Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Elise and the Second-hand Dog by Bjarne Reuter and Kirsten Raagaard

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Whilst Elise's mum is away in the Amazon, building a bridge, she and her father are struggling to get along in her absence. Elise begs her father for a dog, for company, and in the end he agrees, though the dog that they get is most definitely second-hand, rather ugly, and smelly and, remarkably, he talks! Full Review


The Seer's Curse by J J Faulks

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Although The Seer's Curse is billed as a pre-teen novel, I would say that it would appeal to a wide audience interested in fantasy and mythology, as well as just a good tale. Full Review


Max and the Millions by Ross Montgomery

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Ten year old Max likes being alone – it's easier than trying to cope with the feedback from his hearing aid when he's surrounded by loud noise or attempting to swivel his head fast enough to lip read when several people are speaking at once. However, when he discovers a civilisation of millions behind the door of the school janitor's room, Max has to learn to lead a team. Max finds a way to communicate with Luke, the tiny boy who's Prince (and almost King) of one of the three tribes now living on the floor of the caretaker's room. Supported by his roommate, Sasha, Max has to find a way to bring the three feuding tribes together and find a safe place for them to live before the school's Headteacher disposes of the little people for good. Full Review


The Children of Castle Rock by Natasha Farrant

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Eleven year old Alice Mistlethwaite used to be brave and adventurous but after her mum died she withdrew into herself and started to live in her own world of stories. Unfortunately her dad is an actor and isn't around enough to help. Instead, Alice is shipped off to boarding school in the Scottish highlands. But she quickly finds that this isn't an entirely normal school – for example, the last student to arrive at the start of term is given the responsibility of waking the rest of the school every morning for the rest of term. Soon, however, the strange school curriculum becomes the least of Alice's worries. She receives a secret package from her dad with strict instructions not to open the parcel and a request to deliver it to a remote Scottish island. Will she be able to persuade her new friends to break school rules and help her deliver the mysterious parcel to her dad? Will she be able to resist opening it? Full Review

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Planet Stan by Elaine Wickson and Chris Judge

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Stan is a space freak. He's nuts about it – to the extent of having too many embarrassing experiences in his rocket undies, but that's by the by. He's trying to win a telescope, and diligently do all his science-based homework, but one thing stands in the way. Space. Or, more precisely, the space he has to share with his incredibly snotty, annoying, dumb, messy little brother Fred. Stan has a project on the go, which is to get three helpers and enter a science fair, but Fred has also found something to concentrate his erratic mind on – the local museum is thinking of ditching its T-rex fossil for a huge light-up Earth in a new eco gallery. Fred almost thinks of Rory the T-rex as a pet, and is certainly more friendly to it than he is to Stan (when he's not colouring the poor thing's legs in with crayon, that is). Can Stan get something to take to school without bogies all over it, and will Fred get his way where Rory is concerned? Full Review

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Night Speakers by Ali Sparkes

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Three young people meet up in unusual circumstances to find that they all share a strange experience: waking at exactly 1.34am, the same time each night. Elena, Matt and Tima try to get back to sleep, but after a few days of broken sleep they are drawn outside into an adventure that tests their ingenuity to the limit. Together and completely sleep deprived, they decide to investigate this strange night waking phenomenon, and their searches take them to a different and scary world where inexplicable things are happening. Full Review

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Begone The Raggedy Witches: The Wild Magic Trilogy by Celine Kiernan

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Aunty has died. Mup, her little brother Tipper and Mam are driving back from the hospital, and already it seems everything has changed. It was Aunty who kept the family going, who cared for them all and made sure they were happy, warm and secure. But then, as they approach the house, Mup is astonished to see the white, uncaring faces of witches above them, darting from tree to tree as they follow the car. Things are going to change even more suddenly and dramatically than she could ever have imagined. Full Review

