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

Nov 20 2017

M is for mutiny: History by alphabet by John Dickson

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Ill. by Bern Emmerichs. Berbay Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9780994384119
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Australian history. Aboriginal themes. First Fleet. A different view of Australia's history is presented in this intriguingly illustrated picture book, with information to hold readers' attention and drawings that will make the eye linger on each page.
An alphabet book, the first double page entitled, 'A for Acknowledgement', is devoted to the first people who lived in this land. Following is 'B for Banks the Botanist' who accompanied Captain Cook in his explorations of the southern lands. The text gives information about this scientist and his place in our history while the illustrations shows some of the plants he is known for, adapting the local Aboriginal name for their classification. And 'C is for Captain Cook', while 'F is for First Fleet', 'M for Mutiny', 'R for Rum Rebellion', 'S for Sheep', so offering few surprises with information given about known events in Australia's early history. Where this departs from the expected is the emphasis given on how the indigenous people were affected by this incursion. So we have 'L for Land Rights', 'Q for Questionable Acts', 'T for Terra Nulius', 'U for Uproar', and 'Y for Yemmerawanne', while several of the other pages include information about Australia's Indigenous population.
An alphabet book trying to achieve a 'history by alphabet' is by necessity very selective, having only 26 headings to use, but this book has selected a number of events normally not included in history books, so offering a differing view of our past, one which readers will recognise alongside learning something new.
Told in a chatty style, each paragraph is enough to engage and delight while offering snippets of funny information kids love to read.
References to other events, for example Mabo, gives readers something more to research, while some themes - Women, Crime and punishment, Treatment of the Indigenous people - will impel readers onto to fields beyond this book.
The startling illustrations were developed by painting onto ceramic tiles which are then photographed. The detail is astounding and infectiously fascinating, the detail quite extraordinary, making this a book to pore over. The naive style is reminiscent of early pottery. The endpapers list all the people of the First Fleet, some named, most left with a number, underlining the lack of importance given these people by those who sent them to Australia. In a classroom, it would be fun to envisage what the students would have included as their letters.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Nov 20 2017

My magical life by Zach King

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Puffin Books, 2017. ISBN 9780141387574
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. My magical life is a new series by author Zach King and he also just happens to be the star of the book. Zach is 11 years old and comes from a magical family. The opening pages of the book are like a photo album,...
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Nov 20 2017

Agent Nomad: Deadly Magic by Skye Melki-Wegner

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Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780143780403
(Age: 14+) Deadly magic is the second book in the riveting Agent Nomad series by Australian author Skye Melki-Wegner.
I was impressed by Skye Melki-Wegner's first book in this series, confident that the next book would see the...
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Nov 20 2017

Undercover princess by Connie Glynn

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Rosewood Chronicles book 1. Penguin, 2017. ISBN 9780141387567
(Age: 11-14) Themes: Fantasy. Boarding school. Princesses. Connie Glynn's debut novel Undercover princess takes inspiration from her love of Disney princesses and their stories. She shares this on her popular...
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Nov 20 2017

Don't spew in your space suit by Tim Miller and Matt Stanton

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HarperCollins, 2017. ISBN 9780733334672
(Age: 5+) Don't spew in your space suit' is another bodily function picture book by Tim Miller and Matt Stanton (who also bring us the There is a monster... who farts series)...
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Nov 20 2017

Mrs White and the Red Desert by Josie Wowolla Boyle

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Ill. by Maggie Prewett. Magabala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925360578
(Age: 3-7) Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal life, Culture and identity, Australia - Social life and customs. Magabala Books continues to publish an excellent range of indigenous stories, perfectly suited 'to providing...
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Nov 20 2017

Under the cold bright lights by Garry Disher

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Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925498882
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Mystery and suspense. Alan Auhl works for the cold case department, after retiring from Homicide years before. He lives in a large old house with a random selection of boarders and people who need his help. At work...
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Nov 20 2017

Zombie's Birthday Apocalypse by Zack Zombie

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Diary of a Minecraft Zombie book 9. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743818350
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Zombies, Friendship, Birthdays. The popular fan fiction series continues with Zack Zombie's preparations for his epic thirteenth birthday party. His birthday falls on Halloween making it...
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Nov 20 2017

