Thursday, 26 October 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - October 2017

We're kicking off our October Chapter Book Roundup with a glorious version of a true science fiction classic.

"A Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne is the fabulous tale of a mission right to the earth's core.

Intrepid explorer and geologist Otto Liedenbrock  embarks on the most remarkable human quest ever taken.

With his nephew and guide, he leads the descent from a dormant Icelandic volcano into the unexplored realm beneath their feet. There, a vast subterranean ocean, prehistoric creatures, and natural phenomena are but a few of the wonders hidden from all but the boldest eyes.

Journey to the Center of the Earth epitomizes the subterranean fiction genre, and is the perfect entry point for folk who have yet to experience the timeless thrills of Jules Verne's amazing work.

"A Journey to the Center of the Earth" by Jules Verne is available now, published in an all new leatherbound edition from Barnes and Noble. 

From one gorgeous new version of a classic to another...

Johanna Spyri's timeless "Heidi" has also been reissued by Barnes and Noble in a glorious new illustrated hardback edition.

The timeless tale of a young orphan girl sent to live with her harsh and cold grandfather, it's beautifully illustrated by Jessie Wilcox Smith.

Heidi's optimism, child-like sense of wonder and her love of nature underpin this glorious tale taking place in the mountains of Switzerland.

Such a lovely edition of a book I've been longing to let Charlotte loose on.

"Heidi" by Johanna Spyri and Jessie Wilcox Smith is available in the Barnes and Noble Collectors series, out now. 

Let's stick with the mountain setting for the time being with a scintillating new book...

"Running on the Roof of the World" by Jess Butterworth is the story of 12 year old Tash and her best friend Sam.

In a story of adventure, survival and hope, set in the vivid Himalayan landscape of Tibet and India, this young girl's thrilling journey to save her parents is an ideal read for children aged 9-12.

There are two words that are banned in Tibet. Two words that can get you locked in prison without a second thought. I watch the soldiers tramping away and call the words after them. 'Dalai Lama.'

Tash has to follow many rules to survive in Tibet, a country occupied by Chinese soldiers. But when a man sets himself on fire in protest and soldiers seize Tash's parents, she and her best friend Sam must break the rules. They are determined to escape Tibet - and seek the help of the Dalai Lama himself in India.

And so, with a backpack of Tash's father's mysterious papers and two trusty yaks by their side, their extraordinary journey across the mountains begins.

It's like a glorious middle grade mix of Indiana Jones and Lara Croft that's got tons of originality and appeal.

"Running on the Roof of the World" by Jess Butterworth is out now, published by Orion Children's Books.

One for reluctant chapter book readers now, neatly splicing together comic and chapter book formats into a fast-paced and futuristic adventure series with huge boy and girl appeal.

A debut middle-grade series from the mega-talented Zach King, full of laughs, zany action and more than a hint of magic.

"My Magical Life" introduces eleven-year-old Zach, who has magical powers, just like everyone in his family. 

The only problem is that Zach is having more trouble harnessing his powers than his family ever did.

To help his powers manifest, and to help him appreciate his natural gifts, Zach's parents decide that he needs to be around 'real' people more. No more homeschooling - it's time for Zach to enter the scary and terrifying world of secondary school!

But Zach can't resist a bit of magic... A simple spell ends with him and his best friend stuck in a vending machine. Someone filmed it and by the next day he's gone viral on YouTube, in the process attracting the attention of Rachel, the prettiest girl at school.

With everyone wondering how Zach does his tricks, and with head mean girl Trisha plotting to bring him down, Zach's got his work cut out if he's going to survive year 7 and keep his dreams of becoming a master magician intact.

"Zach King: My Magical Life" also comes with a code for a free app for more switched-on kids, to compliment the pacy action. 

"Zach King: My Magical Life" by Zach King is out now, published by Puffin. 

Next, a superb slice of fantasy that tails off an awesome trilogy, ending the series with a bang...

