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 25 2020

The Goody by Lauren Child

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Orchard, 2020. ISBN: 9781408347584.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. A new book by Lauren Child always creates interest as the expectation of a challenging read is ever present. She draws the reader into a false sense of security, lulls them into thinking this is a story of sibling rivalry, but she challenges us to see more than this, as it becomes an expose of expectations, of labelling, of not seeing difference. And as with many of her books, we are impelled to consider the wider issue where children behave as they are expected to, labelled and boxed in by that expectation.
Siblings, Chirton and Myrtle behave in the way they are expected to behave. Chirton is good, reliable, dependable while Myrtle is forgetful, naughty and a refuser.
Chirton eats up his broccoli, Myrtle isn't even given any as she won't eat it, Chirton cleans the rabbit hutch every week because Myrtle forgets, and Myrtle stays up late at night because she doesn't want to sleep. All of the things Myrtle does, Chirton would like to do, but he is seen as the goody in the family and so expected to behave well without exception.
One night Chirton gets up to have a glass of water and finds his sister eating choco puffs and watching TV. He would love to do this too, and wonders why he is not allowed. The next day he decides that he is a goody no longer and changes his behaviour, so much so that he is not allowed to go to a birthday party. When Myrtle goes instead, the birthday girl does not know of Myrtle's reputation and treats her like anyone else, and Myrtle decides she likes being treated thus. So the two come to see the advantages and disadvantages of being labelled, deciding that there is a middle road, and their parents are encouraged to see them as different people with their own traits.
Child's illustrations are always a treat and these with their blocks of patterns make a wonderful talking point for readers already most amused by the story.
Themes: Siblings, Humour, Difference, Expectations, Image, Behaviour, Family.
Fran Knight



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Sep 25 2020

Brain Freeze by Oliver Phommavanh

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Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9781760897147.
(Age: 10-14 years)Highly Recommended. Brain Freeze contains twelve entertaining stories written by the comedian and well know author Oliver Phommavanh. Each story holds the reader's interest with a clever use of humour, drama and a...
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Sep 25 2020

Guinness World records 2021

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Guinness World Records Limited, 2020. ISBN: 9781913484071.
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Readers will not need an introduction to the fabulous Guinness World Records books and will find much to amaze and interest in the latest edition for 2021. The book is one that can be flicked...
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Sep 25 2020

Unravel the Dusk by Elizabeth Lim

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The Blood of Stars duology. Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9780525647027.
(Young Adult). Recommended. Much has changed for Maia Tamarin since the conclusion of the first novel in The Blood of Stars duology. In Spin the Dawn, we watched Maia, a young woman living in a...
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Sep 24 2020

Migrants by Issa Watanabe

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Gecko Press, 2020. ISBN: 9781776573134.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. With predecessors from Japan, Switzerland and Spain, Peruvian born Watanabe is well placed to know what it means to be an immigrant. And living in Mallorca in the early 2000's, she became accustomed to the sight of...
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Sep 24 2020

Metal fish, falling snow by Cath Moore

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Text Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781922330079.
(Age: YA) Recommended. Dylan's French Mum is dead and now they will never go to Paris together, instead she is left with Pat O'Brien, her Mum's boyfriend who has his own issues. The outback Australian town of Beyen is far from the sea where...
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Sep 24 2020

The funny life of sharks by James Campbell

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Illus. by Rob Jones. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781526615497.
(Age: 8+ years) Recommended. The funny life of sharks is the third book in The funny life of . . . series by author James Campbell and illustrator Rob Jones. Before reading, a warning is given...
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Sep 24 2020

Four on the run by Sophie Masson

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Illus. by Cheryl Orsini. Christmas Press, 2020. ISBN: 9780648194576.
(Age: 5-8 years) Four on the run is a simple and entertaining story about four old and rusty friends living in a barn on a farm after their owner Mrs Brown has saved them from the scrap heap. Maxie is shaped like...
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Sep 24 2020

