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In a Nutshell: Magic | Murder | Mystical plague | This satisfying sequel to Spellslinger sizzles with sorcery, secrets and a slathering of swindle and comes highly-recommended for fans of funny fantasy. Though darker than its predecessor, this is still driven by cinematic scope, and by Kellen’s quirks and self-depreciating tone. “I made a terrible outlaw. I couldn’t hunt worth a damn, got lost just about everywhere I went, and it seemed like every person I met found some perfectly sensible reason to try to rob me or kill me.’ Kellen has made the (perhaps not unexpected) discovery that he’s a hopeless fugitive - this is classic crisis of confidence stuff. He’s an on-the-run outlaw, with allies who aren’t exactly delivering on the helping-him-through front. The plot twists and thickens when a mysterious blindfolded girl embroils him in a web of murder and magic, not to mention the ‘shadowblack’ plague. What a whirlwind of Wild West-ism and witty wonder this is. ~ Joanne Owen
In a nutshell: anarchic fun and adventure in Bitterly Bay Spangles McNasty is one of those children’s book characters readers just love to hate. He’s irredeemably horrible – indeed, he prides himself on his nastiness – and his sidekick Sausage-face Pete is no nicer. In this new escapade, the two are plotting to steal the star exhibit from the Bitterly Bay museum’s new pirate exhibition, a diamond encrusted pirate hat. As fans of the series will know, Spangles is highly likely to be hoist by the petard of his own greed and ineptitude, while young Freddie Taylor is wise to his tricks too and there to frustrate them. It’s all good, disgusting fun, inventive, surprising and full of the wordplay and zany humour that delights readers. ~ Andrea Reece Perfect for fans of Mr Gum readers who enjoy the adventures of Spangles McNasty will also like William Sutcliffe’s Circus of Thieves books.
Jamie Grimm is back, and if you don't know why that's cause for celebration then it's time to wise up. Jamie is the star of the best-selling Middle School series by James Patterson and Chris Grabenstein. Slick, sharp and effortlessly readable the books describe Jamie's exploits as America's funniest stand-up kid comic - or sit-down comic as Jamie would insist (he uses a wheelchair following a car accident). In this episode, Jamie is off on an international tour to compete for the title of the Planet's Funniest Kid Comic: a dream come true, or the stuff of his nightmares as Jamie worries he's only ever got the sympathy vote? There are laughs galore - Jamie really is very funny, and watch out for Peter Kay's guest appearance - but underneath it all there's lots too about the importance of friends and family, and why we need laughter to bring the world together. Give it up for Jamie Grimm everyone!
In a nutshell: comic capers deliver sensitive story of grief and recovery Arnold is unlike anyone Leon has ever met before. He’s honest to the point of rudeness, takes everything said completely literally, yet still has a way of identifying what’s really important to people. The two become friends and – unknown to his family – Leon moves Arnold in while his foster parents are away. It doesn’t take long for Arnold to realise that the family, grieving the death of Leon’s twin Lenny, desperately need to start talking again. Amongst madcap adventures, including an inadvertent robbery attempt on a bank, comes real understanding and a sense of healing. Rob Stevens manages to tell a story of heartbreak with humour and sensitivity and readers will be left feeling genuinely uplifted for knowing Leon and Arnold. ~ Andrea Reece
Everyone at Barry's school has gone football crazy, but Barry gets thrown out of the team (the Mogden Maniacs) for being completeerly rubbish. Then it turns out that his best friend Bunky is a super striker - so Barry becomes his manager. The cup final match is approaching and Bunky's getting carried away with his football fame - can Barry keep his head in the game? Join everyone's favourite Loser on his tenth hilarious adventure! Barry Loser: I am not a loser was selected as a Tom Fletcher Book Club 2017 title. Future Ratboy and the Invasion of the Nom Noms is shortlisted for the Lollies Award 2017.
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.
We’re used to the Little Princess behaving badly, but this new story shows a different side to her, and is surprisingly tender. She’s proud of her dad, the king, but still wishes he could do things the other dads in the palace can, and, for example, teach her to ride and cook, and swim. Her maid takes it upon herself to instruct her little mistress in these things, but things don’t go well. Feeling fed up and a failure, there’s only one person the Little Princess wants, only one person who can make her smile again … The illustrations have the boundless energy that is the hallmark of Tony Ross, but are also full of warmth and affection. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: llama football stars called up for England at the World Cup | Llamas United took the footballing (and book) world by storm in their first adventure, and will win more readers still with their second. Real llamas, they are brilliant footballers, thanks to having eaten the ashes of one of the world’s best players, and their manager young Tim Gravy is determined to take them to the World Cup. And let’s face it, the England national team could do with a shake up! There are some hurdles to overcome, ensuring the llamas and human players bond for example, working out just what is upsetting Tim’s friend and team trainer Cairo, not to mention portions of poisoned lasagne, but it all comes to a climax – doesn’t it always? – with England versus Germany in the final. Wonderfully silly, completely engaging and with top class footballing action, this is one for football fans everywhere. ~ Andrea Reece
Lemony Snicket's simply told story offers a refreshing, thoughtful, and hilarious look at the ways in which a bad mood wreaks havoc as it moves from person to person, leaving an unexpected trail of surprise in its wake: opportunities for laughter, forgiveness and even love.
The bestselling fully-illustrated Tom Gates series is back with a new book! This book is VERY important because it contains BISCUITS, BANDS and all my (doodled) plans to make DogZombies the BEST band in the world. MY VERY BIG PLAN: 1. Write more songs about VERY important things like... ... biscuits 2. Make sure there's a good supply of SNACKS for our band practice 3. Avoid Delia at ALL COSTS, she thinks I've been SNOOPING in her room. (I have.) 4. DOODLE as much as possible, especially if Marcus is watching
In a nutshell: can one boy and four iguanas save the world? You betcha There might be a lot of superhero books around at the moment, but Iguana Boy proves that there’s plenty of wear yet in the genre’s cape, and a real twang to its underpants elastic! Dylan has given up on developing a superpower – particularly annoying as both brother and sister have one – when suddenly he discovers he can talk to his pet iguana, Paul, and indeed to all iguanas. It might not be the most obvious superpower, but when the Platypus Kid launches a bid for world domination, Iguana Boy is there to take her on. Dylan and his band of iguana sidekicks make great central characters and the story is told in a fun mix of text and tongue-in-cheek comic strip. Daft, original, funny and full of surprises, Iguana Boy is a real treat. Shelve next to My Brother is a Superhero, Hamish and the Worldstoppers and Kid Normal. ~ Andrea Reece
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