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Danny Best: Watch This!

Danny Best: Watch This!

Danny Best: Watch This!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Danny Best: Watch This!

Jen Storer

Mitch Vane

ABC Books, 2020

304pp., pbk., RRP $A17.99

9780733333361

Danny Best doesn’t just think he’s THE BEST.  He knows it! Best by name and best by reputation, he and his friends Fab, Clancy, Sticks, Dylan and Mae, plus trusty dog Pugsley, Danny turns every single day into one crazy adventure.

This is the fourth in this series  ( Full OnNever Wrong, and Me First)  written for “fans of Diary of a Wimpy Kid and Weirdo” . With its mix of minimal text and monochromatic illustrations, this is another hilarious adventure that will appeal to boys moving from structured readers into the world of independence, wanting something that engages them but which doesn’t require long periods of solitary seclusion to absorb. Even though it has 304 pages, there are four separate stories within it, each told from Danny’s perspective and moving at a fast pace carried along by the graphics and the humour that its target audience thrives on.

If you’re looking for something to encourage your reluctant readers to read, then this is a series worth seeking out. 

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Elbow Grease vs Motozilla

John Cena

Howard McWilliam

Puffin, 2019

40pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760894665

Elbow Grease is the smallest monster truck in the Demolition Derby. Even though his brothers Tank, Flash, Pinball and Crash were tougher, faster, smarter and braver, they didn’t intimidate him nor deter him from racing.  Even the fact that he was different because he ran on an lithium-ion battery and needed to be recharged every night did not stop him believing in himself and his ability to keep up with his brothers.  Because Elbow Grease had gumption, that mixture of strong will and determination to keep on going even when it seemed all was lost.

But when Elbow Grease has a flash of inspiration and decides that the gnarly monster machine Motozilla that turns trucks into crunch sandwiches has to be beaten, he realises that this is not something done alone.  it will need teamwork and all the strengths that each of his brothers possess.

Told with a bare narrative with all the speech in speech bubbles, sometimes the message about teamwork is less than subtle, but young readers will delight in the bright, bold illustrations that carry the expression and the humour.  Some who are familiar with WWE competitors might even recognise Cena from that field and be inspired because of that.  In an interview, Cena said, “With ‘Elbow Grease’ and the books to follow, I want to offer kids a fun and engaging way to learn about the power of ambition, dedication, and heart. These concepts have been transformative in my life, from my childhood up to now, and it’s so important to me to pass the positivity on and help our youngest generation see that right mindset is key to achievement,”

Monster trucks appeal to so many little boys that even if they don’t absorb Cena’s message at first, at least they will continue to discover the joy of reading as they find books about the topics that interest them. 

 

Go!

Go!

Go!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Go!

Steve Worland

Puffin, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A16.99

9781760893361

Fifteen-year-old Jack has just discovered the one thing he loves, and is really good at: go kart racing. With the support of his mentor, Patrick, an old race-car driver with a dark past, and his best mates Colin and Mandy, Jack must learn to control his reckless streak. Only then will he be in with a chance to defeat the best drivers in Australia, including his ruthless rival Dean, and win the National title.

Written by the author of Paper Planes and based on the movie this is a story that will appeal to a wide range of students, whether as a read-alone or a read-aloud. The movie has been billed as  “one for the family” thus many will have seen it so having the print version available will be an encouragement for those who enjoyed it to delve deeper and really get to know the characters .   There is an inset of photographs from the movie to bring back memories and it would make the perfect centrepiece of a display focusing on books that have been turned into movies and vice versa, perhaps sparking a discussion on which format is better and why it is preferred.

Midnight Ninja

Midnight Ninja

Midnight Ninja

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Midnight Ninja

Sam Lloyd

Bloomsbury, 2019

32pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9781408884836

Meet this little boy and his pussycat called Ginger.
He’s got a great big secret. At bedtime he’s the might MIDNIGHT NINJA!

When the emergency bell sounds, he springs out of bed and is off to find and fight the baddies! Tonight’s mystery is socks going missing from clotheslines everywhere and so, using his teleporter he’s off on his mission.  What he discovers is quite surprising and he finds himself in BIG trouble.  But it’s his trusty cat Ginger who comes to the rescue and between them, they not only retrieve all the missing socks but solve the problem so they won’t need to be taken again.

This is an action-packed story that will appeal to young readers, particularly boys who will see themselves in the role of the hero and delight in using all the weapons , Written in rhyme, it bounces along at a great pace with intriguing, detailed illustrations that complement the text and set the imagination running!

