Moose the Pilot

Moose the Pilot

Moose the Pilot











Moose the Pilot

Kimberly Andrews

Picture Puffin, 2021

32pp., pbk., RRP $A19.99


Among the houses that Puffin the Architect designed for her friends,  was a treehouse at Lofty Lake and from there he flies his amphibian plane on all sorts of missions to help those who live in the surrounding mountains.  Regardless of the weather or the terrain, he is there to deliver whatever is needed. 

I’m Moose! And I fly a plane
with wheels, floats and skis.

I move parcels, food and folk
high above the trees.

But on this day, his adventures are even more exciting than usual – three fluffy youngsters need his help! But on his way there are others who need him to take special requests and pick up their goods – all of which come in very handy when he reaches his final destination.

It is hard to do justice to this intriguing book with its clever text and detailed illustrations in just a paragraph or two, but young readers will delight in following Moose’s trip as he moves around the mountains, looking for cues and clues in both the rhyme and the pictures.  

Children’s author Jackie French has said that when a child turns a page in a picture book there needs to be a new adventure to explore and Kimberly Andrews certainly has mastered the knack of that.  From cover to cover this is a book that is rich beyond measure and if you haven’t discovered Puffin the architect or another friend, Hound the Detective  then I urge you do so and provide the young readers in your life with hours of fun and discovery. 

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake










Super Geeks 2: Planet Pancake

James Hart

Puffin. 2021

208pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99


Zeek and Arnie are best friends. They do everything together. They love solving problems, inventing, playing video games, coding, reading comics, cooking (mostly Arnie) and planning WORLD DOMINATION (mostly Zeek). 

In the second in this series,  Zeek and Arnie hear about a heap of TREASURE at the edge of the world, so they decide to investigate. Zeek wants to use the treasure to fund his quest for WORLD DOMINATION! But how will they get there? After using their inventing skills to build a ship, the Enchilada, they sail off with Eleanor. But there’s trouble brewing on the horizon . . . What will Zeek and Arnie find at the edge of the world? Will it be TREASURE or TROUBLE? And . . . are they really alone?

The graphic novel format of this book with a minimum of text carrying the story along at a fast pace will appeal to those who prefer screen to print and who, themselves, relate to the geekiness of the boys.  Those who enjoyed the first in the series will appreciate not having had to wait too long to meet their friends again and join in another madcap adventure. 

The Kingdom of the Lost (series)

The Kingdom of the Lost (series)

The Kingdom of the Lost  (series)

The Kingdom of the Lost (series)

The Red Wind   (2011)

The Cloud Road (2017)

The Ice Maze (2020)

The Velvet City (2021)

Isobelle Carmody

Puffin Books, 2011-2021

300+pp.,hbk., RRP $A19.99

In 2011, Isabelle Carmody gave young readers The Red Wind the first in this series, introducing brothers Bily and Zluty who are swept away by a devastating red wind and forced to fight for their survival and journey into the perilous unknown. It was such a powerful, entertaining read that it won the CBCA Book of the Year for Younger Readers that year 

Over the ensuing 10 years, the boys’ adventures have continued in The Cloud Road and the Ice Maze and now finally, the final book in the series has been released in which Bily and Zluty must each travel to the dangerous Velvet City, where they will learn the shocking truth about themselves . . . even as their beloved Monster faces the fate he fled.

Carmody, who has also given our young readers series like the enchanting Little Fur and the compelling Obernewtyn Chronicles  is one of Australia’s leading fantasy writers and despite this series taking 10 years to complete, it is one that competent readers will engross themselves in as they tackle all four volumes and 1200 pages. Perfect for the long winter nights, so check to see if you have the early ones and offer them to your fantasy aficionados. 

