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

Dec 16 2019

Roly Poly by Mem Fox

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Illus. by Jane Dyer. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781760896348.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Polar bears, Sibling rivalry, Families. Learning to get along with a new member of the family, especially one who wants what you have, can be a painful transition for some, and Mem Fox brings this issue to life with her delightful character Roly Poly, imaginatively sculpted by Jane Dyer and photographed by Jeanne Birdsall.
Roly Poly is used to having his own space. His bed is his bed and his alone, the fish he catches are his fish and his alone, his walrus tooth that he plays with is his and his alone. Repetition entwines the listeners into the story, and they will say the words out loud, waiting for the verbal clues to show them the way. The beautifully timed lines create an image of a bear not used to sharing his life so when a baby brother appears in his bed one day, he is indignant. He pretends not to hear when his parents tell him about Monty, and he storms off when this brother tries to play with him. But Monty follows him, and when the ice flow begins to crack, Roly Poly pretends not to hear the cries for help, and turns his back once again.
The images created by Dyer are magical: pulled wool results in a fluffy felt like appearance, giving the impression of the polar bears' fur, and the addition of little things like the bedroom furniture and the scarves add reality to each scene.
It is amazing how lifelike the expressions on the bears' faces become as the story unfolds, making it clear to all readers that this book is not just about bears.
Readers will love listening to the story read aloud, anticipating the repeated words, repeating some of the lines as it is read. Equally reading it for themselves will be a treat, searching each page for details, marvelling at how lifelike the bears are, recalling for themselves times when they have been less than sympathetic with their siblings.
As a read aloud, a discussion starter about siblings and their disagreements, or just a good read about two brothers, this latest offering by Australia's most loved author, Mem Fox, will never be left long on the shelf in any library. You may need several copies.
Fran Knight



More Reviews

Dec 16 2019

The Land of Roar by Jenny McLachlan

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Egmont, 2019. ISBN: 9781405293679.
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Imaginary lands, Adventure, Magical Creatures, Good vs Evil, Twins. Rose and Arthur are twins who have spent holiday time with their grandad. As young children they played in Grandad's attic and created a...
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Dec 16 2019

The Grace Year by Kim Liggett

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Del Ray, 2019. ISBN: Del Ray, 2019. ISBN: 9781529100594. 404 pg., paperback.
No one speaks of the Grace Year. Little is known about what goes on during it, but every girl in the county knows one thing is certain. It will change them, if they survive it that is. The Grace Year by...
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Dec 16 2019

The perfect puppy by Alyce Hall

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Illus. by Katrina Fisher. Little Steps, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839173.
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Dogs, Puppies, Family, difference. Logan is one of a large litter and as people come along to select a pup to take home, he is rejected because he has one floppy ear. He tries very hard to...
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Dec 16 2019

Whose nose do you suppose? by Richard Turner

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Illus. by Margaret Tolland. Starfish Bay Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781760360627.
(Age: 3+) Themes: Noses, Animals, Comparison, Verse. In easy to read verse stanzas the question is asked of the reader about the nose seen on the facing page. When the child has made some...
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Dec 16 2019

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy by Daisy Meadows

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Orchard Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781408352465. 155pp., pbk.
Best friends Kirsty and Rachel are very excited to give each other their Christmas presents! But when Jack Frost steals Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy's magical objects, the magic of giving is in danger. Can the girls help get...
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Dec 13 2019

Some places more than others by Renee Watson

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781526613684.
(Ages 8-12). Highly recommended. Themes: Family relationships, Fathers, Daughters, African American people, New York city. New York city can be a wonderful, busy place and for Amara it's the only place she wants to be for her...
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Dec 13 2019

Yinti Desert Cowboy by Pat Lowe and Jimmy Pike

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Magabala Books, 2019 (c2000). ISBN: 9781925936933.
Recommended. Themes: Aboriginal life; Station life and work. The Yinti stories follow young Aboriginal lad, Yinti, as he grows, lives and works in North West Australia. In the third book in the series, Yinti has begun work as a...
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Dec 13 2019

Emily Brown and Father Christmas by Cressida Cowell and Neal Layton

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Hodder Children's, 2019. ISBN: 9781444942002. 32pp., pbk.
It's Christmas Eve and Emily Brown and Stanley have hung up their Christmas stockings and are snuggled up in bed reading when they hear "Ho Ho Help" coming from outside their window. It is Father Christmas and despite having the...
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Dec 13 2019

Oscar the Hungry Unicorn eats Christmas by Lou Carter

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Illus. by Nikki Dyson. Orchard, 2019. ISBN: 9781408355824. 32pp., pbk.
Oscar the unicorn is always hungry and on Christmas Eve he is eating his way through the palace Christmas preparations. The stockings, the tree the presents . . . But the trouble really starts when he eats the...
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Dec 12 2019

