Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Horrid Henry's Tricky Tricks by Francesca Simon

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Horrid Henry is up to his usual antics in this latest compilation of trickiest tricks ever. The book features ten stories, which include some outrageous pranks, like Henry trying to wake the dead, win a pet talent contest and spend a hair-raising weekend with his awful cousin, Stuck-up Steve. But none of this compares to his scariest challenge ever; braving a girls' sleepover at his neighbour, Moody Margaret's house. Full review...

Peacock Pie: A Book of Rhymes by Walter de la Mare

3star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

It was a surprise for me to read online that Walter de la Mare spent so much of his life in and around London – born at least in what is now the borough of Greenwich, passing away in Twickenham. The reason I say this is that out of the copious poems collected here, it's as if cities don't exist. Hardly anything of the subjects is manmade. The concentration is fully on the idyllic and pastoral, and in following on so closely in the footsteps of his debut collection, 'Songs of Childhood' from 1902, still very, very much Victorian. Full review...

Moone Boy: the Blunder Years by Chris O'Dowd and Nick Vincent Murphy

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Poor Martin Moone, surrounded by his sisters who drive him crazy, he decides to get himself an imaginary friend. He enlists the help of his friend who already has an imaginary friend, and thus begins a wild adventure because what happens when the imaginary friend you imagine isn't any good at being your imaginary friend, and who you'd really like to be your imaginary friend is the customer services representative who comes to try and help you out?! Full review...

Unforgotten by Tohby Riddle

3.5star.jpg Graphic Novels

Think of fallen angels, and Lucifer and the like come to mind. But they don't have to have fallen with such speed, for such a distance or with such effect. This book concerns one such creature, and while it's not named as an angel as such, and it's identified only by nobody knowing from where it comes yet everyone silently gets to appreciate its presence, it certainly looks like a Western, Christian, angel form. And so the plot of this gentle, poetic picture book looks at the chance of such a bad thing as the fall of an angel being followed by anything more positive. Full review...

The 13-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

3star.jpg Confident Readers

Andy and Terry live in a tree house so fantastic it caters for every whim – as long as you're a primary school-aged boy, that is. There's swimming on one level, bowling on another, as much marshmallow as you could eat and all the gadgets and gizmos their brilliant imaginations could come up with. But this idyllic life also comes with responsibilities – one moment you're painting a cat yellow to see if it becomes a canary and flies away (no spoiler – it does), the next you get reminded of an overdue deadline to write a book. What on earth could possibly happen to inspire such a book overnight? Full review...

Desirable by Frank Cottrell Boyce

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Poor George. He knows that he is not popular but when even his own Grandad doesn't want to stay around for his birthday party he realises that things are even worse than he thought. However this was before he discovered the contents of the present from his Grandad and experienced the dramatic impact on his life an aged bottle of aftershave would bring. Although George tries to think himself invisible in order to cope today he is not invisible. In fact he is not only visible but desirable too! Full review...

The Last of the Spirits by Chris Priestley

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Teenage Sam and his little sister Lizzie are starving on the streets of London, which is gripped by terrible cold. Asking an old businessman for money, a man who looks at them with such sheer contempt that Sam's heart fills with hate. He swears that he will seek vengeance and rob the old man, not caring whether his victim will live or die. But before he can do so, a strange spirit appears to him, and warns him about the terrible path he will put himself on with this violent act. Can Sam resist the temptation to gain revenge? Several more spirits show him the possible consequences of his action, as we see Dickens's classic A Christmas Carol from a new viewpoint. Full review...

A Child’s Christmas in Wales by Dylan Thomas and Peter Bailey

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Christmas time growing up in a Welsh seaside town was magical for Dylan Thomas, always snowy and full of adventure. From attempting to extinguish house fires with snowballs to hippo footprints in the snow his childhood in the snow was a time of wonder and pure joy. Full review...

