Tuesday, 30 October 2018

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - October 2018

Welcome, welcome to another packed bag of amazing chapter books in our October Chapter Book Roundup. Though the cold weather is pressing in, and the spookiness of Halloween is just around the corner we're bringing you another devilishly awesome selection of books to tempt you away from Pumpkin Spiced Latte and all those trick-or-treat sweets.

So let's kick off with the third book in the awesome "Royal Rabbits of London" series by Santa Montefiore and Simon Sebag Montefiore, with glorious illustrations from Kate Hindley.

"The Royal Rabbits of London: The Great Diamond Chase" is a rollicking romp packed full of adventure and fantasy.

The biggest, most beautiful diamond in the whole world has been stolen from Buckingham Palace!

Nobody knows how the sneaky thief managed to take the Siberian Diamond from right under the Queen’s nose – but Shylo and the loyal Royal Rabbits of London will do whatever it takes to solve the case and return the jewel to its rightful place.

Then they discover that Russia's elite sharp-toothed secret-agent minks are in London, could they have anything to do with the theft...?

But nothing is quite what it seems, and the Royal Rabbits soon realise they might need a bit of help from an old friend to solve this mystery...

A brilliant story, a taut plot and tons of character, "The Royal Rabbits of London" by Santa Montefiore, Simon Sebag Montefiore and illustrated by Kate Hindley is out now, published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books. 

We love covering titles that ease the transition between picture books and chapter books (not that kids should really ever give up on picture books!) and so it seems apt that a picture book superstar should be the genius behind a fab little series that are definitely purrrfect for younger readers beginning their solo reading journeys.

"Nice Work for the Cat and the King" by illustrative genius Nick Sharratt is the second book in the "Cat and the King" series.

This time though, all is not well in the Royal Kingdom.

Alas and alack, The Royal Money Box is almost empty and the King is faced with the prospect of hocking the family jewels just to pay the bills (and of course purchase a few tasty treats for both Cat and King to enjoy in the meantime as well).

There's nothing else for it - the king has to get a job - but what kind of job would be fit for a king? Butcher? Baker? Candlestick Maker?

It takes many comical disasters, and a surprisingly helpful visit from a dragon, before both cat and king find their perfect jobs.

Gigglesome, brilliantly illustrated (as you'd expect from the genius illustrator of "Pants" and "More Pants") and a lovely easy breezy read, "Nice Work for the Cat and the King" by Nick Sharratt is out now, published by Alison Green Books. 

Next, a real treat from someone who absolutely masters the Fantasy Fiction Genre with aplomb.

Cornelia Funke's "The Glass of Lead and Gold" is absolutely perfect for this time of year as the colder weather has us all wrapping up cosily.

In the snow-covered city of Londra, young Tabetha survives by finding treasures in the mudbanks of the river Themse.

On Christmas Eve, a sinister stranger asks her to keep her eyes open for a priceless, long-lost magical object: the Glass of Lead and Gold.

As word of the Glass spreads across the city, Tabetha finds herself with some unlikely companions, not least a one-armed girl and a rather impressive soup chef.

But will Tabetha discover that there are even greater fortunes to be found than the magical Glass?

Fusing a fabulous alternative view of London with a deliciously brilliant story mechanic based around treasure hunting, mudlarking and magic, this is a truly brilliant and atmospheric read that'll make your toes tingle!

"The Glass of Lead and Gold" by Cornelia Funke is out now, published by Pushkin Children's Books.

Now something completely different, dazzlingly fresh and original - and very colourful indeed.

"Inkling" by Kenneth Oppel introduces Ethan - a young lad who becomes the unlikely hero in a thoroughly absorbing fantasy story from an author who has a truly unique voice in middle grade publishing.

Mishaps and madness ensue when magical drawing ink comes to life in the Rylance home and 11-year-old Ethan tries to prove he's just as talented as his famous artist father.

This is moving but light-hearted story about grief, family and a sixth-grade rivalry. 

