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

Jan 21 2018

Lucky button by Michael Morpurgo

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Ill. by Michael Foreman. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406371680
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: Orphans, Foundling Hospital (London), Illness, Bullying, Friendship, Schools. When Jonah is bullied he takes refuge in the chapel in his school, once a Foundling Hospital in the country, used after the London premises became overcrowded. Here he meets the spirit of a foundling, named Nat Hogarth, who loves to play the organ, a noise sometimes heard by the students, giving rise to the story of ghosts of the children who once lived there. Nat relates his life story to Jonah, telling the reader about this astonishing place.
He tells of his time with foster parents then returned to the hospital for his education before being apprenticed at sixteen revealing the lives of these children, many of whom died while in care, education subservient to trying to deal with disease and malnutrition. Nat is sent to a country house where he is treated poorly, but at his second place he meets the Mozart children with whom he develops a long standing relationship. Readers will be thrilled reading about the place music comes to take within Nat's life, and how it parallels Jonah's life, augmenting the link between the two. This is a charming tale of lives lived two hundred years apart, being pulled together through a love of music. Its beautiful cover and pages of illustrations will ensure the book is read from cover to cover.
The Foundling Museum in London's Brunswick Square is a most arresting place to visit, with art treasures from famous people, Handel and Hogarth for example, who supported the work of the Foundling Hospital, and memorabilia from the unfortunate mothers who left their babies there. Set up in 1739 by sea captain, Thomas Coram, it was the first charitable trust developed to support homeless children, because its founder could not ignore the vast numbers of children left on the streets. To this end he set up the hospital with the help of wealthy supporters who donated art works creating an art gallery unlike any other. The work of the children's trust continued until 1954, and today supports children in a variety of ways. More can be found about this startling place at https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Foundling_Hospital  and the museum at https://foundlingmuseum.org.uk/
(Check 'About' to find information about the foundlings and what is on display) The display of the tokens and mementoes left by the relinquishing mothers will tear at your heart strings.
This museum, not well known on London's tourist trail is well worth a visit and is near the Dickens' Museum. Dickens' portrayal of young lives has parallels within the walls of the Foundling Hospital.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Jan 21 2018

The ashes of London by Andrew Taylor

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HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780008207755
(Age: secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Great Fire of London, Sir Christopher Wren, London, Murder, Restoration, Commonwealth, Puritans. The year 1666 was already inauspicious containing three sixes, the mark of Satan to some, making...
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Jan 21 2018

Horses wild and tame by Iris Volant

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Ill. by Jarom Vogel. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781911171324
(Age: 7-70) Highly recommended. Themes: Horses - History, Horses - Breeds, Horses - Famous, Horse-riding. Horses Wild and Tame is an extremely informative and visually engaging book that explores the evolution of horses,...
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Jan 19 2018

Rebel voices : The rise of votes for women by Louise K. Stewart

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Ill. by Eve Lloyd Knight. Wren and Rook, 2018. ISBN 9781526300232
(Age: 8 - Adult) Highly recommended. From the fascinating eyes that follow the reader on the front cover to the end papers with vibrant red ticks this is a book that is totally engrossing and informative. It is beautifully...
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Jan 19 2018

This book isn't safe by Colin Furze

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Puffin Books, 2017. ISBN 9780141386959
(Age: 7-13) Highly recommended. In a world where children watch videos of other children opening toys for fun, it is not a strange occurrence that a YouTube star should write a book. Colin Furze is a self confessed crazy inventor who makes a living...
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Jan 19 2018

The ABC book of feelings by Helen Martin and Judith Simpson

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Ill. by Cheryl Orsini. HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780733338298
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Emotions, Wellbeing. Toddlers and pre-schoolers can find it difficult knowing how to deal with their emotions in suitable ways. The ABC Book of Feelings helps with the understanding of personal...
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Jan 19 2018

Friday Barnes: Never fear by R. A. Spratt

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Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780143784203
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Detectives, Boarding school. Friday Barnes is the youngest child of two scientists, and has been left mostly to her own devices growing up. With an immense IQ and a love of detective novels, she jumps at the chance to do some...
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Jan 18 2018

Harry Potter: a journey through a history of magic by British Library

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408890776
(Age: All Harry Potter fans) Highly recommended. If you are a Harry Potter fan then this book is a MUST HAVE! After bringing this book home I made the mistake of showing to my son (a new Harry fan) and it has been a struggle to get any time with the...
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Jan 18 2018

Mallee boys by Charlie Archbold

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Wakefield Press, 2017. ISBN 9781743055007
(Age: 13+) Teenaged Sandy and his older brother Josh live with their father on a farm in Mallee country. These family members all love and care for each other in a blokey household where wife and mother Ellie is painfully missed following a fatal...
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Jan 17 2018

Starlight Stables series by Soraya Nicholas

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Brumby rescue, book 5. ISBN 9780143787440
Barmah brumbies, book 6. ISBN 9780143787433
Penguin, 2018.
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Friendship. Horses and horse riding. Brumbies. Soraya Nicholas' Starlight Stables series is packed full of fun, friendship...
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Jan 17 2018

Bush birthday by Lorette Broekstra

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Bush birthday. ISBN 9781925267051
Bush bedtime. ISBN 9781925267068
Allen and Unwin, 2018
(Age: 1-4) Themes: Counting. This is a new range of books featuring a cast of ten Australian bush baby animals. The same cute, fluffy baby animals with oversized heads and big...
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Jan 16 2018

Unearthed by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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Unearthed book 1. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760292157
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Adventure. The Undying, an alien race, has left behind technology on Gaia, an abandoned planet, that will save the earth and there is a race to discover more of it....
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Jan 16 2018

