Thursday, 29 March 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - March 2018

Let's start off this month's chapter book roundup with an incredible adventure out to sea.

Julia Green's "To the Edge of the World" is a truly beautifully written tale of courage, friendship, and survival.

Imagine a tiny island far out in the Atlantic Ocean off the west coast of Scotland. On some days, you can hardly see where the sea ends and the land begins, everything merged in a blue-grey mist of sea spray and wind-blown sand with hardly another soul to be seen. Sounds like bliss, right?

There is nothing between here and America.

Nothing but ocean.

...And about sixty-five kilometres out to sea, one last remote outcrop of islands and sea stacks, with the highest sea cliffs anywhere in the UK-St Kilda.

Distant, desolate, and difficult to reach. The islands at the edge of the world and this is the setting for a wild story of friendship, new lives and a plucky pair who will stop at nothing to find those islands for themselves.

"To the Edge of the World" by Julia Green is out on 1st April 2018, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

From nautical charts to chart of an entirely different kind in a thoroughly original book that just begs to be read...

"Planet Stan" by Elaine Wickson and Chris Judge will definitely catch your eye with its cover.

Sometimes the only way to make any sense of life is to put it all into charts and diagrams. This is the story of Stan - who has built a survival guide for kids that most of us might find some useful survival tips in.

Stan loves everything to do with space, along with a calming, ordered environment, pie charts, and Venn diagrams.

His dinosaur-loving younger brother Fred is the opposite: chaotic, messy, prone to leaving snails under Stan's bed and ladybirds in his lunchbox.

 Surely they must have something in common?

As Stanley struggles to cope with his high maintenance brother and his hair-brained schemes he charts all the ups and downs of his life in a series of hilarious infographics in this highly-illustrated and visually-appealing book. It's like nothing we've ever seen before, in a really good way. Brilliantly funny, and the various pie charts and infographics are deucedly clever indeed!

"Planet Stan" by Elaine Wickson and Chris Judge is out on 1st April 2018, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next, a distinctly different tale with a waggy end...

In "Elise and the Second Hand Dog" by Bjarne Reuter (translated by Sian Mackie) with illustrations by Kirsten Raagaard we meet a little girl with a problem.

Elise is lonely.

Her mum is far away in Brazil helping to finish the building of a suspension bridge and her dad is busy trying to get by as a musician in the Danish city of Copenhagen where they live. 

So when Elise asks for a dog to keep her company, her dad finds it hard to refuse. 

But the dog that Elise ends up with is no ordinary dog. 

He is second-hand, he looks like an ugly rabbit, he smells of cheese…and he can talk! What's more, the two are destined to have adventures that Elise couldn't even dream of. 

Hugely original, touching and page-turningly compelling, this is excellent stuff. 

"Elise and the Second Hand Dog" by Bjarne Reuter (translated by Sian Mackie) with illustrations by Kirsten Raagaard is out on 2nd April 2018, published by Wacky Bee Books. 

Next up, something special for folk who have loved the recent "Big Cats" programmes on BBC.

"When the Mountains Roared" by Jess Butterworth is an amazing adventure set in the mountains of India, about a girl who is determined to protect the wild leopards of the mountain from poachers.

When Ruby's dad uproots her from Australia to set up a hotel in the mountains of India, Ruby is devastated.

Not only are they living in a run-down building in the middle of the wilderness surrounded by scorpions, bears and leopards, but Ruby is sure that India will never truly feel like home - not without her mum there.

Ever since her mum died, Ruby has been afraid. Of cars. Of the dark. Of going to sleep and never waking up.

But then the last remaining leopards of the mountain are threatened and everything changes.

Ruby vows to do all she can to protect them - if she can only overcome her fears.

This is a rivetting read that will have you gripped, with a new mighty girl hero who overcomes many obstacles to save one of the most endangered species on the planet.

"When the Mountains Roared" by Jess Butterworth is out on the 5th April 2018, published by Orion Children's Books. 

Now something of a revival for a classic author whose works are just as popular now as ever they were at the height of her career.

Enid Blyton's "Springtime Stories" are bound to lift your spirits and get you ready for (hopefully) nicer weather as the seasons subtly change from Winter to Spring.

