Newest Confident Readers Reviews

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search
WOB.png

Mystery and Mayhem by The Crime Club

5star.jpg Confident Readers

There are days when all you want is to shut out the world and sink into the delights of a detailed full-length story, crammed to the covers with fascinating characters and plot twists. And then there are days when you require something shorter – a tale that's nonetheless richly colourful and exciting, a perfect jewel of a story that will stay for you for days afterwards. Well, luckily for you, the twelve members of The Crime Club provide both! Full review...

A Library of Lemons by Jo Cotterill

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Calypso is a quiet young girl, passionate about books and reading and writing and, since her mum died a few years ago, she has lived alone with her dad who is busy writing his own book on the history of the lemon. There’s never enough food in their fridge, and the house isn’t clean, and Calypso is too busy taking care of herself and her father to have any friends of her own age. But when a new girl, Mae, starts at school, Calypso discovers a kindred spirit, and when she visits Mae’s home she encounters a family quite the opposite to her own. Still, it is only when she discovers a secret that her father has been hiding from her that Calypso’s ability to cope begins to fail her, and she starts to wonder just how damaged her family is. Full review...

Dare to Care Pet Dragon by Mark Robertson and Sally Symes

4star.jpg Confident Readers

When I was growing up there was a holy grail of non-fiction and that was the cross section book. These books would take a theme like ships or vehicles and show you in minute detail what exactly went on inside. You could see the pistons in a supercar or look at all the little crew members as they scuttle around a luxury liner. The books were fun to read, but even more importantly, amazing to look at. This eye for illustration in non-fiction does not seem to be as popular anymore, but perhaps modern books are looking at the wrong material. A book on how to look after your Dragon would surely look good? Full review...

Bubble Boy by Stewart Foster

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Eleven year old Joe was born with a rare condition that means he has no immune system and, therefore, no resistance to the germs that surround us in our daily lives. The result is he's spent his whole life trapped in a bubble – a small room in the hospital where the air is filtered and temperature and air purity is constantly monitored. His only escape is through his dreams of being a superhero and, unless something changes, it looks like he'll never get to see the outside world for himself. Full review...

The OMG Blog by Karen McCombie

4star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

In the first weeks of term at a new secondary school four good girls find themselves thrown together in detention. From this inauspicious beginning a firm friendship develops as the girls, encouraged by their teacher to enter a blogging competition, find that they do have one very important thing in common…their embarrassing mums. The Our Mums Grrr blog is born! Full review...

Darkmouth: Chaos Descends by Shane Hegarty

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Poor Finn just never gets a break. Like it or not he's a trainee Legend Hunter – which sounds quite jolly until you realise he doesn't spend his life in a nice quiet library looking up fairy tales from the distant past. Quite the opposite: Legends are the most vicious, bloodthirsty monsters you can imagine, and his village in Ireland just happens to be the place they use as a portal on their frequent attempts to conquer Earth. Full review...

The Girl of Ink and Stars by Kiran Millwood Hargrave

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

The Isle of Joya is a land engulfed by myth and legend – the inhabitants are forbidden to leave the island or even cross the borders of their village into the Forbidden Territories beyond their homes. Isabella Riosse is the map maker's daughter who dreams of exploring the forgotten and unmapped areas of her homeland. When her best friend Lupe, the Governor's daughter, goes missing Isabella is the only one left equipped with the right tools and knowledge to lead the search, as she ventures in to Joya's magical and mysterious regions. Full review...

Dave Pigeon by Swapna Haddow

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

The tag line on the cover of Dave Pigeon probably sums this story up. It's about How to Deal with Bad Cats and Keep (most of) Your Feathers. Or, if you want a bit more, it's about two Pigeons – Dave and his trusty friend Skipper – who are unceremoniously attacked by a cat while on a routine croissant heist. Dave's wing is injured so he and Skipper set out to get their own back at the vicious cat. They plan to evict Mean Cat from his home and install themselves in his place with the kind Human Lady and her enviable supply of biscuits. You won't be surprised that things don't go exactly to plan. Full review...

The World of Norm: 10: Includes Delivery by Jonathan Meres

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

It is a truth universally acknowledged that while kids' series generally start by covering a whole term time or even a school year, by the time it's worked out that more books are called for all the following volumes will concern less and less ground. This is a case in point – it being book TEN in this series means it's just regarding two flipping days. That way Norm can carry on having adventures without aging, with little in the way of consequence that people reading future books before seeing this one will have missed out on. In lesser hands, it generally means the author can churn out a whole book without much forethought or providing much content. Luckily this series isn't the usual, and the author here generally is better than the routine. Full review...

