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



More Reviews

Dec 10 2018

Bridge of Clay by Markus Zusak

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Pan Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781760559922
(Age: Adolescent - Adult) Recommended. With a story that is based on the deep and abiding love of a family, this book plunges us deeply into the world of the Carey family in a Melbourne suburb near one of the great horse racing tracks. The five...
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Dec 10 2018

Neverland by Margot McGovern

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Penguin Random House Australia, 2018. ISBN 9780143787846
(Age: Young Adult 15+) Recommended. Kit Learmonth arrives at The Residence, a boarding school for damaged teens. She is too sick for regular school but not sick enough to be institutionalised. Her psychiatrist uncle Doc and Dr Ward...
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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 10 2018

Giraffe problems by Jory John

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Ill. by Lane Smith. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406383164
(Age: 5-8) Themes: Differences, Individual Characteristics. The book begins with Edward the giraffe telling us his problem: 'I feel bad about my neck. I do. I can't help it. It's too long. Too bendy . . . Too . . . necky.' He...
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Dec 07 2018

Visual guide to grammar and punctuation by DK Publishing

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Australian edition. DK, 2018. ISBN 9780143794998
(Age 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Grammar. Punctuation. How exciting to find an excellent book showing commonly used grammar and punctuation in a way that is easy to understand both for children and for adults who may be uncertain about...
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Dec 07 2018

Foundational fictions in South Australian history edited by Carolyn Collins and Paul Sendziuk

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743056066
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Foundational fictions investigates the myths that South Australians hold dear about their state. Is it really true that South Australia was a more enlightened settlement free of the 'convict...
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Dec 07 2018

The Bad Guys: Episode 8: Superbad by Aaron Blabey

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781760279509
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour. Adventure. Superheroes. The Bad Guys return with superpowers that will delight their fans as they chuckle their way through another hilarious adventure. Yes, the Bad Guys have acquired super powers but...
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Dec 07 2018

Circus hearts series by Ellie Marney

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Bearded Lady Press, 2018.
All the Little Bones. ISBN 9780648088530
All fall downISBN 9780648088554
All Aces. ISBN 9780648088578
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Circus. Romance. Ellie Marney has written another exciting set of books that will appeal to...
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Dec 07 2018

Hotdog: Camping time by Anh Do

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Ill. by Dan McGuiness. Hotdog! : Book 5. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742993768
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Themes: Humour. Camping. Animals. Fans will be hooting with laughter as Hotdog, Lizzie and Kev return in their fifth adventure, this time on a camping trip. On a trip to...
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Dec 06 2018

The fragments by Toni Jordan

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Text, 2018. ISBN 9781925773132
(Age: Adolescent - Adult) Highly recommended. This is a most interesting book, captivatingly told by two narrators and set in different eras and indeed in different countries. The link is drawn by the narrative of the life and work of a famous American...
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Dec 06 2018

We are all equal by P Crumble and Jonathan Bentley

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742999838
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Equality. Animals. Difference. LGBT. Diversity. Using a range of animals to shout out about difference and being the same, this richly illustrated little book will evoke interest and discussion amongst its readers....
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Dec 06 2018

Butt out! by Heath Mckenzie

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742997902
(Age: 4+) Themes: Bottoms. Animals. Conventions. All the well dressed animals are taken aback when the baboon decides to go pantless. The giraffe pushing a market trolley in her natty green frock, grasps her front paws in anguish when she spies him,...
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Dec 06 2018

The bee book Charlotte Milner

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DK, 2018. ISBN 9780241305188
Recommended. Bees have been an essential and integral part of life on the planet for over 100 million years - even pre-dating the dinosaurs - and about 20 000 different species can be found all around the world. While some bees are large, others small, some...
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Dec 05 2018

Rainbow bear by Stephen Michael King

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Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742997698
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Bears, Fathers, Children, Families, Humour. A wonderfully funny and engaging book about families and the way they interact will appeal to readers as they watch the antics of the children playing with their father....
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Dec 05 2018

