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

Jul 29 2016

Mrs Whitlam by Bruce Pascoe

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Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360240
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Horses. Rescue work. A wonderful heart-warming short novel, Mrs Whitlam has great appeal because of its description of a bond between a girl and a horse, the closeness of family and the courage that one girl can show. Marnie has been given the part Clydesdale horse named Mrs Whitlam, and Marnie's mum has told her she should be proud to have a horse named after 'a wonderful woman'. Mrs Whitlam had belong to a girl who was killed in a car accident and her mother couldn't bear to be reminded so she gave the horse to Marnie.
The story is told in the first person by Marnie in her own entertaining way. She develops a deep bond with the horse, looking after her and using her as a sounding board for her life. When the two are at the beach, Marnie spots a child on the verge of being drowned, and together the pair manage to rescue the baby. When they get him back on the beach a boy from her school, George Costa, helps with the resuscitation and a friendship develops from there.
In Marnie, Pascoe has developed a great heroine and even though she faces teasing about her Aboriginal background, she learns to stand up for herself and continues to look after Mrs Whitlam. The loving bonds found within her family are equally as appealing as the friendship between Marnie and Mrs Whitlam, her mother standing out as a loving and wise woman who is compassionate and helpful.
This is an uplifting short novel that ticked all the boxes for me. Horse lovers are in for a treat and it would be an excellent read aloud in the classroom or a literature circle book.
Pat Pledger



More Reviews

Jul 29 2016

The other Christy by Oliver Phommavanh

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Puffin, 2016. ISBN 9780143505723
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Humour, Refugees, Immigration, Cambodia. Comedian and author Phommavanh has written several books for young readers, including the popular Thai-rrific (2010) and Punchlines (2012) as well as short stories...
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Jul 29 2016

Zelda's big adventure by Marie Alafaci

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Ill. by Shane McG (McGowan). Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781925266382
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Hens, Space, Achievement, Read a loud. Zelda is sure of one thing; she wants to travel in space. And not only to get there amongst the stars, but to be the first chook to achieve this....
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Jul 29 2016

Ella Diaries: Friends not Forever by Meredith Costain

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Ill. by Danielle McDonald. Scholastic Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781760157173
(Age: 6-9) Recommended. Friendship. School plays. This is the first in the series that I have read and I really enjoyed reading about the trials that Ella faced, not only in performing in the school play but in...
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Jul 28 2016

When Michael met Mina by Randa Abdel-Fattah

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Pan Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781743534977
(Age: Secondary students) Highly recommended. This is superb and should be recommended reading to all high school students! Randa Abdel-Fattah is able to uncover the essence of high Sshool life and relationships, at the same time as revealing the...
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Jul 28 2016

Ella and Olivia: Zoo rescue by Yvette Poshoglian

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Ill. by Danielle Macdonald. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760157203
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Zoos. Penguins. Orangutans. Ella and Olivia are really excited because they are off to the Zoo. Olivia is particularly interested in the orangutans, and Ella can't wait to see the penguins. Ella has...
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Jul 28 2016

When Luke Skywalker became an X-wing pilot by Trey King

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Star Wars. Story-time saga. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760128401
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Young fans of the Star Wars saga will be delighted with this picture book that shows Luke Skywalker when he has joined the rebels in their fight against the Empire. They want...
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Jul 28 2016

Penelope Perfect: The truly terrible mistake by Chrissie Perry

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760120276
Penelope Kingston (aka Penelope Perfect) has made a terrible mistake. When she answered the questions on the maths test, she missed five of them on the back of the page!! Not only does that mean she might not get an A on her report card (and...
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Jul 27 2016

When friendship followed me home by Paul Griffin

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Text Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925355499
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Friendship. Dogs. Cancer. Editor's Choice in the New York Times. A heart wrenching but...
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Jul 27 2016

The world's worst children by David Walliams

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Ill. by Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008197049
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Humour, Behaviour. Prefaced by a local shopkeeper who exhorts children not to read this book, lest they be encouraged to copy the behaviours shown, no child will resist the ten stories held within. Each...
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Jul 27 2016

Dig World by Steven O'Donnell (Bajo) Stephanie Bendixsen (Hex)

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Ill. by Chris Kennett. Pixel Raiders series, bk 1. Scholastic Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781760159252
(Age: 8+) Stephanie Bendixsen and Steve O'Donnell are writers and presenters for the ABC3 show Good Game and Good Game: Spawn Point and Good Game: Pocket Edition. They are video game...
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Jul 27 2016

