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

Jun 24 2016

Steve goes to carnival by Joshua Button

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Ill. by Robyn Wells. Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360219
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Gorillas, Zoos, Rio de Janeiro, Jazz, Friendship. An array of animals lives in the zoo in Rio de Janeiro. The jaguars pace in their den, the elephant stretches out his trunk for an ice cream, the howler moneys do what they are known for, the sloths sway gently, the anteater eats its dinner and the lion licks his lips. But the gorilla called Steve simply waits for the keeper, Antonio to appear. They are the best of friends, and share a love of jazz. Antonio often sits with Steve in the evening listening to the radio. One night Steve misses Antonio and lifts the latch of his cage to search for him. Outside the zoo he finds a wide-brimmed hat, the perfect disguise. He catches the yellow tram into the city and sees and hears the sights and sounds of Carnival. Hearing some familiar music he enters the Blue Jaguar Jazz Club and spies Antonio playing his saxophone. They greet each other fondly and Steve takes the hand of a dancer and sways to the music. But his hat falls from his head revealing who he is. Without missing a beat the beautiful dancer picks up his hat and places it on his head and they resume dancing, twisting and turning into the night.
What a wonderful story, rich in meaning, giving information about Rio through the writing in a splendidly subtle way, and reflecting a contemporary illustrative technique which grabs the attention of the readers.
Younger readers will thrill to the images of Carnival in Rio, reflecting on the city that is shortly to host the Olympic Games. Portuguese words dot the text and pictures, introducing the reader to the words they may well hear during the Games. Some of these words appear in a short glossary at the end, and readers will have a great deal of fun after reading this story finding other words and working out their meanings, particularly those reflecting Brazil's food and festivities.
This is an enchanting story, impressive in its detail of life in Rio, allowing readers to assimilate information about Rio and its lifestyle without feeling they are reading a text. The background of head dresses, trams, favelas, people and buildings all form part of the vividly drawn streetscapes for readers to linger over. The vibrant pictures will easily grab their imaginations as the illustrations stretch and sway, move and meander across the pages.
Joshua Button is a descendant of the Walmajari people of the Kimberley, and lives in Broome. His first picture book, Joshua and the two crabs was released with acclaim in 2008, and he worked with Robyn Wells on this book starting at her kitchen table in 2006. And I hope he has more work in progress.
Fran Knight



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Jun 23 2016

The mystery of the clockwork sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

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The mystery of the clockwork sparrow bk. 1. Egmont, 2015. ISBN 9781405276177
(Age: 11-14) Recommended. Mystery. Thriller. Fabulous for fans of mysteries and adventure this sparkling story set in the beautiful rooms of a gorgeous new department store will tantalise with its plucky...
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Jun 23 2016

Miss Mae's Saturday by Justine Flynn and J. Yi

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Random House Australia, 2016. ISBN 9780857988584
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Grandmothers. Imagination. Oh no - it's raining and Miss Mae is dismayed to find that she won't be taking one of her trips out with her grandmother. Instead they will have to stay inside. Then Grandma comes along...
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Jun 23 2016

The pony show by Kate Welshman

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Ill. by Heath Mackenzie. Pine Valley Ponies series; bk 3. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743624326
(Age: 7+) Horse-riding. Gymkhanas. Friendship. Overcoming challenges. Maddy is back with her pony Snowy and they are having fun getting ready for the local gymkhana. She is rather...
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Jun 22 2016

The Pain, my mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and me by Michael Gerard Bauer

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Omnibus Books, 2016. ISBN 9781742991504
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Adolescent. Family relations.Michael Gerard Bauer is one of my favourite authors and once again he has produced a highly entertaining and positive book that is sure to appeal to his readers. Maggie Butt is faced with...
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Jun 22 2016

