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

Sep 23 2019

How powerful we are by Sally Rugg

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Hachette, Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780733642227.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Non-fiction, LGBTIQ+, Gay marriage, Activism. No doubt history will see the Liberal Party recorded as delivering equal marriage rights to the LGBTIQ+ community in 2017. Sally Rugg's book is an attempt to counter the re-writing of history on how Australia achieved one of the most significant changes in a generation. It did not just hinge on the Yes vote of a postal survey, it was the result of decades of work by a grassroots campaign that would not give up. It was the Liberal government, under Howard, that specifically amended the Marriage Act in 2004 to state that marriage was a union between one man and one woman, and that any alternative union solemnised overseas would not be recognised in Australia. Various attempts by state governments to allow gay marriage were ruled unconstitutional. That ruling clarified for activists that the only way forward was legislative change to the federal law. Thus the campaign began.
Rugg's book recounts all the steps along the path to achieving recognition of gay marriage, basically the recognition of rights to not be discriminated against. Not only is it a step-by-step historical view of the campaign, the book also provides insight into the strategising process essential to activism. The equal rights campaigners knew at the time of the postal vote that the majority of Australians supported gay marriage, so the task was not to be drawn into argument with people who were not likely to change their minds, the strategy was to ensure that Yes voters actually went to the effort of filling in and lodging a non-compulsory postal vote. That meant not being drawn into futile arguments with nay campaigners maligning the Safe Schools program, not being drawn into the fear mongering, but just staying focussed on encouraging the majority supporters to make their vote count. And ultimately that strategy was successful.
Rugg's book is an incredibly valuable historical record for students of civil rights history, as well as being a wonderful insight into the collaboration and focussed strategy required to achieve change at the community level - giving hope that people can unite together to influence government policy. On top of that, it is Rugg's personal story, a heart-warming story, with funny anecdotes, of sometimes making mistakes along the way but managing to work together with friends to achieve something they and all Australians can be proud of.
Highly recommended for school libraries.
Helen Eddy



More Reviews

Sep 23 2019

The bookworm by Debi Gliori

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408893036.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Imagination, Dragons, Books, Reading, Families, Cautionary tale. Max thinks he might like a pet. Mum barely pauses from reading the newspaper to give a reason a pup will not be welcome. Over the next few pages,...
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Sep 23 2019

The Lords of Melody by Phillip Gwynne

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143796459.
(Age: 10-14) Recommended. Themes: Music; Rock and Roll; Bands; Ghosts; Family. Suzi Lord, from Melody Street is the youngest of the Lord family, and it appears that she is the only one who has no musical talent. Her parents were once famous Rock and...
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Sep 23 2019

Come find me by Megan Miranda

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Pisces Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780525578321.
(Age: 15+) Recommended for mystery lovers. Themes: Supernatural, Missing persons, Murder, Grief. A compelling mix of mystery and what appears to be the supernatural will keep readers engrossed as they follow two teens who have suffered tragedy in...
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Sep 23 2019

Little unicorn: Ten minutes to bed by Rhiannon Fielding and Chris Chatterton

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN: 9780241348925.
(Age: 3-6) Little unicorn: Ten minutes to bed is a beautiful series by Rhiannon Fielding and Chris Chatterton aimed at young children at bedtime. Each book follows a similar progression where the main characters parent/family member counts...
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Sep 23 2019

Inventor Lab : brilliant builds for super makers by Jack Challoner

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Foreword by Dr Lucy Rogers. DK, 2019. ISBN: 9780241343517.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Electronics; Inventions; Science - Physics.Inventor Lab is a step-by-step instruction book detailing how to connect electronic components to make some unsophisticated electronic projects. There are...
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Sep 20 2019

Story Time Stars: favourite characters from Australian picture books by Stephanie Owen Reeder

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National Library of Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780642279408.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Recognise these characters? Horace the elephant, Blinky Bill, Ginger Meggs, Billy the Punk, The Watertower, Mr Huff, Edward the Emu, Hattie, Koala Lou? I could go on. And on.
I love that this...
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Sep 20 2019

