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

Oct 19 2018

Catching Teller Crow by Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760631628
(Age: Older teens and young adults) Highly recommended. 9/10. Themes: Crime, thriller, spiritual story. This is a book for those who enjoy exciting fiction with twists and turns and those who have an open mind. Nothing is quite as you start to think when working through the novel through the minds, thoughts and experiences of Beth Teller and Isobel Catching. Both young girls are Aboriginal and they both have and share a spirituality which is beautifully depicted. Their spirituality and those of the tribal women of the past is very credible, strong and serene. It brings a sense of another dimension which exists and can possibly be accepted by even the most skeptical non-believer of anything that cannot be explained by logic and science.
Beth struggles to stay in "the world of now" in order to support her grieving father. She is a lost soul who is tied to the physical dimension but realizes that she needs to move on to the world that she belongs to. Her father is a detective who is in the midst of solving a murder and the circumstances of a tragic fire in a children's home. Only he can see and hear Beth (or is he??), but he knows that this ghost and his need for the ghost is tormenting him from accepting what cannot be changed and hence making the most of his life and his instinct to reach out to his wonderful extended family.
Isobel Catching has suffered more than most people can endure. Throughout the novel she remains tough, elusive and a mystery, yet it is Isobel who helps Beth's father find clues, seek answers about the terrible and shocking circumstances that have been perpetuated in the small rural country town. In the colonial past, recent past and present time, the aboriginal community lack a voice to defend themselves and seek justice, hence Isobel is the protagonist who speaks out, who struggles to make the injustices experienced by present and past aboriginal women heard, understood and fought for. Isobel has paid a heavy price but she is strong - a strong young woman who is descended from strong women who transfer their gentle power and wisdom through spiritual connections and well-remembered stories.
About the Author - Ambelin Kwaymullina and Ezekiel Kwaymullina. Brother and sister authors who are Aboriginal Palyku from the Pilbara region, North Western Australia. This novel is their first joint effort writing a young adult fiction. They have magically woven fiction prose with story-telling in simple language and artistically elegant poetry.
Maria Burford



More Reviews

Oct 19 2018

Jacaranda Magic by Dannika Patterson

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Ill. by Megan Forward. Ford St Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925804003
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Jacaranda, Playing, Imagination, Friendship. When five friends loll about on a hot, sticky summer's day beneath the Jacaranda tree, wishing for something to do, the...
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Oct 19 2018

Digby and the Duck by Max Landrak

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Hachette Australia, 2018. ISBN 9780734417770
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Have you ever had the feeling of someone watching you but when you look no one is there? Digby feels like that. He is sure someone or something is watching him when he brushes his teeth and in his dreams. It is...
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Oct 19 2018

Gastronauts by James Foley

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S. Tinker Inc. book 3. Fremantle Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925591682
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Brothers and Sisters, Robots, Inventions. Sally Tinker "the world's foremost inventor under the age of twelve" returns for another improbable venture in Gastronauts. James Foley's graphic...
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Oct 19 2018

Yesterday you were here by Melissa Little

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Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781743055205
Highly recommended. Themes: Bereavement, Grief. Loss is never easy and this is a thought provoking book, written in a simple way that makes it easy to read with children to help them understand loss. 
The illustrations in this book are...
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Oct 19 2018

The Prince and the witch and the thief and the bears by Alistair Chisolm

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Ill. by Jez Tuya. Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781406365139
(Age: 4-7) Highly recommended. Themes: Storytelling, Fairy tales, Bedtime.
"What kind of story shall we have tonight? asked Dad . . . "A made up one! said Jamie.
As Dad tuck his son into bed, they are ready to share a...
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Oct 18 2018

Just a girl by Jackie French

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Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460753095
(Age: 12 - 16) Highly recommended. Themes: Historical fiction. Roman history. Survival. Persecution. Courage. Siblings. Jewish people. Mary (mother of Jesus). Jackie French is a master of storytelling and in this book she immerses us in the...
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Oct 18 2018

The Bulldog Track by Peter Phelps

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733639777
(Age: 14+) Recommended. When the Japanese Army invaded New Guinea in 1942, Australian civilians working as gold miners in the Highland region of Bulolo fled on foot after the company's aircraft were strafed and destroyed. Not to be confused with the...
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Oct 18 2018

Twinkle twinkle, little bat: Beastly bedtime stories for all kinds of kids

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Pan Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781760557263
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Short stories. Once upon a time, there were 9 beastly bedtime stories. Stories with vampires and bats, and a sleepover of doom: of a pirate dance party and a zoo in a room. There were bears who were scared, and three bags of...
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Oct 18 2018

