Thursday, 30 November 2017

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - November 2017

It's November, how did it get to be November? We're fresh from a fantastic book roundup featuring spooks and sorcery in October and once again we're catching up with even more in our November roundup.

Starting with "How to Bewitch a Wolf" by Abie Longstaff, the long anticipated follow-up to her fabulous "How to catch a witch".

Once again we catch up with Charlie, who is finally testing her powers as a witch.

But when new boy Zack joins the school, everything goes wrong. He seems perfect - but Charlie is sure there's more to him than meets the eye. Will she be able to use all her newfound powers to work out just what Zack is up to and where he keeps disappearing to when the moon is full?

It's another enchanting exploration of friendship and magic, with tons of originality and character. "How to Bewitch a Wolf" by Abie Longstaff is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Sticking with sorcery for the moment, here's one for all you budding witches to try out, a distinctly different journal idea for YA / Older kids...

"Basic Witches" by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman really ain't your grandma's grimoire. This is a bang-up-to-date exploration of how to summon success, banish drama and raise hell with your own coven (though, those of you old enough to remember cheese-fest movie "The Craft" might not want to go too far down the dark path, just a polite warning!)

Readers will discover how to tap into their inner sorceress and channel the dark arts for everything from cluttered apartments to dating disasters.

Want to enhance your attractiveness? Pick the right power color of eyeshadow and project otherworldly glamour. 

Need to exorcise a toxic friendship? Say the right symbolic curse and banish it from your life. 

Need to boost your self-confidence? Whip up a tasty herbal potion to strengthen your inner resolve. Plus historical and pop culture sidebars that situate the new witchcraft trend within a broader context. With humor, heart, and a hip modern sensibility, journalists Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman dispense witchy wisdom for the curious, the cynical, and anyone who could use a magical boost to get through the day. 

Awesomely presented, and hugely original, it's a really brill read for older kids and grown-ups who still believe in magic. "Basic Witches" by Jaya Saxena and Jess Zimmerman is out now, published by Quirk Books. 

Two blog favourites next, with their fourth amazing outing for a mighty girl character we've grown to love to bits...

"Harper and the Fire Star" follows on from the fabulous "Harper and the Scarlet Umbrella", "Harper and the Circus of Dreams" and "Harper and the Night Forest" by Cerrie Burnell and Laura Ellen Anderson. 

It's another beautifully written, inspirational and lyrical tale featuring a cast of funny and loveable characters, created by children's TV presenter Cerrie Burnell and stunningly illustrated by Laura Ellen Anderson. 

Harper and her friends want to help the Wild Conductor win back his place in the magical Circus of Dreams. They put on a wondrous show, but instead of the Wild Conductor, the ringmaster selects the musically gifted Harper. 

Once inside the circus, Harper begins to solve a mystery involving Fire Star, a girl who shines like a star whenever she hears music...

Mixing a goodly dose of magic, intrigue and sheer dazzlement, it's another win for mighty girls who love strong female characters. 

"Harper and the Fire Star" by Cerrie Burnell and Laura Ellen Anderson is out now, published by Scholastic. 

More magic now, this time from a hugely prolific and talented author who writes hit after hit. 

"The Princess and the Suffragette" by Holly Webb is the fantastic follow-up to "A Little Princess". 

It's 1913, nine years after the end of A Little Princess saw Sara Crewe escape Miss Minchin's orphanage.

Lottie, the smallest girl from the original story, learns about the Suffragette movement from Sara, who returns to visit from time to time. 

Soon Lottie finds herself sneaking out of the orphanage to attend a demonstration, in defiance of her cold, distant father. 

A father who has a secret to hide about her own missing mother... 

It's a story about lost mothers turning up in unexpected situations, the power of friendship and female empowerment.

Absolutely timely in its exploration of issues that are vitally important today, just as they were at the turn of the 20th Century, "The Princess and the Suffragette" by Holly Webb is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Now, a fantastic selection of additions to a series that has been a huge seller over in the US, and looks likely to repeat that success over here in Europe (are we still allowed to call ourselves that? Of course we are!)

"The Sisters Grimm" is a delightful twist on fairy tales, with a cool detective vibe mixed in with scintillating stories reintroducing some of the most well-loved characters in literature in fab and exciting ways.

In "The Sisters Grimm: Tales from the Hood" by Michael Buckley, which is book 6 in the series, the Grimms defend Mr. Canis in Ferryport Landing's trial of the century!

This book sees Mr. Canis, dear friend and protector of the Grimm family, put on trial for past crimes.

