Thursday, 28 June 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - June 2018

We are literally kicking off our Chapter Book Roundup this month with a fantastic footie-based book that's sure to give your World Cup fans plenty of entertainment (if you can pry them away from the TV and all the matches!)

"Hubert and the Magic Glasses" by Candice Lemon-Scott and Joe Spellman is the story of a team that - well, let's face it - won't be bothering the upper echelons of world cup stardom any time soon.

The Able Ants are - for want of a better word - pants.

Hubert does not help. He enjoys football, but he struggles to maintain his skills. 

Maybe magic glasses are the answer? At the very least they might stop Hubert mistaking dog food for breakfast cereal. 

Taking the neat approach of giving kids of all abilities a chance to shine as central characters in a story, Hubert's uplifting tale is a really good read for kids who are just beginning to move on from picture books towards their first early chapter readers. 

"Hubert and the Magic Glasses" by Candice Lemon-Scott and Joe Spellman is out now, published by New Frontier Publishing. 

We're sticking with New Frontier for our next couple of books, including "Keeper of the Crystals: Eve and the Hidden Giant" by Jess Black. 

Again, a series of books for younger kids just cutting their teeth with chapter fiction, meet Eve and Oscar, two unlikely friends who accidentally tap in to the power of the crystals and are thrust in to different and often dangerous worlds. 

In this adventure they are thrown into the land of giants, a realm in turmoil. 

Can they help the giants before their world is destroyed? 

The series explores themes of the environment, resilience, and community as well as friendship and fantasy and is again absolutely spot on for kids moving on from picture books to more wordy fantasy stuff. 

"Keeper of the Crystals: Eve and the Hidden Giant" by Jess Black is out now, published by New Frontier Publishing. 

Science fiction fans are also well served by New Frontier in a series of exciting novels set in the solar system. 

Meet Jake and his friends in the superb "Jake in Space" series of books by Candice Lemon-Scott with illustrations by Celeste Hulme. 

Jake and his friends are on a mission to Mercury to watch the planets align.

When Henry the cyborg reveals that they are actually on a secret CIA mission, the group must work together to thwart a villainous plan to destroy the entire solar system, planet by planet. 

Jake in Space is a series of sci-fi adventure stories full of action and suspense. 

In each story, the Central Intergalactic Agency (CIA) sends its cyborg, Henry, on a secret mission. Jake ends up helping his cyborg friend but things never seem to go according to plan.

Perfect for early readers who love exciting sci-fi, "Jake in Space: Mercury Rising" and other titles in this stunning series are available now, published by New Frontier Publishing. 

Changing tack entirely now for a gripping middle grade / early YA winner from Charli Howard and Nosy Crow. 

"Splash" is the stunning story of Molly who is in her final year of primary school, with secret dreams of becoming an Olympic swimmer. 

Having always lived in the shadow of her manipulative friend, Chloe, Molly finally has the chance to compete in a regional swimming contest and define herself on her own terms. 

But with the pressure of fitting in, and the sudden arrival of her mysterious mum, Molly is presented with an almost impossible choice. Should she give up on her dreams for a shot at popularity?

A hugely exciting debut with a classic underdog story, a wonderfully relatable protagonist, and an important message of friendship, body positivity, and celebrating who you are. We've come to expect the very best from Nosy Crow and "Splash" does not disappoint. 

"Splash" by Charli Howard is out on the 5th July 2018, published by Nosy Crow. 

We've still got lots of lovely books to get through so what's next? Oooer, this sounds squishy!

David Solomons' "My Arch-Enemy is a Brain in a Jar" definitely IS squishy - and evil.

In a bizarre accident, Luke and his brother have swapped bodies! UGH!

Zack now has Luke's weird feet while Luke has Zack's SUPERPOWERS! Talk about a bad deal!

Now he needs another world-threatening adventure to try them out. Could a family mini-break at Great Minds Leisure Park be his chance?