Introducing Teddy: A story about being yourself by Jessica Walton

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Ill. by Dougal MacPherson. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781681192116
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Diversity. Gender identity. Young Errol's life is filled with enjoyment, together with his best friend Thomas the teddy, they ride their bike, plant vegetables and share lunch in the tree house. One...
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Jun 22 2016

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

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Ill. by David Tazzyman. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408864999
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Lying, Honesty, Accidents. With the sub title, a book about fibbing the reader knows from the start that this book will be educative. But it does so in a highly entertaining way. At first a little...
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Jun 21 2016

Remade by Alex Scarrow

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Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781509811205
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. 'It hasn't liquefied all of this person yet.'
This book is a real seat of the pants ride through the unthinkable.
'Replication was the highest priority. Very soon it had 'fathered' a copy of itself, and now both...
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Jun 21 2016

The new friend by Kim Kane and Jon Davis

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Ginger Green, Play Date Queen series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127701
(Age: 5-7) Highly recommended. Friends. Who hasn't faced the difficulty of having a new friend visit, and being unsure of what to do and talk about? In The new friend, Ginger has...
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Jun 21 2016

Zoo ball by Aleesah Darlison

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Ill. by Australian children. Wombat Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925139433
Ned loves his big, bright bouncing ball. So much so, that he takes it to the zoo and even though his parents warn him not to bounce it, he just can't help himself. Everywhere he goes he bounces it, right into the...
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Jun 20 2016

Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman

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Ill. by Liz Anelli. Nature Storybooks series. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781921529436
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, Desert, South Australia, Animals. Within the realm of this wonderful series, a story is told in which every word is true, set alongside a text which...
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Jun 20 2016

The crazy friend by Kim Kane and Jon Davis

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Ginger Green, Play Date Queen series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127718
(Age: 5-7) Highly recommended. Lots of fun in this book for emerging readers! Ginger Green just loves having her friends over for a play date, but sometimes things can become difficult. Today she...
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Jun 20 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, rewritten by Terry Deary

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Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472917775
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Shakespeare, Elizabethan times. As with Macbeth, this story is told through the eyes of Molly, a servant with a troupe of players who tour England presenting Shakespeare's plays to...
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Jun 17 2016

Invisible mending by Mike Ladd

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054079
(Age: 16+) Commencing with wry observations about Adelaide and touching recollections of the lives of everyday people, Mike Ladd tells his stories in both poetry and prose.
Warmth, compassion and affection are evident in short stories...
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Jun 17 2016

Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406363128
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. In Fenn Halflin's world, the sea has been taking over for as long as he has been alive and before. The landborn, who are lead by Terra Firma, hunt and banish the seaborn from the land, keeping the safe, land areas for...
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Jun 17 2016

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, rewritten by Terry Deary

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Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472917805
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Elizabethan times. In this lively series, a character is introduced who becomes a narrator presenting the play within the confines of that person's life and times....
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Jun 16 2016

Circle by Jeannie Baker

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406338010
(Age: all) Highly recommended. Natural world. Birds. Inter relationship. Environment. The circle of life is reprised on every page in this beautiful new book from illustrator/author Jennie Baker. Her story of the godwits, the birds which amazingly...
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Jun 16 2016

Three by Justin D'Ath

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Ford Street Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925272277
(Age: 11-14) Sunday Balewo is sixteen, a keen soccer player and in love with Holly Parr. His father is also President for Life of an African nation, Zantugi.
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Jun 16 2016

Jimmy Cook discovers third grade by Kate and Jol Temple

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Ill. by Jon Foye. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291938
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Humour. Australian history. School. Jimmy Cook becomes a butt of jokes in class when he insists that he is related to Captain James Cook, despite the man having no known descendants. This does...
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Jun 15 2016

The furball strikes back by Aaron Blabey

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The bad guys, episode 3. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760157265
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Animals, Adventure, Heroism.  Subtitled, The furball strikes back, readers who laughed their way through Episode 2 with the break in at the Sunnyside Chicken Farm, will know...
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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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