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo

5star.jpg Confident Readers

It is the summer of 1975 and ten year old Ramie's dad has left home with another woman. Raymie is utterly heartbroken and believes that everything, absolutely everything, now depends on her, because Raymie has a plan. If she wins the Little Miss Central Florida Tire competition her name and her photo will be in the paper and then, Raymie believes, her father may just possibly come back home. At least she hopes that he will. To win the competition she must carry out some good deeds and learn to twirl a baton so she enrols in a baton twirling class where she meets Louisiana, timid and prone to fainting, and Beverly, cynical and determined to sabotage the competition. As the competition draws nearer and Raymie starts to despair that her plan will work circumstances conspire to draw the three girls together in an unlikely friendship that will challenge and change all three of them. Full review...

Rose Campion and the Stolen Secret by Lyn Gardner

4star.jpg Confident Readers

The Victorian era in London – a time of expansion and exploration, but also of poverty, dark alleyways, youthful pickpockets and moustache-twirling villains. Well, so writers like Charles Dickens would have us believe, and readers can be pretty sure that a detective mystery set in the glittering world of the nineteenth century music hall will have colour, excitement and danger in profusion. Full review...

Big Nate Blasts Off by Lincoln Peirce

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

First things first, no – that title is not the puerile British schoolboy's meaning of blasting off. I'm not entirely sure why the book is called that, to be honest. But I do know that said British schoolboy – and many from many other countries too – will take to these pages, even if they have never seen any of the other books in this series. The humble hero with the spiky hair and quick wit is in trouble with (a) his comics of the teachers, (b) his finding the time to practise Ultimate Frisbee for an interschool cup, and (c) his emotions, as he falls big-time for the delightful Ruby Dinsmore. Yes, the very Ruby Dinsmore the main school bully also wants to hang out with… Full review...

Love from Paddington by Michael Bond

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Consider some of the more pertinent questions of literature. Would things have been better if Rhett Butler did give a damn? What would Jane Eyre have done if the men with the truth hadn't made the church in time? And, of course, how does a little bear with a fondness for marmalade actually turn up in Paddington Station, so very, very far from home? Well, while the actual short stories may never have answered any of those questions, this work does – in amongst suggesting why bears don't play cricket, and a host more. As a result it may have a very different structure to the original books of linked short stories, but it's just as wonderful and characterful. Full review...

Peace Maker by Malorie Blackman

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Michela Corbin is something of a rebel, but even she understands that everyone must wear a Peace Maker Device all the time and that it must never be tampered with, as non-aggression is their society's founding principle. The Peace Maker is the means by which this is enforced, but Michela wants to experience the full range of human emotions and the Peace Maker stops that. When her mother captains their ship into enemy airspace and they come under attack it seems that Michela's freedom from the constraints of the Peace Maker might be the only thing that can save them. Full review...

Serafina and the Black Cloak by Robert Beatty

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Serafina lives in the basement of the grand house on the Biltmore Estate with her Pa, an engineer. No one knows that they live in the basement. No one, in fact, knows that Serafina exists, since she has been told by her Pa that she must keep herself hidden away. She isn’t sure why, but she happily creeps around the beautiful house, mostly by night but sometimes secretly during the day, watching and observing and undertaking her self-appointed job of Chief Rat Catcher. Serafina knows there is something a little unusual about her, but she isn’t quite sure just why and how she is different from everyone else. It’s only when she stumbles across a fearsome man in a black cloak stealing away a child from the house that she finds she can no longer remain in the shadows, but must now do everything she can to help find the missing children. Full review...

The Sword of the Spirit (Spirits 3) by Rob Keeley

4star.jpg Confident Readers

There are truths which must be revealed before the battle may commence. You do not yet know the meaning of the sword.

Ooh! Events are moving apace in Rob Keeley's Childish Spirits series. Let me explain... Full review...

Storm Weaver by Matt Griffin

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the sequel to [A Cage of Roots], the four friends are journeying back to the lair from which they have just escaped. Sean, Finny and Benvy think they're trying to save the Goblins and turn them back into girls, but Ayla, who so nearly became a goblin herself, is being drawn by a greater force. As Ayla's powers emerge and grow stronger, she leads her friends on a dangerous quest, deeper into the heart of the fairy kingdom of Fal. Sean, Benvy and Finny just want to go home to Ireland, but with the war that's brewing and Ayla's part in it, they may never be able to go back home again. Full review...