Probably, because that's where his super-clever arch-enemy lurks, fermenting dastardly plans and bubbling gently... 'My Arch-Enemy Is a Brain In a Jar' is the fourth instalment of Luke's laugh-out-loud adventures.

From the author of 'My Brother Is a Superhero', winner of the Waterstones Children's Book Prize and the British Book Industry Awards Children's Book of the Year, and 'My Gym Teacher Is an Alien Overlord', winner of a Lollies Laugh Out Loud 2017 Book Award.

It's a rip-roaring adventure that definitely had us giggling. Pick up "My Arch-Enemy is a Brain in a Jar" by David Solomons, out now from Nosy Crow. 

Got a sweet tooth? You're going to love this next one then - or will you because it starts off in a city where sweets and cakes and treats are BANNED!

In Lavie Tidhar's "Candy" Nelle Faulkner is a 12-year-old private detective looking for her next client.

So when notorious candy gangster Eddie de Menthe walks into her office (her dad's garden shed) and asks her to find a missing teddy bear, Nelle takes the case.

But as soon as the teddy turns up, Eddie himself goes missing.

Can Nelle track them both down... before she comes to a sticky end? Nelle's going to need help on this one, time to partner up!

If you're not craving a huge bag of pick and mix by the end of this one there's no hope for you.

"Candy" by Lavie Tidhar is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Another real treat now, this time a slice of darkly delicious fantasy that may become your new favourite obsession.

The stunning debut from Juman Malouf, "The Trilogy of Two" has been optioned for a movie treatment by none other than Steven Spielberg so if that's not endorsement enough, you can also take our recommendation on this being absolutely brilliant stuff.

Identical twins Sonja and Charlotte are musical prodigies with extraordinary powers. Born on All-Hallows-Eve, the girls could play music before they could walk. 

They were found one night by Tatty, the Tattooed Lady of the circus, in a pail on her doorstep with only a note and a heart-shaped locket. They've been with Tatty ever since, roaming the Outskirts in the circus caravans, moving from place to place.

But lately, curious things have started to happen when they play their instruments. During one of their performances, the girls accidentally levitate their entire audience, drawing too much unwanted attention. 

Soon, ominous Enforcers come after them, and Charlotte and Sonja must embark on a perilous journey through enchanted lands in hopes of unlocking the secrets of their mysterious past.

Juman's highly original characters, gorgeously involved and intricate plotting and breathtaking conclusion will have you gasping for more. The sort of book that you will end up reading long into the wee small hours. 

"The Trilogy of Two" by Juman Malouf is out now, published by Pushkin Children's Books. 

Next, a unique and extremely thought provoking book that tackles the migrant crisis from a child's perspective.

Onjali Q Rauf's "The Boy at the Back of the Class" highlights the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn't always make sense.

"There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.

He's nine years old (just like me), but he's very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn't like sweets - not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!

But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn't very strange at all. He's a refugee who's run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.

That's where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we've come up with a plan. . ."

Full of warmth with a huge beating heart pounding out this important message, it deserves to be read by everyone, young and old.

"The Boy at the Back of the Class" by Onjali Q Rauf is out in July, published by Orion Children's Books. 

A real treat next, with a new series of stories kicking off from genius author Will Mabbit, with fantastic covers for these books by Chris Mould.

"Embassy of the Dead" is a ghoulish treat that begins after Jake opens a strange box containing a severed finger.

Jake accidentally summons a grim reaper to drag him to the Eternal Void (yep, it's as fatal as it sounds) and now he's running for his life! But luckily Jake isn't alone - he can see and speak to ghosts.

Jake and his deadly gang (well dead, at least) - Stiffkey the undertaker, hockey stick-wielding, Cora, and Zorro the ghost fox (our absolute favourite character in this, who steals just about every single scene) - have one mission: find the Embassy of the Dead and seek protection. But the Embassy has troubles of its own and may not be the safe haven Jake is hoping for!

