ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
New Member sign up button

Latest Review

May 24 2018

When the mountains roared by Jess Butterworth

cover image

Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781510102118
(Ages 9-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Grief. Fear. Wildlife conservation. India - Family life.
Jess Butterworth drew inspiration for When the mountains roared from her own family stories, her grandparents' travels to India in the 1960s and her own childhood experiences living with them at the foot of the Himalayas. She descriptively captures the sensory experiences, the diverse sights and sounds, cityscapes and countryside and wildlife encounters. Her understandings of the Indian way of life resonate here. The imprint of the leopard, from the roaring white silhouette and the rich yellow and brown markings of the covers that continue as bold chapter headings, set the scene for her message of wildlife conservation.
Coping with the death of her mother, Ruby is overcome by her fears, afraid of the dark, of travelling by car, going to sleep and not waking up in the morning. She lives with her father and grandmother in Western Australia in a rural hotel which has fallen into disrepair and her father has borrowed money from loan sharks to save the property. Desperate to escape from their problems they abandon their home, take only a few possessions, their collie dog Polly, and drive through the night to Perth. Along the way they collect a baby joey which Nan hides in her luggage.
Nan's afraid of flying so they board a cruise ship bound for India. Their tiring journey finally brings them to the bottom of the Himachal Pradesh and a haunted mountain. Life for the family is confronting, their new hotel needs a large amount of work, with the owners involved in wildlife poaching. Ruby captures photos of the beautiful world around the hotel; she is an observer, listening to secret conversations and trailing her father's employers. There are moments of fun and laughter, the colourful Holi festival, caring for Joey, watching Bollywood films, making friends with Praveen and dancing to Bollywood music with Dad and Nan.
Ruby's bravery in tracking the poachers, searching for the elusive leopard, attests to her strength of character, overcoming her fears and grief. With her Grandma and loyal friend Praveen they embark on a treacherous journey into the mountains, each show courage in the face of danger. The resolution brings both closure and hope for the future, the author concluding with a heartfelt message about the need to conserve and protect native wildlife and the risk of invasive species taking over the natural environment.
When the mountains roared is a beautifully crafted story, where each of the main characters comes to terms with the loss of a loved one, and is an emotive journey amongst the beauty and splendour of the Himalayan foothills. Share this with a middle primary class, explore the detailed and descriptive narrative, the insightful poignant journey Ruby undertakes, then research the endangered wildlife and the impact of the poaching trade.
Rhyllis Bignell



More Reviews

May 24 2018

The price guide to the occult by Leslye Walton

cover image

Candlewick Press 2018. ISBN 9780763691103
(Age: 14+) Recommended for people with an interest in mental health and magic. TW: This novel contains self-harm. This is certainly a novel that would be difficult to walk past, The price guide to the occult is both loud and distracting...
more

May 24 2018

Spot goes to the swimming pool by Eric Hill

cover image

Puffin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780241327074
(Age 1-4) Highly recommended. Board book. Themes: Swimming. Fear. A delightful way to introduce the idea of swimming at a swimming pool to very young children, this board book is sure to be a hit with its intended audience. Spot is a bit nervous...
more

May 24 2018

Best buds under frogs by Leslie Patricelli

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763651046
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Themes: Friendship. School. Moving from the city to Pine Lake where she must catch a bus to school, Lily is apprehensive, and barfing on the first day does not endear her to the group of friends who had assembled around...
more

May 22 2018

The disturbed girl's dictionary by Nonieqa Ramos

cover image

Lerner Publishing Group, 2018. ISBN 9781512439762
(Age: 14+) Recommended.
Macy Cashmere is a teenager living in the ghetto trying to survive life the best she can. Her father is in prison, her mother entertains a constant stream of male 'guests' and her little brother has been taken...
more

May 22 2018

Uncle Gobb and the Green Heads by Michael Rosen

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408851340
(Age: 7-9)
Uncle Gobb is that really annoying relative who's overstayed his welcome. Poor Malc and his mother have to endure his constant roaring, his interfering ways and his opinions about everything from learning history, to poetry and...
more

May 17 2018

Alma and how she got her name by Juana Martinez-Neal

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763693558
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Ancestors. Family. Names. Upset over her very long name, Alma questions her father about why she has been given a name that doesn't fit on her page. He then explains, showing her where each of her names...
more

May 17 2018

Trouble at school by Chris Higgins, illustrated by Emily McKenzie

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408868850
(Age: 6+) Recommended.
Themes: School stories. Friendship. Problem children.
Chris Higgins brings best friends Bella and Magda back in Trouble at school an amusing story about first days, dealing with a new teacher and difficult...
more

