Newest Confident Readers Reviews

From TheBookbag
Jump to: navigation, search

Do You Speak Chocolate? by Cas Lester

4star.jpg Confident Readers

When a new girl arrives at Jaz's school she is delighted and warms to her immediately. The only problem is that Nadima does not speak any English at all. However Jaz is the type of girl who is not going to let this get in her way and in her typical straightforward manner determines to make sure that this friendship blossoms. Initially this appears to have worked and the girls bond through a shared love of music, movies and food, especially chocolate! But then difficulties, misunderstandings and past traumas get in the way and Jaz struggles to cope with the consequences. Full review...

Storm Cloud by Jenny Oldfield

4star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Kami Miller was invited to stay at Wolf Ridge Farm, the home of her best friend Macy Lucas, for the summer. They were both going to be working as real cowgirls and there was a herd of 300 cows to be brought back from the mountains to the ranch. It wasn't going to be easy work, particularly as Macy's father was recovering from an accident and couldn't ride. All the pressure of running the ranch has fallen on Macy's brother, Wes - and he's not coping well. Kami's upset that he's taking it out on one of the young colts, Storm Cloud, but what can she do about it? Full review...

Vlad the World's Worst Vampire by Anna Wilson and Kathryn Durst

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Meet Vlad. He's a vampire. You know the type, the characters that live practically the opposite to us – at night and not by day, in the dark and not the light, drinking fresh blood as opposed to making black pudding out of it first. But Vlad is not like one of those, for he can't fly, can't remember his roots that his family are teaching him, and can't turn into a bat. He also – shock, horror – is interested in the world of the humans, having turned away from monster stories that give him daymares and found a novel about human school life. This, then, is the drama that unfolds when he does break away from the spooky nocturnal world even he finds scary, and takes himself and his pet bat off to the world of the human child. Full review...

The Matilda Effect by Ellie Irving

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

When you're wronged, and you know you've been wronged, it's the worst feeling in the world. When someone takes credit for something you have done, claiming a prize that is rightfully yours, it's a horrible, horrible injustice, and that's the same whether it's a Nobel Prize or simply the blue ribbon (and excessive amounts of dog food) given away at a school science fair. Now parents might tell you that life's not fair, you win some you lose some, or any of a number of clichés, but if your name is Matilda you just can't let it lie. And, when she finds out that her granny was side-lined for a much bigger award, for work she did 50 years ago, she makes it her mission to right the wrong and let the world know exactly what happened. Full review...

Sky Thieves by Dan Walker

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Zoya Delarose never quite fitted in at the orphanage and she's about to learn why. Abducted at the end of a school trip, Zoya is knocked unconscious and wakes up in a creaking sky ship in the dead of night. She attempts to escape but when she's caught and brought in front of the ship's captain, Zoya discovers a history and a threat that will change her life forever. Full review...

High Spirits (Spirits 4) by Rob Keeley

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Millions of people will die in the war, Ellie. And it's our job to make sure it happens. That's why our work isn't easy.

And if that's not ominous, I don't know what is.

It's been two years since Ellie's last adventure in the spirit world or talked to her friend, the ghost of Edward Fitzberranger. She has tried to do what Viewpoint asked her to do and live a normal, boring, human life. Mum is still working for the Journeyback historical re-enactment company but it looks as though her job won't last much longer. Money is tight and Mum, as ever, is stressed. Dad got compensation for his accident, so he is living the life of Riley. He's eager to help out but Mum won't hear of it. And Ellie has a romantic interest in Luke. All in all, things could be better but they could also be worse. No more spirits. No more corrupting of timelines. Full review...

Libby in the Middle by Gwyneth Rees

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Twelve-year-old Libby has an older sister, Bella. Bella used to be a real confidante to Libby but things have changed since she got a boyfriend. Now, Bella makes Libby feel childish, foolish and unwanted. The close friendship they had shared has gone and Libby worries that it will never come back. Libby also has a younger sister, Grace. Grace is lovely but it seems to Libby that Grace, as the baby of the family, commands all the parental love and attention. Libby is well and truly stuck in the middle, without a role of her own. Full review...

