ReadPlus is a collection of selected books and films arranged under themes. This web site provides lists, reviews and resources for librarians, teachers and parents about books for young people aged 5 to 18.
New Member sign up button

Latest Review

Jun 19 2018

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

cover image

Ill. by Nicholas Gannon. Text Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781925603590
(Age: 8-12) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy. Imagination. Friendship. Droughts. Country life. Livy has just returned to Australia to see her grandmother after a five years absence. There are many things that she can't remember and one of them is the strange little creature, dressed in a chicken suit, who is living in the cupboard in her room. His name is Bob and he tells Livy that she promised that she would help him find his home. He has been waiting for a long time for this to happen and together they begin to unravel the mystery of where Bob belongs.
This a timeless and very warm story of an unlikely friendship, set against the background of Livy's grandmother's residence and the surrounding area that is stricken by a terrible drought. Told in the voices of Livy and Bob in alternating chapters, the pair renew their friendship, reliving some of the happy moments from the past, as they try and work out where Bob has come from.
Mass and Stead both write beautifully and the reader is captivated with the depth of the friendship and the often funny descriptions of Bob dressed in his chicken suit. The back story of the drought, the letter that Gran gets from the bank and the pervading dryness of the country side, is subtly handled by the authors, and Livy's gradually growth, her friendship with a local girl and her meeting with Danny the little boy from next door all add to a magical and engrossing story. The artwork by Nicholas Gannon adds to the appeal of the book and although initially dark, a perusal of the front cover will reward the inquiring mind.
I could imagine this being read aloud to a class as well as becoming a firm favourite of children who enjoy reading about the power of the imagination, the strength of love and enduring friendship. It is a must for any library.
Pat Pledger



More Reviews

Jun 19 2018

Allied by Amy Tintera

cover image

Ruined trilogy. Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760290665
(Age: Teens - YA) Recommended. Allied concludes Emelina and Olivia Flores's story of love, loss, vengeance and trust. Fighting to become the true queen of Ruina, they might be sisters but they are far from allies....
more

Jun 19 2018

Our forever love by Kristie Groat-Barber

cover image

Little Steps Publishing, 2017. ISBN 9781925545531
"In my mind and heart that's where you will stay, I promise to love you more every day. This heartfelt tribute follows one little girl's journey to say goodbye to her Poppy while keeping him firmly in her heart."
A gentle tribute to...
more

Jun 19 2018

Peg + Cat : The camp problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9780763699222
(Age: 5-8) Peg + cat: The camp problem is an engaging story designed for 5-8year olds. The Peg + Cat series has an undercurrent of mathematics equations which easily slide into the stories and essentially enable children to learn...
more

Jun 19 2018

Crash landing by Robert Muchamore

cover image

Rock Wars Book 4. Hodder Children's Books, 2017. ISBN 9781444914634
(Age: Secondary) "Jay, Summer and Dylan are fresh out of the biggest reality show there is. But they're about to discover what fame and fortune are really about. Jay's brother Theo is young, rich and famous: but...
more

Jun 18 2018

Mercy Point by Anna Snoekstra

cover image

Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460755754
(Age: 14+) Recommended. Themes: Mystery and suspense. Friendship. Five teens are best friends online, all convinced that they are adopted. When they finally meet they are shocked because at school they all hate each other. Michael is the...
more

Jun 18 2018

The 13th Reality: Journal of Curious Letters by James Dashner

cover image

Scholastic, 2018 (First published by Simon and Schuster, 2008). ISBN 9781742994789
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Themes: Fantasy, Science Fiction, Truth and Reality, Courage, Quantum Physics, Adventure, STEM. Atticus Higginbottom (nicknamed 'Tick') is not a super-hero type. In fact he...
more

Jun 18 2018

Jane Seymour. The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir

cover image

Six Tudor Queens series. Headline, 2018. ISBN 9781472227683
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Jane Seymour is a wonderful read with Alison Weir convincingly bringing the Tudor Court of Henry VIII to real, exciting and tumultuous life both in the Court and in Jane's...
more

Jun 18 2018

William Wenton and the Secret Portal by Bobbie Peers

cover image

Walker, 2018. ISBN 9781406371710
(Age: 9-12) Themes: Science Fiction, Adventures, Codes and ciphers, Secrecy. Norwegian film director Bobbie Peers' "William Wenton and the Secret Portal", the second novel is darker and slower-paced than...
more

Jun 18 2018

Jabberwalking by Juan Felipe Herrera

cover image

Candlewick, 2018. ISBN 9781536201406
"Can you walk and talk at the same time? How about Jabberwalk? Can you write and draw and walk and journal all at the same time? If not, you're in luck: exuberant, blue-cheesy cilantro man Juan Felipe Herrera, Poet Laureate of the United States, is...
more

