Thursday, 28 July 2016

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - July 2016

Our book sack is literally overflowing as we move into the summer months, so here's our fabulous fantastic Chapter Book Roundup for July 2016.

Kicking off with the return of an inquisitive and cool new hero from Malcolm Judge. We've already taken a look at "Jonny Jakes Investigates - The Hamburgers of Doom" on the blog and now it's time for Book 2. Jonny is still surreptitiously writing for (the now banned) school newspaper The Woodford Word.

Jonny's keen nose for a story hadn't quite anticipated a new teacher. Or should we say an old, a very old teacher called Victory Piggot (excellent name!) who last terrorised pupils over a century ago. Now he's back, as a ghostly spirit and keen to pick up right where he left off! That means boiled cabbage, harsh detentions and extra P.E! HORRORS! Can Jonny get to the root of what's causing this supernatural teacher to restlessly pursue his career when he should be spinning in his grave? Fab humour and excitement once again from Malcolm.
"Jonny Jakes Investigates - The Old School Ghoul" by Malcolm Judge is out now from Curious Fox Publishing.

Sticking with ghosts for a moment, how about a whole crop of ghastly ghosts to contend with? In "The Twins and the Wild Ghost Chase" hapless youngsters Stella and Tom have a rather unusual habit of attracting the undead spirits roaming the earth. All their best friends are, to put no finer point on it, dead and buried but still wandering around rattling chains and making "Woo" noises! Spooky!

Stella and Tom's ghostly friends are feeling a bit homesick, so it's time for a crazy family road trip back to where they came from. The only problem is that an evil old ghost-catcher called Stoneyheart rather fancies adding their ghostly friends to his collection.

Full of humour and chaos, watch out for "The Twins and the Wild Ghost Chase" by Paul Mason, out now from A & C Black / Black Cats.

Stick with us for more mystery stories, this time based around a strange old shop that's filled with the oddest things you can imagine...

Gill Vickery's "Franklin's Emporium - The White Lace Gloves" is the perfect book for kids who love mystery stories injected with magic and wonder.

When bookworm Alex is sent off to Golden Bay for the summer, all she wants to do is curl up somewhere comfortable with a book or ten (yep, we wholly identify with that!)

Unfortunately for Alex, her prissy cousin Maisie has other ideas and drags Alex out for a shopping trip. Maisie wants some white lace gloves and so it's time to visit Franklin's Emporium, where shopping isn't quite what it seems and shoppers may end up with more than they bargained for.

Everything purchased at the store comes with its own backstory. Will Maisie realise too late that the gloves are magical? Will Alex's keen sleuthing save the day? A fabulous mystery story for early readers just getting off to a booky start with chapter readers. Brill illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff also help bring this tale to life. "Franklin's Emporium - the White Lace Gloves" by Gill Vickery is out now from A & C Black / Black Cats.

Now, a blog favourite has swapped Dork Diaries for an entirely different dork. Meet Max Crumbly, in "The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero" by awesome Rachel Renee Russell.

Max is just about to start school at the scariest place on earth - South Ridge Middle School. Previously home-schooled by his Grandma, Max has no idea what lays in store for him but excitement mixes with fear as Max meets Doug "Thug" Thurston, the school bully who thinks Max is the perfect size to be stuffed unceremoniously into his locker. And that's just the start of Max's problems.

This new series from Rachel once again fuses together diary-like storytelling with all the trials and tribulations most kids will go through when they get to middle grade. Will Max come out the other side unscathed? Time to get to grips with this locker hero!

"The Misadventures of Max Crumbly: Locker Hero" by Rachel Renee Russell is out now from Simon and Schuster Children's Books.

Our next title isn't out until 11th August but you might want to get your preorders in for Zillah Bethell's sublime "A Whisper of Horses", published by Piccadilly Press. We absolutely adore anything that explores alternate realities and in "A Whisper of Horses" we're drawn into an alternative version of Britain, a stark landscape where horses are mythical beasts and no one has seen an actual real live horse for generations.

Though images and statues of them exist, a little girl named Serendipity truly believes that they are still alive. Taken under the kindly wing of Professor Nimbus when her mother dies, Serendipity is completely absorbed by his stories and as she grows older, she begins to question the world she is a part of and the harsh regime that holds the country in an iron grip.

This book had an almost hypnotic effect on me, reminding me of the work of John Christopher. I was totally engrossed in Seren's world and I truly hope that this isn't the last we see of Zillah's Neu-Britain stories. Entrancing stuff and out in August so not long to wait!

Phew, more from Piccadilly Press now and time for some fun...!

"Stunt Boy - The Fincredible Diary of Fin Spencer" by Ciaran Murtagh with illustrations from Tim Wesson is a riotous laugh a minute of a book. The titular hero, Fin Spencer, is a bit of a crazy and reckless little galoot who believes his derring-do escapades will lead to fortune and glory. Given a diary by a strange old fortune teller, Fin hits on the idea of writing his own biography to sell when he becomes rich and famous.