Wilfred and Olbert’s Totally Wild Chase by Stephan Lomp

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Meet Wilfred and Osbert. They're not only the kind to completely flout the rules of the natural history explorer's club they belong to, but when they both spot an undiscovered butterfly together, they are the kind to fight tooth and claw to be the first to lay claim to it alone, and devil take the other one. What they don't know is that the drama that ensues when they're tailing this particular specimen will involve no end of peril – nearly drowning, almost being eaten by a lion, crashing a hot air balloon one of them just so happened to have in his pocket… This, then, is a fun and silly biology lesson – but that's only the best kind, surely? Full review...

Around the World in 80 Maps by Clare Hibbert

3.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Maps – they're there to make sure you don't go wrong. They might portray one town, and the streets or the canals that feature in it, with proud city walls surrounding the place; they may convey the complex coast of a newly discovered island, or even in the case of Australia a whole continent; or they may just be coloured pink to show off what you consider to be your land. Either way, they have certainly progressed from the early days, getting more and more accurate on the whole, and portraying a more honest look at our world. But what can we learn from scanning back to when they were less informative and allowed you to go very wrong, when they had sea monsters and 'here be dragons', and just plain looked daft? This book is one of the more informative ways to find out the answer to that question. Full review...

Around the World in 80 Maps by Clare Hibbert

3.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Maps – they're there to make sure you don't go wrong. They might portray one town, and the streets or the canals that feature in it, with proud city walls surrounding the place; they may convey the complex coast of a newly discovered island, or even in the case of Australia a whole continent; or they may just be coloured pink to show off what you consider to be your land. Either way, they have certainly progressed from the early days, getting more and more accurate on the whole, and portraying a more honest look at our world. But what can we learn from scanning back to when they were less informative and allowed you to go very wrong, when they had sea monsters and 'here be dragons', and just plain looked daft? This book is one of the more informative ways to find out the answer to that question. Full review...

Thornhill by Pam Smy

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Perfect for fans of Neil Gaiman's Coraline, this story is haunting, mysterious and touching. Mary is a unique child; she's introverted and very talented, spending most of her time by herself creating her fantasies through making puppets. She is being severely bullied, but her bully has gone further than most. She torments her, haunts her steps and takes every opportunity to make Mary's life a living hell. Too scared to sleep, too uncomfortable to eat with others, Mary has become an isolated mute stuck in her room at Thornhill. Full review...

Dragon Rider: The Griffin's Feather by Cornelia Funke

5star.jpg Confident Readers

The last Pegasus on Earth has three eggs but unfortunately Pegasus eggs need their mother's saliva to allow them to magically grow and their mother died recently. Despite growing increasingly transparent the eggs are harder than diamond and before too long they will become a tomb for the winged horses inside. Our plucky adventurers have to seek out a special feather from potentially the most dangerous creature on the planet, a griffin. That is if griffins even exist! A gorgeous and loving book that just oozes empathy and care for all of nature. This is an utterly brilliant adventure that gripped me from the start and if I was 10 years old this would be one of the most wonderful adventures I could go on. Full review...

Time Atlas: An Interactive Timeline of History by Robert Hegarty and Marcelo Badari

3.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

While it's always useful for a child to have access to an atlas, so they know where they are and what there is in every other location, it's equally important that they know when they are, and what has happened at any other place in time. That's the ethos behind this Time Atlas, which only has a few spreads, but takes us right back to prehistory, through the birth of civilisation, and up to today – as well as asking a few questions of what might happen in the future. It is, after all, vital we know not only where we are, but where we may be going… Full review...

