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

Aug 23 2019

The place on Dalhousie by Melina Marchetta

cover imageViking, 2019. ISBN: 9780143793533.
(Age: Adult - Mature senior secondary) Highly recommended. Themes: Pregnancy, Blended families, Inheritance, Houses. Fans of Marchetta's writing will be overjoyed to read this story of Rosie Gennaro who has walked away from the place on Dalhousie that her father had renovated for his family. Devastated that he has married Martha less than a year after her mother's death, it takes her two years before she can return to the house where Martha now lives and face not only her new responsibilities but her memories of her mother and father.
Fans of Saving Francesca and The piper's son, will meet again the characters from these two novels and learn about what has happened to Jimmy over the years. He has met up with Rosie during a devastating flood in Queensland and after a brief affair, both have gone their separate ways trying to sort out where they belong. Jimmy desperately wants to be part of a family, and Marchetta with compassion and empathy, traces the story of these two young people as they learn about the nature of love and family. Jimmy comes back to Sydney and after searching so hard for a family of his own, may find one in the house on Dalhousie. He is so uncertain about his ability to love his son and to do the right things by Rosie, but surrounded by his friends, gradually comes to accept his responsibilities.
Marchetta also describes the netball team that empowers some of Martha's friends, her growing relationship with the netball coach, the neighbours who all try to help Rosie and then the house on Dalhousie which seems to have a life of its own. The stand-off between Rosie and Martha about the sale of the house is also central to the story and Marchetta discusses this here.
After finishing The place on Dalhousie, I felt compelled to go back to the two companion novels, Saving Francesca and The piper's son, savouring the warmth of Marchetta's writing, her depiction of love and loneliness and the strength of friendships over the years.
Pat Pledger



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Aug 23 2019

Noodle bear by Mark Gravas

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781760651022.
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Bears, Noodles, Food, Seasons, Friendship. One the first day of spring, Fox holds a party and invites all the other animals. But Bear does not come. Fox goes to his cave to see if he is alright and finds him snoring...
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Aug 23 2019

The wolf wilder by Katherine Rundell

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Bloomsbury, 2015. ISBN: 9781408872352.
(Age: 9-13) Highly recommended. Themes: Wolves, Russia, Nineteenth century, Animals, Survival. A totally engrossing adventure story about Feo and her wolves, seeking to survive in the harsh Russian winter while being pursued by those who see wolves...
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Aug 22 2019

The flowers of Vashnoi by Lois McMaster Bujold

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Subterranean, 2019. ISBN 9781596068926. 96pg.
(Age: 15+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction. Lovers of Bujold's Hugo Award winning Miles Vorkosigan series will rejoice to discover a short stand-alone novel starring Ekaterin, Miles' clever wife who is determined to help...
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Aug 22 2019

Every child a song by Nicola Davies

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Illus. by Marc Martin. Wren and Rook, 2019. ISBN: 9781526361417.
(Age: 5+) Recommended. Themes: Universal rights of the child, Human rights. A unique and moving picture book combines a tender story with information about the rights that children are entitled to under the United Nations...
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Aug 21 2019

Inland by Tea Obreht

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Hachette, 2019. ISBN: 9780297867074.
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. Themes: Historical fiction, Survival, Drought, Cameleers, Ghosts, Trust, Relationships. Set in the harsh drought ridden country of 1890's southwest America, Obrecht's Inland tells two stories that gradually draw...
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Aug 21 2019

The secret dragon by Ed Clarke

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Puffin, 2019. ISBN: 9780241360514. 239p.
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy. If life is a paradox, then The Secret Dragon is duplicitous to its core. Mari wants to be a palaeontologist like her father, who was tragically struck by lightning when she was a toddler. Her...
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Aug 21 2019

The fated sky by Mary Robinette Kowal

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Lady Astronaut book 2. Tor Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780765398949.
(Age: Adult - Senior secondary) Recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Women astronauts, Space colonies, Mathematicians, Gender stereotyping, Racism. Fans of the award winning...
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Aug 20 2019

Run away by Harlan Coben

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Cornerstone, 2019. ISBN: 9781784751173.
(Age: 16+) Recommended for lovers of thrillers. Themes: Mystery, Drug addiction, Fathers. An exciting stand-alone thriller, Run away grabs the reader right from the first page and with many twists and hooks, keeps up the momentum until the...
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Aug 20 2019

