Wednesday, 29 August 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - August 2018

As the long and gloriously sunny summer continues, we wanted to go all-in for our bumper August Chapter Book Roundup, with a whopping sack full of amazing chapter books for your early reader, middle grade and YA fanatics.

Kicking off with a real waggy tale from Heidi Lang. "Rules of the Ruff" is a perfect summer read for poochy pals who adore all things snuffly, wet nosed and doggy.

Twelve-year-old Jessie is in for a long summer at her aunt and uncle’s house.

Her cousin Ann has a snotty new best friend, which leaves Jessie all alone. 

But Jessie is industrious, and―not content with being ignored all summer―she convinces Wes, a grouchy neighborhood dog walker, to take her on as his apprentice.

Sure, dog walking turns out to be harder than she expected, but she has Wes’s dog-walking code, the Rules of the Ruff, to guide her, and soon she’s wrangling her very own pack. 

But when a charismatic rival dog walker moves to town, she quickly snatches up most of Wes’s business―and Jessie decides she isn’t going to take this defeat with her tail between her legs. So begins a battle royale to be top dog in more ways than one!

C blitzed through this one in double-quick time, loving the mix of gentle humour and doggy antics - and of course some brilliantly well-observed scenes of what it's like when you're the poor human charged with looking after a bunch of unruly canines. 

"Rules of the Ruff" by Heidi Lang is out now, published by Abrams. 

Another perfect summer read now, particularly for kids who have spent summer with their besties. 

Meet "Miranda and Maude: The Princess and The 'absolutely NOT a princess" by Emma Wunsch and Jessika Von Innerebner. 

A princess and a revolutionary form an unexpected friendship in this charming, illustrated chapter-book series, perfect for fans of Judy Moody and Clementine!

Princess Miranda does not want to go to school. She wants to shoe shop, plan parties, and decorate the castle.

Maude on the other hand doesn't hold any truck with all that frothy stuff. She loves books, loves using her brain and loves inventing and roller skating. How can the two possibly ever get on and become the best of friends? 

Well, sometimes friendship is found in the most unlikely places...

Unashamedly a book with colossal girl appeal, but with some truly awesome and wry nods that might convince 'princessy' types that there are more awesome ways to be a mighty girl than looking drop dead gorgeous. 

"Miranda and Maude: The Princess and the 'absolutely NOT a princess" by Emma Wunsch and Jessika Von Innerebner is out now, published by Abrams. 

Next there's a mystery to solve - but it might be a bit too much for one amateur sleuth...

In "Help I'm a Detective" meet Dan, the awkward 'middle child' in his family.  Dan is usually the one everyone ignores and who gets the blame for everything.

So when there's a burglary near his home and the police are hunting for suspects, they seem to be very interested in Dan for some reason due to his proximity to the crime! ARGH!

With his friends Freddo and Gordon the Geek, Dan has no choice but to turn detective himself to clear his name. 

Will the three hapless friends be able to crack the crime - or will their crazy antics make them ALL suspects?

Madcap humour, awesome illustrations and a ton of squidgy gags, this is a brilliant series from Jo Franklin. 

"Help I'm a Detective" is published by Troika, and is out now. 

Next, a brilliant new book from Linda Chapman and Lucy Fleming in the awesome mighty girl "Star Friends" series. 

"Star Friends: Night Shade" is a nocturnal adventure featuring the awesome Star Animals and their human companions. 

Maia believes in magic, and when she meets the star animals, a whole new world awaits, and kicks off a quest to once again defeat the forces of dark magic.

Ever since Maia and her friends stopped Auntie Mabel from using dark magic to cause trouble in the small seaside village of Westcombe, life has been peaceful for the girls and their Star Animals. But it seems that peace was only temporary and the girls are going to have to use all their Star Magic skills to battle against the latest threat…

Perfect for fans of My Secret Unicorn and The Rescue Princesses, and for Rainbow Magic readers looking to move on to a more challenging adventure.

"Star Friends: Night Shade" by Linda Chapman and Lucy Fleming is out now, published by Stripes. 

Next, a new book from an amazingly prolific author, part of a fantastic magical series of books for older middle grade readers. 

"The Hounds of Penhallow Hall: The Secrets Tree" is the latest in Holly Webb's awesome "Penhallow Hall" series from Stripes Publishing. This series pays homage to classic children's ghost stories of the 70s and 80s in a whole new canine set of adventures with a difference. Meet the ghost dogs!