"Michael's Spear" by Hilton Pashley follows on from Gabriel's Clock and Ammael's Wings, once again focusing on Jonathan and Lillith as the universe is in danger of peeling apart at the seams.

As Jonathan and his friends fight to save the universe, their every move is being watched from the shadows by Archdemon Lilith. 

With the legendary Michael's Spear under her control Jonathan has never faced a more lethal foe. 

Jonathan will need to overcome insurmountable odds in order to fulfil his destiny. It's time for Gabriel's grandson finally to spread his wings. 

A stunning book along the lines of Philip Pullman and J.R.R Tolkien, it's an epic end to a trilogy that has won Hilton an army of fans. 

"Michael's Spear" by Hilton Pashley is out on 16th November 2017, published by The Dome Press. 

We're nowhere near done yet, so what's next in our fantastic bag o' books?

Something rather special, as we take a look at "Witch Born" by Nicholas Bowling, coming in November from Chicken House Books.

Step back in time to 1577 and Tudor England. Queen Elizabeth I has imprisoned scheming Mary Queen of Scots

Alyce is stricken with grief after her mother is burned at the stake for witchcraft. 

Exacting her revenge, Alyce kills the witchfinder and flees to London - but the chase is far from over. 

Alyce soon begins to discover her own dark magic. But will she live to use it as powerful political forces are on her trail. 

She can't help but wonder: why is she so important? Soon she finds herself deep in a secret battle between rival queens, the fate of England resting on her shoulders. 

This is a fantastic alt-history novel, beautifully and expertly written by Nicholas Bowling with a hugely atmospheric plot, fantastic characters and that brilliant backdrop of political and royal unrest. 

"Witch Born" by Nicholas Bowling is out on 2nd November 2017, published by Chicken House Books. 

Next we're catching up with a fantastic series by a supremely talented young man who seems to be a huge success in everything he does. 

Chris Colfer's "The Land of Stories" series is an amazing mash-up of just about every fairy tale and story type you can imagine, brought beautifully together in an award-winning series of stories for the upper end of middle grade and YA. 

We've reached the stunning and highly anticipated finale of the series as Conner and Alex must brave the impossible.

All of the Land of Stories fairy tale characters - heroes and villains - are no longer confined within their world! They've broken free of their shackles, and are crossing over - causing mayhem and chaos all over the land.

With big trouble brewing in the Big Apple, Conner and Alex will have to win their biggest battle yet. Can the twins restore order between the human and fairy-tale world?

Breathtaking action mixed with laugh-out-loud moments and lots of heart will make this a gripping conclusion for fans old and new.

Don't forget to check out upcoming "The Land of Stories: An Author's Odyssey" if you missed the forerunner to this glorious finale. 

"The Land of Stories: Worlds Collide" is out now, published by Little, Brown. 

Phew! So much excitement, where can we possibly go next? How about a nice bracing run in the mountains with a sports superstar?

"Go Mo Go, Monster Mountain Chase" once again teams up Sir Mo Farah with Kes Gray and Marta Kissi for a middle grade adventure full of excitement, determination and inspiration. 

After returning home from a long cross-country run, it's time for Mo and his friends to decide where to go on their next running adventure. Sandwiches at the ready, the friends head somewhere beautiful, with glistening snow and sparkling lakes. The fabulous Rocky Mountains!

But crossing states is tiring work, and with lots of new creatures (and monsters!) to meet along the way, will Mo and friends ever get time for a sandwich break?

Here comes Bigfoot ... Go Mo, Go!

Fun and chucklesome, it's perfect for fans of the great man himself. 

"Go Mo, Go: Monster Mountain Chase" by Mo Farah, Kes Gray and Marta Kissi is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Next, another fantastic book in a thoroughly absorbing historical series...

Caroline Lawrence's stunning "Roman Quests" series continues with "Death in The Arena". Picking up the story of 11 year old Ursula, life is idyllic as she learns how to be a Druid in the woods of Britannia. 

