Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Indigo's Dragon by Sofi Croft

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Indigo is a free spirit who loves exploring the mountains near his home in the Lake District. For all of his life, his family have entertained him with stories of dragons, but at thirteen, he's too old to believe in them now. However, when he receives a mysterious parcel in the post, Indigo is forced to rethink everything he thought he knew about mythical beasts, especially when he comes face to face with one that urgently needs his help... Full review...

The Apprentice Witch by James Nicol

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Arianwyn is about to take her all-important witch's assessment. Ignoring the taunts of her classmates, led by the beautiful and mean Gimma, Arianwyn looks set to pass until the test begins and her vision is blurred by a mysterious unknown glyph (the symbols used to control magic.) To her great humiliation, Arianwyn fails the evaluation. She is labelled an 'Apprentice Witch' and sent to the remote town of Lull in disgrace. Things don't get off to the best of starts there and the situation is made worse when Gimma arrives on holiday. Arianwyn is not happy but soon she has bigger problems. The townspeople have spotted a strange dark creature and, when a child is attacked, Arianwyn finds everyone is looking to her to prevent others getting hurt. Full review...

The War That Saved My Life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Ada has a club foot, and she has spent all of her life hidden away in her mother's flat in London, used and abused by her mother who is ashamed of Ada, and angry with her. Told that she is worthless, a monster, Ada is left to crawl around the flat on her hands and knees. She tries, secretly, to use her foot to walk and it leaves her bleeding and in agony, but when Ada's little brother, Jamie, tells Ada that he is to be sent away, evacuated by the school because of the war Ada knows she must find a way to leave with him, and to escape her mother at all costs. The two children manage to escape to the country, yet find themselves left unchosen on arrival in the new village. They are foisted upon a single lady, Susan, who declares she does not want any evacuees, and that she is not a nice person. Has Ada gone from one nightmare situation straight into another? Full review...

Angry Birds Playground: Atlas (Angry Birds Playgrounds) by National Geographic Kids

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Angry Birds Playground is a new educational book series based on a geographical theme. Rovio-the team responsible for the popular game- have teamed up with National Geographic Kids to create a stunning set of books that perfectly blend the cheeky humour from the game with informative text and breathtaking real-world photography. The series will appeal to young fans of the game and anyone who has an interest in the wonders of the natural world. Full review...

Feather and Fang by Ali Sparkes

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Dax Jones is a COLA – a Child Of Limitless Ability. Dax can shift shape from a boy to an otter, falcon or fox while his friends in the COLA Project have psychic, telekinetic and healing powers. They live in Fenton Lodge, a boarding school that once felt like home but increasingly feels like a prison. Dax is the only one left who could leave without permission (he could fly away in falcon form) but he's not prepared to abandon his friends. Then the new head of the COLA Project, Forrester, installs an electronic dome over Fenton Lodge, trapping Dax as effectively as his friends. And, if this weren't bad enough, Forrester starts to categorise and transport the COLA children to hidden locations. When Dax finds himself separated from his friends, he becomes determined to escape. But has he left it too late? Full review...

Dotty Detective by Clara Vulliamy

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

Dorothy Constance Mae Louise, otherwise known as Dot, has just moved house and has had to change schools. Luckily she soon finds a friend, Beans, and together they form the top-secret 'Join the Dots Detectives'. Both Dot and Beans are huge fans of the TV programme 'Fred Fantastic – Ace Detective'. They've watched every episode and memorised all Fred's techniques. It's just as well they have because their classmate Laura has hatched a plot to prevent shy Amy singing in the talent contest and it's up to Dot and Beans to uncover the plan. Full review...

Erica's Elephant by Sylvia Bishop

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Erica Perkins is a very sensible young lady. When she wakes on the morning of her tenth birthday and finds a very confused elephant sitting on her doorstep, she doesn't jump up and down shouting Ooh, goody goody, or Oh, you poor cuddly thing. She looks the elephant in the eye: Who left you she demanded And why? Erica lived with her Uncle Jeff. Well, she would live with him, if he was there, but he'd left when she was eight years old in search of a bird - the Lesser Pip-footed Woob - and it was up to Erica to cook and clean and, well, bring herself up. He'd left some money in an envelope but there was only £30.42 left and even the piece of paper which came with the elephant stating that Erica Perkins had a Legal Right to him didn't explain how she was going to be able to feed him. Full review...

Tom Gates Super Good Skills Almost (Tom Gates 10) by Liz Pichon

3star.jpg Confident Readers

Oh the quandaries of being a schoolchild. What's worse – staying at school, and seeing the teacher be moody right up to the last bell of term, or having school breaks ruined by holidaying with your parents, and the sister you hate? Tom's adventure here is half and half – half at school, half at the holiday home from hell. Can the problems life continues to put on his shoulders be rescued by cheesy feet-flavoured crisp snacks, sticky-backed office notes, or perhaps a secret truth about his sister? Full review...

The World's Worst Children by David Walliams and Tony Ross

5star.jpg Confident Readers

At last David Walliams has produced a book for me. I'm damned sure the previous ones (eight full novels and four picture books, and counting) are fine enough quality for me to consider, but I'm contrary. Whether the author sells ten copies or a million I'll look for the more esoteric titles on their list – the essays not the novels, the short stories that get ignored and not the big-sellers, the Lee Scoresby spin-off and not the full His Dark Materials. But if you think that makes me bad – a reviewer who can spout about only the less populist works – I'm sure you will agree, after reading these pages, that I could be a heck of a lot more bad, if I tried. The children here, what's more, don't have to try. Full review...

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...