Ravi's roar by Tom Percival

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408892183.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Temper tantrums, Family, Size, Emotions. Ravi is the youngest in his family. When the family goes to the park, the others are able to run and jump and play with the equipment, but Ravi is too short to reach the...
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Sep 20 2019

World Heritage Sites of Australia by Peter Valentine

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National Library of Australia Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9780642279422.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. This large format reference book contains comprehensive information and beautiful photographs about Australia's unique World Heritage sites. An introduction is provided by former Environment...
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Sep 20 2019

Nobody's victim : fighting psychos, stalkers, pervs and trolls by Carrie Goldberg

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Virago Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780349010533. 295p
(Age: Adult-16+) Non-Fiction. Themes: Cybercrime, Privacy Laws. Nobody's Victim is to be applauded for the detailed explanation and examples of privacy and sexual cybercrimes from stalking and revenge porn to sextortion and framing...
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Sep 20 2019

Scoop McLaren detective editor by Helen Castles

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Illus. by Beatriz Castro. New Frontier, 2019. ISBN: 9781925594836. 134p.
(Age: 9+ ) Recommended. Themes: Mystery. Scoop's father is the editor of the 'Higgity Harbour Gazette'. Our young narrator is following in his footsteps by editing her own newspaper online. 'Click' is a first for...
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Sep 20 2019

The boy who could fly and other magical plays for children by Ursula Dubosarsky

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Illus: by Amy Golbach. Second look Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9780994528094.
(Age: 9+) Themes: Plays; Myths - Ancient Greeks and Romans. Taking ideas from ancient Greek and Roman literature and mythology, Ursula Dubosarsky has applied her deft touch to transform these ancient stories into...
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Sep 20 2019

Monuments by Will Kostakis

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Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9780734419224. 280p; p/b.
High schooler Connor gets caught up in the affairs of the world's creator gods, Monuments, after stumbling across a hidden sanctuary at his school. The action-driven plot engages the reader almost immediately and goes in unexpected...
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Sep 19 2019

Taking Tom Murray home by Tim Slee

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Harper Collins, 2019. ISBN: 9781460757864. RRP $32.99
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. The inaugural Banjo Prize competition attracted 320 entries but it was Taking Tom Murray home that took out the first prize with its...
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Sep 19 2019

Survival for beginners: A step-by-step guide to camping and outdoor skills by Colin Towell

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Australian edition. Dorling Kindersley, 2019. ISBN: 9780143796954.
(Age: 9-14) Recommended. Themes: Survival, Camping skills. With Dorling Kindersley's art of presentation, this is a simple but clearly presented handbook for campers and to aid survival in difficult outdoor circumstances,...
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Sep 19 2019

Atticus van Tasticus by Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King

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Penguin, 2019, ISBN: 9780143796541.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Pirates, Imagination. Step back to a time when pirates sailed the seven seas with Andrew Daddo and Stephen Michael King in Atticus van Tasticus. On Atticus's tenth birthday his wealthy Grandnan invites him to...
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Sep 19 2019

Peppa Pig: George's train ride

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Ladybird, 2019. ISBN: 9780241375891.
Board book. Themes: Trains, Transport. Peppa Pig's family returns in this book, taking a train journey for Daddy Pig's work. George loves to ride the train and has lots of questions for his family. On the way the reader will find out all the details...
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Sep 19 2019

Peppa Pig: Australian fun by Ladybird

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A Touch-and-Feel playbook. Ladybird, 2019. ISBN: 9780241402412, Boardbook. 10p.
(Age: 0-3) Fans of Peppa Pig will welcome another board book, this time looking at how things feel. Peppa loves exploring Australia and finds the touch of the sand to be rough and scratchy, the waves...
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Sep 18 2019

The Harp of Kings by Juliet Marillier

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Warrior Bards book 1. Pan Macmillan Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781760783297.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Coming of age, Music. I am always thrilled when a new book comes from Juliet Marillier. The harp of kings is a wonderful fantasy set in the same world...
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Sep 18 2019