Jun 18 2018

Alma and how she got her name by Juana Martinez-Neal

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763693558
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Alma is a little girl who believes her name is far too long, until the day her dad explains to her where her name came from. She then realized that her name had meaning and that each bit of it did fit her just...
more

Jun 15 2018

Waves by Donna Rawlins

cover image

Ill. by Heather Potter and Mark Jackson. Black Dog Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925381641
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Migration, Australian history, Refugees, Convicts, Boat people. A thought provoking overview of the waves of immigration which make up this country, is told by an...
more

Jun 15 2018

The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock by Stephen Hart

cover image

Christmas Press, 2018. ISBN 9780994528056
(Age: 11+) Recommended. "After 12-year-old Megan Evans almost dies, she is packed off to the tiny, remote coastal village of Pelican Rock to recover. Sure she is going to be bored in a place which doesn't even have the internet, she discovers...
more

Jun 15 2018

Genesis by Brendan Riechs

cover image

Project Nemesis 2. Pan Macmillan, 2018. ISBN 9781509869992
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Genesis is a whirlwind of a story full of thrilling experiences and mind boggling scenarios that will have you questioning your own existence. It's the sequel to Riechs' first book Nemesis,...
more

Jun 15 2018

Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley

cover image

Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408869444
(Age: 13+) Recommended. "By turns thrilling, dramatic and touching, this is the story of Henry the Eighth and Catherine of Aragon's divorce as you've never heard it before - from the eyes of their daughter, Princess Mary.
More than anything Mary...
more

Jun 15 2018

Miniwings - Firestorm's musical muck-up by Sally Sutton

cover image

Scholastic New Zealand Limited, 2018. ISBN 9781775434863
(Age: 7+) Imagine having six gorgeous little winged toy horses that come to life when the adults aren't looking! Firestorm is the hero - or chief troublemaker - in this fourth book in the series.
Clara and Sophia are preparing...
more

Jun 15 2018

Best buds under frogs by Leslie Patricelli

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763651046
(Age: 10+)Recommended. "For Lily, it's the worst first day of school ever. Who would want to be friends with the new girl, whose debut act is to throw up on the playground (on somebody's shoes!)? Fortunately, quirky Darby comes to the rescue....
more

Jun 15 2018

Count with little fish by Lucy Cousins

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406374193
(Age: 2+) Highly recommended. Board book. This is a colorful counting book that has both the numerals and the number word and a little rhyme to go with each number.
This is a fun counting book from 1 to 10.
The bright colors engage the...
more

Jun 14 2018

The outcast by Taran Matharu

cover image

Summoner series: the prequel. Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9781444939095
Recommended. The outcast instantly had me hooked, taking me through parallels between Fletcher and Arcturus virtually from the beginning. It explained and fleshed out most of what fans of the...
more

Jun 14 2018

Goat's coat by Tom Percival

cover image

Ill. by Christine Pym. Bloomsbury, 2018. ISBN 9781408881019
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Goats. Coats. Helpfulness. 'Let me tell you the tale of Alfonzo the goat, who was terribly proud of his lovely new coat.'
Tom Percival's charming rhyming story begins with a rather proud goat Alfonzo,...
more

Jun 14 2018

The Goose Road by Rowena House

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406371673
(Age: 12 and up) Highly recommended. "France 1916. Angelique Lacroix is haymaking when the postman delivers the news: her father is dead, killed on a distant battlefield. She makes herself a promise: the farm will remain exactly the same until her...
more

Jun 14 2018

What's at the end of this piece of rope? by Tania Cox

cover image

Ill. by Jedda Robaard. Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780734418012
(Age: 2-6) Themes: Problem solving. Collaboration. Co-operation. In What's at the end of this piece of rope? Tania Cox uses this simple repeated refrain in her enjoyable and engaging picture book. She explores the concepts...
more

Jun 14 2018

My (almost) perfect puppy by Meredith Costain and Danielle McDonald

cover image

Olivia's secret scribbles. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781760277079
(Age: 6-8) Recommended. Themes: Pets. Friendship. Therapy pets. Diaries. Olivia likes to record important things in her Big Book of Private Secrets. But they are not so secret... because we get to read them! In this...
more

Jun 13 2018

The love that I have by James Moloney

cover image

Angus and Robertson, 2018. ISBN 9781460754634
(Age: 14+) Highly recommended. Themes: World War II, Germany; Concentration Camps; Love and Romance; Historical Fiction; Bravery; Survival. Is it possible for a love story to be set within the shadow of a German concentration camp? Do love...
more

