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

Jan 23 2015

The third chimpanzee for young people: On the evolution and future of the human animal by Jared Diamond

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Oneworld Publications, 2014. ISBN 9781780746043
Recommended (Age: 14+) As his title suggests, Jared Diamond sees human beings as the product of evolution, and of its guiding principle natural selection. To this Pulitzer Prize-winning Professor of Geography, evolution raises more questions than it answers. His hypotheses provide some challenging insights into human behaviour. Having traced the ascent of humankind, Diamond turns his attention to its impact on the planet. After considering climate change, the extinction of species and the loss of Indigenous peoples, he concludes that the negative effects of the growth of human power have the potential to overturn the balance of nature. Despite the threat that humanity poses to its own existence, Jared Diamond declares that he is 'cautiously hopeful' because people can learn from the past.
Rebecca Stefoff's adaptation of Jared Diamond's original work explains complex concepts clearly and concisely. Subjects such as sexuality, death, self-destructive behaviours and genocide are examined in a frank, detached, informative manner that combines scientific inquiry with the sweep of human history. Occasional flashes of emotion are revealed when the author reflects on the disappearance of a species or culture. Scientific terms are defined with elaboration rather than avoided or simplified, and their meanings are clarified further in a useful glossary. Black and white illustrations and photographs enhance the text.
There are at least two reasons to read The third chimpanzee. The first is to find out how a scholar can interpret evidence drawn from a broad knowledge of the human and natural world. The second is to share a thought-provoking contemplation of the evolution of humanity and civilisation. Whether or not readers agree with Jared Diamond's interpretation of life on Earth, they may find themselves pondering the issues raised, long after they have finished reading the book.
Elizabeth Bor

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Jan 23 2015

Hush by Karen Robards

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Hodder, 2014. ISBN 9781444797862
(Age: Adult) Romantic suspense. Thriller. Riley Cowan discovers her ex-husband's body hanging from a staircase. It looks like a suicide but Riley is convinced that Jeff would not have killed himself. He had been on the trail of people who were trying to...
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Jan 23 2015

The Icicle Illuminarium by N. J. Gemmell

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Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN 9780857985675
(Age: 9-12) Continuing the story of the off-the-wall crazy but courageous Caddy kids, Kick, Bert, Scruff and Pin, The Icicle Illuminarium takes up the story after Dad has returned safely but beset with illness from his...
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Jan 23 2015

Banjo: The man who wrote Waltzing Matilda by Paul Terry

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317976
(Age: Upper primary - Secondary) Marking 150 years since the birth of one of Australia's iconic writers in 1864, Paul Terry has written the biography on A.B. (Banjo) Paterson. As we focus on his time in our history as we commemorate World War 1...
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Jan 23 2015

House of robots by James Patterson

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Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780099568278
(Age: 10-12) There is no doubt that James Patterson must rank as one of the most highly successful authors of our times. His adult novels have always attracted huge readership and now he is simply tearing away with his books for children....
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Jan 22 2015

Rogue wave by Jennifer Donnelly

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Waterfire saga bk 2. Hodder Children's Books 2015. ISBN 9781444926187
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Once more Jennifer Donnelly sends her readers on a whirlwind adventure of mermaid drama in the second instalment of the Waterfire saga. A rich fantasy writer, she yet again lives...
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Jan 22 2015

Lyka's adventure: Lyka and the secret forest by Atley Loughridge

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Penguin, 2014. ISBN 9780143308324
(Age: 6-10) Planet Ahmee is dying, and there's only one robot with a heart big enough to rescue it. Lyka, lovable friend to all living creatures, sets off across the galaxy on a quest to find the answers about the natural world that will save her home...
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Jan 22 2015

Cold cold heart by Tami Hoag

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Orion Books, 2014. ISBN 9781409151951
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Serial killers. Murder. Post-traumatic stress. Dana Nolan had been a promising news reporter when a notorious serial killer had kidnapped her. She had the strength of will to survive her ordeal, but the scars run deep and she...
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Jan 22 2015

