A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2018 | Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 Former Children’s Laureate Malorie Blackman tells a gripping adventure story of a school trip that goes horribly wrong. Sam longs to go on the school trip to the Highlands but he is sure his parents will say no as he has a long term sickness - sickle cell disease – which means he needs to be looked after carefully. When they surprisingly say yes, Sam is thrilled. But his delight soon turn to fear as he realises that the class bullies are planning something that is designed to humiliate him but which will end up putting them all at risk. How Sam deals with the bullies, including showing incredible courage in rescuing one from real danger, and how he deals with his own illness with another kind of bravery is all brilliantly captured in Malorie Blackman’s vivid drama.
In a nutshell: contemporary comedy adventure Ben Davis does a great line in down-trodden teenage boys and employs it to great effect in his new novel. Freddie Smallhouse is living through the worst year of his life: after the failure of his business his father is now employed testing out the protective padding used to train police dogs (ouch) while the family are living with boring Uncle Barry and about to be made homeless. No wonder life coach Chuck Willard’s Complete Road to Awesomeness Program seems to be Freddie’s last hope. A series of hilarious episodes follow as Freddie tries and spectacularly fails to achieve awesomeness before a surprising, funny but touching happy ending. The laughs come fast and furious, but for all the silliness there’s a real sense of the importance of family, friends and relationships too. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell: Wimpy Kid meets The Inbetweeners | This is the fourth and sadly the final book in the Private Blog of Joe Cowley series, and Joe will be much missed. In this episode he’s in London living with his friends Sound Experience band members Harry, Ad and Greeny, independent for the first time ever (except for their chaperone the super-strict Mrs Gleba), he’s got a cool older girlfriend, and is smiling so much he looks like the Joker in a wind tunnel. Joe being Joe of course, things are bound to go awry. Joe’s voice is one of the funniest in teen literature, his comments on life and he and his mates’ way of living it are spot on, and the books’ mix of text and cool illustration really appealing. There aren’t enough funny male central characters for this age group but fans of Joe Cowley would also enjoy Tom Easton’s Boys Don’t Knit or Don Calame’s Swim the Fly. ~ Andrea Reece
In a nutshell; a dad's gotta do... The title of this book will be irresistible to young readers and the story, a mix of comedy and family drama, won't disappoint them. Nelson's dad turns from frustrated estate agent to evangelical tree-hugger overnight when Nelson's mum leaves them. He sells the house, and Nelson's beloved X-box too and moves them to middle-of-nowhere Norfolk. When his obsession with a TV survivalist gets out of hand Nelson determines to get Mum home and sets up a blog to raise the money he'll need. It takes off and no wonder when his dad becomes the unintended star. There are lots of funny scenes, but readers will understand too Nelson's worries for his dad and see how much he and his little sister need their mum.Recommended for readers of Frank Cottrell Boyce and David Solomons who also write comedy stories based in family life and love. ~ Andrea Reece
After a mischievous leprechaun makes a mess of the band room, the Gingerbread Man vows to catch him. He follows the leprechaun's clues all around the building finding chaos everywhere - even in the library! But then he finds the worst clue of all. It says the leprechaun's next target might be a house made of gingerbread! Luckily, the Gingerbread Man makes it to his classroom in time to set a trap for the leprechaun. He'll show that mischief maker that he messed with the wrong cookie this time. I'm on a mission! I've got a good plan. I can catch him! I'm the Gingerbread Man!
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