Thursday, 29 October 2015

ReadItDaddy's Spooky pre-halloween Chapter Book and Early Readers Roundup - October 2015 with dragons, twins, cats, beautiful music, zombies, fabulous castles and an awesome new mighty girl! Yay!

Welcome, pray WELCOME to our pre-halloween spooky surreal Chapter Book and Early Readers roundup for October. This month we've got a huge teetering pile of fantastic new releases to tackle so let's light the pumpkin lantern and get cracking with our first book, a glorious dark and delicious fantasy epic from New York Times bestselling author Chris D'Lacey.

Chris is a dragon-master, and his stories often revolve around our favourite mythical creatures. In book one of "The Erth Dragons" - The Wearle" - Dragons return to Erth to trace the fate of a lost colony, disappeared many years before but vital to the survival of the species. One lone dragon, Gabrial, is young and restless and desperate to prove his worth to his betters. But the mission is fraught with danger as it soon becomes apparent that the dragons are not the only creatures on Erth...

Chris builds a fantasy world that is rich and glorious, and his dragon characters erupt with all too human frailties and qualities instantly making the story feel fresh and original. "The Erth Dragons Book 1: The Wearle" was released on October 1st 2015 by Orchard Books - utterly essential for young fantasy fans!

A complete change of pace now - Meet two tempestuous scamps you really wouldn't want to meet while out trick-or-treating, and who seem to cause chaos wherever they go...

Claudia and Reese - otherwise known as "The Tapper Twins" are the stars of a new series of books by Geoff (Daddy Day Care) Rodkey, recently released by Orion Books. In "The Tapper Twins Go to War (with each other)" sibling rivalry comes to a head as Claudia and Reese clash spectacularly over - well the sort of things siblings always fall out over (like who stole the last cinnamon pastry at breakfast - Important stuff!)

Wars are terrible things but war breaks out, sneaky dirty sibling war with each party convinced beyond all reasonable doubt that they're in the right. But is it a war that can be won?

Brilliant comedic stuff, acutely observed and for those with an annoying sibling (twin or otherwise) you'll be laughing in recognition of the sort of sneaky underhand tricks brothers and sisters will play on each other in order to gain the upper hand.

Sticking with the Tapper Twins for a moment, things don't get any easier when they go on holiday either...

In "The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York", Claudia and Reese hit the Big Apple - hit being the operative word here - with an ill-judged scavenger hunt causing abject chaos in the sprawling metropolis.

If you think two kids are incapable of breaking just about every bylaw in the book, or nearly causing a calamitous catastrophe at one of the world's most well-loved landmarks think again!

Once again Geoff's writing is fast paced and hilarious, firing off a ton of brilliant observational gags as the two siblings once again fall out and nearly end up on the wrong side of the law (and completely the wrong side of town!)

Both "The Tapper Twins Go to War (with Each Other)" and "The Tapper Twins Tear Up New York" were released on 24th September 2015, published by Orion Children's books.

Phew, we've still got a couple more books to take a look at so what's next, Miss Charlotte?

"Catlantis" is a fantastic story that proves what most cat owners have probably suspected since time began. There's a lot more going on in your moggy's mind than meets the eye. Meet ordinary everyday house cat Baguette. Like most cats, Baguette sleeps in the sun all day, pausing every now and again to scoff a bowlful of food or drink a saucer of milk, swat at dust motes and flies and all the other things normal cats do.

But life is about to become anything but normal for Baguette. First, a mysterious stranger moves into the street and Baguette instantly falls in love with this alluring newcomer, Purriana.

But the path of love does not run smoothly, even for moggies so when the cute kitty begins to make very odd demands, Baguette has no choice but to follow his heart and his destiny, embarking on an incredible journey to save the lost island of Catlantis, and preserve the 9 lives of all cats forever more.

Can an ordinary scraggy house cat meet the challenge? A brilliant and original new novel from Anna Starobinets, released on 24th October by Pushkin Press.

Have we got time for a few more? Hah, of course we have!