Fin soon discovers that the diary isn't just any old flea-bitten tome, it has magical powers to alter the minds of those around him. When Fin writes in the diary what he should've done that day rather than what he did, everyone remembers the alternate (made up) version instead. A fiendish plan emerges in Fin's loony brain that could lead to a fast-track to fame - or a recipe for utter disaster!

Ciaran Murtagh's hugely imaginative and funny book is absolutely perfect for fans of Danny Wallace and David Walliams.

"The Fincredible Diary" was released on 5th March 2015.

Can we possibly squeeze in even more? New Jo Cotterill you say? We can squeeze in more!

"A Library of Lemons" should definitely come with a warning - have tissues ready! The heartwarming tale of Calypso, a little girl who misses her mum who died when she was tiny, now living with her dad who completely shuts out mum's death and throws himself into writing "A History of The Lemon". Seemingly emotionally blank, and totally unable to discuss or work through his grief, Dad is truly a closed book.

When Calypso makes a new friend, Mae, and their love of books and writing brings them together, Calypso sees a stark contrast between her own home life and Mae's happy vibrant and loving family home.

Can Mae be the key to unravelling what's really wrong with her Dad and the truth behind his book?

Exquisitely written with characters it's impossible not to feel empathy for, this is definitely something special but remember what I said about those tissues OK?

"A Library of Lemons" by Jo Cotterill was released on 5th May 2016 from Piccadilly Press.

More more more! Oh you're so demanding but we love it. So what's next Madame Charlotte?

A truly original and spellbinding new fantasy book from Ali Sparkes is next. "The Shapeshifter: Feather and Fang" is a scintillating story of a very special group of children. "The Children of Limitless Ability" possess a bizarre range of powers, stretching from telekinetic ability through to invisibility and great physical strength. Dax Jones is possibly the most special of them all, with the power to race through the landscape at breakneck speed, to change his form at will, and breathe underwater for hours on end.

Dax and the COLA kids live at Fenton Lodge but the children are under threat as the Prime Minister wants to curtail their behaviour, turning Fenton Lodge into a maximum security prison.

Dax and the rest of the kids have one hope. Dax's little sister who wants nothing to do with the COLA group but may be the only person who can free them from their incarceration.

This story zips along almost as fast as Dax himself, absolutely chock full of excitement and pace. A gripping and exciting read so do not miss out!

"The Shapeshifter: Feather and Fang" by Ali Sparkes was released on 5th May from Oxford University Press.

Witchery is afoot for our next two books. Fancy a walk on the wild witchy side? Step this way...

"Bella Broomstick - School Spells" mixes together a groovy little witch and all the trials and tribulations of being a fish out of water in Lou Kuenzler's ace new book. Bella has been sent to live in "Person World" after a happy life amongst magical folk. She loves her new school, she loves her new foster parents Aunty Rose and Uncle Alf, and she quickly makes a new friend Esme.

But there's always a dark blot on the horizon, and this particular blot is a nasty bully called Piers Seymour. When Bella and Esme are preparing for the school summer talent show, Piers lurks in the wings determined to royally screw up their performance! What a ratbag! Can Bella pull something spectacular out of her hat to save the performance and the day and perhaps teach rotten Piers a lesson into the bargain?

It's a fantastic young readers title perfect for girls and boys who love a heady mix of school adventures and a dash of magic.

"Bella Broomstick - School Spells" was released on 7th July 2016 from Scholastic Publishing.

Sticking with witches, a new book from an extremely talented young lady! Sadly there's no cover shot for this book yet (it's THAT new and isn't out until October so we've been very lucky to get a very early Halloweeny-style preview of it). Abie is well known for writing the awesome (and very popular with Charlotte) "Fairy Tale Hairdresser" series of children's picture books. Now she's turning her attention to all things witchy in "How to Catch a Witch", published by Scholastic Publishing.

Charlie and her family move from the hubbub of the big city to a small sleepy village seemingly in the middle of nowhere. For Charlie there's a ton of anxious worrying about her new school, her new (creepy) house and some distinctly odd characters who lurk in her new locale. At school things are no different. Charlie's classmate Cat is very odd, and seems to have taken rather an interest in Charlie's comings and goings. And then there's Agatha who may lack cauldron and cat but is definitely, most definitely a witch.

Charlie resolves to make the best of her new surroundings, but as the weird place starts to affect her behaviour more and more, Charlie realises that she may be the only person who can help a neighbourhood singer who is cursed to lose her golden voice when she turns 16.

Thrilling, original and full of mystery, this had Charlotte completely hooked! Watch out for "How to Catch a Witch" when it arrives on shelves in October, just in time for Halloween!

Phew! July came and went in the blink of an eye and so did our book roundup this month. Tune in next month when we dive into August's chapter book bag and bring you treasures anew!