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

Sep 29 2016

Den of wolves by Juliet Marillier

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A Blackthorn and Grim novel. Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781743535738
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. Another stunning read from Juliet Marillier is sure to delight fans and new readers alike. Blackthorn has been asked to help Lady Flidais look after a young woman, Cara, who has been sent to her by her father. Meanwhile Grim has been given the task of working with Bardan, a wild strange man, to rebuild a heartwood house deep in the forest belonging to Cara's father. Both soon realise that all is not well. Blackthorn's past begins to catch up with her when her old enemy Mathuin attacks the holdings of Lady Flidais' parents and it is difficult for her to remember that she has taken a vow to seek no vengeance. Grim is troubled by the way that Bardan is treated and suspects that there are many secrets being kept at Wolf Glen. Grim and Blackthorn both have to make a heart wrenching choice: to stand together or to fight their battles alone. And what they decide could really influence the fate and happiness of the young woman, Cara.
Told in alternating chapters by Blackthorn and Grim, each story builds up suspense as a sense of doom spreads. For Grim, there is mystery surrounding Bardan's background and where he has been hidden for many years. It is strange that Cara is sent away so soon after his arrival at Wolf Glen, and the reader is left wondering about the significance of the heartwood house, which is made of different woods in a certain order. Blackthorn finds that she misses Grim's patience and solid support when he is away, but knows that both have responsibilities that must be fulfilled. The reader hopes that Blackthorn can keep her bond but it is obviously so very difficult for her to do that as she wrestles with stopping the evil Mathuin or helping Cara and Grim.
With her trade mark mix of fairy tale and historical fantasy, Marillier brings to a very satisfying conclusion the dilemmas that both Blackthorn and Grim face. Their complex relationship also grows in a rewarding and fulfilling way and the reader is left feeling content with the series, but hopeful that they will solve more mysteries together in the future.
This was an outstanding story and I hope that there will be more Blackthorn and Grim adventures in further books.
Pat Pledger



More Reviews

Sep 29 2016

Little lunch: Triple snack pack by Danny Katz

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Ill. by Mitch Vane. Little lunch series. Black Dog Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925381276
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Humour. Schools. Three stories are combined in one volume in this offering from Katz, the stories of the fifteen interval in the school's morning session...
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Sep 29 2016

The pied piper, adapted and illustrated by Ayesha L Rubio

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Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760400477
(Age: 4+) Fairy tale. Pied Piper. Responsibility. Rats. Reconciliation. Cautionary Tale. A quite different telling of the story of the Pied Piper is told with stunning watercolour illustrations. Rats have taken over the town of Hamelin and...
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Sep 29 2016

Clever Trevor's stupendous inventions by Andrew Weldon

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Puffin, 2016. ISBN 9780143309154
Clever Trevor's name is not really Trevor. It's Stuart. But nothing rhymes with 'Stuart' and because he is so clever - he invented and built the Rabbit Brain Booster out of his dad's old computer and a car battery - his friends have renamed him Trevor....
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Sep 27 2016

Malkin Moonlight by Emma Cox

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408870846
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. I actually finished reading this a couple of weeks ago and the writing of this review has taken so long because this is so different and so charming I have found it difficult to find the right words. I could just say it's...
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Sep 27 2016

Fright Club by Ethan Long

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Bloomsbury, 2106. ISBN 9781681190433
This is one of the cutest board books I've seen for ages. Forget about sweet and pretty - this one is just in time for Halloween and a fun story for little people.
The local Fright Club led by Vladimir the vampire is busily practising their...
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Sep 27 2016

The double cross and other skills I learned as a SUPERSPY by Jackson Pearce

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781619634145
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Smart, intelligent twelve-year-old Hale Jordan lives with his secret agent parents and younger sister Kennedy at the SRS Sub Rosa Society, an underground academy for superspies. Hale struggles to pass the physical test to...
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Sep 27 2016

Two troll tales from Norway retold by Margrete Lamond

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Ill. by Ingrid Kallick. Christmas Press, 2016. ISBN 9780994234056
(Age: 6+) Norway. Myths and legends. Cautionary tales. Trolls. Two troll stories from Norway are retold in this offering from Christmas Press. Trolls are mischievous beings, not to be trusted and cause a great deal of...
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Sep 27 2016

The hero maker: A biography of Paul Brickhill by Stephen Dando-Collins

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Penguin Random House, 2016. ISBN 9780857988126
(Age: Secondary) Subtitled: 'the Australian behind the legendary stories The dam busters, The great escape and Reach for the sky'. As the daughter of a Lancaster wireless operator/air gunner growing up in the Sydney...
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Sep 22 2016

Tell the truth, shame the devil by Melina Marchetta

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Viking, 2016. ISBN 9780670079100
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Mystery. Marchetta's outstanding ability as an author stands out in this engrossing and at times, heart wrenching story. Chief Inspector Bish Ortley has been suspended from the London Met, and still grieving from the death...
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Sep 22 2016

Born to sing by Sally Morgan

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Ill. by Craig Smith. Omnibus (Scholastic) 21015. ISBN 9781742991511
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Aboriginal themes. Family. Music. Whales. Maddie loves to sing. She makes up her own songs and sings everywhere. One of her songs is about the whales that swim near the coast north of Perth....
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Sep 22 2016

Pattan's pumpkin: an Indian flood story by Chitra Soundar

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Ill. by Frane Lessac. Otter-Barry Books (Little Orchard) 2016. ISBN 9781910959442
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Flood stories. Myths and legends. India. Many cultures have a myth about a great flood destroying part of their world, and this Indian story will be a wonderful addition to...
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Sep 22 2016