May 15 2018

Rory Branagan detective by Andrew Clover and Ralph Lazar

cover image

HarperCollins, 2018. ISBN 9780008265830
(Age: 8+) "Hello. I am Rory Branagan. I am actually a detective.
People always say, 'How do you become a detective?'
And I say, 'Ahhhh... you don't just FIND YOURSELF suddenly sneaking up on baddies, or diving out of the way as they shoot,...
more

May 15 2018

Car, car, truck, jeep by Katrina Charman

cover image

Ill. by Nick Sharratt. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408864968
(Age: 3-5) Recommended. Themes: Cars. Rhyming story. Sing along. Read aloud, Nursery rhyme. Machines. Sung to the tune of 'Baa baa black sheep', this funny story will delight its younger readers, listeners and singers. In bright...
more

May 10 2018

Piecing me together by Renee Watson

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2017. ISBN 9781681191058
(Age: Young Adult) For Jade, a young black woman living in New York who attends a school that offers specific help to students, particularly financial help for those who need it, the final years of high school are pivotal to her future. She has to...
more

May 08 2018

The Fandom by Anna Day

cover image

Chicken House, 2018. ISBN 9781910655672
(Age: Older teens - YA) Note on book: Not suitable for younger readers. Anyone in any fandom's greatest dream is to be transported into the canon world of their favourite story and live out the events as the main character. Maybe except for fans of...
more

May 08 2018

These are animals by Daniel Egneus

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889909
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Animals. Humour. Read aloud. Movement. Sound. What a lovely way to introduce animals to young readers. A vibrant, colourful display of animals around the world is presented with verve and movement, noises and sounds for...
more

May 08 2018

The case of the missing hippo by Laura James

cover image

Ill. by Emily Fox. Fabio: The world's greatest flamingo detective series, book 1. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408889312
(Age: 6-9) Highly recommended. Themes: Detective story. Animal tale. This is a 'classic' detective story involving the great Flamingo Detective, Fabio. He is an...
more

May 03 2018

I do not like books anymore by Daisy Hirst

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406369137
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Books and reading. Learning to read. Cooperation. Natalie and Alphonse love to read together. Dad reads them picture books, Mum reads them scary stories, Grandma tells them stories about the terrible shrew. And they...
more

May 02 2018

Being Fishkill by Ruth Lehrer

cover image

Candlewick Books, 2018. ISBN 9780763684426
(Age: Mature14+) Being Fishkill focusses on 12-year-old Carmel Fishkill who is named after a highway exit sign her mother, Keely, glimpsed while giving birth in the back seat of a car. Her life is complex and she decides that starting...
more

May 02 2018

Bannerless by Carrie Vaughn

cover image

John Joseph Adams/Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, 2017. ISBN 9780544947306
(Age: 15+) Recommended. Philip K. Dick Award (2017). Themes: Dystopian fiction, Science fiction, Murder, Birth control. Years after an environmental disaster has...
more

May 02 2018

Fantastically great women who made History by Kate Pankhurst

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018, ISBN 9781408878897
(Age: 8-12) Recommended. Subjects: Women - History, Women - Biography. Fantastically Great Women Who Made History looks at the lives, discoveries and achievements of many important women from Hatshepsut in Ancient Egypt to Russian astronaut...
more

May 02 2018

Wildcat Run by Sonya Spreen Bates

cover image

Ill. by Kasia Charko. Orca Book Publishers, 2018. ISBN 9781554698301
(Age: 6+) Tommy, Jake and Lexie are on the slopes. The cousins have been skiing for a week, but Jake's Dad twisted his knee on the last run and had agreed they could do one more run, provided they stick to the easy...
more

May 01 2018

Can I touch your hair? by Irene Latham and Charles Waters

cover image

Carolrhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 9781512404425
(Age: 10+) Highly recommended. This book is a collection of poems written by Irene who is white and Charles who is black. These poems delve into the differences related to race, mistakes, friendship even hair.
Can I touch your hair?...
more

May 01 2018

My trip to the supermarket: Activity and sticker book by Samantha Meredith

cover image

Bloomsbury Publishing Plc, 2018. ISBN 9781408883686
(Age: 4+) Recommended. "Work your way around the supermarket and discover all the amazing things you can buy! Find your way through the maze of aisles to the checkout counter, count how many loaves of bread are in the baker 's basket,...
more