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 04 2016

Anyone but Ivy Pocket by Caleb Krisp

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Ill. by John Kelly. Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408858639
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Themes: Orphans and orphanages; Jewellery; Ghosts; Supernatural stories; Mystery and suspense stories; Ghosts; England - Social life and customs - 19th century.
Calvin Krisp's debut novel, Anyone But Ivy Pocket is a marvellous multi-faceted gothic tale set in Victorian England. The feisty protagonist Ivy is a twelve-year-old orphan whose work as a lady's maid draws her into mystery and mayhem. She is a force to be reckoned with, overbearing, opinionated and teller of tall tales, qualities her previous employer Countess Carbuncle is happy to leave behind as she takes a sudden trip to South America. Foisted into service for the dying Duchess of Trinity, Ivy Pocket's new assignment is to carry the mysterious Clock Diamond to England and place it around the neck of Matilda Butterfield at her twelfth birthday party. Her reward of 500 seems to be easily within reach, enough to buy a carriage and a monkey! Unfortunately, a whole ensemble of crazy characters, ghosts, mysterious hooded creatures -Locks, and friends with sinister intentions, pursue her. On board the ship sailing to England, she is befriended by Miss Always a writer who takes a very close interest in Ivy and the mysterious Clock Diamond.
Ivy is an enchanting protagonist, lies trip off her tongue; she is bold, witty and can think on her feet. Krisp's fast-paced narrative is engagingly alliterative, deliciously descriptive and attention grabbing. Once you start, you are compelled to keep on reading, second-guessing just how Ivy Pocket will deal with the next drama. John Kelly's comical drawings display some of Ivy's most intense scenes; Matilda Butterfield's cake disaster is a highlight.
With a promise of more books to come, Calvin Krisp's Ivy Pocket will delight those readers who love mystery, adventure and feisty female heroes.
Rhyllis Bignell

More Reviews

May 04 2016

Theophilus Grey and the traitor's mask by Catherine Jinks

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Theophilius Grey series. Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760113612
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. London, Eighteenth Century, George 11, Espionage. We first met Theophilus Grey in Theophilus Grey and the demon thief, a book set in eighteenth century London at the time of...
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May 04 2016

Blockbusters Guinness World Records 2016 - The Records behind the year's Smash Hits!

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Guinness, 2016. ISBN 9781910561461
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Subjects: Reference; Encyclopaedias; General Knowledge. Blockbusters is another amazing reference book from the Guinness World Records team, the authority on all things trivia. Seven fact-filled sections - Movies,...
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May 04 2016

Beyond magenta: transgender kids speak out by Susan Kuklin

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Candlewick Press, 2014. ISBN 9780763673680
(Age: 12+) Recommended. LGBT, Transgender, Bullying, Coming out, Families. Interviews with six transgender and gender neutral teens are presented in this handsomely produced, well illustrated book. I found it most enlightening about some kids in...
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May 04 2016

Iris and the tiger by Leanne Hall

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Text, 2016. ISBN 97819252240795
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Mystery, Spain, Surrealism, Art. Arriving in Spain to stay with her great aunt, a person she has never seen before, Iris is surprised when a man in uniform picks her up from the airport. She tries to question him on the long...
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May 03 2016

Teresa: A new Australian by Deborah Abela

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New Australian series. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781742990941
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Teresa is part of the New Australian series, a collection of books about immigrants to Australia and the issues they face. In this novel, we meet Teresa, a young girl from...
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May 03 2016

Inherit midnight by Kate Kae Myers

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Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN 9781619639362
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Myers brings to life a wonderful lesson in the importance of family history. Describing a set of challenges created to find the most worthy heir to the VanDemere fortune, Avery's grandmother shows her cunning as her...
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May 03 2016

Are you sitting comfortably? by Leigh Hodgkinson

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408864821
(Ages: 3-6) Reading. Books. Leigh Hogkinson's distinctive patterned illustrations take centre stage in this story about a young book lover searching for the perfect place to sit and read. On each page he is sitting on a chair, but the chair itself...
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May 03 2016