Considering that he's really the Big Bad Wolf, he does have a lot to answer for. But is there really any truth to the story told by Little Red Riding Hood?

What's the deal with all that huffing and puffing? Will Mr. Canis be forced to answer for his crimes?

A kangaroo court of Everafters, led by the cruel Queen of Hearts, is determined to find Canis guilty and force the Grimms out of Ferryport Landing.

Meanwhile, Puck has decided to focus more on his mischievous ways, making a few new troublemaker friends. So it's up to Sabrina and Daphne to find evidence to save Canis and their investigation may reveal more than they hoped.
Lacing this fantastic story world with a courtroom drama that is equal parts funny and gripping, catch up with the series and the latest "The Sisters Grimm:Tales from the Hood" by Michael Buckley, which is out now and published by Abrams Young Readers. 

Sticking with all things lupine for our next book, something new from one of our favourite middle grade and YA publishers of the moment, Chicken House are publishing the fantastic "The Rise of Wolves" by Kerr Thomson...

This is an exciting adventure in an unforgiving landscape as we meet Innis Munro, trekking home across the bleak wilderness of Nin Island.

Innis is chilled to the bone when he hears something impossible, the howl of a wolf. 

Impossible because there are no wolves on the island - not since they were hunted to extinction centuries ago!

It's the cue for Innis to begin exploring his island home and the lead-in to an epic quest concerning an ancient challenge: he who jumps the Bonnie Laddie's Leap will win a vast fortune. 

As the wolves rise from the darkness of history, and long-buried secrets resurface, Innis's adventure truly begins. 

Utterly gripping, shot full of the sort of crisp wintry atmosphere we love, and another fantastic title in Chicken House's amazing lineup for 2017, catch "The Rise of Wolves" by Kerr Thomson, out now!

We just can't leave wolves alone at the moment, though the amazing hero of our next book is a Vixen with a huge heart, and a ton of bravery...

"Foxcraft: The Mage" by Inbali Iserles follows the continuing adventures of young Isla the Fox. 

Full of heart, fantasy, and adventure, the I AM FOX trilogy follows Isla on her quest to track down her missing family. 

This final book in the trilogy follows on from "The Elders" and "The Taken",  and catches up with Isla as she arrives at the frigid Snowlands to find her lost brother, Pirie. 

The tundra is a harsh place - and the wolves who live within its icy kingdoms are harsher still - but Isla's flair for the mysterious arts of foxcraft has grown tremendously. 

The young fox is on a mission of grave importance. A cruel and powerful fox known as the Mage is using his own mastery of foxcraft to summon an ancient threat. 

If he succeeds, then more than just Pirie's life will be at stake. But Isla discovers the once-proud wolves are broken and wary. Their king is weak, struck by a peculiar madness, and a rival kingdom threatens their borders. If Isla can't find help amongst the wolves, then the whole world will burn. 

Utterly amazing, full of dazzling imagery and a fantastic setting, don't miss the final part of the trilogy with "Foxcraft: The Mage" by Inbali Iserles, published by Scholastic and out now!

No wolves in the next one, but there are some truly amazing animals who also showed amazing bravery during two world wars...

"Jet the Rescue Dog" by David Long, with fabulous illustrations by Peter Bailey, is a collection of stories of animals in wartime, presented in this fantastic 'classic' style cover for the first time. 

As mascots, messengers, rat-catchers and even spies, animals have long marched into war alongside servicemen and women.

Dogs, horses, cats (even birds, camels and elephants) have saved thousands of lives through instinct, intelligence, courage and devotion.

Like Jet, a dog who searched through ruins during the Blitz bombings to find survivors, or Sergeant Stubby, a dog who caught a spy. 

Or the pigeons who braved hurricanes, hawks and even snipers to help during WWI and WWII.

Engaging, uplifting and deeply moving, Jet the Rescue Dog tells the stories of these brave, silent heroes with sensitivity and gentle humour for readers age 8+, illustrated throughout with Peter's awesome ink drawings. 

"Jet the Rescue Dog and other extraordinary stories of animals in wartime" by David Long and Peter Bailey is out now, published by Faber and Faber. 

Palazzo are republishing some stunning books at the moment, and we're definitely celebrating "Michael Power" with this next one...

"Arthur, High King of Britain" is a fantastic retelling of the stories and chronicles of King Arthur.

Retold in Morpurgo's exquisite prose, it's a dazzling mix of amazing chivalry, bravery and magical legend fused together with the most amazing illustrations by Michael Foreman.

