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All her life Cass has dreamt of joining the circus to become an acrobat and travel the islands on the Circus Boat. Once a year the boat visits her home, the Great City of Minaris, and offers auditions to hopeful trapeze artists and acrobats, before sailing off again for another year. This year Cass is determined it’s her time and so she prepares for the most important performance of her life. Unfortunately the opportunity is missed and so she hatches a new plan and soon finds herself on a ship bound to the mysterious Island of Women. Unknowingly Cass is sailing towards an adventure that will lead her through dangerous waters where pirates hold a reign of terror and you don’t know who you can trust. This is a wonderful story full of acrobatics, sword fights and even a little magic, as Cass must escape the clutches of thieves and pirates. Empowered by the friends she holds dear, a good dose of courage and the passion to follow her dreams, Cass embarks on a gripping adventure that will lead her to the group of women who are the mysterious, Company of Eight. Thoroughly gripping and enjoyable and hopefully the start of many a tale starring the adventurous, brave and lovable Cass. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
Winner of the 2018 Blue Peter Awards - Best Story | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month May 2018 | Best-selling Cressida Cowell launches her new series with a title that will delight all fans of the How to Train Your Dragon series. Set deep in an enchanting forest, this is a charming story full of Cowell’s trade mark humour and total command of mystery and magic and how it fits seamlessly into everyday life. From two opposing tribes – the Warriors and the Wizards – come two opposing characters, Xar, a young Wizard boy who has no command of magic and will fight anyone he can in order to get it, and Wish, a Warrior girl who is imbued with all kinds of magic that she should never have had access to. Xar and Wish should never meet and never become friends. But they do and together they brave the hidden dungeons in Warrior Fort to uncover a great mystery. Julia Eccleshare's Picks of the Month for May 2018 Square by Mac Barnett A Skinful of Shadows by Frances Hardinge A Perfect Day by Lane Smith Gaspard the Fox by Zeb Soanes & James Mayhew Wonder Goal! by Michael Foreman The Sand Dog by Sarah Lean The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell Plantopedia by Adrienne Barman
Aru Shah is an average twelve-year old, not particularly attentive at school, but keenly aware of the importance of fitting in, which sometimes leads her to lie to impress her classmates. So when she’s caught out at home in her Spider-man pyjamas, not Paris as she’d claimed, she does the only thing she can to reclaim credibility and lights the cursed lamp her mother has told her always to avoid. That awakens a demon who in turn aims to wake up the Lord of Destruction, and bring about the end of the world. Only Aru and another kid Mini can stop it. It helps that they’re both reincarnations of the Pandava brothers and descended from the gods, and that they have a pigeon-shaped divine sidekick, Boo. Their adventures are as thrilling as any of Percy Jackson’s as they face a terrifying set of monsters all out to kill them. It makes great reading, and Aru keeps up a running commentary that is very funny indeed.
William Wenton is something of a bionic boy; half of his body is a hi-tech metal called luridium, and this gives him special mental powers. But something – or someone – is interfering with it, causing him all sort of problems and putting his life in danger. He’s recalled to the mysterious Institute for Post-Human Research, but quickly discovers he’s not save there either. It seems even his old friends aren’t to be trusted, and there are some very ruthless people out to get him. Technology, intrigue and double-double crossings make this a thrilling adventure for fans of Alex Rider, and it all comes to a terrific climax on the snowy mountains of the Himalayas.
A group of undocumented children with letters for names, are stuck living in a refugee camp, with stories to tell but no papers to prove them. As they try to forge a new family amongst themselves, they also long to keep memories of their old identities alive. Will they be heard and believed? And what will happen to them if they aren't? An astonishing piece of writing that will enchant and intrigue children; perfectly pitched at a 9+ readership.