Jun 13 2018

The Adventures of Jellybean by Bill Condon and Dianne Bates

cover image

University of Queensland Press, 2018, ISBN 9780702260001
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Goats, Friendship, Pet ownership. "The Adventures of Jellybean" is a fun story, filled with friendship, family life and the highs and lows of owning a pet goat. Author Di Bates has drawn on her...
more

Jun 13 2018

Not if I save you first by Ally Carter

cover image

Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742765945
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Thriller. Kidnapping. Conspiracies. Alaska. Survival. Maddie and Logan were inseparable until a kidnapping attempt was made on Logan's mother and Maddie's father foiled the attempt. He was the bodyguard of Logan's...
more

Jun 13 2018

Dude by Aaron Reynolds

cover image

Ill. by Dan Santat. Hachette, 2018. ISBN 9780734418784
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Sharks, Friendship, Surfing, Humour, Cautionary tale. To all those intending to read this hilarious book out loud, you will need to practice saying 'dude' in a variety of different ways with...
more

Jun 13 2018

Julian is a mermaid by Jessica Love

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406380637
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Mermaids, Grandmothers, Imagination, Diversity, Individuality. Julian is mesmerised as he returns home on the tube with his grandmother. Several women are dressed in the most spectacular of costumes, brightly...
more

Jun 13 2018

Be Cool Be Nice

cover image

Templar Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9781787410961
(Age: Teenager/Young Adult) Recommended. I have to be honest when I first saw this book, I thought it was just another activity book but how wrong was I! After doing some googling, I was amazed with the background of this book and the meaning...
more

Jun 13 2018

Kit meets Covington: Ride by Bobbi JG Weiss

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2017. ISBN 9780763698355
(Age: 10-14) "When American teen Kit Bridges moves to England to attend an elite equestrian boarding school, neither she nor her new home will ever be quite the same.
Trying to move on from her mother's death and afraid of riding after a...
more

Jun 12 2018

My girragundji by Meme McDonald and Boori Pryor

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760297107
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Aboriginal themes. Bullying. Talisman. Growing up. This wonderful little book burst onto the scene in 1998, and a reprint for its twentieth anniversary is most welcome. Semi-autobiographical, it tells the...
more

Jun 12 2018

The wonder of us by Kim Culbertson

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406377170
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended . Friendship on the brink, after spending a school year in different countries? Struggling with your parent's divorce in a little country town while your best friend since kindergarten is swanning around Europe? How do...
more

Jun 12 2018

Norton took something by John Dickson

cover image

Berbay Publishing, 2018. ISBN 9780994384140
(Age: 5-7) Recommended. Theme: Honesty. This is a first chapter book for independent readers with large text and black and white illustrations on most pages. The story starts with Norton secretly taking something special from his sister (we are...
more

Jun 12 2018

Crash! Boom! a maths tale by Robie H. Harris

cover image

Ill. by Chris Chatterton. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406380514
(Age: 3+) Highly recommended. Themes: Maths. Building. Experimentation. Perseverance. STEM. Resilience. Elephant wants to build something as tall as he. He experiments, calculates, builds and when his efforts fall to the...
more

Jun 12 2018

Honor code by Kiersi Burkhart

cover image

Lerner Publishing Group, 2018. ISBN 9781512429961
(Age: 14+) Sam is excited to be enrolled into Edwards Academy, a prestigious boarding school, as she believes it will be a positive move towards achieving her dream of getting into Harvard Law School. The Academy is everything Sam has not...
more

Jun 11 2018

Is it the way you giggle? by Nicola Connelly

cover image

Ill. by Anna White. New Frontier Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925594102
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Diversity, Play, Humour, Difference, Family, Inclusivity. Enthusiastic and energetic, a young child leaps across the front cover begging younger readers to open the book. Once inside, the...
more

Jun 11 2018

In the dark spaces by Cally Black

cover image

Hardie Grant Egmont, 2018. ISBN 9781760128647
(Age: 13+) Highly recommended. Themes: Science fiction, Survival, Space travel, Aliens. Ampersand Prize winner. Aurealis Award for young adults winner 2017. CBCA Book of the Year for older readers shortlist. Also shortlisted for many other...
more

Jun 11 2018

Down among the sticks and bones by Seanan McGuire

cover image

Wayward Children book 2. Tor, 2017. ISBN 9780765392039
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Recommended. Alex Awards for the 10 best adult books 2018. Themes: Horror, Fantasy, Fairy tales, Diversity, Gender stereotypes. Fans of Seanan Mcguire's books will have encountered twin sisters...
more

