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

Aug 22 2019

The flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Subterranean, 2019. ISBN 9781596068926. 96pg.
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Lovers of Bujold's Hugo Award winning Miles Vorkosigan series will rejoice to discover a short stand-alone novel starring Ekaterin, Miles' clever wife who is determined to help Vashnoi exclusion zone that was been devastated by radiation when the Centagandans attacked the planet. With the help of scientist Enrique Borgos, she has attempted to use bioengineered insects to regenerate a region but when checking on the experiment finds that some have been stolen. Further investigation from the air uncovers the fact that there are four individuals living in the area. It is up to her to help them leave Vashnoi for medical treatment.
Ekaterin is clever and empathetic and readers will enjoy getting to know her character and her abilities in this short work. She emerges a formidable woman who is equally as compassionate and intelligent as her husband and is very good at problem solving. The unique science behind the bioengineered insects is also fascinating.
Fans who want to know more about the planet Barrayar and Miles' wife will not be disappointed and readers new to Bujold's work will discover a satisfying short stand-alone read that will have them searching for the Miles Vorkosigan series.
Pat Pledger



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Aug 22 2019

Every child a song by Nicola Davies

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Illus. by Marc Martin. Wren and Rook, 2019. ISBN: 9781526361417.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Universal rights of the child, Human rights. A unique and moving picture book combines a tender story with information about the rights that children are entitled to under the United Nations...
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Aug 22 2019

All aboard! True train tales by Pauline Deeves

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National Library of Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9780642279392.
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Subjects: Trains - History, Australian Railway History, Museums, Grandfathers. Eight-year-old Jack's family are train enthusiasts, his parents work for the railways and his grandparents worked on trains...
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Aug 22 2019

Ella and Mrs Gooseberry by Vikki Conley and Penelope Pratley

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EK Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925335255.
(Age: 4+) Themes: Old age, Friendship, Neighbours, Caring, love, Family. With one in four Australians living alone, the impetus to write this book was to remind people about their neighbours and their need for love and companionship. Ella is aware...
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Aug 21 2019

Inland by Tea Obreht

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Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9780297867074.
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. Themes: Historical fiction, Survival, Drought, Cameleers, Ghosts, Trust, Relationships. Set in the harsh drought ridden country of 1890's southwest America, Obrecht's Inland tells two stories that gradually draw...
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Aug 21 2019

The secret dragon by Ed Clarke

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Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241360514. 239p.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy. If life is a paradox, then The Secret Dragon is duplicitous to its core. Mari wants to be a palaeontologist like her father, who was tragically struck by lightning when she was a toddler. Her...
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Aug 21 2019

The fated sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Lady Astronaut book 2. Tor Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780765398949.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Women astronauts, Space colonies, Mathematicians, Gender stereotyping, Racism. Fans of the award winning...
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Aug 20 2019

My dad snores by John Williamson

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Illus. by Peter Carnavas. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780143793793.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Snoring, Fathers, Family. From the pen of well known Australian writer, musician and entertainer, John Williamson, comes this wonderfully inviting read aloud about fathers and...
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Aug 20 2019

My dad is a dragon by Damon Young

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Illus. by Peter Carnavas. UQP, 2019. ISBN: 9780702260490.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Fathers, Dragons. With a series of rhyming pairs of lines Young describes an overview of various fathers and what they do in their families. From dads who collect cars or stockpile sneakers,...
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Aug 20 2019

Run away by Harlan Coben

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Cornerstone, 2019. ISBN: 9781784751173.
(Age: 16+) Recommended for lovers of thrillers. Themes: Mystery, Drug addiction, Fathers. An exciting stand-alone thriller, Run away grabs the reader right from the first page and with many twists and hooks, keeps up the momentum until the...
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Aug 20 2019

Computer coding games for kids by Carol Vorderman

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Dorling Kindersley, 2019. ISBN: 9780241317747.
(Age: 8-16) Themes: Computer programming, Programming languages, Computer games - design and construction. Computer coding projects for kids presents a visually appealing step by step guide to computer programming for kids, beginning...
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Aug 20 2019

Zanzibar by Catherina Valckx

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Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572564. 65p
(Age: 7+) Early Chapter Book. Zanzibar is an ordinary, contented crow who unfortunately begins to believe that he is lacking in some way. Achille LeBlab is to blame. As the special correspondent to the 'Voices of the Forest' newspaper, he is...
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Aug 19 2019