Atticus Claw Learns to Draw by Jennifer Gray

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Who knew how much trouble a rainy day could bring? When nothing else inspires them, children Michael and Callie and police cat sergeant Atticus all enter a draw-some-pickles competition, for the chance to win a trip to, er, the pickle factory. Atticus has been around a bit – he used to be the world's best cat burglar – and he seems to recognise one of the faces on the pickle jars as an old enemy, but at least the main baddies of the series – the Russian spy mistress and her cat, and the town magpies – are miles away and tucked up safely inside a giant shark. So lo and behold when Atticus's entry wins, and the whole family gets taken to the factory. And lo and behold when the factory owner seems rather suspicious, and lo and behold when a certain shark gets captured… Full review...

Listen to the Moon by Michael Morpurgo

5star.jpg Confident Readers

It's May, 1915. World War I is underway and the Scillionians have already seen losses. Like the rest of Britain, they are beginning to realise that this war won't be over any time soon.

When Alfie and his father are out fishing one day, they hear a child's cries. On one of the archipelago's uninhabited islands, they find a half-starved little girl, abandoned and in a terrible state. She can only speak one word: Lucy. Who is this foundling? Is she a ghost? A mermaid? Or, more worryingly, could she be a German spy? The name Wilhelm is on the label of her blanket, after all. And why does she gaze at the moon with such longing in her eyes? Full review...

The Squickerwonkers by Evangeline Lilly and Johnny Fraser-Allen

4star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

Selma is a young girl who finds a strange attraction on the edge of a fair – a large gypsy caravan-styled contraption, which she enters, alone but for her shiny red balloon. She appears to be alone, until nine marionette puppets suddenly appear on the stage within, and a disembodied voice introduces them all to her. They are the Squickerwonkers, and as we are about to see, they can reveal someone's entire character with the simplest of actions… Full review...

The Matchbox Mysteries (Wings and Co 4) by Sally Gardner and David Roberts

4star.jpg Confident Readers

This was my first introduction to the Wings & Co fairy detective agency. It's certainly the sort of book I really should have come across sooner since it's wonderfully odd! With Emily working alongside of Fidget, the talking cat, as well as a lot of keys and an overly talkative, egotistic magic lamp this isn't the sort of book you read as a bedtime story and drift off half way through! In this book there is trouble in Podgy Bottom. Someone is stealing cars, shrinking them down into a matchbox, and there is also a crazy purple bunny and a troublesome broomstick. Will the detective agency be able to figure out what on earth is going on? Full review...

The Queen Alone (Chronicles of the Tempus) by K A S Quinn

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Katie is back, and once more she's back in Victorian England. This time, however, she isn't quite sure who called her back in time or for what purpose and, unfortunately, something went wrong as she came and she brought someone else along with her! In the final episode of the Chronicles of the Tempus we see Katie trying to save Prince Albert's life, trying to prevent Britain messing up the outcome of the American Civil War, and rescuing Queen Victoria from an asylum! Full review...

PathFinder (TodHunter Moon Book One) by Angie Sage

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Twelve year old Alice TodHunter Moon, who prefers to be known as Tod, is a Pathfinder, a member of a fishing tribe with a mythical history of travelling across the stars. She lives a nice life in her Pathfinder community until her father, her only surviving parent, doesn’t come back from a fishing trip and Tod is left alone with her horrid step-aunt Mitza. Full review...


The Brockenspectre by Linda Newbery

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Tommi lives up in the mountains with his parents and his baby sister. Mamma is artistic and paints beautiful designs on chairs and stools and planters for tourists to buy. Pappi is a mountain guide and Tommi's hero - brave and fearless and a lover of his wild mountain home. Tommi wants nothing more than to be like Pappi. But things aren't peaceful at home. Pappi is only truly happy by himself, out amongst the peaks. After just a day or two at home without guiding work, he becomes irritable and critical of Mammi and his children.

After an argument one day, Pappi strides out of the house and onto the mountain. And he doesn't return. Full review...


The Super Amazing Adventures of Me, Pig by Emer Stamp

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Hello.