The corner of my eye by Colin Thompson

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Walker Books, Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781925381931. hbk., picture book.
(Age: 7-12). Highly Recommended. Themes: Family, Grandparents, Vision, Memory loss. Colin Thompson has taken us on many journeys through his books but this one I feel is the ultimate book that tries to explain what...
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Dec 12 2019

The Dinky Donkey by Craig Smith

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Illus. by Katz Crowley. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781775436065.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Donkeys, Verse, Sing-along, Read aloud, Humour, Family. Wonky Donkey's offspring is a little girl. And from there the lines on each double page have a 'hee haw' in its middle, adding a new line...
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Dec 12 2019

Paddy T. and the time-travelling trampoline by Adam France

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760523763.
(Age: Year 3 +) Recommended. Paddy T. and the time-travelling trampoline is a romp of a book. It is in fact a collection of short stories about the mad-cap adventures of twelve year old Paddy T. as told in first person through his eyes....
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Dec 12 2019

Celeste the giraffe loves to laugh by Celeste Barber

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Illus. by Matt Cosgrove, Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760669171.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Animals, Giraffes, Humour. Celeste the giraffe just loves to laugh and her winning smile and laughing face helps others to laugh too. But she has misgivings that others do much cooler things...
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Dec 11 2019

Yinti, Desert Dog by Pat Lowe and Jimmy Pike

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Yinti: book 2. Magabala Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925936902.
Highly recommended. Written mostly from the perspective of the dingo companion of young boy Yinti and his family, this is a collection of anecdotes and accounts of family life in a traditional Aboriginal community in desert...
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Dec 11 2019

The Princess Rules by Philippa Gregory

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Illus. by Chris Chatterton. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008339791. 256p.
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Three stories by award winning author Philippa Gregory will be grabbed by readers who enjoy having their fairy tales turned upside down. Those who love adventure and humour too, will...
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Dec 11 2019

Total quack up again! ed. Sally Rippin and Adrian Beck

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Illus. by Jules Faber. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781760893583.
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Short stories; Humorous stories. This is a collection of funny stories that kids will enjoy. Filled with lame jokes, duck jokes, dad-dogs and fart stories and quirky and odd situations, there...
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Dec 11 2019

Rescue by David Long

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Illus. by Kerry Hyndman. Faber and Faber, 2019. ISBN: 9780571346325. hbk. 192p.
(Age: 9+) A book for fans of heroic deeds, Rescue will fascinate readers who enjoy reading about the bravery of real people. Subtitled Daring missions from on, under and above the earth, there are 28...
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Dec 11 2019

Twelve days of kindness by Cori Brooke and Fiona Burrows

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New Frontier, 2019. ISBN: 9781925594751. 32pp., hbk.
Nabila is the new girl in school and like many new kids, she's finding it hard to fit in with the established crew, particularly when she looks different to them and eats her strange lunches alone. But Holly comes to her rescue as...
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Dec 11 2019

Sarah's two Nativities by Janine M. Fraser and Helene Magisson

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Black Dog Books , 2019. ISBN: 9781925381795. hbk., 32pp.
This is the story of Sarah, daughter of Sadek and Anna, granddaughter of Ali and Azar, and granddaughter of Maria and Paul.
In Sarah's house the Bible and the Koran sit side by side on the shelf, each full of stories which...
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Dec 10 2019

Harry Potter and the goblet of fire by J.K. Rowling

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Illus. by Jim Kay. Harry Potter, book 4. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408845677. hbk.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Readers will need no introduction to the wonderful books by J.K. Rowling and fans and collectors will certainly want to keep this fabulous illustrated version of...
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Dec 10 2019

Yinti: Desert child by Pat Lowe and Jimmy Pike

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Magabala Books, 2019 (c1992). ISBN: 9781925768831.
Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal Australians, Indigenous life, Family. In a series of short anecdotal recounts, we follow the early life of the desert child, Yinti, and his family as they love, thrive and explore community life....
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Dec 10 2019

Girl Geeks: Perfect holidays by Alex Miles

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Girl Geeks book 3. Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143795070.
(Age: 9+) Girl Geeks: Perfect holidays is part of the Girl Geeks series which has been . . . "developed in partnership with Girl Geek Academy - an Australian-based...
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Dec 10 2019

The big blue hullabaloo by Andrea Smith

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Illus. by Aleksandra Szmidt. Little Steps Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839432. hbk.
(Age : 3-6) Annie is a very cute little koala who lives at the zoo. She loves to race high through the tree tops and balance butterflies on the tip of her nose. Then one day she feels blue and Keeper...
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Dec 10 2019

Polly Profiterole's little town: Good enough to eat by Maggie May Gordon

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Illus. by Margarita Levina. little Steps Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839227.
(Age: 6-8) Imagine a whole town made up of cakes and biscuits. That's what young readers will find in this unique story of Polly Profiterole who is fed up with her town. She is the only person who has a shop...
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Dec 09 2019