Searching for cicadas by Lesley Gibbes and Judy Watson

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Nature Storybooks. Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781922244420.
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes: Cicadas, Environment, Observation, Grandparents. An older man and his grandson go cicada watching each summer. The pair pack their sleeping bags and tent and walk down to the Apex...
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Aug 19 2019

The agony house by Cherie Priest

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Illus. by Tara O'Connor. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780545934299.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Themes: Ghosts, Horror. With a clever graphic/novel hybrid The Agony House provides chills and thrills for the teen reader....
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Aug 19 2019

Let's celebrate at Mass today by Danielle Binny

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Little Steps, 2019. ISBN: 9781925545814.
(Age: 3-6) Danielle Binny provides a simple but complete picture of the celebration of Mass. A little boy goes to church with his parents and baby sibling. Starting with a friendly wink on the front cover, he explains to the reader just what...
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Aug 19 2019

Encyclopedia of grannies by Eric Veille

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Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572434.
(Age: 4+) Themes: Humour, Grandmothers, Diversity, Expectations. With a tongue placed firmly in the cheek, this overview of what to expect from a grandmother will encourage howls of recognition alongside surprises for the unwary as a huge array of...
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Aug 19 2019

Castle Hill Rebellion by Chrissie Michaels

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My Australian Story. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781742991863. pbk., 236 pgs.
(Age: 10+) Themes: Australian History, convicts, Castle Hill, Sydney. A little known Australian event comes to life in the latest My Australian Story series, Castle Hill Rebellion. It was a...
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Aug 16 2019

Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal

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Orion Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781510105706. 243p., pbk.
(Age guide: 13+) Highly recommended. Who doesn't love a road trip novel? This is not a standard coming of age story but a fresh take on a much-loved classic. Kit de Waal uses the road trip to chart the journey from one state...
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Aug 16 2019

The runaways by Ulf Stark

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Illus. by Kitty Crowther. Gecko, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572342. 129p
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Kitty Crowther's colour pencil illustrations create low expectations of an outwardly self-published title, but it wasn't long before this reader was teary eyed. Indeed, fan's of Fredrik Backman's A...
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Aug 16 2019

The Pigeon has to go to school by Mo Willems

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406389012.
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: Fear, Going to school. Another wonderful book from Mo Willems will be just right to read to young children who are off to school or pre-school and are having a few fearful moments wondering what will happen. Pigeon...
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Aug 15 2019

Songspirals: Sharing women's wisdom of Country through songlines by Gay'wu Group of Women

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Allen & Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760633219.
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. Non-fiction. Laklak Burarrwanga and her family produced the beautiful book for younger readers Welcome to my...
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Aug 15 2019

Max's dinosaur feet by Lana Spasevski

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Illus. by Penelope Pratley. New Frontier, 2019. ISBN : 9781925594638.
(Age: 3-6) Highly recommended. Themes: Humour, Babies, Family. What a lovely story, loaded with wonderful illustrations and showing the love and fun in a family where there is a new baby. Max has a pair of dinosaur...
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Aug 15 2019

Extraordinary birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781526610874
(Ages: 9-12). Recommended. Themes: Foster care, Families, Birds, Bullying. A truly heart-warming story that gives the reader insight into the life of a child in foster care. December is eleven and has been to many foster homes in her...
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Aug 15 2019

Fly by Jess McGeachin

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Puffin Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781760892562.
(Age: 5-8) Recommended. Themes: Birds - Care and health, Flight, Inventions, Aeroplanes, Grief, Kindness, STEM. What a lovely multi-faceted book! Lucy is a little girl who is very good at fixing things and when she finds a bird with a broken...
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Aug 14 2019

Lapse by Sarah Thornton

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Clementine Jones book 1. Text Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925773941.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery, Crime, Football. A debut mystery from a new Australian author is always good to find and Lapse is a treat. Clementine Jones had a momentary lapse and ends...
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Aug 14 2019

Wibble Wobble by Jen Storer

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Illus. by Lisa Stewart. ABC Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780733339196.
(Age: 0-3) Recommended. Themes: Babies, Mobility. What a joyous, beautifully illustrated book that parents will enjoy reading to their very young children! Two little toddlers, just learning to walk and run wobble across the...
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Aug 14 2019

New Class at Malory Towers by Patrice Lawrence et al.