Sydney: word by word by Sonny and Biddy

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Little Hare, 2016. ISBN 9781760125523
(Age: All) Recommended. Cities. Sydney. Lifestyle. Sonny Day and Biddy Maroney work in Sydney and have created an almost wordless picture book which celebrates the sounds, tastes and look of their capital city for readers of all ages. Many well known...
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Sep 22 2016

Blue the builder's dog by Jen Storer

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Ill. by Andrew Joyner. Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9780670077809
Blue is a builder's dog - an ordinary builder's dog that can be found on almost any building site in this country. He rides in the ute to work, guards the tools, greets the subbies and signs the concrete slabs. (Oops!) He samples...
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Sep 20 2016

A child of books by Oliver Jeffers

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Ill. by Sam Winston. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406358315
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Books. Classic stories. Every few years a book comes along which extols the virtues of books and reading, told in a way which initiates discussion and sharing, illustrated so beautifully that...
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Sep 20 2016

Eleanor, Elizabeth by Libby Gleeson

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Ill. by Beattie Alvarez. Second Look, 2016. ISBN 9780994234070.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended.
This is a new edition of the novel published in 1984, Libby Gleeson's first novel and Highly Commended in the 1985 Children's Book Council of Australia awards. Her 2016 introduction...
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Sep 20 2016

Captain Sneer the buccaneer by Penny Morrison

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Ill. by Gabriel Evans. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781922179609
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Verse. Pirates. Humour. Captain Sneer is very assured of his own importance as leader of a gang of pirates on board his ship The Golden Isle. But he is somewhat scared of his stomach during storms...
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Sep 20 2016

One would think the deep by Claire Zorn

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University of Queensland Press, 2016. ISBN 9780702253942
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Grief. Surfing. Family relations. Another hard hitting novel from Zorn is sure to appeal to fans. It's 1997 and 17 year old Sam is trying to come to grips with the sudden death of his mother from an aneurysm...
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Sep 20 2016

Just the way we are by Jessica Shirvington

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Ill. by Claire Robertson. ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733331640
(Age: 4+) Families. Difference. Shirvington presents the young reader with an array of different families. Each is introduced on a one double page spread, those who make up the family described and shown in the illustrations,...
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Sep 16 2016

Small things by Mel Tregonning

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781742379791
(Age: all) Highly recommended. Mental Health, Suicide, Loneliness, Graphic novel. A child stares out from the front cover, large eyed, on the edge of tears, alone in his bed. Readers will wonder about the child and turn the pages uncovering the...
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Sep 16 2016

The Raven King by Maggie Stiefvater

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The Raven Cycle bk 4. Scholastic Press, 2016. ISBN 9780545424981
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. The fabulous Raven Cycle comes to a very satisfying conclusion in The Raven King. Gansey's quest to find Glendower, the ancient Welsh king is overshadowed by the fear...
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Sep 16 2016

The cow tripped over the moon by Tony Wilson and Laura Wood

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Scholastic Press, 2015. ISBN 9781743623534
Hey diddle diddle
You all know the riddle
A cow jumps over the moon.
It happened, all right,
On a crisp, cloudless night
On the second-last Friday in June.

But it didn't happen on the first attempt, or...
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Sep 15 2016

One photo by Ross Watkins

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Ill. by Liz Anelli. Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9780670077977
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Dementia. Family. Mental illness. When Dad comes home with a camera, one of those old cameras that takes film which needs to be developed, the family, Mum and their son, watch on. He seems to be taking...
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Sep 15 2016

Mr Chicken arriva a Roma by Leigh Hobbs

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Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266771
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Travel. Rome. Tourism. After his successful trips to Paris and London, Mr Chicken now heads for Rome. As a child he had always been interested in Ancient Rome, and now learning the language from his beginner's book...
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Sep 15 2016

Dark room by Tom Becker

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Red Eye series. Stripes Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781847154576
(Age: 14+) Horror. Warning on back cover: Not for younger readers. Darla hopes that she will have a new life when she and her alcoholic father move to Saffron Hills. But life is not easy at the local high school where...
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Sep 15 2016

Noisy nights by Fleur McDonald

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Ill. by Annie White. New Frontier Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925059663
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Farms. Noise. Animals. Sleep. When Farmer Hayden goes to bed, he tries to sleep, but the noise on his farm does not let him. His animals talk all night. The cows moo, the sheep maa, the horses...
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Sep 14 2016

Guinness World Records 2017

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Guinness World Records, 2016. ISBN 9781910561324
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. The Guinness World Records book needs no introduction to its many fans, who will eagerly pore over the Guinness World Records 2017 with the new and strange, fascinating, weird and horrible 4,000...
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Sep 14 2016

The famishing vanishing mahoosive mammoth by Hollie Hughes

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Ill. by Leigh Hodgkinson. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408862780
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Mammoths, Appetite, Verse, Friendship. When Mammoth wakes one morning he finds that he is so hungry that he is vanishing. Bug tells him not to worry as he will find food for him, and pulls a...
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Sep 14 2016

Elmer and the race by David McKee

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Andersen Press, 2016. ISBN 9781783444557
(Age: 4-7) Recommended. Elephants. Competition. Elmer the patchwork elephant is back and this time he organises a race when all the young elephants decided that they wanted to find out who was the fastest runner. Each had a different colour and...
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Feb 22 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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