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

Apr 24 2014

My life and other stuff I made up by Tristan Bancks

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My life and other stuff I made up by Tristan Bancks
Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House Australia Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780857983190
My life and other stuff that went wrong by Tristan Bancks
Ill. by Gus Gordon. Random House Australia Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780857980373.
(Age: Primary) Recomended. Tom Weekly is of indeterminate age and lives in an iPadless world of adventure, weird adults and relatives, friends that at times seem barely worthy of the name and an unrequited passion for Stella Hollings. His sister is mean, his mother all unknowing and his gran can never resist a catfight. Tom creates his world with his own imagination and whatever tools happen to be handy such as a cardboard box or a texta.
Tom creates his own adventures and his own tall stories, and he can be an unreliable narrator, but the general havoc he can create, ably assisted by best mate Jack, brings out my inner ten year old. As well as sharing his stories, Tom has many other interesting asides which will hold the attention of his intended boy audience. For instance in the would you rather game... 'eat dog poo or cat vomit?'
The stories are generally funny and sometimes macabre in a Simpsons treehouse of horror way and Bancks often leaves it up to the readers imagination as to what happened next. Tristan Bancks has plenty of nice lines for the adult reader (and this book does beg to be read out loud). 'My nan is a frail biscuit of a woman' precedes a wonderful tale of Tom's nan going into training to climb Mt. Everest.
There is the surreal tale of the birthmark, very evocative of a South Park episode with the birthmark reaping its revenge on a kid who dares laugh at Tom. There is the curious tale of the dog kisser and I believe that poo, vomit and bed wetting may be mentioned.
I often recommend to my students that they read a book about the opposite sex in order to learn how the other half thinks. Reading this book reminds me that primary school boys may often be in a world all of their own making. I have no doubt that this comic creation will entice and encourage many boys to read and enjoy Tom Weekly's world.
Michael Jorgen

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Apr 24 2014

Sea of shadows by Kelley Armstrong

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Age of Legends, bk 1. Atom, 2014. ISBN 9780751547818.
(Age: 14+) Horror. Fantasy. Twin sisters Moria and Ashyn live in a village next to the Forest of the Dead, where exiled criminals are sent to die. They have powers as Keeper and Seeker to quiet the souls of the dead. When their...
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Apr 24 2014

The short giraffe by Neil Flory

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Ill. by Mark Cleary. Albert Whitman & Co., 2014. ISBN 9780807573464.
Boba the Baboon had come to take a photo of the tallest animals in the world and the giraffes wanted to make the photo perfect. They prinked and they preened and lined up ready for Boba. But when the photo was...
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Apr 23 2014

Crystal Bay Girls: Quincy Jordan by Jen Storer

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Puffin, 2014. ISBN 9780143307594.
(Audience: young adult) Recommended. Themes: teenage identity, family drama and coming of age.  A story of 14 year old Quincy Jordan who is struggling to find out who she really is and whether she wants to be the person people think she 'should' be....
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Apr 23 2014

Awesome Aussie Things to Do with Mum ill. by Simon Williams

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781742839950.
(Age: 7-11) This activity book is aimed at primary school children and has lots of things that could be done either with Mum or with other adults. There is a Contents page that gives a good overview of the activities and projects. It is organised...
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Apr 23 2014

Jumping fences by Karen Wood

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Allen and Unwin, 2014. 9781743316399.
(Age: Young adult) Themes: country life, romance, mystery. Country girl Zoe wakes up in hospital after a farming accident and tries to piece her life back together after everything seems to be different. She can't work out why her boyfriend and best...
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Apr 23 2014

Love you, Mum by Karen Hull

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Lothian Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9780734414441.
(Age: Pre-school - 5). A small book, perfect for the hands of small children, Love you, Mum celebrates the love of a young animal or bird for its mother. It is written with the second and fourth lines rhyming and this makes for an...
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Apr 23 2014

Twice Upon a Time by Kate Forster

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781742976792.
This is a romance story with Cinderella references, and is not particularly cerebral - akin to a Mills and Boon Romance.The main character, a 19 year old Australian named Lucinda, but known as 'Cinda', is on a backpacking/painting holiday in...
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Apr 23 2014

Boy vs Beast: Rock Mutant by Mac Park

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781921931680.
Boy vs Beast : Rock Mutant is the next book in this series aimed at boys aged 7+ . It is a short novel aimed at independent readers. Like the other books, it introduces the main character Kai and his desire to be a Border Captain - fans of the...
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Apr 22 2014

