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Rules of Summer

rules-of-summerBy: Shaun Tan

Summer is a time of fun, of holidays and of adventure. As this book is a Shaun Tan book there isn’t an intricate plot but honestly there doesn’t need to be. Tan’s books have an appeal all of their own which can be attributed to the flexibility of the story told mostly in pictures with limited text, thus leaving a whole lot up to the imagination. I think I’d say the plot revolves around using your imagination to while away the days, having an older brother make up the rules and be the one to save you when the days turn dark. The illustrations are, as always whimsical and amazing, conveying the width and breadth of what can be achieved when you walk away from technology and allow yourself free reign. An amazing book that left me wanting to explore it again.
Recommended

Publisher: Arthur A Levine Books
Published: 29th April 2014
Key Words: Adventure, Family, Imagination
Format: Hard cover or paperback picture book
Pages: 48
ISBN: 9780545639125

Ready, Set, Spy

I received my copy from the publisher.
ready-set-spy
Frankie Fox Girl Spy: Book 1
Frankie Fox knows her Dad does secret work, she understands but misses him. Instead she is trying to teach herself to develop spy skills, she really wants to be a spy. Then the worst happens and her father is kidnapped by an evil group called the Alliance. This is when Frankie learns that she has been secretly trained to be a spy (all the prompts her father gave her were for a reason). It is up to her and her friend JJ to rescue him.
This is a fun adventure centred around a feisty heroine. Frankie is smart, observant and willing to learn. The story moves at a brisk pace and spy stories often do well with kids. They encourage them to push at boundaries and learn outside the normal skills (even just encourage them to work at their normal classes). Also they are simply fun reads. It is suitable for ages 7+ so is at the top end of 4-9 category and low end of middle grade fiction.
Publisher: Hachette Australia
Published: 27th January 2015
Key Words: Spy Stories, Adventure
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 128
ISBN: 9780734415684

I received my copy from the publisher
the-100-society
By: Carla Spradbery

Grace Becker attends Clifton School, a school with a not so secret, secret. There is something that is part of the school’s history called the 100 Society and being part of it is something Grace is absolutely determined to do. The 100 Society isn’t just a game to Grace, the objective is to graffiti tag 100 specific locations around the city, each location has a risk often greater than the one before it. She has managed to convince some friends to help her achieve this goal even though it could result in suspension. The problem is what started as a sort of game has become something much more, someone is watching them, playing them, targeting them. Her friends are in the cross-hairs and Grace won’t stop. Will she be able to figure out who is behind it all before it costs her everything?
This is a tight, tensely woven story. One moment you think you know who it might be, then you’re not so sure. I must admit to getting a little frustrated with Grace at some point, her drive to do something better than her brother clouds her vision but this is her flaw and ultimately I prefer characters with flaws to the perfect ones. The characters all stand alone on their own merits and the darkness isn’t so overwhelming that it becomes detrimental to the plot.
An enjoyable read.
Publisher: Hachette
Published: 28th October 2014
Format: Paperback
Number Of Pages: 320
ISBN: 9781444920086

Sean

I received my copy from the publisher.
stuff-happens-sean
By: William Kostakis
Part of the Stuff Happens series

Sean has been hauled across the country by his parents and now he had to figure out how to make new friends and survive school without the friends he has had forever. His parents finally relent and allow him a phone to contact his buddies, but he blows it and has it confiscated. How is he going to prove he is responsible enough to get the phone back. Fortunately he has managed to make a couple of friends who are willing to help him out.
Another bite sized real life instalment of this series. Starting at a new school is something many can relate to and is a situation fraught with all sorts of things to navigate. It can be hard making new friends and you need to make sure you don’t do the things that will turn you into an immediate outcast. It doesn’t shy away from the awkward bits but shows that it isn’t all bad and life after moving away form old friends does actually exist and can be good.
As a concept this series shows a lot of promise, relatable short stories make for reads that fit into a lifestyle that is filled with other activities, also the brevity of the books means they don’t look intimidating or time consuming.

Publisher: Puffin
Publication Date: 27th August 2014
Format: Paperback 92 pages
Key Words: Friends, Family, School, Moving
ISBN: 9780143308119

Michael

I received my copy from the publisherstuff-happens-michaelBy: Phillip Gwynne

Part of the Stuff Happens series

Michael loves to swim, in competes in the national team and has dreams to swim in the Olympics. One day though Michael thinks he might like to try doing something else, even though his dad thinks it is really stupid. Michael can’t stop thinking about it though. He knows he shouldn’t try this thing, not after all his parents have given up in order to give him so many swimming opportunities. Sometimes though people have to learn their own way.

This series appears geared towards those who don’t like to read much, specifically boys. These stories are bite sized. This one is touching and deals with a very real pressure some kids face. Trying to juggle what they want to do and not let their parents down. This shows the downside of certain choices but the upside of working through it with others.

Publisher: Penguin Books

Published: 27th August 2104

Format: Paperback, 88 pages

Key Words: Sport, Swimming, Family

ISBN 13: 9780143308102

Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Long Haul

I received my copy from the publisher
the-long-haul
Diary of a Wimpy Kid book 9

The Heffleys are heading out on a road trip, not that this is something Greg thinks is going to be a good or fun thing. It all starts off pretty much as Greg expects, pretty chaotic, not brilliant but better than it could have been. Things quickly turn terrible though as their road trip is filled with uncomfortable travelling conditions, worse sleeping conditions, mad seagulls, unexpected and hungry piglets, lost property and car accidents. There is a high point, when Greg finally gets to go to a water park, but even that doesn’t turn out so well.
The tried and true Wimpy Kid format proves that it still works. This instalment is full of silly fun and takes the Heffleys out of their home comfort zone. Everyone knows road trips either make or break families and in this case it is very possible this family won’t be heading out on any more. A fun read and perhaps a few pointers for Mum and Dad on what not to do if planning a family road trip.
Publisher: PUFFIN
Publication date: 5 November 2014
Format: Paperback 224 pages
Key Words: Family, Holidays
ISBN 13: 9780143308591
Purchase: here or use Booktopia link on side of page

The Fearless

I was sent this book by the publisher
the-fearless
By: Emma Pass

The Fearless are coming, and then suddenly they are here. Cassie’s life is torn apart that night. The Fearless are brutal, they destroy whatever and whomever gets in their way. Somehow Cassie and her brother get away. They get to be part of the small group who make it to the island. Her brother is the last person she has left in the world and she will do anything to look after him. When the island is invaded and he is taken, there is nothing Cassie won’t do to find him and bring him home. This includes making a deal with Myo, a strange boy who turned up on the island the same time as the Fearless. He came from the mainland and seems to think he knows where her brother is going to be taken. Myo though has secrets of his own. Secrets that will destroy their very fragile truce if Cassie was to discover them.

This is a zombie story with a twist. These zombies are man made and they are not totally brainless, some of them, they are however very driven. There is a lot of dark texture to this story. Cassie is tough and focussed but not as competent as she originally thinks. She also doesn’t know as much about what is really going on as she should. This narrow focus and interest is part of what will cause her big problems. Myo is just as driven as Cassie but his reasons are part of his big secret. This secret adds an interesting layer to the story. Cassie has to go through a big learning curve as she begins to understand that things aren’t as simple as she has been led to believe, the world she thought was black and white really has many shades of grey.

PUBLISHER: Random House
PUBLISHED: 1st May 2014
FORMAT: Paperback, 392 pages
KEY WORDS: Apocalypse, Zombies, Survival
ISBN: 9780552566155

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