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.
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Latest Review

Nov 12 2019

The Underhills: a tooth fairy story by Bob Graham

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781536211122.
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Teeth, Tooth fairies, Fairies, Cupid, Angels, Airports, Immigration, Grandparents. With the Underhill parents called to a job, the girls and their baby brother go to their grandparents' house, a teapot by the airport, to stay. Here a splendid time awaits: fairy cakes, pancakes for breakfast, feather beds and chocolate. And the girls bring a jar of tadpoles for Grandma. But an urgent call comes in: a tooth is arriving from Ghana, and they are close to the airport. Grandpa is left reading his poetry book in the garden with baby Vincent tied to him lest his wings take him up like a balloon.
Grandma, Esme and April (seen first in April Underhill: tooth fairy, 2010) fly to the terminal, there to wait for the plane. Cupids and angels are there too, waiting to ply their skills: cupids to help loving people greet each other, and the angels to comfort those who are alone and sad, enfolding them with their wings and helping to push their trolleys.
An announcement alerts the family to the plane's arrival and the girls watch out for the Ghanan family and the young girl whose tooth has fallen out. Grandma reminds the girls about where to find the tooth and the girls fly to the young girl and climb into her pocket. They retrieve the tooth, leaving a small coin behind, whispering in Akuba's ear that she will not remember the event.
Grandma was worried about the girls doing their first extraction but had confidence in them.
That night the girls sleep in the feather bed, the tooth safely beside them, while Akuba sleeps on the other side of town with her small coin, unsure of how it got there.
This charming story full of hope and love, shows the Underhill family plying their trade. The girls are supported by their gran on their first job at the airport, searching for the Ghanan family as they come into England. They are successful and the Ghanan family is at peace in their new home.
Graham's playful illustrations reveal the lure of staying with grandparents, while the children take on a role usually done by the parents. But his delightful micro world always pays homage to what is happening around us. The endpapers have huge planes landing over the tea pot house, wire fences and bright lights surrounding the airfield, the outline of the plane overshadowing the nearby suburbs, Gran has a mobile phone. In the airport, a soldier returns from duty, older people come in alone, people arrive from other countries, some heads covered by a hijab, but all hopeful and full of anticipation. While outside the now quiet airport, some tadpoles turn into frogs and slip away into the night.
Graham's work always leaves readers with a warm glow: recognition of a familiar scene, reworked to reveal a different perspective. Children will look again at the images presented here, not only the loving family, but the background figures, those coming into the airport for a variety of reasons, but all finding a safe haven.
Fran Knight



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Nov 12 2019

The wishing bones by Michelle Lovric

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Orion Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781444009972.
(Ages 14+) Recommended. A magical and mysterious adventure novel that follows a young orphan named Lily who has been raised in a cruel and lonesome convent at the inhumane hands of the badessa. Upon accidentally setting the convent...
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Nov 11 2019

Cursed by Thomas Wheeler

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Illus. by Frank Miller. Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241376614.
(Age: 14+) As daughter of her village's chief Druid, 16 year old Nimue would always be different from the other villagers but her strangely scarred back and ability to powerfully experience hidden forces further sets her apart....
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Nov 11 2019

The Lost Tide Warriors by Catherine Doyle

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408896907.
Recommended for lovers of fantasy, aged 10+. Fionn is the anointed 'Stormkeeper', but it seems that his magic is not like other Stormkeepers and his island is depending on him to protect them from the return of the awful Morrigan and her supporters,...
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Nov 08 2019

The iron man by Ted Hughes

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Illus. by Chris Mould. Faber and Faber, 2019 (c1968) ISBN: 9780571348862.
(age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Cautionary tale, Modern fable, STEM, Recycling. This outstanding new publication of The Iron Man will thrill new readers as well as ones who already know the tale,...
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Nov 08 2019

My parents cancelled my birthday by Jo Simmons

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Illus. by Nathan Reed. Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781526606587.
(Age: 9 - 12) Recommended.  Themes: Birthdays; Family; Humorous stories. Tom is looking forward to his birthday but several dilemmas, including the pet pig falling off the roof and squashing his Grandmother's chihuahua,...
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Nov 08 2019

The Mitford scandal by Jessica Fellowes

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Sphere, London, 2019. ISBN: 9780751573930.
(Age: Secondary) Themes: Set in the late 1920s and early 1930s London, this historically correct mystery is narrated from Louisa's (lady's maid to Diana Mitford) perspective.
The book denotes the author's deep knowledge of the...
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Nov 07 2019

