Monday, 27 February 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - February 2017

Good Morning, good morning! It's the end of February (wow, the time passes by so quickly!) and we're here once again with another fantastic roundup of chapter books, catching up with all the books we haven't managed to squeeze onto the blog in our Book of the Week slots.

First up, a new book from Pete Begler and published by Curious Fox. It's a fantastic mighty-girl dose of mythical magic in "The Fearless Traveller's Guide to Wicked Places" and it's the sort of dark mystical book that we're instantly drawn to!

The book begins with twelve-year-old Nell Perkins who grows up in a world where magic is the norm.

Nell's mother is taken by witches and turned into a bird - and so begins an epic quest to get her mother back, even if it takes her deep into the Wicked Places - the frightening realm where Nightmares reside. 

It's up to Nell to break the spell and stop the witches from turning our world into a living nightmare!

Exciting and dark stuff, full of characters that you're never sure you can quite trust - and storylines that grip you and have you turning pages of this book late into the night, "The Fearless Traveller's Guide to Wicked Places" by Pete Begler is out on 9th March 2017, published by Curious Fox. 

Cor, that was dark stuff. Anything light-hearted to follow it with? Oh yes indeed, you bet...

Ally Kennen's "The Everything Machine" is a technological marvel. Imagine having a machine that could 3D-Print just about everything you could wish for, like having your very own Replicator from Star Trek.

That's exactly what falls into the hands of eleven year old Olly. A 3D printing machine, stamped with PROPERTY OF M.O.D and BRITISH SPACE AGENCY. WARNING. DO NOT TAMPER. 

A machine which has magical powers!

A machine that even has a name! It speaks, and it can print ANYTHING Olly asks it to - a never-ending supply of sweets, a swimming pool in the shed, the only limit is Olly's imagination. 

But Olly has a special wish that even the amazing "Everything Machine" might struggle with... his dad, who has separated from his mum and moved out of the family home. 

Cue the creation of Dad-Bot - he looks just like Dad (on a good day) but is totally chaotic - and his antics tip Olly and co into a heart-racing and heart-warming adventure!

One of the most original ideas for a children's book that we've come across in ages, "The Everthing Machine" is a funny and bittersweet book that deals with the tricky subject of what happens when your parents break up in a hugely original way. 

"The Everything Machine" by Ally Kennen is out now, published by Scholastic. 

What's next? Book two of a series we've really enjoyed giggling at...

Andy Riley's "King Flashypants" is back for book two, and this time he's facing a new threat to his throne, and to Edwinland itself!

It's large, it's dark, it's hairy. No it's not Theresa May in a gibbon suit, it's the nefarious Creature from Crong! Argle!

King Edwin Flashypants decides that, to be a proper king, he needs to go and fight the creature. The only problem is that Edwin is a bit of a wuss, and couldn't fight his way out of a wet chip wrapper! 

Emperor Nurbison, however, siezes his chance to prove his worth and usurp Edwin from the throne once and for all. He figures that the Gizimoth might just be the key to squishing Edwinland flat, leaving the door wide open for a whole new Nurbison-themed realm. How pooey!

Gird thyself knave! Hold tight for another thrilling Flashypants adventure, with jousting, vegetables, fire-breathing toads and plenty of FOO-HOO-HOOing so prepare your best heroic book-reading stance (buttocks in, chest out!) and your best evil cackle. 

"King Flashypants and the Creature from Crong (King Flashypants Book 2)" by Andy Riley is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Uh oh, something stinky this way comes...

Gareth P. Jones and Steve May are back for a new Pet Defenders book, and this time the world is under threat by a pongy invader!

"Attack of the Alien Dung" sees super animal detectives Mitzy and Biskit ready to save the world from alien invasions – just so long as they can stop fighting like cat and dog for long enough to do it!

Secret agent Biskit is not happy when he discovers his new partner Mitzy is a cat – everyone knows that cats and dogs don’t mix. But saving the earth from alien invasions must come first and the planet is under attack! A cluster of cow pats has flown into town and they’re whipping up a stink… It’s time for Biskit and Mitzy to put aside their differences and kick some alien butt!

