Newest Confident Readers Reviews

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Over The Line by Tom Palmer

5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Jack Cock made his debut as a professional footballer for Huddersfield Town and that fragile dream of playing for his country came just a little bit closer, but this was just before the beginning of the First World War, when there was immense pressure on young men to do the honourable thing and join the war to fight in France. Over the Line is the story of Jack's war, of joining the Footballers' Battalion, playing in the Flanders Cup, fighting in the trenches and not just surviving but being decorated for bravery. After the war he scored England's first international goal and was one of the first of the modern generation of 'professional footballers'. Full review...

Mars Evacuees by Sophia McDougall

5star.jpg Confident Readers

If you want to know how the average young adolescent thinks and speaks, read this book. Yes, it's a sci-fi adventure with monsters and robots and space travel. And yes, it's a story of war to the death with invisible aliens. But kids are kids, no matter what the circumstances, and anyone brave enough to get on a ship for a week with three hundred young people and no parents is, frankly, asking for trouble. Full review...

Going Home by Cliff McNish

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Ralphie, Fred, Mitch and Bessie are the ‘No-Hopers’- dogs who have been at Happy Paws Rescue Centre for so long that it seems unlikely they will ever find new homes. Bessie, a beautiful collie, has a fear of being touched; Mitch can’t stop chasing cats; Fred is depressed and despondent and Ralph is horribly disfigured. Luckily for them, Happy Paws has a policy of never putting a healthy dog down. However, when a new manager takes over the centre, the rules change and it becomes a desperate race against time to find the No-Hopers a home. Full review...

Horrid Henry's Wedding by Francesca Simon and Tony Ross

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

What on earth was Prissy Polly thinking? If she had wanted her wedding to Pimply Paul to go without a hitch, why, oh why had she insisted on asking her awful cousin Horrid Henry to be a page boy? One thing is for certain: when you take a certain horrid boy with a reputation for mischief and force him to wear a lilac shirt, green satin knickerbockers, tights, a pink cummerbund and white satin shoes with gold buckles, you are just asking for trouble... Full review...

Famous Five Colour Reads: A Lazy Afternoon by Enid Blyton

5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Perhaps the only thing better than a favourite author publishing a new book, is one of their old works that you missed first time around being re-released. The Famous Five, you see, didn’t just feature in their most well-known tales. They also had some short story adventures that were first seen in albums and magazines and whatnot, but are now being published as books in their own right. Hurrah! Full review...

Secrets of the Seashore by Carron Brown and Alyssa Nassner

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

This book starts in a rock pool. It’s not a boring, quiet, calm place, though, it’s bustling with life, and with every page that turns we learn more about the mysterious creatures that live within it. You might not see them at first, but with a hint of magic they appear. Full review...

The Edge of the Cloud by K M Peyton

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

First things first: this is a brilliant book and you could read it on its own but it's an extra-brilliant book if you've read the first book in the Flambards series. It's inevitable that there are going to be spoilers in this review so if you want to get the best out of this series, click away right now. I really won't be offended. Full review...

Flambards by K M Peyton

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Christina Parsons was orphaned as a child and since then had been shunted around between various relatives, but her Uncle Russell decided that she must come and live with him and his two sons. The twelve-year-old discovered accidentally (it sounds a little harsh to mention that she was reading someone else's correspondence, doesn't it?) that the the aunt with whom she was living suspected that the plan was that Christina would eventually marry Mark, the elder son and the money (quite a lot of it actually) which she would inherit on her twenty-first birthday would be used to prop up Flambards - the Russell's country estate - which was falling into disrepair. Full review...

Scarlet Ibis by Gill Lewis

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Scarlet and her half-brother Red have a dream - to watch flocks of Scarlet Ibises fly above Caroni swamp in Trinidad where her father comes from. They have a special bond. He is autistic and loves collecting birds’ feathers, feeling a sense of calm when he recites their names. She has caramel coloured skin while Red has white. They live with their mother in a flat but she has suffered from mood swings of late. Scarlet saves up to take Red on regular trips to the zoo where he feels safe. Red is fostering a baby Pigeon and waiting for it learn how to fly. Full review...

