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 23 2014

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

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Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN: 9781471123221.
Recommended for readers 15+. Based on the Emmy Award-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern day depiction of the Pride and Prejudice story.
The enigmatic Elizabeth of old becomes a twenty four year old grad student, Lizzie Bennet, who is still living at home along with her two sisters - beautiful Jane and reckless Lydia. The absence of the superfluous two Bennet sisters is indicative of the style of the book. Lizzie records her reflections on life for her thesis project and posts them on YouTube, turning the Bennet sisters into internet celebrities seemingly overnight.
As the story unfolds, it is only through key events the reader starts to make direct comparison with the Austen novel. Unlike the free, indirect speech style of the original, this novel is presented in diary form presenting a much more personal tone. This demonstrates the cultural shift to a world where nothing is private but also whets the appetite of young readers who want to know everything about a character, leaving little to the imagination.
The novel is certainly not a classic, but is an excellent example of how our cultural standards, communication and environment have changed significantly, but individuals and families have remained the same.
The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet would be great for reluctant readers and those interested in the application of classic literature to modern day circumstances. Discussion questions are provided at the back of the book for classroom use. I wouldn't recommend the novel for lower than Year 10 or boys, as stated, little is left for the imagination at times.
Catherine Barnes

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Jul 23 2014

Workshopping the heart: New and selected poems by Jerri Kroll

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Wakefield Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743051283.
(Age: Upper secondary students) Well recommended. This caressing, probing, melodic and challenging volume of stream of consciousness poetry invites the reader to participate in the wealth of variety encompassed here. The subjects are wide and...
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Jul 23 2014

Supertato by Sue Hendra

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Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9780857074478.
(Age: 3-5) Recommended. Humour, Wordplay. Another in a line of books by Sue Hendra, using words as a ploy to make the readers laugh, will appeal to a younger audience, just coming to grips with language an its many uses and meanings. The...
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Jul 23 2014

Let's play by Gabriel Alborozo

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316283.
(Ages: 2-8) Recommended. Picture book. Let's Play is a delightful introduction to many of the instruments that make up the orchestra. Hosted by a moustachioed, music loving maestro, a group of delighted children discover the sounds and...
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Jul 23 2014

Too hot for spots by Mini Goss

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Allen and Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743435410.
Recommended for children aged 3+. Too Hot for Spots is a lovely picture book with bright, real life photos to help tell the story.
Barry and Stella are dogs and in this story they are taking turns to be the doctor or the patient....
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Jul 22 2014

Big Sky Mind by Whitney Stewart

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Ill. by Sally Rippin. Windy Hollow Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922081339.
Recommended. Big Sky Mind, with its cover featuring an elephant and monkey, looks like another picture book and opens with these two animals obviously having had an argument sitting at either end of a garden...
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Jul 22 2014

Jumblecat by Archie Kimpton

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Ill. by Kate Hindley. Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471402784.
(Age: 7-12) Recommended. Billy Slipper is an ordinary boy who finds an unusual pet. Add an extraordinary set of characters reminiscent of a Roald Dahl book, and the adventure begins.
Billy's mother is obsessed with dirt,...
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Jul 22 2014

The geography of you and me by Jennifer E. Smith

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Headline, 2014. ISBN 9781472206299.
Well recommended for upper secondary students. A cleverly contrived plot where the main characters are able to express their inner thoughts, which closely ally a reader's own view of the situation at the time. Lucy lives on the 24th floor of an...
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Jul 22 2014

Running on a Patchwork of Earth by Jonny Zucker

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781472905345.
(Age: 8-11) It is not often that a sport such as middle distance running features in novels for 8-11 year olds. We may have to thank the Olympics for sparking the idea and giving us an insight to this sport and the reality that change brings new...
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Jul 22 2014

Adorable Alice by Cassandra Webb

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New Frontier Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781921928017.
Adorable Alice is a beautiful picture book highly recommended for children aged 3+. Whether reading it with an adult or trying on their own, children will wonder at Alice, a young girl who explores her house by using her...
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Jul 22 2014