Chock full of scatological humour and a brilliant frisson between the main characters, it's a riot for kids who love a bit of poo-based gigglesome fun.

"Attack of the Alien Dung" by Gareth P. Jones and Steve May is out now, published by Stripes (Little Tiger). Don't forget to wash your hands after reading!

Now, the sequel to a stunning and dark book full of witchcraft and magic...

"The Witch's Tears" by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr is the stunning follow up to their "The Witch's Kiss", once again pulling us into the world of teenage witch Merry.

Just like every other teen, she’s drowning in textbooks and rules set by the coven, drowning in heartbreak after the loss of her true love Jack.

But Merry is not the only one in the family whose fairy tale is over...

Big brother Leo is falling apart and everything Merry does seems to push him further to the brink. And everything that happens to Leo makes her ache for revenge. So, when strangers offering friendship show them a different path, they’d be mad not to take it…

Some rules were made to be broken, right? But are the consequences too high a price to pay?

A smart and vivid read. "The Witch's Tears" by Katharine and Elizabeth Corr is out now, published by HarperCollins Children's Books. 

Time for a fabulously fresh and original story now, that will make your heart soar...

In "Nelly and the Flight of the Sky Lantern" meet plucky girl Nelly and her slow but clever sidekick Columbus.

Nelly unravels a mystery when she returns home one day to find her mother has disappeared. Not one to sit around and mope, Nelly gathers up Columbus and sets off to find out what has happened to her dear old mum.

She'll stop at nothing to discover the truth behind her mum's disappearance. Climb to the tops of the clouds in a laundry basket? Why not? Dive to the depths of the ocean in an oversized tin can? Of course! Leave her turtle, Columbus, behind? CERTAINLY NOT!

Together Nelly and Columbus will find the answers!

Hugely original with tons of fun characters and an instantly loveable heroine in the shape of Nelly Peabody, this is a fantastic adventure from Roland and Ella.

"Nelly and the Flight of the Sky Lantern" by Roland Chambers and Ella Okstad is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next, a delicious trio of books from Nosy Crow, starting with this one...

The second book in Lyn Gardner's awesome mystery series is out now. In "Rose Campion and the Curse of the Doomstone" expect the unexpected as Lyn weaves a magical tale of mystery and suspense.

Business has never been better for Campion's Palace of Variety and Wonders - and the music hall is about to open its doors to its biggest act yet: the Illustrious Gandini, the stage magician known as the Great Wizard of the North. 

It vows to be a scintillating spectacle but when the Doomstone Diamond - a priceless jewel with a disturbing history - is stolen during one of Gandini's performances, Campion's finds itself under threat once more, and Rose Campion and her friends will need all their wits about them to find the thief and uncover the secrets of the magician's mysterious past...All is definitely NOT what it seems! 

Don't forget to look out for "Rose Campion and the Stolen Secret" - book 1 in the series too!

"Rose Campion and the Curse of the Doomstone" by Lyn Gardner is out now, published by Nosy Crow. 

Sticking with the Crow for now...more mystery and suspense from a grand master of children's literature...

Christopher Edge follows on from his stunning "The Many Worlds of Albie Bright" with a new story that's sure to wow space-nutty kids (just like Charlotte). In "The Jamie Drake Equation" we'll find out just how amazing it would be to have a dad who's an astronaut. 

Rocket launches, zero gravity, and flying through space like a superhero, Jamie Drake's dad is orbiting the Earth in the International Space Station. 

By rights, Jamie ought to think it's cool but he just really misses him and spends a lot of time hanging out at the local observatory just to see if he can get a glimpse of "dad" as he streaks by.

One evening, Jamie picks up a strange signal on his phone. It looks like alien life is getting closer to home. But space is a dangerous place and when his dad's mission goes wrong, can Jamie prove that he's a hero too? 

With a suitably starry cover illustration by Matt Saunders, "The Jamie Drake Equation" is a brilliantly original and truly stellar book. 

"The Jamie Drake Equation" by Christopher Edge is out now, published by Nosy Crow. 

