Thursday, 26 April 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - April 2018

We're off to a roaring start with our April Chapter Book roundup. Let's dip in to "Big Foot and Little Foot" by Ellen Potter and Felicita Sala to get things under way.

Hugo is a young Sasquatch who longs for adventure.

Boone is young boy who longs to see a Sasquatch. 

When their worlds collide, they become the unlikeliest pair of best friends. At the Academy for Curious Squidges, Hugo learns all manner of sneaking--after all, the most important part of being a Sasquatch is staying hidden from humans. But, Hugo dreams of roaming free in the Big Wide World, rather than staying cooped up in caves. 

When he has an unexpected run in with a young human boy, Hugo seizes the opportunity for grand adventure. 

Soon, the two team up to search high and low for mythic animals, like Ogopogos and Snoot-Nosed Gints. Through discovering these new creatures, together, Big Foot and Little Foot explore the ins and outs of each other's very different worlds but learn that, deep down, maybe they're not so different after all.

A superb tale of friendship and accepting that different can sometimes be really cool, "Big Foot and Little Foot" by Ellen Potter and Felicita Sala is out now, published by Amulet. 

Next we'll delve into a truly cosmic comic shop in "The Uncracked Code featuring Komodo Jones" - Book 1 in an eventual comic-flavoured trilogy from Tamara Macfarlane and Eugene Ramirez Mapondera. 

Friends Coco and Zac are at the heart of this awesome adventure, inspired by their favourite tough comic super hero, Komodo Jones to become mystery solvers and crime fighters.

They love hanging out at the cosmic comic shop and cosmic cafe, but one day mystery finds them before they can even get into their first case. Can the two pool their talent and resources and get to the bottom of a ticklish enigma? 

A fantastic book with brilliant presentation, absolutely top appeal to comic fans who want to get wrapped up in a set of cool cases. 

"The Uncracked Code Featuring Komodo Jones" is Book 1 by Tamara MacFarlane and Eugene Ramirez Mapondera. Out now from Troika Books. 

Next, a fantastic and deeply immersive story set in the midst of the Second World War. 

"The Buried Crown" by Ally Sherrick is spine-tinglingly brilliant, just the sort of book I loved getting wrapped up in when I was a kid (and still the sort of book we both love now). 

Britain is on the brink of invasion.

Londoner George has been sent to live in in the countryside while his brother and guardian, Charlie, fights overseas. 

But the war is closer than he thinks. An ancient burial ground nearby contains a priceless treasure, a magical Anglo-Saxon crown Hitler is desperate to possess as he scours the earth for religious and mythological artefacts to boost his power.

Alongside Kitty, the granddaughter of a Jewish archaeologist, George must find and protect the crown from the Nazi invaders before it's too late. Could this artefact truly turn the tide of war in Hitler's favour? The two must stop at nothing to thwart Hitler's insane plans. 

Utterly gripping, highly original and full of the same sort of amazing WWII atmosphere childhood favourites like "The Machine Gunners" and "The Owl Service" had, this is absolutely brilliant stuff. 

"The Buried Crown" by Ally Sherrick is out now, published by Chicken House. 

Next we'll take a look at a new middle grade novel series, spawned from a comic book series we already love...

"Lumberjanes: The Moon is Up" by Mariko Tamaki and Brooklyn Allen brings together all the fantastic characters from the well-loved and critically acclaimed comic strip.

Welcome to Miss Qiunzella Thiskwin Penniquiqul Thistle Crumpet’s Camp for Hardcore Lady Types. 

The five scouts of Roanoke cabin―Jo, April, Molly, Mal, and Ripley―love their summers at camp. 

They get to hang out with their best friends, earn Lumberjane scout badges, annoy their no-nonsense counselor Jen . . . and go on supernatural adventures. 

That last one? A pretty normal occurrence at Miss Qiunzella’s, where the woods contain endless mysteries.

As the camp gears up for the big Galaxy Wars competition, Jo and the gang get some help from an unexpected visitor―a Moon Pirate!

Book Two will focus on Jo, the ingenious inventor of the group who also happens to be trans. This novel follows on from the fantastic book 1: "Unicorn Power!" also by Mariko and Brooklyn. 

"Lumberjanes: The Moon is up" by Mariko Tamaki and Brooklyn Allen is out on the 10th May 2018, published by Amulet Books. 

Let's take a look at a stunning new series from blog favourite Anne Booth, whose new novel series shows off the beauty and diversity of the bird kingdom to awesome effect...

In "Magical Kingdom of Birds: The Sleepy Hummingbirds" meet 
Maya, a young girl who is given a truly amazing gift. 

When Maya receives a special colouring book - The Magical Kingdom of Birds - she is transported to a beautiful realm filled with magnificent birds and their fairy friends.

But the kingdom is in trouble - evil Lord Astor has a plan to capture and cage the tiniest residents, the hummingbirds - and as Keeper of the Book it's up to Maya to protect them. 

Can she enlist the help of her new found friends to protect these adorable creatures from Lord Astor?

Packed with beautiful illustrations, information on the real birds that inspired the story, and includes two special colouring pages!

It's a lovely series for kids who love birds and mythical creatures in equal measure, tinged with a touch of sparkle and magic. 

"Magical Kingdom of Birds: The Sleepy Hummingbirds" by Anne Booth and Rosie Butcher is out on the 7th June 2018, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next in our book bad, even more magic!

