Archive | December 5, 2023

The Curse of the Smugglers’ Treasure

The Curse of the Smugglers’ Treasure

The Curse of the Smugglers’ Treasure












Eddie Albert and the Amazing Animal Gang: The Curse of the Smugglers’ Treasure

Paul O’Grady

Sue Hellard

HarperCollins, 2022

272pp., pbk., RRP $A11.99


Somewhat-unhappy and never-quite-fitting in 10-year-old Eddie Albert is the only one who knows he can speak to animals, including his pet dog Butch, his hamster and his two goldfish (who claim they were once pirates). But when Eddie is sent to stay with his aunt in Amsterdam, who, rather than being the miserable old lady who stank or cats and peppermints that he expected,  turns out to be a wealth, eccentric spinster called Lady Buddelia Sprockett who prefers to be called Aunt Budge he discovers that not only does she enjoy adventures but she too has this gift…

Now, Eddie is living in a new old house in London with is dad spending their time doing it up,  and with the Easter holidays approaching, he is looking forward to staying with her on the English Romney Marshes in an old cottage she has renovated, and she has even invited him to bring his best friend Flo, and his animals Butch the dog, Bunty the hamster and pirate goldfish Dan and Jake. The Romney Marshes has a rich history of smugglers and pirates, so when the terrible Rancid Twins arrive in town, set on uncovering the secret mystery of the smugglers’ treasure, Eddie and Flo are drawn into a thrilling new adventure. Eddie must use his ability to speak to animals to enlist the help of two elegant alpaca, a friendly sheep called Doris and a famous film-star rabbit to save the day and reveal a treasure of epic proportions…

This series has wide appeal for independent readers who like adventures, mysteries mixed in with an affinity for animals.  Unlike other series, it is not assumed that the reader has read previous episodes and  much of the background of the characters and their relationships are woven into the easy-to-read narrative.  Readers might like to seek out the first in the series, or even be drawn into reading the classic Dr Doolittle series by Hugh Lofting or perhaps the adventures of either the Famous Five or the Secret Seven, both by Enid Blyton – all stories that have proved their appeal and endurance over generations by still being in print and readily available..  






The Wish Sisters: The Christmas Wish




The Christmas Wish

The Christmas Wish











The Christmas Wish

Allison Rushby

Karen Blair

UQP, 2023

108pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


When Flick and Birdie’s Grandma Aggie found an imp in an old bottle and wished for her granddaughters to have unlimited wishes, it seemed like it would be a lot of fun.  But then Imp twisted the wish so that only  Birdie could have the wish. But Birdie is a baby and that can get tricky when one so young and immature and isn’t yet talking has so much power.  So Flick has to be really careful how things are handled.

Christmas without Grandma Aggie is making everyone sad and while Flock knows that her gran would want this to be a special time for them all, particularly Birdie, she’s finding it hard to find her Christmas spirit.  To cheer them up, Mum and Dad invite the neighbours over to decorate gingerbread houses. After a few false starts because Birdie gets confused, all is going well until Mrs Mortlake brings up Christmas wishes, giving baby Birdie all the wrong ideas…

This is the latest in this series  there is an emphasis on family and friendships and the importance of strong, positive connections between them, with the teachers’ notes offering some relevant questions to consider and discuss that not only relate to Flick and her feelings but also those of any students facing their first Christmas without someone special at the table.  Through the story, they can see that their emotions are valid and validated and that it is okay to not have a happy face all the time. With Flick, Mr Tran and Mrs Mortlake all having different reasons for feeling off-kilter it shows that times like this when there is such an emphasis on happiness and ho-ho-ho that it is not necessarily that for everyone and so readers are encouraged to be sensitive to the needs of those around them.

Written for young girls, particularly, who want a bit of escapism without too much tension, especially those with younger sisters who can be troublesome at times, this is a series that is very much a book about being careful what you wish for.