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

May 20 2019

Little Frida by Anthony Browne

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406381221. Hardcover, 32 pages.
(Age: All) Highly recommended. Themes: Frida Kahlo, Disability. Resilience, Artists, Belonging, Imagination. Fans of Anthony Browne's wonderful books and fans of the artist Frida Kahlo will welcome this gorgeous picture that pays tribute to the artist's young life. When she was six Frida Kahlo contracted polio and from then on walked with a limp. She was bullied at school and felt lonely and isolated until she went on a journey and met an imaginary friend who could dance beautifully. This figure would feature in her art in her later life.
Browne has used Kahlo's diary entries describing the time she met her imaginary friend beneath a dairy to write a poignant story about Frida's early life. His illustrations, done in the style of Kahlo, are very evocative and tell a touching tale about a young girl's disability and quest for friendship. Browne has won The Kate Greenaway Medal twice and Little Frida could well be another winner of this prestigious award. His illustrations, done in the bright colours that characterised Kahlo's work, are beautiful and will strike a chord in the minds of young and adult readers as they follow Kahlo's flights of fancy when she dons a pair of wings that she has been given for her birthday. The resilience that Kahlo had is inspiring and the richness of her imagination comes across as an important factor in her journey to becoming a world famous artist.
Children are fascinated by the artwork of Kahlo: bookstores keep popular bookmark souvenirs and mugs depicting her self-portraits, so this book will resonate with readers who want to learn more about her life and art. There is biographical information at the back of the book, and a picture of The two Fridas (1939), showing her imaginary friend, gives the reader an insight into her paintings.
This exquisitely produced book with its moving story and superb illustrations will be one that readers will want to keep and return to again and again.
Pat Pledger



More Reviews

May 20 2019

The greatest book in the world by Matt Porter (Rudolph Wordsmith)

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Ill. by Dave Atze. Ford St, 2019. ISBN: 9781925804140.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Language, Rhyme, Verse story, Bad language, Nudity, Humour. If you love looking for rude words that rhyme with 'bart' and 'snickers' and 'mum' and 'slurp' and 'start', as Rudolf writes his way...
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May 20 2019

The cold eye by Laura Anne Gilman

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The Devil's West bk. 2. Simon and Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9781481429726.
(Age: 16+) Themes: Fantasy, Road trips, Western, Coming of age. In the sequel to Silver on the Road, Isobel is once again faced with the magic...
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May 20 2019

Red Waters Rising by Laura Anne Gilman

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The Devil's West bk. 3. Saga Press, ISBN: 9781481429757.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Western, Coming of age. In the conclusion to The Devil's West trilogy, Isobel and Gabriel ride to the great river, the Mud River, (aka Mississippi) where Isobel will once again...
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May 20 2019

The City of Guardian Stones by Jacob Sager Weinstein

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Walker, 2018. ISBN: 9781406368864.
(Age: 9-12) Themes: London, Fantasy, Magical realism, Adventure. The City of Guardian Stones is a hilarious, entertaining fantasy caper that takes us deep down into sewers, art gallery and railway tunnels, chasing the dastardly Minnie Tickle...
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May 17 2019

How to rob a bank by Tom Mitchell

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HarperCollins Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780008276508.
(Age: 11 and up) Recommended. Themes: Adolescents, humor, guilt, bank robberies, fires. When I first read the title of this book little alarm bells rang in my head thinking this may not be such a great topic to allow into a...
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May 17 2019

Queer heroes by Arabelle Sicardi

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Illus. by Sarah Tanat-Jones. Quarto Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781786034861.
(Ages: 10+) Highly recommended. Themes: LGBTQ, Difference, Heroes and heroines. Subtitled, Meet 52 LGBTQ heroes from past and present, this brightly inviting book does just that. Each page is devoted to...
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May 17 2019

The Talent Show by Delphine Davis

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Mermaid Holidays bk. 1. Illus. by Adele K. Thomas. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780143796510.
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Themes: Friendship; Mermaids. This is an easy-to-read Friendship tale involving friends who catch up every school holiday break . . . and mermaids! Each of the...
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May 16 2019

The bug collector by Alex G. Griffiths

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New Frontier Press, 2019. ISBN 9781925594539.
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Insects, Grandfathers, Collecting, Hobbies, Environment, Museums. When his Grandfather takes George to the museum on his favourite day of the week, Sunday, Grandfather takes the lead, pulling him past the...
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May 16 2019