Perfect for kids who love spooky goings on, with a touch of supernatural magic sprinkled over for good measure. Catch "The Embassy of the Dead" by Will Mabbitt and Chris Mould, out now from Orion Children's Books. 

Exciting stuff next, and another new book series - this time from Janina Ramirez.

"Riddle of the Runes (Viking Mysteries Book 1)" is a glorious and sprawling tale from the Viking age featuring a gutsy new heroine that girls and boys will love reading about.

Alva is a wild one who always thinks she knows better than her parents. As Alva rushes through the trees in the dead of night with her sniffer wolf, Fen, she secrently knows that she's taking a huge risk. 

Being out alone when there's a kidnapper on the loose is reckless, but if she ever wants to be an investigator like her Uncle Magnus, she'll need to be first to the crime scene. 

But what Alva discovers raises more questions than it answers, drawing her into a dangerous search for truth, and for treasure.

One of the most breathtakingly original historic novels for children that we've read in a long time, it's like a kid-friendly version of the Ellis Peters "Cadfael" books but with a ton more excitement for middle graders who love an intricate mystery. 

"Riddle of the Runes" by Janina Ramirez is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Childrens Books. 

Something for younger readers now with a highly amusing and brilliantly illustrated story for early chapter readers.

"Me and Mister P: Ruby's Star" by Maria Farrer and Daniel Rieley features a very friendly and sometimes quite helpful polar bear named Mr P.

Well, Mr P does try - but Ruby finds him 'trying' in an entirely different way when he moves in and turns her life upside down. 

But in this rather lovely heartfelt little story Ruby may not realise that she actually does need the help of a big fuzzy fellah who has the best of intentions, and might just convince Ruby that she's worth something after all, and to believe in herself more. 

Fabulously written with a whomping great big heart, and super little illustrations throughout, it'll definitely win you over. 

"Me and Mr P: Ruby's Star" by Maria Farrer and Daniel Rieley is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Another corker from blog fave Anne Booth now, with another super little story in her "Magical Kingdom of Birds" series. 

This time it's the turn of "The Sleepy Hummingbirds" in a story illustrated by Rosie Butcher, full of the dazzling colours and beautiful songs of the world's most amazing birds. 

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.

With colouring pages for your own kids to join in with, and a thrilling adventure story full of fantasy, feathered friends and of course a huge dose of magic, this is also brilliant for younger readers and we're so happy to see Anne going from success to success!

"Magical Kingdom of Birds: The Sleepy Hummingbirds" by Anne Booth and Rosie Butcher is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

We're wrapping up our June roundup with a superb mystery from super-talented author Abie Longstaff, the 2nd book in her fantastic "The Trapdoor Mysteries" series.

Continuing the adventures of Tally, a code-breaking, animal-loving servant girl and her best friend, a squirrel named Squill, who solve mysteries with the help of a secret library, "The Scent of Danger" follows on from February's excellent "A Sticky Situation" with another brilliantly eye-catching cover and internal illustrations from  super-talented illustrator James Brown.

Orphan Tally is the servant girl at Mollett Manor - and she's also the Secret Keeper of the magical library hidden beneath a trapdoor, underneath the manor's grounds. 

Along with Squill the squirrel, she uses the enchanted books to solve crimes. So when Lady Mollett's new puppy, Widdles, is kidnapped, Tally and Squill head straight to the library. But will they be able to catch the dognapper or is it already too late?

Chock full of excitement, mystery and a fantastic line in tongue-in-cheek humour, it's reminiscent of the very best Enid Blyton mysteries, but with a whopping dose of charm and brilliance all of its own. 

Catch up with "The Trapdoor Mysteries: The Scent of Danger" (Book 2) by Abie Longstaff, out now and published by Little, Brown. 

Phew! It's a wrap! Tune in when we look at even more chapter book brilliance in July. See you then!