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

Jun 30 2016

Forgetting Foster by Dianne Touchell

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Allen & Unwin, 2016 ISBN 9781760110796
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Alzheimer's disease. Families. When Foster's father begins to forget things, the family jokes about it, but soon, little notes appear on the cupboard reminding him of things he needs to do, and some of the customary routines within the house change. Foster is told little but realises that his father needs more attention than before. And when he loses his job and Mum has to take on more shifts, then things change considerably. Dad runs away from home when Foster is caring for him. Miss Watson from next door comes to sit them, and both Foster and his Dad have no liking for her. When she strikes Dad, she is sent away but Mum still has to deal with him, admitting that sometimes she feels like hitting him herself. The disease is ever present in Foster's life, his aunt Linda is often there, despite the two women not liking each other. Things escalate until Mum is forced to ask for help. She has tried to cope alone but now she must admit that his dementia is beyond her. The strangely comic scene when the two social welfare officers come had me laughing out loud, but the effect of their visit means that mum now has some respite.
Readers will sympathise with the whole situation seeing Fossie trying to understand his father's decline and his mother's situation. She is coping from day to day, not wanting to look at things in the long term, hoping that things will improve. She declines offers of help, wanting to care for her husband herself, but pushes Fossie away in the process.
This book is an amazing look at a disease which many more children will see as the population ages, and for some reason, younger people are being afflicted. Not only is it a most readable story, but gives readers a raft of recognisable events, symptoms and words associated with the disease to learn. Fossie learns that his father is no longer the man he was and needs to learn how to adapt.
Fossie's attempts to make sense of his world parallels those of his father as he goes from forgetting, needing a locked front door and then violence in a short period of time. Touchell recreates this family so sympathetically that we are drawn into the world wondering how we would react, how we would cope. This is a masterful story, beautifully told.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Jun 30 2016

On the river by Roland Harvey

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Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760112455
(Age: All) Highly recommended. River Murray. Conservation. Humour. Each year as the snow melts in the Snowy Mountains of eastern Australia, small tributaries join other small streams, bubbling together down the mountains until joining to become...
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Jun 30 2016

Fizz and the show dog jewel thief by Lesley Gibbes

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Ill. by Stephen Michael King. Fizz series bk 3. Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760112882
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Dogs. Thieves. Police. Fun and games abound with Fizz the police dog in the third book in this very funny and appealing series starring Fizz, the very cute...
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Jun 30 2016

Barnaby and the lost treasure of Bunnyville by Robert Vescio

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Ill. by Cheri Hughes. Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925275643
(Age: 4+) Rabbits. Environment. Barnaby had collected many seeds from his travels and wanted to grow a lush vegetable garden, but the mayor had decreed that no one was to grow anything in the village. So Barnaby decided...
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Jun 28 2016

Somebody stop Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

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Ill. by John Kelly. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408858677
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Caleb Krisp's quirky heroine returns in Somebody stop Ivy Pocket. She is now the adopted daughter of Ezra and Mother Snagsby, owners of a thriving business that offer generous discounts for...
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Jun 28 2016

The square root of summer by Harriet Reuter Hapgood

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Macmillan 2016. ISBN 9781509808281
(Age: Adolescent) Grief. Love. Quantum physics. Time travel. Family. Gottie's mother died when she was born and she lives with her German Dad and older brother, uni student Ned, in a small seaside village in Norfolk. Her charismatic grandfather, Grey,...
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Jun 28 2016

Who's next? Guess who? by Anton Poitier

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Ill. by Sophia Touliatou. The Five Mile Press, 2016. ISBN 9781760403133
(Ages: 3-5) Recommended. This is another search and guess book similar to the previous Five Mile Press publication Who's had a poo? However, this one has softer, more detailed illustrations, and is more...
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Jun 27 2016

Coffin Road by Peter May

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Quercus, 2016. ISBN 9781784293093
(Age: Senior secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Scotland, Bees. Washed ashore on the island of Harris, a man has no idea of who he is or why he is where he is. He can recall being in the sea and knows that he has a head wound, but...
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Jun 27 2016

This hungry dragon by Heath McKenzie

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Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760151508
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Dragons, Food. This hungry dragon simply does not know when to stop. First he eats the little owl in the tree, then the fox, on to the pig and then the bear. Each time he gorges on another meal, the animal he eats is bigger than...
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Jun 27 2016

Play School: The Useful Book illustrated by Jedda Robaard

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ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733334016
(Ages: 3-6) It is 50 years since Play School first went to air and 37 years since the first edition of The Useful Book. Times may have changed, but Play School is still a program beloved by children and parents around the country and The...
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Jun 27 2016

This is where the world ends by Amy Zhang

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HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780062417879
(Age: 14+) This is where the world ends by Amy Zhang is a vibrant and brilliant novel full to the brim with relatable emotions and situations. Although the novel has some more sombre themes to it, there are many aspects of this book that...
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Jun 24 2016

Steve goes to carnival by Joshua Button

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Ill. by Robyn Wells. Magabala Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925360219
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Gorillas, Zoos, Rio de Janeiro, Jazz, Friendship. An array of animals lives in the zoo in Rio de Janeiro. The jaguars pace in their den, the elephant stretches out his trunk for an ice cream, the...
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Jun 23 2016

The mystery of the clockwork sparrow by Katherine Woodfine

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The mystery of the clockwork sparrow bk. 1. Egmont, 2015. ISBN 9781405276177
(Age: 11-14) Recommended. Mystery. Thriller. Fabulous for fans of mysteries and adventure this sparkling story set in the beautiful rooms of a gorgeous new department store will tantalise with its plucky...
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Jun 23 2016