Ruby Tuesday by Hayley Lawrence

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Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9781760894894.
(Ages: 14+) Ruby Tuesday describes the life of an Australian teenager, living in semi-rural Australia with her paraplegic mother, with the story starting up at the funeral of her grandmother. Ruby and her mother's lives revolve...
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Sep 23 2020

Alice, curiouser and curiouser edited by Kate Bailey and Simon Sladen

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V and A Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781838510046.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Described as 'a mind-bending journey into the story of Wonderland', this sumptuous hard cover book has been published to accompany the exhibition of the same name at the Victoria and Albert Museum, an...
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Sep 23 2020

You were made for me by Jenna Guillaume

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Pan Macmillan, 2020. ISBN: 9781760559137.
(Age: 13+) Sixteen year old Katie wants to be a writer; she is also good at art. Her best friend, Libby, wants to be a scientist or an editor and together they tell a story of how they made the perfect boy. Neither is in the "cool" group at...
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Sep 23 2020

Rowley Jefferson's awesome friendly adventure by Jeff Kinney

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Puffin Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760897888. 218pp.
(Ages: 8-12) Recommended. This is the second in a new series by Jeff Kinney. It is written from the perspective of Rowley Jefferson, Greg Heffley's more virtuous friend (Diary of a Wimpy Kid series). Rowley has decided to write a...
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Sep 23 2020

Whine guide by Beck & Matt Stanton

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Self-Help for Babies book 2. ABC Books, 2020. ISBN: 9780733341168.
(Age: All) Recommended. Another great addition to the series, Whine guide will have adults grinning at the descriptions of all the whines that a baby can make as well as the allusions to all the...
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Sep 23 2020

Paul Kelly, the man, the music and the life in between by Stuart Coupe

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Hachette, 2004, reprinted 2020. ISBN: 9780733642340.
(Age: Adult) Stuart Coupe, former manager of Paul Kelly, says he was motivated to write this biography of the musician because there was so much missed out of Kelly's autobiography How to make gravy, published in 2010. Coupe's...
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Sep 22 2020

Punching the air by Ibi Zoboi and Yusef Salaam

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HarperCollins, 2020. ISBN: 9780008422141.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Amal's name means hope, but it is hard to feel hope when you are a black kid that has been hauled in for street fighting, and there is white kid in a coma in hospital. Amal knows that he has already been shaped into...
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Sep 22 2020

Rocky Lobstar: Time travel tangle! by Rove McManus

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Scholastic Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9781760665067.
Recommended for primary students. This is the second enjoyable and 'krilliant' book in the Rocky Lobstar series by comedian Rove McManus. It is an ideal stepping stone for younger readers moving up from early fiction - it has similar...
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Sep 22 2020

Marshmallow Pie the cat superstar on TV by Clara Vulliamy

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Harper Collins, 2020. ISBN: 9780008355890.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Marshmallow Pie the cat superstar on TV is the third book in the popular series by Clara Vulliamy. The books are narrated by Marshmallow Marmaduke Vanilla-Bean Sugar-Pie Fluffington Fitz-Noodle himself, and tell the...
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Sep 22 2020

Marshmallow Pie the cat superstar by Clara Vulliamy

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Marshmallow Pie. HarperCollins, 2020. ISBN: 9780008355852. 128pp.
This is a lovely short story about Marshmallow Vanilla-Bean Sugar-Pie Fluffington-Fitz-Noodle (or Pie for short) becoming an acting star. The story follows Pie and her human Amelia as they navigate the ups and downs of...
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Sep 22 2020

Bluey: Grannies

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Penguin Random House Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9781760899363.
(Ages: 2-5) Recommended. This new instalment in the Bluey board book series is based on the incredibly popular Grannies episode, which sees Bluey and Bingo trying to work out whether Grannies can dance. Children who...
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Sep 21 2020

The Inheritance Games by Jennifer Lynn Barnes

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The Inheritance Games, book 1. Penguin, 2020. ISBN: 9780241476178.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Wow! This is one for fans of twisty plots and games that keep the reader guessing right until the end. Avery is a girl who is struggling to keep her head above water, hoping for a better...
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Sep 21 2020

