Younger readers

Hilarity amid deluded need for bucket list

March 7, 2016
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Hilarity amid deluded need for bucket list

When Mr Dog Bites, by Brian Conaghan (Bloomsbury, RRP $29): Life for the average 16-year-old can be pretty tough, and for Dylan Mint, it is tougher than most. Dylan isn’t particularly average. In fact, he has Tourette’s and his life is a constant battle to control his swearing, his tics, and – when he’s...

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Grylls delivers – and some

November 11, 2015
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Grylls delivers – and some

True Grit Junior Edition, by Bear Grylls (Corgi Juvenile, RRP $20): I wasn’t really expecting to enjoy this book but am pleased to say I was proved wrong. Let me begin by owning up to one thing in particular: I’m not greatly enamoured of Bear Grylls. While his fans watch his various “boy’s own adventure”...

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10 out of 10

August 30, 2015
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10 out of 10

Morgan Goes to Nowhere, by Richard Fairgray, Tara Black and Terry Jones (Square Planet) It’s about a boy called Morgan who can’t find his toy rabbit, so he thinks it has gone nowhere so he goes nowhere as well. So that’s just where Morgan found Rabbit and then he realises Rabbit was somewhere after all....

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Not-so-gentle coming-of-age story

August 15, 2015
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Not-so-gentle coming-of-age story

Snake Bite, by Christie Thompson (Allen & Unwin, RRP $30) Jez is 17, bored in a downtrodden Canberra suburb, and coming to realise she’s in love with her best friend, Lukey. It’s summertime and Jez has little to do but hang out, get high and argue with her mum. She takes it for granted that...

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Engaging tale set in China

May 17, 2015
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Engaging tale set in China

Blood Brothers, by Carole Wilkinson (Black Dog Books): As a young novice monk in a Buddhist monastery, Tao’s life is simple, ordered and inward looking. All that changes when Kai enters his life. Kai is a young dragon whose arrival spells disruption and adventure for Tao, whom he has sought out because he believes...

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Good pace in author’s first novel

April 17, 2015
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Good pace in author’s first novel

A Necklace of Souls, by R L Stedman (HarperCollins, RRP $25): Dana is a princess in the hidden Kingdom of the Rose, a sheltered, magical land that allows no war or disease to penetrate its borders. Protected by the Guardian – always a woman of the royal family who pays a terrible price –...

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Christmas treats for the littlies

December 21, 2013
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Christmas treats for the littlies

It will probably come as no surprise to learn that way back in the mists of time, when I was a young’un, I was a bit of a bookworm. I had an extensive collection of hard-cover Little Golden Books (including the classic Poky Little Puppy) that filled my own bookshelf and took over most...

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Otago tale brings local star to the fore

November 26, 2013
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Otago tale brings local star to the fore

Josephine off the Rails, by Diane Miller, illustrated by Sheryl MacLeod (Lifelogs, RRP $20): Dunedin-based children’s author Diane Miller has used the Josephine, the 21-tonne steam locomotive that has been on display at the Otago Settlers Museum for years, as the inspiration for this story. Josephine gets to realise a long-held fantasy, and escapes...

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Ruby Redfort: heroine extraordinaire

November 17, 2013
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Ruby Redfort: heroine extraordinaire

Hang in there Bozo, by Lauren Child (HarperCollins, RRP $5): Ruby Redfort is the heroine of a series of books by Lauren Child: a secret agent, detective, thirteen-year-old kid. And now a survival expert. Subtitled “The Ruby Redfort Emergency Survival Guide for Some Tricky Predicaments”, this book is packed with helpful hints and tips...

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Fun tale of a geriatric delinquent

October 27, 2013
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Fun tale of a geriatric delinquent

Gangsta Granny, by David Walliams, illustrated by Tony Ross (HarperCollins, RRP $25): It’s refreshing to find a book aimed at younger readers that doesn’t focus on either girls and horses or teens and vampires. Little Britain star David Walliams has followed up on his earlier successful children’s books with this latest offering, Gangsta Granny....

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