Who's afraid of the quite nice wolf? by Kitty Black

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Illus. by Laura Wood. New Frontier Press. ISBN: 9781925594706.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Wolves, Fairy tale, Fractured fairy tale, Appearance. With the bad wolves living up to the reputation of big bad wolves lolling against the wall, our tea drinking hero just doesn't add...
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Sep 18 2019

Lemonade Jones and the Great School Fete by Davina Bell and Karen Blair

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Lemonade Jones, Book 2. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781925266740. 57pg.
(Age: 6-8) Highly recommended. Themes: School fetes, Mothers. Delightful children caper across the pages of this appealing book which is ideal for children who want to move from a bigger picture book but...
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Sep 18 2019

The Quest Diaries of Max Crack by Jules Faber

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Macmillan, 2019, ISBN: 9781760783907.
(Age: 8+) Themes: New school, Friendship, School life, Family life. The Quest Diaries of Max Crack is Jules Faber's first children's book. he's the popular illustrator of Ahn Do's Weirdo series. Written in a diary format with lined...
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Sep 18 2019

Undying by Amie Kaufman and Meagan Spooner

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Unearthed book 2. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN: 9781760292164.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Adventure, Diversity. Fans who were left breathless by the non-stop action in Unearthed will be...
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Sep 17 2019

I need a parrot by Chris McKimmie

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Ford St, 2019. ISBN: 9781925804287.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Wants and needs, Humour. McKinnie's quirky play with words and illustrations will appeal widely as the boy in the story says simply, I NEED a parrot. Ideas will stream into the readers' minds as they too ask the...
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Sep 17 2019

The music makers by Meredith Costain and Danielle McDonald

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Olivia's Secret Scribbles book 8. Scholastic, 2019, ISBN: 9781760660048.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Musical instruments, Diaries, School. Olivia loves to share her special thoughts and record her school life in her secret diary, scribbling, sharing her feelings and drawing...
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Sep 17 2019

Misrule by Jodi McAlister

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Valentine book 3. Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143793465. pbk, 404 pgs.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Paranormal, Fairies, Murder, Diversity. Fans of the Valentine series will be thrilled with this stunning...
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Sep 17 2019

The butterfly garden by Michael Torres

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Illus. by Fern Martins. Magabala Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925936995.
(Age: 2-5) Themes: Board book, Caterpillars. The butterfly garden is a fun and cheeky introduction to the life cycle of a caterpillar. The illustrations are bright and vivid and the butterflies feature bleeding...
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Sep 17 2019

Game on by Alex Miles

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Girl Geeks book 2. Penguin, 2019, ISBN: 9780143795063.
(Age: 9+) Themes: Skateboarding, Gaming, Friendship. Alex Miles in collaboration with the Australian Girl Geek Academy presents her second junior novel Game on in the series Girl Geeks. This series is written for...
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Sep 16 2019

The adventures of Anders by Gregory Mackay

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760632076.
(Age: Junior readers) Highly recommended. Anders is a very appealing hyperactive yet easily scared squirrel who makes friends easily and has a lot of adventures. The first story in this compilation finds Anders at school on the last day of...
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Sep 16 2019

Dr Seuss's Horse Museum by Dr. Seuss, illus. by Andrew Joyner

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Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241425725.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Themes: Art history. With the words, 'A canter through art history' on the front cover the reader is well aware of the topic of the book and will discover what art is and how artists have represented horses though the...
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Sep 16 2019

Theodore the unsure by Pip Smith

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Illus. by Beau Wylie. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760661861.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Lions, Hair, Decision making. Unsure Theo has been made King of the Whole Animal Kingdom. He lives in the grasslands of Africa. But he is indecisive and worried that he should be king. He cannot...
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Sep 16 2019

Hasina by Michelle Aung Thin

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Through my eyes series. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760637286.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended, Myanmar, Rohingya, Islam, Buddhism, Survival. Through my eyes, a series of marvellous books set in contemporary war zones where children live in peril, offers a new book,...
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Sep 16 2019

