Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Lupo and the Secret of Windsor Castle by Aby King and Sam Usher

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Based on the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge's real dog, this is Lupo's story, and although it uses the real Royals it is, of course, a fictional story as you soon realise with the talking mice from MI5 and the evil villain in the form of one of the Queen's Dorgi's (a cross between a corgi and a Dachshund). If you're looking for a fantasy animal adventure, with plenty of action, then look no further. Full review...

Best Friends' Bakery: Cupcakes and Contests by Linda Chapman and Kate Hindley

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Hannah's favourite TV show is Junior Brilliant Baker, and when she hears that they are auditioning for new contestants for the show she simply can't wait to apply. She rushes to tell her best friend, Mia, about the competition as she's also a fan, but then what will happen if only one of them gets on the show? And what would they bake for the auditions? And would the show live up to everything they've imagined? Full review...

The Astounding Broccoli Boy by Frank Cottrell Boyce

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Rory Rooney is a boy who likes to be prepared. His mum owns a book titled Don't Be Scared, Be Prepared and he knows every page of it. Rory is the type of boy who knows how to survive a hippo attack. Then one day on a school trip Rory turns green. Not pale, feeling a bit queasy green but bright broccoli green all over. Even Rory isn't prepared for this. Full review...

Notebooks of a Middle-School Princess by Meg Cabot

4star.jpg Confident Readers

The author of the hugely successful Princess Diaries has written a brand-new series for younger girls, telling the story of awkward middle-school student Olivia Grace. She discovers that her father is actually the Prince of Genovia, making her...a princess! Not everyone responds well to the news, however, and poor Olivia is soon thrown into a world of jealous bullies, intrusive paparazzi, disgruntled relatives and a whole new family she never knew existed. Full review...

Hook's Daughter by Heidi Schulz

3star.jpg Confident Readers

Captain Hook's daughter, Jocelyn, dreams of being a pirate like her infamous father, but instead gets sent to finishing school. Sailing to Neverland after escaping, she swears revenge on the crocodile that killed the notorious pirate, but is saddled with a crew who perhaps aren't the most bloodthirsty pirates on the seven seas, then meets up with several characters who'll be familiar to readers of Peter Pan. Can she fulfil her quest? Full review...

Asterix Omnibus 9 by Rene Goscinny and Albert Uderzo

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If I had to pinpoint when my obsession with reading started, I would say it was when I discovered the adventures of Asterix and his rotund pal Obelix. I would walk down to my local village Library after school and pick up 8 adventures, only to read them overnight and set off the next day for more. The fun visuals, bright colours and daft characters really appealed to me then, but what about the children of today? Is there enough in the, up to, 60 year old adventures to appeal? Full review...

Detective Gordon: The First Case by Ulf Nilsson and Gitte Spee

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Vladimir is not happy. Someone has been at his nuts. Yes, out of his stores of several thousand nuts, Vladimir the squirrel has been robbed of a couple hundred, and if the truth be known he's not the first in the forest. But at least he's gone for the help of Detective Gordon, the police authority throughout the woodland. Tasked with making sure it was a crime of note, and of solving it if necessary, Gordon has got serious, and staked out Vladimir's pantry until he's frozen solid. Which is not good when you're a toad. But even with his many years of experience behind him, Gordon could never predict what happens after he sees someone steal a further nut from the stash… Full review...

Fuzz McFlops by Eve Furnari and Alison Entrekin (translator)

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Fuzz McFlops. He's the most famous, reclusive rabbit author there is – reclusive due to one ear being much shorter than the other. He's been miserable for that reason so long, it takes one of his fans to point out how much brighter his poems and stories could be with an injection of warmth and fun. But just as some people are 'happy being sad', so Fuzz's life and temperament will be forced to change with the arrival of heart, humour and love. But first he would have to welcome that arrival… Full review...

Far From Home by Berlie Doherty

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Lizzie and Emily Jarvis can no longer be in the care of their mother as she has become severely ill. She leaves them in the care of her best friend, a cook, but when things go wrong, the girls are sent to the Victorian mills where they are worked each day till they are beyond exhausted and the only thing that keeps them going is counting down the days till they are able to leave. Full review...