Howler by Michael Rosen and Neal Layton

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408846179.
(Age: Pre-school - Year 2) Have you ever considered what it must be like to follow a pregnancy through the eyes of the family pet? In this very funny take on a common situation, Dog introduces us to his pet girl, Rover and her family and provides a...
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Jul 18 2014

Waterfire saga: Deep blue by Jennifer Donnelly

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Hodder Children's Books, 2014. ISBN 9781444921182.
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Deep Blue is the first thrilling instalment in the Waterfire saga which follows the perilous adventure of six teenage mermaids are they endeavour to save their ocean home from an unknown terragogg enemy....
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Jul 18 2014

Chu's first day at school by Neil Gaiman

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Ill. Adam Rex. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408847039.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Picture book. School. Anxiety. A sequel to the highly successful, Chu's day, this book has the little bear going to school for the first time. He is anxious about making friends and fitting in. He is...
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Jul 18 2014

Fossil by Claire Ewart

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Walker, 2014. ISBN 9780802737373.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Picture book. Fossils. Archaeology. First published in 2004, this is a handsome picture book. Claire Ewart once lived near a lake which had been dredged from a stream bed, so uncovering a myriad of pieces of brachiopods, mollusks...
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Jul 18 2014

Nowhere boys by Elise McCredie

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781760120160.
Recommended for middle years readers. Nowhere boys, which has been serialised for television, tells the story of four very different boys in Year 10 who become friends in difficult circumstances. Felix is a punk songwriter, Andy an...
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Jul 18 2014

Big pet day by Lisa Shanahan

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Ill. by Gus Gordon. Lothian, 2014. ISBN 9780734412416.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. School. Animals.
Each of the children in the class brings their pet to school for Pet Day. They are all excited, especially knowing that their principal, Mr Fisher will come in and judge whose pet is the...
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Jul 17 2014

While we run by Karen Healey

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When we wake Bk 2. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743435458.
(Age 14+) Highly recommended. Science fiction. Dystopian. Following When we wake, this story looks at what life was like for Abdi Taalib and Tegan Oglietti, the girl who had died in 2027, frozen and...
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Jul 17 2014

Calypso Summer by Jared Thomas

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Magabala Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922142122.
(Ages: Mature senior secondary students) Kyle Summer is a young Nukunu man who lives near Henley Beach in Adelaide. He's known to all as Calypso because of his dreadlocks, love of Bob Marley and reggae music and the West Indies cricket team. His...
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Jul 17 2014

The edge of the water by Elizabeth George

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The edge of nowhere bk 2. Hodder & Stoughton, 2014. ISBN 9781444720013.
(Age: 14+) Mystery. Thriller. Supernatural. The sequel to The edge of nowhere finds Becca hiding from her stepfather in a location in the woods which Seth her close friend has helped her find. She...
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Jul 17 2014

Edward and the great discovery by Rebecca McRitchie and Celeste Hulme

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New Frontier, 2014. ISBN 9781925059007.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Dinosaurs. Archaeology, Dodo.
All Edward wants to do is make a big discovery. After all his parents and grandparents have all made discoveries in their lives as archaeologists, and he expects to follow in their footsteps....
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Jul 17 2014

There's a lion in my cornflakes by Michelle Robinson

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Ill. Jim Field. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408845608.
(Age: Preschool-Yr 2)This book starts in a most unusual way - a warning to ignore any messages the reader might see about collecting cereal packet coupons! And the warning is based on experience because after making umpteen trips to...
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Jul 15 2014

The Bow by Catherine Mayo

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Walker Books, 2014. ISBN: 9781925081015.
(Age: Year 8+) Recommended. Themes: Ancient Greece; Historical Epic drama; Adventure. Catherine Mayo has allied Ancient Greece with its Gods and heroes to a story of conflict, family honour and drama that is compelling even for readers that know...
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Jul 15 2014