The Thing About Jellyfish by Ali Benjamin

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Ali Benjamin describes her accomplished debut novel as a work where despair and wonder come together. When we first meet Suzy she cannot speak after a traumatic incident. Her family is struggling to cope with her silence and she is averse to the therapy of 'Dr Legs'. It is only through her flashback sequences, written in italics, and her passion for a science report that the reader comes to know her and sympathise with her suffering. Suzy is experiencing a cauldron of emotions including grief, guilt, denial and a tumultuous desperation to discover what she perceives to be the truth. It is this zeal which makes her refuse to believe her mother's explanation that sometimes things just happen and fanatically pursue her own best educated guess. Full review...

Pax by Sara Pennypacker

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Young readers will be well aware of the horrors of war. It kills people, destroys families and homes, creates waves of desperate refugees and devastates the landscape. But there's one aspect of fighting which, apart from a few notable exceptions, isn't often touched upon – the fate of animals caught up in conflicts. We know a little about horses participating in cavalry charges, and homing pigeons carrying messages, but what about those animals which live in the wild? And worse still, what about all those well-loved pets which can no longer be fed or protected by owners close to starvation themselves? Full review...

Violet and the Smugglers by Harriet Whitehorn and Becka Moor

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Violet's godfather has inherited a sailing boat and invites Violet and her family and friends to join him on a sailing adventure in the Mediterranean. How could Violet possibly say no? This turns out not to be quite as relaxing as you may imagine. It is not long before our heroine has suspicions about the captain of another boat and Violet's detective skills are needed again. With the help of her friends, Rose and Art, Violet is determined to solve the mystery. Will she be able to put a stop to a dangerous smuggling ring? Full review...

Shadow of the Yangtze (Ghosts of Shanghai) by Julian Sedgwick

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

And so we're back with Ruby and Charlie, in war-torn China in the late 1920s. Without giving anything of the first book away, a rescue mission is needed, and the help Ruby has had in the spirit world may well not appear. Charlie knows who would help – the Communists, but for Ruby, even though she was born in China she's definitely an outsider, an alien. With their quarry sailing off upstream amidst a storm of warfare, the friends have to take to the Yangtze waterways in pursuit – but just as in every corner of the mysterious city they're leaving, things quite strange to them will be appearing – shadow warriors, weaponised trains and ghost ships amongst them… Full review...

Sputnik's Guide to Life on Earth by Frank Cottrell Boyce

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Sputnik Mellows set himself a mission – to discover whether Earth exists. Now he's found it, he needs to prove it should exist and, to do this, he enlists the help of schoolboy Prez Mellows. Together they need to find ten things that will justify Earth's existence. If they fail to do this by the end of the summer holidays, Earth will be shrunk by Planetary Clearance as part of the pan-galactic decluttering programme. Full review...

The Calling by Philip Caveney

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Well-informed young readers will always welcome a new book from the extremely gifted Philip Caveney. This time, he places his poor hero right in the middle of not one but two mysteries. Firstly, why has said hero (we'll call him Ed as he's forgotten his real name) woken up on a train to Edinburgh with barely any money, a bump on the head and no memory whatsoever? And secondly, why does the whole human world freeze for a day right in the middle of the Fringe? The answers, when they come, are as intensely thrilling as they are wildly imaginative. Full review...

Jolly Foul Play by Robin Stevens

5star.jpg Confident Readers

In the fourth adventure in the Murder Most Unladylike series, we return to the setting of the first book – Deepdean School for Girls. But things have changed. For the first time a Head Girl has been elected and Elizabeth Hurst didn't get the position based on popularity. Instead, she manipulated and blackmailed her peers and, supported by her five prefects, she's now terrorising the school. Responsible for so much misery, its little wonder everyone wishes Elizabeth dead. But someone has gone one step further – committing a murder and presenting it as an accident. None of the adults even suspect 'foul play' so it's up to Daisy, Hazel and their Detective Society to uncover the truth. Full review...

Little Bits of Sky by S E Durrant

5star.jpg Confident Readers

I've put this story together from the diaries I kept when Zac and I were children. I wrote them in the hope that life would get better for the small unloved girl that was me, and my even smaller unloved brother. And if life didn't get better or at least more interesting I was going to make it up - to put witches and castles and rides in fast cars. But I didn't need to. Life got exciting all by itself... Full review...