It’s Halloween at Penhallow Hall and while celebrations are in full swing at the stately home, Polly and Rex are in search of a new ghost dog.

Down in the old stable block they come across a dog’s head carved in a wooden door and wake a terrier called Patch. The little dog is terrified of the changes to his old home and runs off. 

When Polly and Rex find Patch hiding in a hollow tree they find themselves on the trail of an even greater mystery. Inside the tree is a coded message from Patch’s master, Jack, to his older brother. 

From Patch’s description Polly and Rex realize that Jack’s brother must have been a highwayman! But the message remains unread. Can Polly and Rex discover what happened to the brothers?

Tense, exciting and wholly original, leaving you breathless with almost every turn of the page, this is a brilliant series so if it's new to you, this is a great jumping-in point to introduce yourselves to these amazing spectral hounds and their mighty-girl ally. Honestly, we don't know how Holly does it but we're so glad she does, this is fantastic stuff!

"The Hounds of Penhallow Hall: The Secrets Tree" by Holly Webb with awesome illustrations from Jason Cockroft is out now, published by Stripes Publishing. 

In fact, there's more from Holly next in a real switch of gears - and an awesome series based around a school for the performing arts.

"Shine: Chloe Centre Stage" by Holly Webb is the latest in her sparkling series of dance, drama, dreams and friendship.

Getting into the Shine School for Performing Arts is a dream come true for Chloe – she’ll be taking classes in dance and drama everyday and surrounded by people just as passionate as she is!

But while the talented and extroverted Chloe was the star at her old school, at Shine it’s much harder to stand out.

Although the other girls in her year seem nice, she finds it trickier to make real friends than she’d expected too.

Chloe starts to mess around in class and finally finds herself the centre of attention – but for all the wrong reasons. And when a prank goes wrong rumours that she is about to be expelled begin to fly. Can Chloe turn things around before it’s too late?

This is perfect stuff for C, who has had her own summer of dance and drama in various workshops during summer clubs, and the bits about fitting in and making new friends really struck a chord with her. 

Fab illustrations from Monique Dong really round these brilliant books off. 

"Shine: Chloe Centre Stage" by Holly Webb and Monique Dong is out now, published by Stripes. 

Animal antics next, and a book that will have you scratching your head at least once - as it features some pretty pesky pests..

"Invasion of the Giant Nits" from Gareth P. Jones and Steve May is the latest in the "Pet Defenders" series from Stripes Publishing. 

The Pet Defenders Code: 1. The safety of Planet Earth depends on you. 2. Humans MUST NOT know the truth. GOOD LUCK – you’ll need it…

Biskit and Mitzy are confronted by a large alien spider who plans to destroy the planet.

Worse, she has an army of nits that she can enlarge with a blast from her own invention: the Relativisor. 

She can also shrink things with it – and suddenly Mitzy is the size of a louse clinging to Biskit’s head. 

Can the Pet Defenders stop the nits ripping the Earth apart? It’s a head-scratcher for sure!

A wildly funny series, perfect for kids who are just getting up to speed with their reading and dipping into chapter books for the first time. It's frenetic, fast paced animal action with brilliantly paced writing and awesome (itch-inducing) illustrations from Steve May. 

"Pet Defenders: Invasion of the Giant Nits" by Gareth P. Jones and Steve May is out now, published by Stripes. 

Next, a series that's become an instant hit with C, who loves a bit of school-based mayhem

St Grizzle's School for Girls: Gremlins and Pesky Guests" by Karen McCombie and Becka Moor is a fantastic series for kids who love books like "Murder Most Unladylike" or even "Malory Towers".

When a flood closes the village school, Lulu invites the staff and pupils to come and join them at St Grizzle’s. Dani and her friends can’t believe their bad luck – it was awful enough bumping into Spencer and his cronies in the village but now they’ve got to share lessons with them. 

Before long pupils are clashing with pupils, there are pranks aplenty and even the teachers aren’t getting along. 

Rehearsals get underway for the school show but with tempers fraying it’s soon looking like a big failure. 

Determined that the show will go on, Lulu calls on Dani and co, as the oldest children in the school, to set a good example and make friends. But with Spencer up to his usual tricks, can the two rival groups put aside their differences long enough to turn a disaster into a triumph?