Boy giant by Michael Morpurgo

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Illus. by Michael Foreman. HarperCollins, 2019. ISBN: 9780008347925
(Age 10+). Highly recommended. Themes: Refugees, Gulliver's travels, Hope, Afghanistan. When Omar and his mother flee for their lives after their village has been bombed and Omar's father killed, they tramp over vast...
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Nov 07 2019

The deathless girls by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

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Orion Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781510106918.
(Age: Senior secondary) This novel is about Bram Stoker's 'dark sisters.' First person narrator Lillai tells a linear, past tense story. She journeys through medieval settings filled with challenges. Soldiers and marauders pillage and...
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Nov 06 2019

Let it snow by John Green, Maureen Johnson, and Lauren Myracle

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780141371207.
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Short stories. Winter. Romance. Christmas. A reprint of the 2015 book, Let it snow is out in conjunction with the Netflix film with a new cover and will be loved by fans of the three authors. A blizzard stops a train...
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Nov 06 2019

The Witch's Warning by Joseph Delaney

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Aberrations series book 2. Puffin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780241349953. 303pgs., pbk.
A new spooky horror-fantasy YA story in a new series by international best-selling author of the Spooks series, Joseph Delaney. The Witch's Warning is the second book in the new series...
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Nov 06 2019

World War II: The story behind the War that divided the world by Nick Hunter

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781526605580.
(Age: 8+) World War II: The story behind the War that divided the world is a non-fiction text by Nick Hunter, with supporting documents provided by the National Archives, who are the UK Governments offical archive and report to contain over a...
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Nov 06 2019

Jake Atlas and the Quest for the Crystal Mountain by Rob Lloyd Jones

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Jake Atlas series, book 3. Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406385007. 303pgs., pbk.
Exciting, gripping, action packed adventure which is easy to get into this is a great book to get pre-teens into reading. I was hooked into the adventure right from the start and wanted to know what...
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Nov 05 2019

The secret commonwealth by Philip Pullman

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The Book of Dust, volume 2. David Fickling Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780241373347.
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. Since diving back into the world of His dark materials with Malcom in La belle savage (book...
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Nov 05 2019

The world that we knew by Alice Hoffman

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Simon and Schuster, 2019. ISBN: 9781471185830.
(Age: Adolescent readers, with support) This beautifully written and most unsettling narrative captures our imagination instantly, plunging us into the terror of the German government's plan to exterminate the Jewish people of Europe. From...
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Nov 05 2019

Nine worlds in nine nights: A journey through imaginary lands by Hiawyn Oram

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Illust. by David Wyatt. Walker Studio 2019. ISBN: 9781406377705.
(Age: Upper primary+) Themes: Fantasy, Magic, Imagination. This luxuriously produced large format book with its dark padded cover, metallic motifs and runic fore-edge is a little confusing at first. The premise is that it...
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Nov 05 2019

Peppa Pig: Peppa's Australian underwater adventure

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Penguin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241405024.
(Age: Pre-school) Recommended. Another Peppa Pig adventure will thrill all the young fans who love to watch the TV show. This time Peppa Pig has been fortunate enough to win a colouring competition and the prize is a trip to the Great Barrier Reef....
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Oct 31 2019

White bird by R.J. Palacio

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Penguin Books, 2019. ISBN: 9780241397244.
(Age: 12-16) Highly recommended. R.J. Palacio's debut graphic novel concentrates on Julian, a character from her previous novel Auggie and me. For his humanities project,...
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Oct 31 2019

Midnight Ninja by Sam Lloyd

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Bloomsbury, 2019. ISBN: 9781408884836.
(Age: 4-8) Recommended. Themes: Rhyming Stories, Ninjas, Humourous stories. 'Meet this little boy and his pussycat called Ginger. He's got a bedtime secret - he's the mighty . . . Midnight Ninja!'. And so a new superhero is born and his alias is a...
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Oct 31 2019

The girl without skin by Mads Peder Nordbo

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Greenland book 1. Translated by Charlotte Barslund. Text, 2019. ISBN: 9781925603835.
(Age: Adult) Recommended for lovers of Nordic noir. Themes: Mystery, Child abuse, Murder, Greenland. Not for the faint hearted The girl without skin takes the reader on a difficult...
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Oct 29 2019

Anna at war by Helen Peters

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Nosy Crow, 2019. ISBN: 9781788004718.
(Age 8-12) Recommended. Anna at war will introduce young readers to the reality of war, of being a refugee and to some of the evils perpetuated in WWII. The storyline is engaging, from the horrors of Kristallnacht, to the aching sadness of...
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