It’s not easy being immortal in Rick Riordan’s Greek-myth inspired sagas, and Apollo has every right to feel fed up in this one. As punishment for misdemeanours, he’s been sent to Earth by Zeus to live as a mortal teenager. Not only has he various heroic quests to fulfil, none of them easy, he has all the indignities of adolescence to cope with too; no wonder the book opens with his exclamation, ‘Gods, I hate my life!’. Cruising into Indiana aboard their flying metal dragon, he and his divine friends Leo and Calypso immediately run into trouble in the form of non-human adversaries, and from then on the action is fast, furious and often very funny. Once again, Riordan mixes adventure and mythology, delivering it all via his sharp, sassy teen characters. It makes for irresistible reading, and Riordan really is ‘storyteller of the gods’. Readers who haven’t read the Percy Jackson books, which are referenced throughout this series, really should. More more larger than life adventure, Derek Landy’s Demon Road series is more gruesome, but just as addictive and entertaining.
Selected by a distinguished independent panel of experts including our editorial expert, Julia Eccleshare, for Diverse Voices - 50 of the best Children's Books celebrating cultural diversity in the UK. A beautiful new edition of the first volume in the Surya Trilogy by Whitbread award-winning author Jamila Gavin. India, August 1947: Fleeing from their burnt-out village as civil war rages in the Punjab, Marvinder and Jaspal are separated from their mother, Jhoti. Marvinder has already saved her brother's life once, but now they both face a daily fight for survival. Together they escape across India and nearly halfway around the world to England, to find a father they hardly know in a new, hostile culture...
May 2018 MEGA Book of the Month | In a nutshell: gods and monsters, heroism and humour | The Burning Maze is book three in Riordan’s The Trials of Apollo series, and the best yet. It opens with Apollo, trapped on Earth in the form of spotty teenager Lester Papadopoulos, struggling through an underground Labyrinth. He and his companions, pushy twelve-old demigod called Meg, and satyr Grover Underwood, are on the trail of one of the five great Oracles, racing to find it before it falls into the hands of an evil Roman emperor. They barely make it to the end of the first chapter before they’re attacked by monsters … No-one can beat Riordan for action scenes, and Apollo’s sardonic running commentary on his misery is very funny indeed. We’re used to him being arrogant, selfish and annoying, but could there be signs that he’s changing, and becoming – gulp – a bit more human, as well as mortal? One thing’s for certain, the ending will surprise everyone, and leave readers desperate for the next instalment. Riordan rules! ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: comic-book inspired crime story | The action in this exciting crime story is set in a comic shop, and come-strip sensibilities inspire the whole adventure. The Cosmic Comic Shop and adjoining café are threatened with closure by ruthless developers and the one thing that might cover the rent and save the day is a rare edition of a Komodo Jones comic. When it disappears, young friends Zac and Coco set out to find the villains, using everything they’ve learned from reading about Komodo and her crime-solving techniques. They are as lively a pair of protagonists as you could hope to meet and there are twists, turns and surprises galore as the story unfolds. Each chapter opens with a Komodo Jones comic front cover – someone should publish those stories too! ~ Andrea Reece One to recommend to fans of the Ruby Redfort stories by Lauren Child.
May 2018 Book of the Month | Wonderful rhyme carries you through this rollicking ride through the wild west and a town they called Fear, whose scary inhabitants wear rattlesnake socks, chew rocks and and soon leave newcomer, the colourful and jolly Bingo B. Brown without his cheerful grin. Bingo soon discovers that as scary as the cowboys in town are, the wildest, scariest cowboy of all comes calling after dark. Frightened by the tales he hears of this terrible stranger, Bingo and his dog decide to leave town. They soon discover that you can't run away from the things that scare you as they come face to face with the fear spreading cowboy. Bingo soon finds his courage though and before long this baddie goes from spiteful to delightful. This is an absolute joy to read and is packed full of fun and colourful illustrations that complement the story perfectly. ~ Shelley Fallows - You can also find Shelley here.
Riga is the setting for this fairy-tale like adventure, and the city is depicted so clearly that it’s almost a character in the story. Jacob lives with his father and, often lonely, distracts himself by drawing maps of the city and dreaming about its myths, especially the one that says when the city is finally complete, all building work finished, its river will rise up and flood the streets. When he’s sent across town to stay with his uncle and cousin, he finds himself caught up in a battle against developers with – of all things – a pack of talking dogs at his side. The real world and magic mix in a story that will wriggle its way into children’s imaginations and stay there for a long time.
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