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 17 2018

Changing gear by Scot Gardner

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760631468
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Journeys. Road trip. Western Victoria. Merrick tosses in his final weeks of school, just before his year twelve exams, to take off on his beloved motorbike and see what happens. Seemingly with no particular aim to begin with, he finds more than he expected, walking side by side with a homeless man, a tramp who has plied the roads for over thirty years.
I love the story on the road, but found the early interaction with his peers heavy going, as he seemed so out of touch with them, a watcher rather than one of the group. Once on the road this persona falls away and he is able to breathe the fresh air, see the horizon and just ride. That is until his chain breaks, out on a dirt road miles from Dimboola. But Merrick has made some bad choices: leaving behind his wallet, not taking essentials like matches and toilet paper and not taking anything to repair his bike. So finding the philosophical old man tramping between the towns, offering advice, helping with things like how to clean your bottom without loo paper, is serendipitous, leading Merrick to understand just how and why he is here.
Based partly on Gardner's own motorbike trip around Australia, meeting a man who formed the basis of Merrick, enjoying the freedom of the open road, this story reflects the journey of many, that of finding out where they belong in a confusing world.
The banter between Merrick and Victor exposes the eighteen year old to the reader, and they will see his ideas about who he is and his place in the world develop as he travels further from home.
Gardner writes stories that reveal the stress of boys growing up to be young men, confused at what life offers, unsure of where they fit in with other people, particularly girls, often putting on a brave face, but in this case, having that mask questioned by an old man, one who has seen everything in his years on the road.
Fran Knight



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Jul 17 2018

My life and other failed experiments by Tristan Bancks and Gus Gordon

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Tom Weekly Book 6. Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143781615
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Pets. Brothers and sisters. Humour. What's next for Tom Weekly, his sister torturing his guinea pig, taking on the most annoying ice-cream man and dealing with a killer possum attack? Tom has a...
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Jul 17 2018

Scaredy Cat by Heather Gallagher and Anil Tortop

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New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925594171
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Pets.
"Have you seen my Scaredy Cat?
He's afraid of this and afraid of that!"
Scaredy Cat's gorgeous covers decorated with shiny hearts and a cute little girl with just a hint of her missing pet are...
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Jul 17 2018

Antidote to a curse by James Cristina

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Transit Lounge, 2018. ISBN 9781925760033
(Age: Adult) Following a sexual encounter Silvio Portelli finds himself increasingly drawn to the Bosnian immigrant Zlatko, whilst waiting to learn the results of his test for HIV. Portelli wants to write, and the mystery of Zlatko's life may be...
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Jul 16 2018

From Twinkle with love by Sandhya Menon

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Hodder, 2018. ISBN 9781473678736
(Age 13+) Highly recommended. Twinkle, a 16 year old high school student, dreams of being a movie director. When she hears about an up and coming film festival, she is determined to make her mark on the industry and direct an amazing movie for everyone to...
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Jul 16 2018

The Smoke Thieves by Sally Green

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780141375397
(Age: 12+) Recommended. A princess, a soldier, a hunter, a traitor, and a thief. Following the paths of Princess Catherine, Ambrose, March, Edyon, and Tash; these five people will soon come to find their futures are connected by a mysterious bottle...
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Jul 16 2018

Let's visit the Olobobs by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408897621
(Age: 1-4) Board book, Lift-the-flaps, Shapes. Based on the English children's television show "Olobob Top", as seen on ABC, this early learning book about shape has been created by Leigh Hodgkinson ("Are You Sitting Comfortably?") and Steve Smith....
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Jul 16 2018

Bohemia Beach by Justine Ettler

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Transit Lounge, 2018. ISBN 9781925760002
(Age: Adult) Themes: Addiction; Musical career; Counselling. Catherine Bell is a renowned Concert musician, but everything in her life seems to be swirling in the swill of painful experience. Her 'self-medication' with regular consumption of...
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Jul 16 2018

Can I touch your hair? by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

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Carolrhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 9781512404425
(Age: 10+) "Can I touch your hair? Poems of race, mistakes and friendship" is described on the blurb as being 'a compelling portrait of two youngsters dancing delicately through a racial minefield' and is a reasonably accurate explanation....
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Jul 13 2018

The world's worst children 3 by David Walliams

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008304607
Highly recommended. Where do I start when telling you about David Walliams "The worlds worst children 3"?! What an awesome storyteller he is!
This book is full of 10 short stories about a variety of horrible children or sibling groups who...
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Jul 13 2018

The World of David Walliams Book of Stuff: Fun, facts and everything you NEVER wanted to know by David Walliams