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Hodder, 2019. ISBN: 9781444951004.
(Age: 8-11) Themes: Short stories, Boarding School, Girls. Enid Blyton's Malory Towers popular boarding school stories were written in the late 1940s and early 1950s, suited to the children of post-war Britain. Now, a new generation of writers...
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Aug 14 2019

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

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Tom Doherty Associates, 2019. ISBN: 9781250229793.
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Folklore, Secrecy, Magic, Recluses, Diversity. What an impact for a slim volume of just 109 pages, which can be read in one sitting! Tobias is a wild man who lives alone in...
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Aug 13 2019

Miss Franklin: How Miles Franklin's brilliant career began by Libby Hathorn

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Illus. by Phil Lesnie. Lothian 2019. ISBN: 9780734417879.
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Miles Franklin, Literature, Australian literature, Governess, Rural life. Sweeping painterly images draw the eyes across each page as Lesnie presents a young girl taking up a position as...
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Aug 13 2019

Mother of pearl by Angela Savage

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Transit Lounge, 2019. ISBN: 9781925760354.
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. Themes: Surrogacy, Medical tourism, In vitro fertilisation, Thailand. Two women's lives become connected when Meg, an Australian who has suffered many failed IVF attempts, turns to the option of a commercial...
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Aug 13 2019

Meerkat splash by Aura Parker

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Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780143792895.
(Age:3+) Recommended. Themes: Meerkats, Humour, Bath time, Verse, Colours. In rhyming pairs of lines the story of a group of differently coloured meerkats coming down the internal tunnels of a meerkat burrow to their bath is told. Meerkat black, blue,...
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Aug 13 2019

Incredible journeys: discovery, adventure, danger, endurance by Levison Wood

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Illus: by Sam Brewster. Wren and Rook, 2019. ISBN: 9781526360434.
(Age: 8-14) Recommended. Themes: World exploration, World explorers - Alexander the Great, Vikings, Christopher Columbus, Magellan and Drake, Captain James Cook, The Silk Road, Amelia Earhart. This book is a shining light...
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Aug 13 2019

Gym squad tumble by Meredith Costain

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Illus. by Danielle McDonald. Ella Diaries book 16. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760662844.
(Age: 6-9) Themes: Gymnastics, Competitions, Djibouti. Ella's super excited, her school is celebrating International Sports Day. Each class will choose a country, research and practise the...
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Aug 12 2019

Goat on a boat by Nick Dent

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Illus. by Suzanne Houghton. Scholastic, 2019. ISBN: 9781760669164.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Goats, Migrants, Asylum seekers, Refugees. When a goat turns up at the island on a boat, the response from the sheep who live there is varied. The older gruffer sheep, Bighorn Bill,...
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Aug 12 2019

When we were warriors by Emma Carroll

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Faber and Faber, 2019. ISBN: 9780571350407. pbk., 148 pgs.
(Ages: 7+) Emma Carroll has beautifully written a book which explores themes of family and friendship with some mystery and adventure during World War Two. The book consists of three short stories set along Devon Coast in war...
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Aug 09 2019

Dear Grandpa by Kate Simpson and Ronojoy Ghosh

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760523435.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Grandparents, Separation, Letter writing, Communication. Henry sees the 2003 kilometres between him and his beloved Grandpa in terms of blue whales placed end to end, and goodnight kisses as impossible as...
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Aug 09 2019

A dinosaur ate Dad's hair by Trent Roberts and Chrissie Krebs

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Omnibus Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781742762678.
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Fathers, Father's Day, Hair. A unique and hilarious look at the reasons that one father comes up with for explaining his hairless head, even though he does have very hairy legs and a beard. First he says...
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Aug 09 2019

How (not) to annoy Dad by Dave Hughes and Holly Ife

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Illus. by Heath McKenzie. Scholastic Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781760663735.
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Fathers, Father's Day, Parent and Child. A hilarious take on family life will have readers chuckling aloud as they follow three children having lots of fun with Dad....
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Aug 09 2019

I love my Dad because by Petra James

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Illus. by Alissa Dinallo. Macmillan Australia, 2019. ISBN: 9781760784393.
(Age: 3-8 years) Recommended. Themes: Mothers, Father's Day, Family, Interactive book, Shared reading. What a fun, happy book for a young child to fill in and give to Dad because he is loved! Following on from ...
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