When Ursula is asked to go on a quest to find a boy who was abducted as a baby, she may need more than her mystical training to cope with life on the road. 

Ursula finds good company in a troupe of roman performers, but before long she's drawn into the gladiatorial arena, and will have to draw on all her strength and character if she's to escape and complete her task. 

Spellbinding, stunning and full of glorious little historical details, "The Roman Quests: Death in the Arena" by Caroline Lawrence is out now, published by Orion Children's Books. 

Next, the stunning finale to an exciting fantasy series that has been dazzling us over the last couple of years. 

Helen Dennis' fantastic "River of Ink" series draws to a close with this fourth book. "Immortal" takes main protagonist Jed back to London, where the entire story began. 

But there's no time to draw breath. The hunt still continues, and in the secret heart of St Paul's Catherdral, Jed's quest takes a dramatic turn. He has one year to complete his task, or his life will be over.
Is Jed's time really up?  Or is this just the beginning?

This action-packed book has an illustrated narrative running through it, helping readers to solve the mystery alongside the characters in the story. It's a neat and unique approach that has seen the River of Ink series soar to huge success.

"River of Ink: Immortal" by Helen Dennis is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Something altogether more lighthearted next. Time to meet Binny...!

"Binny Bewitched" is book three in the fabulous Binny series from Hilary McKay. 

Binny Cornwallis has lost something.

Something that wasn't really hers in the first place. 

With her best enemy Gareth and her beloved dog Max she turns detective to track it down, but the Cornwallis family are anything but helpful. 

Little brother James and his friend Dill are having an adventure of their own and big sister Clem is acting very strangely. 

On top of all this, Binny suspects their next-door neighbour may be a witch. It's time for Binny to dig in and solve the mystery, with the most reluctant of sidekicks along for the ride. 

Fabulously funny, light hearted and whimsical, this is book three in the series but it's well worth checking out "Binny for Short" and "Binny Keeps a Secret" (books 1 and 2 in the series) too!

"Binny Bewitched" by Hilary McKay is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Got your detective gear ready? Feeling nosy? Time for another adventure in the dusty tomes of The Creeper Files...

"The Creeper Files: Incy Wincy Eek!" by Hacker Murphy and Lucie Ebrey probably isn't the book for you if you're slightly Arachnophobic. 

The situation is grave. Strange things are happening in the chuchyard.

There's a scuttling sound and a huge cobwebby plant, a hideous half-man-half-plant monster and a serious case of the chills. 

Revenge comes in all shapes and sizes - including enormous and eight-legged so if you feel a strange itchy sensation at the back of your neck while reading this one, you might want to check in the mirror! 

Maybe reading the Creeper Files will keep you safe. Maybe it'll keep you alive. Maybe - just maybe - this story wiill help ensure you won't become a victim of the monster known only as . . . The Creeper.

Delicious dark stuff for early middle grade and reluctant readers, "The Creeper Files: Incy Wincy Eek!" by Hacker Murphy and Lucie Ebrey is out now, published by Oxford Children's Books. 

Book 2 in a fantastic science-ey series next...

"Jack and the Geniuses - In The Deep Blue Sea" by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone, Jack, his brilliant siblings, and Dr. Hank Witherspoon go on an adventure to the remote Hawaiian island home of Ashley Hawking, a technology billionaire. 

Hawking and engineer Rosa Morris have built a revolutionary electricity plant that harvests energy from the deep ocean, but someone has been sabotaging the project. 

In their search for the culprit, Jack and crew venture 2,000 feet below the surface in a homemade submarine, get trapped in an underwater lab, attend the world's strangest birthday party, and find themselves lost at sea. 

This fast-paced mystery forces Jack and his siblings to use all their brainpower and cunning to survive and find out who's behind the sabotage. 

Like the first excellent book, it includes a glossary of terms and inventions found in the book, as well as an experiment that kids can do at home or in the classroom.

