will 'have to...
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Jul 30 2015

The Drowned Kingdom by Kate Forsyth

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The Impossible Quest bk 4. Scholastic Australia, 2015.ISBN: 9781743624098
(Age: 10+) Fans of this fantasy adventure will be pleased to see this next instalment which gives us more information about Quinn's past and sheds some light on the motivation behind the original invasion...
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Jul 29 2015

Storm Rescue by Darrel and Sally Odgers

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Ill. by Janine Dawson. Pup Patrol bk 3. Scholastic Australia, 2015. ISBN 9781743623015
(Age: 6-8 years) Recommended. Storm Rescue is the third book in the Pup Patrol Series by the same authors who bought us the delightful Jack Russell: Dog Detective and Pet...
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Jul 29 2015

Almost Grace by Rosie Rowell

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Hot Key Books, 2015. ISBN 9781471401275
(Age: 14+) Recommended. 'I will support and love you through whatever it is that is causing you anxiety but I will not follow you down this road of self-destruction.'
This book, the story of Grace, is set in South Africa. There...
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Jul 29 2015

Galactic Hot Dogs: Cosmoe's Wiener Getaway by Max Braillier

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Ill. by Rachel Maguire and Nichole Kelley. Simon & Schuster, 2015. ISBN: 9781471123122
From The Wimpy Kid to Captain Underpants there has been a surge in books featuring both text and cartoon styled pictures. Some are easier to read than others. Cosmoe's...
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Jul 28 2015

Faking it by Gabrielle Tozer

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HarperCollins, 2015. ISBN: 9780732297060
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. 'My name is Josie Browning, I'm eighteen years old and I'm a fake ... but I don't want to be any more.'
This is the sequel to 'Intern', but can read as a single book. This was a great read and has the reader...
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Jul 28 2015

The Possum Magic Cookbook compiled by Gina Inverarity and Celia Jellett

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Ill. by Julie Vivas. Omnibus/Scholastic, 2015. ISBN: 9781742991214
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Grandma Poss is back with a collection of fabulous Australian recipes for well known and loved food. All the favourites are gathered here: Under the section Savouries can be found...
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Jul 28 2015

The Big Wish by Brandon Robshaw

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Chicken House, 2015. ISBN: 9781908435897
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Friendship, Wishes. Eleven year old Sam's life is about to change radically. The holidays are over and he's all set to start at Mary Seacole Comprehensive school, new uniform, new bag and school supplies....
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Jul 28 2015

Matilda by Roald Dahl

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Ill. by Quentin Blake. Puffin. 2015. ISBN 9780141341248
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Family Life, Good and Evil, Telekenisis, School. Roald Dahl's Matilda has been brought to life on the stage. All the well known characters are there, the all singing, all dancing the naughty...
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Jul 27 2015

Catalyst by Helen Coggan

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Hodder & Stoughton, 2015. ISBN: 9781444794670
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Helen Coggan began this novel at the age of 13 and has now published her first novel at the age of 15. Her interview with BBC can be viewed...
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Jul 27 2015

Second Life by S.J Watson

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Text, 2015. ISBN 9781922079251
(Age: Adult) Recommended. S.J. Watson is the author of the best seller Before I Go To Sleep and he likes to put a twist in his novels that leaves the reader gasping in surprise and scrambling back through the novel to look for the clues missed in the...
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Jul 27 2015

Scream: The Spider Army by Jack Heath

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Scholastic, 2015. ISBN: 9781760152093
(Age 9 - 12)Recommended. Themes: Spiders - Fiction, Mysteries and Suspense Stories, School Stories. Scream: The Spider Army by Jack Heath delivers the same level of creepiness, shocks and scares that Scream: The Human Flytrap did...
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Jul 27 2015

Found and Made The Art of Upcycling: Activities to turn your trash into treasure by Lisa Holzl

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Walker Books, 2015. ISBN: 9781922179098
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Nonfiction. Subjects: Art - found materials, Recycling, Crafts. Lisa Holzl is an accomplished artist who runs a children's and adults' workshops at The BakeHouse in Marrickville, Sydney. This is another enjoyable and...
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Jul 24 2015

The Alex Crow by Andrew Smith

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Electric Monkey, 2015. ISBN 9781405273428
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. On cover: Warning: Contains explicit content. Themes: Refugees, Cloning. Genetics. Genetic engineering. 15 year old Ariel is a refugee from the Middle East. He had hidden in a refrigerator when his village was...
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Jul 24 2015

The very noisy bear by Nick Bland

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Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743627853
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Bears, Noise, Musical instruments, Neighbours. When Bear is awakened one day during hibernation, he asks the sheep if perhaps they would tone down their noise, but instead is asked to stay and play. He is given a range...
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Jul 24 2015

Summer Rain by Ros Moriarty

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Ill. by Balarinji. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760112110
(Age: Junior primary) Themes: Aboriginal environment; Weather. Summer Rain is a bright picture book that reveals the transformation of the rainy season in Northern Australia. There is a simple text, written in a lovely poetic...
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