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

Dec 08 2016

Caleb's cab by Sally Chomet

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Ill. by Sylvain Chomet. Walker, 2016. ISBN 9781406342277
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Husband and wife team, writer Sally and comic-book illustrator Sylvain Chomet have previously collaborated on animated films - Belleville rendezvous and The illusionist. In Caleb's cab they have created another fantasy adventure story with the central character Caleb searching for his father in a dark world, where children have disappeared and hope has been lost.
Mopsy, Caleb's mother has given up hope; her husband has disappeared and she is at the mercy of evil loan sharks. Caleb is left to his own devices, forced to make meals like spam curry and take his dad's taxi out after dark looking for fares. He disguises himself with a large fake moustache, peak cap and trench coat. Their town Fethererham is rundown, municipal buildings closed, the airport abandoned and the only children and teenagers remaining are the SODs - Spoilt Over-educated Delinquents. Parents have been forced to sign their daughters and sons over to the Money Mongers for C.A.S.H. - Children Acquired to Settle Home Loans. Amongst this bleak setting, Caleb rescues strange Madame Zis from the SOD gang in his taxi, swings a hard left on the steering wheel and lands in an alternate world.
Time slips, Machiavellian enemies, eccentric characters, devious plots and a young hero and his sidekick Myra on a desperate quest to free Caleb's father, release the captive children and restore order to the city.
Sylvain Chomet's animated illustrations incorporate line drawings, painted backgrounds, expressive caricatures and entertaining scenes. Caleb's cab reads like a movie script, each setting ripe for showing on the big screen, with moody backgrounds and the play of evil characters pitted against the central cast.
Rhyllis Bignell



More Reviews

Dec 08 2016

In focus: 101 close ups, cross sections and cutaways by Libby Walden

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Little Tiger Press, 2016. ISBN 9781848575059
Twenty years ago one of the most popular series of books in my library featured the cutaway illustrations of Stephen Beisty as the children were fascinated by being able to look beneath the outside of things to see what lay concealed and how...
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Dec 08 2016

Zog and the flying doctors by Julia Donaldson

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Ill. by Axel Scheffler. Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9781407164953
(Age: 4-6) Recommended. Princess Pearl, Gadabout the Great and Zog the helpful dragon fly across the kingdom assisting the sick. The flying doctors have special roles: 'Princess Pearl gives medicine, pills and vaccinations,...
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Dec 08 2016

Dance with me by Penny Harrison

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Ill. by Gwynneth Jones. EK Books, 2016. ISBN 9781925335231
The ballerina lived in a little wooden box and every day she stood straight and tall and danced for the little girl who would laugh and clap her hands and dance like the ballerina herself. But as the years passed, the little girl...
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Dec 07 2016

Penguin problems by Jory John

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Ill. by Lane Smith. Walker, 2016. ISBN 9780553513370
(Age: 4-8 and adults) Recommended. Always look on the bright side of life, have an attitude of gratitude, don't worry be happy,
wait, this penguin had definitely not embraced these pearls of wisdom. He addresses us in a bold and...
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Dec 07 2016

Magpie murders by Anthony Horowitz

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Orion Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781409158370
Themes: Murder mystery; Truth and Lies. Horowitz is a masterful writer of mysteries and in the Magpie Murders he weaves two stories together - the mystery of the unfinished manuscript by Alan Conway, the renowned Murder Mystery writer,...
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Dec 07 2016

Hug this book! by Barney Saltzberg

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Ill. by Fred Benaglia. Phaidon, 2016. ISBN 9780714872841
(Age: 3-7) Recommended. Barney Saltzberg's Hug this Book is a delightful rhyming story, which celebrates the joy of reading. The enjoyment of receiving a new book, the smell, the adventure, the tickling pages and the warmth...
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Dec 07 2016

Pancakes! An interactive recipe book - no food required! ill. by Lotta Nieminen

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Phaidon, 2016. ISBN 9780714872827
(Age: 2-5) Recommended. Hardcover, Board Book. Lotta Nieminen's interactive board book delights with sturdy tabs, wheels and flaps, an enjoyable change for the technology-obsessed toddlers of today. Each sturdy page with simple stylised computer...
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Dec 07 2016

A sunburnt childhood: Growing up in the territory by Toni Tapp Coutts

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Hachette Australia, 2016. ISBN 9780733634499
(Age: 15+) A sunburnt childhood is a memoir by Toni Tapp Coutts, who was born in Alice Springs but spent most of her childhood on Killarney Station, 430 kilometres south of Darwin. When her parents moved there in 1961, home was a shed...
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Dec 06 2016