Happy birthday Hugless Douglas by David Melling

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Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9781444913262.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Birthdays, Twins. Hugless Douglas is really looking forward to his birthday and his birthday party. He is given a heap of presents by his many friends, and is eager to open them when his twin cousins appear with the biggest...
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Jul 15 2014

Shiverton Hall : the creeper by Emerald Fennel

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408827796.
The creepy and mysterious Shiverton Hall is a school with a reputation for being involved in horrific events over hundreds of years. The school and the surrounds of the aptly named village of Grimstone provide the setting for suspense and horror...
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Jul 15 2014

Pearlie goes to Rio by Wendy Harmer

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Ill. by Gypsy Taylor. Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9780857982162.
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended for newly independent readers, especially girls, from age 6 upwards. Hurly Burly! Pearlie is just in time for the World Cup! I think any of us who have seen our younger girls...
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Jul 15 2014

The Water Castle by Megan Frazer Blakemore

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN: 9780802735935.
(Ages: 11+) Contains some graphic and violent content with some supernatural themes. A story about a young boy named Ephraim Appledore-Smith who is related to the scientist Orlando Smith. Orlando...
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Jul 15 2014

The simple things by Bill Condon

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Allen & Unwin, 2014 ISBN 9781743317242.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Family, Rural life. Going to visit an aunt many miles from the city is not what Steve wants to do, but his parents are concerned about her health and have not seen her for nine years. On arrival, he is told they...
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Jul 14 2014

Mutant city by Steve Feasey

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408843031.
(Ages: 13-15) Highly recommended. I really enjoyed this book which I read in three sittings and I highly recommend as an attractive read for reluctant boy readers particularly in years nine and ten. The subject matter, dystopian society and mutants...
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Jul 14 2014

Slaves of Socorro by John Flanagan

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Brotherband series. Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781742759340.
(Age: 11+) Highly Recommended. Conflict. Adventure. Sailing. Heroism. Quests. Slaves of Socorro is the fourth book of the Brotherband series, and it is again a very engaging adventure involving a...
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Jul 14 2014

How to train your dragon by Cressida Cowell

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Little, Brown & Company, 2014. ISBN 9780316085274. Recommended for children aged 8-12. To become a Viking hero it was a tradition of the Hooligan Tribe to undertake the dreaded Dragon Initiation Programme. Failure meant banishment from the tribe forever.
The unremarkable Hiccup, the...
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Jul 14 2014

Captain Underpants and the revolting revenge of the radioactive robo-boxers by Dav Pilkey

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Scholastic Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781743621806
(Ages: 9+) Laugh out loud humour with FLIP-O-RAMA that allows you to animate the action.
Captain Underpants returns in his epic tenth novel with Mr Krupp who turns into Captain Underpants with the click of a finger. In this novel...
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Jul 14 2014

Silly birds written and illustrated by Gregg Dreise

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Magabala Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922142993.
(Age: 5-7) Picture book. Moral tale. Aboriginal themes. Birds. The story of an animal which defies its elders is one that permeates through all cultures, and here is presented with an Aboriginal base, as the eagle, a magnificent bird, wastes its...
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Jul 14 2014

Phyllis Wong and the forgotten secrets of Mr Okyto by Geoffrey McSkimming

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Allen & Unwin, 2012. ISBN 9781742378213.
Meet Phyllis Wong, great-granddaughter of the famous Wallace Wong (that great 1930s conjuror of stage and screen fame) herself a cannily adept magician. Phyllis lives in the beautiful Art Deco apartment block built by her fantastical forebear...
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Jul 14 2014

Phyllis Wong and the return of the conjuror by Geoffrey McSkimming

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743318379
The second of the Phyllis Wong mysteries sees Phyllis, Clement and Chief Inspector Inglis caught up in a baffling case of rare Shakespearean manuscripts, which are suddenly appearing in auctions. How can it be that such rare items as the...
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