Thursday, 25 July 2019

ReadItDaddy's Chapter Book Roundup - July 2019

It's time for our Chapter Book Roundup for July. Where on earth has this year gone?! One thing's for sure, it's been a stonkingly good year for middle grade and YA fiction and let's kick off with another belter that deserves a huge amount of recognition, if not a truckload of awards.

"Jemima Small Versus the Universe" by Tamsin Winter is a gloriously observed and positive book about being plus size.

Jemima Small is funny and smart. She knows a lot of things. Like the fact that she's made of 206 bones, over 600 muscles and trillions of cells.

What she doesn't know is how that can be true and yet she can still sometimes feel like nothing. 

Or how being made to join the school's "special" healthy lifestyle group - aka Fat Club - could feel any less special. 

But Jemima also knows that the biggest stars in the universe are the brightest. And maybe it's her time to shine. 

Tamsin has captured so many elements of what it feels like when the world assaults you with 'fake' visions of what it means to be perfect, and what it also means when you're perfectly happy with yourself and your own body and image, but others feel it's their duty to steer you onto their own path of what their ideal is. Absolutely loved this, Jemima is a fantastic character and you will fall in love with her just like we did. 

"Jemima Small Versus the Universe" by Tamsin Winter is out now, published by Usborne

Oh lordy, when you see Andy Stanton's name on a book, you can pretty much guess that at least one of the following are going to be in there somewhere. Farts, Poos, Wees or Smells. 

How about a combination of all of the above, along with a dose of humorous history in his latest book "The Paninis of Pompeii", with illustrations from Sholto Walker. 

Welcome to the last days of Pompeii as you've NEVER imagined them before! Join fart-trader Caecilius, his wife, Vesuvius, and their ten-year-old son, Filius, in a bizarre world of accidental gladiators, pizza-emitting volcanoes and the legendary Ma-wol-n-f.

You'll meet the household servant, Slavius; thrill at the misadventures of Barkus Wooferinicum and generally have an uproariously hilarious time of it all.

Full of ludicrous characters, surreal escapades and outrageous word play – if you thought Mr Gum was weird, then get a load of the Ancient Pompeiians!

Absolutely guaranteed to elicit hoots of laughter from every 7-11 year old. "The Paninis of Pompeii" by Andy Stanton and Sholto Walker is out now, published by Egmont. 

What's it like to leave everything you know behind, to embark on a whole new life that's massively different and full of wonder - and challenges anew? In "The Collective" by Lindsey Whitlock, meet Elwyn, who feels like he's wasting his life in the rural idylls of Badfish Creek. 

Elwyn longs for change so when his uncle offers him the chance to leave his rural roots behind, he jumps at the opportunity, eager to move to Liberty to gain an education and become part of a flourishing world embracing a new industrial age. 

Finally, life seems to be opening up to him.
But it is not long before he understands that all that glitters is not gold: there are things going on in Liberty that Elwyn cannot ignore. Things that profoundly threaten the world he has rejected and things that he has to fight against.

The Collective is a richly realised debut novel about tradition, change, the meaning of home and the struggle to be true to yourself. Another intelligent and thought-provoking winner from a publisher who excels at producing brilliant books, "The Collective" by Lindsey Whitlock is out now, published by Pushkin Children's Books. 

It feels like an entire generation (or multiple generations) of kids have fallen under a collective spell, and absolutely adore everything and anything to do with Unicorns. C is one such kid, so the new "Unicorn Magic" books by Daisy Meadows, author of the Rainbow Magic series, are absolutely bang on with their timing - with several books arriving throughout the rest of the year. 

We dug into "Unicorn Magic: Shimmerbreeze and the Sky Spell" by Daisy Meadows and C was drawn headlong into a secret world full of magic, unicorns and friendship! 

In the faraway land, Aisha and Emily are learning all about unicorn magic. 

But when the evil unicorn Selena steals Shimmerbreeze the Sky Unicorn's special locket, the beautiful air of the kingdom is polluted! 

Can the girls help Shimmerbreeze find the locket and save the skies?

