Difference between revisions of "Newest Confident Readers Reviews"

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{{newreview
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|author= Shane Hegarty
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|title= Darkmouth: Hero Rising
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|rating= 4.5
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|genre= Confident Readers
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|summary= 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.
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|amazonuk=<amazonuk>0007545622</amazonuk>
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{{newreview
 
{{newreview
 
|author=Tamsin Cooke
 
|author=Tamsin Cooke
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|summary=I never really caught the bird-watching habit, even with the opportunity of growing up on the edge of a village in the middle of nowhere.  It was in the family, too, but I resigned myself to never seeing much that was spectacular, and once you've seen one blackbird you've seen them all, was my thinking.  If I'd had this book as a youngster, who knows – I may have come out of it differently, having been shown the diversity of the bird world in snippets of text, and some quite unusual illustrations…
 
|summary=I never really caught the bird-watching habit, even with the opportunity of growing up on the edge of a village in the middle of nowhere.  It was in the family, too, but I resigned myself to never seeing much that was spectacular, and once you've seen one blackbird you've seen them all, was my thinking.  If I'd had this book as a youngster, who knows – I may have come out of it differently, having been shown the diversity of the bird world in snippets of text, and some quite unusual illustrations…
 
|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1526360004</amazonuk>
 
|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1526360004</amazonuk>
}}
 
{{newreview
 
|author=Danna Smith and Bagram Ibatoulline
 
|title= The Hawk of the Castle: A Story of Medieval Falconry
 
|rating=5
 
|genre=Children's Rhymes and Verse
 
|summary=I don't know why I was surprised by this book – I've read enough volumes for the young audiences to know that as far as subject matter is concerned, pretty much anything goes.  But this is about falconry, of all things – the use of a once-wild and still pretty much free-spirited bird of prey to hunt down animals, either for the heck of it or for the pot.  An attractive girl and her father get their hawk ready, and leave the castle with all the equipment in tow – bells to hear the landed bird and what it's captured, the hood to act as blinkers for it on the way there, the lure if necessary.  The story concerns just one trip out, girl, father, hound – and hawk.  But while that may surprise you as a subject matter of choice, it was the whole artistic approach that won me over here…
 
|amazonuk=<amazonuk>1406376698</amazonuk>
 
 
}}
 
}}

Revision as of 11:35, 17 July 2017

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...

The Demon Headmaster: Total Control by Gillian Cross

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Lizzie and her younger brother Tyler aren't looking forward to returning to Hazelbrook Academy. However, when they arrive, they find everything has changed. And it's not for the better. Every pupil is now perfectly behaved and suddenly everyone seems to have a special talent. Even the teachers are acting strangely. And, if that isn't enough, Lizzie inexplicably finds herself throwing food around the canteen and being accused of vandalising the school. Lizzie is determined to find out what has caused the sudden change in everyone's behaviour but it's hard because no one seems to be able to talk about what's going on. It's almost as if the Hazelbrook students are no longer able to think and act for themselves. Could it, perhaps, be something to do with the mysterious new headmaster? Full review...

The Last Duchess: a Silver Service Mystery by Laura Powell

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Being a Lady's maid doesn't sound like a whole lot of fun. Don't read novels, which will make you dissatisfied with your condition. Be observant and cheerful at all times, and grateful for the benefits you receive from your employment - however difficult it may seem, it is, after all, far better than living in poverty on the streets. And never express your own opinion, even if your mistress asks for it. These are the rules (among many, many others) used to train girls at Mrs Minchin's Academy of Domestic Servitude. There are no rules for what goes on in the privacy of your own head, however, and Pattern, generally considered the Academy's most gifted student, has plenty of opinions which, if she said them aloud, would cause her teachers to faint in genteel horror. Full review...

National Trust: Complete Night Explorer's Kit by Robyn Swift and Sara Lynn Cramb

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

There is a misfortune to the modern world, in that we have killed off a common hobby from when I was a lad. Nowadays light pollution is so awful it's certainly not uncommon for people to hardly see any of the stars and to get to learn the constellations, and while I only went out to go 'meteor hunting', it's patently obvious that the chance to lie down and stargaze is a dying one. Elsewhere the nocturnal youth can struggle to have much opportunity to explore the night-time nature as this book suggests – it begins with setting up a tent in your back garden, and too many don't even get that chance, for want of possession of one. Yes, if this book is only read once in the daytime and never referred to again, due to lack of opportunity, it really will be a crying shame. Full review...

