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 10 2018

Santa's high-tech Christmas by Mike Dumbleton

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Ill. by Angela Perrini. New Frontier Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925594270
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas, Santa Claus, Technology, Verse, Humour. When Santa goes high-tech this year, he of course, being an older gentleman, has problems with the new equipment. While delivering the presents from his sleigh, the screen on his iPad goes blank, so he doesn't know what present to give to whom. He is distraught, after all, he has spent the whole year preparing for this night, touching up the marks on his red car, and making sure he is up to the minute with his high-tech gear. His list on his iPad keeps him informed about who to give a present to, and he even uses a rocket-pack to deliver the gifts after parking his car in places where car parks are in short supply. But in rocketing up to the next child, he drops his device, causing him to sigh most loudly, waking a young girl in the building. She is able to restore his device to its normal function, and sends him off to complete his work on Christmas Eve, telling him to contact her if he needs help. Which he does with a funny twist in the tale.
Readers will laugh out loud at the situation Santa finds himself in, recognising the frustration that comes with technology when it doesn't do what it is expected to do. Mike Dumbleton's sense of humour shines through, giving the readers a technically adept Santa, using devices with ease, until a small problem occurs. Readers will love Santa's attempts at bringing his work up to date, and think of other ways he could use technology to improve his lot.
Perrini's delightful illustrations reflect her Italian heritage with Christmas in the northern hemisphere: snow covered fields and roofs, a heavy doona on the bed and wood fires in the houses, all delighting Australian audiences used to the heat and sun of December in the southern hemisphere.
A wonderful read aloud, the rhyming text lends itself to repetition and learning sections to read with the adult reader, while predicting the rhyming word at the end of each line. A whole heap of good fun is to be had at this time of the year, with a beautifully presented book such as this offering a very funny tweak on the usual fare.
Fran Knight



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Dec 10 2018

The Aussie ABC Christmas by Nancy Bevington

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New Frontier Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925594256
(Age: 4+) Themes: Christmas, ABC, Alphabet book, Humour, Australia. Replicating what many teachers ask their classes to do at Christmas, this ABC book offers a few different words to align with the alphabet. Many letters are combined with...
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Dec 04 2018

Mince spies by Mark Sperring

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Ill. by Sophie Corrigan. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408893463
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas, Competition. When all the Christmas goodies: gingerbread men, Christmas sticks, puddings, yule logs and so on, fall to the floor in the supermarket, something must be done. The...
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Nov 30 2018

Whitebeard by M. C. D. Etheridge

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Flash Knight, 2018. ISBN 9780648359005
(Age: 8-10) Themes: Pirates, Christmas, Fantasy. Whitebeard is a fantastical mix of pirates, derring-do acts, fights on the High Seas and has a motley cast of characters with Captain Whitebeard at the helm. This madcap adventure is...
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Nov 29 2018

A miniature Christmas ed. by Beattie Alvarez

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Christmas Press, 2018. ISBN 9780648194514
Recommended. A miniature Christmas is an anthology of stories all written by both emerging and established Australian story tellers, based on the theme of 'miniature'. There are 12 wonderful stories that feature characters such as elves,...
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Nov 28 2018

Hopping around the Christmas tree by Johnny Marks

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Book and CD. Ill. by Benjamin Johnston. Performed by Colin Buchanan. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781743811429
(Ages: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: Christmas. Colin Buchanan, former Play School presenter, brings great energy to this very catchy Christmas sing-along. The classic song, Rockin'...
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Nov 28 2018

Dear Santa by Elise Hartley

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Ill. by Shannon Horsfall. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742993683
(Ages: 5-8) Themes: Christmas, Letter Writing, Humorous Stories. This is a collection of mostly unrelated letters from different animals to Santa. There is a letter from a moose asking if he could take the place of a reindeer...
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Nov 28 2018

Excuse me, Santa! by Dave Hughes and Holly Ife

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Ill. by Philip Bunting. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742997896
(Ages: 4-7)Themes: Christmas, Humourous Stories, Manners. This is a follow up to last year's Excuse Me! and it is basically the same story except this time it is Santa with gas instead of Martha May. It is Christmas Eve...
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Nov 14 2018

Ho! Ho! Ho! There's a hippopotamus on our roof eating Christmas cake by Hazel Edwards

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Ill. by Deborah Niland. Penguin Random House, 2018. ISBN 9780143790679
(Age: 3-6) Recommended Themes: Christmas. There are quite a few Hippopotamus books in this series now and this latest one follows the same signature style that has made the books so popular over many years. Short...
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Nov 14 2018

We're going on an elf chase by Martha Mumford

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Ill. by Laura Hughes. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408872413
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Christmas, Elves, Hunt, Lift the flap book, Verse. Fingers will just love lifting the flaps in this book as the reader is asked to work with the bunnies on their wintry quest to find the elves. Four...
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Nov 14 2018

Santa Claus vs the Easter Bunny by Fred Blunt

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Ill. by David Cornish. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760634698
(Age: 5-10) Humorous Stories. 'Santa Claus and Easter Bunny live next door to each other. Santa was a jolly fellow. Bunny was not.' Bunny's bad attitude to life is because he has to make the chocolate, turn it into eggs,...
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Nov 14 2018

Santa Bruce by Ryan T. Higgins

cover imageBruce book 4. Disney-Hyperion, 2018. ISBN 9781484782903
(Age: 7+) Recommended for its humour. Themes: Christmas, Santa Claus, Humour. Santa Bruce is the fourth in a series about Bruce, a very grumpy bear, who is often the victim of mistaken identity, in this case Santa Claus....
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Nov 02 2018

Noni the pony rescues a joey by Alison Lester

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760293123
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Horses, Australian animals, Environment, Habitat. Noni the pony rescues a joey will captivate its audience, already thrilled at the first book about Noni the pony (2010) and Noni the pony...
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Nov 01 2018

Doctor Who: Twelve angels weeping: Twelve stories of the villains from Doctor Who by Dave Rudden

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Ill. by Alexis Snell. BBC Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781405938273
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Doctor Who. Time travel. Monsters. Aliens. Robots. Villains. Life on other planets. Twelve short stories featuring the villains from the Doctor Who series will enthral...
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Oct 26 2018

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens, retold by Tony Mitton

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Ill. by Mike Redman. Orchard Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408351673
Highly recommended. Themes: Christmas; Charles Dickens; Generosity; Poetry; Rhyme. This is wonderful poetic rendering of the classic story from Charles Dickens, A Christmas Carol. Mitton has told this story of...
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Oct 12 2018

The Christmas tale of Peter Rabbit by Emma Thompson

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Ill. by Eleanor Taylor. Frederick Warne, 2018. ISBN 9780241352885
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Christmas, Poultry. Emma Thompson, the renowned actress, has written another tale about Peter Rabbit in this board book, beautifully illustrated by Eleanor Taylor. Peter is very excited...
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