Squishy McFluff: Supermarket sweep by Pip Jones

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Ill. by Ellie Okstad. Faber and Faber, 2014. ISBN 9780571302529
(Age: K-2) Squishy McFluff is so sweet, you'll be smitten. Such a clever and funny invisible kitten!
Imagine the fun of having a cat that only you can see, especially when it is really good at inventing great things to...
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Jan 22 2015

And the band played Waltzing Matilda by Eric Bogle

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Ill. by Bruce Whatley. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743317051
Is there a more haunting tune about World War I than Eric Bogle's classic 'And the band played Waltzing Matilda'? Beginning with...
'Now when I was a young man, I carried me pack, and I lived the free life of a rover...
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Jan 19 2015

Scorpion Mountain by John Flanagan

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Brotherband Book 5: Random House, 2014. ISBN: 9781742759364
(Age: 9+) Recommended. 'Thorn, mind your manners,' Hal cautioned. Thorn looked at him, all wide-eyed innocence.
'Just a joke, Hal,' he said. 'I'm sure King here can take a joke.
Duncan finally smiled. 'If I can't,...
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Jan 19 2015

Penelope Perfect: Project Best Friend by Chrissie Perry

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2015. ISBN 9781760120245
This junior novel is recommended for girls from 7-9 years. Chrissie Perry introduces the reader to perfectionist Penelope Kingston in this book sampler. Penelope - never call her Penny - is a good, sensible and mostly calm, young girl. Her...
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Jan 19 2015

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking

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Kanin chronicles bk 1. Pan Macmillan, 2015. ISBN: 9781447256649
(Age: Teens) Highly recommended. Bryn Aven is determined to gain status amongst the Kanin, the most powerful of the hidden tribes. Being a half-blood she struggles to win respect and has to fight hard for what she...
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Jan 19 2015

The farmer and the clown by Marla Frazee

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Simon & Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781442497443
(Age: 5-8) Highly recommended. Every now and then a book comes along which just literally blows one away. This one came along accompanied by some hype which I tried not to let impair my judgement but turns out the hype is...
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Jan 16 2015

Brazen by Katherine Longshore

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Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781471116988
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Marriage. Fidelity. Temptation. Mary Howard has always lived in the shadow of her powerful family. She has always followed the rules, but then she is married off to Henry Fitzroy, King Henry VIII's illegitimate son. She...
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Jan 16 2015

Life or death by Michael Robotham

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Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9780751552898
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Mystery and suspense. Crime. Why did Audie Palmer escape from prison a day before he was due to be released? In prison for an armed robbery where four people died and $7 million disappeared, Audie is a man hunted for his...
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Jan 16 2015

Anders and the comet by Gregory Mackay

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Allen and Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760111151
Highly recommended for readers from 7-9. Author and illustrator Gregory Mackay's first graphic novel celebrates friendship, adventure and creativity.
Anders and his classmates are surprised when their teacher gives them a homework...
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Jan 16 2015

The Tinklers three: The perfect pet by M.C. Badger

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN 9781742976273
Meet The Tinklers - three children, Marcus, Mila and Turtle, who live by themselves in a high-rise apartment while their parents travel as circus performers - their father is a tightrope walker, and their mother rides a white horse. Marcus...
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Jan 16 2015

My first Elmer collection David McKee

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Random House, 2014. ISBN 9781783441792
(Age: Preschool - K) Highly recommended. 'Four Elmer board books in one handy package! Elmer's colours, Elmer's day, Elmer's friends, and Elmer's weather shrinkwrapped in an attractive card wrapper to make a gorgeous gift...
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Jan 16 2015

Our Australian girl (series)

