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Fast-paced and very funny, Eddy Stone’s new adventure involves wizards, emperors, talking (dancing) camels and lots more that is very silly indeed. It all begins when Eddy buys a parcel of stuff in the house clearance at the town’s old manor. It turns out to contain a wizard with no body and a curse. He has to give everyone a wish, but they never work out as the wisher wanted. For example, when Eddy’s dad wishes he could sit around in front of the TV all day, he turns into a sofa. The only way Eddy can put things right is by heading to the wizard’s home in another magical land. The adventure that follows is consistently inventive, packed with cracking one-liners and lots of very funny set ups. There are two other Eddy Stone adventures, and I’d recommend you buy the lot.
Ermine is a stoat-ally adorable heroine – smart, independent but child-like, she enjoys nothing more than exploring new cities and making new friends. Fresh from a sojourn in New York, she arrives in Sydney to stay with the city’s star opera singer, though she’s mostly in the company of the diva’s granddaughter Butterfly. The two have great fun together – though only Ermine’s quick thinking and quicker fingers save them from falling from the top of the Sydney Harbour Bridge! A run in with a ruthless rival in the finals of Australia’s Most Awesome Animal Show allows for more excitement and comedy too. Jennifer Gray’s sprightly storytelling packs a huge amount into the short extent, and there’s lots readers will relish. Elisa Paganelli’s illustrations give Ermine the look of Audrey Hepburn, and this is a thoroughly stylish, well turned-out series.
Special Hardback and CD Edition. Best-selling duo Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb reunite in a lovely story that begins in a Year One classroom before taking us on an exciting, fantastical journey. Scenes in the classroom and at home with the children as they play with their shared Everywhere Bear are beautifully depicted in Donaldson’s nimble rhyming text and Cobb’s sketchy, lithe illustrations. Their imaginations take flight when the poor bear is lost, swept down a drain and into the sea in dramatic scenes before finally, almost miraculously, he’s reunited with Class One. In the hands of star author and illustrator, it all makes for an exceptionally satisfying adventure for young readers, with much they’ll recognise, much to make them wonder. ~ Andrea Reece Best-selling Julia Donaldson and Rebecca Cobb create some wonderful adventures for the much-loved class bear in this warm-hearted and dramatic story with a strong classroom background. One thing is for sure - the Everywhere Bear knows that his life will never be dull! He goes home with a different child every weekend and no-one knows what surprises the weekend will bring! ~ Julia Eccleshare
Sisters Imogen and Isabel Greenberg make brilliant use of the comic book/graphic novel format to tell stories of Athena, probably the most appealing of all the Greek goddesses, weaving different myths into one coherent adventure. It starts as Athena springs from Zeus's head fully armed and 'ready to do battle in the world'; next is the story of her relationship with Athens and, more crucially, rivalry with Poseidon, then interventions in human lives with Perseus and Arachne (the latter a good learning experience for the goddess), before the lead up to the Trojan war and finally the wanderings of Odysseus. The stories are unbeatable and text and illustrations do them full justice. A terrific introduction to the world of Greek mythology and a great bit of storytelling.
From the moment he discovered he’s a sort of hero, with special powers and the ability to move into a magic world, Ned’s adventures have held readers spellbound. The Darkening Path brings the series to a conclusion, and it’s every bit as thrilling as we’ve come to expect. As the world of Hidden begins to fall apart, Ned and his companions including robot mouse Whiskers and huge familiar Gorrn, travel to far off places including the forests of Siberia to rally an army to take on his enemies. Of all people, the Armstrongs deserve a happy ending, but will they get it? Inventive, exciting, page-turning magical adventure, with a fair few laughs as well. We’ll miss Ned and co!
What a fun, fast-paced tale this is. A quirky comedy of errors populated by vampires and their hunters, and witches, all of whom live in an apparently ordinary town. Etty (“I hate Henrietta”) Steele is certainly no ordinary girl though. She’s a vampire hunter in-waiting with a tough, pushy mum. Since Etty longs for a normal life and to be allowed to hang out with her best (and only) friend April, plenty of comic conflict comes courtesy of the pull between the otherworldly and normal aspects of Etty’s life. Except it turns out that April isn’t exactly normal, and neither is Vladimir Nox, the pale, bowtie-wearing new boy at school. An action-packed mystery unfolds when it transpires that powerful vampires are plotting dastardly deeds, alongside heartwarming messages of friendship, not judging people because they’re different, and kindness (“There’s always a way to protect the ones we love without hurting anyone”). Recommended for readers who enjoyed Emma Fischel’s Witchworld series and Chris Riddell’s Goth Girl Joanne Owen
Zoe and X are soulmates, even though she’s a 21st century teenager and he’s a bounty hunter from the Lowlands, ie Hell. They were brought together in The Edge of Everything, but separated at the end when he sacrificed himself for her and returned to the Lowlands. But never say forever – in this equally torrid and thrilling episode the two are reunited, Zoe recklessly plunging into the underworld to find X, now involved in a search for his missing mother. The book’s appeal lies not just in its steamy romance; Zoe is a sharp, appealing character and readers will love the supporting cast too. Despite being set in Hell, there are a surprising numbers of laughs while the ending will satisfy everyone.
Pity the poor McScurvy children, Vic and Bert – they used to sail the ocean with their pirate parents, until they lost their ship. Now they have to wear shoes and do homework. And their baby sister Maud is an absolute terror, a blue-eyed, golden-haired tyrant! Maud it is who sparks the adventure, one that will bring the children – and some newly made frenemies – up against Captain Guillemot the Third, aka the Hipster Ripster. At stake is their ship, their future, and the family treasure the Blighty Bling. It’s fast and funny, and a great example of kids versus adults adventure: the junior McScurvys may squabble a bit, but they are loyal, brave and determined. Great fun, and Eric Heyman’s black and white illustrations add to the sense of excitement and adventure.
Anthony Horowitz’s announcement that he was writing a new Alex Rider book was one of the best bits of literary news of the last year. Now the book is here, and Never Say Die sees Alex Rider at his daring best. After the shocking climax to Scorpia Rising Alex is living in San Francisco with his friend Sabina’s family. When he receives a cryptic email implying his guardian Jack Starbright may still be alive Alex is on a plane to Cairo in no time following up the lead. The adventure brings him back up against his enemies the Grimaldis, and Mrs Jones of MI6 reappears too. To describe the action as fast-paced is an understatement but there’s always time for sardonic humour. The fight scenes of course are superb. For adrenaline-filled, addictive adventure, Alex Rider is unbeatable, and it’s great to have him back. There are nine other Alex Rider books, all excellent, and readers should also look at Steve Cole’s Young Bond books.