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

May 25 2016

MARTians by Blythe Woolston

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406341393
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Consumerism. Dystopian fiction. Zoe Zindleman has been abandoned by her mother and the government has shut down her school. She is given the opportunity to start work at ALLMART, where 'your smile is the AllMART welcome mat'. Her house is going to be repossessed and when she meet MORTimmer, he warns her that it is not a smart idea to live in ALLMART’s dormitories. Trusting him, she moves into the Warren, a deserted shopping centre where a laundromat becomes her home, shared with the little boy 5er and Timmer. Then her ordeal as an employee of ALLMART begins as she learns the ins and outs of selling in a big store.
This is a grim but totally engrossing story about consumerism gone wild told in the heart wrenching voice of Zoe, an intelligent girl. As her training progresses she realises that there is no future for her as she will always be in debt to AllMART, who charge her enormous prices for uniforms and food. As Zoe battles her way through learning about how to sell, the reader will find many familiar descriptions of different store departments and how they are set up. Equally bleak are the stories of abandoned children, whose parents have left them behind, and the stories of repossessed houses that are pulled apart for their metal, and a government that has abandoned everyone.
However there is one small glimpse of hope that Timmer gives: Look for the ones who need help and spread the good around.
This was an exceptionally thought provoking book. References were made to Ray Bradbury's The Martian Chronicles but don't detract for those who haven't read it, and will make them want to pick it up.
This would make an ideal literature circle book or class novel with the themes of consumerism gone wild, governments who cannot help people whose homes are repossessed, unemployment, and abandoned children making for great discussion points for their relevance for today's society.
Pat Pledger

More Reviews

May 25 2016

Marmaduke the very popular dragon by Rachel Valentine

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Ill. by Ed Eaves. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408862667
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Friendship, Dragons, Medieval times. A sequel to Marmaduke the very different dragon (2014), this one has friendship as its core theme, as Meg and Marmaduke again do everything together. The two are...
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May 25 2016

The words in my hand by Guinevere Glasfurd

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(Age: 16+) Highly recommended for mature readers. Themes: Philosophy; Education of women; Rene Descartes; Relationships. Weaving together the story of Rene Descartes with the young maid with whom he has a relationship, the reader gets an insight into the way the world has changed on so many...
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May 24 2016

Gary by Leila Rudge

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925081695
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Birds. Adventure. Maps. Difference. Gary the pigeon cannot fly, so sits at home when the others are taken in the basket to a place far away to compete in a pigeon race and return home. Gary loves hearing their stories...
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May 24 2016

Horses: Fun facts and amazing stories by Dianne Bates

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Ill. by Sophie Scahill. Awesome animals 3. Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925275858
(Age: 8+) Horses. Horsemanship. Horses: Fun facts and amazing stories is a compendium and a celebration of all things horse! Dianne Bates has sourced an amazing array of horse facts,...
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May 24 2016

The turners by Mick Elliott

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Lothian; 2015. ISBN 9780734416629
(Age: Junior secondary) Mick Elliott, award winning Nickelodeon producer, takes us on a rollicking ride into a fantastic world of weirdness.
Leo Lennox, a typical thirteen year old, sits in the school library, admiring his attractive classmate,...
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May 24 2016

Taking turns by Lisa Kerr

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Cheeky Monkey manners. The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760402662
(Ages: 2-5) Recommended. This is another in the Cheeky Monkey manners series (Please, Thank you, Sorry, Excuse me, Listening) and one of many in the Cheeky Monkey...
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May 23 2016

When we collided by Emery Lord

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408870082
(Age: Senior Secondary) Highly recommended.  Extroverted Vivi, her cheerfulness hiding her fragility and the embarrassing memories she wants to forget, arrives with her mother to spend the summer in Verona Cove, a tiny coastal town, its details...
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May 23 2016

Reflection by Rebecka Sharpe Shelberg

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Ill. by Robin Cowcher. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781922179050
(Age: 7+) Recommended. War, Australia's involvement with war, Memorials, Anzac Day, Remembrance. This picture book presents a different way of looking at war in the classroom. It offers an introduction to the many wars in...
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May 23 2016

Mad Magpie by Gregg Dreise

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Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360066
(Age: 4-9) Highly recommended. Stay calm like the surface of the water, yet strong like its current. Greg Dreise's third morality tale Mad Magpie is dedicated to those children who have been picked on or bullied.
In the...
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May 23 2016

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

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Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN 9781406363135
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Friendship, Grief, Single parents, Aged care, Competition. When her father leaves, Raymie is distraught. She joins a baton twirling class in the hope of winning Little Miss Central Florida Tire 1975, so having her...
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May 23 2016

Chasing dreams by Karen Wood

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Trickstars bk 5. Allen and Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743319109
(Age: Early chapter book readers) Themes: Dreams; Horse-riding; Performance. The Trickstars trick-riding triplets face a new possibility in their lives after their Aunt Zelda posts a video of their amazing skills on the...
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May 19 2016

The boy who could do what he liked by David Baddiel

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Ill. by Jim Field. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008167813
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended for young readers aged 7+.
(Alfie is a little older, but the story is easily accessible for a younger reader.) Family. Rules and routines. Children's behaviour.
Alfie lives a fairly boring...
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May 19 2016

How to build a motorcycle: A racing adventure of mechanics, teamwork, and friendship by Saskia Lacey

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Ill. by Martin Sodomka. Quarto, 2016. ISBN 9781633220577
Known as 'The Marvelous Mouse Mechanic' following his construction of and adventures in both a miniature plane and a miniature car, Eli is somewhat full of himself and much to the dismay of his best friends Hank Frog and Phoebe...
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May 19 2016

Fluff Butt's windy world tour by Susan Berran

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Ill. by Sophie Scahill. Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925275483
(Age: 5-8) Young novel. Fluff Butt travels around the world using - yes - the power of farts! As he travels to many tourist spots he causes much chaos in his own unique way.
Those in contact with young children will...
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May 17 2016

The narrow bed... is the waiting grave by Sophie Hannah

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Hodder and Stoughton, 2016. ISBN 9781444776096
(Age: Adult - Senior students) Pairs of friends are being murdered, each having been given a small, handmade book, empty of words but for a few lines of poetry. When comedian Kim Tribbeck hears of this she remembers being given just such a...
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May 17 2016

Dale by Adrian Beck

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Stuff happens series, Penguin, 2016. ISBN 9781760141585
(Age: 7+) Recommended. School stories. Boys. Revenge. Bullying. Drama.
The popular Stuff happens series explores how boys cope with everyday situations at school, at home, with friends, playing sports and hanging...
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May 17 2016

The little giraffe who lost her spots by Jedda Robaard

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Little Creatures series. The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760400392
(Ages: 1-4) Recommended. This is a new title in the Little Creatures series, all of which are about an animal who has lost something and is trying to get it back. Others in the series include The...
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May 17 2016

The little elephant who lost his bath by Jedda Robaard

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Little Creatures series. The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760400408
(Ages: 1-4) This is a new title in the Little Creatures series, all of which are about an animal who has lost something and is trying to get it back. Others in the series include The little mouse who...
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May 16 2016

One thousand hills by James Roy and Noel Zihabamwe

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Scholastic (Omnibus) 2016. ISBN 9781762990750 (Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Rwanda, Civil war. Beginning with a talk with a counsellor at his school in Belgium, a young man, at first resentful and wary, tells his story. The counsellor leads him gently into understanding that he needs to tell...
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May 14 2016

Interview with Michael Grant

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Bestselling YA author Michael Grant is in Australia and New Zealand to promote Front Lines, the first book in his blockbuster new...
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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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