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 21 2018

The unscary book by Nick Bland

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742994147
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Monsters, Humour. Our hero is all dressed up to scare the living daylights out of the reader. He has a donned a skeleton costume, a hat with a row of teeth, large furry slippers and googly eyes sprouting from his head - all things to provoke and scare. But each time he brings something else into the picture he is trying to create, something very unscary enters. Told to expect something scary, readers will laugh with anticipation and then surprise as he whisks aside the red sheet to reveal an apple tree not a monster, nothing scary at all. He tries again, pulling down the blue curtain covered in stars, expecting a monster, but a rainbow appears. Then a bunch of rabbits hop into the picture. Frustrated he calls again for a terrifying thing, only to have an ice cream vendor come onto the page. By now with his hands on his hips, he declaims loudly how he wanted this to be a scary book, full of horrifying and terrifying things, aiming to scare the readers, not make them hungry for an ice cream, or look at a bunch of cute rabbits. Each page rings with his frustration, so after another attempt, his grandma rides across the page, he has had enough, and drags a monster onto the page. The monster unhappily scares everyone else away, but our hero is happy that he now has something scary to show the reader, although the monster is not as scary as he wishes him to be.
A delightfully funny story of not getting what you want, of frustration at things not working out as you intended, this tale will resonate with younger children who will recognise exactly what the boy feels.
Bland creates a wonderful mix of the scary and unscary, using words in a different type to entertain the reader and make them aware of the meanings of some of these new words. In the background can be seen parallel stories: his dog loves the apple tree, digging around its roots and finding a bone, the rabbits eat all the apples, going to great lengths to get the last one on the tree. Readers will love the humour, picking out details on each page, watching the antics of all the other characters on each page.
Fran Knight



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Sep 21 2018

Wraith by Alexandra and Shane Smithers

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Magabala Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925360950
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Science Fiction, Flight, Climate Change, Aboriginal people. James can fly; he practices his technique out in the bush, as his best friend Darren shouts words of encouragement. He's unsure of his special powers and...
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Sep 21 2018

Puffin the architect by Kimberly Andrews

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Puffin, 2018, ISBN 9780143793755
(Age: 4-7) Recommended. Themes: Housing, Design, Architecture, Homes, Rhyming fiction, STEM. Puffin is a smart architect who's trying to design a house for some very fussy clients, two pufflings. They tour the town, investigating all the other animals'...
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Sep 21 2018

Other Worlds series by George Ivanoff

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Ill. by James Hart. Random House Australia, 2018.
Game World book 3. ISBN 9780143786238
Dark World book 4. ISBN 9780143786252
(Age: 8-11) Recommended. Themes: Friendship, Adventure, Zombies, Gaming. "Find the key! Open the doorway! Enter the other...
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Sep 21 2018

Found by Fleur Ferris

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Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780143784326
(Ages: secondary) Highly Recommended. Themes: Crime, Survival, Witness protection. About to tell her strict father, Bear, about her boyfriend, Beth hesitates when she sees him across the road waiting for her. A van pulls up and he is gone, his...
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Sep 20 2018

Fairytales for feisty girls by Susannah McFarlane

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523541
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fairy tales. Fractured fairy tales. Women and girls. Old stories rewritten for a modern age, these tales will have younger listeners laughing out loud as they recognise stories they have heard but with a...
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Sep 20 2018

The cook and the king by Julia Donaldson

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Ill. by David Roberts. Macmillan Books, 2018. ISBN 9781509813773
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour. Fears. Cooking. Food preparation. Medieval history. Castles. How wonderful to read and look at a very funny picture book. So many coming across my desk at the moment are...
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Sep 20 2018

You can't let an elephant drive a digger by Patricia Cleveland-Peck

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Ill. by David Tazzyman. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408879146
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: STEM. Probability. Humour. Verse. A range of improbably domesticated animals are given impossible things to do, inviting every reader to simply laugh out loud at the antics shown. Each double page...
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Sep 20 2018

