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Each week our team of book lovers choose a selection of books they have loved and think deserve an extra shout out. Everyone fights to get theirs on the list. Here are this week’s faves...
Number 11 in the Baby Aliens series, A Monster Ate My Packed Lunch sees Izzy and her class plus their long-suffering teachers heading off on a school activities trip. On the official agenda is raft-building, a nature walk and a ropes course, but, as we’ve come to expect, things turn out to be a lot more surprising, risky and dramatic. Together the gang has seen off Yetis, Demon Dinner Ladies and Vampire Rats, but can they cope with Camp Mentors’ monster? As always in this hugely popular series, the story is laugh-out-loud funny, the humour driven by Butchart’s exuberant imagination and perfectly captured child’s-eye-view of life. Packed with illustrations by Thomas Flintham, this is just right for newly confident readers.
July 2021 Debut of the Month | Set in the world of gaming, Jamie Russell’s SkyWake Invasion is packed with peril, quips and gaming blips that turn out to have real-life repercussions. Fifteen-year-old gamer Casey is a whizz at the SkyWake computer game and leads an online team. When invited to play at a live tournament in London she’s forced to come clean being a girl. With her adorable younger brother Pete in tow (he’s also a keen gamer), she disproves prejudice against girl gamers in the most unlikely and terrifying of circumstances when it turns out that SkyWake is far more than a game. It is, in fact, a training scheme for evil aliens looking to recruit top gamers to fight in a war. Worse still, they’ve captured Pete, and Casey must muster all her leadership and gaming skills to save him. Interwoven to the action-packed alien adventure are themes of friendship, teamwork and proving prejudice wrong, and a narrative that skips back to scenes of Casey with her deceased dad, a bomb disposal expert who had a passion for arcade games. All of which means the funny, fast-paced tale has emotional resonance. Ending on a heart-pounding cliff-hanger, the stage is set for what promises to be an epic second instalment of the SkyWake trilogy.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month July 2021 | A new hilarious adventure for the ever- engaging Anisha and her family. Life in Anisha’s family is never straightforward…This time, the whole lot of them are off to Leicester for a special festival. Luckily, Leicester is also the home of the National Space Centre which Anisha and Milo have always wanted to visit. The Mistry family journey would be a drama in itself but things get much, much more exciting when they get to Leicester and find that the famous, hugely valuable diamond that should be on display as the centre piece of the festival has gone missing. Can Anisha’s granny really be the person who stole it as the police think? Anisha needs her best detective skills to free her granny from suspicion and find the real thieves. Our Kids Reader Review Panel reviewed the second in this series, School's Cancelled - find out what they thought!
A proper, old-fashioned (in the best sense) mystery story, A M Howell’s book poses a series of puzzles for its young protagonist Nancy to solve. It’s 1910 and Halley’s Comet is blazing closer to earth, provoking hysteria amongst some members of the public. It certainly seems to be having a strange effect on Nancy’s mother who suddenly takes her two daughters on a secret visit to their grandfather – the grandfather she’d told them was dead. His Sussex village seems normal but below the surface things are far from happy. As she finds out more, Nancy realises it’s in her hands to heal the village and the family she never knew she had. The story is clever, involving and delightfully atmospheric with the village providing some excellent settings – eerie old houses, gorgeous ballrooms, a dismal prison. With her new friend and associate grocer’s boy Burch, Nancy uncovers lies, deceit and corruption, and learns the power of speaking up.
In a medieval land where dinosaurs still roam, lowly stable boy Henry Fairchild joins the brave Dino Knights and rides into adventure on the back of a T-Rex. A fast-paced action adventure series about bravery, friendship, and being your best self.
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Steve Cole’s gripping treasure hunt story is even more compelling because it is set in a real place, somewhere most of us have never heard of. Theo lives in the world’s biggest e-waste dump, Agbogbloshie in Ghana. The same age as readers, he makes a living sorting through the junk that people like us throw out – mobile phones, old DVD players, Xbox machines – and salvaging scraps of metal that he sells for cash, earning just enough to pay for food but nothing like what he needs to escape. So when Emanuel turns up asking Theo for help to find his big brother’s treasure, Theo is in; this could be his chance to escape Trashland. Their search is even more dangerous than Theo expects. Other people are after the hidden treasure too and Emanuel is anything but trustworthy. The story is tense and exciting, and readers will feel they are there with the boys, digging through the broken electronics, choking on the dump’s noxious fumes. Things work out well for Theo in the end – it would be too agonising for the readership if they didn’t – but readers will be very aware that there are many real life Theos and Emanuels still digging through the rubbish in Trashland. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+