There is a tribe of kids by Lane Smith

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Two Hoots (Pan Macmillan), 2016. ISBN 9781509812882
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Wordplay. Curiosity. Belonging. Adventure. Readers will be introduced to the words which signify a group of things through this imaginative and joyous book about finding where you belong. From the title page,...
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May 02 2016

The Special Ones by Em Bailey

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Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781742976280
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Cults. Abduction. Coming of age. Thriller. Esther is one of the Special Ones, four teens who live in an isolated farmhouse and who aren't allowed to leave. They are watched by an unseen man, who knows their...
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May 02 2016

My mum's special secret by Sally Morgan

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Ill. by Ambelin Kwaymullina. Omnibus Books, 2016. ISBN 9781742991368
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended, Australian animals, Aboriginal themes, Parents, and parenting, Kookaburra
An absolutely delightful rhythmical story of the love between a baby bird and its mother is told with bright...
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May 02 2016

Beetle Boy by M.G. Leonard

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Chicken House, 2016. ISBN 9781910002704
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Darkus Cuttle's dad is missing. He has to live with his uncle, change schools, make new friends and work out why he can understand a huge rhinoceros beetle who has become his friend by chance. Thanks to this beetle...
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May 02 2016

Australian Bushrangers series by Jane Smith

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Big Sky Publishing, 2014
Captain Thunderbolt. ISBN 9781922132574
Ben Hall. ISBN 9781922132697
Captain Starlight. ISBN 9781922132710
Frank Gardiner. ISBN 9781922132673
Captain Moonlite. ISBN 9781922132581
Themes: Bushrangers;...
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Apr 28 2016

Where's the starfish? by Barroux

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Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781405280082
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Hide and seek. Oceans. Fish. Pollution. A seemingly simple game of find the starfish, the clownfish and the jellyfish amongst the double pages bright with different colours, shapes and varieties of fish, soon turns into...
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Apr 28 2016

Nathalia Buttface and the totally embarrassing bridesmaid disaster by Nigel Smith

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HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008167097
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. If the title Nathalia Buttface and the totally embarrassing bridesmaid disaster doesn't make you laugh then the hilarious events in the first 50 pages will! Nathalia doesn't want to be a bridesmaid in her stupid...
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Apr 28 2016

The butcher's hook by Janet Ellis

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Two Roads Books, 2016. ISBN 9781473625129
(Age: Adult - Mature readers) Georgian England. Gender roles. Sexual maturation. Violence. Murder. Grief.
This is not a Jane Austen-style gentle and romantic exploration of life in Georgian England, but the voice of the central...
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Apr 28 2016

Grandma wombat by Jackie French and Bruce Whatley

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Wombat series. Angus and Robertson, 2016. ISBN 9780732299590
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Wombats. Grandparents. Each day sees similar things happening in the lives of grandma and her grandson wombat. Sleeping makes up much of each day, but some days there are carrots to be had,...
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Apr 27 2016

Granny's Place by Allison Paterson

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Ill. by Shane McGrath. Big Sky Publishing. ISBN 9781925275636
(Age: 4-6) Highly recommended. Themes: Grandparents; Family Life; Australia - Social Life and Customs - Twentieth Century. Granny's Place is a nostalgic story that celebrates the loving relationship between a young girl and...
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Apr 27 2016

A very normal man by Vincenzo Cerami

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Translated by Isobel Grave. Wakefield Press, 2015. This is an English translation of Un Borghese piccolo piccolo, 1976. ISBN 9781743053713
(Age: 17+) Highly recommended. Themes: Revenge; Italian Society; Purpose; Hope and hopelessness.
A Very Normal Man is a...
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Apr 27 2016

Choosing Xaverique by Karyn Sepulveda

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Vivid, 2016. ISBN 9781925442281
(Ages: 11+) Fifteen year old Gabby Valis has an ordinary life, just like any other. Until she is catastrophically hit by a swerving van, and her heart stops beating . . . at least, it does for several minutes. Gabby is a Xaverique, a non-human species who...
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Apr 27 2016

Princess of the Sands by Karen Wood

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TrickStars series, bk 6. Allen and Unwin, 2015. ISBN 9781743319093
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Courage; Overcoming difficulties; Horse-riding; Television acting.
In this next instalment in the life of the TrickStar triplets - Ruby, Lexie and Kit, the girls become...
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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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