The Frooties series by Hil Rogers and Joshie Lefers

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Ill. by Pete Petrovic. Scholastic, 2018.
"Bad Apple". ISBN 9781742765952
"Crazy Kiwi". ISBN 9781742765969
(Ages: 7-9) Themes: Fruit. Author and publisher Hil Rogers came up with the crazy idea to humanise her fruit bowl, creating a cast of fun characters with big personalities....
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Sep 20 2018

Oscar the hungry unicorn by Lou Carter

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Ill. by Nikki Dyson. Orchard, 2018. ISBN 9781408355756
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Unicorns. Fairy tales. Food. Home. Humour. Oscar loves to eat and despite what he eats, he is still hungry. He eats his stable, the gingerbread house, the pirate ship, the toadstools which house the...
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Sep 19 2018

Black cockatoo by Carl Merrison and Hakea Hustler

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Magabala Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925360707
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Mia sees her brother Jy firing stones at birds with his shanghai. Among the fallen birds there is a dirrarn black cockatoo, and Mia defiantly gathers it up and wrapping it in her arms carries it inside to her bedroom...
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Sep 19 2018

Blakwork by Alison Whittaker

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Magabala Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925360851
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Poetry. White linen washed by black hands, hangnails on worn hands . . . Whittaker succinctly conjures images of colonisation, oppression and segregation. She tells the story of abattoir life, the jobs...
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Sep 19 2018

More and more and more by Ian Mutch

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Fremantle Press, 2018, ISBN 9781925591545
(Ages: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Recycling, Waste, Collecting. Henry Harper loves collecting, so when he collects Kate he asks her to stay with him on his planet. She agrees saying that she just loves collecting and together the two passionate...
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Sep 19 2018

Digby and Claude by Emma Allen

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Ill. by Hannah Sommevillee. National Library of Australia, 2018. ISBN 9780642279279
(Age: 7) Recommended. Themes: Australian History, Development, Heritage, Architecture, Housing. The change that came across Australian suburbs in the 1030's with clearing away of slums and abandoned...
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Sep 19 2018

Dino diggers: Dumper truck danger by Rose Impey

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Ill. by Chris Chatterton. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408872482
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Dinosaurs, Technology, Accidents. In Dino-Town, the Dino Diggers are all ready for action. Dressed in their hard hats and fluoro jackets, they can take on any problem which comes long, so when...
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Sep 19 2018

Mummy Fairy and me : Fairy in waiting by Sophie Kinsella

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780141377896
(Ages: 5 - 7) Recommended. Themes: Fairies. Humour. "Ella's family has a big secret - her Mummy is a fairy. She can do amazing spells with her computawand. Only, sometimes the spells go a bit wrong, and that's when Ella steps in to the rescue.
In...
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Sep 19 2018

Melowy : The ice enchantment by Danielle Star

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Ill. by Danielle Stern. Melowy series book 4. Scholastic, 2018, ISBN 9781338151800
(Age: 6-8) Themes: Unicorns, Fantasy, Friendship, Courage. In the Castle of Destiny hidden by a sea of clouds, Melowies, winged horses with gorgeous colourings, gather to be schooled in magic....
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Sep 18 2018

Meet me at the intersection: Short stories edited by Rebecca Lim and Ambelin Kwaymullina

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Fremantle Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925591705
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: LGBTIQA+. Disabilities. Indigenous Australians. Cultures. Short stories. Meet me at the intersection is an collection of short stories by authors who write from the heart about issues that have personal...
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Sep 18 2018

Kissed by the moon by Alison Lester

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Penguin, 2013. ISBN 9780670076758
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Picture book. Themes: Influences. Growing up. This beautiful book has been reissued as a board book, and will win hearts all over again with its wishes for the future of a new born child. Alison Lester, one of...
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Sep 18 2018

The honey factory by Jurgen Tautz and Diedrich Steen

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Black Inc Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760640408
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Non-fiction. The subtitle 'Inside the ingenious world of bees' describes exactly what this book is about - not so much a guide to beekeeping but a detailed exploration of what bees do and how their...
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Sep 18 2018