The Dark Horse by Rumer Godden

5star.jpg Teens

Dark Invader was a well-bred racehorse and had the looks to go with it but he was disappointing in his first season in England and his owner had better uses for the money his sale could bring. He was shipped out to India, which might sound rather extreme, but was not uncommon in the nineteen thirties and there were some benefits. The main one was that he was going to a good owner who cared for his welfare and a trainer who realised that he would get most out of his horses if they were contented. His new owner, Mr Leventine, even arranged for his lad to travel out to India with him and this was probably Dark Invader's greatest piece of luck. Ted Mullins not only loved the horse - he understood him. Full review...

Blamehounds (Little Gems) by Ross Collins

5star.jpg Confident Readers

The idea began with Mr Lime’s bodily explosions (didn’t I put that nicely?) After three of them it was Norman the dog (who was entirely blameless in this matter so long as you’re willing to overlook the fact that he was having a lovely dream about dropping cats off bridges) who got the kick to speed him from the room. There were a couple more occasions when something similar happened but instead of getting a complex about what was happening, Norman saw an opportunity. A business opportunity. If dogs were going to get the blame then there should be something in it for them and he went into partnership with his best mate, Ringo (who does seem to be obsessed with sausages) and Blamehounds was born. Full review...

The Ice Bear by Jackie Morris

4.5star.jpg For Sharing

Long, long ago in the mists of time in an icy and barren landscape a bear gives birth to two cubs. While curled up close together the raven tricks the bear and steals one of the cubs away. The mother bear grieves and never forgets her loss. However the raven drops the bundle in the path of a hunter and he and his wife discover a longed for child. Seven years pass and the child wanders from his home and finds himself back in the land of the bears. He loves both families and both families love him so they must find a way to resolve this dilemma and learn to live together in harmony. Full review...

The Forbidden Library by Django Wexler

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Alice is a little girls whose feet are planted firmly in the here and now. She's sensible. And studious. And practical. So when, one night, she overhears a conversation between her father and a vicious little fairy, she's more than a little shaken. But before she has had time to process this worrying event, Alice's father has rushed away on a business trip. Within days, the news comes that his ship has foundered and there are no survivors.

Alice finds herself packed off to stay with a mysterious uncle her father never told her about. Geryon is a strange man and his house is even stranger. Never-seen servants prepare food and clear it away. And the servants you can see are strange - Mr Black sinister, Emma an automaton. There's only one rule: Alice must not enter the Library... Full review...

Princess DisGrace: First Term at Tall Towers by Lou Kuenzler

5star.jpg Confident Readers

We all know how princesses are supposed to be, don’t we? Pretty, dainty, delicate and feminine, with perfect manners and charm, of course. Unfortunately, it seems that nobody pointed this out to Princess Grace of Cragland; a scruffy, grubby, ungainly girl with spindly legs and huge feet. Her clumsiness earns her the nickname 'Princess Dis-Grace' from her fellow classmates, including her obnoxious cousin, Princess Precious. Can Grace rise to the challenge and become the well-groomed, elegant princess that she is expected to be in her first term at Tall Towers? Full review...

Stories of World War One by Tony Bradman

5star.jpg Teens

World War One, or the Great War as it was known at the time, was a cataclysmic war. Millions died and life was changed forever for the survivors - for the women of Britain, and for the working classes and ruling classes alike. 2014 is the centenary of its outbreak and the redoubtable Tony Bradman has gathered together a dozen of our best writers for young people to create an anthology of short stories to commemorate the anniversary. Full review...

ZOM-B Mission by Darren Shan

4star.jpg Teens

Ok. Have an obligatory warning about possible spoilers for the series so far. If you don't want any, then run along and read our review of the first book. Otherwise, read this review at your own risk. Full review...