Fighting Fantasy: The Port of Peril by Ian Livingstone

4.5star.jpg Fantasy

As I promised I would when I looked back at the beginning of the 35 year history of Fighting Fantasy gamebooks (here), I took to the brand-new-for-2017 volume with my pen, mapping paper, and most importantly, dice. For the first time in a long, long time, I would not read a book for review. I would play it. And so, armed with healthy stamina, reasonable luck but frankly embarrassing skill, I set off. This is the report of that journey – as well as hopefully being the usual useful book review. Full review...

The Starman and Me by Sharon Cohen

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

He wasn't an alien, I was sure of that. It was more like he'd walked in through an ancient door from the past... except he was here, in my bedroom and his misty forest was somewhere real on Planet Earth.

Twelve-year-old Kofi thought he was seeing things when he spied a tiny human on a roundabout near to his house. But he wasn't. Rorty Thrutch is as real as you or me. But how did Rorty come to be hiding out in the middle of a roundabout in Bradborough? And why is he so insistent that he'll soon be bad dead? Full review...

Eye Spy II by Tessa Buckley

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Fresh from the success of solving its first case, Eye Spy Investigations is certainly up for another. So twins Alex and Donna jump at the chance to investigate the strange things happening at the Priory, home to school friend Jimmy Devlin. Alex doesn't believe in ghosts and he is very keen to persuade Donna that they don't exist. Full review...

Escape from Planet Bogey (Pet Defenders) by Gareth P Jones and Steve May

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Mitzy the cat and Biskit the dog are Pet Defenders – perhaps some of the creatures best suited to defend the planet from alien invasion, seeing as they have inbuilt animal instincts, and live alongside some of the strangest critters out there, in mankind. But when they're thinking life is too quiet, only for a rat to come along with a tale of being enveloped in snot and taken to a different corner of the universe entirely, they're only too keen to investigate. That's especially true of Biskit, when he learns that the adventure may allow him clues to solve the disappearance of his previous partner… Full review...

Detective Nosegoode and the Music Box Mystery (Detective Nosegoode 1) by Marian Orlon, Jerzy Flisak and Eliza Marciniak (translator)

3.5star.jpg Confident Readers

The lovely village of Lower Limewood is coming awake as it usually does, and people are happily going about their business. Business for the stately, well-known but happily retired Detective Nosegoode is merely idling his time on a park bench reading the newspapers to his dog – a dog that can talk to him in human language, if not read. But not all people welcome the new day with joy – a clockmaker, who had been working for a week now at repairing a music box with a porcelain dancer on top and a clockwork mechanism, finds it – and only it – has been stolen from his business. It's only a step to find the owner was under the illusion it was a clue to some long-lost treasure, but who could have burgled the workshop and taken it? And what place to play in the mystery does a strange man have, what with his avidly watching the Detective from behind a giant and clearly fake beard? Full review...

A Storm of Strawberries by Jo Cotterill

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Darby lives on a strawberry farm with her mum, big sister, step dad and step brother. She loves music, dancing, chocolate egg hunts and her big sister Kaydee. She is warm and funny, and she has Down's syndrome. The story looks at the events of one weekend in Darby's life when the farm is threatened by a tornado, and her family is threatened by the revelation of a closely-guarded secret. Full review...

Piggy Handsome: Guinea Pig Destined for Stardom! by Pip Jones and Adam Stower

3.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

Meet Piggy Handsome. He is a very bequiffed guinea pig, and he is frustrated that everyone in his long line of Handsome guinea pigs has become famous for something, except him. Annoyed that he has not even got his face in the local newspaper, he has complained to his friend Jeffry the Budgie more than once. But on this day, Jeff has a chance to solve the issue and get some peace and quiet for himself – there is a chip eating contest in town. But can Piggy get there in time, can he down a bowl of chips quickly enough to win, and what about the pair of idiot thieves that also have something on their mind? Full review...