Shackleton’s Endurance: An Antarctic Survival Story

Shackleton's Endurance:  An Antarctic Survival Story

Shackleton’s Endurance: An Antarctic Survival Story











Shackleton’s Endurance: An Antarctic Survival Story

Joanna Grochowicz

Allen & Unwin, 2021 

304pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99


After the race to the South Pole ended in December 1911, with Roald Amundsen‘s conquest and victory over Sir Robert Falcon Scott. the fascination with Antarctic exploration was not over. Irishman Ernest Shackleton, a member of Scott’s original expedition in 1901-1904, turned his attention to the crossing of Antarctica from sea to sea, via the pole. 

Thus, in August 1914, Shackleton and his men set sail for Antarctica, where they plan to cross the last uncharted continent on foot. But in January 1915, his ship, the Endurance, becomes locked in pack ice, slowly being crushed before the shore parties could be landed and, later, sinking without a trace. With no help available, to survive, Shackleton and his crew of twenty-seven men must undertake a trial even more extreme than their planned crossing of the frozen continent. Their aim is to make it home against tremendous odds, with only lifeboats to cross the heavy seas of the South Atlantic. And so the crew camped on the sea ice until it disintegrated, and eventually launched the lifeboats aiming for South Georgia Island, a stormy ocean voyage of 720 nautical miles (1,330 km). As well as the ice and the ocean their constant companions were hunger, exhaustion, and uncertainty but  Shackleton’s extraordinary leadership skills drive them on.

This is an extraordinary tale of leadership, courage and teamwork made all the more remarkable because it is a true story, and while at the upper end of the readership for this blog, a story that will entice and engage those who crave these sorts of real-life adventures.  Told using narrative non-fiction the reader becomes one of the characters experiencing the events as the meticulously researched historical facts are woven into a compelling story.

A companion to Into the White – Scott’s Antarctic Odyssey a journey which inspired my own mother throughout her life and led her to become the first female journalist to visit the ice , and Amundsen’s Way,  this is the third in this trilogy of tales from that Age of Antarctic Exploration that take the reader back into a world of curiosity and faith, courage, determination and resilience, well before technology made such exploits “safe”.  

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island (series)

The Tindims of Rubbish Island


The Tindims and the Turtle Tangle


The Tindims and the Ten Green Bottles


The Tindims and the Floating Moon


Sally Gardner

Lydia Corry

Zephyr 2020-2021

128pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

Since the days of the Vikings, the Tindims have lived on Rubbish Island, recycling debris salvaged from sunken pirate ships and galleons. They have always lived in secret, caring for the creatures of the sea and helping messages in bottles to find the right tides. But now as plastic threatens to overwhelm their island home, the Tindims make contact with children for the first time ever to show them how to turn rubbish into treasure…

Join Skittle, her furry pet Pinch, her parents, Admiral Bonnet, Mug, Jug, Brew, Captain Spoons,  Granny Gull and Barnacle Bow on  Rubbish Island where they seem to find a use for every piece of rubbish that the ‘Long Legs’ throw into the water. For years they have lived by their motto: ‘Rubbish today is treasure tomorrow’.  Wander through its warren of underwater rooms, including a toothbrush library and a hospital for sick fish, climb its terraces overlooking the sea and scale Rubbish Mountain. Set sail with them on their first ocean adventure as they show keen young human ecologists how to help protect our planet for the future.

With the current focus on the environment and its sustainability, this is the perfect series to share with newly independent young readers who are looking for an engaging read that relates to their world but with a little bit of magic and escapism thrown in.   Described as The Borrowers-on-Sea , these tiny creatures turn trash into treasure. The first in the series introduced the characters as they deal with the menace of plastic; the second  is about Ethel B Dina, who looks after the fish hospital and loves to sing, needs ten green, glass bottles to complete her musical Bottleramma. But she is surrounded by too many plastic bottles which do not make music.  The third continues the tale of the bottles and finds Barnacle Bell and Granny Shell in trouble  as the terrifyingly tall Bottle Mountain tumbles into the sea and they are left clinging on tightly as they float off over the waves; while the fourth, due in September 2021, features a glow-in-the-dark squid, drawn by the light of the moon, has wandered far from its friends on the ocean bed to the lake on Rubbish Island. The Tindims are puzzled by their new shiny lake, but with the help of Spokes, Barnacle Bow and a rather special invention, they discover the squid and try to help it on its way home again.

