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.
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Latest Review

Jun 22 2018

The all new must have Orange 430 by Michael Speechley

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143788973
(Age: 6+) Recommended. Themes: Consumerism, Toys. Michael Speechley's debut picture book "The All New Must Have Orange 430" introduces young children to consumerism, it demonstrates that you don't need to have the latest toy to have fun. In our world today, we are bombarded with advertising, children covet the latest electronic device, toy or fashion clothing. Speechley's message is powerfully illustrated in dark, layered backgrounds with sepia toned images featuring a moody mix of brown, grey, orange and white.
Harvey's desire for the all new ORANGE 430 is driven by marketing in a magazine, the toy is on sale and of course they won't last at the discounted price. He searches everywhere to come up with money and finds some interesting things like false teeth, Lego and the remote control as well. He passes billboards with interesting messages and finally arrives at the small shop filled with other useless objects.
Harvey's expressions as he experiments with his new toy are wonderful, amazement, surprise and contemplation, even LouLou the cat seems scared of it. Taking his toy back proves frustrating and along he rushes off to join a long queue of unhappy young customers at the Useless Object International offices. The young boy asks the other children and adults, 'could you do anything with your objects?'
Tipping out the useless toys and playing with the boxes proves to be a fun and happy time, hopscotch, box boat races and building box towers. Harvey's message is potent, he's only going to save for useful stuff from now on, much to the disgust of Mr Ripoff president of the UIO factory. Even LouLou the cat finds a special use for the Orange 430 box, it makes a comfy bed.
"The All New Must Have Orange 430" picture book provides an important insight for families and for classes into the effects of advertising and consumerism in our world. Take time to observe the signs, the labels on the stuff in the background and discuss the difference between needs and wants, the importance of financial responsibility and the effects of advertising. Speechley's important messages are equally relevant to children, teenagers and adults living in today's society.
Rhyllis Bignell



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Jun 22 2018

Blue Window by Adina Rishe Gewirtz

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Candlewick Books, 2018. ISBN 9780763660369
(Age: Older adolescents - Adults) This powerful novel, epic in scope, presents an undiscovered world that seems to be both predictably human and terrifyingly inhuman. Seeming to fall into a new world through a blue glass window, five imaginative...
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Jun 22 2018

The Champion Charlies: The Mix-Up by Adrian Beck

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Ill. by Adele K Thomas. Random House, 2018, ISBN 9780143791249
(Age: 6-9) Themes: Soccer, Sports. "The Champion Charlies" series has been developed in partnership with Football Federation Australia promoting teamwork and the enjoyment of the game.
When Principal Swift announces that...
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Jun 22 2018

Seed Magic by Natalie McKinnon and Margaret Tolland

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The Spider series, Starfish Bay, 2018, ISBN 9781760360313
(Age: 5-7) Themes: Plants - life cycle, Anxiety, Friendship. Natalie McKinnon's story "Seed Magic" draws elements from the Aesop's fable of the ant and the grasshopper. She is passionate about educating young children, to...
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Jun 22 2018

We are not most people by Tracy Ryan

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Transit Lounge, 2018. ISBN 9781925760040
(Age: 17+) Themes: Identity, Relationships, Faith and faithlessness, Marriage, Abuse. This story weaves between the unfortunate stories of two young people separated by continents and thirty years; both damaged by childhood circumstances and...
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Jun 22 2018

The last peach by Gus Gordon

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PenguinViking, 2018. ISBN 9780670078912
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Themes: Decision making, Food, insects, Discussion. Two bugs making a decision about eating a peach they see in a tree, will hold the readers' attention to the last funny page as they prevaricate from one suggestion to...
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Jun 21 2018

In-between things by Priscilla Tey

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763689834
(Age: 4+) Highly recommended. Themes: Words. Adventure. Curiosity. A sumptuously presented picture book which humorously plays with the word between, inviting readers to see what is in-between the everyday. Between marvelously attractive end...
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Jun 21 2018

A thousand perfect notes by C.G. Drews

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Orchard Books, 2018. ISBN 9781408349908
(Age: 13+) Recommended. The Maestro reigns in Beck's house in much the same manner as Miss Trunchbull does in Roald Dahl's, Matilda. An internationally acclaimed and now incapacitated pianist, the physically imposing matriarch intimidates...
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Jun 21 2018

The lemonade problem by Jennifer Oxley and Billy Aronson

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Peg + Cat series. Candlewick, 2017. ISBN 9781536200614
(Age: 3-6) Themes: Problem solving. Girls. Cats. Small business. Mathematics. Peg + Cat is a popular animated cartoon series for pre-schoolers that features a little girl and her indigo cat working on mathematical...
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Jun 21 2018