An Island of Our Own by Sally Nicholls

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Holly. She lives, with her older brother and, er, shall we say demanding younger brother, in a flat above a London chippy. That's right – no parents around, as all three are orphans. Older brother Jonathan sacrificed uni to be their legal guardian, so is ostensibly their carer as well as sibling, which means that welfare and what he earns being a grease monkey in a corner café is all they live on. Times, therefore, are hard. But twelve year old Holly does have a straw to clutch on to – their eccentric aunt may have bequeathed them her antique jewellery collection. But what is going to make that a search for one exact straw in a haystack is that nobody knows where it may be… Full review...

Big Nate: Laugh-O-Rama (Big Nate Activity Book 4) by Lincoln Peirce

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

This seems to be a firmly established publishing practise now – the enhanced readership experience offered to fans of a franchise by a tie-in activity book. This is yet another example – looking like a genuine entry in an on-going series, it instead offers the fan of the characters the chance to interact with them in new ways, as well as looking back through the shelves of their collection, and inwardly as well, at their own thoughts and tastes. Note I say it's for a fan – this example will alienate anyone else from the first page – but for the right audience it’s generally a good thing. And in this instance it's a very, very good thing indeed. Full review...

The Gauntlet by Ronald Welch

5star.jpg Confident Readers

The Gauntlet was one of the iconic books of my childhood. Why iconic? It's an over-used word. Why not say 'most memorable', 'outstanding', 'most magical and exciting', -- or simply 'best'? Any of those would do but I think I'll allow myself iconic. The gauntlet of the title justifies that word. Full review...

Denton Little's Deathdate by Lance Rubin

4.5star.jpg Teens

Tomorrow is the day I'm going to die. I don't mean to get all dramatic about it. I've known that tomorrow is the day I will die since I was born.. Just like almost everyone else in the world knows their deathdate. But do I need to get movie-preview-voice-over-guy intense about it? Probably not.

Oh! I think I would want to get intense about impending death. Don't you think you would, too? But imagine what it's like to live in a world where everyone knows the day they will die. Rituals and conventions spring up. You get to go to your own funeral. You could even get to make the most of your life if you know when it ends. You won't pass up so many opportunities, perhaps? Full review...

Black Dove, White Raven by Elizabeth Wein

5star.jpg Teens

The essential role of aviators in the success or failure of modern war is a given, and fiction is full of the derring-do and dog-fight exploits of moustachioed heroes waving their trade-mark silk scarves as they land their frail and battered craft at a friendly airstrip. But what if the enemy planes outnumber those of your country by hundreds, if not thousands, and you, the pilot, are barely out of your childhood? Full review...

The Wickford Doom by Chris Priestley and Vladimir Stankovic

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Following Harry’s father’s death in the war, he and his mother learn that they’ve inherited a bequest from a relative. When they arrive to claim it, though, they find that they’ve been the victims of a dying man’s last cruel prank. But there are local tales of missing children and a strange painting called the Doom, and Harry quickly learns that there may be something far more evil than a nasty joke to worry about. Can he fight back against it? Full review...

Supercat vs the Pesky Pirate (Supercat, Book 3) by Jeanne Willis

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We all know the story, you’re a cat and you wake up one day, lick a toxic sock and end up as a crime fighting cat, right? Well SuperCat is back in this rip roaring (or should that be meowing?) adventure, SuperCat vs The Pesky Pirate. Full review...

The Glory by Lauren St John

4.5star.jpg Teens

Alex is what you might call a disruptive teenager. She's always getting into trouble but the latest trouble is the worst yet and her mum and step-dad have had enough. Even her father, far away in Australia with his new family, thinks something must be done. So Alex is sent all the way out to the States to a teenage boot camp. But even naughty teenagers have their plus points, and Alex's is her love of horses. She'll do anything to save the mustang scout from the slaughterhouse. Full review...

