The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules










The Princess Rules

Philippa Gregory

Chris Chatterton

HarperCollins, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Princess Florizella was friends with some of the princesses who had studied the Princess Rules, and behaved just as the Rules said they should. Florizella thought their hair was lovely: so golden and so very long. And their clothes were nice: so richly embroidered. And their shoes were delightful: so tiny and handmade in silk. But their days bored her to death…”

Instead, Princess Florizella rides her horse, Jellybean, all over the kingdom, having adventures of her own…

Originally written for her daughters in 1989 when the concept of rebel princesses as heroines was scarcely heard of much beyond Munsch’s  The Paper Bag Princess Philippa Gregory has reimagined this collection of three stories for her granddaughters and created a thoroughly modern tale.  “I’m much clearer that she’s up against something worse than a bad fairy at a christening – the ‘rules’ that try to persuade bright multi-talented children into stereotype notes. Florizella and her BFF Prince Bennet find their own paths around giants, wolves and (of course) dragons.”

With humour that stabs at convention and stereotypes and their consequences, Gregory has created a feisty heroine who will appeal to today’s newly independent reader who may once have dreamed of life as Aurora or Belle or some other Disney princess but who will no doubt much prefer to be Florizella instead.  

With a growing call for diversity in children’s literature, movies and other arts, the issue of stereotyping is a topical one so while this book may have a predominantly young female audience, it also has the scope to be a platform for exploring this topic among those much older. And Gregory’s experience as a writer shines through so it would not be considered as a twee, sugar-coated read beneath that older audience. It may even lead them to her more grown-up novels.  

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror











Eight Princesses And A Magic Mirror

Natasha Farrant

Lydia Corry

Zephyr, 2019

209pp., hbk., RRP $A29.99


Mirror, mirror on the wall… what makes a princess excellent?’ The enchantress’s mirror travels through time, from east to west, to find the answer. Reflected in it are princesses who refuse to be pretty, polite or obedient. These are girls determined to do the rescuing themselves. The Arabian princess of the desert protects her people from the king with the black and gold banner; Latin American Princess, Tica, takes a crocodile for a pet; a Scottish princess explores the high seas; African Princess, Abayome, puts empathy and kindness above being royal; and in a tower-block, Princess saves her precious community garden from the hands of greedy urban developers.

While the traditional princesses of familiar fairytales still remain popular with many girls, others are demanding stories about those who are not helpless and dreaming of the handsome prince to rescue them and live happily ever after.  So this collection of original stories about princesses who are bold, empowered, full of curiosity, adventure and determined to be true to themselves will appeal to those ready to move beyond Cinderella, Snow White, Aurora and company. With its relatively short meaty stories and full colour illustrations, it is perfect for newly independent readers and with the magic mirror connecting the stories throughout it has a continuity that encourages them to keep reading each new adventure.

Something different to entice readers into the library for a new year of reading adventures or to suggest to parents looking for something a bit different to share at bedtime..


Clementine Rose and the Best News Yet

Clementine Rose and the Best News Yet

Clementine Rose and the Best News Yet










Clementine Rose and the Best News Yet

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2019

176pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Young female readers will be delighted to know that the adventures of Clementine Rose, the sassy young girl who was delivered not in the usual way at a hospital but in the back of a mini-van in a basket of dinner rolls, continue.  Living in the magnificent mansion in Penberthy Floss with her mother, her Aunt Violet, Digby Pertwhistle the butler and pet teacup pig, Lavender, Clementine Rose has had many adventures that her readers can really relate to, making her a favourite with newly independent readers.

In this the 15th and final instalment of the series first introduced in 2012, Clementine Rose will soon have a new brother or sister – she can’t wait! But not everything is ready for the baby and no one seems to care as much as Clementine. Not to worry, she’s taken matters into her into her own hands.

As the due date gets closer, things at the hotel just get busier. Aunt Violet and Uncle Digby are quarrelling and the guests are causing problems – especially Niki, the troublesome toddler. Can Clementine really do everything by herself? Or will there be chaos for the baby’s arrival?

Written for young independent readers, Jacqueline Harvey has  created a character who resonates with her readers and as the new school year isn’t that far away,  this is a series to introduce to a whole new group of readers looking for something that will engage and intrigue as they meet Clementine and her friends.  Knowing there are now 15 in the series and they won’t have to wait for the wheels of publishing to turn before they can read a new episode, it is perfect for promoting to start a whole new year of reading.  