Nicola Berry series by Liane Moriarty

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Pan Macmillan, 2017.
Nicola Berry and the petrifying problem with Princess Petronella. ISBN 9781760554736
Nicola Berry and the shocking trouble on Planet Shobble. ISBN 9781760554743
Nicola Berry and the wicked war on the Planet of Whimsey. ISBN:...
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Jan 16 2018

Tracy Lacy for Classy Captain! by Tania Lacy

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Ill. by Danielle McDonald. Tracy Lacy bk 2. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781760275969
(Age: 8-11) Themes: School Life, Humour, Friendship. Tania Lacy's high octane character Tracy Lacy returns in Tracy Lacy for Classy Captain! Time for Tracy to leave the familiarity of primary...
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Jan 16 2018

That inevitable Victorian thing by E.K. Johnston

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Dutton Books for Young Readers, 2017. ISBN 9780735231597
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Alternative British Empire, Diversity, Romance, Duty. Genetics. Readers will find themselves in a very different political and scientific world when they encounter Victoria-Margaret, a...
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Jan 15 2018

Rain fall by Ella West

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760296834
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Murder. Crime. Thriller. New Zealand. Coal mining. Rodeos. Horses. Living in Westport on the south island of New Zealand, where rain is measured in metres, Annie is stuck at home one afternoon when the police...
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Jan 15 2018

The Susie K Files by Shamini Flint

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Ill. by Sally Heinrich. Allen & Unwin, 2017.
Life of the party. ISBN 978176029 6681
Game changer. ISBN 9781760296698
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: School. Difference. Fitting in. Problem solving. Susie K is a problem solver, she loves all things science and despite...
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Jan 15 2018

Star Wars: What is a droid? by Lisa Stock

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Star Wars: DK readers level 1. DK 2017. ISBN 9780241301272
(Age: 6+) Star Wars. Droids. Space. The first in a series of readers produced by DK, concerning the series Star Wars, this book uses a format that is readily accessible to newly confident readers. The book is 24...
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Jan 15 2018

Championship dash by Michael Panckridge

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Big Bash League book 6. Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780143782292
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Cricket; Overcoming difficulty. The Kangaroo Flat Galahs are a team of junior cricketers who come from a small but supportive community and have to battle uphill in order to...
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Jan 15 2018

The Polar Bear Explorers' Club by Alex Bell

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Ill. by Tomislav Tomic. Faber and Faber, 2017. ISBN 9780571332540
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Explorers and exploration. Stella Starflake Pearl was saved as a young child from the Icelands, an unexplored land and adopted by her rescuer Felix. This pale white girl lives in a...
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Jan 15 2018

The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse by Mac Barnett

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Ill. by Jon Klassen. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406377798
(Age 4-10) Highly recommended. This is a modern day humourous pour quoi or origin fable that explains why wolves howl at the moon. A mouse gets swallowed by a wolf and in the belly of the beast meets a duck. "I may have been...
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Jan 15 2018

I'll keep you safe by Peter May

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Quercus, 2018. ISBN 9781784294946
(Age: Adult) Although a murder mystery, I'll keep you safe is also very much a love story. Niamh and Ruairidh Macfarlane are a husband and wife team, successful fabric weavers from Scotland, who are now much sought after in the Paris fashion...
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Jan 15 2018

Meet the Flying Doctors by George Ivanoff

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Ill. by Ben Wood. Penguin Random House Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781408876787
(Age 7+) Recommended. Most Australians have heard of the Royal Flying Doctor Service and many owe their lives to its support. Meet the Flying Doctors by George Ivanoff and Ben Wood will help children to...
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Jan 11 2018

Funny kid stand up by Matt Stanton

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HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780733335983
(Age: 7+ years) Highly recommended. Max Walbert is the boy who can make others laugh, the funny kid. Only . . . he's lost his funny. On the eve of Redhill's local talent quest, Max pulls a prank on his new teacher, but nobody laughs. By the time...
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Jan 11 2018

Witch snitch by Sibeal Pounder

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Witch Wars series. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408892046
(Age: 9-10) Recommended. Sibeal Pounder's Witch Snitch : The Inside scoop on the witches of ritzy city is another addition to the popular Witch Wars series. This book is all about Tiga's first Witchoween, which...
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Jan 11 2018

The Getaway by Jeff Kinney

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid, Book 12. Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780143782797
(Age: 7-12) Recommended. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Getaway is the 12th book in the long standing, award winning series by Jeff Kinney. Just as in book 9 The long haul, this story depicts the Heffley...
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Jan 11 2018

We're going on a bear hunt (Snowglobe Gift Book) by Michael Rosen

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Ill. by Helen Oxenbury. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406377736
(Age: 2-7) This is a special edition of the classic 1989 picture book, featuring a snow globe window in the front cover. The timeless picture book depicts a long journey and a quick retreat. It can be chanted, sang or read...
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Jan 11 2018

You belong to me by Colin Harrison

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408886298
(Age: Adult) Recommended. Themes: Murder; Greed; Maps; Drama (Thriller). You Belong to Me! Greed, jealousy, desire and ambition clash violently in this tense drama set in New York amongst the upwardly mobile and the rich and well-connected. Paul...
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Jan 10 2018

We see everything by William Sutcliffe

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408895986
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. War. Terrorism. Drones. Using drones to target and kill people who are enemies of the regime is given a sophisticated outing in this menacing dystopian novel by award winning author, William Sutcliffe.
Alan is a...
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Jan 10 2018

The Firefly Code by Megan Frazer Blakemore

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681195278
(Age: 10-14) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Genetic engineering. Utopias. Friendship. Megan Frazer Blakemore's science fiction novel The Firefly Code explores friendship and life in the beautifully crafted utopian world of Old Harmonie....
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