Monday, 28 May 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - May 2018

Welcome, welcome to our summery sunshine-packed chapter book roundup for May. We're hoping to tempt you with a glorious selection of lovely books, so you can sneak out, find a shady tree and get some quiet time to get some reading done.

Let's kick off with a superbly touching middle grade tale of an ordinary girl trying to cope with extraordinary circumstances.

In "What Lexie Did" by Emma Shevah, Lexie lives in London with her colourful Greek-Cypriot family - and she's devoted to her fragile cousin of the same age, Eleni, who has a heart condition.

But after the death of their grandmother, Lexie tells a terrible, instinctive, jealous lie about an heirloom necklace, a lie that splits the family apart.

It's up to her to bring the family back together ... but after such a lie, can she find a way to tell the truth?

A strong moral message, with tons of heart-melting moments underlining the importance of family and honesty, "What Lexie Did" by Emma Sheva is out now, published by Chicken House. 

Next up is "Walls" by Emma Fischel. Time to meet an unforgettable hero with a fresh and unique voice.

Meet Ned Harrison Arkle-Smith - he's grumpy, bossy, and exasperating, but you can't help liking him (We all know people like that, don't we?)

Ned seems to have made a rather astonishing discovery. He's just discovered he can walk through walls.

Ned's world is collapsing. His parents have split up, his best friend is behaving strangely, he has an awful new neighbour, and Snapper is making his life a misery. In fact NOBODY is behaving the way Ned wants.

And then there's the wall. Right down the middle of Ivy Lodge and cutting up Ned's life. A big brick reminder of all that's going wrong in his life.

Until, that is, the night when Ned takes a chance and uses his new skill for the first time. But will it be the last?

The sort of book that has you constantly thinking "What if I could do that?" Brilliant stuff. "Walls" by Emma Fischel is out on the 1st June 2018, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Geeks will inherit the earth, certainly if our next book is anything to go by.

Geek Tragedy" by Tom McLaughlin, one of C's favourite authors in middle grade stuff, is an absolutely belting start to a new series from this hugely talented chap.

Visit Happyville High - the perfect school, or so it seems.

But scratch beneath the surface and there's something really weird going on. 

Teachers and students are too wrapped up in their own popularity to see what's happening, but there are three outsiders who can. 

Tyler, Dylan, and Ashley are a trio of super nerds brought together by their superior intellect and general dorky behaviour. 

Their lack of cool is their superpower, making them immune to the strange effects that popularity seems to have on the school. 

So when students start experiencing strange symptoms - like growing an extra-long spaghetti arm - it's time for them to put their geek powers to the test and find the cause!

Utterly hilarious, fresh and original, C absolutely lapped this up and can't wait for more from these geeks. "Geek Tragedy" by Tom McLaughlin is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Next up is a new version of a fantastic story that serves as the perfect jumping-in point for kids who want to delve into the Discworld, Terry Pratchett's glorious creation. 

"The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" by Terry Pratchett, with new artwork from blog fave Laura Ellen Andersen is a glorious twist on "The Pied Piper" with a unique protagonist. 

Maurice - a streetwise tomcat - leads a band of educated ratty friends (and a stupid kid) on a nice little earner.

Piper plus rats equals lots and lots of money.

Until they run across someone playing a different tune.

Now Maurice and his rats must learn a new concept as Evil comes to Ank-Morpork. 

A truly beautiful new edition this, and Laura's art is as fantastic as ever. 

Catch "The Amazing Maurice and his Educated Rodents" by Terry Pratchett and Laura Ellen Andersen, published by Corgi Children's Books. 

Next, a comic favourite makes the leap to chapter books, causing utter chaos at the same time. It's time for "Dennis and the Chamber of Mischief", a Dennis the Menace and Gnasher adventure by Nigel Auchterlounie. 

For the first time in Dennis's life Beanotown has become boring.

All Dennis's pranks are backfiring and he seems to have lost his awesomeness. 

Even his faithful hound, Gnasher, seems fed up with him these days. If only there was some way to bring the fun back to Beanotown.

