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Reviews

Love is for losers

Love is for losers

Wibke Brueggemann
Macmillan

Hilarious misadventures of our miserable heroine have great appeal, and unexpectedly moving denouncement adds emotional depth. Really enjoyable debut

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 19th January 2021
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Last one to die

Last one to die

Cynthia Murphy
Scholastic

A gripping page-turner from the start with believable characters you root for. For those who like to be on the sedge of your seat this is an ideal choice. A debut author worth watching

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 11th January 2021
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Darwin's dragons

Darwin's dragons

Lindsay Galvin
Chicken House

A great adventure story. Very readable and exciting, the writing is vivid and precise. This will inspire young readers to dream of unexplored lands. Good for all JF readers as chapters are a manageable length and keep you wanting more.

!

Emma McElwee Reviewed by Emma McElwee on 11th January 2021
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First day of my life

First day of my life

Lisa Williamson
David Fickling Bks

The premise feels both wholly unlikely and horribly realistic but the dynamic between the main characters is strongly portrayed and it is this that keeps you turning the pages. Covers a range of issues & emotions, a pacey, if slightly exhausting read

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 7th January 2021
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The tale of the valiant ninja frog

The tale of the valiant ninja frog

Alastair Chisholm
Walker Bks

Amusing tale with lively characters and expressive illustrations. Family are relatable and their storytelling skills very entertaining. Well worth stocking

Laura Hayward Reviewed by Laura Hayward on 17th December 2020
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Plague

Plague

Ben Hubbard
Watts

Gruesomely fascinating text supplies plenty of detail, and accompanying illustrations are great. Could be used for topic support or equally for general interest. References Covid-19

Lucy Forrester Reviewed by Lucy Forrester on 17th December 2020
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The midnight guardians

The midnight guardians

Ross Montgomery
Walker Bks

Takes a leap to accept the premise but the pages turn quickly and the mix of magical realism and WW2 tension works well. Gripping, unusual adventure with strong themes of self-belief, courage and the bonds of family and friendship.  

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 23rd November 2020
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The greatest inventor

The greatest inventor

Ben Brooks
Quercus Children's Books

Gripping from the first page, characters that you love and so many important messages about life! (Debt, time and enjoying who you are!)Well worth having in any collection. Would be a great discussion starter. Thoroughly enjoyable. I loved it!

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 16th November 2020
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Where snow angels go

Where snow angels go

Maggie O'Farrell
Walker Bks

A beautiful illustrated novel full of rich language with a nostalgic, dreamlike quality. Would suit a wide age range especially in an educational setting, either as a quick guided read for younger KS2, or as a challenging read for older KS1. Reads aloud well so also good for story time sharing.

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 5th November 2020
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Too much stuff!

Too much stuff!

Emily Gravett
Two Hoots

Superb illustrations perfectly match the rhyming text that delivers an important message about materialism and possessions. Wonderful just to share for enjoyment or to use as a discussion tool. Buy loads

Diane Gill Reviewed by Diane Gill on 5th November 2020
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The night bus hero

The night bus hero

Onjali Q Rauf
Orion

Written from a bully's perspective, an engrossing read on the impacts of homelessness. Told through humour it also includes themes of kindness and empathy whilst celebrating that people can change for the good. Just brilliant!

Melanie Crawford Reviewed by Melanie Crawford on 23rd October 2020
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A world full of poems

A world full of poems


Dorling K

What an absolutely great collection. A diverse range to make you laugh and think. A lovely anthology and a must for any poetry collection

Dawn Franklin Reviewed by Dawn Franklin on 16th October 2020
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The orphans of St Halibut's

The orphans of St Halibut's

Sophie Wills
Macmillan

When their miserable matron is killed in a freak accident, the children of St. Halibut's orphanage are thrilled. They bury her in the vegetable patch and completely forget about bathing, spellings or cleaning. When DEATH (Department of Education, Assimilation, Training and Health) send an inspector to check out their home, they realise they will have to outwit the adults to keep their happy new existence going. But when the inspector arrives, things quickly take a turn for the worse...

A brilliantly written book with a touch of the gothic, this debut has it all! Plucky orphans, dastardly villains, plenty of revolting moments and a very grumpy goat... Cleverly plotted and with likeable, exaggerated characters who stagger from one disaster to the next, the lively text is perfectly accompanied by David Tazzyman's instantly recognisable illustrations. 

This has great shelf appeal and deserves to issue widely. Buy plenty! 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 5th October 2020
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The miracle on Ebenezer Street

The miracle on Ebenezer Street

Catherine Doyle
Puffin

Three long years have passed since George's mother was killed on Christmas Eve - and since George's dad cancelled Christmas for them. Trapped in their grief, the lonely pair (and George's nan) are miserable and isolated as seemingly the entire world enjoys the festivities. But when George chances upon a very special snow globe in a rather magical shop, he starts off a series of visits from the ghosts of Christmas past, present and future - and hopefully a change of heart for his dad...

Taking a much-loved Christmas classic (A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens) and giving it a very modern update, complete with purple reindeer and cheeky elves, takes some nerve. Luckily Catherine Doyle has managed to craft a hugely enjoyable adventure sprinkled with sly humour, heartbreaking poignancy and a little bit of magic. Destined to be a future classic itself, The Miracle on Ebenezer Street is sure to make readers laugh out loud and shed a tear. An essential purchase for seasonal collections everywhere. 

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 5th October 2020
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Cane warriors

Cane warriors

Alex Wheatle
Andersen Pr

Brutal, unforgiving narrative,  and speech written in patois may be hard to swallow, but this is an important and powerful read. Fantastic stuff from a great author

Katie Merrick Reviewed by Katie Merrick on 5th October 2020
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