Terrortide by Michael Adams

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The Seven Signs book 6. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743628065
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Adventure; Danger; Sydney, Australia; Futuristic adventure. Book 6 in the Seven Signs series is as terror and suspense-filled as the previous five books in the series. The young DARE award...
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Nov 20 2017

Crimewave by Michael Adams

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The Seven Signs series book 5. Scholastic, 2017. ISBN 9781743628058
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Adventure; Risk; South Korea; Colombia; Information; Futuristic Crime. With one twist after another, the seven DARE award winners are thrust again into life-threatening scenarios...
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Nov 19 2017

Ava's big move by Mary Van Reyk

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Surf Riders Club series. Hachette Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780734417909
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Ava's Big Move is the first book in the series Surf Riders Club and has been created in collaboration with Surfing Australia.
A new beginning and a move for a dream to...
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Nov 17 2017

Molly the pirate by Lorraine Teece

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Ill. by Paul Sedden. Magabala Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925360660
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Pirates, Central Australia, Aboriginal themes. The wonderfully spontaneous Molly lives a long way from the sea, and yet dreams of being a pirate. With mum in the background trying to hang...
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Nov 17 2017

Force of nature by Jane Harper

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Aaron Falk book 2. Macmillan Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781743549094
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Mystery and suspense. Aaron Falk returns in the second of Jane Harper's mysteries, following her best-selling The dry....
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Nov 17 2017

Cinderella by Jane Ray

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406377842
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Diorama, Theatre, Classic tale, Fairytale. A three dimensional representation of the classic tale of Cinderella is offered within the covers of this book in six pop up dioramas. Each double page presents a scene from the fairy...
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Nov 17 2017

Stitches and stuffing by Carrie Gallasch and Sara Acton

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Little Hare, 2017. ISBN 9781760127787
Wherever Adeline went, so did Bunnybear. They had been together since forever, never apart. He was soft and cuddly, his ears and legs wibbling and wobbling and he flipped and flopped along. He even had his own seat at the table for morning milk and...
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Nov 15 2017

The poesy ring: a love story by Bob Graham

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406378276
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Love. Marriage. Artifacts. Historical evidence. The journey of a poesy ring given to a beloved in times long ago is full of significance as it is lost and then found nearly two centuries later, meaning the same...
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Nov 15 2017

On the free by Coert Voorhees

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Carolrhoda Lab, 2017. ISBN 9781512429138
(Age: 15+) Themes: Survival. Disasters. Resilience. Santiago has elected to undertake the Bear Canyon Wilderness Therapy Programme in the Colorado mountains as a diversion from the juvenile justice system. A small party supervised by two...
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Nov 15 2017

Little Shaq: Star of the week by Shaquille O'Neal

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Ill. by Theodore Taylor III. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781619638822
(Age: 6+) "Little Shaq has always wanted his own kitten, but his parents aren't sure he's responsible enough. When Little Shaq is chosen as his class's Star of the Week, he knows that this is his moment to shine, to prove...
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Nov 15 2017

Paddy O'Melon the Irish kangaroo by Julia Cooper and Daryl Dickson

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Exisle, 2017. ISBN 9781925335637
On the very day that he took his first steps out of his mother's pouch, the little kangaroo is separated from her as two large black marauding dogs race through the clearing, scattering them to shelter. The joey cannot keep up with his mum so he hides,...
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Nov 14 2017

Untidy towns by Kate O'Donnell

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UQP, 2017. ISBN 9780702259821
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Themes: Rural life, Private schools, Future, Relationships, Conformity, Friendship. Abruptly leaving her city private school in March during her year twelve is scholarship girl, Adelaide's best move. She has endured this place...
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Nov 14 2017

Nevermoor: The Trials of Morrigan Crow by Jessica Townsend

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Lothian, 2017. ISBN 9780734418074
(Age: 8-13+) Highly recommended. Nevermoor will be compared to Harry Potter. There is an unloved child with unknown powers, a journey to a parallel world with new friends and bullies as well as an eccentric but kind mentor. The front cover...
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Nov 14 2017

