'The best books, reviewed with insight and charm, but without compromise.'
- author Jackie French

Friday 19 August 2011

KBR Recommends: Junior Fiction, August 2011

For kids aged 8 - 12, this collection of fabulous books - some new release, some not so new release - will satisfy everyone from your fun-loving girl to your angst-ridden boy... and vice versa. Enjoy!

My Name is Rose by Sally Grindley (Bloomsbury, $15.99, August 2011, ages 9 - 12)

Rose is a young Romany gypsy girl who travels around Romania and Europe in a caravan with her family. Playing music – on their own or with extended family and friends – her life is happy, until Rose suddenly finds herself an orphan after a dreadful car accident.

This is the beginning of many changes for Rose as she is forced to adapt to another country and a new family, and she realises that she’s not sure of her identity.

A powerful novel of loss and growing up by an author who is well known for her extraordinary portrayals of children overcoming adversity in different parts of the world.  

Muncle Trogg by Janet Foxley (Chicken House, $12.99, July 2011, ages 7 - 12)

Giants live on top of Mount Grumble, hidden from humans below. But not all of them are giant-like. Muncle Trogg is so small that he’s laughed at by the others for being human-sized. Fed up, he decides to take a look at the Smallings that he’s meant to look like. But what he discovers is very surprising!

An affectionate and charming upside down fairytale, this is the magical story of the residents of Misty Mountain and the tiny giant who saves the day.

How to Get the Family You Want by Jenny Alexander (Bloomsbury, $14.99, July 2011, ages 8-12)

Peony Pinker is fed up with her family. Her mum's working long hours setting up her gardening business and her dad isn't pulling his weight around the house, so they're arguing all the time. Her big sister, Primrose, is stressed about her exams and taking it out on everyone else including her lovely boyfriend Matt.

Peony's Gran tells her you can choose your friends but not your family; as you can't have the family you want, you have to learn to want the family you've got. 'Not possible!' thinks Peony. But Gran is sure she'll think of something. As most of Gran's ideas go horribly wrong, Peony knows there will be even more trouble ahead...

Books for girls who are sick of 'pink' and 'supernatural' fiction. Quirky, irreverent, funny and familiar, young readers are able to immediately identify with the characters involved. Current, immediate and instantly accessible, a light focus on self-help and family relationships and is at the core of each book. Excellent transitional level reading from illustrated black and white books to longer, more challenging novels. Writer has a proven track record of writing in this field.

The Brilliant World of Tom Gates by L Pichon (Scholastic UK, $15.99, July 2011, ages 8-12)

I'm Tom Gates.

When my teacher, Mr Fullerman, doesn't have his beady eyes on me, I like to draw pictures and write stories about stuff, like when we had the worst holiday ever (camping sucks), and when my parents came to school for parents' evening (groan). 

All I want to do is get tickets to see the best band ever, DUDE3, when they come to town. My teachers think I am easily distracted and lack focus, which is a bit harsh because right now I am feeling VERY focused on which biscuit I should eat first... mmm.

The Loser List by H N Kowitt (Scholastic, $14.99, July 2011, ages 9+)

After getting caught trying to cross his name off the “Geek” list in the girls’ bathroom‚ Danny gets sent to detention with the rest of the bad crowd.

He enjoys his new rebel status‚ but can he turn his back on his geeky friends?
Stresshead By Allane Webster (Scholastic, $19.99, May 2011, ages 9+)

I'm toast. I'm burnt toast. I'm the charcoal you scrape off the toast with your knife. OMG! Year Eleven results are out today, my boyfriend is MIA and my mum is acting totally weird.

I'd turn to my BF Kat, but her life has suddenly gone from hero to zero. I don't know who to talk to and everyone's got their own problems. Would life be better if I wasn't such a stresshead? A wry, first-hand account of trying to cope with the almost overwhelming burden of being sixteen.

The Pearl of Tiger Bay by Gabrielle Wang (Puffin, $16.95, April 2004, ages 8+)

From the author of the Our Australian Girl series.

Suddenly, Annie felt a cold flutter touch the back of her neck. Someone was watching her, she was sure of it. She glanced up at the limestone cliff behind her. It was then she noticed a creepy old house with blank staring eyes, its outline barely visible against the thin cover of clouds.

When Annie moves with her family to the seaside town of Tiger Bay, she finds a place full of secrets, mystery and a strange sadness. Most mysterious of all is Madame Olenka, who lives in the Pearl, a grand dilapidated hotel on the cliff about the township, and has not spoken to anyone in thirty years ...

Grim & Grimmer, Book 4: The Calamitous Queen by Ian Irvine  (Scholastic, $16.99, June 2011, ages 9+)

The time has come. It's now or never for Ike. Will he discover the secret of his missing parents?

Will he be able to help Pook free the Collected children? Have Mellie's parents been horribly burned alive by Emajicka's minions? And will Spleen and Nuckle finally get to eat Ike's innards? All the answers are coming in The Calamitous Queen.

Brace yourselves for a wild ride!