The World's Worst Children 2 by David Walliams and Tony Ross

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

I sometimes wonder if David Walliams gets sick of the comparisons with Roald Dahl that he gets. It's such an easy comparison to make, however, because both wrote very funny, and yet really very dark stories for children. They don't shy away from the nastiness, and ugliness in life and instead face it head on, and flip it around, and make you laugh along the way. This is a rollercoaster ride through a wide range of truly dreadful children who range from being a fussy eater, to a spoiled brat, to Harry, who never, ever did his homework! Yes, their dark deeds vary in despicableness, and along with dreadfulness galore there are fabulous illustrations, a large variety of fonts, unusual page layouts and a Royal introduction from the Queen... Full review...

Stanley and the Magic Lamp (Flat Stanley) by Jeff Brown and Rob Biddulph

3.5star.jpg Emerging Readers

It was far too recently that I picked up Flat Stanley and met with a character now fifty years old for the first time, and found out how he got to be flat and what happened as a result. Bizarrely, however, despite the success of that first book it was twenty full years before the author picked up the pen to give Stanley this sequel. Or perhaps it's not such a surprise – without giving too much away, the character had met with a certain change at the end of book one, and therefore wasn't exactly ready for more of the same. Well, over the decades there have been six official books by Jeff Brown, and this was the first instance where I could find out for myself if I was ready for more of the same… Full review...

The Ethan I Was Before by Ali Standish

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Ethan and his family are moving to a little town in Georgia from the big city of Boston in a last ditch attempt to help Ethan get over the loss of best friend Kacey. And the move does give Ethan a great deal else to think about. There's living in Grandpa Ike's dilapidated old house and the uncommunicative Grandpa Ike himself. There's a new school with a new pecking order to navigate. There's a new friend in Coralee, who has a great line in tall stories and who likes adventures almost as much as Kacey did. But it's hard to leave grief behind, especially when you feel as guilty as Ethan does... Full review...

National Trust: Go Wild in the Woods by Goldie Hawk and Rachael Saunders

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I am a man who likes his creature comforts. Always have been, always will – and creature comforts don't involve snuggling down in a sleeping bag, however comfortable, to watch creatures, as far as I'm concerned. Luckily, however, many people are of another bent entirely – they find no problem in getting out and about, taking whatever weather and wildlife can throw at them, and spending time out of doors for the hell of it. This book is the first stage to that, and needs to be read in full before you step out your front door. And even if it's your only stage, it will still be pleasantly educational… Full review...

Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls by Paul Stewart and Chris Ridddell

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Our hero is a free lance – one of the traditional self-employed men, going round the country, jousting when he can, doing fantastical errands when they come up, all with no fixed employer. But the lack of fixed income hits home at times. And at those times, those fantastical errands, however nightmarish they can clearly be, get to be all the more appealing… Full review...

The Ghost in the Bath by Jeremy Strong and Scoular Anderson

4.5star.jpg Dyslexia Friendly

Luke has got problems – and just about every school subject qualifies as one at the moment. But none of those are a bigger problem than history – he's been tasked with a research-heavy project for homework, but has no idea. So when he is having a brainstorm in a bath and is interrupted by a ghost, of all things, it might just be the way for him to be connected with the past. But that's ignoring the fact that the girl left as a ghost might be wanting a connection of her own – and perhaps an end to an unusual problem she herself has… Full review...

The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman and Us Now

4.5star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

Dinosaurs… farm machinery… science fiction… trains… cars. I can't think of many other subjects that inspired the young me to have a full non-fiction book about them on my juvenile shelves. Most of course I lost interest in with maturity. But the young child these days won't be much different, for good or bad, and so they will like as not want a book about broom-brooms for the shelf. And this is pretty much the go-to volume for such an interest. Full review...

In Focus: Cities by Libby Walden

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

The first book in this series promised 101 close-ups, cross sections and/or cutways, but here we're restricted to just ten. Why? Because the subject matters are so much bigger – one is home to 37 million people, of all things. Yes, we're talking cities, and while this book tries to follow the previous – different artist every page, an exclusive inside look within the volume, and a self-deceiving page count – we are definitely in new territory. We're seeking the trivial, the geographical and the cultural, all so that the inquisitive young student can find out the variety to be had in the world's metropolises. Full review...

Dragon Rider by Cornelia Funke

4star.jpg Confident Readers

My daughter first read Dragon Rider when she discovered it in her school library aged about 8. She loved it, so much so that she borrowed it over and over, reading and re-reading it, her head full of dragons. I finally sat down to give it a read myself, excited at the prospect of a good fantasy story. Firedrake is the one, brave dragon from a small dragon community who, when faced with the incoming humans who will destroy their home, decides to go out into the world to try to find the Rim of Heaven, a hidden home for the dragons. There's a far-ranging, adventurous journey, and there are fantasy creatures galore, such as Firedrake's brownie friend, Sorrel, a djinn, a basilisk, a sea serpent and the big baddie, Nettlebrand. Full review...

