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

Jul 29 2014

An unsentimental bloke: The life and work of C.J. Dennis by Philip Butterss

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Wakefield Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743052877.
(Age: 17+) Recommended. These days, readers are likely to encounter the verse of C.J. Dennis in one of his poems for children. However, nearly a century ago, many Australians only needed to hear the line, 'Er name was Doreen', to recall The songs of a sentimental bloke, a narrative poem that sold over 100,000 copies in its first five years of publication. Philip Butterss has explored the life and works of the poet and discovered a gifted but troubled man whose 'larrikin verse' captured the spirit of his age.
The result is not only a detailed account of a life lived under the shadow of asthma, alcohol dependence and financial problems, but also a critique of the writer's work in the context of the society in which he lived. Dennis produced a prodigious body of poetry while working as a clerk, journalist, editor, political campaigner and public servant. Like many of his contemporaries, he embraced a form of nationalistic egalitarianism that celebrated the lives of so-called ordinary people, while ostracising minorities and non-British foreigners. During the Great War, stories about the love-struck bloke and the unassuming heroism of Ginger Mick, boosted morale and contributed to the creation of the Anzac legend. After the conflict, The Glugs of Gosh lampooned the Melbourne establishment under the guise of nonsense verse and The singing garden depicted life in the Victorian countryside. Philip Butterss has tracked the changes in Australian popular culture that led to a decline in the appeal of Dennis's writing, as well as recent attempts to reignite a delight in its wit and humour. He has also drawn an intimate portrait of a complex man who could 'think in verse' that was deceptively naive.
Philip Butterss' scholarship is evident in his meticulous prose, an extensive bibliography and source notes. At once a work of biography, literary criticism and social history, An unsentimental bloke will provide older readers with memorable insights into the life and times of an influential Australian writer.
Elizabeth Bor

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Jul 29 2014

American Savage by Matt Whyman

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Hot Key Books, 2014. ISBN 9781471400698.
In this sequel to The Savages the family has moved to the US to avoid discovery of their cannibalism. Mother, Angelica has become a fitness fanatic while father Titus is putting on weight - 'it is inevitable that meat sourced from these...
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Jul 29 2014

Juicy juicy green grass, and other fun songs by Peter Coome

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Ill. Danielle McDonald. Scholastic, 2014. ISBN 9781743620648.
(Age: 3-6) Picture book, Songs, Humour. Four songs, Juicy juicy green grass, The silly postman, Tadpole blues and Red says stop are included in this brightly illustrated and attractive book for pre-...
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Jul 29 2014

Friday Barnes 1: Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt

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Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN: 9781742759623.
(Age: 10+) No doubt you would all be familiar with the wonderful world of Nanny Piggins. Now R. A. Spratt introduces us to a new character, Friday Barnes, who I am certain will prove every bit as popular as the porcine prima...
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Jul 29 2014

Rory and the Monstersitter by Rosie Reeve

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Bloomsbury, 2014. ISBN 978140884551.  
Highly recommended for readers aged 5+, young children with an adult, and independent readers aged 7+. Rory and the Monster Sitter had me smiling and if Rory's mum and dad ask you to babysit then say no! Rory and the Monstersitter is a...
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Jul 29 2014

Magic Animal Friends: Lucy Longwhiskers gets lost by Daisy Meadows

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Orchard Books, 2014. ISBN 9781408326251.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Magic Animal Friends: Lucy Longwhiskers gets lost is a short novel aimed at girls aged 8+. Lily and Jess are best friends and it is holidays. They both love animals and enjoyed helping around Lily's family...
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Jul 29 2014

Happy Pants by Heather Gallagher

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Ill. by Liz McGrath. Wombat Books, 2014. ISBN 9781921632938.
(Age: Pre-school - 2) 'When mummy wears her happy pants we build sandcastles, go out for babycinos and have lots and lots of cuddles.' But things change dramatically when she comes home with Baby Darcy - her happy pants stay in...
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Jul 25 2014

Dancing on knives by Kate Forsyth

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Vintage Books Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780857983466.
(Age: Senior secondary) Recommended. Dancing on knives is an original story of a dysfunctional family living in a coastal town in New South Wales. The story is largely told through the eyes of Sarah, the eldest girl, who has made...
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Jul 25 2014

Kelsey and the quest of the porcelain doll by Rosanne Hawke

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University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702253317.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Pakistan. Floods. Family. Dolls. When Kelsey goes to Pakistan where her parents will assist with the aftermath of devastating floods, the girl is unsympathetic. She would prefer to stay at home with...
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Jul 25 2014