Miss Mae's Saturday by Justine Flynn and J. Yi

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Random House Australia, 2016. ISBN 9780857988584
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Grandmothers. Imagination. Oh no - it's raining and Miss Mae is dismayed to find that she won't be taking one of her trips out with her grandmother. Instead they will have to stay inside. Then Grandma comes along...
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Jun 23 2016

The pony show by Kate Welshman

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Ill. by Heath Mackenzie. Pine Valley Ponies series; bk 3. Scholastic, 2015. ISBN 9781743624326
(Age: 7+) Horse-riding. Gymkhanas. Friendship. Overcoming challenges. Maddy is back with her pony Snowy and they are having fun getting ready for the local gymkhana. She is rather...
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Jun 22 2016

The Pain, my mother, Sir Tiffy, Cyber Boy and me by Michael Gerard Bauer

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Omnibus Books, 2016. ISBN 9781742991504
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Adolescent. Family relations.Michael Gerard Bauer is one of my favourite authors and once again he has produced a highly entertaining and positive book that is sure to appeal to his readers. Maggie Butt is faced with...
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Jun 22 2016

Introducing Teddy: A story about being yourself by Jessica Walton

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Ill. by Dougal MacPherson. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781681192116
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Diversity. Gender identity. Young Errol's life is filled with enjoyment, together with his best friend Thomas the teddy, they ride their bike, plant vegetables and share lunch in the tree house. One...
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Jun 22 2016

The truth according to Arthur : a book about fibbing by Tim Hopgood

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Ill. by David Tazzyman. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408864999
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Lying, Honesty, Accidents. With the sub title, a book about fibbing the reader knows from the start that this book will be educative. But it does so in a highly entertaining way. At first a little...
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Jun 21 2016

Remade by Alex Scarrow

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Macmillan, 2016. ISBN 9781509811205
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. 'It hasn't liquefied all of this person yet.'
This book is a real seat of the pants ride through the unthinkable.
'Replication was the highest priority. Very soon it had 'fathered' a copy of itself, and now both...
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Jun 21 2016

The new friend by Kim Kane and Jon Davis

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Ginger Green, Play Date Queen series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127701
(Age: 5-7) Highly recommended. Friends. Who hasn't faced the difficulty of having a new friend visit, and being unsure of what to do and talk about? In The new friend, Ginger has...
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Jun 21 2016

Zoo ball by Aleesah Darlison

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Ill. by Australian children. Wombat Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925139433
Ned loves his big, bright bouncing ball. So much so, that he takes it to the zoo and even though his parents warn him not to bounce it, he just can't help himself. Everywhere he goes he bounces it, right into the...
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Jun 20 2016

Desert Lake by Pamela Freeman

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Ill. by Liz Anelli. Nature Storybooks series. Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781921529436
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Kati Thanda-Lake Eyre, Desert, South Australia, Animals. Within the realm of this wonderful series, a story is told in which every word is true, set alongside a text which...
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Jun 20 2016

The crazy friend by Kim Kane and Jon Davis

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Ginger Green, Play Date Queen series. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781760127718
(Age: 5-7) Highly recommended. Lots of fun in this book for emerging readers! Ginger Green just loves having her friends over for a play date, but sometimes things can become difficult. Today she...
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Jun 20 2016

A Midsummer Night's Dream by William Shakespeare, rewritten by Terry Deary

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Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472917775
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Shakespeare, Elizabethan times. As with Macbeth, this story is told through the eyes of Molly, a servant with a troupe of players who tour England presenting Shakespeare's plays to...
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Jun 17 2016

Invisible mending by Mike Ladd

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Wakefield Press, 2016. ISBN 9781743054079
(Age: 16+) Commencing with wry observations about Adelaide and touching recollections of the lives of everyday people, Mike Ladd tells his stories in both poetry and prose.
Warmth, compassion and affection are evident in short stories...
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Jun 17 2016

Fenn Halflin and the Fearzero by Francesca Armour-Chelu

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406363128
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. In Fenn Halflin's world, the sea has been taking over for as long as he has been alive and before. The landborn, who are lead by Terra Firma, hunt and banish the seaborn from the land, keeping the safe, land areas for...
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Jun 17 2016

Macbeth by William Shakespeare, rewritten by Terry Deary

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Shakespeare Tales series. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781472917805
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Shakespeare, Macbeth, Elizabethan times. In this lively series, a character is introduced who becomes a narrator presenting the play within the confines of that person's life and times....
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Jun 16 2016

Circle by Jeannie Baker

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406338010
(Age: all) Highly recommended. Natural world. Birds. Inter relationship. Environment. The circle of life is reprised on every page in this beautiful new book from illustrator/author Jennie Baker. Her story of the godwits, the birds which amazingly...
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Jun 16 2016

Three by Justin D'Ath

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Ford Street Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925272277
(Age: 11-14) Sunday Balewo is sixteen, a keen soccer player and in love with Holly Parr. His father is also President for Life of an African nation, Zantugi.
But everything changes dramatically when Sunday's parents are killed in a...
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Jun 16 2016

Jimmy Cook discovers third grade by Kate and Jol Temple

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Ill. by Jon Foye. Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291938
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Humour. Australian history. School. Jimmy Cook becomes a butt of jokes in class when he insists that he is related to Captain James Cook, despite the man having no known descendants. This does...
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Jun 15 2016

The furball strikes back by Aaron Blabey

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The bad guys, episode 3. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781760157265
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Animals, Adventure, Heroism.  Subtitled, The furball strikes back, readers who laughed their way through Episode 2 with the break in at the Sunnyside Chicken Farm, will know...
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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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