Thursday, 29 June 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - June 2017

Hello friends, and welcome to another fabulous chapter book round up. It's June, and as I type this the rain is beating itself into a mist on the road outside. Yet we still have a smidgeon of hope that we might see some sunshine soon.

With that in mind, let's dip into our first book of this month's roundup. "Coyote Summer" by Mimi Thebo is a gloriously atmospheric story of a young girl, a wild animal and the sandy plains and mountains of Kansas.

Jules has done something terrible (though obviously we're not going to tell you exactly what - that's for you to discover!)

Originally harking from London, she's ripped out of her comfort zone and sent to live in disgrace with her Aunt and Uncle in Kansas.

Alone, a stranger in a strange land, Jules digs her heels in and begins the tough process of clawing her way back to some sense of normalcy, always with a level of paranoia that folks somehow know her past. It takes a wild Coyote, her love of ballet and a tough but fair regime on her aunt and uncle's farm to show Jules what she's really made of.

Stunningly hauntingly written, full of glorious imagery, Mimi's writing is electrifyingly good.

"Coyote Summer" by Mimi Thebo is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next we have a book that couldn't be further away from Coyote Summer in tone and story if it tried. "Defender of the Realm: Dark Age" is a glorious fantasy follow-up to the original "Defender of the Realm" book, once again from Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler.

A new monarch is being crowned, but just as the coronation is about to wind down, a huge battle erupts across the kingdom. 

A nation cowers in fear and rumours of The Black Dragon's return are rife. 

Young Alfie Hayley is thrust headlong into the conflict along with the Yeoman Warders, ancient defenders of the kingdom - who soon uncover a sinister plot hatched by none other than Professor Lock. 

 For the epic battle that's brewing, Alfie will need to enlist help from abroad, as well as from a mysterious new friend who seems to be more like a guardian angel than an ally. 

With tons of fantastic world-building, solid characters and a real swashbuckling energy erupting from every page, this is certainly a hugely original fantasy series in the making. 

"Defender of the Realm: Dark Age" by Mark Huckerby and Nick Ostler is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Next up, one of our favourite questions forms the basis for a new and exciting adventure series that you won't get to see until September, but we couldn't wait to tell you about NOW!

"The World of Supersaurs: Raptors of Paradise" might be one of the cheesiest book titles you've ever heard, but Jay Jay Burridge's fantastic new series - with uber-cool illustrations and augmented reality tie-ins to create a book world that will make your eyes pop out. 

We love that question though - "What if Dinosaurs had never died out?" and any stories that bring humans and dinosaurs into close proximity is always a win for us. 

"Raptors of Paradise" opens the series with Bea Kingsley, who lives in a world where humans live side by side with supersaurs, sometimes in peace but often in conflict. 

Bea is the daughter of explorer parents who went missing when she was just a baby. So when her grandmother suddenly takes her on a trip to the remote Indonesian islands of Aru, Bea starts asking some big questions. 

But the more questions Bea asks, the more trouble she and her grandmother find themselves in. Was the journey to the islands a big mistake?

If you've ever loved stuff like "Pirates of Pangaea" or indeed are old-school enough to remember "Flesh" (both awesome comic strips) and you're ready for a middle grade adventure series with teeth, this should be your first stop come the Autumn!

"The World of Supersaurs: Raptors of Paradise" by Jay Jay Burridge will be out on 21st September 2017, published by Superaurs / Zaffre / Bonnier. 

We couldn't resist sneaking another 'early' one in. This isn't out till 3rd August but I'm pretty sure a lot of you will have it on your preorder lists already.

"Simply the Quest" is the second book in Maz Evans' fantastic "Who Let the Gods Out" series.

Poor Elliot Hooper - thrown into the thick of a global conflict in Book 1 really isn't having a lot of luck. 

His troubles are far from over: his mum's health worsens, he's struggling at school, and a bunch of anarchic Greek immortals have moved into his home 

Worst of all, one of the immortals is the vain self-obsessed teen goddess Virgo, who's in trouble with the Zodiac. 

Death-daemon Thanatos and his scary mum are at also still at large. Wouldn't it just be easier to curl up under the duvet and never come out? 

As even more immortal allies and enemies emerge, Virgo and Elliot must learn how to be heroes. 

"Who Let the Gods Out" has easily been one of our favourite books of the year and it sounds like the sequel is going to be every bit as good. 

"Simply the Quest" by Maz Evans is out on 3rd August 2017, published by Chicken House Books. 

Next up in our heaving teetering tottering middle grade chapter book pile of greatness...

"The Crystal Run" by Sheila O'Flanagan is set in a dystopian world full of suspense and danger.

Kaia Kukura has been awarded the great honour of protecting her country, and is determined to bring wealth and glory to her family. She must travel through enemy territory to replace the precious Kerala crystals that power Carcassia's protective shield. But no Runner is permitted to return after their mission.