With plenty of fun and sparkle, and a subtly woven in eco-message as well, this is a winner for girls and boys from 7-10 years old. 

"Unicorn Magic: Shimmerbreeze and the Sky Spell" by Daisy Meadows is out now, published by Orchard Books. 

Time for a waggy, shaggy tale, a Dog's tail of course...!

The shaggy coated star of "I, Cosmo" by Carlie Sorosiak is a doggy character you'll instantly fall in love with.

Cosmo's life is in turmoil though. His family is falling apart. And it's up to Cosmo to keep them together. 

He knows exactly what to do. There's only one problem. Cosmo is a Golden Retriever. 

But like most good boy dogs, he's not going to let a little matter like being a dog stand in his way. 

Can Cosmo achieve his aim and reunite his family, bringing back a bit of love into a household filled with turmoil and strife? And perhaps snaffle a few rashers of bacon into the bargain?

Beautifully written and hilariously well observed with plenty of dogginess that anyone who's ever owned a pooch will readily identify with. 

"I, Cosmo" by Carlie Sorosiak is out on 1st August 2019, published by Nosy Crow

There's just something about using a lighthouse as a setting that instantly grabs our interest. So it was with "The House of Light" by Julia Green. 

Bonnie is scavenging on a beach when she finds a battered old row boat. And under the boat, a bare-footed boy-cold, hungry, and in need of help.
The authorities have already been troubling Bonnie and Granda for breaking rules, but how can she leave this boy when he has no-one? 

Bonnie does her best to keep the boy hidden from the border guards, but as their suspicions grow, she wonders if it's time to escape the life she's always known. 

Under cover of darkness they set sail to the 'house of light' in search of a new beginning, and a sense of hope.

Atmospheric, life-affirming with a brilliantly woven in message of acceptance and kindness, "The House of Light" by Julia Green is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

A fabulous and fun new series next. "Warrior Monkeys and the Volcano Adventure" is the first in a new book series from M.C Stevens and Steve Brown. 

Something weird is happening on the island of Senshi. The Warrior Monkeys are worried that a dangerous enemy has come back to seek revenge.

Suki and Bekko are brave enough to find out why wild dogs are on the prowl, why Mount Niru is rumbling and stinky, and who has brainwashed an army of meerkats. 

Suki and Bekko are training to be Warrior Monkeys. They're a brave and resourceful duo and, with the help of their armoured bear, Kuma, are ready to face any of the harsh challenges and evil plots that threaten the safety of their island home. 

Using all the skills they learn in the training hall, Suki and Bekko show the kind of determination, focus, bravery, and spirit that has put them on the path to become true Warrior Monkeys!

"Warrior Monkeys and the Volcano Adventure" by M.C Stevens and Steve Brown is out now, published by OUP / Oxford Children's Books. 

Anne Booth's brilliant bird-based series is back with a fabulous new book that once again introduces a new bird species through an entertaining and scintillating story for younger readers 

"The Magical Kingdom of Birds: The Silent Songbirds" by Anne Booth and Rosie Butcher once again begins with Maya exploring her amazing colouring book "The Magical Kingdom of Birds".

Using the book she's transported to a beautiful realm filled with magnificent birds and their fairy friends. 

In a spectacular tropical glade, Maya can't believe her ears: she's attending a songbird concert in the Magical Kingdom of Birds! But all is not as it seems - Lord Astor is stealing the birds' beautiful voices to keep for himself!

Will Maya and her friends be able to return the music to the kingdom? 

This series is perfect for kids who are just starting out with chapter books, illustrated throughout by Rosie Butcher, with fabulous positive themes and a grand adventure, plus a chance to learn something new about fascinating real-world bird species with some interesting information on the featured species at the back of the book. 

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

A superb science fiction dystopian adventure is up next in the fantastic "Earth Swarm" by Tim Hall, part of the Hal Strider adventure series.

London is being held under siege by huge numbers of terrifying drones, controlled by a nefarious artificial intelligence. 

Scientist John Strider helped create the machines, but has disappeared leaving his teenage son Hal to try and piece together his father's final moments before his disappearance. Along with his sister Jess, both of them hotshot drone pilots, they must try and track down their missing father and prove his innocence once and for all.
But can they defeat the machines? They're going to need help!