The series is modern ,focuses on a theme that is close to the heart and minds of its target audience, that of making this world a better place by thinking globally and acting locally. There are not a lot of things that our youngest readers have the power to improve or change, but being environmentally conscious is one of them so this book which inspires them to be more aware is certainly within their realm. As well as the usual supports for young readers transitioning to more complex novels,  it is printed in dyslexia-friendly font with pictures on every page and perfect for the reluctant reader.


Fly Free: Skydragon 2

Fly Free: Skydragon 2

Fly Free: Skydragon 











Fly Free: Skydragon 2

Anh Do

James Hart

Allen & Unwin, 2021

200pp., pbk., RRP $A15.99


When a mysterious glowing purple ball ignites their home while they are innocently making pizzas for tea, only Amber and her brother Reggie emerge from the inferno alive but both are badly injured, Reggie in a coma. Weeks later, watching from her neighbour’s fence Amber sees what remains of her home demolished in a very hush-hush operation.

Five years later, with Reggie still in a coma and Amber reminded daily of the events because of the scar on her face, she is  the butt of nasty comments and bullying from her peers who refuse to see the girl beyond the scar. The only constant is her fascination with dragons and her only joy, the beauty of the insect world. But something very strange happens when she trips and falls while on an insect-watching excursion with her class and is surrounded by a swarm of deadly hornets…

Afterwards, Amber knows she has been given an incredible power, but was it a freak accident, or was there something she was supposed to do with it?  Controlling her new ability might be the hardest thing Amber has ever done. Especially when she is running for her life.  Who is her mysterious enemy? What connection does he have to Amber’s past? And, most importantly, does Amber have what it takes to truly become . . . Skydragon?

This is the second in this new series from the prolific, talented and very popular Anh Do, aimed at those who are straddling that invisible divide between needing the support of short chapters and illustrations and reading complex novels.   There is the familiar background of school but also the twist of the legacy of that glowing purple ball that opens up all sorts of possibilities for adventure, and this time Amber is on the run. What will happen when she and the Firefighter finally come face to face?. At the top end of the readership for this blog, but one for the more independent 8 year-olds to aspire to. 

Eliza Vanda’s Button Box

Eliza Vanda's Button Box

Eliza Vanda’s Button Box











Eliza Vanda’s Button Box

Emily Rodda

HarperCollins, 2021

288pp., hbk., RRP $A22.99


Buttons three, attend to me!

Take me where I want to be!

It was a miserable rainy day in Tidgy Bay and no one saw Eliza Vanda arrive .The sign advertising ‘Cabins for Rent’ was almost hidden by a pile of builder’s rubble, but Eliza Vanda didn’t seem at all put out by the mess. In fact her eyes twinkled when she saw the small cottage called Spindrift that sat at the head of the cabins “like a mother duck leading a line of ducklings.” 

‘”This is a nice little pocket,’ she said. ‘It should suit us very well.”

No one, that is, except Milly Dynes who rubbed a patch in the misty window at just the right time to see a small, brown, sturdy woman, neatly clad in a long green coat which was buttoned to her chin, a brightly patterned scarf around her head and black boots, clutching a squishy green bag bulging with who knew what in each hand. And when the woman knocks on the door wanting to rent a cabin and signs herself as a “travelling dressmaker, no fixed address” you just know that this is going to be another cracker story from Emily Rodda – and so it is. 

Perfect for independent readers who like to have one foot in a fantasy world while keeping the other in the real world so they feel they can ‘come home” at any time, this new adventure from the author of the classic Deltora Quest is so engaging and intriguing that even a non-fantasy reader like me became engrossed.  The accompanying teachers’ notes  make it an excellent read-aloud to accompany this year’s CBCA Book Week theme. 


