Skulduggery Pleasant : The dying of the light
By Derek Landy
ISBN : 9780007489282

Well this is it! The final book in a wonderfully funny, yet scary series all about a detective who just happens to be over 400 years old and dead.
I was so fortunate to meet the author Derek Landy recently at an event here in Christchurch, New Zealand. He had the audience captivated from the get-go. His wonderful Irish accent and his contagious sense of humour had us laughing the whole hour he spoke. And then he signed books for another two hours. Everyone was made to feel special and he took time to actually chat with each fan. Readers of all ages lined up and waited so patiently. It was a brilliant night. Grab hold of the last book although if you are a fan you will have done that already. If you haven’t then now is the time to start.
While primary school students will enjoy the first few books it might get a bit darker towards the end but a fan is a fan no matter what age.
The final battle begins – but who will make it out alive?
The Skulduggery Pleasant website is a must to visit.

Landy & me
Author Derek Landy clowning around, and me.

The Volume of Possible Endings
3rd book in the Tales of Fontania series
By Barbara Else
ISBN 9781927271377
Gecko Press

else
While this may be the third book in Tales of Fontania series it is a stand-alone novel and can be totally enjoyed without having read the previous books.
Twelve year old Dorrity is the only child in magic-free Owl Town. She has been raised by her three brothers who set out on their yearly pilgrim but no sooner than they leave, they suddenly disappear. Convinced something terrible has happened Dorrity sets out on her own journey. What she faces, is magic and not of the good type. Dorrity is in danger from many folk. Hunted down and captured, held prisoner and taken on a roller coaster ride of adventure. On her journey she meets Metalboy and a wonderful friendship begins. But can he help her and can she help him? And just where are her brothers.
Dorrity is confronted with betrayal and half-truths. It is the discovery of a hidden and magical book The volume of possible endings on which she burns her fingers and begins a quest for the right possible ending. Told with humour and fast-paced, this is a winner.
I do love the french flaps and maps on the end ages. Quality production.

My sincerest apologies to anyone who read yesterday’s post. For the first time since since this blog began I stuffed up completely. Not good enough no matter what. So here straight from the author herself is the correct blurb.

Secret of the sacred scarab
By Fiona Ingram

“A 5000-year-old mystery comes to life when a scruffy peddler gives Adam and Justin Sinclair an old Egyptian scarab on their very first day in Egypt. Only when the evil Dr. Faisal Khalid shows a particular interest in the cousins and their scarab, do the boys realise they are in terrible danger. Dr. Khalid wants the relic at all costs. Justin and Adam embark upon the adventure of a lifetime, taking them down the Nile and across the harsh desert in their search for the legendary tomb of the Scarab King, an ancient Egyptian ruler. They are plunged into a whirlpool of hazardous and mysterious events when Dr. Khalid kidnaps them. They survive terrifying dangers in a hostile environment (such as a giant cobra, as well as sinking sand), pursued by enemies in their quest to solve the secret of the sacred scarab. They must translate the hieroglyphic clues on the underside of the scarab, as well as rescue the missing archaeologist James Kinnaird, and their friend, the Egyptologist Ebrahim Faza, before time runs out. They must also learn more about the ancient Seven Stones of Power and the mysterious Shemsu-Hor. With just their wits, courage, and each other, the boys manage to survive … only to find that the end of one journey is the beginning of another!”
Do check out the secret of the sacred scarab site. Enjoy!

I am the wolf … and here I come!
By Benedicte Guettier
ISBN 9781877579424
Gecko Press
Board Book

original

This is a great new board book for wee ones. It has bright bold illustrations of a wolf getting dressed in the morning. At the start wolf introduces himself stating “Hello! I am the big bad wolf”. Item by item, wolf puts on his clothes beginning with his underpants and when he is completely dressed he …! Why would I tell you what he does? You will just have to read it for yourself but it will delight young ones. Even adults will have a giggle. A good one for Christmas – which isn’t that far away.