A fab series, brainy as heck, "Jack and the Geniuses In The Deep Blue Sea" by Bill Nye and Gregory Mone is out now, published by Amulet. 

Another follow-up book next, and it's time to go back to our fantastic capital with those truly regal bunnies...

In "The Royal Rabbits of London: Escape from the Tower" by Santa Montefiore & Simon Sebag Montefiore, Little Shylo Tawny-Tail is proud to call himself one of the Royal Rabbits of London, a secret order who live under Buckingham Palace and fight evil across the world.

But high up in London’s famous skyscraper, the Shard, the horrible Ratzis are plotting to cause chaos during a visit from the President of the United States. And when the Grand Burrow is attacked and Shylo is kidnapped, it looks as though they might just manage it! 

Can Shylo escape in time to save the day?

A superb follow-up to the first book, this bestselling series from Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore proves even the smallest rabbit can be the biggest hero. Featuring illustrations throughout by award-winning illustrator Kate Hindley, it's a real treat and should find its way into many a christmas stocking this year. 

"The Royal Rabbits of London: Escape from the Tower" by Santa Montefiore & Simon Sebag Montefiore is out now, published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books. 

Oh yes! A fantastic new book from Phil Earle? We have to squeeze that one in as we have loved Phil's stuff so much...

"Scaredy Cat, Scaredy Cat" by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie is the next brilliant episode in the Storey Street chronicles, again subtly balancing humour with a touch of mayhem and magic.

Kay Catt has a nickname - Scaredy Catt. 

And with good reason. You've never met a more timid, anxious girl in your life. 

And when you meet her dad, you'll start to understand why. But when a mysterious old man is spotted on Storey Street, it heralds the start of a great adventure for Kay. 

Because Wilf Wilkinson isn't your average, cardigan-wearing, sherbet lemon-sucking old codger. 

Oh no. Wilf wears a cloak, and a strange pointy hat, and his walking stick looks suspiciously like an over-sized wand. Could Wilf really be...a wizard?!

It's an excellent addition to the Storey Street books, once again full of characters that will instantly win you over (we loved Wilf to bits, of course! Like a budget version of Dumbledore but infinitely funnier!). 

"Scaredy Cat, Scaredy Cat" by Phil Earle and Sara Ogilvie is out now, published by Orion Children's Books. 

One last one before we go, and it would be completely remiss of us not to mention this as it came out a few days ago and is already going stratospheric...

"The Book of Dust" by Philip Pullman with an exquisite cover by Chris Wormell has just dropped like a bomb on the bookworld, with a sheer MANIA around the midnight launches we witnessed as we made our weary way back from London the day before this book came out.

Returning to Pullman's delicious alt-Oxford is intriguing enough as the story picks up with an Eleven-year-old boy. Malcolm Polstead and his dæmon, Asta, live with his parents at the Trout Inn near Oxford.

Across the River Thames (which Malcolm navigates often using his beloved canoe, a boat by the name of La Belle Sauvage) is the Godstow Priory where the nuns live.

Malcolm learns they have a guest with them; a baby by the name of Lyra Belacqua . . .

We're just a few chapters in, and already I can tell that this is definitely a return to form for Philip. I really enjoyed "The Golden Compass" but found both sequels a real chore (honest reviews are us). This feels similar in atmosphere and gives us what we really wanted - more of that amazing alternative universe that touches on places we know from our own home town (pretty sure The Trout Inn will be rubbing their hands with glee at the prospect of a horde of new visitors flocking to that tiny little pub on the river to check out Malcolm's boat - though I think they'll be a bit disappointed when they see the cow-dung covered priory!)

This is scintillating though, and it's going to sell like hotcakes.

"The Book of Dust" by Philip Pullman is out now, published by Penguin Random House. 

Phew, and that's a wrap!! Tune in next month when we start talking about the dreaded C word!! No not Charlotte, Christmas as we begin to dive into our book bag to look at all the things you should be sticking on your list to Santa!