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

Nov 21 2014

The memory tree by Britta Teckentrup

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Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9781408326343
(Ages 2-8) Highly recommended. Every now and then a book comes along that is beautifully presented and brings with it a message that every child should have the chance to read and discuss. On the first page, 'He looked at his beloved forest one last time and lay down. Fox closed his eyes, took a deep breath and fell asleep... forever.' The memory tree centres on the death of a loved one (the Fox) in a quiet, polite and sensitive story that instantly evokes emotions.
The memory tree has a placid and calm way of presenting both the illustrations and the story. The local inhabitants of the forest, Owl, Mouse, Rabbit, Squirrel and Bear, all reflect on their experiences and memories of Fox who had touched them each individually in a beautiful and memorable way. These reflections evoke emotions and personal memories easily in the reader.
The issue with The memory tree is when does an adult read it to a child? The story is very emotional and can perhaps be too powerful for a bedtime story. It may be a great way to discuss the loss of life or the topic of immortality.
My son loved this book and immediately asked for it to be read again. I would thoroughly recommend it to be a part of any good library. I would also recommend The memory tree to anyone who needs to discuss the passing of a loved one with a child.
If only the story of dying could always be this sweet.
Steve Whitehead

More Reviews

Nov 21 2014

William Shakespeare's Henry V, retold by Robert Swindells

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Shakespeare today series. Bloomsbury, 2010. ISBN 9781408123966
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Retelling. Shakespeare. English history.
For the series Shakespeare today, Bloomsbury has commissioned writers to retell the stories of the bard to be accessible to a younger modern...
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Nov 21 2014

The anti-boredom book of brilliant things to do by Andy Seed

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ll. by Scott Garrett. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408850763
(Ages 5-10 ) Recommended. There is no doubt that The anti-boredom book of brilliant things to do is a great cure for boredom on a long drive. It has great quizzes, jokes, facts and 'think of as many things as you can think...
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Nov 21 2014

Mr Darcy and the Christmas pudding by Alex Field

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Ill. by Peter Carnavas. Mr Darcy series. New Frontier, 2014. ISBN 9781925059137
(Age: 3-6) Christmas. Mr Darcy, and Mr Darcy and the dancing duck precede this book with the same main character, encouraging younger readers to delight in this series of stories with a...
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Nov 21 2014

Every day is Malala Day by Rosemary McCarney with Plan International

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781760110536
(Age: 3+) Who does not recognise the name and know the story of Malala Yousafzai, the 15 year-old Pakistani girl shot in the head by the Taliban on October 9, 2012, for speaking out publicly about the right of girls to have an education? Flown...
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Nov 20 2014

How are you feeling today? by Molly Potter

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Ill. by Sarah Jennings. Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781472906090
(Ages: 4-10) Everything we do and every thought we have comes with a feeling. Sometimes those feelings feel good and sometimes they feel nasty. How are you feeling today attempts to assist with discussion and deeper...
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Nov 20 2014

Race to the end of the world by A.L. Tait

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The Mapmaker Chronicles. bk 1. Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9780734415776
(Age: 10-15) Highly recommended.
'In the meantime, though, he might as well try to enjoy the fact that he'd be doing exactly what he loved for three months. Reading. Writing. Learning.
How bad could it...
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Nov 20 2014

Come count with me! by Marika Wilson

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Allen and Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743313435
Come count with me! is the first picture book produced by Indigenous artist Marika Wilson. Published in conjunction with the Little Big Book Club it will be a popular book to share with younger preschoolers.
The joyous picture on the...
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Nov 20 2014

Wrestling Trolls: The Giant Rumble by Jim Eldridge

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Ill. By Jan Bielecki. Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471402630
Whilst I am not a wrestling fan, I am a fan of the idea that students can see their suggestions, as strange and interesting as they can be, combined into a funny story and published by a successful author. What a great way to...
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Nov 20 2014

The mystery of the midnight crunch by Simon Mitchell

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Ill. by James Davis. Five Mile Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743467251
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Crime. Mystery, Animals.
Mrs Hopper is convinced that she has a monster in her house. He comes out at night, and raids the kitchen eating the food, and leaving the room in a dreadful mess. The...
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Nov 20 2014

Macavity by T. S. Eliot

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Ill. by Arthur Robins. Faber & Faber, 2014. ISBN 9780571312122
(Age: All) In 1939, T.S. Eliot wrote his iconic Old Possum's book of practical cats which became the foundation for Andrew Lloyd Webber's...
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Nov 19 2014

Escape from Wolfhaven Castle by Kate Forsyth

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The Impossible Quest : bk 1. Scholastic Australia, 2014. ISBN 9781743624067
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Escape from Wolfhaven Castle is the introductory book in this new series from Scholastic. Set in a fantasy world of castles, lords and ladies, knights and squires not to...
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Nov 19 2014