When Kaia hasfulfilled her Runner's oath, she knows her life must end.

But sometimes it takes an outsider, someone from a different world, to question the truth.

Fourteen-year-old Joe can barely outrun the school bullies who torment him daily. Cornered yet again, he tries to escape - and finds himself falling through a portal into another world.

There, he meets fierce and strong Kaia. Together they discover that not everyone in Carcassia can be trusted - and that there are terrible lies at the heart of Kaia's beloved home.

Can their combined strength and skill help Kaia save her country and herself? And will Joe ever find a way back to his own world?

It's gripping stuff in the style of Phillip Pullman, Philip Reeve and the fantastic Maze Runner series. This is book one in an eventual series so keep a sharp eye out for Sheila's next title as she's definitely a talent to watch.

"The Crystal Run (Book 1)" by Sheila O'Flanagan is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Next up, a more lighthearted read for kids who are just beginning to read chapter book titles on their own...

Horrid Henry, star of his own chapter book series and even a telly star is making his first chaotic steps into early reader titles with Francesca Simon and Tony Ross cooking up "Horrid Henry's Swimming Lesson".

As you'd expect from the mischievous mister, Henry is up to all sorts of japes at the local swimming pool with Soggy Sid.

Armbands at the ready, it's a fun story that covers the "Red Band" for children who are ready to start reading all about Henry's adventures all on their own.

Once they're comfortable with books like this, they can make the leap to Henry's big and proper books. A fun way to start kids out on a reading journey with characters they may already know and love.

"Horrid Henry's Swimming Lesson" by Francesca Simon and Tony Ross is out now, published by Orion Children's Books. 

More early reading fun now, based on the hugely popular My Little Pony characters...

"Lyra and the Secret Agent Ponies" by G.M. Berrow is perfectly pitched for younger readers.

Inspired by the MLP TV series, the books are taking over Equestria as we meet Lyra - who thinks she knows everything about her best friend Bon Bon.

But when a mysterious pony named Agent Furlong pays Bon Bon a visit, Lyra discovers that her best friend is actually a secret agent pony!

When Lyra finds out Bon Bon needs help, there's only one thing she can do - join her friend and go undercover, together! Can the secret agent ponies protect Equestria?

This magical My Little Pony adventure comes with bonus coloured activity pages, packed with puzzles, games and more fun!

Look out for more books in the series coming soon!

"Lyra and the Secret Agent Ponies" by G.M. Berrow is out now, published by Orchard Books. 

Phew, book bag oh book bag, what's next in our stack?

Adam Blade's hugely successful "Beast Quest" series branches out into a perfect story arc for fantasy and adventure lovers. 

Battle awesome beasts and fight evil with Tom and Elenna in the bestselling adventure series for boys and girls aged 7 and up!

In the frozen waters of Drakonia lurks Korvax the Sea Dragon.

Tom and Elenna have to face this fearsome Beast if they are to prevent the Evil Wizard Jezrin from reaching the Well of Power...and becoming utterly unstoppable!

There are FOUR thrilling adventures to collect in this new series - don't miss out! 

Quarg the Stone Dragon; Korvax the Sea Dragon; Vetrix the Poison Dragon and Strytor the Skeleton Dragon

Definitely something for everyone. The "Beast Quest" series by Adam Blade is available now, published by Orchard Books. 

Another franchise that shows absolutely no signs of slowing down, featuring in a hugely successful TV series and soon to be a brand new feature film from explosions-meister Michael Bay, here's "The Battle for Optimus Prime" - the latest chapter title in the Transformers Book Range from Orchard Books. 

When a maximum-security prison ship crashes on earth, Cyberton's most-wanted criminals escape.

Now all that stands between Earth and the deadly Decepticons is a crack team of Autobot heroes - the Robots in Disguise!

Optimus Prime has always been Bumblebee's mentor. But recently the two autobots can't seem to agree. 

Little do they know they're being tested by Liege Maximo - and he'll stop at nothing until Optimus and Bumblebee destroy each other! 

Will this be the end of the autobots? Somehow we think they might just bounce back from this but this is a hugely gripping and exciting action packed adventure for girls and boys aged 6 plus. 

"The Battle for Optimus Prime" is out now, published by Orchard Books. 

There's a mystery to solve next...this one had us when they described it as being like "Agatha Christie for kids"...

Sally Gardner and David Roberts have cooked up a detective romp with a twist or two in its tail in "The Flying Carpet Thief" - book one in the "Fairy Detective Agency" series. 

This one is brimming with mystery and magic - from a legend in children's literature - Million-copy-selling author, Sally Gardner.

The detectives at Wings and Co are in a bit of bother.

There is a lost leprechaun on the loose and carpets are flying all over the village of Podgy Bottom, as if by magic. 

Oh, and worst of all, Fidget the cat has vanished on VERY URGENT business. 

