A fun MG adventure – the start of an exciting new series by Paula Harrison
Published by Scholastic UK 01/09/2016
The first in an exciting new series by Paula Harrison, this book release coincides with the first day of term at Hogwarts, and features a school of children, 3 of whom discover they have magical powers and abilities. And it has a fabulously well-read youngster who made me think of Hermione Granger!
Clumsy middle child Robyn is convinced nothing exciting can happen in her life until she sees a mysterious spiny creature and realises that her family can’t see it. Sharing the news with her best friend Aiden coincides with their realisation that their school has suffered a freak tree-falling incident.
Being moved out to the local creepy mansion, the wonderfully named Grimdean House, is the start of a series of adventures, challenges and revelations for Robyn, Aiden and the very bright Nora from the year below them. Can Robyn learn to fight with unusual weapons against weird creatures and monsters – and a rival group of youngsters with special powers?
I thoroughly enjoyed this book and can imagine many 7-11 year-olds being gripped by the adventure and the characters. I particularly liked the sly and slithery Miss Smiting – and the realisation of what she is!
It’s great to know that this is the start of a new series, with more mysteries and adventure to come next year!
Swan Boy by Nikki Sheehan
A book about learning to be yourself – against the odds.
Johnny has moved, with his mum and younger brother Mojo, to a new part of London following the death of his dad. Settling into a new school, with the extra responsibility of collecting Mojo while mum works, are challenges made harder for Johnny by bully, Liam Clarke. But neither teenager reckoned on the clever intervention of dance teacher Mrs Cray.
Superbly written by second-time novelist Nikki Sheehan, this book explores forging new friendships, the impact of bullies and of losing a parent, with a quirky underlying theme of swans.
Highly recommended – to suit ages 9+.
I have been wanting to get started on a bookish blog for some time, and this title seemed the perfect one for my first blogged book review!
The OMG Blog by Karen McCombie
Like in my favourite teen film, The Breakfast Club, detention can throw together a group of youngsters with very different backgrounds.
In this new book by Karen McCombie, we see 4 girls in their first weeks of secondary school being flung together and then working together on a blogging project. Their developing friendship has them each see their mums through the eyes of others and in a new light.
I loved the way the characters – of the girls and the mums – gradually unfold and the friendships strengthen. It is a very realist portrayal of settling into a new school and building friendships, through a light-hearted storyline.
As a Barrington Stoke ‘Conkers’ publication, this is an easier to read novel-length book for ‘tweens’ (9-13), with a layout which is fun, but easy on the eye. The dedication to a former reluctant reader perfectly reflects Barrington Stoke’s ethic of making reading accessible and fun. The book is dyslexia friendly and has some wise words about online safety at the end.
I’d certainly recommend it to both reluctant and keen readers, especially those just transferring to Secondary school.