The brave knight by Sally Gould and Celeste Hulme

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New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925594119
(Age: 2-5) Themes: Imagination. Play. Knights and Castles. The brave knight is a charming story, a celebration of imaginative play. With simple craft items the young boy arms himself with a cardboard sword and shield and wears a painted...
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Oct 18 2018

Eve and the rebel fairies by Jess Black

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Keeper of the Crystals series, book 7, New Frontier, 2018 ISBN 9781925594218
(Age: 6-8) Themes: Fairies. Fantasy. Jess Black's Eve and the rebel fairies is a magical adventure written for young readers just starting junior novels. Friends Eve and Oscar have uncovered the...
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Oct 17 2018

Tales from the inner city by Shaun Tan

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523534
(Age: middle school to adult) Highly recommended. Themes: Design, Cities, Animals. Twenty five stories about the relationship between humans and animals is explored in this richly illustrated book from Tan, a companion volume to Tales from...
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Oct 17 2018

Just flesh and blood by Jane Caro

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University of Queensland Press, 2018. ISBN 9780702260018
(Age: Children - Young adult) Recommended. Themes: Historical Fiction (1500-1600 England Royalty). Just Flesh and Blood is the last novel in the Trilogy which include...
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Oct 17 2018

How did I get here? by Philip Bunting

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Omnibus, 2018. ISBN 9781742769684
(Age: 5+) Highly recommended. Themes; Life, Evolution, Big bang, Universe, Solar system, STEM. Young readers will find this straightforward presentation of life on earth enlightening and informative, as Bunting explains how life began, encouraging them...
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Oct 17 2018

Whimsy and Woe: The Final Act by Rebecca McRitchie

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Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460754672
(Age: 10+) Recommended. "As a blazing inferno rages through Whitby City. Whimsy and Woe Mordaunt see their last clue go up on flames and their journey to find their parents has seemingly come to a fiery end. That is until the siblings spot a...
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Oct 17 2018

The 13th reality: Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner

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The 13th Reality series. Scholastic, 2018 ( First published by Simon and Schuster in 2008). ISBN 9781742998190
(Age: 11+) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy; Alternate realities; Adventure; Heroism. Atticus Higginbottom (best known as Tick to his friends) has again been needed to...
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Oct 17 2018

Lemonade Jones by Davina Bell and Karen Blair

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781925266733
(Age: 6+) "There are a lot of rules that don't interest Lemonade Jones.
No running in the classroom, not even in an emergency.
Dangerous animals should be in cages. No biting. (Not even your worst enemy)
It's especially hard to...
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Oct 17 2018

Dinosaur day out by Sara Acton

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Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650049
(Age: 2-6) Recommended. Themes: Dinosaurs, Museums. Dinosaur Day Out by author/illustrator Sara Action will entertain and excite its young audience with a multi-layered approach. While we read the story of Sally and Max's day out with Dad...
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Oct 16 2018

Inheritance by Carole Wilkinson

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Black Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9781760650360.
(Age: 12-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Australian history. Aboriginal peoples. Time travel. Family histories.
"Generations of women in my family have been able to time travel... " Nic (Veronica) tries to explain to her only friend in her...
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Oct 16 2018

His name was Walter by Emily Rodda

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460710203
(Age: 10-14) Highly recommended. Themes: Storytelling. Books and reading. Mystery and suspense stories. Folk tales. Supernatural phenomena.
The idea was to do some research for an authentic History lesson in an historic outback town, but what...
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Oct 16 2018

The amazing world of Olobob Top by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408897652
(Age: 3-5) The amazing world of Olobob Top is an activity book created by Leigh Hodgkinson and Steve Smith based on the ABC and BBC Children's show Olobob Top (If you have young children there is a good chance you will have seen this show...
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Oct 16 2018

Crowboy by Ricky Gibson

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Serenity Press, 2018. ISBN 9780648230427
(Age: 6-9) Recommended. Themes: Differences. Acceptance. Need a book for Halloween? Here is one that might work, that is neither too dark, nor too grim!
Crowboy is not like the other children. He has tried to fit in and be like them... but he...
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Oct 16 2018

What should a horse say? by Fleur McDonald and Annie White

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New Frontier, 2018. ISBN 9781925594201
(Age: 2-5) Themes: Farm animals. Horses. Farmer Rochelle's farm is filled with noisy animals, all mooing, baaing and even clucking "chick chick". However, she has one big problem, her horse also says "chick chick"! She asks her friend Farmer Hayden...
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Oct 15 2018