The Nights Before Christmas ill. by Tony Ross

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Koala Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742761404
As December begins what better way to herald the coming of Christmas than to share, each night, or day, a classic story of the season as each door of the Advent calendar is opened.
The Nights Before Christmas collection features a variety...
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Nov 19 2014

The Ministry of Ghosts by Alex Shearer

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Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471403880
Do ghosts exist? Can it be proven? The Ministry of Ghosts is on the case . . . or is it? This is an adventure that 'creeps up on you softly and taps you on the shoulder'.
In an obsure building, in an out of the way place called Bric-a- Brac...
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Nov 19 2014

The Raven's wing by Frances Watts

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Harper Collins, 2014. ISBN 9780733332913
(Age: 13+) Set in Imperial Rome under the reign of Caesar, this story opens with Claudia, the central character and narrator being abducted during the night before her wedding day.
Consideration and analysis of power is evident on various...
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Nov 19 2014

State of Grace by Hilary Badger

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2014. ISBN: 9781760120382
Recommended. Wren lives in utopia. Her world is perfect. The trees laden with fruit and the water in the lagoon is crystal clear. Wren and her friends live in paradise, what more could they want? Wren starts having strange and somewhat...
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Nov 19 2014

The Wild One by Sonya Hartnett

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Ill. by Lucia Masciullo. Penguin/Viking, 2014. ISBN 9780670076970
(Age: F-12) Charlie met the wild one when he was young. His kite got stuck in the branches of the tree and there, sitting on the bough beside it is a barefoot, slightly dishevelled little boy - looking remarkably like...
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Nov 18 2014

Afterworlds by Scott Westerfeld

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Penguin, 2014. ISBN: 9780143572046
I tore through Afterworlds faster than any novel I've read in the last six months. It was irresistible and I could hardly bear to put it down. This novel takes every writer's dream and shows them how it could play out . . .
Darcy is an...
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Nov 18 2014

Timmy Failure: We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis

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Walker Books, 2014. ISBN 9781406356748
(Ages 6 -12) Recommended. His name is Failure, Timmy Failure. He doesn't drive a fancy car or travel by limousine; he gets around on his mother's Roomba. (Robotic vacuum that roams across his mother's carpet in a pattern Timmy is yet to understand)...
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Nov 18 2014

The adventures of Autumn Day: My big fat hairy lies by Melinda Wills McHugh

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Ill. by Amy Borrel. Silver Wood Books, 2014. ISBN 9781781322093
(Ages 8-10) Recommended. What happens when you tell a small lie? It grows and grows. Autumn Day is the same as any nine year old who wants to be liked however she realizes that owning up to her mistakes and telling the...
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Nov 18 2014

Bubbay: a Christmas Adventure by Josie Wowolla Boyle and Fern Martins

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Magabala, 2012. ISBN: 9781921248726
Highly recommended for Lower/Middle Primary children. With themes about loneliness/friendship/hope and Christmas, this is a timely book for this time of the year. Bush magic is always special and when it comes at Christmas time, it's even more...
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Nov 17 2014

Go to sleep, Jessie! by Libby Gleeson

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Ill. by Freya Blackwood. Little Hare, 2014. ISBN 9781742977805
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Sleep, Siblings, Family. The young girl cannot sleep, because her new sister, Jessie screams when put to bed.
She goes down to see her parents and asks their help, and Mum comes upstairs to check...
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Nov 17 2014

Sue Lawson, Blending reality and fiction: an interview by Fran Knight

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Sue Lawson, a children's writer of some twenty books, is in Adelaide for a month, writing and editing her latest novel.
The May Gibbs Children's Literature Trust has awarded Sue the time away from home, a time to just write. To this end she is working on her current novel, one set in...
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Nov 17 2014

Meanjin Crossing by Ian Hamilton

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Xlibris,2014. ISBN 97814909006094
(Age: Senior secondary - adult) This is a story is about the thread that binds us to past and place. For Will, the narrator, it is a thread back to his city's earliest white settlement. This, he relates through the reading of his manuscript to his old...
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Nov 17 2014

We Were Liars By Emily Lockhart

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781760111069
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. This well written page turner chronicles a distinguished family, the Sinclairs, from the point of view of Cadence Sinclair Eastman. The 'lies', skilfully rendered from the very first page continue through to the...
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Nov 17 2014

Belzhar by Meg Wolitzer

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Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN: 9781471123764
If life was fair for Jam Gallahue she would still be living at home with her parents and spending time with her British boyfriend, Reeve Maxfield. But life isn't fair. Reeve is dead and Jam is sent of to the Wooden Barn, a therapeutic...
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Nov 17 2014