A truly beautiful book this, "Heartsong" by Kevin Crossley-Holland with illustrations by Jane Ray is an utterly stunning book. The story of a young girl Laura, who begins life abandoned at an orphanage in Venice. Laura is mute, and though she cannot speak, she learns to communicate through music and becomes entranced by the works of Vivaldi.

The story, inspired the real boys and girls of The Venetian Orphanage with illustrations inspired by Vivaldi's "The Four Seasons", unfolds into an atmospheric and involving page-turner as we follow Laura's plight.

Stunning stuff. "Heartsong" was released on October 1st 2015 by Orchard Books.

Right, what's next on our list. Aha, the PERFECT choice for Halloween, a fantastic new fantasy book from an extraordinarily talented lady who loves spookiness and videogames as much as we do...

Gabrielle Kent's new story "Alfie Bloom - The Secrets of Hexbridge Castle" is chock full of atmosphere and suspense as a young boy uncovers an ancient legacy. Normal life is dull and boring for Alfie but after a mysterious meeting at the Solicitor's offices of Caspian Bone, Alfie's life changes forever.

He discovers he is the sole heir to a rambling castle, preserved for centuries and filled with secrets. Alfie has the uncomfortable feeling that the castle is more familiar than it seems, and this is just the start of a labyrinthine mystery that may test Alfie's resolve to the very limits.

Gabrielle's world building is spectacular, and fans of J.K. Rowling and Eion Colfer are going to absolutely eat this book up.

Alfie Bloom and the Secrets of Hexbridge Castle by Gabrielle Kent is out now from Scholastic.

One more? G'wan then. Two of our most favourite folk are back with an all new chapter book featuring an awesome and inspirational mighty girl...

You're going to be hearing a lot about Harper, believe us! She's the star of a new book series from CBeebies presenter Cerrie Burnell, illustrated by the fabulous Laura Ellen Anderson. We've loved Cerrie and Laura's picture books and this is their chapter book debut.

"Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella" is the fantastic story of Harper and her beloved moggy sidekick Midnight. Harper lives with her Great Aunt Sassy in the clouds, and always has an eye open for a song, and an adventure.

When Midnight goes missing, and all the other neighbourhood cats disappear too, it's the start of a twisty-turny mystery that only a smart and tenacious girl like Harper can solve. Along with her trusty scarlet umbrella, Harper takes to the skies to find Midnight - and the true identity of the mysterious Midnight Orchestra.

Not just for girls, this is a fabulous story for children of all ages but older readers 7 and up will absolutely love the format of "Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella", perfect for readers making the transition from picture book to chapter book. Cerrie writes beautiful prose and conjures up the most amazing characters, complimented by Laura's utterly sublime illustrations. Look out for a very special Harper adventure on World Book Day 2016 - as "Harper and the Sea of Secrets" will be one of the special £1 books on offer on that day.

"Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella" by Cerrie Burnell and Laura Ellen Anderson was released on October 1st by Scholastic.

Phew! There's never enough time to cover all these wonderful books, is there, but we try our best!

One last spooky one before we go. BRAINNNNNNNSSSSSS!

"Once Upon a Zombie - Book One: The Color of Fear" is a new spooky book series from Billy Phillips and Jenny Nissenson. Fans of monster-y stuff like "Ever After High" and "Monster High" are going to be on cloud 9 with a whole new series of tales that take well-loved stories and book characters firmly out of their comfort zone, right into the realm of the undead. Book One starts firmly at the beginning as our 14 year old heroine Caitlin Fletcher is ruthlessly tricked into climbing into a "Rabbit hole" which turns out to be something far more sinister. A grave, and an inter-dimensional wormhole leading to a dark and forbidding fairytale landscape populated by brain-munching zombie versions of well known book characters. Caitlin isn't exactly cut out for heroic deeds of derring-do, and how on earth can any teen cope in a dark landscape where your mobile phone doesn't work!

Watch out for "Once Upon a Zombie" - it's going to be huge! Out now from Toon Studios and soon to be accompanied by a toy line and other awesome OUAZ merchandise!

Don't miss next month's chapter book and early readers roundup as we continue to dive into more fabulous stories for more accomplished readers.