This dream team have come up with a definitive anthology of stories taken from Arthurian legend, beautifully presented in a hardback format and perfect for children who are just beginning to learn about the Legend of King Arthur themselves.

It's a beautiful read, as you'd expect from Morpurgo - made even more gorgeous by Foreman's astonishingly detailed and ethereal illustrations.

A complete win for us, as we love anything to do with King Arthur.

"Arthur, High King of Britain" by Michael Morpurgo and Michael Foreman is out now, published by Palazzo. 

Something a little more light-hearted you like Pugs? Charlotte definitely does...!

"Safari Pug: The Dog who Walked on the Wild Side" by Laura James and Eglantine Ceulemans continues the astonishing adventures of Pug.

This time the snub-nosed fellah finds himself in a pretty scary situation on Safari.

When Pug and Lady Miranda have a run-in with a lion one night (it might be hiding under the bed), Lady M decides Pug needs to face his fears and go on safari. 

Pug goes a bit wobbly when he finds out he'll be coming nose to nose with Florence, the rare white lion cub, but he soon realises that lions may not be the most dangerous thing in the wildlife park. You'll have to read the book to find out whether Pug prevails, or ends up as lunch for a very hungry mystery animal!

"Safari Pug" by Laura James and Eglantine Ceulemans is out now, published by Bloomsbury. 

Time for one final book and it's an absolute doozy from one of my favourite poets of all time. 

Celebrating his 80th birthday, Roger McGough has gathered together 80 poems in this fantastic anthology. 

One-time beat poet, and one of the poets who first made me sit up and take notice as a poem-loving kid in the 70s, it's a fantastic tribute to a truly amazing and versatile writer whose subjects are always very close to children's hearts. 

The poems have been specially chosen to reflect Roger's unique sense of humour, his wit and wisdom and sharp observations on all aspects of life.

Best of all, Roger shows off his illustrative talents with new, quirky illustrations to add further enjoyment to his writing. Who knew the guy could draw as well, eh? Wow!

"80" by Roger McGough is out now, published by Puffin. 

Our next book is a real "Hooray!" moment, the welcome return of a mighty girl trio...

"The Powerpuff Girls: Hero to Zero by The Powerpuff Girls (yes, really!) is a superb addition to the hugely successful chapter book series featuring these awesome superhero gals. 

Blossom, Bubbles and Buttercup are cross when Princess Morebucks is nominated for the Townville Citizen of the Year award instead of them. 

How many monsters does a girl have to fight?! They decide to go to neighbouring Villageton, where they're appreicated. 

But Villageton isn't as nice as it seems ... and soon the girls are battling without their superpowers!

Without their powers, the Powerpuff Girls are just ... Puff Girls. Can they get their skills back and make their way to their true home?

These are corking little middle grade readers, absolutely fantastic for fans of the cartoon series (yep, that's us!)

"The Powerpuff Girls: Hero to Zero" is out now, published by Orchard Books. 

Last but not least, a rather quirky and original story from a publisher new to us.

"King Bones" by Chris Hallatt Wells is being published by Everything With Words, a small publishing house but one we think you'll definitely want to keep an eye on if this book is anything to go by.

The story opens with Danny, who lives with his rather eccentric but awesome parents. Danny's dad loves to cook. The weird thing is that his meals (often made from things that should, by rights, kill you stone dead or at least give you the worst food poisoning ever) are just too good - People love them, until they find out what they're made of.

With their business going slightly awry, Danny's Mum and Dad suffer more woes when they're framed for stealing the crown jewels, leaving Danny in the care of his Aunty. Aunty Ratbag, who is every bit as kind and loving as she sounds (ie, not in the least!)

Danny's life becomes even weirder when he's recruited by a mysterious entity he meets in a Graveyard. King Bones has a very special mission for Danny: he wants his queen back. She has been buried with her ladies in waiting in a separate chamber. Danny discovers that a famous archaeologist has removed her skull and her crown to display them in the British Museum. King Bones and Danny must set out to rescue her.

We're always on the lookout for new and original middle grade reading material and this one's definitely good for perhaps 7 years plus. It's bizarre, funny, heartwarming and definitely ticks the originality box but we urge you not to be eating anything when you read the first few chapters!

"King Bones" by Chris Hallatt Wells is out now, published by Everything With Words. 

Phew! Another fantastic roundup this month, we think you'll agree. Whatever you are doing next month, don't miss our final Chapter Book Roundup of the year for 2017 as we gather together an amazing selection of our favourites from our year's worth of roundups - and name our Chapter Book(s) of the year!! See you in December!