The Icicle Illuminarium by N. J. Gemmell

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Random House Australia Children's, 2014. ISBN 9780857985675
(Age: 9-12) Continuing the story of the off-the-wall crazy but courageous Caddy kids, Kick, Bert, Scruff and Pin, The Icicle Illuminarium takes up the story after Dad has returned safely but beset with illness from his war stint in the jungles. And joy of joys, their faithful dingo dog Bucket is back as well!
But when Dad is sent away to recuperate, the children are devastated - until a clue from their favourite butler leads them to hope that perhaps their mother is also still alive.
Following a string of clues, the intrepid bush kids set off on a madcap adventure, but are unaware that the strange Lady Adora has other plans in mind for them. Kidnapped and captive in the 'coldest, loneliest and most falling-down place' in England, this quartet is undeterred and determined as always. Receiving help from unexpected sources and willing Bucket to help Uncle Basti to find them, the Caddy kids once again prove their resourcefulness and indomitable spirit.
If you are looking for a book to grab your readers around 9-12 this might just fit the bill - don't forget to pick up the first in the series The Kensington Reptilarium (which I reviewed in October 2013) as well! These books would also be a good fit for literature circles for Upper Primary students so do keep that in mind as well.
A fast-moving adventure story with some definitely kooky characters and some strong family and personal values, this is one for the readers looking for something out of the ordinary!
Sue Warren