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Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Puffin Books, 2014.
Pearlie the spy by Gabrielle Wang. ISBN 9780143307969
Daisy in the mansion by Michelle Hamer. ISBN 9780143307655
(Age: Yr 3+) Our Australian girl is a series which features 'a girl like me in a time gone by' which...
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Jan 15 2015

There will be lies by Nick Lake

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408856000
(Age 14+) Highly recommended. Thriller. Magic realism. Road trip. Shelby Jane Cooper is almost 18. She lives at home with her mother who has home-schooled her. Her days are highly organised by her mother who is totally preoccupied with keeping her...
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Jan 15 2015

Diary of a... (series) by Shamini Flint

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Ill. by Sally Heinrich. Allen & Unwin, 2015.
Diary of a golf pro. ISBN 9781760111496
Diary of a basketball hero. ISBN 9781760111502
Recommended for 7-9 year olds. Shamini Flint's popular diary series continues the story of sports-challenged Marcus Atkinson and...
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Jan 15 2015

The ever after of Ella and Micha by Jessica Sorensen

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Sphere, 2014. ISBN 9780751555318.
(Age: 18+) Sex scenes. The day that Ella has been waiting for has arrived. Today she marries Micha, the love of her life. Everything is perfect except for the unexpected package that brings back a harsh reminder of Ella's awful past. How can Ella have a...
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Jan 15 2015

Jamie Brown is NOT rich by Adam Wallace

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Ford St, 2014. ISBN 9781925000368
(Age: 6-10) Humour. Kids who love humorous books of the ilk - Diary of a wimpy kid, My life...(Tristan Bancks), Tom Gates and so on - will love meeting Jamie Brown and his family and friends.
Jamie and his family are poor -...
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Jan 15 2015

Alice in Wonderland

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Disney Vintage Collection. Chirpy Bird, 2014. ISBN 9781742978215
(Age: K-4) One summer day, while daydreaming through a history lesson, Alice spotted a fully dressed white rabbit hurrying past. Curious, she followed him - down a rabbit hole and into an enchanted world.
Wonderland...
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Jan 15 2015

Monsters love underpants by Claire Freedman and Ben Cort

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Simon & Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781847385710
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Now I'm not entirely sure exactly how much you know about monsters, or indeed underpants, but I will be you didn't know how completely inseparable these two are! Can't you just hear the giggles now as you read...
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Jan 14 2015

The Vanishing Game by Kate Kae Myers

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781619631274
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Mystery. Thriller. Horror. When 17 year old Jocelyn receives a letter from Jason December, she is convinced that her twin brother Jack has not died in a car accident, as she previously thought, because he and their friend Noah...
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Jan 14 2015

Jigsaw man by Elena Forbes

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Text, 2015. ISBN 9781922182616
(Age: Mature readers) Elena Forbes' latest novel is the fourth in a crime series with Detective Inspector Tartaglia and the Barnes investigation team in London. The author won a Crime Writers' Association award for an earlier title. In the previous books...
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Jan 14 2015

The Great Garden Mystery by Renee Treml

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Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9780857984166
Highly recommended for young readers aged 5 and up. Just over a year ago I had the distinct pleasure of reviewing Rene's second picture book, Colour for Curlews. I absolutely loved it - and I love this new one just as...
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Jan 13 2015

The Starbound Trilogy: This Shattered World by Amie Kaufman & Meagan Spooner

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Hyperion Books, 2014. ISBN 9781743319703
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. The People of Avon are at war on a still-terra-forming planet. They think that there are only two sides to the war: military and rebel forces. How wrong they are . . .
Following the journey of military captain,...
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Jan 13 2015

Dragons at Crumbling Castle: and other stories by Terry Pratchett

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Random House Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857534378
Once upon a time, in the 1960s, there was a young cub reporter who worked for the Bucks Free Press covering such scintillating happenings as village fairs and other local events. Despite the rigours of such journalism, Sir Terry Pratchett...
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Jan 13 2015