When Dennis hears about the legendary Golden Pea-shooter of Everlasting Fun, it sounds like the only thing that can solve his problems and return his hometown to its former glory. 

With the help of his cousin, Minnie the Minx, and Gnasher of course, Dennis must go on a quest, discovering the mysterious Chamber of Mischief in his bid to find the Golden Pea-shooter; but a series of tricky challenges (and Dennis's nemesis, Walter) stand in his way.

Dennis's latest and, quite possibly, greatest adventure is filled with epic fun, from ghostly Vikings and skateboarding Grandmas to an enormous Gnashersaurus-Rex and a series of interactive puzzles for YOU, the reader, to complete. Can YOU help Dennis solve the fiendish mystery and save Beanotown from eternal boringness?

"Dennis and the Chamber of Mischief" by Nigel Auchterlounie is out now, published by Studio Press. 

Now for a touching and life-affirming tale of growing up. "Spirit" by Sally Christie introduces two very different characters who find common ground, and perhaps rediscover something amazing in the process. 

Matt is new, quiet and shy. Some might even say boring. 

Jazzy is outspoken, popular, confident. 

They'd never normally be friends, but things in the village of Burnham Stone aren't normal. One day Matt sees something extraordinary up in Burnham Wood and struggles to get anyone to listen.

Jazzy, oddly,  is the only one who believes him. With the help of Matt's little dog and Jazzy's little sister, the two make surprising discoveries - and unleash such a powerful force that nothing can ever be the same again. 

A wonderful story about friends, growing up, and the very real magic in the world around us, "Spirit" by Sally Christie is out now, published by David Fickling Books. 

Something truly stunning next, and you're going to have to wait all the way till September for this amazing story - but it will be well worth the wait, trust us. 

"The Restless Girls" by Jessie Burton, with illustrations by Angela Barrett is a fantastic feminist reinterpretation of one of our favourite fairy tales, "The Twelve Dancing Princesses". 

For her twelve daughters, Queen Laurelia's death in a motor car accident is a disaster beyond losing a mother. 

Their father, King Alberto, cannot bear the idea of the princesses ever being in danger and decides his daughters must be kept safe at all costs. 

Those costs include their lessons, their possessions and, most importantly, their freedom. 

But the eldest, Princess Frida, will not bend to his will without a fight and she still has one possession her father can't take: the power of her imagination. 

And so, with little but wits and ingenuity to rely on, Frida and her sisters begin their fight to be allowed to live life the way they choose. 

Full of glorious jaw-dropping moments of inspiration with a strong powerful core message of hope and fighting for what you believe in, "The Restless Girls" by Jessie Burton and Angela Barrett will be released on 27th September 2018, published by Bloomsbury Children's Books. 

Time for the fourth book in Isla Fisher's brilliantly hilarious "Marge" series. This time Marge is in charge and dragging poor hapless Jakey and Jemima off on another adventure in "Marge and the Secret Tunnel.


Life with Marge is NEVER boring! She has rainbow hair, goes skiing in the middle of summer and is the best babysitter anyone could wish for.

And maybe - just maybe - Marge can help Jemima and Jakey work out who (or what) is at the end of the secret tunnel. Careful not to dig too far though, you may end up in Isla's home country of Australia if you're not careful. 

It's whacky stuff from a talented actress-author, with fab illustrations from Eglantine Ceulemans. 

"Marge and the Secret Tunnel" is out now, published by Piccadilly Press.

Next, a timely set of reprints just in time for World Cup Mania this coming summer. 

Helena Pielichaty's awesome "Girls F.C" series has had a dust and polish with all new book covers from Eglantine Ceulemans. 

Check out the four books in the series including "Do Goalkeepers Wear Tiaras" in a set of books focussing on girl's love of footie, where 'playing like a girl' is definitely NOT an insult. 

“My name is Megan Fawcett and this is the story of how I set up the best football team in the world.

Get ready for kick-off!” 

Nine-year-old Megan Fawcett loves football and is desperate to be on her school team. She tries everything to get the coach to notice her (even wearing a tiara!), but nothing seems to do the trick. Then Megan has her big brainwave: she could start her own team. 