Girl With A White Dog by Anne Booth

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Once upon a time Jessie had three wishes. One of these wishes is for a dog of her own. When her Grandma unexpectedly gets a small white dog, Snowy, it would seem that one of her wishes has come true. But the dog prompts a worrying change in Jessie’s Grandma’s behaviour and she appears troubled by memories from her childhood, fearing that something dreadful will happen to Snowy. As past and present mingle Jessie learns that, just like Fairy Tales, goodies and baddies may not always be as they appear. Full review...

The Eagle Trail by Robert Rigby

4star.jpg Teens

The Nazis have occupied Antwerp, where Paul lives with his English father and French mother. But Paul doesn't think things are too bad. Life is going on pretty much as normal if you are a teenaged boy, Paul feels. But Paul is wrong.

In the space of an afternoon, Paul's world is turned upside down. His father is shot in front of him, having been discovered as an early resistance organiser. His mother is arrested. And Paul finds himself fleeing for his life, hunted by the Nazis for what his father knew. The journey is a long and dangerous one - through Belgium and France for the Pyrenees and Spain and then, hopefully, for England. Every stage is dangerous but the final one - the Eagle Trail across the mountains - is the most perilous. Full review...

Sesame Seade Mysteries 3: Scam on the Cam by Clementine Beauvais and Sarah Horne

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Something strange is happening on or near the river. Finding a pirates' chest is surely likely to be the weirdest thing that happens to most people in an average week, but not Sesame, Toby and Gemma. As well as the possibility of pirates, there's a chance that nefarious goings-on are responsible for the university rowing team dropping like flies. Can Sesame save the day again? Full review...

Sesame Seade Mysteries 2: Gargoyles Gone AWOL by Clementine Beauvais and Sarah Horne

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Sesame Seade is in trouble. So much trouble that our intrepid heroine has already started planning her epitaph. Sesame Seade, sensational supersleuth. Sufficiently scolded, seldom scared. Even with danger around every corner, her stunning voice can't be silenced. But what is the danger lurking in the university? Is it to do with the disappearing gargoyles, or is there something even more worrying going on? Full review...

Daughters of Time by Mary Hoffman (editor)

4star.jpg Confident Readers

This is an anthology aimed at tweens and younger teens on the subject of some of history's most remarkable women. It's an interesting idea, particularly as the usual suspects are perhaps avoided. No Elizabeth I, Mary Queen of Scots, Victoria, or Florence Nightingale. Instead we get Boudica, Mary Seacole, Aphra Behn and Julian of Norwich, amongst others. It doesn't altogether work for me but there are enough strong stories to make it well worth a look. Full review...

The Dark Wild by Piers Torday

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Be careful when reading this book: it presents humanity and its tendency to destroy everything in its path so convincingly that you may end up siding with the bad guys! Kester's world is a dystopian mess, and the fact that this time the threat comes from a quite unexpected quarter only makes things harder for him. Full review...

Paddington's Adventures by Michael Bond

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Paddington might be mistaken for a suitable wedding usher, a doctor, and an illegal busker, but he is really just the original bear from Darkest Peru, with the charming ability to get into as many scrapes as one could wish. Paddington might cause confusion at the dentist's, the gymkhana or at the posh restaurant, but he will always land on his feet. Paddington might be able to completely befuddle a host of school teachers, a judge or anyone, but he is still the most loved occupant of the Brown's household, 32 Windsor Gardens, London. And this trilogy shows how he should be pretty much loved in many other households too. Full review...

Big Nate in the Zone by Lincoln Peirce

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Life just can't get any worse for Big Nate. A friend ruins his homework for him, he ruins a beanbag in the school library, and the whole place is turning into a healthy-eating zone run by fun hoovers intent on force-feeding the kids wholesomeness, exercise and rabbit food. How could his luck possibly change? Well, with a broken-off action figure foot, that's how. Full review...

Circus of Thieves and the Raffle of Doom by William Sutcliffe

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Here is the warning for reviewers who have received a copy of Circus of Thieves:

'If you are chronologically vulnerable, easily confused, or allergic to hiccups in the space-time continuum, do not attempt to read unless you are wearing thick sunglasses or a snorkel with mask - flippers optional.'