Guinness World Records: Wild Things ed. by Craig Glenday

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Guinness World Records, 2018. ISBN 9781912286485
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Subjects: Animals, Records, Zoology, Mammals, Reptiles, Insects. Wild Things is jam-packed with an array of amazing animal facts, records, achievements, oddities and dangerous creatures. Split into 9 chapters,...
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Dec 05 2018

Of blood and bone by Nora Roberts

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Chronicles of The One book 2. Piatkus, 2018. ISBN 9780349414980
(Age: Adult - 16+) Dystopian fiction. Pandemics. Coming of age. Roberts continues with her compulsive series, writing as always in a very readable style with great characters. The first book...
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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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Dec 04 2018

The angel's mark by S. W. Perry

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Atlantic Books, 2018. ISBN 9781786494955
(Age: senior secondary to adult) Crime, Elizabethan England, Medicine, Superstition, Childbirth, Women, London. Steeped in the life and times of the later years of Elizabethan England, this story of the investigation into bodies found with an...
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Dec 04 2018

Pens and bayonets : letters from the front by soldiers of Yorke Peninsula, South Australia during the Great War by Don Longo

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743056103
(Age: 16+) Recommended for history enthusiasts and students. If I had to sum up this great book in one word, it would be 'poignant'.
Soldiers who grew up on farms and in towns on the Yorke Peninsula (and those who moved there for work)...
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Dec 04 2018

Burpzilla by Tim Miller and Matt Stanton

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ABC Books, 2018. ISBN 9780733339028
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Themes: Burps, Monsters, Humour, Verse. After There's a monster under my bed who farts (2012) and Dinosaur dump (2015), amongst many others by the team of Stanton and Miller, comes a new tale about burps. Each of...
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Dec 04 2018

Disney ideas book by Elizabeth Dowsett

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DK, 2018. ISBN 9780241314210
Whether it's 101 Dalmatians, Coco, The Little Mermaid, Mickey Mouse or Tangled, every child has a favourite Disney movie, and in this super-sized activity book there are projects to accompany more than 50 of...
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Dec 03 2018

What the woods keep by Katya De Becerra

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760637309
(Age: 13+) Recommended. What the woods keep is a scary fiction novel, which focuses on Hayden. She moved to New York after her mum's puzzling and peculiar death in the woods but her Mother left clues behind and no one knows what the woods...
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Dec 03 2018

Kill Shot: A Wyatt Thriller by Garry Disher

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Text Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925773224
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Crime, thriller, Australian story. This is my first Wyatt thriller - but it will not be my last. I will be going back to read the others in the series. although I had no trouble reading this as...
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Dec 03 2018

Harry Potter - Creatures: A Paper Scene Book by Warner Bros

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781526605849
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Art. Fans of the Harry Potter world will be thrilled with this very handsome volume featuring the fantasy world and dark creatures of the Black Lake, the Forbidden Forest and the dragons of the...
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Dec 03 2018

Lemonade Jones by Davina Bell and Karen Blair

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781925266733
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: School, Animals, Family. Containing two short stories, The first day back and The zoo that comes to you, this volume will appeal to younger readers who have moved from picture books to reading...
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Dec 03 2018

The Princess in black and the science fair scare by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale

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Ill. by LeUyen Pham. Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688271
(Age: 5-8.) Recommended. Who says feminists can't be princesses or wear pink? In this fantasy, Princess Magnolia and her multicultural sorority of Princesses, have entered the science fair. All of the impressive science...
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Dec 03 2018

LEGO Super Heroes Visual Dictionary by Elizabeth Dowsett and Arie Kaplan

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DK, 2018. ISBN 9780241320037
Since 2006 when it first released its Batman-themed sets, LEGO, a contraction of leg godt which means 'play well' in Danish, have offered fans construction sets related to the popular superheroes so they can learn to read and follow instructions and develop...
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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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