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Reviews

The canyon's edge

The canyon's edge

Dusti Bowling
Little, Brown

A young girl must find the courage to overcome physical dangers and psychological fears to save herself and her father when they get stranded in a desert slot canyon.

One year after a random shooting changed their family forever, Nora and her father are exploring a slot canyon deep in the Arizona desert, hoping it will help them find peace. Nora longs for things to go back to normal, like they were when her mother was still alive, while her father keeps them isolated in fear of other people. But when they reach the bottom of the canyon, the unthinkable happens: A flash flood rips across their path, sweeping away Nora's father and all of their supplies.

Suddenly, Nora finds herself lost and alone in the desert, facing dehydration, venomous scorpions, deadly snakes, and, worst of all, the Beast who has terrorized her dreams for the past year. If Nora is going to save herself and her father, she must conquer her fears, defeat the Beast, and find the courage to live her new life.

Beautifully written in verse, with a strong and resilient character who deals with trauma, grief and survival. Gripping and moving, this was a brilliant story.

Zeena Ark Reviewed by Zeena Ark on 20th October 2021
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I'm sticking with you too

I'm sticking with you too

Smriti Halls
Simon & S

Much-loved characters Bear and Squirrel are back! And they've found the perfect rhythm for their friendship. Until, that is, Chicken turns up... She wants in! But how will Bear and Squirrel feel about accepting a new friend? Will they come to see that some things work out when we do them together. That two can be good...but three can be BETTER?

The second installment from this winning duo. A great rhyming tale of friendship/acceptance with humorous illustrations that really bring the story to life. It's marvellous, one to read again and again and perfect for school/libraries collections.

 

 

Michaela Owen missing Reviewed by Michaela Owen on 20th October 2021
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When fishes flew

When fishes flew

Michael Morpurgo
HarperCollins

Weaves Greek myth/history into a fascinating story of bravery, family ties and a talking fish! A heart-warming, inspirational tale that is ultimately about humanitarianism. Easy to read, delicate and emotive, it's wonderful! Highly recommended

Michaela Owen missing Reviewed by Michaela Owen on 13th October 2021
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Pony

Pony

R J Palacio
Puffin

The bonds we create, human or animal, are beautifully explored and you really resonate with the characters. Multi layered, a strong spiritual/photography theme adds to the mix. It's a raw, captivating, generous story and you get a lot out of it. A fantastic read.

Michaela Owen missing Reviewed by Michaela Owen on 8th October 2021
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The who's whonicorn of unicorns

The who's whonicorn of unicorns

Kes Gray
Puffin

Another hilarious title from this author. Fans of Unicorns will enjoy the variety and the amusing illustrations. Would be great to read aloud (although may take a bit of practice to get the names right!). A must for picture book collections.

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 6th October 2021
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The book of stolen dreams

The book of stolen dreams

David Farr
Usborne

Gripping page-turner that has you mesmerised from page one. Feels like a classic and is quite dark in the vein of Lemony Snicket. Excellent world building presented in rich, detailed language and characters you really root for. Highly recommended

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 4th October 2021
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The Beatryce prophecy

The Beatryce prophecy

Kate Dicamillo
Walker Bks

It's beautifully written and easy to read. A sensitive and illuminating tale set in a time where education was denied to girls. Has the right level of drama/suspense with a satisfying ending. A safe, reading-for-pleasure delight.

Michaela Owen missing Reviewed by Michaela Owen on 1st October 2021
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Constance in peril

Constance in peril

Ben Manley
Two Hoots

Lovely title that is sure to resonate with a wide audience. Beautiful illustrations enhance a buoyant, slightly humorous text with an engaging warmth. Non-stereotypical gender roles are an added bonus. Wonderful!

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 29th September 2021
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Kaleidoscope

Kaleidoscope

Brian Selznick
Scholastic

It's wonderfully lyrical and thought provoking. Its structure is fluid, and very much like looking into a kaleidoscope. The illustrations are beautiful. This is one to read again and again.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 22nd September 2021
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The Ash House

The Ash House

Angharad Walker
Chicken House

Surreal and disturbing in a Kafka-esque way, but skilful writing results in a gripping, compelling read to which you may not feel you get all the answers but which stays with you long after the last page. Would keep book groups debating for hours! A remarkable debut

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 6th September 2021
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Julia and the shark

Julia and the shark

Kiran Millwood Hargrave
Orion

It's a lovely story that deals sensitively with a parent suffering from bipolar disorder. It's lyrical and imaginative and absorbing. The illustrations are beautiful too. Good for thoughtful readers.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 3rd September 2021
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Utterly Dark and the face of the deep

Utterly Dark and the face of the deep

Philip Reeve
David Fickling Bks

A wonderful story, expertly told.  The characters are solid as magic washes around them.  A trip to the seaside will never be the same again!  Thoroughly enjoyable, especially for those that like a different/challenging read.

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 27th August 2021
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Every line of you

Every line of you

Naomi Gibson
Chicken House

I read this in one sitting. Part sci-fi thriller, part romance, this debut has plenty to keep you turning the pages as the plot develops.  Issues about AI and what it means to be human give it a little more depth than the average YA fare. An author to watch for the future.

Deborah Bradley Reviewed by Deborah Bradley on 18th August 2021
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Storm horse

Storm horse

Jane Elson
Hodder

Daniel is dyslexic and struggles for words to make sense. When the headteacher announces a reading challenge and his group is chosen to represent the school live on TV, it's Daniel's worst nightmare. Thrown together with a bunch of misfits, The Biscuits team gain confidence and friendship through a mysterious abandoned horse who shows up on their estate.

This is a really lovely, moving tale of overcoming adversity with a pleasing resolution. The ragtag cast of main characters are endearing and have several poignant moments throughout. Higlighting issues of poverty, dyslexia, injury and loneliness within the context of a heartwarming animal tale, this book really does have something for everyone.

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 16th August 2021
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The midnight thief

The midnight thief

Sylvia Bishop
Scholastic

Ellie is miserable at her posh boarding school, having managed to incur the wrath of both the head girl AND the headmistress in a matter of weeks. Friendless and alone, she is delighted to meet the unusual children of a local bat expert when they come to deal with an infestation. Together the three of them team up to explore the city, but when seven priceless dragon statues are stolen Ellie immediately suspects her new friends. However, the truth may be closer to home...

This is a really satisfying read, with an engaging plot and plenty of humour. The mystery is well-concluded and the illustrations complement the text well. Buy plenty!

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 16th August 2021
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