An all-girls team! Now she just needs a pitch, a coach – oh, and ten other players… This is the first in a series of fun, topical early readers; join the Girls FC as they take the world by storm and look out for the other books including "Can Ponies Take Penalties?", "Are Brothers Really Foul?" and "Is an own goal really bad?"

"Do Goalkeepers Wear Tiaras" by Helena Pielichaty and Eglantine Ceulemans is out now, published by Walker Books. 

The next book is sizzlingly brilliant, spooky and utterly gripping - and we don't use those words lightly, you'll definitely not want to miss "The Ghosts and Jamal" by Bridget Blankley.

A rich narrative touching on religion, terrorism and Nigeria’s internal conflicts, follows the story of a young orphan who is negotiating an unforgiving society. 

Waking up in the aftermath of a terrorist attack, 13-year-old Jamal tries to piece together what has happened whilst simultaneously trying to evade capture by the attackers. 

It soon becomes clear that he has been living in a separate outhouse from his family on account of the “bad spirits” or rather his epilepsy that plagues him.

As he wanders around his family’s compound, he comes across red canisters leaking yellow gas, which he works out were the weapon that killed his family. 

With his family dead, he begins to search for his grandfather who he hardly knows - but when his grandfather turns him away Jamal has no choice but to keep on walking, putting as much distance between himself and trouble as he can. On the way he meets prejudice, exploitation and friendship, before finally discovering that it is people, not ghosts, that have killed his family, and they have plans to keep on killing.

Powerful, emotional and important, "The Ghosts and Jamal" by Bridget Blankley is out now, published by HopeRoad Publishing. 

Something slightly more lighthearted, but still with a hugely important message at its heart, here's "Double Felix" by Sally Harris, with awesome illustrations by Maria Serrano. 

Felix is in trouble at school again. He's so full of energy he skips every second step when he takes the stairs, taps door handles twice and positions objects in pairs. Odd behaviour? Or does Felix have a secret that few would understand...

Felix is on the verge of being expelled from school because the principal has had enough of trying to run the school around his very specific rules. 

Then Charlie Pye arrives and turns Felix's world upside down. 

She has grown up with very few rules. She eats cereal for lunch, calls a boat home, and has a very loose interpretation of school uniform. 

The question is, can Felix ever learn to be wrong when he is so obsessed with being right?

A fun and rather beautiful core message conveyed with humour and understanding, "Double Felix" by Sally Harris and Maria Serrano is out now, published by Brown Dog Books. 

Super-cool presenting dude and all-round awesome guy Ade Adepitan

is up next with his debut book for middle grade readers.

"Ade's Amazing Ade-Ventures: Battle of the Cyborg Cat" introduces young Ade.

He is the new kid on Parsons Road. He knows he should make an effort and make some friends but it's not easy when you look different to everyone else.

It's only when Ade sees off some bullies that Dexter, Brian and Shed realize who Ade really is: their new friend, part cyborg, part footballing genius and all hero.

In a truly fantastic and inspirational superhero adventure for younger middle-graders, Ade creates a new kind of hero that kids of all ages and abilities can look up to.

"Ade's Amazing Ade-Ventures - Battle of the Cyborg Cat" by Ade Adepitan with awesome cover and internal illustrations from David M Buisan is out now, published by Studio Press. 

From one awesome book to another, and the next in the fantastic "Al's Awesome Science" series.

We make a big splash with "Splash Down" by Jane Clarke and James Brown.

Al's experiments usually have the most unexpected and messy consequences. 

Al is experimenting to find out what kind of covering his time machine will need to survive its SPLASH DOWN! back to Earth. 

Water experiments have a habit of making things very wet and messy. Can they finish their experiments before mum finds out?

A fantastic story series with a stack of cool experiments and ideas for kids to try out themselves, as Al's storyworld has a great basis in science subjects. 

Don't get too wet though!

"Al's Awesome Science: Splash Down" by Jane Clarke and James Brown is out now, published by Five Quills.