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Ill. by Quentin Blake and Tony Ross. HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008293253
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Puzzles. Designed especially for children who can't get enough of David Walliams weird and hilarious humour and illustrated by two outstanding illustrators, "The...
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Jul 13 2018

Iguana Boy saves the world with a triple cheese pizza by James Bishop and Rikin Paresh

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781444939347
(Age: 8-12) Themes: Superheroes, Brothers and sisters, Bullying. James Bishop's preteen novel introduces a new group of superheroes, an evil super villain, militant platypuses and a young boy who longs for his own super skills. What happens when an...
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Jul 13 2018

The Lily and the Rose by Jackie French

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Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460753590
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Post-World War 1 History; Independence - Women;  Romance; Peace. Set in the aftermath of World War 1, The Lily and the Rose follows Sophie Higgs, an heiress from an Australian corned beef producer...
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Jul 13 2018

Peg + Cat : The lemonade problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

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Candlewick Entertainment, 2018. ISBN 9781536200614
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Problem Solving, STEM, Mathematics, Cats. Lemonade stands outside one's house is harking back to a time when neighbours knew each other, when they supported their kids' endeavours and there were no worries about...
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Jul 12 2018

Under my bed by John Dickson

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Berbay Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9780994384133
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Under my bed is a fun picture book all about those monsters hiding in the dark places of a child's bedroom. What if the monsters had a party? Would you be invited? It is your room after all. Imagine lying in...
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Jul 12 2018

It's hard to love a tiger by Anna Pignataro

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743817582
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Tigers. Friendship. Difference. Pets. Our sweet heroine would love to have a tiger to love, just like the one in the zoo. In pairs of rhyming lines, the story is laid out from the first page, as the ominous word, 'but'...
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Jul 12 2018

Sweet adversity by Sheryl Gwyther

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Angus and Robertson 2018. ISBN 9781460755105
Themes: Acting. Friendship. Australian history. April 1930 finds 12 year-old Adversity McAllister in Emu Swamp Children's Home where her parents left her temporarily while they sought work for their theatrical troupe. She and her pet cockatiel...
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Jul 12 2018

The way back from broken by Amber J. Keyser

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Carolrhoda Lab, 2018. ISBN 9781541514881
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Sibling death. Grief. Wilderness. Survival. Rakmen's baby sister died and the family is working through the tragedy in their own ways. He and his mother attend weekly meetings at Promise House, a support group where...
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Jul 11 2018

Ariki and the giant shark by Nicola Davies

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406369793
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Ariki is a young island girl with a love for the sea. She has lived on her island her whole life but she is still seen as a stranger because she wasn't born there. Ariki was washed ashore as a toddler and has no...
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Jul 11 2018

The Silver Hand by Terry Deary

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781472929488
(Age: 11 and up) Recommended. Written by the extremely successful Terry Deary of "Horrible Histories" fame, this book is sure to be as successful.
"It's 1918 and the Great War is entering its final phase. France is beginning to make small...
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Jul 11 2018

A stone for Sascha by Aaron Becker

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Candlewick Press, 2018, ISBN 9780763665968
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Grief, Pets, Journeys, Wordless stories. Aaron Becker's "A stone for Sascha" is a cinematic wordless picture book that begins with the loss of family pet, Sascha the dog. From the simple act of placing a golden...
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Jul 11 2018

The all new must have Orange 430 by Michael Speechley

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143788973
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Consumerism, Toys. Michael Speechley's debut picture book "The All New Must Have Orange 430" introduces young children to the outrageous consumerism that is part of our everyday. We are overwhelmed with advertising, with...
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Jul 10 2018

Errol! by Zanni Louise

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Ill. by Philip Bunting. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742766300
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Humour. Penguins. Mothers. Read aloud. A little penguin with an independent mind does not budge when his mother instructs him to come. He stays where he is when she calls his name again, and...
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Jul 10 2018

Game time by Ahn Do and Dan McGuiness

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Hot Dog series. Scholastic, 2018, ISBN 9781760279035
(Age: 5-8) Themes: Dogs. Friends. Sportsmanship. Ahn Do's popular Hot Dog series returns with another exciting story Game time. Comedian, artist and storyteller Anh Do's story is a tale of being a good friend and...
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Jul 10 2018

We wear pants by Katie Abey

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408893609
(Age: 2-6) Recommended. Themes: Clothing. Humour. Katie Abey's We wear pants is an enjoyable and colourful picture book showing a broad range of animals wearing an interesting array of people clothes and shoes. Across a double-page spread we...
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Jul 10 2018