From Elizabeth Mary Cummings, author of The Forever Kid

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A lifelong bookworm, English was my favourite subject at school. I studied Psychology and Business Studies at University before doing a postgraduate in Primary School teaching. I discovered my passion for teaching and my love of working with young people.
Recently I have focused on...
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Oct 15 2018

The Forever Kid by Elizabeth Mary Cummings

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Ill. by Cheri Hughes. Big Sky Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925675399
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Grief, Remembrance, Loss. The Forever Kid is about remembering a child who will never grow up. The family in the story celebrate the memory of the child who is no longer with...
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Oct 15 2018

The Botanist's Daughter by Kayte Nunn

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780733639388
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Starting a little slowly, yet creating two worlds that have no defining link, this novel is captivating, rich in depiction of the past, and cleverly interspersing the two stories. The title suggests a story of a family...
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Oct 15 2018

The A-Z of Wonder Women by Yvonne Lin

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Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781526361547
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Subjects: Women - Biography. Award-winning industrial designer Yvonne Lin is a leader in creating innovative products for women. She designed The A-Z of Wonder Woman for her young daughter Roni introducing her and other...
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Oct 15 2018

The Orphan Band of Springdale by Anne Nesbet

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763688042
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. Gusta loved the golden sound of her horn, the way the notes could make you ring like a bell, from your hair bow to your toes. Its music was so large and grand. She was quiet by nature, but the horn was the bravest...
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Oct 15 2018

Collecting sunshine by Rachel Flynn

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Ill. by Tamsin Ainslie. Penguin 2018. ISBN 9780143785187
(Age: 1-4) Recommended. Themes: Childhood; Play; Memories. An early childhood book with two central characters who go to a park with a paper bag ready to gather their own collection of treasures. When it rains the bag breaks, but...
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Oct 12 2018

Inside the tiger by Hayley Lawrence

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Penguin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780143788959
(Age: Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Justice system, capital punishment, social action, friendship, family, grief, loss. Bel Anderson is the 17 year old daughter of the Minister for Justice and has attended an exclusive girls' boarding...
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Oct 12 2018

Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter by Gabrielle Wang

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143787334
(Age: 9-12) Recommended. Themes: Ghosts, Chinese mythology, Sorcery. Ting Ting the Ghost Hunter is the much awaited sequel to Gabrielle Wang's Ghost in My Suitcase. These wonderful stories bring to life Chinese culture, ancient mythology...
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Oct 12 2018

I went trick-or-treating by Paul Howard

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408892886
(Age: All) Recommended. I went trick-or-treating by Paul Howard is a wonderful holiday specific story that will appeal to readers of all ages. It adds to the popular I went . . . series which includes a Christmas special with Santa and...
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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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Oct 11 2018

The girl with the dragon heart by Stephanie Burgis

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Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408880777
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Dragons, Fairies, Good and Evil.
"Once upon a time in a beautiful, dirty, exciting city full of people and chocolate and possibilities, there was a girl so fearless and so daring that. . "
Stephanie...
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Oct 11 2018

There's a baddie running through this book by Shelly Unwin and Vivienne To

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760630614
(Age: Preschool+) Recommended. Themes: Humour, Books, Robbers and outlaws, Theft.
There's a baddie running through this book,
Turn the pages; have a look.
There he goes, did you see?
Sound your siren, chase with me.
...
more

Oct 11 2018

Saffy and the sneaky secret summoning by Annabel Cutler

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Little Steps, 2018. ISBN 9781925545029
(Age: 3+) "Join Little Saffy as she goes about her sneaky secret mission. She is determined to summon the almighty dragon and she will most certainly not let anything stand in her way." (Publisher)
This is a delightful story about Saffy, who...
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Oct 11 2018

The Complete Adventures of Snugglepot and Cuddlepie: 100th Anniversary Edition by May Gibbs

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HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9781460756218
A century ago, as the war that had shaken the world and shattered so many families was finally drawing to a close, an Australian artist who specialised in satirical cartoons and social commentary gave the world her now-iconic work about Snugglepot...
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Oct 11 2018

At the end of Holyrood Lane by Dimity Powell

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Ill. by Nicky Johnston. EK Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925335767
Flick lives at the End of Holyrood Lane in a little house beneath the beech woods, spending most of her days in the sunshine dancing with the butterflies and playing with her unicorn toy and long, rainbow ribbon. But sometimes a...
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