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy










Rainbow Magic: Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy

Daisy Meadows

Orchard Books, 2019

155pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


Best friends Kirsty and Rachel are very excited to give each other their Christmas presents! But when Jack Frost steals Camilla the Christmas Present Fairy’s magical objects, the magic of giving is in danger. Can the girls help get Camilla’s items back and save Christmas for both the human and fairy worlds?

The Rainbow Fairies have been delighting young girls who are newly independent readers since 2003 with 254 fairies published and 11 yet to come.  The series follows the lives of Kirsty Tate and Rachel Walker and their magical adventures with their fairy friends, Queen Titania, Queen of the fairies, King Oberon, King of the fairies and Jack Frost, who is the enemy of the fairies and his servants, the Goblins. With all the elements of fantasy that young girls love, the series has remained popular for 16 years so if you have someone ready to make the transition to novels this could be the one to start them. This new release features three stories, each with short chapters and illustrations to support the reader and with so many others in the series to move on to, it is perfect for managing this new step of the reading journey.There is also an online site so that there is much more to explore and engage in to enrich their experience., as well as suggestions for other series that will broaden their reading horizons.

Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

Forgotten fairy tales of brave and brilliant girls

Forgotten fairy tales of brave and brilliant girls











Forgotten Fairy Tales of Brave and Brilliant Girls

Lesley Sims (editor)

Usborne, 2019

208pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99


Ask a young child for the title of a fairy tale and you are likely to be told Cinderella, Snow White, Sleeping Beauty, Ariel or Rapunzel or whatever the Disney princess-du-jour is. But in fact, there are many more fairy tales than those that were collected and written down by the great storytellers like the Brothers Grimm, Charles Perrault and Hans Christian Andersen. Fairy tales were told orally for many generations before they were preserved in print, each being shared a little differently by the teller according to time, place and circumstance, but each having a fundamental truth at its core. 

For whatever reason, the tales that were collected and written share common characteristics of strong men and weak women who needed to be rescued by the male’s prowess and those in which the females were the leading protagonists were almost lost to time. The story of their discovery and recovery is almost as fascinating as the stories themselves, and shows the slowly changing attitudes towards women and their place in society. Food for discussion and debate right there!

In the meantime, this remains a collection of very readable and beautifully illustrated fairy tales that deserve to be as well-known as their more famous counterparts. Perhaps the next Disney heroine will arise from this anthology. Regardless, stories about brave and brilliant girls are always good for the soul.




Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Collection

Alice-Miranda collection

Alice-Miranda collection










Alice-Miranda 3 in 1

640pp., pbk., RRP $A24.99



Alice-Miranda Friends Forever- the official movie script

288pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99



Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Activity Book

16pp., pbk., RRP $A6.99


Alice-Miranda Friends Forever Journal

160pp., hbk., RRP $A16.99



Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2019

When we were first introduced to Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones, a young student at the Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies,  nearly 10 years ago, she became an instant here for many newly-independent readers who were looking for a heroine they could relate to and her popularity has continued to grow with not only many books in the series, but diaries, journals, her own website and blog, and now a movie .  

To celebrate its release on November 14, The publishers have organised a series of events as well as the official movie script, an activity book, a journal and a compendium of the first three stories in the series.  Not only will these appeal to Alice-Miranda’s established legion of fans, it is the perfect time to reboot the series as a new generation of young readers come through.  Perfect for recommending to parents as a collection for the Christmas stocking. 

Arabella and the Magic Pencil

Arabella and the Magic Pencil

Arabella and the Magic Pencil










Arabella and the Magic Pencil

Stephanie Ward

Shaney Hyde

Exisle, 2019

32pp., hbk., RRP $A27.99


Arabella was the only child of a duke and duchess who doted on her and enabled her to be granted one special wish each year.  So far she had wished for a pink puppy, an amusement park, even a real-life fairy.  The one thing she did NOT wish for was a baby brother but she got one anyway. And Master Archibald Vermillion Remington XV (aka Avery) was “a master of mayhem” with “ear-splitting acoustics” so that while Arabella loved him, she did not always like him.  For her next wish, she asked for a magic pencil, one that could make everything she drew real/  She had a lot of fun with it until the day she drew a magnificent garden party and Avery invited himself to it.  So Arabella pulled out her pencil and did something…

Dedicated to all those who have become an older sibling, this will resonate well as sometimes it is hard to adjust to the changes. While it might be nice to wish for things to return to what they were, if it actually happened the results might not appeal.  A modern-day cautionary tale.