Singing home the whale
By Mandy Hager
ISBN 9781775536574
Random House NZ

original

Singing home the whale is a stunning novel dealing with so many issues. Will Jackson is a troubled teen who is forced to move from the city to live with his uncle in a quite fishing community. However troubled he is, things are about to get worse.
A chance meeting with a baby orca turns Will’s life upside down but being from the city, some folk consider him an outsider and are ready to turn on him despite his pleas for the whale.
This is a powerful story of a friendship beyond species. Will and the baby whale he names Min, become entwined in a real battle for life. How can Will protect the baby whale and stop the the whole community diving in to chaos? Told in alternating chapters Will and Min both tell their stories. Min’s story is lyrical and at times beautifully haunting. Will’s is gritty, often violent and full of drama. However, Mandy Hager weaves their stories together in a heart-warming way. There is also a little romance and even the impact of social media when it goes terribly wrong. Hager’s novel is an emotional journey that leaves the reader hopeful for a better future. I loved this book. I was very moved by the relationship between Will and Min and found myself getting angry at some of the horrors that were unfolding. I was at the end, left with hope and that is a powerful way to end a story. A solid story dealing with global concerns and how one person can make a difference.

Don’t touch
By Rachel M. Wilson

HarperTeen
ISBN 9780062220936

“A powerful story of a girl who is afraid to touch another person’s skin, until the boy auditioning for Hamlet opposite her Ophelia gives her a reason to overcome her fears.”

“Step on a crack, break your mother’s back. Touch another person’s skin, and Dad’s gone for good.”

Caddie hopes in vain that if she doesn’t touch other people, somehow it will result in her parents getting back together. She knows it doesn’t make sense but she wears full-length gloves to school and covers every part of her skin just in case. But soon, her obsession takes over her life. It threatens her ambitions to be an actress even though Caddie desperately wants to play Ophelia in the school production of Hamlet. Being Ophelia would require her to touch Peter who is trying out for the role of Hamlet. And that in turn would require a kiss! Can Caddie over come her OCD and take back control of her own life? Is she brave enough or is it too late?
I think it is great that the author is tackling OCD which is often relegated to contemporary adult fiction and not YA. It is not just the impact on the sufferer but also everyone around them so I look forward to this book.

The iron trial
Book 1 in the Magisterium series
By Holly Black & Cassandra Clare
Random House
ISBN 9780857532503

What a combination of authors. Best selling authors Holly Black and Cassandra Clare have combined their efforts to create a new magical series for middle grade readers and I have no doubt that this will be a huge success.

“Think you know magic?

Think again.

The Magisterium awaits . . .

Most people would do anything to get into the Magisterium and pass the Iron Trial.”

“Most people” does not include Callum, who mistrusts all magicians. In fact he tries desperately to fail so that he doesn’t have to go to the Magisterium but his efforts are in vain. He gets in and so begins a journey of magic, adventure and good versus evil. However, deciding just what is good or evil is half the battle. I love the cover of this book and the wonderful drawings at the start of each chapter. This is going to appeal to readers who love a good story and need a new series to sink their teeth in to and the holidays is the perfect time to start reading.
Click here if you want to read a sample chapter before rushing out to get your own copy.

Axel & Theo : My dog is the Emperor of a faraway galaxy
By Amberly Kristen Clowe

Theodore Howard is pretty sure he won’t survive fourth grade and even more sure he won’t ever become the astronaut he wants to be when he is older. However, everything changes when he meets Axel, a very talkative weenie dog who just happens to be an alien from the planet Doglin. But nothing runs smoothly and Axel is kidnapped by two cats from the planet Catlat.
Humour and adventure await the readers of this middle grade book.
Enjoy the trailer – it’s good!

Messenger of fear
By Michael Grant

ISBN 9780062207401

This is the first book in a new series by Michael Grant. His Gone series is still hugely popular and I have no doubt this series will also be a huge hit.

Mara can remember her name but nothing else. The young man, pale and solemn standing before her, tells her nothing. He does however inform her that at least she isn’t dead. But what is she and what are his plans for her? The messenger of fear sees darkness in the hearts of the young. Left unpunished, he offers a game, a wicked game where losing may be  a living nightmare and the price paid the most ultimate price of all! Where does Mara fit in all this?

I just know this is  going to be brilliant. Can’t wait! Not long now and the trailer is very cool. Check out the website above to read a sample chapter. I did and I loved the great descriptive language and the short sharp sentences. They hooked me in right from the start.

PLEASE NOTE: This book includes the details of a suicide so please ensure that if you are recommending or supplying this book to your students or your own  children that they are mature enough to handle the content. Be prepared to listen if they need to talk about anything that disturbs them in this book. Thanks!

 

 

Line up, please!