Gone by midnight by Candice Fox

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Crimson Lake bk. 3. Bantam, 2019. ISBN: 9780143789154.
(Age: 16+) Recommended. Themes: Crime, Detectives. Ted Conkaffey is back with his partner, Amanda Pharrell, in a suspenseful, locked room mystery. Following on from the success of the first two books in this series, Crimson...
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May 16 2019

Adventure Duck vs Power Pug by Steve Cole

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Illus. Aleksei Bitskoff. Orchard Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781408356838.
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Superpowers, Humour, Good vs evil. Imagine a meteor lands and the impact creates a surge of energy that transforms animals nearby into over-charged versions of themselves with powers that...
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May 16 2019

Boy oh boy by Cliff Leek

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Illus. by Bene Rohlmann. Quarto Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781786033291.
Themes: Masculinity, Activism, Racism, LGBTIQ. Subtitled 'From boys to men', inspired by 30 coming-of-age stories of sportsmen, artists, politicians, educators and scientists, Boy oh boy is a collection of...
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May 15 2019

Follow after me by Allison Marlow Paterson

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Big Sky Publishing, 2019. ISBN: 9781925675580.
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: World War I; Romance; War; Family history. This is cross-generational story involving both a World War I story and a contemporary coming of age drama and romantic tale. It is compelling, romantic and...
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May 15 2019

A quiet girl by Peter Carnavas

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University of Queensland Press, 2019. ISBN: 9780702260025.
(Age: 4-8) Highly recommended. Themes: Sounds, Listening, Personal characteristics. Peter Carnavas's distinctive illustrations have a calming, soft and peaceful quality perfectly suited to the themes of this book. His previous...
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May 15 2019

Fart Monster and me: The birthday party by Tim Miller and Matt Stanton

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HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780733340208.
(Age: 5-9) Themes: Birthday parties, Humour. This is the third book in the Fart Monster series (The Crash Landing, The New School). It uses simple language, perfect for newly independent readers. The content will also be...
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May 15 2019

Me and my sister by Rose Robbins

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760524456.
(Ages: 3-8) Themes: Autism, Differences, Siblings. Me and My Sister indirectly and gently looks at what it's like to live with a sibling with autism. It doesn't label the sister as having autism but her brother points out things that...
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May 14 2019

Baby business by Jasmine Seymour

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Magabala Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925768671.
(Sge: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal themes, Country, Babies, Smoking ceremonies. When a child is born, the women of the Darug community take the baby into the bush, gathering paperbark leaves, the leaves from green bushes and...
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May 14 2019

Willow Moss and the lost day by Dominique Valente

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Illus. by Sarah Warburton. Starfell bk. 1. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008308391.
(Ages 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Magic, Witches, Time, Fantasy. Dominique Valente's debut fantasy novel conjures up a magical world, filled with witches and trolls, controlled by an evil time...
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May 14 2019

Don't let go by Harlan Coben

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Cornerstone, 2017. ISBN: 9781780894249.
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery, Revenge, Secrets. Best-selling author Coben writes a compelling thriller about the death of two teenagers, Leo and his girlfriend Diana, who were found dead on train tracks. Nap Dumas, Leo's twin brother,...
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May 14 2019

Shauna's great expectations by Kathleen Loughnan

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Allen and Unwin, 2019. ISBN: 9781760631574.
(Age: 16+) Shauna is on an Indigenous scholarship to Oakholme, a prestigious boarding school. She's in her final year and she's excelling at French and Maths, and dreams of going to Paris with her equally smart friend Jenny, before going on to...
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May 13 2019

Wilam: a Birrarung story by Aunty Joy Murphy

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Illus. by Lisa Kennedy. Black Dog Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781925381764.
(Age: 4 - adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Yarra River, Melbourne, Aboriginal history, Environment. The stunning acrylic illustrations that cover every page will entice readers to pore over every detail, looking out...
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May 13 2019

Making friends with Alice Dyson by Poppy Nwosu

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Wakefield Press, 2019. 264 pages, pb. ISBN: 9781743056127.
(Age: Teens) Recommended. Making Friends with Alice Dyson is a story about growing up, growing apart, first loves and getting to know those around you. It is a story about Alice who is in her final year of high school and...
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