Afterworld by Lynette Lounsbury

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Allen & Unwin 2014. ISBN: 9781743315101.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. A wonderfully descriptive novel, Afterworld incorporates ideas from many religions and cultures in the formation of its after-death land. With themes of humanity, mortality and love this novel is easily...
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Apr 22 2014

10 hopping bunnies by Ed Allen

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN: 9781742836362.
This delightful rhyming book uses a collection of hopping bunnies, avidly involved in a myriad of different pursuits, as the focus for counting. Their activities include egg and spoon races, listening at school, working in the vegie patch, choosing...
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Apr 22 2014

Billy is a Dragon: Werewolves beware by Nick Falk

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Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780857983077.
(Age: 8+) Billy is a Dragon: Werewolves Beware is the second book in this series but can be read independently of the first. It is a quick moving, fun adventure based around Billy who has become a were dragon.
Billy is learning to shift...
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Apr 21 2014

We're going on an egg hunt by Laine Mitchell and Louis Shea

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743620410.
(Age: 3-5) Easter, Rhyming story, Read aloud. Five animals, a fox, pig, chicken, kitten, and a kid goat set out to find eggs at Easter time. Using the same rhyming sequences and refrain as We're going on a bear hunt by Michael Rosen and Helen...
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Apr 21 2014

Thunderbirds: The Comic Collection by Gerry Anderson

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Egmont, 2013. ISBN: 9781405268363.
As a graphic novel of almost 290 pages, this tome was a tad overwhelming to receive and review as I have obviously never really been a massive fan of 'comics'! This was perhaps not the best choice for me but, nevertheless, one I chose to read as a large...
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Apr 21 2014

Saddle Club series by Bonnie Bryant

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Random House, 2013.
Horse Crazy & Horse Shy ISBN 9780857980632.
Horse Sense & Horse Power ISBN 9780857980649.
Trail Mates & Dude Ranch ISBN 9780857980656.
Horse Play & Horse Show ISBN...
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Apr 15 2014

How I Love You by Anna Pignataro

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN: 9781742838182.
Highly recommended for all readers aged 0-60+. In this gentle, beautifully illustrated Australian tale, each baby animal in the bush spends time with its mother, demonstrating how it loves her. With carefully worded, sparse text, and perfectly...
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Apr 15 2014

Half Bad by Sally Green

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Penguin, 2104. ISBN: 9780141350868.
Themes: Good vs Evil; Witchcraft/Magic; Coming-of Age. The author uses the Shakespearean quote from Hamlet, 'There is nothing either good or bad, but thinking makes it so', as an opening epigraph. This book is about witches - White or Black. The...
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Apr 15 2014

Ubby's Underdogs: Heroes Beginnings by Brenton McKenna

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Magabala, 2013. ISBN: 9781922142139.
The second title in the Ubbys Underdogs Trilogy, this book continues the story of Ubby, a tough aboriginal girl and her gang as they try to find the Chinese girl Sai Fong. Containing an assortment of over twenty characters, some of whom are...
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Apr 12 2014

Kokoda by Alan Tucker

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My Australian story. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743622056.
Recommended for 12 years and above. The 39th Battalion which faced the Japanese on New Guinea's Kokoda Track in 1942 were militia, meaning that they were civilian reservists, rather than regular army. Poorly trained, ill...
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Apr 12 2014

First reader series by Kerry Argent

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Omnibus Books, 2014.
One woolly wombat. ISBN 9781742990477.
Hide and seek. ISBN: 9781742990491
Best of friends. ISBN 9781742990484.
At the beach. ISBN 9781742990507.
(Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Early reader. Australian animals. Counting....
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Apr 12 2014

Black Warrior by Tiffiny Hall

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Harper Collins Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780732294557.
Black Warrior completes the series starring Roxy Ran following on from White Ninja and Red Samurai and is probably best read with at least some knowledge of the content of these books. As with the rest of the series the focus is...
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Apr 09 2014

Don't Call Me Sweet by Smriti Prasadam-Halls and Angela Rozelaar

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9781408838822.
(Age: Pre-school - 6) Recommended. Monsters. Humour. Fear. The little monster believes that he should be called Scary not Sweet, because he likes to stomp around, get covered in mud and become very stinky. He also loves to cook bug...
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Apr 09 2014