C loved this book, and found plenty of things in it that had her nodding her head (silly boys showing off, awesome girls trying to get things sorted!) but it's a great book for both girls and boys who love a bit of school-based mayhem. 

"St Grizzle's School for Girls: Gremlins and Pesky Guests" by Karen McCombie and Becka Moor is out now, published by Stripes. 

We're on the home stretch now, but don't run away just yet, there are a few more books in our reviews sack so let's dig in...

Next it's the return of Tony De Saulles' awesome stripy superhero in "Bee Boy: Attack of the Zombees". 

Half BEE. Half BOY. Melvin Meadly is . . . BEE BOY and definitely not your ordinary everyday superhero!

When a strange sickness bug strikes at school, Mel has his suspicions - could this have something to do with the new kid, Berty Crump? 

More questions arise when Mel and his bees discover a factory in the woods with giant flowers, chemical spraying drones, beekeepers in metal suits, and worse of all . . . ZOMBEEZ! 

The highly entertaining story of an unlikely superhero, full of fantastic bee facts, and illustrated in black and yellow! Perfect for kids who love a story laced with a strong eco message on the importance of bees as a species, but full of fun and drama to keep you totally locked into this fantastic story until the (stingy) end. 

"Bee Boy: Attack of the Zombees" by Tony De Saulles is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Another fantastic series now from OUP, and the return of a favourite character. 

"The Night Zoo Keeper: The Lioness of Fire Desert" is the latest in Joshua Davidson and Giles Clare's awesome animal-based series, featuring illustrations from Buzz Burman. 

When Will accidentally creates a mysterious portal during a trip to the zoo, he's transported into the world of the Night Zoo, and thrust into an incredible adventure. Will is - The Night Zookeeper.

Joined by his friends, Sam and Riya, Will journeys to Fire Desert, where rumours of a creature called 'the Grip' have struck fear into the hearts of the animals. 

Even normally brave Captain Claw, a fierce lioness, seems to be acting strangely on hearing the news. 

The animals look to Will to save them, but does he have the strength to overcome his fears, and become the hero that the Night Zoo needs? He's definitely going to need some help this time for his trickiest adventure yet. 

Hugely original, brilliantly tense and with tons and tons of animal appeal, this is a great series for younger readers who love learning about different species, but also love high adventure and mystery. 

"Night Zoo Keeper: The Lioness of Fire Desert" by Joshua Davidson, Giles Clare and Buzz Burman is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

A real wow of an adventure next for five plucky kids who join "The Mapmaker's Race", a fantastic new fantasy title from Eirlys Hunter. 

The race is on for a globe-trotting adventure as five children each set out on a journey to complete a challenge that stretches right around the earth. 

Perils await, as each picks a path through uncharted territories facing personal challenges and extreme conditions in ice, snow, desert and jungle. 

A perfect title for kids who love learning all about explorers or pioneering, learning about new cultures and countries or just folk like us who are totally obsessed with atlases and maps. 

"The Mapmaker's Race" by Eirlys Hunter is out now, published by Gecko Press. 

Last but by no means least, a real epic from an author whose work just completely blows us away. 

Award-winning author Piers Torday is back with a fantastic new fantasy adventure. 

"The Lost Magician" begins at the end of the Second World War. It's 1945. They have survived the Blitz, but when Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry step through a mysterious library door, it is the beginning of their most dangerous adventure yet. 

They discover the magical world of Folio, where an enchanted kingdom of fairy knights, bears and tree gods is under threat from a sinister robot army.

The many stories of the Library are locked in eternal war, and the children's only hope is to find their creator - a magician who has been lost for centuries.

What they find will change not just their own lives, but the fate of the world forever. 

Paying homage to children's literary classics like The Chronicles of Narnia and The Wizard of Oz, Piers' worldbuilding is utterly superb, and the mix of dark fantasy and clanky technology in this really breathes a huge breath of fresh air into the fantasy genre. Last year we all thrilled to the return to Philip Pullman's Dark Materials world, this year it's all about "The Lost Magician" without a doubt. 

"The Lost Magician" by Piers Torday is out on 6th September 2018, published by Quercus. 

PHEW! We'll be back in September, you'll be back at school but we'll be hard at work to bring you the very best in chapter fiction. See you then!