Head off on a sparkling springtime adventure with the world's best-loved storyteller. 

From the little boy who helps a lamb in trouble to the fairies hidden inside Easter Eggs, excitement and magic are never far away in this collection of stories to read and share. 

These fun, entertaining tales are ideal for newly confident readers and are the perfect length for reading aloud at bedtime or in the classroom.

Enid Blyton remains one of Britain's favourite children's authors and her bumper short story collections are perfect for introducing her to the latest generation of readers. We absolutely love her "Mallory Towers" series so this was a really welcome addition to our Blyton shelf. 

"Springtime Stories" by Enid Blyton is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books. 

Next, cover your mouth when you cough and sneeze into a hankie if you please...

"Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs" by Gwen Lowe is a fantastic debut for this hugely talented new author.

Gwen uses all her background and expertise in all things germy for a ticklish tale of Alice Dent. 

When Alice gets a cold, she has no idea how much trouble it's about to cause. 

This is no ordinary cold: it comes with some seriously extraordinary side-effects that could change Alice's life forever!

But when the scary Best Minister for Everything Nicely Perfect tries to take Alice away, she realizes her troubles are only just beginning!

It's full of tension, humour and excitement and you'll certainly have a new-found respect for anyone working in communicable diseases after this one. 

Now wash your hands! "Alice Dent and the Incredible Germs" by Gwen Lowe is out now, published by Chicken House Books. 

Next up, the return of a fabulous book series featuring a rather special little FairyVamp!

"Isadora Moon Goes to the Fair" by Harriet Muncaster rejoins fabulous Isadora at one of our favourite places, enjoying all the fun of the fair.

Isadora Moon is special because she's different. Her mum is a fairy and her dad is a vampire and she's a bit of both. 

Isadora is excited for her first ever trip to the fun fair, but when she arrives it's not quite as magical as she expected. 

Luckily, her cousin Mirabelle has a plan to make the fairground rides extra special. What could possibly go wrong? 

With irresistible pink and black artwork throughout by author/illustrator Harriet Muncaster and a totally unique heroine with an out-of-this-world family, this is the perfect book series for your youngsters who love collecting and reading stories with neat twists and a huge dose of originality. 

"Isadora Moon Goes to the Fair" by Harriet Muncaster is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

From all the fun of the fair, to a rather special detective duo...

"Stick and Fetch Investigate: Barking up the Wrong Tree" teams up hilariously funny author Philip Ardagh with corking illustrator supreme Elissa Elwick for a fabulous whirlwind detective novel that's hopefully destined to become a much loved series. 

Sally loves nothing more than investigating a good mystery - and her shaggy canine companion Fetch loves nothing more than to be at her side when she does.

There's just one small problem: they always gets the wrong end of the stick! 

The hapless pair remain undeterred, however, dashing from one crime scene to another on their bicycle, leaving a trail of destruction in their wake ... yet always emerging blissfully unaware. 

This sets up the tale to be absolutely brilliantly deadpan at times, with Elissa's illustrations adding to the fun. We love the fact that you get three stories in one book here, so there's plenty of fun to be had with this girl-and-pooch detective team. 

Just make sure you pack a decent hairbrush when reading!

"Stick and Fetch Investigate: Barking up the Wrong Tree" by Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Just time to squeeze in one more, and a new book in a series that really impressed us last time out...

"The Art E Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Vanishing Dragon" by Robert J. Harris is the second book in this fantastic detective series.

Riffing on Sherlock Holmes adventures, with tons of awesome cameos and supporting characters, it's a mystery par excellence as Artie and Ham begin their investigations into a strange series of accidents.

A world-famous magician, the Great Wizard of the North, is the subject of these strange mishaps. 

It seems someone is determined to sabotage his spectacular new illusion.

When the huge mechanical dragon created for the show vanishes, the theft appears to be completely impossible. Artie must reveal the trick and unmask the villain or face the deadly consequences.

The cards have been dealt, the spell has been cast, and the game is afoot once more!

"The Art E Conan Doyle Mysteries: The Vanishing Dragon" by Robert J. Harris is out now, published by Floris Books / Kelpies. 
That's about all we've got time for in March. Join us again in April for even more amazing chapter book winners! See you then!