When Ethan’s class is given the task of creating a graphic novel and magical ink jumps out of his father’s sketchbook, a strange series of events is set into motion. To his younger sister, Inkling is Lucy, her beloved dog; to his father, Inkling is a second chance at a dwindling career and a chance to solve his family’s money worries. Friends and enemies alike try to use Inkling to ace tests and create bestselling comic books, but to Ethan, Inkling is his friend – and he must do everything in his power save him.

Perfect for arty kids who love creating and drawing their own comics - but want a story with a real touch of magic about it, "Inkling" by Kenneth Oppel is out now, published by Walker Studios. 

It wouldn't be much of an October Chapter Book Roundup with at least a couple of spooky books would it? So how about a new collection from a legendary children's author.

Enid Blyton's "Stories of Magic and Mischief" is a brand new collection of 30 short stories taken from Enid's many, many tales published in children's magazines and newspapers.

This new collection gathers together a brilliant selection of tales featuring witches, goblins and all manner of spooky folk.

It's absolutely perfect for seasonal reading and sharing. 

With lots of humour and fantastic characters these classic tales are ideal for younger children being read to and for newly confident readers to read alone. 

Each story stands alone and is the perfect length for reading at bedtime or in the classroom.

"Stories of Magic and Mischief" by Enid Blyton is out now, published by Hodder Children's Books

We also can't do without a good witch story to go with Halloween can we? So how about "Witch Girl" by Jan Eldredge, perfectly described as Goth Girl meets Ghostbusters in this read-in-one-sitting mystery adventure with the perfect spine-tingling balance of fun and scares!

Evangeline Clement spends her days learning the ways of magic from her witch grandmother.

When they are called to a creepy old mansion to solve an unusual case, Evangeline encounters an enemy unlike any of the terrifying monsters she has faced before. 

There's also a secret about her own family that will shake her to the tips of her silver-toed boots! EEK! 

Beware! This is a story to read with the lights on.

(Actually it's not too scary for little ones, a great entry point to spooky stuff for newly emergent solo readers, in fact!)

"Witch Girl" by Jan Eldredge is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Our next book is a scintillating read for children who can wholly identify with the feeling of being displaced when moving house, moving to a new country or coping with a huge tragedy or change in their lives.

"Corey's Rock" by Sita Brahmachari and Jane Ray tells the story of ten-year-old Isla, who has moved from Edinburgh to the Orkney Islands with her parents, to start a new life after the death of Isla's beloved young brother.

Isla's mother's family is from Orkney and her father's is from Africa, and she finds island life is very different to her former city home.

Her discovery of the old Orcadian legend about the selkies, half human, half seal people, becomes the key to adjustment and acceptance as Isla begins to escape into her own imagination and fantasies.

Many strands are woven into this deceptively simple story - loss and discovery, legend and reality, the pleasures and problems of settling into a new place, the need to make new friends, the coming to terms with sadness.

Illustrated throughout by Jane Ray,  and endorsed by Amnesty International, this is a heartfelt and often emotional read.

"Corey's Rock" by Sita Brahmachari and Jane Ray is out now, published by Otter-Barry Books. 

Our next book was so well received by my daughter that she finished it off in record time, and instantly dived back in for a second read.

A.F. Harrold's "The Afterwards" begins with a tale of friendship, between Ember and Ness. The pair are besties, are inseparable but then the worst happens - and Ness dies.

Ember cannot cope with the loss of her friend, but hatches a plan. Ember will venture to the Afterworld to bring Ness back.

Breathtakingly original, deliciously dark, often bittersweet and funny but absolutely riveting from start to finish, taking in themes of friendship, loss, grief and hope.

Utterly amazing and highly recommended.

"The Afterwards" by A.F. Harrold with illustrations from Emily Gravett is out now, published by Bloomsbury Children's Books. 

We know you all love a celebrity-penned book, and with our next selection we're playing catchup with Neil Patrick Harris' awesome "The Magic Misfits" series, having missed out on the first book.

In "The Magic Misfits: The Second Story" it's a hearty welcome back to Carter, Leila, Theo, Ridley, Izzy and Ollie, the titular gang of kids with a penchant for prestidigitation.

The Magic Misfits all felt like outsiders, until they found each other and a shared love of magic.

