Must-have books for Year 5

October 9th, 2018

Year 5


Sputnik’s guide to life on Earth By Frank Cottrell Boyce

General information – Prez finds his foster family visited by an alien who has disguised himself as a dog, and tells him that the Earth is going to be destroyed unless he can save it.

The Blythes are a big, warm, rambunctious family who live on a small farm and sometimes foster children. Now Prez has come to live with them. But, though he seems cheerful and helpful, he never says a word. Then one day Prez answers the door to someone claiming to be his relative. This small, loud stranger carries a backpack, walks with a swagger and goes by the name of Sputnik.

As Prez dithers on the doorstep, Sputnik strolls right past him and introduces himself to everyone in the household. Prez is amazed at the response. The family pat Sputnik on the head, call him a good boy and drop food into his mouth. It seems they all think Sputnik is a dog. It’s only Prez who thinks otherwise.

But Prez soon finds himself having to defend the family from the chaos and danger unleashed by Sputnik, as household items come to life – like a TV remote that fast-forwards people: ‘Anyone can do it, it’s just that people don’t read the instructions properly'; and a toy lightsaber that entertains guests at a children’s party, until one of them is nearly decapitated by it – and Prez is going to have to use his voice to explain himself.

It turns out that Sputnik is writing a guidebook to Earth called Ten Things Worth Doing on Earth, and he takes Prez on a journey to discover just those ten things. Each adventure seems to take Prez nearer to the heart of the family he is being fostered by. But they also take him closer to the day that he is due to leave them forever…

NOTE: Carnegie Medal Shortlist 2017

– A lovely story that embraces humour, a characterful alien, the troubles of old age and dementia, and the difficulties of being fostered all in one joyful story! Only Boyce could pull this off. Wonderful



Happy poems by Roger McGough

General information – A collection of cheerful poems to brighten the reader’s day.

Critically acclaimed poet Roger McGough has drawn together a fantastic collection of upbeat poems to bring happiness into your day. He reminds us that happiness can be found all around us in the everyday, in family, in books, in nature and, of course, in our pets!

Includes gems from the very best classic and contemporary poets, such as John Agard, Adrian Henri, Brian Patten, Carol Ann Duffy, Joseph Coelho, William Wordsworth and William Blake.

Review – A lovely collection of poems that could be used to support the curriculum or for leisure purposes.



Matilda By Roald Dahl

General information – A young genius girl develops psychic powers and uses them to get revenge on her parents and terrifying headteacher

Matilda Wormwood’s father thinks she’s a little scab. Matilda’s mother spends all afternoon playing bingo. And Matilda’s headmistress Miss Trunchbull? Well, she’s the worst of all. She is a big bully, who thinks all her pupils are rotten and locks them in the dreaded Chokey.

As for Matilda, she’s an extraordinary little girl with a magical mind – and now she’s had enough. So all these grown-ups had better watch out, because Matilda is going to teach them a lesson they’ll never forget.

Phizzwhizzing new cover look and branding for the World’s Number One Storyteller!

NOTE : Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award for the Book That Made Me Laugh the Loudest 2000 & Children’s Book Award 1989.

Review – Can’t go wrong with this, & attractive modern cover will entice new readers.



Beetle Boy By M G Leonard

General information – A boy investigates the connection between his missing scientist father and some unusually intelligent beetles next door

Darkus is miserable. His dad has disappeared, and now he is living next door to the most disgusting neighbours ever. A giant beetle called Baxter comes to his rescue. But can the two solve the mystery of his dad’s disappearance, especially when links emerge to cruel Lucretia Cutter and her penchant for beetle jewellery?

A coffee-mug mountain, home to a million insects, could provide the answer – if Darkus and Baxter are brave enough to find it.

NOTE: Carnegie Medal Longlist 2017

NOTE: Waterstones Children’s Book Prize Shortlist 2017

NOTE: Branford Boase Winner 2017

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Compelling mystery & well-written creepy villain with capable children to root for. A strong debut set for sequel. Anyone not squeamish about bugs will enjoy reading this.



The wizards of once By Cressida Cowell

General information – A Wizard boy and a Warrior girl meant to be enemies join together to defeat the new threat from Witches

This is the story of a young boy Wizard and a young girl Warrior who have been taught since birth to hate each other like poison; and the thrilling tale of what happens when their two worlds collide.

Once there was Magic, and the Magic lived in the dark forests. Until the Warriors came…

Xar is a Wizard boy who has no Magic, and will do anything to get it. Wish is a Warrior girl, but she owns a banned Magical Object, and she will do anything to conceal it.

In this whirlwind adventure, Xar and Wish must forget their differences if they’re going to make it to the dungeons at Warrior Fort.

Where something that has been sleeping for hundreds of years is stirring…

First title in a new series

NOTE : Winner of the Blue Peter Book Award Best Story 2018

Review – Two great misfit characters from Cowell combined with a pacy, rollicking adventure. Some quite esoteric and dark concepts too so plenty to challenge good readers.



Boy underwater By Adam Baron

General information – A funny and touching story about nine-year-old Cymbeline Igloo who turns detective to discover the family secret that has led to his mother’s breakdown.

Cymbeline Igloo has never been swimming – not ever, not once – so challenging the class bully to a race during their first school swimming lesson was never going to go down well.

When Cymbeline nearly drowns, his mother has a nervous breakdown and ends up in hospital. Why? Why has she never taken him anywhere near water?