The untold story of Father Christmas by Alison and Mike Battle

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Ill. by Lauren A. Mills. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408892343
"In olden times, when magic still filled the air, there lived a master toymaker and his wife . . ."
So begins this delightful retelling of the story of Father Christmas, beautifully illustrated and set in a land of...
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Nov 14 2017

Ori's Christmas by Anne Helen Donnelly

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Anne Helen Donnelly, 2017. ISBN 9780646969329
"Ori the Octopus is so happy to be celebrating Christmas with all his friends. But what happens when Ori's friends all want to do different things on this special day? " (Author)
A festive book where children can join in with the story,...
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Nov 14 2017

Big Bash League: Academy smash by Michael Panckridge

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Random House Australia, 2017. ISBN: 9780143782278
(Age: 7+) "Billy loves to bowl - fast! He's also a massive Melbourne Stars fan and when his friend Wen-Lee lets him know about a cricket academy camp, run by none other than the Stars, Billy is desperate to go! So is Wen-Lee, even if she...
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Nov 14 2017

Roald Dahl's George's Marvellous Experiments by Barry Hutchinson

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Ill. by Quentin Blake. Penguin Random House, 2017. ISBN 9780141375946
Once upon a time George Kranky decided it was time to get his gruesome, grouchy grandma who had a mouth pinched in like a do's bottom into a better mood by making her some special medicine. But being neither doctor...
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Nov 13 2017

Where's Wally? The totally terrific tin by Martin Handford

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Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781406374926
A wonderful collection for children from 6 years and up. This Where's Wally? set contains the first 3 books and is beautifully presented in a colourful tin, making it a fantastic present for any young Where's Wally? fan. The three...
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Nov 13 2017

Affluence without abundance: The disappearing world of the Bushmen by James Suzman

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781632865724
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Non-fiction. Anthropologist James Suzman has spent many years living and working with the Bushman groups of Namibia and Botswana, southern Africa, providing us with a unique insight into the culture of these hunting and...
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Nov 13 2017

Safari Pug by Laura James

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The adventures of Pug. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408866405
(Age: 7-10) Safari Pug is the third short novel in the series by Laura James, and follows the adventures of Pug who is the (somewhat) adventurous pet of Lady Miranda.
Pug doesn't want to meet a LION. But LADY MIRANDA...
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Nov 13 2017

Nothing by Annie Barrows

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Greenwillow Books, 2017. ISBN 9780062796516
(Age: Senior secondary) Strong language. Drug and alcohol references. "Really, this book is about me, Charlotte, and my friend, Frankie, and some stuff that happened to us last Christmas. It wasn't anything amazing. Trust me on this one. But I,...
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Nov 13 2017

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+) Highly recommended. Themes: Animals, Survival, Interdependence. When the wolf eats the mouse he finds in the forest, he is at a loss as to understand what is going on in his stomach. The mouse finds a duck in its bed...
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Nov 13 2017

Ballad for a mad girl by Vikki Wakefield

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Text Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925355291
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Death, Mystery, Thriller, Country towns, Friendship, Reality, Perception, Ghosts. Grace Foley has a reputation for being a little bit mad. She is a risk taker and plays pranks on her friends. When she...
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Nov 12 2017

Wombat and Fox : the whole story by Terry Denton

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Wombat and Fox series. Allen and Unwin, 2017. ISBN 9781760294359
(Age 6-9) Recommended. Theme: Humour. This large book contains the three tales of Wombat and Fox published separately over the past several years, Tales of the city, Summer in the city and...
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Nov 12 2017

Gary by Leila Rudge

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Walker Books Australia, 2017. ISBN 9781921977008
(Age: 3-10) Highly recommended. Gary (both written and illustrated) by Leila Rudge is a charming story about a pigeon that is different to all of his friends. He cannot fly like everyone else, and instead collects souvenirs that...
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Nov 12 2017

Dotty Detective: The paw print puzzle by Clara Vulliamy

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HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008132453
(Age: Beginning independent readers) Inspired by their favourite television character Fred Fantastic, Ace Detective, Dotty and her best friend Beans have formed the Join The Dots Detective Agency. They have special badges that they wear...
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Nov 09 2017