Captain Firebeard's School for Pirates: The Sneaky Sweet Stealer by Chae Strathie and Anna Chernyshova

4star.jpg Confident Readers

The Rusty Barnacle is set to sail again, with a second term for the wannabe pirates and their teachers and crew. Tommy, despite being late, is the keenest pupil there – after all, he has great friends, enemies he can easily vanquish, and a very good novice parrot for company. But everyone on board has reason for concern when they set sail – the prize sweets from the tuck shop are going missing in great quantities. Who could possibly be behind this mystery? Full review...

The Valentine's Day Kitten by Cathy Hopkins

4star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Marcie is distraught. On Valentine's Day last year she'd didn't receive a single card and her parents could see that she was upset, so when she came home from school there was a box on the kitchen table and in it was the most gorgeous fluffy silver kitten. Misty and Marcie were soon inseparable until the day that Misty went out without a collar on - and didn't come home. Marcie blamed herself: Misty's collar had broken and she'd never got round to buying a new one. Mum has put notices up everywhere she can think of and rung the local vets and animal rescue centres, but there's no sign of Misty. Then Marcie starts having dreams, about a boy, a hotel, a painting - and Misty. Will there be a happy ending? Full review...

Darkmouth: Hero Rising by Shane Hegarty

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Things seem as bad as they can get for Finn, trainee Hunter of all those nasty things that keep trying to get through to our world from the Infested Side. His dad has been sacked, leaving him practically alone to face the baddies, both monstrous and human, he has no weapons or back-up apart from his friend Emmie, and the family has even been kicked out of the house they've lived in for generations. Of course, in the way of the best stories, you only have to hint that things couldn't get worse for them to do exactly that. And any beastie that's got all the monsters from the other dimension scared is not going to be a doddle to fight. Far, far from it. Full review...

Stunt Double by Tamsin Cooke

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Finn wants to be actor but, when his first ever lines in a film are cut, he's happy to settle for stunt-double. He has all the skills for this demanding role: he's a natural dare devil with a karate black-belt (almost). The only downside is the person Finn has to double for: Finn and teen-star Blake have history and a relationship of mutual hatred. Pretty soon, however, this is the least of Finn's worries. The eccentric film director, Novak, pushes him to the limits with increasingly dangerous stunts, manipulating Finn into doing the stunts without safety gear. But that seems tame when they transfer to film on location in a remote part of Papua New Guinea and Finn discovers what Novak really has planned for him. Full review...

My Burptastic Body Book (Dirty Bertie) by David Roberts and Alan MacDonald

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Oh, to be young and innocent, and to be full of questions. Questions like 'is eating my bogies good for me', or 'why is poo brown', or 'what makes sweat smell'. You don't have to be a kid like Dirty Bertie to want to know the answers – respectively, no; it's down to dead bacteria; and it doesn't – it's other bacteria again. If you think you have a lad (or, let's face it, a lass) interested in learning such stuff, this book could well be the place to turn. Full review...

Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Max Walburt has a real problem with his teacher and nothing seems to make it better. Running for class president seems like a good way out of his problems but inevitably it doesn't run smoothly. Full review...

Kid Normal by Greg James and Chris Smith

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Murph Cooper is fed up. He and his mum have moved house. Again. This means another new home to get used to. This means another new school to get used to. This means another set of friends left behind. And if that weren't enough, this time he doesn't even have a new school to go to. Everywhere is full. Eventually, a place is found - at The School, a strange place hidden away in a back street. The School is a school unlike any other. It caters for children with superpowers. But Murph doesn't have any superpowers and is soon consigned to the socially undesirable super zeroes gang. The kids with superpowers are not kind to the super zeroes... Full review...

Minecraft: The Island by Max Brooks

5star.jpg Confident Readers

Max Brooks perfectly captures the experience of playing Minecraft without instructions or assistance from the random punching stage through to building towers that touch the sky. Just as schools around the world are using Minecraft to teach computer science and other skills Brooks uses his novel to demonstrate how valuable life lessons can be learned from this online phenomena. Full review...