A great bedtime story for little lads and lasses who can drift off to sleep dreaming that they are also Midnight Ninjas.

 

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Parents Cancelled My Birthday

Jo Simmons

Nathan Reed

Bloomsbury, 2019

256pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9781526606587

Tom is really looking forward to his birthday- he has had to wait a whole year while all the others in his class have had theirs and he is the last to do so. It is also his Lucky Birthday – 11 on the 11th – and so it is sure to be extra special with amazing activities and lots of presents.  But then disasters begin to befall the family – the Curse of the Tooth Fairy according to his little sister Meg – and his parents are so swamped they cancel his birthday.  How can this be?  And with the invitations designed and delivered already!!  

But then Tom draws on his resistingance, and with the help of his friends decides to throw himself the best party ever!  What could go wrong?

Written in the first person so the reader is constantly viewing the circumstances through Tom’s eyes and empathising, this is an engaging read for the newly-independent reader. Peppered with cartoon-like illustrations and Dad’s peculiar expressions, it is funny without resorting to toilet humour and a seriously hilarious but concerning twist at the end, this is one to promote to the boys who are looking for something quirky and fun.

Atticus Van Tasticus

Atticus Van Tasticus

Atticus Van Tasticus

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Atticus Van Tasticus

Andrew Daddo

Stephen Michael King

Puffin, 2019

240pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

9780143796541

1750, when times were tough and teeth were rotten…

As part of an ancient family tradition, young Atticus Van Tasticus narrowly escapes a life down the coal mines – or worse, going to school – when he gets to choose the gift of a pirate ship from his Grandnan’s treasure pile. ..

Atticus has a taste for adventure, beauty and danger – “where any minute might be your last, and your next minute could be your best” – so he pulls together a crew of misfit friends, of both genders and hits the high seas to lead the life of a pirate.

Spiked with humour and dozens of quirky illustrations, including a continuing comic strip of a stowaway puppy, this is a book full of crazy adventures that will appeal to all those longing to escape the humdrum of school, home and homework. Daddo has moved on a little from his recent focus on picture books for the very young and created a quirky character who is really quite ordinary but who, with the help of a very rich grandmother, is able to make his innermost dreams come true because on his 10th birthday he is allowed to pick something  from her wealth. Trouble is that his older brother and sister squandered their picks and now the future of the family is squarely on his shoulders. Choosing a pirate ship so he can search for treasure to replace what has been lost seems the obvious choice…

For independent readers who still need a little support, who appreciate and dream of crazy, out-there adventures and who like their illustrations to be more than just decoration, this is the first in a new series that will capture the imagination and the hearts of younger students and keep them reading.

 

Bold Tales for Brave-hearted Boys

Bold Tales for Brave-hearted Boys

Bold Tales for Brave-hearted Boys

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bold Tales for Brave-hearted Boys

Susannah McFarlane

Allen & Unwin, 2019

128pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781760524715

“Bold: typically describes one who is willing to take risks; who is brave in heart as well as deed.”

In this new collection of rewritten, remastered fairy tales featuring  Jack and the BeanstalkHansel and GretelThe Emperor’s New Clothes and Prince Leo and the Sleeping Princess, Susannah McFarlane  editor of Stuff Happens one of my favourite series for boys,  shows that there is more to brave than brawn and bravado slaying dragons and rescuing damsels in distress. It’s about doing what’s right, being clever and honest, that how you do something is as important as what you do.

Illustrated by Simon Howe, Matt Huynh, Louie Joyce and Brenton McKenna, four of our leading illustrators, in a style that takes the book beyond the realm of the cutsey, Disneyfied fairytale, it is the perfect companion to Fairytales for Feisty Girls which turns  Rapunzel, Little Red Riding Hood, Cinderella and Thumbelina around to meet the demands of the modern young lady. 

Designed for independent readers in novel format with chapters within each story, it is ideal for re-engaging young students with the traditional tales of childhood literature and start discussions about how things change over time to meet the needs of the audience – these are indeed a long way from the didactic tales of Grimm et al whose purpose was to scare little ones into doing the right thing because of the dire consequences that awaited if they didn’t. 

 

 

 

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

All of the Factors of Why I Love Tractors

Davina Bell

Jenny Lovlie

Little Hare, 2019

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

9781760501457

Frankie McGee is very excited because today’s the day he goes to the library with his mother and he can borrow another book about tractors – his favourite thing in the whole world.  And no matter how much his mum tries to persuade him to borrow something else – cars, planes, cranes, trains – he is determined and launches into a list of all the factors of why he loves tractors.