The Honest Truth by Dan Gemeinhart

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Mark has been battling cancer for more than half his life. For the last seven years he has missed school, been through treatments, and come close to death time and again. With the call that once again the cancer is back, he just can't face going through it again and so he takes his dog Beau and they run away to go and climb a mountain, with the intention that he will never return. Full review...

Game Changer by Tim Bowler

4.5star.jpg Teens

Mikey is afraid of open spaces. He would much rather hide in his room - in his wardrobe, actually - than face the world outside. But his family, in particular his sister Meggie, are very supportive. And with Meggie's help, Mikey is gradually beginning to face that world outside. But then something goes horribly, horribly wrong. Mikey sees something he shouldn't have seen. And the gang knows what he saw. The gang knows where he lives. And the gang wants to talk to him... Full review...

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (150th Anniversary Edition) by Lewis Carroll and Anthony Browne

4star.jpg Confident Readers

We here at the Bookbag aren't always of a Reithian, canon-following bent; we don't necessarily feel the need to urge classic texts down our readers' throats. But in this instance it is worthwhile. Not since this book first appeared 150 years ago has something so surreal, so oddball and so peculiarly plotted captured the imagination anything quite as this did. It's a classic that, if you haven't before, you can polish off in definitely under two hours. It's something then that on this occasion I suggest you should do, if only to find out what complete rubbish it is. Full review...

The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone

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Twelve year old Moll wakes in the night to find herself deep in the dark forest. The nightmare that haunts her sleep has brought her to a place of danger, summoned there by the evil Skull and his wicked sorcery. Moll and her fiercely protective wildcat, Gryff, must fight back against the dark magic before it is too late. At first she does not understand why she has been chosen for the task but as her chilling adventure continues Moll learns more about her past and the part it will play in saving those she loves from Skull and the horror he threatens. Full review...

Dragon Shield: 02: The London Pride by Charlie Fletcher

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Your city is lost. Your city is not yours. Your city is mine.

That's what Bast says. The Ancient Egyptian goddess, freed from thousands of years imprisonment, has unleashed her magic. Time has stopped. All the humans are frozen in suspended animation. All the humans except, that is, brother and sister Will and Jo, who are protected by the scarab bracelets they wear. And now, Bast has even succeeded in freezing some of the Spits (good statues) and has sent the bad statues (Taints) to find the two children who are threatening her plans. Full review...

How to Fly with Broken Wings by Jane Elson

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Willem doesn't usually find homework challenging. He's good at schoolwork. But Mrs Hubert has given him an assignment he's going to find difficult. He must make two friends of his own age. That's tricky when you're on the autistic spectrum and you don't communicate well. It's even more difficult when almost all your classmates join in with Finn when he bullies you and makes you jump from increasingly high places. Sasha is torn. She loves Finn to pieces but she can't bear bullying and she hates herself for not standing up for Willem. And Finn has a secret of his own that's driving his rotten behaviour. Full review...

Viking Longship by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

3.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Fly on the Wall is a new series of history books by award-winning duo Manning and Granström, which aim to bring history to life for young readers. Viking Longship is the story of Grimm, a Viking warrior who buys a broken ship called the Sea Dragon and fixes it up to set sail in search of pastures new. The story follows Grimm's progress as he invades England with his band of warriors and then creates a farm settlement where his family can live in peace. The book touches on various aspects of Viking life before coming full circle when the settlement is raided by Saxons, culminating in a Viking funeral and a final image of the longboat in flames. Full review...

Nightbird by Alice Hoffman

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TTwig's mother is the most beautiful woman in Sidwell. She bakes famous Pink Apple pies. Makes delicious lavender honey butter. Has an exotic and mysterious past. And Twig loves her with everything she's got. But not all is well in Twig's world. Friends aren't allowed. Because a friend might discover the secret kept so carefully by Twig and her mother. There is a centuries-old curse on their family. So Twig is a lonely girl... Full review...

Roman Fort by Mick Manning and Brita Granstrom

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Fly on the Wall is a new series of history books by award-winning duo Manning and Granström, which aim to bring history to life for young readers. Roman Fort follows the adventures of Centurion Vespian as he escorts the lady Lepidina and her son to the safety of the Roman fort to celebrate her best friend's birthday. Along the way, the story touches on various aspects of Roman life, including clothing, family life, buildings and religion. Full review...