One more from the Crow and the biggest beard on Twitter is back with a hilarious new book. 

Philip Ardagh's "The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge" (with art by Jamie Littler) is an honest to goodness true story. You believe us, right? 

Young hero John Drawbridge has moved to Widemoat Castle to learn to become a knight. And there is a LOT to learn...How to charge with a lance on horseback without falling off. Why the spiral staircases always go up in a clockwise direction. How to defend the castle against invading parties. Why the plates served at banquets are made of stale bread (and why you shouldn't eat them...).

There's much, much more to learn too so it's no wonder that John decides to keep a diary (even if it is only an imaginary one...) of his time at the castle. 

Things REALLY liven up when the castle is attacked by an invading Welsh party - but can John foil their plot before it's too late...?

A fabulously written book that feels like a medieval version of "The Secret Diary of Adrian Mole Aged 13 ¾" but with added dung and saddle sores. "The Secret Diary of John Drawbridge" by Philip Ardagh and Jamie Littler is out now, published by Nosy Crow. 

Something gorgeous this way comes with our next book...

"Diva and Flea - A Parisian Tale" comes from two of the mightiest talents in children's fiction. Mo (Pigeon) Willems and Tony "The Spider and the Fly" DiTerlizzi have teamed up for a gorgeous tale of a dog called Diva, and a rag tag streetwise cat named Flea. 

For as long as she could remember, Diva lived at 11 avenue Le Play in Paris, France. For as long as he could remember, Flea also lived in Paris, France - but at no fixed address. When Flea flaneurs past Diva's courtyard one day, their lives are for ever changed.

Together, Diva and Flea explore and share their very different worlds, as only true friends can do.

Set against the sumptuous backdrop of Paris, this is a fabulously written and illustrated tale of friendship and adventure as Diva and Flea's very different characters compliment each other as each tale unfolds. 

A really gorgeous book this, and a great format for readers just starting out in solo reading, ready to embrace bigger books. 

"Diva and Flea" by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi is out now, published by Walker Books. 

We've been clamouring about this next one for a while on the blog and on our social media feeds...

Take a trip to the dark side of detective work with a new heroine! 

In "Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers" by Janine Beacham you'll meet young Rose Raventhorpe. 

Rose loves nothing more than wandering around Yorke with her beloved butler, Argyle, listening to the stories he tells about the city. 

But Argyle is murdered - the third butler in a single week to be brutally slain. Rose is spurred into action!

Rose's investigation leads her on a journey into a hidden world of grave robbers and duelling butlers, flamboyant magicians and the city's ancient feline guardians.

Knives aren't just for cutting cucumber sandwiches, you know!

For fans of Robin Stevens and Jonathan Stroud, soak up the magnificent atmosphere of this fabulous book. 

"Rose Raventhorpe Investigates: Black Cats and Butlers" by Janine Beacham is out now, published by Little, Brown Books. 

Finally for our February roundup, a book by the very talented uncle of one of Charlotte's classmates, no less...!

"The New Adventures of Mr Toad: A Race for Toad Hall" is an all-new entry in the series, reviving Kenneth Grahame's characters for a whole new generation and written by Tom Moorhouse - this time with illustrations by Holly Swain. 

Teejay (which stands for Toad Junior), Mo and Ratty are exploring the ruined grounds of Toad Hall.

After falling into a tunnel they discover something . . . someone in the ice house. It turns out to be Mr Toad and the children have found him in the nick of time: Wildwood Industrious (the shady operation run by the descendants of the Stoats and Weasels) is on the brink claiming legal ownership of Toad Hall! Yikes!

With outrageous antics from Mr Toad, action-packed adventure from the start, and stylish two-colour illustrations from Holly Swain that capture all the comedy, this is a fantastic package for young readers.

"The New Adventures of Mr Toad: A Race for Toad Hall" is out on 1st March 2017, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books.

Two more then we're done! Here's a fantastic inspirational and truly dreamy book that's perfect for those of us (all of us) who need some escapism at the moment...

"Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars" by Martine Murray is a glorious heartwarming book  Molly.
introducing a young girl named

All she wants is to be normal like her friend Ellen Palmer. Ellen, with her neat braids and a tidy house and a mother and father who are home for dinner every night.

But Molly's mum spends her mornings tramping through the woods, looking for ingredients for her potions. Their house is not neat, and their rooster, the Gentleman, runs wild in their yard.

And it is the Gentleman that angers their grumpy neighbors, the Grimshaws. So Molly's mum makes a potion that will grow a tree between their houses!

When Molly's mum accidentally drinks the potion and turns into the tree, Molly is determined to get her back.

But with the Grimshaws planning to cut down the tree branches that reach onto their property, time is of the essence. With the help of her mysterious classmate Pim Wilder, Molly sets out to save her mother and discovers the wonder that lies in the ordinary.

A touch of "The Girl with the Magic Finger" fused with a brilliant witchy brew of originality, "Molly and Pim and the Millions of Stars" by Martine Murray is out now, published by Text Publishing. 

Feeling small and overlooked? Maybe you need to read...

"Giant" by Kate Scott. Sometimes it's hard to measure up in a family with high expectations. But it's even harder when those people sometimes use you as an arm rest. And call you 'Peanut' - ew!

Anzo is 11 years old and very, very short. Mum, Dad and his two uncles are extremely tall but they're also high achievers, obsessed with fulfilling their lifelong ambition of opening a restaurant together.

Everyone has a role - chef, DIY, marketing, accounts - but where does Anzo fit in?

If only he could grow a few inches in height, then no one would be able to overlook him. Josh would stop teasing Anzo in school, he wouldn't have to play all seven dwarfs in the school play, and at home he could tell his parents about his drawing and the comic convention he's been invited to.

Then, overnight, Anzo starts to grow. Is life as a giant going to solve all his problems, or should he stop worrying and learn to just be himself?

A fun and original book about learning to be happy in the body you've been given, but also being realistic about ambition. "Giant" by Kate Scott is out now, published by Piccadilly Press. 

One more book because this one's a bit of a stunner...

"Jack and the Geniuses At the Bottom of the World" is the cool new book series from
award winning scientist and presenter Bill Nye and best selling author Gregory Mone.

The perfect combination to engage and entertain readers, the series features real-world science along with action and a mystery that will leave kids guessing until the end, making these books ideal for STEM education.

In the series opener, Jack and the Geniuses: At The Bottom of The World, readers meet Jack and his foster siblings, Ava and Matt, who are orphans. But they’re not your typical kind of orphans—they’re geniuses. Well, Ava and Matt are, which sometimes makes life difficult for twelve-year-old Jack. Ava speaks multiple languages and builds robots for fun, and Matt is into astronomy and a whiz at math. As for Jack, it’s hard to stand out when he’s surrounded by geniuses all the time.

When the kids try to spy on Dr. Hank Witherspoon, one of the world’s leading scientists, they end up working for him in his incredible laboratory. Soon, Hank and the kids travel to Antarctica for a prestigious science competition, but they find that all is not as it seems: A fellow scientist has gone missing, and so has any trace of her research. Could someone be trying to use her findings to win the contest? It’s up to Jack, Ava, and Matt to find the missing scientist and discover who’s behind it all—before it’s too late.

Integrating real science facts with humor and suspense, and featuring an ensemble cast of loveable boy and girl characters, this uniquely engaging series is an irresistible chemical reaction for middle-grade readers. With easy-to-read language presented in a fun, motivating, and accessible way, this series opener is a great book for both inquisitive kids and reluctant readers. The book also includes information about the science discussed and used to solve the mystery, as well as a cool science project about density that kids can do at home or in the classroom.

Bill Nye's brand new talk show series for Netflix, "Bill Nye Saves the World" is set to launch in Spring 2017 but "Jack and the Geniuses at the Bottom of the World" will be out on 4th April 2017, published by Amulet. 
Phew! Once again a packed month! Tune in for our March Roundup when we'll delve ever deeper into the booksack to bring you the lastest wordy lovelies! See you soon!