Archives

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Secrets of Magnolia Moon

Edwina Wyatt

Katherine Quinn

Walker Books, 2019

160pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760651541

From the publisher…

Magnolia Moon is nine years old, likes Greek mythology, her best friend Imogen May (who understands the importance of questions like, “If you could be one fruit, any fruit, what would you be?”), wishing trees, and speaking crows. She knows instinctively that buffadillos are armadillos crossed with buffalos and believes there are walramingos living in her garden. She’s also the kind of person who can be entrusted with a great many secrets. Each chapter in this novel, which captures Magnolia’s year of being nine and ends on Chapter Almost 10, reveals a secret that Magnolia is keeping. But the novel also chronicles a year of change for Magnolia. From her best friend moving to the birth of her little brother Finnegan, Magnolia navigates every challenge and secret that comes her way with the kind of authenticity and innocence that comes from being nine years wise.

I have been deliberately sitting on this book till now because as soon as I got it to review I knew it would be perfect for Miss About-To -Turn-9 and I needed to keep it a secret. But the day is nearly here and with it being listed as a CBCA Notable for Younger Readers for 2020 it is time to share.  While the book spans a year in Magnolia’s life giving the story continuity, each chapter is a separate entity so it is perfect for that bedtime read when just a chapter is enough to transition to the world of dreams. With its recognisable hero mixed with just a touch of fantasy, it is just right for newly independent readers who are reading on and consolidating their love for reading and honing their skills each day. The writing uses twists of phrases such as “It was only Tuesday, but Magnolia felt hungry enough for Wednesday’s and Thursday’s lunch too. Plus a hot chocolate. ” that not only stay in the reader’s head but also inspire them to broaden their own writing style., and there is a balance of illustrations that continues to support those budding skills and understanding.

Miss About-To -Turn-9 is going to love this and with a Canberra winter looming, the more books she has the happier she will be. 

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lola Dutch I Love You So Much

Kenneth Wright

Sarah Jane Wright

Bloomsbury, 2020

40pp., hbk., RRP $A24.99

9781547601172

Lola Dutch‘s friends are not having their best day.  Gator is cranky and cold; Crane can’t find her favourite picture book and Pig is positively peevish.  But she knows just what each needs to cheer them up and goes about setting things right in her usual cheerful way. But what about Bear?  Has she left him out?  Or is it that she can’t decide how she can show him how much he means to her?

This is another in this series about this over-the-top little girl who seems to live life at full-speed. Based on the creators’ own family, it seems nothing is too much trouble or too difficult to achieve to make her friends happy and so there is a strong message about thinking about others, being unselfish and matching deeds to needs.  Little ones might like to think of a special person in their life who deserves a special something, one that can be given without a monetary cost while others might like to reflect on something they have received and learn about Pay It Forward, setting up a positive class or school culture.

A charming picture book series for young readers, most likely to appeal to girls.

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Alice-Miranda at School: 10th Anniversary Edition

Jacqueline Harvey

Puffin, 2020

288pp., hbk., RRP $A19.99

9781760896034

Can one tiny girl change a very big school? Alice-Miranda Highton-Smith-Kennington-Jones is waving goodbye to her weeping parents and starting her first day at boarding school. But something is wrong at Winchesterfield-Downsfordvale Academy for Proper Young Ladies.

The headmistress, Miss Grimm, hasn’t been seen for ten years. The prize-winning flowers are gone. And a mysterious stranger is camping in the greenhouse. Alice-Miranda must complete a series of impossible tests. Can she really beat the meanest, most spoilt girl at school in a solo sailing mission?

Could she camp in the forest all on her own for five whole days and nights? Well, of course. This is Alice-Miranda, after all.