The Deadly Seven by Garth Jennings

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Most of us do our best to live our lives as polite, sensible, clean human beings. After all, society would soon fall apart if we grabbed whatever we wanted, always said the first thing that came into our heads, and punched anyone who annoyed us. But admit it - deep down, there are moments when you'd just love to bop some irritating twit on the nose, shred your report card and use it as hamster litter, eat a whole box of chocolates in one go, then burp every single verse of The Twelve Days of Christmas, right? Seriously - never? Hmm . . . not sure you're being entirely honest there, pal. Full review...

Hamish and the Worldstoppers by Danny Wallace

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Something strange is happening to Hamish, or happening around him, or actually, if we're being specific, things are not happening! He is finding that suddenly, in the middle of a perfectly normal day, everything stops except him. So the people around him are frozen, the birds are stuck mid wing-flap, planes hang un-moving in the sky, and Hamish is the only one who can still move around! What is causing these strange pauses, and is there anything Hamish can do about it? Full review...

Robot Girl by Malorie Blackman

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Claire is excited and she's nagging her mother to tell her what her father has been doing in his laboratory, but her mother is no wiser than she is and tells Claire that she will simply have to wait until her father is ready to show her what he's been doing. He's a famous inventor and Claire knows that whatever it is will be exciting. For now all she can do is to tell her pen friend - and be patient. Full review...

Wild Thing Goes Camping by Emma Barnes

4star.jpg Emerging Readers

Wild Thing is truly wild, keeping worms in her grandma's handbag, building dens in muddy holes in the garden, or setting up camps, complete with sticks ready for a fire, in her big sister's bedroom! She's the sort of child who sends her parents grey in their twenties! Poor Kate, her older sister, is stuck being the sensible one in the family, trying to keep an eye on Wild Thing and help her dad out (her mum died when Wild Thing was very little), and the strain of always being sensible and reliable begins to show and Kate starts to think maybe she'd like to be wild too! Full review...

The Butterfly Club by Jacqueline Wilson

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Tina is a triplet but you'd never know it. Sisters Maddie and Phil are much bigger, much livelier and much louder than sickly little Tina, who had a heart problem when she was born and spent months in an incubator. She's never caught them up. Her health is still delicate too, so Tina doesn't play rough games and is forbidden from most sport at school. At this rate, she'll never catch up with Phil and Maddie. But Tina doesn't mind too much. She's protected at school by her sisters and coddled at home by her mother. Life, despite its smallness, is pretty sweet for Tina... Full review...

Creepy Caves (Elf Girl and Raven Boy) by Marcus Sedgwick and Pete Williamson (illustrator)

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

We've come a long way together, Elf Girl, Raven Boy and I. I wasn't there quite at the start of their adventures, but jumped on at a suitably early stage, and met up with them a bit here and there since. It was obvious from the start, when all six alliterative titles were announced, that the final battle would be the pair – and his rat called Rat – battling the Goblin King. But there was little clue to just how frolicsome the action would be, nor what ungainly band of friends (and enemies) would combine with them for this, the final episode. Full review...

Blackout (Urban Outlaws) by Peter Jay Black

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Fans of thrillers will be the first to admit that character development is not always the first priority in their favourite books. In fact, in some series heroes change less than The Simpsons, even after dozens of adventures. So, finding a story which has heart-pounding drama, well-drawn characters and even – believe it or not – a few scenes which would melt the hardest heart makes this excellent series a must-read. Full review...

Rugby Academy: Surface to Air by Tom Palmer

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

We first met Rory in Combat Zone when circumstances forced him to go to Broadlands Boarding School when both his parents were posted abroad by the RAF. It wasn't his choice - I mean they played rugby rather than his beloved football - but it wasn't long before he discovered that not only did he enjoy rugby, he was rather good at it. It was also something of a relief to be at a school where there were other boys in a similar situation to himself. By the time that we meet Rory again time has moved on and he's on his way to Toulon to play in an international schools rugby tournament. Full review...