I is Pig and I has one book out already. In it I tells you in diary form about how I ends up on a spaceship that EVIL CHICKENS make out of a tractor. I cannot speak human but I knows the bookbag really likes my first book. So now I has a second. In the past I has problems with an evil farmer who wants to put me in a pie but now all I has is happiness and peace. I even has a new best friend called Kitty the Cat. But my old best friend Duck is telling me Kitty is not the best new best friend I can have. How is Duck right and how is I wrong? Full review...


The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis

5star.jpg Confident Readers

The upside to being forgotten by everybody the minute they lose sight of you is that it makes stealing things pretty easy. The down side is that you never have a friend, you never have someone to turn to if you are sad or sick, and maybe worst of all you never, ever, see a face light up with recognition as you approach. Of course it means you can say and do absolutely anything you like, because it will be forgotten immediately, but then, why bother? In five seconds from now, who's going to care? Full review...

Awful Auntie by David Walliams

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Stella Saxby is the sole heir to her family home, Saxby Hall, but when her awful Auntie Alberta decides she wants it for herself, what will happen to her? Find out in this excellently written, funny, yet poignant and wonderfully sinister book by the brilliant David Walliams. Full review...

The Illustrated Old Possum by T S Eliot and Nicolas Bentley

4star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

This title is clearly of importance to the house of Faber. To this day their puff mentions it was one of their first childrens' books, after the author sent his publisher's son, his godson, some writings based on jellicle cats and some of their scrapes. It's clearly a book that's important to Andrew Lloyd Webber, too, but we'll gloss speedily over that. It's a book that was important to me as well – I certainly had a copy, a thin, barely illustrated, old-fashioned style paperback of it once I had seen the musical. And with the excellent writing here and the ability of it to delight so many people of so many ages, it has the power to be important to a future generation. Full review...

Nonsense Limericks (Faber Children's Classics) by Edward Lear and Arthur Robins (illustrator)

4.5star.jpg Children's Rhymes and Verse

There was a young man whose critique
Of this book was submitted one week
When they asked 'Was it fine?'
He said 'No denyin' –
'There's very little here they could tweak!' Full review...

Young Bond: Shoot to Kill by Steve Cole

4star.jpg Teens

Shoot to Kill may be the sixth Young Bond in the series, but it is the first to be written by Steve Cole. He has taken over the reins from the highly capable Charlie Higson. Like the adult Bond books, the character has seen many people write about him since Ian Fleming’s death, so there is no reason to think the quality would suddenly drop after a new author comes on board. In fact, Cole is able to inject a little more energy into a series that was starting to flag. Full review...

Ballet Stories by Margaret Greaves and Lisa Kopper

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

As a young dancer, I had a whole library of books about ballet, from positions to biographies to, at one point, the RAD syllabus for grades 1 to 5. Never mind that we didn't follow RAD, I wanted it. What was lacking, however, was a full on proper book of classic ballet stories, the tales behind all the famous dances. Preferably told in an engaging way, with beautiful pictures. Like this book. Full review...

The Day No One Was Angry by Toon Tellegen and Marc Boutavant (illustrator)

4star.jpg Confident Readers

The hyrax is so angry he could tear his hair out, for the sun sets every evening and doesn't pay any attention to the hyrax's daily request for it to stick around. There's an elephant who berates himself every time he tries to climb a tree - and gets too excited about managing it when he's too dangerously close to the top. The hedgehog tries writing I am angry down on a piece of bark to try and make it come true - and indeed does get cross at the consequences. All these odd little tales feature the same emotion, and both them and their collective subject matter make for what is definitely a unique little read. Full review...

Here Be Monsters! by Alan Snow

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

When the author of a book is also the illustrator, and he has a wild and thoroughly silly imagination, it's not surprising if that book is swiftly turned into a highly successful film. This story, part of the Ratsbridge Chronicles, is a lively and wondrously eccentric tale of greedy villains bent on revenge, brave and resourceful heroes of all shapes and sizes, and brilliant (if occasionally sinister) Heath-Robinson-style devices. Full review...