My Lovely Colouring Book

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Bloomsbury Activity Books, 2016. ISBN 9781408879306
(Age: 7+) Recommended as a gift. With the craze for colouring in books still happening, this beautifully produced book is sure to be a winner.
There are flowers, fish, animals of all kinds, fruit and vegetables, all beautifully...
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Jul 26 2016

Olive of Groves and the great slurp of time by Katrina Nannestad

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Harper Collins Children's Books; ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733333705
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Olive is the only semi-sane character attending Mrs Groves' Boarding School for Naughty Boys, Talking Animals and Circus Performers. This is the second book in the series, and yet again her...
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Jul 26 2016

Hillary, a biography of Hillary Rodham Clinton by Karen Blumenthal

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408873922
(Age: 16+) Recommended. 'The challenge is to practise politics as the art of making what appears to be impossible, possible' - Hillary is quoted on the front cover. This biography by Karen Blumenthal traces Hillary's life story and reveals an amazingly...
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Jul 26 2016

The nose pixies by David Hunt and Lucia Mascuillo

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Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9780733334870
(Age: 3+) Cautionary tale. Nose picking. Health. You will never pick your nose again after reading this horribly descriptive cautionary tale. And hopefully neither will the young audience to whom it is targeted.
Oliver has a very nasty habit,...
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Jul 26 2016

Secret princesses: The magic necklace by Rosie Banks

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Orchard Books, 2016. ISBN 9781408336083
(Age: 6-9) Young novel. Princesses. Friendship. A series that concentrated on magical princesses and the power of friendship is sure to have a following. Best friends Charlotte and Mia are very upset when Charlotte's family decide to move away, but...
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Jul 25 2016

Ollie's Odyssey by William Joyce

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Moonbot Books, 2016. ISBN 9781442473553
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Ollie's Odyssey is a cinematic narrative, an epic 'a-venture' that explores the power of friendship, courage and determination, the forces of good and evil and even love and loss. This is a multi-layered story centred...
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Jul 25 2016

The Tale of Gwyn by Cynthia Voigt

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Tales of the Kingdom bk 1. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015. ISBN 9781481421805
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Fantasy. This reprint of Jackaroo with a new title and cover is a boon for readers who enjoy fantasy, especially one with a heroine in the vein of Robin...
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Jul 25 2016

The Tale of Birle by Cynthia Voigt

cover imageTales of the Kingdom bk 2. Simon and Schuster, 2015. ISBN 9781481422048
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Formerly published as On Fortune's Wheel this is the second in the wonderful Tales of the Kingdom series. Two generations after The tale of Gwyn...
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Jul 25 2016

The tale of Oriel by Cynthia Voigt

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Tales of the Kingdom bk 3. Atheneum Books for Young Readers, 2015. ISBN 9781481403245
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Originally published as The Wings of a Falcon, the third in the Tales of the Kingdom series is a searing, heart wrenching, horrifying and wonderful...
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Jul 22 2016

Another night in Mullet Town by Steven Herrick

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University of Queensland Press, 2016. ISBN 9780702253959
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Reluctant readers. Another outstanding verse novel from Herrick stars two Year 10 boys, Jonah and Manx who not only are facing the dilemmas of teenage life but their small coastal town is being taken...
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Jul 22 2016

Julius Zebra: Bundle with the Britons by Gary Northfield

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Julius Zebra series. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406354935
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Champion gladiator Julius Zebra returns in another crazy outing with his zany friends. Life for the People's Champion should be exciting; everybody loves the zebra, he's even asked for hoof print...
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Jul 22 2016

The truth according to Arthur: A funny book about fibbing by Tim Hopgood

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Ill. by David Tazzyman. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408864982
(Ages: 4 - 7) Recommended. Honesty. The Truth is personified and given the physical form of a grey blob in this story, which means that what Arthur does to The Truth can be concretely illustrated. This is a clever visual way to...
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Jul 21 2016

My brother by Dee, Oliver and Tiffany Huxley

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Working Title Press, 2016. ISBN 9781921504853
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Grief and loss. Death. Siblings. The opening double page shows an animal sitting alone at a table, telling the reader how he misses his brother and how lost he is without him, then the eyes are naturally drawn to...
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Jul 21 2016

Anders and the volcano by Gregory Mackay

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760290030
(Ages: 7+) Graphic Novel. Anders and his trusty flying beetle Skip return from their first adventure in Anders and the comet to engage in another imaginative story while on a camping holiday near an extinct volcano. He travels with friends...
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Jul 21 2016

A brief take on the Australian novel by Jean-Francois Vernay

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054048
(Age: Senior secondary - adult) Recommended. Do you know who wrote Australia's first novel? Or who wrote the first Aboriginal novel? A brief take on the Australian novel will give you the answers to these questions whilst providing a...
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Jul 21 2016