It looks like a tricky case for our fairy detectives . . .will they rise to the challenge or be squished underfoot. 

It's a delightful whimsical tale with tons of fun and energy. 

"The Flying Carpet Thief" by Sally Gardner and David Roberts is out now, published by Orion Children's Books. 

More you say? Oh go on then, as it's you asking...

Those Secret Princesses are back, and this time with two adventures in one!

"Royal Holiday" by Rosie Banks is an awesome summer special bumper edition to keep your little ones occupied on holidays in the sun.

When trainee Secret Princesses, Charlotte and Mia, are invited to go on holiday with the Secret Princesses they're very excited about staying at Wishing Star Palace!

But first they must grant the wish of a brother and sister who are worried they'll have a horrible holiday. 

Can Charlotte and Mia give them a fantastic summer adventure, or will nasty Princess Poison ruin their trip?

Join Charlotte and Mia in this brilliant adventure full of princess sparkle and summer holiday excitement!

Needless to say, this one went down VERY well with our own Princess Charlotte who loved a story about her favourite Secret Princesses character. 

"Secret Princesses - Royal Holiday" by Rosie Banks is out now, published by Orchard Books. 

Last one in our book bag, and something else that Charlotte utterly adores. Stories about kittens (but this one has a rather neat twist!)

"Magic Animal Friends - Anna Fluffyfoot Goes for Gold" is the latest in the hugely popular Magic Animal Friends series, from the author of Rainbow Magic, Daisy Meadows.

In the magical land of Friendship Forest, the animals are getting ready for a sports day! 

But wicked Grizelda wants to spoil everyone's fun. 

Can best friends Lily and Jess help super-cute kitten Anna Fluffyfoot stop the witch's horrible plans, before the special day is ruined?

With three stories in one, this book should keep your little ones occupied long into the warm summer evenings. 

"Magic Animal Friends - Anna Fluffyfoot Goes for Gold" by Daisy Meadows is out now, published by Orchard Books. 

Squeezing in one more, this time a space-going hero that we have loved right from the very start of this blog...!

Simon Bartram's fantastic "Bob" books in picture book form were some of our early favourites. Simon also went on to produce a whole series of fab little paperback adventures for more advanced readers, swapping out the fabulous colour illustrations for equally fabulous black and white art to accompany 5 stories - wrapped up into one delicious volume as "Bob: Lunar Adventures"

Spaceman Bob embarks on new space adventures with a disappearing moon, a movie career, clone chaos, a right royal disaster and some heartless robots in this anthology.

Charlotte has always loved the running gag that Bob lives in firm denial of the existence of aliens (despite actually owning an alien dog, and coming into close contact with aliens pretty much every single time he dons a spacesuit).

I always hoped that more people would discover the Bob books as they're absolutely fantastic. Now you've got no excuse with this latest collection celebrating 15 years of awesome Bobness!

"Bob" Lunar Adventures by Simon Bartram is out now, published by Templar.

More treats in about a follow-up to the sublime "The Bubble Boy?"

Stewart Foster's "All the Things that Could Go Wrong" is another fantastically written and poignant look at childhood and all the complexities that being a kid hold.

Dan is angry. Nothing has been the same since his big brother left, and he’s taking it out on the nearest and weakest target: Alex.

Alex is struggling. His severe OCD makes it hard for him to leave the house, especially when Dan and his gang are waiting for him at school . . .

Then the boys’ mums arrange for them to meet up and finish building the raft that Dan started with his brother. 

Two enemies stuck together for the whole of the school holidays – what could possibly go wrong? Do you need a list?

There are so many moments in this that will have you nodding along in agreement with what it feels like when you're put in a situation that you can't escape from, with seemingly no hope of resolution. Yet there's still hope too, and once again Stewart knows how to put you through just about all the emotions in the space of a few chapters. 

Utterly delicious stuff. "All the Things that Could Go Wrong" by Stewart Foster is out today, published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books. 

One more, before we wrap it for June...

Following on from Jo Franklin's hilarious "Help, I'm an Alien" is "Help I'm a Genius" - once again with illustrations by Aaron Blecha.

Daniel Kendal is back - along with his friends Gordon the Geek and Freddo. 

This time Dan finds himself nominated as the school representative for a rather serious inter-schools quiz. There's one slight problem with this - Dan has absolutely no confidence in his ability to remember a single fact! EEKS! Time for Dan to embark on a crazy mission to increase his brain capacity and cram his tiny little mollusc-sized brain full of knowledge - after all, quizzes are serious business. 

Madcap hilarity, brilliant characters and tons of giggles, "Help, I'm a Genius" by Jo Franklin and Aaron Blecha is out now, published by Troika Books. 

Phew! That's about all we have time for in June. Tune in again in July and we'll see what other awesome chapter book lovelies we can cook up!