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

Feb 05 2016

Iris and the Tiger by Leanne Hall

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Text, 2016. ISBN 9781925240795
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Adventure. Surrealism. Art. Iris, a sensible 12 year old has been sent to Spain by her grasping parents to make sure that her Aunt Ursula leaves her fortune and big estate, to Iris and her parents. When she arrives at Bosque de Nubes, she discovers that things are not what they appear and outside in the wild wood, a mysterious animal prowls. Fascinated by a surrealist painting, Iris and the Tiger, she is determined to find the tiger. Meanwhile a developer is hoping to take over the woods, and she finds herself in terrible danger.
This is a compelling and totally absorbing book that has a timeless, classic feel about it. There are all the hallmarks that are familiar: the feisty young heroine, a gothic house, dark and dangerous woods, a strange aunt and weird retainers. But what makes it stand out is the theme of surrealism that flows through the book and will have young readers not only following the surrealist drawings at the top of each chapter, but rushing off to research the art movement.
Hall has carried her Surrealism theme into some frightening areas as Iris puts on boots that have human toes, and take her off to unknown places. There is a carnivorous car with clawed feet that chases Iris and her friend Jordi through the forest, and the Exquisite Corpse creature they created lurks nearby. However Iris is determined to find out where the tiger in the picture is, and with the help of Jordi her young friend, she uncovers many secrets on the way, some of which challenge her notions of honesty and loyalty.
This is a story that would make an excellent literature circle book or class text, as there are many themes to discuss, Surrealism, family loyalty, honesty, friendship and environmental development. Teacher's notes are available.
But best of all, it is a wonderful unique adventure story to read, cherish and remember.
Pat Pledger

More Reviews

Feb 05 2016

Bear make den by Jane Godwin and Michael Wagner

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Ill. by Andrew Joyner. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760110017
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Humour, Bears, Home and family life, Renovations, Loneliness. The curiously old fashioned illustrative technique used by Joyner in this story of a bear building his home, adds another layer of...
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Feb 05 2016

Virgil & Owen stick together by Paulette Bogan

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781619633735
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Arctic, Polar Bears, Penguins, Friendship.
Following the successful introduction to this pair of friends, Virgil & Owen (2014) comes this tale of their friendship as it weathers a storm. Each of the friends is different....
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Feb 04 2016

Lullaby by Bernard Beckett

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Text Publishing, 2015. ISBN 9781922182753
(Ages: 12+) Highly recommended. Beckett always has an interesting story to tell, as shown by the success of Genesis and August, stories which challenged the reader's moral compass with scientific and philosophical questions....
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Feb 04 2016

Atmospheric - The burning story of climate change by Carole Wilkinson

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Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781925126372
(Ages: 12+) Carole Wilkinson has written a great number of books including the highly acclaimed Dragonkeeper series. She has pursued many of her personal interests through her well regarded non-fiction, including books about Ned Kelly,...
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Feb 04 2016

The River and the Book by Alison Croggon

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Walker Books, 2015. ISBN 9781925081725
(Age: 10+) Alison Croggon is the author of the highly regarded Black Spring, and The Books of Pellinor. She is also a poet and opera librettist. This story is a fable for our times, beautifully written and resounding with messages that...
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Feb 03 2016

Eleanor by Jason Gurley

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Harper Collins, 2015. ISBN: 9780008132910
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Sitting somewhere between the realms of science fiction and fantasy, Gurley's novel is certainly captivating. The prosaic style of the work draws attention to both its literary value and its story value, giving it a...
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Feb 03 2016

Squishy McFluff, the Invisible Cat: Secret Santa by Pip Jones

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Squishy McFluff, the Invisible Cat: Secret Santa by Pip Jones
Ill. by Ellie Okstad. Faber and Faber, 2015. ISBN 9780571302567
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,...
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Feb 03 2016

The fairiest fairy by Anna Booth

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Ill. by Rosalind Beardshaw. Nosy Crow, 2015. ISBN 9780857633156
(Age: Pre-school - Yr 2) Betty was a fairy who just never got things right,
She was always in a muddle though she tried with all her might.
No matter what Betty tried to do at fairy school, she just couldn't get...
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Feb 02 2016

Socks, sandbags & leeches: letters to my Anzac dad by Pauline Deeves

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National Library of Australia, 2016. ISBN 9780642278845
(Age: 10+) Recommended. World War One, Anzac, Home front, Propaganda. Through Ivy's letters to her father at Gallipoli during the eight months that the Anzac troops were stationed there, and after in France, we see what life is like...
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Feb 02 2016

BRO by Helen Chebatte

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760125509
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Bro by Helen Chebatte is a fictional work which explores the racial divide in modern Australia. The story is set in a modern school where racial matters are everything and the slightest insult cannot be...
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Feb 02 2016

Squishy Taylor and the Bonus Sisters by Ailsa Wild

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Ill. by Ben Wood. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760126759
(Age: 6+ - Independent readers) Recommended. Themes: Family - Step-families; Relationships; Homelessness; Forgiveness. Squishy Taylor is in a newly blended family, learning to deal with her laid-back father's divided...
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Feb 01 2016

Illuminae by Amie Kaufman and Jay Kristoff

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The Illuminae Files bk 1. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781760113803
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Science fiction. In the distant future of 2575, at the edge of the universe is a tiny, freezing planet known as Kerenza IV, where a secret mining colony live in relative peace. Then one...
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Feb 01 2016

The Princess in Black and the hungry bunny horde by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

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Ill. by LeUyen Pham. The Princess in Black, bk 3. Candlewick Press, 2016. ISBN 9780763665135
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Princess Magnolia is off to have brunch with her friend Princess Sneezewort, when her glitter-stone ring rings and she is summoned to fight monsters as the...
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Feb 01 2016

This Broken Wondrous World by Jon Skovron

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Man Made Boy bk 2. Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN: 9781743315972
(Age: 15+) After getting attacked by a myriad of monsters, taking down a psychotic artificial intelligence unit, and basically saving New York, seventeen-year-old Boy - the son of Frankenstein's monster - is looking...
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Jan 29 2016

Thicker than water by Brigid Kemmerer

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Allen & Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743318638
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Mystery. Paranormal. Thomas Bellweather's mother has been murdered and he is the prime suspect. His new stepfather, Stan, is a cop and his colleagues are very suspicious of him. The only person who is prepared to believe...
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Jan 29 2016

Boy 23 by Jim Carrington

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Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781408822777
(Age: YA) Highly recommended. Themes: Science Fiction; Survival; Adventure. This is a story with a mystery that does not get fully revealed until right at the end, involving a naive boy with no name, who lives in isolation. His existence is supported...
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Jan 29 2016

Cinderella's sister and the big bad wolf by Lorraine Carey

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Ill. by Migy Blanco. Nosy Crow, 2015. ISBN 9780857633132
Once upon a time (although quite recently in this version), Cinderella lived with her stepmother Mrs Ugly and her three stepsisters. But this isn't a traditional or even a flipped story about Cinderella. It's about the youngest...
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