The littlest things give the loveliest hugs by Mark Sperring

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Orchard Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408338049
(Age: 2+) Highly recommended. The littlest things give the loveliest hugs is a beautifully illustrated picture book about hugs. Each page is bright and detailed, depicting different animals hugging and snuggling their children. From...
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Jul 09 2018

George Parker goes global by David Metzenthen

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523466
(Age: 10-14) Recommended. Themes: Travel, Humour, Adventure. Madcap mayhem, hi-jinks and hilarious rescues, treacherous travel and crazy disguises makes "George Parker goes global" a fantastically fun novel for confident readers who like a...
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Jul 09 2018

The nothing to see here hotel by Steven Butler

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Ill. by Steven Lenton. Simon and Schuster, 2018. ISBN 9781471163838
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Hotels: Magic. In a rollicking and amusing way, Steven Butler has created a fantasy holiday resort for magical creatures that can only be described as disgustingly spectacular....
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Jul 09 2018

Hello horse by Vivian French

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Ill. by Catherine Rayner. Walker Books, 2018 ISBN 9781406349948
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Horses, Overcoming fear, Confidence. Through an afternoon spent with Shannon the horse owned by the illustrator of this lovely story, a child learns to overcome her fear of horses, and...
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Jul 09 2018

The little mermaid by Alex Field

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Ill. by Owen Swan. Happily Ever After series. New Frontier Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925059816
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Everyone knows the story of "The Little Mermaid" thanks to the Disney movie. This is just as beautiful but with characters more attuned to the original...
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Jul 09 2018

The Dream Bird by Aleesah Darlison

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Ill. by Emma Middleton. Wombat Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925563337
(Age: 2-4) Themes: Sleep, Lullabies, Dreams. Aleesah Darlison's "The Dream Bird" is the perfect bedtime story, just right for reading softly and calming a little one at bedtime. Day child George is super-active he loves...
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Jul 06 2018

Emergence by Marita Smith

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Harbour Publishing House, 2018. ISBN 9781922134899
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Environment. Ariana, Fletcher, and Eli are walkers, people who carry a rare gene which allows them access to the spirit world as well as the ability to talk with animals. In the previous...
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Jul 06 2018

Thimble by Rebecca Young

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Ill. by Tull Suwannakit. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743811627
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Death and loss, Grief, Acceptance, Grandparents. Suwannakit's soft watercolour and pencil illustrations set the scene for an emotionally involving story of a child who has lost a loved grandmother. When...
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Jul 06 2018

Herstory: 50 women and girls who shook up the world by Katherine Halligan

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Ill. by Sarah Walsh. Nosy Crow, 2018. ISBN 9781788001380
(Age: 8-13) Highly recommended. Themes: Women - Biography. 50 wonderful women feature in this fascinating and gripping book, women who been leaders, creators, healers, problem solvers and ones who have inspired and given hope to...
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Jul 06 2018

To kill a kingdom by Alexandra Christo

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Hot Key Books, 2018. ISBN 9781471407390
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Told in the first person present tense, "To Kill a Kingdom" follows Lira, a siren princess who is only a few hearts off ruling the entire ocean, as she rebels against her mother's reign of cruelty. Having been encouraged...
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Jul 05 2018

Leah on the offbeat by Becky Albertalli

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780241331057
(Age: 14 +) Recommended. Themes: School friendships. LGBT. Sequel to Simon vs. the Homo Sapiens Agenda. The story is set around Leah and her friendship group in the last year of high school. Leah loves her drawing, music and drumming but the...
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Jul 05 2018

A wild adventure by Yvette Poshoglian and Danielle McDonald

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Ella and Olivia series, Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742761947
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Themes: Holidays. Australian animals. Ella and Olivia's twenty first book sees the family set out on a holiday trip to Wild Animals Adventure Park. They have packed their bikes in the trailer and...
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Jul 05 2018

Roald Dahl's 123 illustrated by Quentin Blake

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Penguin Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780241330364
(Age: 1-5) Quentin Blake brings his unique illustrations to this early counting book. He even borrows from his previous work, with his distinctive enormous crocodile featuring on each page. The word 'chiddler' (meaning child) as coined by...
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Jul 05 2018

Roald Dahl's opposites ill. by Quentin Blake

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Penguin Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780241330555
(Ages: 1-5) Board book. Opposites. Lift-the-flaps. Each double page spread of this concept board book features one set of opposites (big, little; empty, full; tall, short; right way up, upside down; day time, night time; etc.) The words are...
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