"Polly Diamond and the Magic Book" by Alice Kuipers and Diana Toledano unleashes the power of words. 

Polly loves language and she really loves writing stories.

So when a magic book appears on her doorstep that can make everything she writes happen in real life, Polly is certain all of her dreams are about to come true. 

But she soon learns that what you write and what you mean are not always the same thing! 

Funny and touching, this new chapter book series will entertain younger readers and inspire their own writing talent, perhaps taking them on a magic book journey of their own. 

"Polly Diamond and the Magic Book" by Alice Kuipers and Diana Toledano is released on 1st May 2018, published by Chronicle Books. 

Next we're playing catchup just as Isla Fisher's newest adventure for larger than life Aunt Marge arrives on bookshelves.

"Marge and the Great Train Rescue" by Isla Fisher once again catches up with everyone's favourite babysitter.

Aunt Marge is loud, vivacious and has rainbow hair. Most of all Marge loves a mystery or an adventure and drags her poor hapless niece and nephew Jemima and Jakey along for the ride.

Things do SOMETIMES go off the rails when Marge is around but Jakey and Jemima don't mind that. 

After all, no one else could rescue a train, help Jakey's wobbly tooth or cause chaos at the zoo!

These stories are brilliantly written, full of family-friendly humour and Marge is the sort of character we truly love to see in children's books.

Don't miss "Marge and the Great Train Rescue" by Isla Fisher, out now from Piccadilly Press with Isla's new Marge adventure "Marge and the Secret Tunnel" arriving on bookstore shelves on 17th May 2018. 

Next, a book with a whopping huge heart that will make you feel all warm and cuddly - and quite possibly emotionally drained at the end...

Sarah Moore Fitzgerald's fabulous "The List of Real Things" is a poignant and big-hearted story about love, loss and believing in the magic of the imagination.

Grace knows the difference between what's real and the strange ideas that float around in her little sister's mind.

Their parents died - that's real.

A secret hotel on the cliff-top where their parents are waiting - definitely NOT real.

So when grief strikes again, Grace is determined not to let her sister's outlandish imagination spiral out of control.

Sometimes though sisters need to stick together, no matter what.

A beautifully crafted story where the lines between truth and fantasy often seem blurred and complex, but with such a strong voice and an amazing message of hope despite loss, this is truly special.

"The List of Real Things" by Sarah Moore Fitzgerald is out now, published by Orion Children's Books. 

Witches next, always a rich source of inspiration when it comes to storytelling...and this next book really is a beltingly entertaining read...

"Get Me Out of Witch School!" by Em Lynas and Jamie Littler introduces a young girl who isn't too keen on all this magic stuff.

Daisy Wart may not be the greatest name in the world - but now Daisy is known Twinkle Toadspit, the witchiest witch of all. The only problem is that Daisy / Twinkle would rather be the world's greatest actress than a smelly old witch. 

How can she do all her school stuff AND tour her play? By doing all the magic spells really, really fast and without practising first, that's how! 

Even if it means CHAOS and DISASTER, the show MUST go on! 

This is the second in the spellbinding, spine-tingling school series in which Twinkle Toadspit tests out her new powers with MAGICAL results! Look out for Twinkle's first adventure, "You Can't Make Me Go To Witch School!"

"Get Me Out of Witch School!" by Em Lynas and Jamie Littler is out now, published by Nosy Crow

Now for something really original and stunningly immersive...

Ewa Josefkowicz's sublime "The Mystery of the Colour Thief"

Let's meet Izzy, a girl whose life is tinged with tragedy.

After a frightening car accident, Izzy's mum is in a coma. Her family is in pieces. Her best friend at school has dumped her. And her nightmares are haunted by a shadowy man stealing all the colours from her world.

She's trying so hard to be brave, but Izzy thinks everything is her fault.

hen she meets her new neighbour, Toby, paralyzed after a skateboarding accident, and together they find a nest of cygnets who need rescuing.

They take special care of the cygnest, particularly the odd one out, called Spike. Will saving Spike save Izzy? Will she and Toby solve the mystery of the colour thief and bring hope and happiness back to Izzy's life? A truly absorbing and compelling middle grade read that will resonate with a wide variety of readers young and old.

"The Mystery of the Colour Thief" by Ewa Jozefkowicz is out on 5th May 2018, published by Head of Zeus. 

One last one for April and it's the return of a stunning series that thrilled me to bits as a kid - this time with an all-new author taking up the fantasy reins...

Charlie Higson, author, actor, comedian and lifelong fan of the "Fighting Fantasy" series of books from Steve Jackson and Ian Livingstone has now crafted his own adventure that will truly take your breath away.

"The Gates of Death" is part novel, part game, all fantasy as Charlie brings his own action-packed brand of page-turning plotting to Allansia. Expect the unexpected!

In this brand new addition to the multi-million-copy-selling Fighting Fantasy series, you - the hero - must respond to a call for help from the people of Allansia.

Your quest to the Temple of Miracles in the Invisible City will be challenging and dangerous, and your simple mission will soon take a darker turn as you face the legendary Gates Of Death.

On the other side waits the Queen Of Darkness, Ulrakhaar. To stop her, and save Titan from destruction, you will have to venture further than ever before... to the Kingdom Of The Dead. Arm yourself with a dice, a pad and a pencil and prepare to fight!

"The Gates of Death" by Charlie Higson is out now, published by Scholastic.