Wow! It’s hard to grasp that it is now 10 years since we were first introduced to the irrepressible Alice-Miranda and that she has gone on to have so many more adventures, a movie and even her own web presence.  Books about girls in boarding schools have been the backbone of the reading for many generations – how well I remember loving the books from Clare Mallory, my mum’s headmistress during her Columba College years and such an influence on her and ultimately me – and the Alice-Miranda series is very much a modern version of that vein. Alice-Miranda is very opinionated and has lots to say provoking food for thought on a range of issues in each episode.   Harvey has drawn on her own experience as a teacher in such a system and this series and Clementine Rose for younger readers have been favourites with Miss Nearly 9 and Miss Year 8 for years. Miss Year 8 is now nose-deep in the latest Kensy and Max adventure Freefall demonstrating Harvey’s ability to entertain and engage readers across the age groups.  In fact, in relation to Alice-Miranda, in a letter to her readers Harvey states that she wanted to create a story that she would have loved reading as a child never dreaming that her character would become so popular and a role model for other girls her age. 

To celebrate this milestone, Puffin have released this special hardback edition perfect for either starting independent young readers off on a whole new series of adventures, or for fans like Miss Year 8 to have as a collector’s item on their shelves. 

Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Scoop McLaren: Detective Editor

Helen Castles

New Frontier, 2019

135pp., pbk., RRP $A14.99

 9781925594836

Scoop McLaren is the thirteen-year-old news editor of her own online newspaper Click! Her role model is her dad  (who runs his own newspaper too) and he has taught her that delivering the news is an extremely important job because people rely on it so they can be properly informed.  Together with Evie, her roving reporter best friend, 
the girls strive to keep the residents of their seaside village of Higgity Harbour informed while using their sleuthing skills to solve some curious mysteries along the way.

In this adventure in this new series, an evil reporter Donny Fink is posting the news in his own newspaper at one minute past midnight each night and somehow that news, as disastrous as it is, comes true during the day.  So it is up to Scoop and Evie to investigate what is happening.

This is a series that will hold appeal for newly independent readers who like a solid adventure mystery into which they can project themselves. Complete with tips and tricks for writing from Scoop, it could be the beginning of a new love affair with writing as others are inspired to begin a career in journalism – or at least explore their writing strengths. 

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Lottie Luna and the Bloom Garden

Vivian French

Nathan Reed

HarperCollins, 2019

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

9780008342982

Lottie Luna is a werewolf. She’s super-fast, super-strong and has X-ray vision. Lottie doesn’t really like to use her skills, though – she just wants to be like everyone else. But when someone keeps destroying the school bloom garden it’s only Lottie who can come to the rescue…

Characters having alter egos with special powers continue to be popular with readers and this new series for newly independent readers will satisfy those who like this genre.  Richly illustrated with monochrome cartoon-like illustrations to support the text, young girls will see themselves in Lottie – on the surface being just regular little girls, but with a heroine not too far below the surface.

The beginning of the new school year always brings great anticipation as new titles and series are released and with a new year level after their names, students look forward to an exciting year of reading as they become more and more competent and confident.  So a new series by this established veteran author will be a welcome addition to the collection.

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nullaboo Hullabaloo

Fleur Ferris

Puffin, 2019

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

9780143787143

“In faraway Nullaboo, Gemma Hart’s day isn’t going well. Her family might be evicted from their farm, and her science competition topic is march flies. How can she possibly win against perfect Nina, who gets to study butterflies?

But wait, that’s not a feather in Gemma’s special bug catcher . . . it’s a fairy!

Janomi the fairy isn’t supposed to talk to humans, but desperately needs help. Her grandfather has been captured by the silver spiders. Gemma agrees to help Janomi, and to keep the fairies’ existence a secret. But her bug catcher has recorded their conversation – and Nina finds it.

With a media frenzy taking over Nullaboo, a secret government agency barges in to take control, and suddenly the fairy colony is under an even bigger threat. Gemma and her kooky family, school and resourceful neighbours must take matters into their own hands in an against-all-odds bid to save the last fairy colony on Earth.”

This is a novel for those readers who are independent readers but who still love stories about fairies or for the parent looking for an engaging read-aloud for the bedtime story. With its focus on the environment and a community working together to preserve it, it is a timely tale in these days where even our younger students are aware of terms like “global warming” and “climate change”.  Regardless of our beliefs when it comes to the crunch we can put aside our egos and differences and work together. A meaty read that will entertain as well as provoke thought. 

 

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

The Princess Rules

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Princess Rules

Philippa Gregory

Chris Chatterton

HarperCollins, 2019

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

9780008339791

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

9781788541152

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

9780143786054

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

9781408352465

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.