Ruby's worry by Tom Percival

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408892152
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Anxiety. Depression. Sharing. Friendship. Ruby's life is carefree and happy, but one day a worry finds her. At first it is a very small worry and can be hidden behind her, or even ignored. But as time goes on the worry...
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Sep 18 2018

Uncle Shawn and Bill and the pajimminy-crimminy unusual adventure by A.L. Kennedy

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Ill. by Gemma Correll. Walker Books Ltd, 2018. ISBN 9781406360509
(Ages: 6-9) Recommended. Themes: Friendship. Humour. Bonkers story of friendship, llamas and total evil.
Uncle Shawn and Bill are back, and so are the llamas. In a book that could stand alone or work as a sequel, they...
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Sep 18 2018

Funny Kid: Prank wars by Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins, 2018. ISBN 9780733335990
(Ages: 8-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour. This is the third book in the Funny Kid book series. Max, otherwise known as 'funny kid' is determined to make his class mates laugh at his pranks and antics, at any cost. When Max's class...
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Sep 17 2018

Amazing Australian Women by Pamela Freeman and Sophie Beer

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Lothian Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9780734418456
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Women - Australia. The authors have chosen twelve Australian women from different backgrounds and time periods to feature in this brightly illustrated book. Some of them will be familiar to all...
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Sep 17 2018

How I didn't straighten my hair (and other life lessons) by Angela May George

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Omnibus Books, 2018. ISBN 9781742999555
(Age: Upper primary - lower secondary) Themes: bullying, friendships, Greek culture, family. Dora is trying to find "her thing" but, disappointingly for her Greek family, Greek dancing isn't for her. 17 year old sister Athena, is a born dancer,...
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Sep 17 2018

Princess Swashbuckle by Hollie Hughes

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Ill. by Deborah Allwright. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408862803
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Princesses, Stereotypes, Adventure, Frogs, Family, Verse, Humour. All Princess Swashbuckle wants to do is be a pirate queen, to sail away on a pirate ship and be the ruler of the waves. But her...
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Sep 17 2018

Norman the Knight gets a fright! by Mark Sperring

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Ill. by Ed Eaves. Bloomsbury, 2108. ISBN 9781408873991
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Knights, Dragons, Employment. When the four children and their cat apply for the job of helping Norman the Brave, a knight of renown, they are surprised at what he expects them to do. Their work...
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Sep 17 2018

The afterlife of Holly Chase by Cynthia Hand

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Harper Collins Publishers, 2017. ISBN 9781460754283
(Ages: 12+) Highly recommended. A heart-warming and emotional tale of the importance of generosity, family, love and compassion. When Holly Chase is visited on Christmas Eve by three spirits warning her of the imminent consequences of...
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Sep 14 2018

Finch by Penny Matthews

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Walker Books, 2018, ISBN 9781760650759
(Ages: 9+) Highly recommended. Themes: Country towns, Family, Vineyards. When Audrey and her family move to a small wine growing community after dad lost his job in the city, everyone is put out. Audrey and her sister miss their friends and school...
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Sep 14 2018

Backyard by Amanda Braxton-Smith

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Ill. by Lizzy Newcomb. Black Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925381177
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Backyards, Insects, Animals, STEM, Discovery. What a feast can be found in one's own backyard, simply using the skill of observation. This wonderful book impels younger readers to do...
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Sep 14 2018

The Funny Life of Pets by James Campbell

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889947
(Age: 8+) Recommended. A dog's nose is more than 1 000 times more sensitive than our nose. That's why if you do a bottom burp in a dog's face it will go cross-eyed and fall over. Imagine a sausage dog's dilemma when it's eating sausages - the...
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Sep 14 2018

Goal Power by Meredith Costain

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Ella Diaries series. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743818060
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. "Goal Power" is another instalment in the "Ella Diaries" series. It is a standalone read, and new readers to the series can start with this diary themed novel. Ella tells us about her daily...
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Sep 14 2018