Leila didn't have the easiest start, growing up in an orphanage and getting bullied for being different. But she has a super-cool secret skill... Leila is an escape artist! And it comes in pretty handy when belonging to a group of magical best friends.

When a famous psychic comes to town Leila and her pals realise they won't be able to escape the big mystery coming their way. They soon find themselves chasing mad monkeys and banishing ghosts from haunted hotels... the Magic Misfits will do everything they can to save the town, will their magical skills be enough?

Join the Magic Misfits as they discover friendship, adventure and more than a few hidden secrets, in the series that has a magic trick or two up its sleeve. Who knows, you might love the tricks in the book so much that you'll fancy trying your own hand at them too!

"The Magic Misfits: The Second Story" by Neil Patrick Harris (AKA Count Olaf!) is out now, published by Egmont.

The next book is wholly appropriate for Halloween. Let's get back to "The Nothing To See Here Hotel", the fabulously spooky creation of Steven Butler and Steven Lenton.

"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yeti!" is the followup to the aforementioned book, and once again Steven and Steven are cooking up a brilliant smorgasbord of crazy characters and situations to rival any lumpy old dump in Transylvania!

Having just saved the hotel from a goblin prince, Frankie Banister and the guests are looking forward to enjoying themselves and celebrating the summer holiday of Trogmanay! 

Yes, you read that right. Trogmanay is in the height of summer. Which doesn't explain the sudden arrival of a huge snowstorm. Everyone's completely puzzled until the arrival of a Yeti family and a number of mysterious guests. 

Something sinister seems to be taking over the hotel and celebrating is the last thing on anyone’s mind…

Sheer brilliance with suitably spooky writing, and wonderful illustrations, this is sure to be another screaming success for Messrs Butler and Lenton. 

"You Ain't Seen Nothing Yeti!" (The Nothing To See Here Hotel Book 2) by Steven Butler and Steven Lenton is out now, published by Simon and Schuster Children's Books. 

Our next book is bang on trend, being suitably magical and mysterious, spooky and shivery - and also out this very day in Hardback and digital formats. 

"Wundersmith" is a fantastic story set in the brilliant "Nevermoor" universe, written by Jessica Townsend. 

Imagination, discovery and friendship await Morrigan Crow when she escapes her deadly curse and joins the Wundrous Society. 

It promises her protection and belonging for life - but then Morrigan doesn't receive the welcome she hoped for.

Morrigan is a much-feared Wundersmith. So, instead of the Society helping Morrigan to embrace her power, she is only taught that all Wundersmiths are evil and she must suppress her mysterious ability at all costs.

To make things worse, Nevermoor is quickly turning from a place of safety into one of danger. Society members are going missing, someone is blackmailing Morrigan's new friends, turning them against her. 

And worse yet, Ezra Squall, the most evil man who ever lived, is determined to lure Morrigan from the Society by promising to reveal the true nature of the Wunder that calls to her. A call which is becoming ever harder to resist.

Has Morrigan's dream of escaping her cursed life ended before it truly began?

Scintillating, crackling with originality and magic, this is an absolute treat for girls and boys who have moved on from Percy Jackson and Harry Potter and want a thoroughly absorbing and gripping new read to get their teeth into. 

"Wundersmith: The Calling of Morrigan Crow" by Jessica Townsend is out today, published by Orion Children's Books. 

Phew! Our book bag goes on and on but we've got so many brilliant books to share with you, let's see what's next without further ado!

"Al's Awesome Science: Blast Off!" by Jane Clarke and James Brown continues the successful fiction series mixing up high-jinks with a good dose of practical science which you can try out at home. 

Al and the gang are celebrating the twins' birthday but Al has a more important mission in mind. How can he get his fantabulous Time Machine into space? 

It's time to learn all about rockets and force, and not just the jet blast coming from Al's dog's bum!

We really love the mix of story and science here, particularly making our own Balloon-based monorail but didn't quite feel brave enough to mix chewy mints and cola to see if we could propel a plastic bottle into space. 

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

Phew! We hope you have a fantastic spooky time tomorrow on Halloween. Tune in next month for our final Chapter Book Roundup of the year.