Mermaid Holidays (series)

Mermaid Holidays series

Mermaid Holidays series









The Talent Show


The Magic Pearl


The Bake-Off


The Reef Rescue


Delphine Davis

Adele K. Thomas

Puffin, 2019

128pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99


Sophia, Willow, Chloe and Olivia have been best friends since they were merbies. Even though they don’t go to school together, whenever they come home to Turtleville for the holidays, they are inseparable. And these school holidays, their home town Turtleville is holding its first ever talent show, and of course the mermaids have to enter.  But Sophie insists that their act has to be led by her singing, even though none of the others can sing and dislike doing so. Chloe prefers to rap, Willow plays the shell trumpet and Olivia loves to dance.  But when even Sophia’s compromise act still focuses on her singing, there is a danger of their entry being all about Sophia…

This is the first in a four-book series, each episode featuring on a different mermaid and their cast of ocean family and friends and each with underlying themes of friendship, teamwork, individuality and compassion.  Written in short, easy-to-read chapters and with lots of illustrations, it will appeal to young female readers who are transitioning to novels from their instructional readers. The second in the series, The Magic Pearl was released in July, the third,The Bake-Off in September and the fourth, The Reef Rescue will be here before Christmas, so readers don’t have to wait too long in between one story and the next. 

Mermaids, along with unicorns, are very much part of the lifestyle of young girls these days, so this is a series with characters that will appeal immediately and encourage our emerging readers to keep reading. 

Unicorn Academy (series)

Unicorn Academy (series)

Unicorn Academy (series)











Unicorn Academy (series)

Julie Sykes

Lucy Truman

Nosy Crow, 2019

112pp., pbk, RRP $A12.99


Imagine a school where you meet your own unicorn and have amazing adventures together! That’s what happens for the girls at Unicorn Academy on beautiful Unicorn Island. There are 12 books in the series  (some still to be released), the latest being Ariana And Whisper.

Written for younger independent readers, the series appeals to those for whom unicorns remain a fascination and who dream of having their own one day, a fascination that shows no signs of abating.  Such series are very popular with younger readers just starting their reading journey through novels as they associate with and invest themselves in the characters, putting themselves in their shoes and truly immersing themselves in the experiences.  They form relationships with them that mean they are eager to read and re-read each one in the series, honing their skills and understandings of reading as they do so. So this is a series that will have a strong following because it features all those characteristics that hook these emerging readers in.  Worth the investment, not just for themselves but the reading pathways  that keen readers will then follow.

Girl Geeks (series)

Girl Geeks (series)

Girl Geeks (series)









The Hackathon


Game On


Alex Miles

Puffin Books, 2019

192pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

From the Girl Geek Academy website…

What would the internet look like if there were more women building it?

  • By the age of 6, children classify jobs as male and female.
  • By the age of 8, they are limiting aspirations
  • By 13 many of them have already ruled out career options that don’t fit with gender stereotypes.
  • By ages 16-17 60% of girls aspire to stereotypically ‘female’ jobs.

So the mission of the Girl Geek Academy is to increase the number of women and girls in tech, games, making, robotics, 3D printing, aviation, drones and space by teaching one million women
to learn technology by 2025. Launched by five women with the aim of making girls in STEM and IT the norm, they are developing a series of initiatives aimed at those from five years old up to mature women, one of which is this new series of books that put geek girls in the spotlight and in charge.  They show that technology is fun and girls are awesome, with each focusing on each of the girls, Hamsa, Eve, Niki and Maggie and their particular talents – hacker, hipster or hustler. With characters that young girls such as my Miss 13 will recognise, they take everyday situations that arise in schools and show how the girls use their strengths to solve them, demonstrating that being a ‘geek girl’ is as normal as being any other sort of girl.  It’s just one part of who they are.

As well as this new series (four in the pipeline so far) there are many other programs and resources available on the academy website to support and enable the development of digital technologies in the school and across the curriculum so this is both a series and a website that could and should be promoted widely to staff and students.  So often, geeks don’t see the library as having anything for them, particularly when there is still such an emphasis on books and reading, so this is yet another way to reach out to that long tail – all those potential patrons that a library has but who don’t use the facility because they don’t believe it has anything to offer them.

Well-written, illustrated and as perfect for the newly-independent reader as it is for those whose appetite for reading is never sated, this is a series with a difference and with huge potential.