Changing Gear by Scott Gardner

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760631468
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: relationships, family, self-discovery, nature. Year 12 is over and Merrick Hilton has two weeks to study for his final exams. He tells his amicably separated parents he is staying at the other's place and takes off...
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Sep 13 2018

Natural born loser by Oliver Phommavanh

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143505730
(Age: 10+ ) Highly recommended. Natural born loser is an inspiring, funny story and promotes being yourself rather than following the crowd. Raymond is a typical year 6 boy who loves soccer and being with his best friend but he doesn't see...
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Sep 13 2018

Crossing Ebenezer Creek by Tanya Bolden

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781681196992
(Age: 13+) Recommended. In the latter months of 1864, during the U.S. Civil War, General Sherman of the Union led a huge army through Georgia, freeing slaves, plundering goods and destroying property of the vanquished. Many ex-slaves chose to...
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Sep 13 2018

Bonkers about beetles by Owen Davey

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Flying Eye Books, 2018. ISBN 9781911171485
(Ages: 6-adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Beetles. Non-fiction. What a wonderful encyclopaedic book about beetles, I read it from cover to cover, loving every piece of information given, observing the pictures with glee, scanning the layout...
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Sep 13 2018

Angry Cookie by Maria Karipidou

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406383089
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Anger. Friendship. Confronted by an angry Cookie from the start, the reader will be in no doubt about the theme of this book. We are told in no uncertain terms, not to open the book, not to turn the page, and not to...
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Sep 13 2018

Melowy: The night of courage by Danielle Star

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781338151787
(Age 7+) Recommended. The night of courage is book 3 in the Melowy series and will be enjoyed by any pony lover aged 5+. In this book, readers meet the Melowies, magical ponies who are at school together. They come from a variety of...
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Sep 13 2018

I had such friends by Meg Gatland-Veness

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Pantera Press 2018. ISBN 9781925700015
(Age: Teens) Themes: Death. Grief. Suicide. Bullying. Depression. Prejudice. Love. Loneliness and coming of age issues. Homophobia. Sexuality. Sexual identity. Abuse. Neglect. Alcoholism. Domestic violence. Child sexual abuse. Self-confessed loser...
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Sep 11 2018

The story of Eva Carmichael by Gary Crew

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Ill. by Paul O'Sullivan. Harbour Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781922134103
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Shipwrecks. Loch Aird. Migration. Victoria. Subtitled, "The wreck of the Loch Aird", this informative, sumptuously illustrated picture book will have readers delving into the...
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Sep 11 2018

The survival game by Nicky Singer

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Hodder Children's Books, 2018, ISBN 9781444944525
(Ages: 12+) Mhairi is a child displaced and desperate to return home. The world is changing around her and she is caught in an exodus as the people of Africa flee north, praying for a chance at survival now Global Warming is taking its...
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Sep 11 2018

The heart of a whale by Anna Pignataro

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743817629
(Ages: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Whales. Loneliness. Melbourne author and illustrator, Pignataro has drawn and painted since a young child, culminating in a career of over 40 books, often nominated in prestigious Australian book awards. Her Agatha...
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Sep 11 2018

How to Ninja: Activity book by Marcus Emerson

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Diary of a 6th grade Ninja series. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523824
(Ages: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Ninja. Adventure. Humour. For those who have loved every edition of the funny series, Diary of a 6th grade Ninja, then this book is sure to add to their pleasure....
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Sep 11 2018

Dinosaur day out by Sarah Acton

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Walker Books 2018. ISBN 9781760650049
(Age:4+) When the children go off to the museum with Dad for the day, they are hoping to go to the dinosaur exhibition, but today that gallery is closed. So Dad buys a book about dinosaurs from the museum shop and they head off to the park instead....
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Sep 11 2018

The Scoop by Terrence J Quinn

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Simon and Schuster, 2018. ISBN 9781925640045
(Age: Senior school - Adult) Jonno Bligh, an award winning journalist seems to have it made. However there is a problem. Jonno has developed a habit for cocaine, which has turned a shy, socially timid guy into a party machine.
After...
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