By Tomoko Ohmura

ISBN 9781877579998

Gecko Press

 

 

5

What a lovely wee gem of a story. All the animals are standing around in a queue. Some are waiting patiently just talking to each other while some are annoying each other. Their host is bird a gorgeously intuitive creature, trying to keep the peace as they wait in line. When the animals finally get to the front of the line they are in for a wonderful surprise and so is the reader especially when the pages open up wide and double the length of the view. This is a book to read again and again. It is perfect for pre-school but also great at primary school for having fun with maths. The animals are named  and numbered counting down from 50 to 1. The illustrations are bold, birght and curious, without distractions, so that each character is the centre of attention. Do look out for it – perhaps one to get for Christmas!

Arrowhead

By Ruth Eastham

ISBN 9781407137933

Scholastic

This book arrived in the library last week and while I was processing it a student picked it up and eagerly decided he wanted it before I was even finished processing. That is great, fantastic even, that he is so excited but it means I have to now wait my turn to read it . Hhmm!

Jack has recently moved to Norway where people often talk of old myths and legends. The stuff 13 year old Jack just didn’t believe in until he discovered the body of a warrior, frozen in ice and still holding on to an arrowhead. A cursed arrowhead which can unleash terrible evil on everyone around him. Fast-paced and perfect for middle grade readers who like adventure and great myths and of course, evil curses.

The impossible quest

Escape from Wolfhaven Castle

By Kate Forsyth

Scholastic ISBN 9781743624067

After a dreadful attack on Wolfhaven Castle, there are only four who manage to escape. It will be up toTom, Elanor, Sebastion and Quinn to save their people but danger is all around. Their mission is to find four magical mythical beasts but the task is not an easy one. Nowhere is safe and they are the most unlikely of heroes. Will they escape, will they find the beasts? This is the first book out of five in a new fantasy series.

Fast paced and perfect for middle grade readers.

Click to visit the Impossible Quest site and find out more info and have some fun.

 

Where is Rusty?

By Sieb Posthuma

Translated by Bill Nagelkerke

ISBN 9781927271469

Gecko Press

 

rusty (Small)

Rusty, Henrietta, Toby and Rusty’s mum hop on a bus and go in to town. The department store they enter is busy so like any caring mum, Rusty’s mother asks them all “So what do we do?”

“We all stay together” they chant. And of course like any good story – someone doesn’t listen.  Yes! Rusty is just a little too curious for his own good and ends up getting lost. Upon hearing some guards discussing what they will do to stray dogs, Rusty flees through the ventilation pipes where it is dark and scary. Will he find his way back? Has his family even noticed he has gone missing?

Bright colours, and quirky illustrations, Rusty’s  little adventure will definitely delight younger children.

Nightmares

By Jason Segel and Kirsty Miller

ISBN: 978-0-385-74425-6

 

Nightmares is the first book in a trilogy about a boy named Charlie and his friends who must  find the courage to save their town.

Charlie is sure his new step mother is secretly a witch. After moving in to a purple mansion which is very scary, especially after dark, he is even more convinced.

Scary nightmares are coming out of his dreams and in to the day time world. Will he have to courage to defend himself and will he ever be able to sleep without the lights on again.
This sounds so cool and just perfect for middle graders who love to scare themselves silly but enjoy a laugh or two as well.
I will be keeping an eye out for this one and I just hope it won’t be long as I want to read it right now!
Just look at the trailer – perfect.

 

You can do it, Bert

By Ole Konnecke

ISBN 9781927271438

Gecko Press

bert

This is a gorgeous picture book about Bert, a young bird who is ready and waiting to take a risk and do something he hasn’t done before. He is ready both mentally and physically, but perhaps just not on the first attempt. But Bert doesn’t give up. Will he succeed – of course! This is perfect for children who may just need a little encouragement to try something new. This could just as easily be a book about starting school. Simplistic in its style, both illustrative and textually, allows the characters to be the centre of the story. Great for pre-school.

Teacher notes can be found here to make the most of this picture book.

 

 

I don’t want to go to school
By Stephanie Blake

9781877579080

Gecko Press

school (Small)

Simon the rabbit is back! We all fell in love with Simon in the best-selling book Poo bum. Well Simon is now about to start school and he really doesn’t want to go. No matter how hard his family try to coax him, he repeatedly tells them “I don’t want to go to school”. Does he go? And if he does what is going to happen? Bright colours, simple story that captures the feelings and anxieties about starting school but with a great outcome which is sure to appeal to young children in the same situation.