Ten Christmas crackers by Karen Erasmus

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Hachette, 2014. ISBN 9780734415622.
(Age: 4-6) Picture book. Christmas. Sung to the tune of 'Ten green bottles', this countdown to Christmas Day via the many things we associate with Christmas, is the first Christmas book I have seen this year, and there are still six months to...
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Jul 25 2014

Let her go by Dawn Barker

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Hachette Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780733632228.
The blurb of this book suggests it is 'part thriller, part mystery'. It is neither of these. It is instead a family saga based around the complications of surrogacy.
As a result of suffering from lupus, Zoe McAllister discovers she...
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Jul 25 2014

My grumpy day by Felicity Gardner

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Hachette Australia, 2014. ISBN 9780734415448.
Picture book. My grumpy day is the second book by Felicity Gardner to feature Max, the very cute gorilla. Written to be shared by preschoolers and their carers, it invites a discussion of the emotions we all experience, especially...
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Jul 24 2014

The protected by Claire Zorn

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University of Queensland Press, 2014. ISBN 9780702250194
(Age: 14+) Recommended. On the front cover A. J. Betts describes The protected as 'a tender story of grief, trust and healing - Hannah broke my heart'. Nothing could be more accurate.
The story is told in Hannah's voice...
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Jul 24 2014

Our island by the children of Gununa and Alison Lester and Elizabeth Honey

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Penguin, 2014. ISBN 9780670077687.
'Our island lies beneath a big blue sky,
surrounded by the turquoise sea.
Turtles glide through the clear salt water.
And dugongs graze on the banks of seagrass...'
And so begins the text of a most stunning pictorial book...
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Jul 24 2014

Magic animal friends: Molly Twinkletail runs away by Daisy Meadows

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Orchard Books, 2014. ISBN 9781408326268.
Rainbow magic books have been a popular choice for six to eight year old girls transitioning to chapter books. Magic animal friends is a new series from the same group and aimed at a similar audience. Molly Twinkletail runs...
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Jul 24 2014

The destiny of Violet and Luke by Jessica Sorensen

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Sphere, 2014. ISBN 9780751552621
(Age: 18+) Be warned, the language in this story of star-crossed lovers is 'strong', there is a very explicit description of sexual intercourse, the story includes drug taking and ends in a very dark way. If this is still for you and your school fiction...
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Jul 24 2014

Angela Nicely by Alan Macdonald

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Stripes Publishing, 2014. ISBN 9781847153838.
(Age: 9+) Angela Nicely looks nice but loves getting into mischief. This novel has 3 short stories so is a great book for girls aged 9+ and starting out with longer books. In the first story, Angela is determined to prove their teacher is...
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Jul 23 2014

The Secret Diary of Lizzie Bennet by Bernie Su and Kate Rorick

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Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN: 9781471123221.
Recommended for readers 15+. Based on the Emmy Award-winning YouTube series The Lizzie Bennet Diaries, a modern day depiction of the Pride and Prejudice story.
The enigmatic Elizabeth of old becomes a twenty four year old...
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Jul 23 2014

Workshopping the heart: New and selected poems by Jerri Kroll

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Wakefield Press, 2014. ISBN 9781743051283.
(Age: Upper secondary students) Well recommended. This caressing, probing, melodic and challenging volume of stream of consciousness poetry invites the reader to participate in the wealth of variety encompassed here. The subjects are wide and...
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Jul 23 2014

Supertato by Sue Hendra

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Simon and Schuster, 2014. ISBN 9780857074478.
(Age: 3-5) Recommended. Humour, Wordplay. Another in a line of books by Sue Hendra, using words as a ploy to make the readers laugh, will appeal to a younger audience, just coming to grips with language an its many uses and meanings. The...
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Jul 23 2014

Let's play by Gabriel Alborozo

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Allen & Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743316283.
(Ages: 2-8) Recommended. Picture book. Let's Play is a delightful introduction to many of the instruments that make up the orchestra. Hosted by a moustachioed, music loving maestro, a group of delighted children discover the sounds and...
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Jul 23 2014

Too hot for spots by Mini Goss

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Allen and Unwin, 2014. ISBN 9781743435410.
Recommended for children aged 3+. Too Hot for Spots is a lovely picture book with bright, real life photos to help tell the story.
Barry and Stella are dogs and in this story they are taking turns to be the doctor or the patient....
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