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Tin by Padraig Kenny

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Christopher can't remember much about his life before he came to live with Mr Absalom. Snatches of memories sometimes surface; images of his mother and father that appear suddenly before fading into the smoke, blackness and flames of the fire. He remembers the fire most of all; his last, most powerful memory of his old life that chokes out everything else. However, his present life working for the eccentric engineer isn't all bad. He has his mechanical friends to keep him company. They are his family now. Full Review

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A Different Dog by Paul Jennings and Geoff Kelly

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Dyslexia Friendly, Confident Readers

Our hero is a boy, whose name we never learn. We know what he wants in life – with his mother exceedingly poor, and even his bed burnt to keep the two of them warm, he wants the prize offered by a down-a-mountain-and-back-up-and-down-again foot race. Winning the race and the large purse would also give him more status in the eyes of those kids that bully him, and it might even give him a voice – for he is almost mute. We quickly learn he never talks back to anyone, whatever the motivation, and can only speak aloud to himself – and, so it turns out, to a dog he rescues from a bad road accident he finds on his way up the hill to the start line… Full Review

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Twister by Juliette Forrest

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Twister certainly lives up to her stormy name. She's so stubborn and determined that she's almost a force of nature in her own right, and she's fiercely loyal to her family. Her beloved father has disappeared and her mother is sunk in a dreary depression where she barely seems aware of her daughter's existence: if it weren't for Aunt Honey and her wonderful cooking, and Point the dog, she would feel all alone in the world. Full Review

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Rebel Voices: The Rise of Votes for Women by Louise Kay Stewart and Eve Lloyd Knight

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers

Rule breakers. Risk takers. Rebel women. Law makers. A celebration of women rallying around the globe to win the vote.

Let's just get straight to it. I loved Rebel Voices: The Rise of Votes for Women. And I can't let a review pass without a brief note on the fabulous production values. The cover is stunning and deeply impactful as you can see. It has that lovely, bookish smell. The paper is thick and heavy. Everything about it tells you that this is a book with interesting and important information. It simply begs to be picked up and read. Full marks to Wren and Rook for this investment. Full Review

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Star Quality (Dance Trilogy 2) by Jean Ure

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Maddy, Caitlyn, Roz and Alex have all just been tested to go to the prestigious City Ballet School full time. Caitlyn, Roz and Alex all get their acceptance about a week later, but Maddy's is a little slower in coming. It was obviously delayed in the post. She was never actually worried that she wouldn't be accepted: well, she's an exceptional dancer and her family is ballet royalty. Where else would she be but City Ballet School? Caitlyn still can't quite believe the opportunity she's been given, particularly as she's not been dancing anywhere near as long as the others. It means so much to her. Full Review

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I Swapped My Brother On The Internet by Jo Simmons

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After a terrible argument over the Hanging Pants of Doom (don't ask), the sibling rivalry between Jonny and his older brother Ted comes to a head. Jonny fills out an application form at and sits back to wait for a new brother who is bound, surely, to be infinitely better than patronising, mocking, bullying, Ted. Right? Any brother would be better than Ted. Right? Of course! What on earth could go wrong?

Well, plenty as it happens. Full Review

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Twelve Nights by Andrew Zurcher

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers, Teens

This story opens on a terrifying note. Kay and Eloise's father is working late at his college, as usual, but when the two girls and their mother arrive to pick him up, they are told he does not work there. In fact, everyone they meet insists they have never heard of him. It sounds like the beginning of a scary murder-mystery, or a cat-and-mouse chase in the style of James Bond or Dan Brown, but what actually lies behind this event is far stranger and more confusing. Later that night Kay hears voices at her window and embarks on a quest to rescue both her father and her younger sister from ruthless beings who are decidedly not human. Full Review

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Women in Sport: Fifty Fearless Athletes Who Played to Win by Rachel Ignotofsky

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Confident Readers, Children's Non-Fiction

