1. The Cryptic Casebook of Coco Carlomagno (and Alberta) Books 1-3 by Ursula Dubosarsky and illustrated by Terry Denton
The Perplexing Pineapple'?
In each of these books the reader is invited to share the challenge of solving these unlikely mysteries through an amusing storyline and with cryptic clues, puzzles and word games. Denton's illustrations and Dubosarsky's funny texts will appeal to any young reader who likes the zany and somewhat silly scenarios. The texts are not difficult, but the stories will appeal to brighter youngsters who enjoy the challenge of word play and puzzles. A quirky new series that children will love.
2. The Sword Girl Series by Frances Watts
I have reviewed the Sword Girl series in a previous post last year and interviewed the author Ali Lavau (A.K.A. Frances Watts) HERE. Since then she has published two more 'The Terrible Trickster' and 'Pigeon Problems'. The books are illustrated by Gregory Rogers.
The central character in each book is Tommy (short for Thomasina) who is a feisty kitchen hand who longs to be a knight. When Tommy, through a series of unusual events, is finally promoted to Keeper of the Blades, her life changes. As Frances Watts shares in her interview responses in my previous post, Tommy is "a girl who wasn’t a princess or a fairy, who could be kind and thoughtful and empathetic yet still be active and adventurous and ambitious". This is the perfect book series for girls who love adventure, action and want an alternative to stereotypical books for girls.
In 'The Terrible Trickster' someone is turning Flamant Castle into a state of turmoil. Who has put sneezing powder in the knights' soup and itching powder in Sir Walter's sheets? Then, there is the changing of the salt for sugar in Mrs Moon's kitchen. All these tricks seem funny at first, but Sir Benedict is not amused. Tommy is accused of these deeds and threatens to send her away from the castle. Can she find who the real trickster is before she is banished?
Pigeon Problems' Sir Walter is planning a celebration at Flamant Castle for Lady Beatrix's birthday. Games and competitions are planned as well as a surprise party. All seem excited at the castle except the pigeon. But the pigeon is needed for a very special job and he is suddenly missing. Can Tommy find her friend and save the day?
3. 'Cartboy and the Time Capsule' by L.A. Campbell
This is the first book by this American author. In her first junior novel she tells the tale of the 'horrific historic, and hilarious' year of school for sixth grader Hal Rifkind, who has the unfortunate nickname of 'Cartboy'. Hal's hilarious journal will hold the attention of most 10-12 year old readers and amuse them along the way.
Hal has some disadvantages in life, like having to share a bedroom with twin baby sisters Bea and Perrie - with his bed between their cots. And then, there was his Dad's solution to the great weight of books that he had to take to school. A new Ziptuk E300S scooter that every boy would love? No! Instead he gives his son a shopping trolley to drag his books to school. The woes of Hal make compelling and amusing reading. This is a great first children's book from Lori Campbell.
4. 'Shot, Boom, Score!' by Justin Brown
5. 'My Life as an Alphabet' by Barry Jonsberg
This isn't just about me. It's also about the other people in my life - my mother, my father, my dead sister Sky, my penpal Denille, Rich Uncle Brian, Earth-Pig Fish and Douglas Benson From Another Dimension. These are people [with the exception of Earth-Pig Fish, who is a fish] who have shaped me, made me what I am. I cannot recount my life without recounting elements of theirs. This is a big task, but I am confident I am up to it.
Candice takes her through the alphabetical A-Z experiences of her life:
A is for assignment - A recount on her life, how could that go wrong?And so on. Each chapter is a recount by Candice of some part of her life, and each is very funny. Barry Jonsberg does a wonderful job communicating an authentic voice for this slightly crazy (well at least quirky) twelve-year-old girl. Ten to twelve year old Girls (and boys) will love this book
B is for birth - "I wasn't there at my birth", well not "as a reliable witness", so what was it like?
C is for chaos - "Classrooms are battlegrounds."
6. 'Don' Look Now' series by Paul Jennings and illustrated by Andrew Weldon
Paul Jennings needs no introduction, he is one of Australia's most popular writers of children's books. With over 100 titles to his name he has an international following. This latest series of 'small' books for 7-11 year old readers will be well received. The books are a collaboration between author and illustrator, as many of his books are. Andrew Weldon has a done a great job to support Jenning's text with his amusing line drawings, maps, diagrams, lists and so on. The books centre on 'Ricky an ordinary boy...' who always seems to be having unusual and exciting adventures.
Don't Look Now: Book 1 - Falling for It and The Kangapoo Key Ring', Ricky can fly, well sometimes. You knew there would be a hitch. Ricky has a very active imagination. When most kids look at the clouds they see basic stuff, a dog, a car, a bear... But not Ricky, he sees a "stallion wild and free", it stands 22 hands high and is surrounded by a herd of other horses. In 'Book 2 - A Magician Never Tells and Elephant Bones' we have two stories about Ricky the boy who can fly (sometimes). In the first he discovers another thing about himself. He can do magic. In the second he discovers buried treasure in his yard, an elephant! In 'Book Three - Hair Cut and Just a Nibble' Ricky is desperate to impress Samantha. He wants to be famous! He can't let her see him fly, but he's willing to try almost anything else. In 'Book 4: Hobby Farm and Seeing Red' the relationship with Samantha grows, but still his desire to be famous is strong. Can he realise this dream even though he can't let anyone know he can fly?
Each of the books is a very easy read. Children aged 6-11 will enjoy the books, and given the amount of illustrations, it will be a quick read in spite of the 200 pages plus length of each book. The books are physically small (13 by 16 cm). I'm sure they will be very popular.