Lottie Luna and the Giant Gargoyle

Lottie Luna and the Giant Gargoyle

Lottie Luna and the Giant Gargoyle










Lottie Luna and the Giant Gargoyle

Vivian French

Nathan Reed

HarperCollins, 2021

144pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99


Imagine appearing to be a regular young girl but in reality you are a werewolf with powers that make you super-fast and super-strong and give you x-ray vision.  Lottie Luna is just that and although she doesn’t like to use her powers, preferring to be just the regular young girl,  but if she finds her friends in a pickle she will use them to help them out.

In this fourth adventure in the series, when Lottie’s school holds its yearly talent competition, she finds that she might just have to use them… if she’s going to help her friends save the day and win first prize…

Written for  for young, newly independent readers who see themselves as just like Lottie – being just regular little girls on the surface , but with a heroine not too far below the surface, each story is richly illustrated with all the supports needed to carry their reading journey forward making this is an ideal series to offer those looking for something new and different. 


The Magic Faraway Tree: Silky and Moonface’s Stories

The Magic Faraway Tree: Silky and Moonface's Stories

The Magic Faraway Tree: Silky and Moonface’s Stories











Silky’s Story

Enid Blyton & Jeanne Willis

Mark Beech


Moonface’s Story

Enid Blyton & Emily Lamm

Mark Beech



Hodder Children’s, 2021

32pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

The Magic Faraway Tree with its ladder at the very top leading through the clouds to wondrous lands of adventure and magic has been a favourite for generations and has always been my go-to read-aloud when introducing young children to the concept of series with their continuing settings and characters. 

Now, almost 80 years later , two new stories about two of the favourite residents of the Faraway Tree have been created to introduce this magical world to a new generation of  young readers and have them clamouring to read more.

In Silky’s Story, the children arrive at The Tree to discover it silent, its leaves on the ground, its fruit eaten and, as they climb, they follow a trail of mess, mud and fruit stones.  Their friends are all frightened and Silky the fairy is missing!  It seems that the Land of Roundabouts and Swings has arrived at the top of the tree and an unusual and seemingly unpleasant visitor has come down the tree causing havoc and taken Silky back to the Land with him…

Meanwhile, in Moonface’s Story, it is Moonface’s birthday and he wants to hold a party for all his special friends. Of course, birthday parties always require cake but when he tries to bake a cake  it ends up burnt. Will he find help in one of the wonderful lands at the top of the Faraway Tree?

Lavishly illustrated in bold colours, both books make both the perfect bedtime story as well as taking the child to ‘old worlds, new worlds and other worlds.’  The perfect entrée to the main course of the complete collection – The Enchanted Wood ,  The Magic Faraway Tree and The Folk of the Faraway Tree


Comic Classics: Treasure Island

Comic Classics: Treasure Island

Comic Classics: Treasure Island










Comic Classics: Treasure Island

Robert Louis Stevenson

Jack Noel

Farshore Fiction, 2021

256pp., pbk., RRP $A 14.99


The classic tale of Jim Hawkins, Dr Livesey, Squire John Trelawney, Long John Silver, Ben Gunn and an assortment of other characters who set out on the Hispaniola to find Captain Flint’s long-buried treasure is brought to a new audience in this adaptation by illustrator Jack Noel to graphic novel format.

Adapted into numerous films, plays and other productions, this epitome of pirate stories really belongs in every child’s literary repertoire and using all the visual techniques that attract today’s young readers, the once-difficult language of the late 19th century storyteller is now accessible to today’s generation. So much of what we believe about pirates, their vocabulary and actions stems from Stevenson’s imagination so even if the student can’t manage the original, this interpretation will give them some insight and understanding of a story that they are expected to be familiar with in their later studies. 

This is the second in this series – the first is Great Expectations – and it would be a worthwhile addition to any library collection that seeks to extend children’s reading into the realm of stories to be read again and again.