Tilly's reef adventure by Rhonda Garward

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National Library of Australia, 2017. ISBN 9780642279088
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Reef, Sea animals, Fish, Turtles, Great Barrier Reef, Pollution, Lift the flap book. Tilly a small green turtle has against the odds made it to the sea on the east coast of Australia where she learns...
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Nov 09 2017

The last Namsara by Kristen Ciccarelli

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Orion, 2017. ISBN 9781473218130
(Age: 14+)Fantasy. In a well-written and well-constructed narrative, Ciccarelli draws us into the interconnected lives of the royal family, the slaves, the cousins and the dragons. This world resembles our world in its jealousies, love, family feuds,...
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Nov 09 2017

Build the Dragon by Dugald Steer

cover imageIll. by Jonathan Woodward and Douglas Carrel. Quarto Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925381702
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Dragons. Models. Build the dragon is a fabulous kit that comprises of a book about dragons and a model of a dragon comprising of 46 model pieces and 1 wind-up motor. It...
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Nov 09 2017

Once upon a small rhinoceros by Meg McKinlay

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Ill. by Leila Rudge. Walker Books, 2017. ISBN 9781925126709
(Age: 3-8) Highly recommended. Themes: Determination, Adventure. This tale is whimsical and gentle with soft, pencil illustrations in muted colours that suit the style of the book perfectly. It is about a rhinoceros named Lila who...
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Nov 08 2017

I'm just no good at rhyming: and other nonsense for mischievous kids and immature grown-ups by Chris Harris

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Ill. by Lane Smith. Macmillan, 2017. ISBN 9781509881048
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Poetry. Humour. Word play. Read aloud. Fun. Rhyming. Poetry books often linger on shelves but this one will not. All it needs is someone to read out one of the poems to an eager class, and the book...
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Nov 08 2017

Wolf children by Paul Dowswell

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Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408858516
(Age: 13+) It is July 1945, Hitler's Third Reich has fallen, and Berlin is in ruins. Living on the edge of survival in the cellar of an abandoned hospital, Otto and his ragtag gang of kids have banded together in the desperate, bombed-out city. The...
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Nov 08 2017

The princess in black: Three smashing adventures by Shannon and Dean Hale

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Ill. by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick Press, 2017. ISBN 9780763697778
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Humour. Monsters. Adventure. Superheroes. Getting a monster to return underground where it belongs is not a task allocated to a pretty Princess in Pink, Magnolia, replete with tinkering glass...
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Nov 08 2017

Fluke by Lesley Gibbes and Michelle Dawson

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Working Title Press, 2017. ISBN 9781921504891
Under the shadow of the great harbour bridge a little southern right whale is born. For weeks it stays and plays with its mother getting stronger for the long journey south to the Antarctic waters, delighting the people of Sydney who hadn't...
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Nov 03 2017

A very quacky Christmas by Frances Watts and Ann James

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ABC Books, 2017. ISBN 9780733329623
(Age: 2-5) Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas, Sharing, Perseverance. Samantha Duck is singing her favourite song, We wish you a quacky Christmas as she gets ready for Christmas. She believes that animals love to share and she wants to...
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Nov 03 2017

One Christmas wish by Katherine Rundell

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Ill. by Emily Sutton. Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781408885734
(Age:7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas, Loneliness, Sharing, Decorations, Friends, Family. A modern fable, this story tells of a young boy's wish at Christmas and how his wish is fulfilled when he sees a star falling...
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Nov 03 2017

A Christmas menagerie edited and compiled by Beattie Alvarez

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Christmas Press, 2017. ISBN 9780994528049
(Age: 7-12) Recommended. Themes: Christmas, Short stories. Twelve short stories will delight young readers and any adult who reads them aloud to children. The stories are by well known authors, Janeen Brian, Michael Pryor, Sophie Masson,...
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Sep 13 2017

Literature to Support the Australian Curriculum Book 2 - Annotated Lists of Fiction and Poetry by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

cover imagePledger Consulting, 2017. ISBN 9781876678531
Highly recommended. This book contains literature to support the Australian Curriculum. It contains annotated lists that cover...
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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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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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