Book review, Junior Fiction, literacy

Ruby Lane by R.J.Simon

A fast paced adventure story that you won’t want to put down – Ruby Lane by R J Simon is a brand new quirky tale for young readers.

Ruby, our main adventurer is a wonderfully creative thinker – who just can’t stop thinking! She has a wild imagination and would much rather be up through the night  creating things instead of sleeping!

Luckily it is school holidays and Ruby is off to her Grandma’s for a week of excitement. She hops on the ferry but due to her late night antics she nods off until the ferry pulls into the wharf near her Grandma’s home. Ruby begins her walk but soon discovers a cat that talks like a pirate and talking lemons – certainly not the usual things she finds on the way to grandmas!  The pirate cat convinces her to help him return a very special book to the great Poet Gerry and she agrees.

From here the reader is taken on a very magical, fun, weird and crazy adventure all over the island. She meets many intriguing creatures along the way as she helps Pirate Cat on his quest.

Ruby Lane is a very fast paced book and although Ruby is at first portrayed as someone who can’t slow down, she is a very clear thinker who is not only brave but kind.

You’ll love the quirkiness of Pirate Cat – but be warned he does talk in pirate lingo throughout the whole novel so for those of you who don’t think you can handle more than one ‘me hearty’ you might struggle a bit.

Only someone with a vivid imagination and fun filled ideas could create a book like this. R.J.Simon has used so many different ideas to bring this story, the magical land and it’s characters to life.

I had lots of fun reading this story and was endlessly surprised by what happened next!

So what else can you do with this story?

  1. Read it out loud – see if any children can relate to Ruby – her creative thinking and endless imagination. Recall a time when you had a wonderful idea that wouldn’t let you sleep!
  2. Learn how to speak like a pirate. Wednesday 19th September is International talk like a pirate day!
  3. Draw a map of the island. What do you think it looks like?
  4. Ruby meets so many amazing characters in this story. Do they have anything in common with each other? Do they all have anything in common with Ruby?

There are many more activities you can do with this book so head over to R J Simon’s website and have a look around: http://www.booksbyrjsimon.com

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Book review, Junior Fiction, literacy, Parent tips, Teacher tips and resources

Lizzy’s Dragon by Melissa Gijsbers

“No, you cannot have a pet lizard -” Lizzy’s mum said, “And before you ask, no snakes either. No reptiles of any sort.”

 

Lizzy’s Dragon by Melissa Gijsbers is a wonderful new fantasy  novel for younger readers – and they won’t want to put it down!


I know that as a young child I always wanted a different pet -a dog, a rabbit, a fish or a bird – I never wanted a lizard, and still wouldn’t want one crawling about in the house But Lizzy does, and she is determined to get a pet of her own.

Lizzy lives on a farm which is going through drought. The grass is brown, the dams are dry and their is the ever present threat of bush fire.

Lizzy is a strong, caring and clever young girl and perhaps by luck or perhaps by magic she stumbles upon a round shaped egg in the field outside their house. Her brother Joey discovers Lizzy and her secretive behaviour and does what many siblings would do – threaten to tell their parents if she doesn’t let him on the secret.

Despite Lizzy’s efforts to keep her egg (and then pet dragon) a secret, her brother finds out and Lizzy has to put up with doing all of his chores – that is until she discovers the magic her dragon holds and possibly the real reason the dragon egg happened to land in the drought stricken land.

Full of magic and mystery, Lizzy’s Dragon is an story you cannot put down. Younger readers will love this story as Lizzy is a character many children will identify with – she is thoughtful, she fights with her brother, she cares for her family and she wants the best for the place she lives in.

Dragons are magical beasts which excite and engage many readers and the beauty of this dragon is that it comes across as one of the best possible pets you could have.

Lizzy’s dragon is a wonderful read – one to read out loud or for better readers –  to read alone. The pictures within the novel give the readers some more insight into what Lizzy and her dragon look like and ignite more of that wonderful imagination.

Magic, mystery and mettle, Lizzy’s dragon is a book to inspire the best in all of us.

So what else can you do with this story?

 – Design your own dragon. What egg would it hatch from? where would you keep it and what would it’s special gift be?

– Are there any areas close to you or in your country that are experiencing drought? What do these places have to do during times of drought?

– Have you ever helped out in your community? Find out how you could help in some way at a community event.

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Book review, Junior Fiction, loveozya

The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Wow. I’ve literally just finished this book and I’m blown away by this action packed, adrenaline pumping and hair raising crime thriller- The Fall by Tristan Bancks. 


As a librarian I try to read as many books as I can but this one, as soon as it arrived, I couldn’t put it down. 

The main character, Sam- a want to be crime reporter is visiting his Dad, Harry Garner (a real crime reporter).

 But in the middle of the night Sam hears raised voices and witnesses a body fall from the apartment above his. His father is missing and Sam, using his amateur detective skills is determined to find out who killed this man as soon as he can. 

Enlisting the help of his Dad’s dog, Magic and his neighbour, Scarlet, he finds out more than he bargained for and lands himself in more trouble than he thought. 

The Fall is a gripping story that not only is an amazing read but it teaches the reader many tips about being yourself, believing in yourself and living life with open eyes, open ears and an open heart. 

I loved the Ten Commandments of life that Sam creates on reflection of the dramatic events that happened that fateful evening. 

They are something that all young readers should aim to live by. 

Can’t wait for some more great suspense raising reads by Tristan Bancks. 

Books with current issues, Junior Fiction

Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom by Ailsa Wild and Ben Wood

Do you love adventures?

Do you love the environment?

Well – Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom is the story for you!


Shortlisted in the EACL book awards for 2017, Squishy Taylor and the Tunnel of Doom not only takes the junior reader on an adventure through Melbourne’s stormwater drains but also highlights the importance of looking after the world we live in.

Squishy and her Bonus sister’s afternoon at the park takes a mysterious turn when they stumble upon some hazardous waste hidden in some nearby drains. Squishy and her sisters may be young but with problem solving and determination they are determined to get to the bottom of this horrible mess – and save the place they live in from destruction.

Ailsa Wild writes with enthusiasm and pace and younger readers will enjoy reading this on their own, especially with great images by Ben Wood to accompany the detective girls at work. Within this great story there is a message to young children that they can make changes that improve the world they live in and do not always need to rely on adults to make those changes.

There are currently 8 novels in the Squishy Taylor series – an excellent read to inspire some future detective work!