My perfect pup by Sue Walker

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Ill. by Anil Tortop. New Frontier Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925059601
(Age: 4+) Dogs. Pets. Choice. Responsibility. A tiny dog sits patiently in the pet shop waiting for someone to choose him. Two children arrive on their tandem, wanting a dog. Milly wants a dog to brush and preen and...
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Jul 20 2016

Out by Angela May George

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Ill. by Owen Swan. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781743629000
(Age: all) Highly recommended. Refugees, Asylum seekers, War, Freedom. The young girl in this moving book tells us her story. She and her mother must flee their country which is at war. Men come with guns and she and her mother hide...
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Jul 20 2016

This school is driving me nuts! and other funny plays for kids by Duncan Ball

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Christmas Press, 2016. ISBN 9780994234032
(Age: All) Highly recommended. This School is Driving Me Nuts! is a great selection of plays for fun reading on your own and in the classroom with a group. Readers can read through the Perils of Prince Percy of Pomegranate or solve...
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Jul 20 2016

Tom Gates: Super good skills (Almost) by Liz Pichon

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Tom Gates series. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760152659
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Liz Pichon's award winning Tom Gates series returns for the tenth hilarious instalment. Tom's uniquely irreverent style shown in both words and cartoons captures the dramas of the last day of...
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Jul 20 2016

EJ shines by Susannah McFarlane

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EJ12 Girl Hero bk 21. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781925206043
(Age: 8 - 10) Recommended. Themes: Birthdays, Spies, Codes and Ciphers, The Great Barrier Reef, Adventures. Emma Jacks returns in her final EJ12 mission, and with her twelfth birthday approaching she has one final...
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Jul 19 2016

Julius and the soulcatcher by Tim Hehir

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Text Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925240177
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Charles Darwin. Orchids. Diaries. Victorian England. Steampunk. Botany. Time travel. Charles Darwin's diary holds the key to the next enthralling Watchmaker novel Julius and the soulcatcher. It is 1838 and...
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Jul 19 2016

Unrivaled by Alyson Noel

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A beautiful idols novel. Katherine Tegen Books, Harper Collins; 2016. ISBN 9780062496744
(Age: 15+) This is a dramatic mystery involving a number of aspirational young people who get involved in a competition because of their ambitions to get ahead. The competition arena is the...
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Jul 19 2016

The awesome body book by Adam Frost

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Bloomsbury,2016. ISBN 9781408862353
(Ages: 7+) Highly recommended. Non fiction. The awesome body book is an engaging and entertaining look at the human body in a 'Believe it or Not' style text. Colourful comparative graphics with bubble-sized chunks of information make this book...
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Jul 19 2016

Dog house by Katie Abey

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The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760402310
(Ages: 1-4) Board book. Homes. Katie Abey, English author and illustrator, has created this bright, bold and glossy board book with textured illustrations (dirt ground, trees, pond water, beehive, birds nest).
The humorous...
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Jul 18 2016

The other side of Summer by Emily Gale

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Random House Australia. ISBN 9780143780113
(Age: 11-14) Highly recommended. Grief. Migration. Grief stricken, Summer is trying to recover, her only consolation a guitar that her brother had owned. Then her father makes a momentous decision - her family will move from London to Australia...
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Jul 18 2016

Self-destructing Science: Space by Isabel Thomas

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Ill. by Nikalas Catlow. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408869499
(Ages: 6+) Highly recommended. Activity Book. Self-Destructing Science: Space by Isabel Thomas is more than just the average activity book. It has quality information and an amazing array of science-based activities,...
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Jul 18 2016

Truly Tan: Hoodwinked! by Jen Storer

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Harper Collins, 2016. ISBN 9780733334115
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. In Truly Tan: Hoodwinked, year 4 students Tan and Gloria love being spies in Peppercorn Valley. They keep an eye on things going on around the town and at school, have excellent imaginations and practise their...
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Jul 18 2016

Princess Betony and the Thunder Egg by Pamela Freeman

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925381030 (paperback)
(Age 9+) Recommended. Princess Betony and the Thunder Egg is a cute story in a cute little book. it is the second story involving Princess Betony and she comes from a land of magic. To help celebrate the King and Queen's...
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Jul 18 2016

Princess Betony and the rule of wishing by Pamela Freeman

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925381047 (paperback)
(Age 8+) Highly recommended. Princess Betony and the Rule of Wishing is another book in the series featuring Princess Betony as the main character. It is a cute little hardcover story and would make a lovely gift for girls -...
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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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