Great Australian journeys by Graham Seal

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Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760291013
The interesting true stories in this collection are all based on journeys in Australia, journeys to Australia, or Australians undertaking journeys in other regions. I was pleased to discover that this was not just another history book where the...
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Dec 06 2016

The fox and the ghost king by Michael Morpurgo

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Ill. by Michael Foreman. HarperCollins, 2016. ISBN 9780008215774
Like all foxes, the Fox family love to watch football and from their den under the garden shed, Father Fox and his eldest son venture forth to watch their favourite team, the Leicester City Foxes, although the night...
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Dec 06 2016

First day at Bug School by Sam Lloyd

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Bloomsbury, 2016. ISBN 9781408868805
(Age: 4+) Recommended. Starting School. Insects. A humourous look at starting school - for bugs! Sam Lloyd has created a funny walk-through of what the first day of school is like and what can be learned. The twist is that all the characters are...
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Dec 06 2016

Ruby Red Shoes goes to London by Kate Knapp

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Angus and Robertson, 2016. ISBN 9780732297626
(Age: 7+) Recommended. Nostalgia. London. Travel. The nostalgic stories of the hare, Ruby Red Shoes, have found a warm following; the first two, Ruby Red Shoes and Ruby Red Shoes goes to Paris, both shortlisted for CBCA awards...
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Dec 05 2016

The Rules of Backyard Cricket by Jock Serong

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Text Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925355215
(Age: Senior secondary to adult) Highly recommended, Crime Fiction, Cricket. Darren 'Daz' and Wally Keefe have an obsession with cricket. Their childhood memories are all about the backyard cricket matches on their home made pitch on the back...
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Dec 05 2016

Frenemies forever by Rachel Renee Russell

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Ill. by Nikki Russell; Erin Russell. Dork Diaries bk 11. Simon & Schuster, 2016. ISBN 9781471158032
(Age: 9-11) Nikki J. Maxwell returns with another 'dramafest'; her diary brimming with the ups and downs of home and school life. Each year at Nikki's school eighth graders...
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Dec 05 2016

One Small Donkey by Dandi Daley Mackall and Martina Alvarez Miguens

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Tommy Nelson, 2016. ISBN 9780718082475
One small donkey
Hunting for a blade of grass
Sees big horses full of power and might
Prancing proudly as they pass.

This is the story of The Nativity told from the perspective of Joseph's donkey. Despite its apparent...
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Dec 05 2016

Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell

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Harper Collins, 2016. ISBN 9780733333019
(Age: 9-12) Highly recommended. Feisty Stella Montgomery returns in another wonderfully exciting adventure - Wormwood Mire. Orphan Stella is in disgrace, after her escapades in Withering-by-Sea. Life with her puritanical aunts is full of...
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Dec 02 2016

Laugh your head off again by Andy Griffiths, Sally Rippin and others

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Ill. by Andrea Innocent. Macmillan Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781743549872
(Age: 8-10) Recommended. Bold fluoro orange illustrations, punchy punctuation and bright title pages add zest and excitement to these nine humourous stories written by nine best-selling children's authors. Share them...
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Dec 02 2016

Horse of fire: Horse stories from around the world by Lari Don

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Bloomsbury Education, 2016. ISBN 9781472920966
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Myths and legends. Horses. Unicorns. Short stories. The fabulous black horse on the front cover will entice any reader who likes horses to open up this book and dip into the amazing array of stories about horses. As...
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Dec 02 2016

Ice breaker by Lian Tanner

cover imageThe Hidden series, bk 1. Allen and Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760293178
(Age: 11+) Highly recommended. Re-Issue. Adventure, Fantasy. The first in The Hidden series, with a new jacket introduces Petrel, a young girl who survives by her wits in a strange world aboard a huge ship...
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Dec 02 2016

Molly and Mae by Danny Parker

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Ill. by Freya Blackwood. Hardie Grant Egmont, 2016. ISBN 9781742975276
A railway station in rural Anywhere, Australia and Molly and Mae are looking forward to their journey to the city. On the platform there is fun to be had like hide and seek to play as they and the other passengers...
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Dec 01 2016

A monster calls by Patrick Ness

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Walker Books, 2016. ISBN 9781406365771
(Age: 10+), Highly recommended. Death. Cancer. Nightmares. Fear. Bullying. School. Hospitals. With this new collector's edition, published to coincide with the film's release in 2016, extra material is included, making this a larger heavier tome...
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Dec 01 2016

Dragon Land by Stephanie Bendixsen

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Ill. by Chris Kennett. Pixel Raiders bk 2. series. Scholastic Australia, 2016. ISBN 9781760275662
(Age: 8+) Digital Worlds. Computer games. Fantasy. Adventure. Stephanie Bendixsen and Steve O'Donnell continue their gaming series in Dragon Land. When we last saw Ripley and...
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Dec 01 2016