Titania and Oberon by Jo Manton, Phyllis Bray and David Buckman

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Equus, Waiting for Godot and A Mid-summer Night's Dream – three very distinctive plays, and my favourite three, out of which you won't often get me choosing just one. But were I to do so, it might actually be the last, for the simple reason I would delight in playing any and all characters from it. Yes, I know Hermia and Helena look a bit implausible now – but I put it to you stranger things happen on stage… Some of the strangest things involve a player himself, a lowly actor who gets given an ass's head and is forced to be the enamoured of a fairy queen. It's this section of the play that this book concentrates on, in quite stunning form. Full review...

The Giant's Necklace by Michael Morpurgo and Briony May Smith

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

On holiday in Cornwall Cherry found a length of fishing line and decided that she was going to make a giant's necklace with cowrie shells. She's patient and painstaking - it takes her weeks to gather the shells, clean, polish and string them together. On the final day of the holiday she knows how many more she needs and she's determined that she's not going to be beaten. The family head off for a day on their beach and Cherry begs to stay on for a little longer so that she can get the shells she needs. Only she's not quite careful enough and allows herself to be cut off by the tide when the weather takes a turn for the worse. Full review...

Resurrection by Derek Landy

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Skulduggery Pleasant – the sharply dressed and wise-cracking skeleton – is back and he needs help. A small group of disgruntled sorcerers have banded together and have plans to use their unique set of skills to wage war on the mortal world. Others have tried this in the past but this particular group have a scheme that should guarantee their success: they're going to resurrect a terrifying evil. Despite his powers, Skulduggery can't defeat them alone. He successfully persuades his former partner – Valkyrie Cain – to join him for just twenty-four hours. But will she stay when the time runs out? Will they be able to save the world? Full review...

Super Creepy Camp (Beaky Malone) by Barry Hutchison

5star.jpg Confident Readers

First of all, I'd like to start off by making a complaint to Barry Hutchison. His latest book, Super Creepy Camp has been giving me sleepless nights. I've been kept awake by the raucous laughter emanating from my son's bedroom as he reads it before bed. I'd just be settling down and then it would start again, bouncing off the walls in the dead of night and probably keeping the neighbours awake too. I'd stomp angrily across the landing, open his door, to find him helplessly rolling around on the bed in fits of giggles. So thanks, Barry. Thanks a lot. Full review...

The Misadventures of Max Crumbly 2: Middle School Mayhem by Rachel Renee Russell

2.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Max is in the middle of a situation, and no mistake. Last time he had to bust himself out of his own school locker, and found himself caught up in a right scrape suitable only for his own superhero aspirations, involving burglars at the school, retrieving valuable comics, and so much more. Joining right back into the action with a literal splat this time we face the thieves up front and personal, and at the same see Max trying to save what little friendship he has with the hot computer-loving girl at school, who can easily rank as his only friend there – and whose clothes he happens to be wearing. Oh woe is he… Full review...

Black Ships Before Troy by Rosemary Sutcliff

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

This is the perfect book for those that want a taste of Homer's Iliad before attempting the full work. Although aimed at a younger reading audience, Sutcliff's writing is concise and gripping; thus, this will be as equally beneficial to adults. This, when brought together with the excellent artistic skills of Allan lee, makes for a lavish retelling of the Iliad. Full review...

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr

5star.jpg Confident Readers

It's Germany, 1933 and nine year old Anna has a dream – she wants to be famous when she grows up. Unfortunately nearly all the famous people she's heard of have suffered from a difficult childhood and Anna knows that's not her. She has a loving family with enough money. Her life is, however, turned upside down by Adolf Hitler's rise to power. Anna's told that she's Jewish (her parents aren't particularly religious so she was only dimly aware of this) and her dad is likely to be a target under a Nazi government. Anna and her family are forced to flee Germany and build a new life as refugees in Switzerland, then France and ultimately England. It's a hard life, especially when money worries settle in, but for Anna and her brother it's also an adventure. It's, therefore, a long time before Anna realises that her experiences might actually count as a difficult childhood. Full review...

My Book of Birds by Geraldo Valerio

4star.jpg Children's Non-Fiction

I never really caught the bird-watching habit, even with the opportunity of growing up on the edge of a village in the middle of nowhere. It was in the family, too, but I resigned myself to never seeing much that was spectacular, and once you've seen one blackbird you've seen them all, was my thinking. If I'd had this book as a youngster, who knows – I may have come out of it differently, having been shown the diversity of the bird world in snippets of text, and some quite unusual illustrations… Full review...