Noni the Pony goes to the beach by Alison Lester

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743311141
(Age: Preschool - K) Noni the pony is back - this time in a fun romp along the beach with her farm friends, the 'ladies-next-door' Coco Cat and Dave Dog. Sliding down the dunes, splashing in the waves, building sandcastles and just enjoying the...
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Jan 13 2015

Silly Birds written and illustrated by Gregg Dreise

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Magabala Books, 2014. ISBN: 9781922142993
(Ages: Lower primary) Highly recommended and perfect for cross-cultural studies in the Australian Curriculum. Way back before Once-upon-a-time time, there was the Dreamtime, and during this period there was Maliyan.
So starts this gorgeous...
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Jan 12 2015

Catalyst by S.J. Kincaid

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Insignia series. Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471400711
(Age: 10 +) Recommended. Catalyst is the thrilling conclusion to the Insignia series which has seen 16 year old, Tom Raines, reeling from the events of his year training to join the Intrasolar Forces. He is now...
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Jan 12 2015

Spirit Animals: Against the Tide by Tui T. Sutherland

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Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743620021
This is book five of the Spirit Animals series and, as there are only a few books left, the plot thickens as the 'mole' is revealed and we gain some sense of the deadly, ambitious Gerathon and meet Kovo the giant gorilla, fellow conspirator in...
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Jan 12 2015

We love you Hugless Douglas! by David Melling

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Hugless Douglas series. Hodder, 2015 (c2013) ISBN 9781444920772
(Age: 3-5), Warmly recommended. Board book, Friendship. A lovely book to hold and share, this one tells of the further adventures of Hugless Douglas as he searches for a best friend. Everyone around seems to have one...
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Jan 12 2015

Starry nights by Daisy Whitney

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781619634367
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Julien loves spending his free time at the art museum, looking intently at all of the art pieces created by the great impressionists. However one night a peach falls out of a Cezanne and Degas Ballerinas dance and rolls across...
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Jan 09 2015

The Kaboom Kid: The big switch by David Warner

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Simon & Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781925030785
(Age 5-12) Highly recommended. Put simply, if you have a young boy who is an emerging reader and loves cricket (or actually just thinks cricket is OK) then this is a book that should definitely be on your list.
The Kaboom Kid is...
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Jan 09 2015

The Kaboom Kid: Playing up by David Warner with J.S. Black

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Simon & Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9781925030808
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Great selections of books are being written for sport-minded boys and The Kaboom Kid: Playing up is another one to add to that selection. These books take the action of a sport, a popular player, add a...
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Jan 09 2015

My Hiroshima by Junko Morimoto

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Lothian, 2014 (c1987). ISBN 9780734416025
(Ages: all) Highly recommended. War. Hiroshima. World War Two. Nuclear bombs. Survival. Cancer. Death. First published in 1987, this book received worldwide acclaim, and is used extensively in classrooms where Peace is under discussion. A tale of...
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Jan 09 2015

Wanted! Ralfy Rabbit, book burglar by Emily MacKenzie

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Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408843130
(Age: 4+) Warmly recommended. Books. Libraries. Crime. When Arthur notices that some of his favourite books are missing from his bookshelves, he decides to do a little sleuthing. He loves his books, his bookshelves are groaning under the weight of...
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Jan 09 2015

The Corduroy books by Don Freeman

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Corduroy. Penguin, 2014 c1968. ISBN 9780140501735
A Pocket for Corduroy. 1978. ISBN 9780140503524
Voted in the Top 100 Books for Children in the National Education Association 2007 online poll, and again in Top 100 Picture Book poll 2012, School Library Journal, and...
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Jan 09 2015

Max the Brave by Ed Vere

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Penguin Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780723286691
Coming hard on the heels of Small and I cooing over a very small, very playful black kitten at the pet shop on Saturday, we shared this absolutely gorgeous book from Ed Vere.
'This is Max.
Max is a fearless kitten.
Max is a brave...
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