Ahem. I'm guilty on all counts. I don't own thick sunglasses or a snorkel with a mask. I read it anyway. So sue me! Full review...

Sesame Seade Mysteries 1: Sleuth on Skates by Clementine Beauvais and Sarah Horne

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Eleven-year-old Sesame Seade has been waiting all her life to be a super sleuth, so when a student journalist disappears and no-one seems all that bothered, she decides to solve the case herself. Can she track down the vanished girl before her parents work out what's going on? Full review...

A Piggy Pickle (Pip Street) by Jo Simmons

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Problems are mounting for the people of Pip Street. Every evening the power goes out, so the whole street is plunged into darkness – not good for Bobby who's still young enough to be scared of the dark. Nor is it good news for the mysteriously popular new electrical shop at the end of the road – could all the gadgets bought at Gizmo World be the cause? Well, given the cover artwork and title of this adventure, I think the answer is a roundly firm NO, but there's really no harm in finding out what the action does involve. Full review...

Cowgirl by G R Gemin

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Gemma has grown up on a housing estate in South Wales where muggings and burglaries are commonplace, her dad is in prison, her mum has given up hope for the future and Gemma argues with her younger brother. She has given up on finding happiness and escapes from her daily routine by riding her bike into the nearby countryside. On one of these trips she bumps into the notorious Cowgirl and after their initial hostilities have thawed an unlikely friendship blossoms and together the girls, with the help of a dozen cows, discover that kindness, cooperation and perseverance can restore hope to a broken community. Full review...

Scavenger 1: Zoid by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Somewhere out in the further reaches of the galaxy is a spherical construction, speeding the last few surviving Earth humans on their way to a different, new home, a giant biosphere acting as the one remaining Ark for what's left of humankind. And its purpose is even more important as, somewhen, somewhere and somehow, during its flight, the robot inhabitants – the cleaners, butlers, farmers and mechanics – rebelled. Since then they have evolved themselves, and ignored all their original programming, and are intent on wiping out humans instead. We, of course, are fighting back, but when the tiny community of little more than a hundred that serves as the whole world for the young worker known as York gets wiped out, he gets the clearest picture yet of how difficult that battle will be… Full review...

Urban Outlaws by Peter Jay Black

5star.jpg Confident Readers

What skills would you need to trick the rich and powerful out of their ill-gotten gains? A posse of brilliant lawyers and accountants with elastic consciences? A cache of guns and bombs? Well, maybe, although it is very possible that all that will do is to turn you into villains as dirty as your marks. And, if you'll forgive the sudden descent into street-speak, that's not the way these five young Urban Outlaws roll. Full review...

The Four Seasons of Lucy Mckenzie by Kirsty Murray

5star.jpg Confident Readers

For the first time in her life, Lucy dreaded Christmas.

She has been sent to stay with her Great-Aunt Big, who lives in a homestead in the Australian wilderness. Her family, meanwhile, will be spending Christmas in Paris, tending to Lucy’s older sister who is in a coma following a tragic accident. Lucy is deeply worried about her big sister and understands why she has been left behind, but she is filled with trepidation at the idea of spending such a long time with her eccentric Aunt, miles away from civilization without even as much as a mobile phone signal. Full review...

Dream On Amber by Emma Shevah

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Ambra Alessandra Leola Kimiko Miyamoto has a very long name. I have a very short name, so I can’t relate. But I’m with her on other issues. Like how hard it is to start secondary school and try to make new friends when you’re not quite like everyone else. Maybe you’re a bit smaller than the other girls. Maybe you’re of an interesting heritage (say, half Italian, half Japanese). Maybe one of your parents has gone AWOL. Maybe you don’t have all the right gear you need to blend in – sometimes a caveman mobile phone just won’t cut it. Ambra has all of these things working against her, AND a name that makes it sound like she’s identifying with an item of underwear, so it’s no wonder she’s changed it to Amber in a bid to fit in. Full review...