Gold! by Jackie Kerin and Annie White

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Ford Street Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781925804539.
(Ages: 6-10) Recommended. Gold! is an amusing true story about two pairs of brothers, one English and the other Canadian, and how they found a large nugget of gold on the Victorian goldfields. The story begins with the news of...
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Sep 21 2020

Dare to be you by Matthew Syed

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Wren & Rook, 2020. ISBN: 9781526362377.
(Ages: 11+) In this empowering non-fiction book, Dare to be you: Defy self-doubt, fearlessly follow your own path and be confidently you!' readers are encouraged to be themselves, be different, pursue their dreams and to not be defined by...
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Sep 21 2020

Going for Gold by Matthew 'Delly' Dellavedova and Zanni Louise

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Illus. by Nathalie Ortega. Daring Delly book 3. Scholastic Australia, 2020. ISBN: 9781743832028.
Recommended for primary students (ages 7-11). This is the 3rd book in the Daring Delly series by Australian basketball champion, Matthew Dellavedova. A section at the back of...
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Sep 18 2020

Mama Ocean by Jane Jolly

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Illus. by Sally Heinrich. Midnight Sun Publishing, 2020. ISBN: 9781925227659.
(Ages: 4-9) Highly recommended. Beautifully textured and flowing illustrations by Sally Heinrich breath life into this whimsical tale that carries a crucially important environmental message. As with 2017's...
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Sep 18 2020

Tribal Lores by Archimede Fusillo

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Walker Books, 2020. ISBN: 9781760651954.
(Age: 14+) Recommended. This story is set in Australia, with a family of Italian immigrants living in the suburbs of the city, the father a butcher and the mother running the home, while helping her husband and caring for family. Archimede Fusillo...
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Sep 18 2020

The bushfire book by Polly Marsden

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Illus. by Chris Nixon. Lothian, 2020. ISBN: 9780734420077.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Subtitled, How to be aware and prepare, this book comes with a poster which summarises the thrust of the book and usable in a classroom or at home to remind families of the need to be ready.
In...
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Sep 18 2020

The polar bear in Sydney Harbour by Beck Feiner and Robin Feiner

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ABC Books, 2020. ISBN: 9780733339400.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. On her way home from the zoo, across Sydney Harbour on the ferry, Hannah notices a polar bear. She befriends him and calls him Rodney, wanting to keep him as a pet. But Rodney is too hot in the Sydney weather and so she does a...
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Sep 18 2020

They wish they were us by Jessica Goodman

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Razorbill/Penguin Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9780593114292.
(Ages: 14+) A YA murder mystery revolving around a prestigious high school with a not so secret society - the school's elite, called 'The Players'. The story follows Jill Newman in her final year of high school, three years after...
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Sep 17 2020

A climate in chaos by Neal Layton

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Hachette, 2020. ISBN: 9781526362315.
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. In young reader friendly language, Neal Layton explains how the world got to be in the mess it is in.
We rely on breathing out carbon dioxide after taking in oxygen, and plants take in carbon dioxide, breathing out...
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Sep 17 2020

The mountains sing by Nguyen Phan Que Mai

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Oneworld, 2020. ISBN: 9781786079503.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. As a young girl in the school taught by her grandmother Dieu Lan, Huong wonders why foreign armies keep invading her country, Vietnam: first the Chinese, the Mongolians, the French, the Japanese and then the American...
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Sep 17 2020

Pea and Nut go for gold! by Matt Stanton

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Harper Collins, 2020. ISBN: 9780733340680.
(Ages: 4-7) Recommended. Matt Staton, author of There is a monster under my bed who farts and the Funny Kid series of books, knows how to make kids laugh. This...
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Sep 17 2020

House of Dragons by Jessica Cluess

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Random House, 2020. ISBN: 9780593305447.
(Young Adult). Recommended. Any reader who likes dragons, misfits, intrigue and Game of Thrones will enjoy Jessica Cluess' new novel, House of Dragons. Pivoting away from her previous Victorian-era London fantasy books, Cluess...
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