Thunderbirds Comic: Volume 1 by Gerry Anderson and Frank Bellamy

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet the Thunderbirds. If you don't know anything about the Tracy family and their International Rescue organisation, then I'm not sure where you've been. For people of a certain age (OK, mine, at least) they were the staple of Saturday morning cinema clubs, a highlight of BBC2 when repeated teatime, and even managed to make those 3D rotating card-a-vision things worthwhile. They've been in cinemas since then, of course, but now with the world needing everything everywhen we've got a welcome chance to look back at some of the original comic book spin-offs, that probably haven't been much seen since then. With five volumes of these books on the cards, it's worthwhile sticking to the first and seeing just what these retro delights – or otherwise – could bring. Full review...

The Imaginary by A F Harrold and Emily Gravett

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Rudger is Amanda's imaginary friend. She found him in her wardrobe one morning and they've been inseparable ever since. Amanda's mother is quite accepting of Rudger, Amanda's friends less so. Amanda took him to school with her once but the trip wasn't a huge success so now the pair hang out by themselves, taking voyages of adventure in Amanda's garden, in her bedroom and under the stairs in Amanda's house. It's while exploring a complex of dark and dingy caves under the stairs - what on earth could be in a cupboard under the stairs other than a complex of caves? - that the doorbell rings and Mr Bunting appears. Full review...

The Hero Pup by Megan Rix

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Christmas is going to be tough for Joe this year. It's going to be the first without his dad; a brave soldier who died in the line of duty. Before then, he has the more immediate issue of facing his friends when he returns to school. They are bound to ask him lots of awkward questions about his dad and he's not feeling ready to open up to people just yet. Luckily, Mum has an idea that will help them both perform a fitting tribute to dad, whilst giving Joe something worthwhile to focus on: they decide to adopt and train a helper pup who will eventually assist an injured soldier in need. Full review...

Doctor Who: 12 Doctors 12 Stories by Malorie Blackman, Holly Black and others

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

How long do you keep your birthday presents for? A week, a month, a year – or life? Is that time-scale different, perhaps, when you're nearly a thousand years old? I only ask because Doctor Who is, of course, both 51 (in our earthly, televisual representation) and 900 and more in human years as a character. In 2013 we were given a great book that gave us a story for every Doctor Who we've seen on TV, in honour of the 50th birthday proceedings. But now is a year on, and we're a further Doctor down the line. And so what was '11 Doctors, 11 Stories' is now '12 Doctors, 12 Stories'. So while many of us would have cherished and kept said birthday present, the only addition is the last, which like the rest was available as an e-book. So it's worth revisiting what I said about the book last time, then chucking in the (what might only be temporarily) concluding story at the end. Full review...

Rugby Academy: Combat Zone by Tom Palmer

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Woody's dreams were about football: he wanted to play for his country one day, but there was a snag. His father was a fighter pilot - and his squadron was going to war - but as Dad was a single parent Woody had to go to a boarding school for armed forces kids. That's enough of a change for any boy, but there's an even bigger one which Woody has to contend with. At Borderlands they don't play football. They're mad about rugby. It's almost a religion. How will Woody cope with boarding schools and rugby? How will he manage the constant knowledge that his father is in a combat zone? Full review...

The Girl With The Sunshine Smile by Karen McCombie

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Everyone knew Meg as the girl with the sunshine smile. She always looked pretty and happy and her mother used her in her business to model bridesmaid's dresses. They had a lovely little flat which was always neat as a new pin and Meg thought that life was perfect. Then her mother met Danny - and everything changed. Danny was the single father to four boys and they all lived on a houseboat. A messy houseboat. With no lock on the bathroom door. And when there was a flood at Mum's flat they had to move in with Danny and the four boys. That was when Meg stopped smiling. Full review...

The Odd Squad: King Karl by Michael Fry

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Nick, Molly and Karl have come through a lot of things together since forming Safety Patrol - often with the help of Shakespeare-quoting janitor Mr Dupree. But when the mysterious MLEZ, who run the school, want Karl to join them, Nick and Molly have to start thinking about ways to stop him - because Karl in charge is a frankly terrifying prospect. Full review...