Told in a rollicking rhyme that moves both the story and the text along at a great rate, this is the most delightful book that will appeal to a lot of little boys, particularly those in rural areas who are able to tell their John Deeres from their Massey Fergusons. 

But it is the last four lines that are the best and which should put a smile on any parent’s (or teacher librarian’s) face…

“See, Mama?” I say as we check our books out.

“I like books – that’s what matters. Not what they’re about.

And don’t worry, ” I add. “I know this one by heart.

I can read it to you – all the way from the start.”

Reading really is a super power!

Charlie Turns Into a T-Rex

Charlie Turns Into a T-Rex

Charlie Turns Into a T-Rex

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Charlie Turns Into a T-Rex

Sam Copeland

Sarah Horne

Puffin, 2019

320pp., pbk., RRP $A12.99

9780241346228

Charlie McGuffin is a 9-year-old boy who can change into animals when he gets nervous, and once again Charlie is very nervous.

When his dad’s business takes a sudden turn for the worse, the McGuffin family face the terrible prospect of having to sell their house and move in with Aunt Brenda and her seventeen cats (and wooden leg). Only Charlie and best friends Flora, Mohsen and Wogan can save the day. If they can break into the fortress-like offices of Van Der Gruyne Industries and recover the McGuffins’ stolen gold, maybe Charlie won’t have to move away after all.

Trouble is, the pressure is getting to Charlie, making it harder for him to control when he changes into an animal – and harder still to change back. Can Charlie’s friends help him master his powers once and for all, or will he end up stuck as a pigeon forever . . . ?

This is the sequel to Charlie Changes into a Chicken  and is just as funny and will be just as popular as the original with newly independent readers who like a bit of quirky in their reading. Even though it is 320 pages long, it is not a daunting read because it is liberally illustrated and with footnotes offering extra information, the well-spaced prose is broken into manageable chunks.  And for those who missed the first one, there is more information about Charlie and his friends here.  A nice set to set aside for the Santa sack for young boys who need to read. 

Super Sidekicks (series)

Super Sidekicks 1: No Adults Allowed

Super Sidekicks 1: No Adults Allowed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Super Sidekicks 1: No Adults Allowed

9780143795865

Super Sidekicks 2: Ocean’s Revenge

 9780143795889

Gavin Aung Than

Puffin, 2019

144pp., pbk., RRP $A9.99

 

“Superheroes have it easy. They don’t have to clean their secret headquarters, wash the alien bloodstains out of their costumes or be responsible for taking Super Mutt out for a walk. No, they leave all that for their sidekicks like me, while they get all the credit! “

But Junior Justice (aka JJ) is tired of all that – “Being a superhero sidekick isn’t as fun as you think. You do all the work, beat the bad guys and save the planet, only for your grown-up partner to get all the credit.”  So he and his sidekick pals, Flygirl, Dinomite and Goo, have decided to form their own super team. But before they can start saving the world they’ll have to prove to the adult heroes that they’re more than just sidekicks. And once the evil Dr Enok discovers his favourite pet Goo has left him to join a super team, the world might need saving sooner rather than later!

This is the first in a new series that will appeal to those who like lots of action and adventures in their stories and a graphic novel format making it an easy read for the newly independent reader. Given the popularity of superhero movies and the anticipation for Avengers: Endgame  with young and not-so-young projecting themselves into the roles of world saviours, this is a series that has the protagonists at a similar age to the reader so they will be able to take on their favourite role as they immerse themselves in it. 

The second, Ocean’s Revenge focuses on a problem that is thankfully getting more and more publicity – the pollution of our ocean with rubbish, particularly plastics, and the devastating effect that is having. The Mother of the Seas is sick of humans using the oceans as a junkyard, so she decides to give the land dwellers a taste of their own medicine. Children of the age that this series is aimed at are very aware of their environment and the impact that humans are having on it so this is an ideal discussion starter to raise awareness of the impact of plastic on it and perhaps even begin with some small projects to make a difference, because even a little helps. And knowledge is empowering and for young children to feel they have any power at all has to be the way forward because too many adults still have their heads in the sands and dismiss the issues. Introduce them to young fictional heroes like JJ and his Sidekicks and then to real-life ones like Greta Thundberg and show them they CAN  make a difference and the local, national and international media will take notice.

A timely series with an important message and the potential to have a huge impact.