Possum Games by Michelle Worthington

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Ill. by Sandra Temple. Rhiza Press, 2014. ISBN 9781925139136
(Age: Early childhood) Every night, on a rusty tin roof the possum family hold The Possum Games. They jump, run, hop and skip, have a tug-of-war, strap soap to their feet to slide down the roof and play all sorts of ball games...
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Nov 17 2014

Plenty by Ananda Braxton-Smith

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Black Dog Books, 2014. ISBN 9781742032429
I would highly recommend this novel for competent readers from 9 -12 years. Themes: Identity, Family life, Friendship, Dementia, Fairies, Botany. Ten year old Maddie's life is ordered, she is the Keeper of the Street, Queen of the back Lane and...
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Nov 14 2014

Crash by Sean Williams

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Twinmaker series, bk 2. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316474
(Age: 16+) This sequel to Jump sees Clair Hill infamous - as the girl who killed d-mat. D-mat is the technology that can create, replicate and teleport any object (clothes, food, humans) and that not only...
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Nov 14 2014

Amelie and Nanette: Snowflakes and fairy wishes by Sophie Tilley

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 9781408836644
(Age: Preschool - Yr 2) Best friends Amelie and Nanette are really looking forward to Christmas. Together they make paper chains, write Christmas cards, wrap presents, make yummy scrummy snowflake fairy cakes and decorate the tree. But even better...
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Nov 14 2014

Corn field by Gary Crew

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Ill. by Aaron Hill. Windy Hollow Books, 2014. ISBN 9781922081377
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Picture book for older readers. Fear. Bravado, Mystery. Mystery is too tame a word for the events Crew gives us in this eerie and unsettling story. Malevolence permeates every page as the narrator...
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Nov 14 2014

Mix it up! by Herve Tullet

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781760110956
(Age: 3+) Warmly recommended. Painting. Colour. Interactive does not only apply to computers, as here is an interactive book to keep children amused for ages. Mixing colours by pressing on each page will enthrall, delight and inform as kids...
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Nov 14 2014

Meet Nancy Bird Walton by Grace Atwood

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Ill. by Harry Slaghekke. Random House, 2014. ISBN 9780857983879. ISBN 9780857984883 ebk.
It seems amazing that less than 40 years ago a woman wanting to be a commercial pilot became the first sex discrimination in employment case contested before the Australian Equal Opportunity Board,...
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Nov 14 2014

The scarecrow's wedding by Julia Donaldson

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Ill. by Axel Scheffler. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781407144412
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour. Farms. Scarecrows. Betty O'Barely and Harry O'Hay invite you to their wedding. In rhyming stanzas with a repeating last couplet, the tale rolls along with a rollicking pace, a marvelous story to...
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Nov 13 2014

Augustus and his smile by Catherine Rayner

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Little Tiger Press, 2006. ISBN 9781845062835
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Tigers. Happiness. Perseverance. Award winning Rayner has done it again in this wonderful tale of a tiger searching for his smile. On waking the tiger finds he has lost his smile and so goes off to look for it. He...
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Nov 13 2014

Good night, me by Andrew Daddo

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Ill. by Emma Quay. Hachette, 2015. ISBN 9780734415851
(Age: Toddler) Recommended. Board book. Night time. Sleep. Encouraging a small child to go to sleep is made easier with this reprint of Daddo's winning story of bed time. Used as the focus book in the 2006 National Simultaneous...
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Nov 13 2014

Sam and Dave dig a hole by Mac Barnett

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Ill. by Jon Klassen. Walker Books, 2014. ISBN 9781406357769
(Age: 5+) Warmly recommended. Endeavour. Friendship. Quest. One day Sam and Dave decide to dig a hole. They set out with shovels and the dog, and begin their work to find something spectacular. They dig and dig, eventually...
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Nov 13 2014

I was only nineteen by John Schumann

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Ill. by Craig Smith. Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743317235
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Picture book for older readers. War. Vietnam. Song. Conscription
The song penned by John Schumann is now so well known that I am surprised it has taken this long for a book such as this to...
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Nov 13 2014

The soldier's gift by Tony Palmer

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Jane Tanner. Penguin, 2014. Hbk ISBN 9780670077571. Ebk ISBN 9781743482131
(Age: Yr 5+) There is always work to be done on Hillside Farm - except on Sundays. Sundays are a day of rest and, on this prophetic Sunday, Tom takes his younger sister Emily to a special place high on a ridge...
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Nov 10 2014

Literature to support the Geography curriculum by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2014. ISBN: 9781876678418 (book) Also available as an...
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