Jun 11 2018

MunMun by Jesse Andrews

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760523596
(Age: 12+) Highly recommended. From the opening chapter, in its enigmatically entitled 'LifeandDeathWorld, Prayer', Jesse Andrews plunges the reader into a strangely dystopian world. Andrews plunges into a reality that is actually full of...
more

Jun 11 2018

The Price Guide To The Occult by Leslye Walton

cover image

Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763791103
(Age: 15+) Themes: Supernatural, Fantasy, Rivalry, Black Magic, Dark arts, Self harm. Seventeen year old Nor is the eighth generation of Blackburn women on Anathema Island off north west Canada. The first Blackburn woman, Rona, an extraordinary...
more

Jun 11 2018

The things that I love about trees by Chris Butterworth

cover image

Ill. by Charlotte Voake. Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406349405
(Age: 5+) Recommended. This book looks at the seasons of the year and how trees change with the different seasons.
This book is a combination of story and some facts, which are written in the book in a way that makes...
more

Jun 08 2018

Finding Kerra by Rosanne Hawke

cover image

Rhiza Press, 2018. ISBN 9781925563474
(Age: Teenager/Young Adult) Recommended. While this novel is aimed at an adolescent audience, it is also appropriate for adults in that it is a significant story showcasing both the advantages and disadvantages of living on a remote station in the...
more

Jun 08 2018

The King of Birds by Alexander Utkin

cover image

Translated by Lada Morozova. Gamayun Tales 1. Nobrow, 2018. ISBN 9781910620380
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: War, Loyalty, Magic, Folk tales, Russia. Based on Russian folk tales and vividly illustrated in a graphic novel form this beautifully designed book is engaging on many...
more

Jun 08 2018

Eve of Man by Giovanna and Tom Fletcher

cover image

Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780718184131
(Age: 12+) Recommended. Themes: Dystopian fiction. Eve is the last girl on earth, she is humanity's only hope, and she has a mind of her own.
Imagine Rapunzel crossed with The Handmaid's Tale and something more farfetched than pigs...
more

Jun 08 2018

Sam and Ilsa's last hurrah by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan

cover image

Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760293857
(Age: Senior secondary) Themes: Anxiety, friendships, Relationships, twins, change, sexuality. It is a time of change for twins, Sam and Ilsa, not only are they about to leave school but their grandmother, who they call Czarina, and whose New...
more

Jun 08 2018

Square by Mac Barnett and Jon Klassen

cover image

Walker Books, 2018. ISBN 9781406378658
(Age: 6+) Highly recommended. Themes: Perception, Shapes, Building, Perfection, Genius. The two large eyes which stare out of the cover, a brown square within the square shape of the book, replete with two small brown legs to stand on, will...
more

Jun 08 2018

Rescue and Jessica: A life-changing friendship by Jessica Kensky and Patrick Downes

cover image

Ill. by Scott Magoon. Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763696047
(Age: 7+) Highly recommended. Themes: Service dogs, Disability. This book is the story of Rescue a pup who was learning to help people and Jessica who was an amputee. They were both worried about what life would be like...
more

Jun 07 2018

The incredible freedom machines by Kirli Saunders

cover image

Ill. by Matt Ottley. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781760275228
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Imagination. Invention. Freedom. Freedom wrought through her imagination gives this young girl a chance to see the world and all of its wonders, escaping from the camp where she lives. Her...
more

Jun 07 2018

A case to answer by David Bevan

cover image

Wakefield Press, 2018. ISBN 9781862543232
(Age: Senior secondary - Adult) Highly recommended. Re-released for the 25th anniversary of the trial, A case to answer is a thorough and objective account of the first European war crimes prosecution held in Australia - where a quiet...
more

Jun 07 2018

Grandmas from Mars by Michelle Robinson

cover image

Ill. by Fred Blunt. Bloomsbury Children's Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408888766
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Martians. Grandparents. Fred and Nell's mother and father leave for an evening meeting with Grandma in charge. 'Homework, a bath and in bed before eight,' are the simple instructions. All across...
more

Jun 07 2018

My best friend is a goldfish by Mark Lee

cover image

Ill. by Chris Jevons. Carolrhoda Books, 2018. ISBN 9781512426014
(Age: 4+) Theme: Friendship. The boy and his friend argue, and in trying to find another best friend, he rejects them all, realising that his former best friend is the one for him, but he must be more patient and celebrate...
more

Jun 07 2018

We come apart by Sarah Crossan and Brian Conaghan

cover image

David Fickling Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408878866
(Age: 14+) Themes: Families. Adolescents. Love. Survival. Prejudice. Racism. Domestic violence. Jess and Nico meet during community service. Jess has to deal with her dysfunctional and fractured family and Nico feels trapped in a life he...
more