Thursday, 29 September 2016

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - September 2016

We're playing catchup as the original September Chapter Book Roundup post got eaten by blogger (this is the blogger's equivalent excuse to "The Dog Ate my Homework" but nonetheless,we're determined to bring you some scorching hot chapter book action to fend off the colder Autumnal weather.

Kicking off with a book we've really been enjoying...

"Rowan Oakwing" by E.J. Clarke is a new fantasy book series that fuses fairy folk and legendary adventures with locations that children will know and love. Mixing together the familiar environs of London's great parks, the adventure opens with Rowan, a young girl, who finds herself in Regents Park as dusk settles. Lost and crying, Rowan swiftly discovers that as night draws in the park is home to fairy folk who swiftly take Rowan under their wing.

When she wakes up ten centimetres tall, with tiny oak-leaf wings, Rowan's entire outlook on life changes completely.

She's about to go on an adventure in the hidden world of fairies and foxes. But Rowan's quest will be perilous, with fearsome enemies at her heels. 

If she wants to get home, she'll need to find the courage she never knew she had, and discover powers she'd never even imagined . . .

We adore books that come with a fantastic map to kick things off and Rowan Oakwing doesn't disappoint..

It's a brilliant book for mighty girls who love their fairies and fantasy stuff with a bit more bite to it. A hugely impressive start to a story that we hope ends up being a long running series. 

"Rowan Oakwing" by E.J. Clarke is out now, published by Little, Brown

More fantasy next, and a fantastic new book from a legendary writer...

Tonke Dragt is, quite rightly, something of a literary treasure. "The Letter for the King" is amongst our favourite children's chapter books and we are so delightled to read this new story. So let's dive in!

In "The Song of Seven" we meet new teacher Mr Van der Steg - who entertains his pupils with tall tales of incredible events, which he claims really happened to him - involving hungry lions and haunted castles, shipwrecks and desert islands.

One day, when he can't think of anything suitably exciting to tell them, he invents a story about a very important letter which he's expecting that evening, with news of a perilous mission. 

When evening arrives and so, to his surprise, does an enigmatic letter, Mr Van der Steg is drawn into a real-life adventure, featuring a grumpy coachman, a sinister uncle, eccentric ancestors, a hidden treasure, an ancient prophecy and Geert-Jan, a young boy who is being kept prisoner in the mysterious House of Stairs. 

Although the treasure rightfully belongs to Geert-Jan, his uncle is determined to seize it for himself. As Mr Van der Steg, with the help of his pupils, sets out to rescue the boy, he becomes more and more entangled with the strange history of the Seven Ways, the House of Stairs and the powerful Conspiracy of Seven.

Gloriously written with tons of plot twists and turns, and a barrel-load of excitement. "The Song of Seven" by Tonke Dragt is released in November, published by Pushkin Press. 

Next in our bookbag, a girl who's never far from trouble through no fault of her own...

In "Miraculous Miranda" we meet a girl with a Big Imagination, who always wins Word of the Day at school. When her sister Gemma is taken into hospital, Miranda escapes into her own fantasy land, Magnanimous.

With giraffe police, ham sandwich trees and a Crystal-Clear Glass Hospital for Getting-Better Children, Magnanimous grows and grows. 

As her sister gets worse, things Miranda writes seem to trigger small miracles she has been asking for: her gran stops smoking, horrible Darren Hoey is nice to her. What on earth is going on?

Can Miranda write a miracle for her sister? 

Full of thought-provoking and touching little moments, it's a feelgood book with a difference. 

"Miraculous Miranda" by Siobhan Parkinson is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books.

More feelgood and dreamy stuff now from Jane Elson...

Just call me Bee. Please, please call me that. If you call me Beatrix Daffodil Tulip Chrysanthemum Rose Edwards I shan't answer you. I am not being rude or unfriendly, or insolent as Mrs Dixon my teacher calls me. I just don't like my name. Well, would you?'

In "Swimming to the Moon", Bee stumbles through life in her stripy socks with her head in the clouds, doing her very best to keep out of the way of her bickering parents and avoid the bendy tap dancing freak Crystal Kelly - who makes her life a misery. But when Crystal double-dares her to volunteer for a sponsored swim in honour of her great grandmother Beatrix's memory, Bee can't back down. Even though she is terrified of water and cannot swim!

Then new boy Moon-Star gallops to Bee's rescue on his horse and takes her to meet Old Alice, who lives in a beautiful painted wagon. As Bee enters this new world, her life is changed for ever.

Finally she has an ally. Down by the promise tree the new friends make a pact - Moon Star will teach Bee to swim if Bee will teach him to read. They spit on their hands and shake on their vow and a beautiful friendship begins.

Fantastically inspirational stuff about friendships and growing up, "Swimming to the Moon" by Jane Elson is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books.

Phew, any more for any more? 

This one has really been a wow from start to finish, fantastically gripping stuff!

"Railhead" by Philip Reeve flings us into the far future when interstellar railways criss-cross the galaxy. 

The Great Network is a place of drones and androids, Hive Monks and Station Angels. The place of the thousand gates, where sentient trains criss-cross the galaxy in a heartbeat.

It is also a place of great dangers - especially for someone who rides the rails and rides his luck the way Zen Starling does. 

Once Zen was just a petty thief, stealing to support his family and living by his wits. Now everything has changed. Zen is still a thief - but it could be that the key to the whole universe rests on finding out what else he is . . .
The first book in a new sci-fi series that doesn't pull any punches, "Railhead" is the sort of book I've been crying out for for YEARS. Good proper sci-fi for kids that really impressed my socks off. Warner Bros have optioned the book for a movie treatment and we can't wait to see how that pans out. 

"Railhead" by Philip Reeve is out now, published by Oxford University Press. 

Something regal and rambunctious next. A right royal romp indeed!

Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore's sublime "The Royal Rabbits of London" with illustrations by Kate Hindley is just the sort of book we could see Prince George tucking into once he starts to cut his teeth on chapter books.

Meet Shylo, always described as the runt of the litter, the weakest and quietest of all of his family. His siblings spend their days making fun of him for not being like the rest of them. But when Shylo stumbles across a band of ratzis and overhears their evil plan to take a photo of the Queen in her nightie, it's up to this unlikely hero to travel to London and inform the Royal Rabbits of London about the diabolical plot! 

The Royal Rabbits of London have a proud history of protecting the royal family and now the secret society need to leap into action to stop the ratzis... But can a rabbit as feeble and shy as Shylo convince them that Queen is in danger?

A pacy plot, brilliant illustrations and a cast of engaging characters instantly make this feel like a classic. 

"The Royal Rabbits of London" by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore, illustrated by Kate Hindley, is out on October 6th, published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books.
Tune in next month for more chapter book brilliance and halloween antics as October draws to a close! See you then!