Finding Chika by Mitch Albom

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Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9780751571936.
(Age: Older adolescents - Adult) Highly recommended. A dark mass on her brain - this is what the MRI showed, following the examination of little Chika by a neurologist, and there was no one in Haiti who could help her. Brought to America by author...
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Dec 09 2019

Bluey series by Bluey

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Penguin, 2019.
Bluey : Fruit Bat
. ISBN: 9781760894047.
Bluey : time to play. ISBN: 9781760894030.
(Age: Preschool - 5) Highly recommended. If you have a pre-schooler in your house then you would have probably heard of Bluey (or had to do the dance), you may have...
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Dec 09 2019

Kensy and Max: Out of sight by Jacqueline Harvey

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Kensy and Max series. Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780143791928.
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Adventures, Mystery, Spies, Friendship, Problem Solving, Spy School for children, Missing persons, France, Travel. Jacqueline Harvey's fourth book in the Kensy and...
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Dec 09 2019

Kensy and Max: Spy Journal by Jacqueline Harvey

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Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780143796978.
(Age: 9-12) Themes: Spies, Journal writing The Kensy and Max Spy Journal is a hardcover book where readers can learn the craft of being a secret agent and keep their own notes on all manner of mysteries in their lives. The journal...
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Dec 09 2019

Madame Badobedah by Sophie Dahl

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Illus. by Lauren O'Hara. Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406384406. hbk.
(Ages 6-8). Recommended. Themes: Hotels, Girls, Villains, Friendship, Trust. Madame Badobedah is a rather enchanting story told by Mabel who lives in a bed and breakfast called "The Mermaid Hotel". The hotel,...
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Dec 09 2019

Hey Grandude! by Paul McCartney

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Illus. by Kathryn Durst. Penguin Random House, 2019. ISBN: 9780241375655. hbk.
(Ages 4-8) Themes: Grandparents, Imagination, Magic, Adventure. This book tells a charming story of four children who, while visiting their Grandad (or Grandude), brighten their drizzly, cold day by going on...
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Dec 02 2019

The Christmasaurus and the winter witch (You're on the naughty list) by Tom Fletcher

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Illus. by Shane Devries. Penguin Random House Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780241338537.
(Ages 8-12). Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas, Dinosaurs, Children with Physical disabilities, Magic. William (who is in a wheelchair), his dad, his new girlfriend Pamela and her daughter Brenda are...
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Dec 02 2019

I'm ready for Christmas illus. by Jedda Robaard

cover imagePuffin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760891619. board book, 14pp.
(Age: 0-4) Recommended. What a lovely Australian Christmas! Little Wombat is buzzing with excitement as the family gets ready for their favourite day of the year. Lights are shining on all the houses, street trees are decorated and...
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Nov 22 2019

Dear Santa, Love Floss by Natalie Italiano

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Illus. by Annabel Cuttler. Little Steps Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925839555. pbk.
This is a heartwarming Christmas story, the story of a small reindeer who has a big dream of flying with Santa's reindeers to help pull the sleigh.  When she finally gets her chance she starts to...
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Nov 19 2019

The twelve days of Christmas with Roald Dahl: Festive things to make and do by Lauren Holowaty

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241428122.
(Age: 7+). Themes: Art, Craft, Recipes, Humour, Jokes, Games.
On the First day of Christmas my true love gave to me . . .
One Matilda in the Library
Two Smelly Twits
Three Naughty Muggle-Wumps
Four Repulsant
...
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Nov 13 2019

The crayons' Christmas by Drew Daywalt

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Illus. by Oliver Jeffers. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008180362.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Crayons, Christmas, Humour, Pop up. This beautifully presented book, with flaps, letters, envelopes, lift ups and pop outs will intrigue and delight younger readers along with the...
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Nov 13 2019

The lonely Christmas tree by Chris Naylor-Ballesteros

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408892923.
Recommended. The lonely Christmas tree is a small picture book, based loosely upon the classic Christmas poem 'Twas the night before Christmas. This book also follows a poetic rhyme, which allows the reader to fall into a nice rhythm...
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Nov 13 2019

We're going on an elf chase by Martha Mumford

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Illus. by Laura Hughes. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781526606303.
Recommended. We're going on an elf chase is a cute little board book that encompasses a 'life the flap' on most pages.
It is the perfect size to read on the couch/bed with your little ones but also great to pop...
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Nov 13 2019

The first Christmas illus. by Jess Racklyeft

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143796909.
The First Christmas is a beautifully illustrated book, that tells a children's version of the story of the Nativity.
The story is told in a simple way that will allow children of many ages to understand and engage with the text. It provided...
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Nov 13 2019

Peppa's Christmas jumper day

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241371589.
Most parents of young children know the phenomenon that is Peppa Pig, and probably can't help but sing the tune when it comes on the TV! On top of the show, kids also have the ability to read about Peppa and her friends!
This story is called...
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