Women in Sport is coming to us just before the Winter Olympics in South Korea in February 2018. It celebrates a century and a half of the development of women's sport by looking at fifty of its highest achievers, covering sports as diverse as swimming, fencing, riding, skating, and much more. Think of a sport and a pioneering women succeeding at it is probably in this book somewhere. Each entry is a double page spread with a brief biography and a striking portrait. Full Review

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Sky Song by Abi Elphinstone

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The Ice Queen has cast a spell on Erkenwald, separating the Fur and Feather Tribes and making the third – the Tusk Tribe – the enemy of both. Eager to secure her position by gaining eternal life, the Ice Queen is consuming the voices of the Erkenwald people. There seems little anyone can do until three children – Eska, Flint and Blu – come together. With help from 'the wild', they set off on a quest to find the legendary 'Frost Horn' and the magical 'Sky Song' that will free Erkenwald from the Ice Queen's control. Full Review

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The Atlas of Monsters by Stuart Hill and Sandra Lawrence

link=Category:{{{rating}}} Star Reviews Children's Non-Fiction, Spirituality and Religion, Confident Readers

There are monsters and mysterious characters, such as trolls, leprechauns, goblins and minotaurs. They're the stuff of far too many stories to remain mysterious, and every schoolchild should know all about them. There are monsters and mysterious characters, such as Gog and Magog, Scylla and Charybdis, and the bunyip. They are what you find if you take an interest in this kind of thing to the next level; even if you cannot place them all on a map you should have come across them. But there are monsters and mysterious characters, such as the dobhar-chu, the llambigyn y dwr, and the girtablili. To gain any knowledge of them you really need a book that knows its stuff. A book like this one… Full Review

Below Zero by Dan Smith

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Twelve year old Zak Reeve is supposed to be enjoying a relaxing holiday in the sunshine with his family before he goes into hospital for surgery. Instead, the whole family are on a plane to the Antarctic because the 'spider drones' his parents have designed to support the Exodus mission to Mars have started to malfunction. His parents assure Zak and his older sister, May, that this will be a flying visit but, as you'd expect with any action adventure story, things go wrong from the moment their plane crashes into the ice outside Outpost Zero. Zak and his family are about to find themselves in a chilling adventure that will leave them fighting for survival. Full review...

My Sweet Orange Tree by Jose Mauro de Vasconcelos and Alison Entrekin (translator)

3star.jpg Confident Readers

It's just that sometimes, Zeze, you're too naughty. And that's almost the entire truth about our narrator, Zeze – he's a young tyke, and everyone in his large, half-Indian family – heck, everyone who recognises his blonde and pale looks in the neighbourhood – knows he's skilled at being up to no good, that perhaps he was born with a little of the devil in him where Jesus should reside. Instantly adept at being able to read, even when he's only five, the precocious brat is forced to face something that might be the changing of him, once and for all – school. This time of change is also featuring a move of home, as the family cannot afford the rent arrears on their current place, although having downsized the garden comes to feature the titular tree, which almost works as a confessional cum best friend. Whether either the new home or the school will get to change Zeze, or neither, is the plot of this vintage Brazilian junior read. Full review...

The Mirror of Pharos by J S Landor

4star.jpg Confident Readers

12 year-old Jack Tideswell is not your typical adventurer. In fact, he spends most of his time trying to prevent his Nan worrying and trying to avoid the gang of school bullies. This, however, changes when a seagull delivers a strange package through the cat flap. Suddenly everything is different. Jack finds himself briefly catapulted into the future and then into the past. It takes him a long time to understand what's happening but luckily he has several friends to help him. There is his best friend from school, Charlie (occasionally known as Charlotte), the people he meets in the past and the future (several of whom claim to have met him before), the stranger Jago Flyn, and the magical wolf, Alpha. With their help, Jack learns that he's a fledging Magus (a true magician) and comes to realise that he alone can prevent a Titanic-like disaster in the future. Sadly one of his friends isn't everything they claim to be. Will Jack realise in time? Full review...