Funny Kid Slapstick by Matt Stanton

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Funny Kid book 5. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780733339486.
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Funny Kid Slapstick by Matt Stanton is Book 5 in what seems to be a very funny series. The main character Max has the ability to make anyone laugh, especially when times are grim. He really is the...
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Sep 16 2019

Mr Walker and the perfect mess by Jess Black

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Illus. by Sara Acton. Random House. Australia. ISBN: 9780143793113. 77p hardback.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Family, Independent Reader. Mr Walker and his hotel family scramble to deliver an important function under the marquee whilst continuing regular services to guests. To...
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Sep 13 2019

Dumazi and the big yellow lion by Valanga Khoza

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Illus. by Matt Ottley. Scholastic 2019. ISBN: 9781742994116.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fable, Lions, Africa, Folk tale. When Dumazi walks from her village to the waterhole, a calabash on her head she hears a lion bemoaning its fate in the bushes. He has been caught by a...
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Sep 13 2019

The Unlisted by Justine Flynn and Chris Kunz

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Lothian, 2019. ISBN: 9780734419552.
(Age: 10+) Recommended. Themes: Action thriller, Brainwashing, Dissent, Families. What a roller-coaster ride, The Unlisted is a great read and also an ABC TV/Netflix tie-in! Dru Sharma hates the dentist and persuades his twin brother Kal to take...
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Sep 13 2019

Ninja Kid 4: Amazing Ninja! by Anh Do

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Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760662837. 186p. pbk.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Action/Adventure. In Ninja Kid4: Amazing Ninja! we can look forward to Anh Do's winning formula. From the first pages, we know that Dr Kane will be menacing Duck Creek and Nelson will somehow need...
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Sep 13 2019

First encyclopedia by DK Publishing

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DK, 2019. Australian edition. ISBN: 9780143795025.
(Age: 5-8) Highly recommended. Highly illustrated with easy to read text, this is an ideal reference book for younger children. DK consistently publish well researched and beautifully formatted books and this is no exception with its 168...
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Sep 12 2019

JT, the making of a total legend by J. Thurston and J. Phelps

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Harper Collins, 2019. ISBN: 9781460758618. 236p.
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Themes: Autobiography. No self-respecting North Queenslander could bypass this autobiography for children, even though we've read the adult version, Jonathan Thurston - the autobiography. Or have we?...
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Sep 12 2019

The long call by Ann Cleeves

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Two Rivers book 1. PanMacmillan, 2019. ISBN: 9781509889570.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense, Detectives, Down syndrome. Fans of the Vera and Shetland series are in for a real treat with Cleeves' new series starring Detective...
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Sep 12 2019

Amazing dogs with amazing jobs by Laura Greaves

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Penguin Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780143796879. 288p.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Dogs, Working animals. I must start this review by saying that I absolutely LOVE this book! It is literally a book about awesome dogs that do amazing things - and they are all true stories!...
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Sep 12 2019

Toffle Towers : Fully booked by Tim Harris

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Illus. by James Foley. Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143795421.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Theme: Humour. Ten-year old Chegwin Toffle, is a daydreamer of the most advanced kind, who, out of the blue, inherits a hotel. He is determined to make this run-down hotel into a success.
A...
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Sep 12 2019

Leaping Lola by Tracey Hawkins

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Illus. by Anil Tortop. New Frontier Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925594591.
(Ages: 2-5) Dance, Rhyming Story. Lola is a brown Jersey cow who just loves to dance. But Lola is a milk cow, not a black and white cow; Jersey cows just aren't built to dance, her mother says. Regardless, Lola...
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Sep 12 2019

Is it Halloween yet? by Susannah Chambers

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Illus. by Tamsin Ainslie. Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760297404. 24 pg.
(Age: 4 - 6) Recommended. Themes: Halloween, Family, Humour. What fun to read about a warm and loving family and the tricks and dressing-up for Halloween! Emily is a little girl who is very impatient for...
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