Computer coding games for kids by Carol Vorderman

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Dorling Kindersley, 2019. ISBN: 9780241317747.
(Age: 8-16) Themes: Computer programming, Programming languages, Computer games - design and construction. Computer coding projects for kids presents a visually appealing step by step guide to computer programming for kids, beginning...
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Aug 20 2019

Zanzibar by Catherina Valckx

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Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572564. 65p
(Age: 7+) Early Chapter Book. Zanzibar is an ordinary, contented crow who unfortunately begins to believe that he is lacking in some way. Achille LeBlab is to blame. As the special correspondent to the 'Voices of the Forest' newspaper, he is...
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Aug 19 2019

The agony house by Cherie Priest

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Illus. by Tara O'Connor. Arthur A. Levine Books, 2018. ISBN: 9780545934299.
(Age: 12+) Recommended. YALSA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. Themes: Ghosts, Horror. With a clever graphic/novel hybrid The Agony House provides chills and thrills for the teen reader....
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Aug 19 2019

Encyclopedia of grannies by Eric Veille

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Gecko Press, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572434.
(Age: 4+) Themes: Humour, Grandmothers, Diversity, Expectations. With a tongue placed firmly in the cheek, this overview of what to expect from a grandmother will encourage howls of recognition alongside surprises for the unwary as a huge array of...
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Aug 16 2019

Becoming Dinah by Kit de Waal

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Orion Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781510105706. 243p., pbk.
(Age guide: 13+) Highly recommended. Who doesn't love a road trip novel? This is not a standard coming of age story but a fresh take on a much-loved classic. Kit de Waal uses the road trip to chart the journey from one state...
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Aug 16 2019

The runaways by Ulf Stark

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Illus. by Kitty Crowther. Gecko, 2019. ISBN: 9781776572342. 129p
(Age: 9+) Recommended. Kitty Crowther's colour pencil illustrations create low expectations of an outwardly self-published title, but it wasn't long before this reader was teary eyed. Indeed, fan's of Fredrik Backman's A...
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Aug 16 2019

The Pigeon has to go to school by Mo Willems

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Walker Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781406389012.
(Age: 3-6) Recommended. Themes: Fear, Going to school. Another wonderful book from Mo Willems will be just right to read to young children who are off to school or pre-school and are having a few fearful moments wondering what will happen. Pigeon...
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Aug 15 2019

Extraordinary birds by Sandy Stark-McGinnis

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Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2019. ISBN: 9781526610874
(Ages: 9-12). Recommended. Themes: Foster care, Families, Birds, Bullying. A truly heart-warming story that gives the reader insight into the life of a child in foster care. December is eleven and has been to many foster homes in her...
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Aug 14 2019

New Class at Malory Towers by Patrice Lawrence et al.

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Hodder, 2019. ISBN: 9781444951004.
(Age: 8-11) Themes: Short stories, Boarding School, Girls. Enid Blyton's Malory Towers popular boarding school stories were written in the late 1940s and early 1950s, suited to the children of post-war Britain. Now, a new generation of writers...
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Aug 14 2019

Silver in the Wood by Emily Tesh

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Tom Doherty Associates, 2019. ISBN: 9781250229793.
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Folklore, Secrecy, Magic, Recluses, Diversity. What an impact for a slim volume of just 109 pages, which can be read in one sitting! Tobias is a wild man who lives alone in...
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Aug 13 2019

Incredible journeys: discovery, adventure, danger, endurance by Levison Wood

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Illus: by Sam Brewster. Wren and Rook, 2019. ISBN: 9781526360434.
(Age: 8-14) Recommended. Themes: World exploration, World explorers - Alexander the Great, Vikings, Christopher Columbus, Magellan and Drake, Captain James Cook, The Silk Road, Amelia Earhart. This book is a shining light...
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Aug 12 2019

When we were warriors by Emma Carroll

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Faber and Faber, 2019. ISBN: 9780571350407. pbk., 148 pgs.
(Ages: 7+) Emma Carroll has beautifully written a book which explores themes of family and friendship with some mystery and adventure during World War Two. The book consists of three short stories set along Devon Coast in war...
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