This is a blisteringly paced novel that will appeal to fans of stories like the Alex Rider adventures, with a ton of brilliant science and a truly mesmeric storyline that barely stops to take a breath. Hugely enjoyable. 

"Earth Swarm" by Tim Hall is out now, published by David Fickling Books. 

Time for a change in a vastly popular series that just gets better and better!

"Beast Quest: New Blood" by Adam Blade introduces three new heroes with the power to tame mystical beasts. 

Amy, Charlie and Sam - three children from our world - are about to discover the powerful legacy that binds them together. 

They are descendants of the Guardians of Avantia, an elite group of heroes trained by Tom - the star of the previous Beast Quest series.

Now the time has come for a new generation to unlock the power of the Beasts and fulfil their destiny.

Nearly a hundred years ago, the Guardians escaped from the evil wizard Malvel and sought refuge in our world, along with their hoard of magical Beast eggs. Living among non-magical humankind, the Guardians adapted to Earth society. But they knew that one day their descendants would unlock their connection with the Beasts ... and have to face Malvel once more.

For Amy, Charlie and Sam, that time has come.

Join a new generation of heroes as they discover their destiny, and experience the awesome power of Beast Quest as never before in this fast paced, gripping and exciting adventure with book 2 scheduled to arrive very soon so keep an eye out for it!

"Beast Quest New Blood" by Adam Blade is out now, published by Orchard. 

Last but not least, something for budding K-Poppers with the latest in the "Rainbow Magic" series. 

Join Rachel and Kirsty as they meet their first-ever boy fairy in "Jae the Boy Band Fairy" by Daisy Meadows and Georgie Ripper.

Kirsty and Rachel are so excited to be going to see their favourite boy band in concert!

But when Jack Frost steals Jae the Boy Band Fairy's magical microphone, everyone gets stage fright and forgets their moves.

Can Kirsty, Rachel and Jae help the show go off without a hitch?

Another great addition to the Rainbow Magic series, perfect for kids who love their music and performing arts.

"Rainbow Magic: Jae the Boy Band Fairy" by Daisy Meadows and Georgie Ripper is out now, published by Orchard.


For those of you familiar with the awesome "The House with a Clock in its walls" movie, be prepared for more mystery, magic and things that go bump in the night with the fabulous book series from John Bellairs and Brad Strickland with awesome illustrations from Nathan Collins for both covers and internals.

"The Vengeance of the Witch Finder" and following closely on its heels "The Ghost in the Mirror" are the perfect summer reads for those of us who like the chilling sensation that we're being watched, or that someone's just walked over our graves.
We catch up with Lewis and his Uncle Jonathan who have travelled to England to visit family at Barnavelt Manor, much to Lewis's delight - he hasn't visited family outside of America before!

Lewis becomes friends with the housekeeper's son, Bertie, and as the two boys explore the manor's garden maze, Lewis accidentally unleashes demonic forces that summon the ghost of an evil wizard adamant on destroying his entire family (you know how it is, you're visiting a foreign country, you unwittingly unleash a wizard that could destroy the world, standard summer holiday stuff, right?)

Can Lewis fight the maniacal wizard, or will all the Barnavelts perish?

And in "The Ghost in the Mirror" Mrs Zimmermann is at a loss - she still hasn't regained her powers from her last encounter with dark magic and Uncle Jonathan and Lewis have left for the summer to travel around Europe, leaving her and Rose Rita bored and lonely at home.

That is until Mrs Zimmermann keeps on seeing visions and shadows of her old magic teacher, Granny Wetherbee, who is trying to contact her from beyond the grave. But just what is going on? And can Granny perhaps hold the key to Mrs Z's problematic lack of magical ability?

These are brilliant, funny and darkly delicious. Catch up with the awesome series with "The Vengeance of the Witch Finder" out now in Paperback, and "The Ghost in the Mirror" coming up in August.

AND we're done! A short and sweet one this month. August is mammoth though so do check out our August roundup towards the end of next month and in the meantime, enjoy a fab summer of reading!