The mystery of the colour thief by Ewa Josefkowicz

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Head of Zeus, 2018. ISBN 9781788546492
(Age: 12+) This is the story of a girl called Izzy, a cygnet called Spike and the power of feathers gathered from strong winds. It is a beautifully written debut about hope, healing and new beginnings.
First there was the accident, then came...
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Jun 21 2018

Ocean lullaby by Sally Odgers

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Scholastic Australia, 2018. ISBN 9781742769110
(Age: 3+) "Ocean babies in the deep. Waves are rocking them to sleep. Listen as the deep-sea sighs, that's the ocean's lullaby. From the creators of Outback lullaby, Bushland lullaby and Rainforest lullaby comes this...
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Jun 20 2018

A shout in the ruins by Kevin Powers

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Sceptre, 2018. ISBN 9781473667785
(Age: 16+) Highly recommended. Powerfully written and well crafted, this novel draws together two strands, one set during the cruel times of slavery plantations and the American Civil War and the other, ninety years and more later, as George Seldom sets...
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Jun 20 2018

Cloud conductor by Kellie Byrnes

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Ill. by Ann-Marie Finn. Wombat Books, 2018. ISBN 9781925563344
(Age: 3-6) Highly recommended. Themes: Imagination, Seasons, Sick children. "Cloud Conductor" is a beautifully expressive story, filled with messages of hope, courage in adversity and the power of the imagination to bring...
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Jun 20 2018

Tin Heart by Shivaun Plozza

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Penguin, 2018. ISBN 9780143786276
(Age: 13+) Recommended. Themes: Organ transplants. Family relations. Grief. Survivor Guilt. Humour. Marlowe has received a heart transplant and feels that she really needs to thank the donor's family, even though they don't want to meet her. Perhaps then...
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Jun 20 2018

Stink: Hamlet and Cheese by Megan McDonald

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Candlewick Press, 2018. ISBN 9780763691639
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. Stink: Hamlet and Cheese is a great way to introduce Hamlet and Shakespeare to younger readers. The main character, Stink, may not be too happy about being the only boy at Shakespeare camp but it sure beats...
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Jun 20 2018

Peter Rabbit: Hello Peter! by Beatrix Potter

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Warne, Puffin Books, 2018. ISBN 9780241324332
(Age: 1-3) Highly recommended. Board book. What a wonderful introduction to Peter Rabbit and the delightful illustrations by Beatrix Potter. This board book is for very young children, but adults reading the rhyming words and looking at the...
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Jun 20 2018

Silent but deadly by Pixel Kid and Zack Zombie

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Diary of a Minecraft Creeper series. Scholastic, 2018. ISBN 9781742768724
(Age: 7-9) Themes: Bullying, School life, Minecraft computer game. Pixel Kid and Zack Zombie bring Jasper the Creeper back for another adventure in "Silent but Deadly." This junior novel is written in the...
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Jun 20 2018

Parvana - A graphic novel based on the original book by Deborah Ellis

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Allen and Unwin, 2018. ISBN 9781760631970
Highly recommended. "This beautiful graphic-novel adaptation of the animated film, inspired by Deborah Ellis's beloved novel, tells the story of eleven-year-old Parvana.
When soldiers burst into her home and drag her father off to...
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Jun 19 2018

Bob by Wendy Mass and Rebecca Stead

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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...
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Jun 19 2018

Allied by Amy Tintera

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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....
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Jun 19 2018

Our forever love by Kristie Groat-Barber

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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...
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Jun 19 2018

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

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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...
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Jun 19 2018

Crash landing by Robert Muchamore

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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...
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Jun 18 2018

Mercy Point by Anna Snoekstra

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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...
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Jun 18 2018

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

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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...
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Jun 18 2018

Jane Seymour. The Haunted Queen by Alison Weir

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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...
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Jun 18 2018

William Wenton and the Secret Portal by Bobbie Peers

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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...
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Jun 18 2018

Jabberwalking by Juan Felipe Herrera

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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...
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Jun 18 2018

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

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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...
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Jun 15 2018

Waves by Donna Rawlins

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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...
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Jun 15 2018

The Lighthouse at Pelican Rock by Stephen Hart

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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...
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Jun 15 2018

Genesis by Brendan Riechs

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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,...
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Jun 15 2018

Lady Mary by Lucy Worsley

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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...
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Jun 15 2018

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

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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...
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Jun 15 2018

Best buds under frogs by Leslie Patricelli

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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....
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Jun 15 2018

Count with little fish by Lucy Cousins

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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...
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Jun 14 2018

The outcast by Taran Matharu

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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...
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Jun 14 2018

Goat's coat by Tom Percival

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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,...
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Jun 14 2018

The Goose Road by Rowena House

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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...
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Jun 14 2018

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

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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...
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Jun 14 2018

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

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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...
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