Undercover: one of these things is almost like the others by Bastien Contraire

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Phaidon, 2016. ISBN 9780714872506
(Age: 3+) Recommended. Shapes. Identification. Similarities and differences. The cover shows the reader clearly what will be found on each of the pages inside the book. A set of hats awaits the eagle eye, and readers will instantly laugh seeing the...
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Dec 01 2016

The beach at night by Elena Ferrante

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Ill. by Mara Cerri. Trans. by Ann Goldstein. Text Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925355741
(Age: 6+) Fable. Loss. Abandonment. Beach. This most unusual fable for modern times is narrated by a doll, Celina, left on the beach by its owner, Mari, besotted with her new playmate, a kitten....
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Nov 30 2016

When the music's over by Peter Robinson

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Hodder and Stoughton, 2016. ISBN 9781444786729
(Age: senior secondary to adult) Highly recommended. Crime fiction, Cold case, DCI Banks, Rape, Celebrity crime, Racism, Prostitution. When DCI Banks is promoted to Detective Superintendent, his first case is likely to be his last at this...
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Nov 30 2016

The horse thief by Jane Smith

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Tommy Bell: Bushranger Boy. Big Sky Publishing, 2016. ISBN 9781925520064
(Age: 8+) Highly recommended. The Horse Thief finds a new classmate for Tommy as well as more adventures with his horse Combo. Riding Combo also allows Tommy to use the hat he found to go back in time...
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Nov 30 2016

Squares and other shapes with Josef Albers

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Phaidon, 2016. ISBN 9780714872551
(Age: 2-6) Recommended. Art, Board book. In the series, First Concepts with Fine Artists, this board book reveals a series of shapes through the art of twentieth century Modernist, Josef Albers. On each page is an example of his abstract...
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Nov 30 2016

The Miracle Goal starring Troy, Adam, Joel and Scott Selwood by Tony Wilson

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The Selwood Boys bk 2. ABC Books, 2016. ISBN 9780733335464
(Age: 7+) Tony Wilson's series The Selwood Boys is perfect for the football fans and younger readers who enjoy sporting stories based on real life characters AFL football players. In an easy to read format, filled...
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Nov 30 2016

The Selwood Boys: Battle Royale by Tony Wilson

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Harper Collins, 2016. ISBN 9780733335457
(Age: 7+) Recommended. The Selwood Boys - Battle Royale is an Aussie story using football playing brothers as the main characters. Tony Wilson has elaborated on the childhood memories of the boys and the football theme runs through the...
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Nov 29 2016

The unforgettable What's his name by Paul Jennings

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Allen & Unwin, 2016. ISBN 9781760290856
(Age: 9+) Highly recommended. The unforgettable What's his name explores what it is like to be invisible. The main character is commonly referred to as 'What's his name' and feels like nobody sees him. He has no friends. He feels like...
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Nov 29 2016

Dog Man by Dav Pilkey

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Scholastic, 2016. ISBN 9780545581608
(Age: 8+) Recommended. Dog Man is a book that looks like a novel, has a lovely illustrated cover - this was in a hardcover, but is a comic. A quick flick through the book and you will see bright illustrations and speech bubbles telling the...
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Nov 29 2016

The amateurs by Sara Shepard

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The amateurs bk. 1. Hot Key Books, 2016. ISBN 9781471405266
(Age: 15+) Some strong language. Mystery. Alcohol. Parties. Aerin's sister Helena had been brutally murdered years before and when a group of young people who belong to an online forum, Case not closed, turn up on her...
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Nov 29 2016

The cranky ballerina by Elise Gravel

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Katherine Tegan Books, 2016. ISBN 9780062351241
Ada does not look forward to weekends, particularly Saturdays, because Saturday is ballet day and she HATES ballet. Her leotard is too tight and her tutu too itchy and as for the moves she is forced to do and practise and practise... as she...
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Nov 28 2016

Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 97801876678470
Teacher reference. Primary School. Highly recommended. Literature to Support the Science Curriculum Foundation - 7 is a collection of fiction and some non-fiction books linked to the Australian Science curriculum. Teachers and...
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Nov 02 2016

Literature to support the Science curriculum Foundation - 7 by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678470
Teacher Reference.This publication is an outstanding tool for the study of science for these year levels.
Fran...
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Feb 22 2016

Fiction gems: Recommended fiction lists for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students by Fran Knight and Pat Pledger

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Pledger Consulting, 2016. ISBN 9781876678456
Teacher reference. What a great resource for those charged with purchasing or recommending reading material for Upper Primary and Lower Secondary students. The Middle School aged reader can have specific interests or reading demands and keeping...
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