Sir Gawain and the Green Knight by Michael Morpurgo

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Walker, 2013. ISBN 9781406348880.
Knights of the Round Table, amassed under the famed King Arthur's rule, were legendary as being the finest and fiercest Knights of the Kingdom of Britain.
Worthy Knights, to this day, wear a silken belt. Why? The answer lies with the tale of the...
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Apr 09 2014

The Lego Movie: The Official Movie Handbook by Ace Landers

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9780545624626.
(Age: 8+) The Lego Movie: The Official Handbook introduces fans to the characters in the movie, using comics and text to engage its readers. It is not a novel or story but a variety of texts that introduce us to the Lego world -...
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Apr 09 2014

The Impossible Knife of Memory by Laurie Halse Anderson

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Text, 2014. ISBN 9781922182227.
(Age: 14+) War is something which many teenagers have little experience of. High school students in Australia are required to study historical events relating to that violent three-letter word. It is a distant concept for many young people in this society,...
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Apr 08 2014

I was Only Nineteen by John Schuman

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Ill. by Craig Smith. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317235.
The banner across the top of the cover of this book says, 'The iconic song about the Vietnam War that helped change a nation' and indeed, anyone who has heard the original with the haunting voice of John Schuman as the...
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Apr 08 2014

When I See Grandma by Debra Tidball

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Ill. by Leigh Hedstrom. Wombat Books, 2014. ISBN 9781921632594.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Alzheimer's. Death. Grandparents. In this heart wrenching but uplifting story, a young girl visits her Grandma in her nursing home with her family. While her young brother plays antics and makes the...
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Apr 08 2014

Five Little Platypuses ill. by Karen Erasmus

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Hachette Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780734414908.
Pre-school children and parents will enjoy this Australianised version of the old and familiar story of the Five Little Ducks who go out to play but fail to return.
In this case the five little platypuses go out over a puddle,...
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Apr 08 2014

Dead and Buried by Anne Cassidy

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The Murder Notebooks 4. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408815533.
(Age: 13+) Murder. Assassination. Thriller. After the horrible events in Butterfly grave, the third in the Murder notebook series, Rose is keen to get on with her life. She makes a break with Joshua, her...
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Apr 08 2014

How Cool are Your Parents? (or not) by Francoize Boucher

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A&C Black, 2014. ISBN: 9781472904720.
Recommended for 9-11 year olds and any teenager who needs a reality check about their parents, or parents who need to laugh a little at their life.
What parent would not want their child to read this book! Not only is it easy to read, the...
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Apr 07 2014

The Finisher by David Baldacci

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Macmillan Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9781447263005.
Recommended for readers 11 years +. Themes: Fantasy, Adventure. The Finisher revolves around the life of a 14 year old girl named Vega Jane, and her life in the small village of Wormwood. Life in Wormwood is portrayed as bleak...
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Apr 07 2014

Billy is a Dragon: First Bite by Nick Falk

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Ill. by Tony Flowers. Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857983053.
(Ages: 9-11) Recommended. Billy is an ordinary, nearly 10 year-old boy to whom something amazing happens with hilarious consequences. It starts with a trip to Benny's Pet Shop, and an irresistible desire to pat a...
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Apr 07 2014

Billy Slater presents: Try Time by Patrick Loughlin

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Ill. by Nahum Ziersch. Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857982469.
(Age: 9-11) In the world of Rugby League Billy Slater is a star. The Melbourne Storm player who has played over 250 games is in the best place to act as mentor to junior players, the role he plays in this new...
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Apr 07 2014

The Easter Egg Express by Susannah McFarlane

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781742831695.
The Easter Egg Express tells the story of Ellie and Erin, the Easter bilbies in charge of delivering Easter Eggs. They are quite excited until they realise just how many eggs they must deliver! What will they do?
The Easter Egg...
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Apr 07 2014

Captain America -The Winter Soldier adapted by Allison Lowenstein and Tomas Palacios

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Scholastic 2014. ISBN 9781743623824.
(Age: 9+) Captain America - The Winter Soldier is the book of the film and I love having these on the shelf in my classroom library. Previous experience has seen children watching the movie and then devouring the book. This will be no...
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Apr 07 2014

Totalgirl: The Style Files by Amanda Nichols and Rebecca Lim

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Allen & Unwin, 2014 ISBN 9781743316542.
I had mixed feelings about this book. While it demonstrated how wonderful good friends can be in helping you to achieve your dreams, I had some nagging doubts about using fashion and magazines as the basis for it.
The main characters are...
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