Cymbeline follows a series of clues to find the answer, helped by an eclectic bunch of friends. What he finally discovers is as shocking as it is unexpected, and it turns Cymbeline’s life on its head.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – By turns heartbreaking and hilarious, and with a protagonist you can’t help but love, this is an outstanding debut. Deserves to be on the shelves of every library.



Lost tales By Adam Murphy

General information – A collection of traditional folk tales from around the world.

All over the world, people have always loved stories. Stories that can teach us things, make us laugh, or make us cry. But some of those stories can become lost over time… From Adam Murphy, author of the highly acclaimed Corpse Talk, comes the most astonishing myths and legends that you’ve never heard of before…

In the land of the Mi’kmaq, there lived an invisible warrior, who longed to be seen.
In the Punjab, there lived a poor hermit who renounced riches.
In Brazil, there lived a lonely princess, who yearned for a playmate.

Uncover these tales of wonder from around the world.

NOTE: Blue Peter Book Awards Shortlist 2017 – Best Story

Review – A great selection of less well known folktales, retold with humour and verve. A fun leisure read, with curriculum uses too.



The boy at the back of the class By Onjali Q Rauf

General information – A boy befriends a refugee who has started in his class at school and helps him settle into his new life in the UK.

There used to be an empty chair at the back of my class, but now a new boy called Ahmet is sitting in it.He’s nine years old (just like me), but he’s very strange. He never talks and never smiles and doesn’t like sweets – not even lemon sherbets, which are my favourite!

But then I learned the truth: Ahmet really isn’t very strange at all. He’s a refugee who’s run away from a War. A real one. With bombs and fires and bullies that hurt people. And the more I find out about him, the more I want to help.

That’s where my best friends Josie, Michael and Tom come in. Because you see, together we’ve come up with a plan. . .

Told with heart and humour, The Boy at the Back of the Class is a child’s perspective on the refugee crisis, highlighting the importance of friendship and kindness in a world that doesn’t always make sense.

Book banded by Peters.

Review – Story is very well told and cleverly combines humour with some serious, poignant messages. A really lovely, eye-opening read.



Bravo Mr Shakespeare By Marcia Williams & William Shakespeare

General information – Retellings of seven of the plays of English playwright William Shakespeare.

The Globe Theatre is delighted to announce a new season of Mr William Shakespeare’s plays! Prithee take your places once more for a performance of seven of the Bard’s finest tales.

See As You Like It, Antony and Cleopatra, Richard III, Twelfth Night, King Lear, The Merchant of Venice and Much Ado About Nothing – each brilliantly presented in dramatic comic-strip form, including Mr Shakespeare’s dialogue and the riotous remarks of the audience. Bravo!

NOTE : Book banded by Peters.

Review – Marcia Williams has done it again. Lively & amusing. Sure to be a hit.



The polka dot shop By Laurel Remington

General information – A girl turns around the fortunes of her mum’s vintage clothes shop when her school announces a no-uniform policy.

When Andy’s school announces a new no-uniform policy, her classmates are over the moon – but her heart sinks. All she wants is to dress like everyone else, but her mum’s the owner of a run-down kooky vintage boutique, so she’s bound to look – well – different.

But when Andy finds a gorgeous bag full of designer goodies in the shop’s storeroom, everything changes. Can she learn to love vintage, and help transform her mum’s shop into something truly special?

Book banded by Peters.

Review – A sweet story of friendship, love and determination that handles many issues sensitively and contains some beautiful poignant moments. A really lovely read.



The explorer By Katherine Rundell

General information – Four children endeavour to survive after the light aircraft they were aboard crashes in the heart of the Amazon jungle.

From his seat in the tiny aeroplane, Fred watches as the mysteries of the Amazon jungle pass by below him. He has always dreamed of becoming an explorer, of making history and of reading his name amongst the lists of great discoveries. If only he could land and look about him.

As the plane crashes into the canopy, Fred is suddenly left without a choice. He and the three other children may be alive, but the jungle is a vast, untamed place.

With no hope of rescue, the chance of getting home feels impossibly small.

Except, it seems, someone has been there before them…

NOTE : The main characters decide to tattoo their skin with a penknife and ink. 5-year-old Max asks to join in and they agree.

NOTE : Book banded by Peters

NOTE : Costa Book Awards Winner 2017

NOTE: Carnegie Longlist 2018

NOTE: Children’s Book Award Shortlist 2018

Review – Well crafted balance of excitement with poignant scenes. Small, carefully-created cast with strong, complementary, female personalities, valiant lead and supportive, if eccentric, adult.



You’re a bad man, Mr Gum By Andy Stanton

General information – Follows the eccentric residents of a small town, including an obnoxious old man who tries to poison a popular dog.

This is the 10th anniversary and modern classic edition of the bestselling and award-winning, You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum

Good evening. Mr Gum is a complete horror who hates children, animals, fun and corn on the cob. This book’s all about him. And an angry fairy who lives in his bathtub. And Jake the dog, and a little girl called Polly. And there’s heroes and sweets and adventures and everything.

You’re a Bad Man, Mr Gum! is the first book in the internationally best-selling series by Andy Stanton, which has won everything from the Blue Peter Book Award (twice) to the Roald Dahl Funny Prize and the Red House Children’s Book Award.

This edition celebrates the 10th anniversary of its first publication.

NOTE : Winner of the Most Fun Story with Pictures category in the Blue Peter Children’s Book Awards 2007 & Red House Children’s Book Award for younger readers and overall winner 2007.

Review – Eccentric style matches contents & has certain fans. Daft but amusing. New cover and extra bonus story refresh it nicely.


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