‘Dragon School’ is outstanding YA fantasy adventure featuring Amel Leafbrought, a teenage girl beginning her career as a dragon rider.
Despite significant physical and social challenges, Amel demonstrates determination, integrity and resilience, presenting a really good role model for young people who often confront obstacles of one kind or another in achieving their goals. Her discovery of abilities that others do not have is a powerful element of Amel’s narrative, and serves as a strong encouragement for others who experience physical disabilities or limitations.
Amel’s experiences of other people, whether peers, teachers or dragons, demonstrate important lessons about the importance of careful discernment about who should be trusted, and about the true nature of friendship.
This series is highly original and well constructed. The story progresses at a very good pace, with plenty of adventure balanced by reflection and the development of friendships and connections between characters. The imagery is colourful and detailed, the characters diverse and varied, and the complications and problems they face are compelling.
The world building is unique and interesting, featuring complex and thought-provoking social systems, detailed and thoughtful architecture, and geography quite unique to this world.
The narration by Jigisha Patel, is clear and fluent, with excellent diction and expression, although there are a couple of minor errors. Her use of voice and tone to develop character and deliver the narrative results in a compelling story that is as engaging and enjoyable as Wilson’s writing.
While there are more episodes to follow, this audiobook ends with sufficient resolution to satisfy the audience, and a tantalising promise of more adventure to come.
Ronaldo is no ordinary reindeer, as this wonderful children’s book reveals.
Ronaldo attends the Flying Reindeer Academy alongside his best friend Rudi, enjoys The Weekly Flyer comics every Saturday morning, and dreams of becoming one of Santa’s elite reindeer like his hero, Vixen Pedersen.
This is a really fun story about friendship, encouragement and celebrating one another’s achievements. The story is infused with humour and warmth that is sure to engage and entertain young readers. The characters and events of the story are relatable, delivering positive lessons and modeling appropriate responses to typical.childhood challenges along the way.
Delightful reading for families and for independent young readers, this book would make an excellent addition to family, school.and community libraries.
‘Dragon’s Rock is an excellent kids’ mystery novel in which Lucy visits family in Wales and stumbles upon a series of clues relating to a local mystery.
Lucy and her cousin Bethan are delightful characters who demonstrate intelligence and integrity, and who are both creative and imaginative in their own ways. Both are engaging and positive role models for young readers.
The story is well written, structured so that the action progresses at a good pace, keeping the reader interested as the intrigue heightens. The inclusion of attractive images of Lucy’s fictional Instagram posts gives the book a very contemporary feel that readers will find relatable and appealing.
It is an ideal book for independent middle grade readers or for family reading, ‘Dragon’s Rock’ would make an excellent addition to family, school, and local library collections.
This is an enjoyable and straightforward story for children that deals with bullying and interacting with other kids in positive ways. The story is told in rhyming verse that makes it easy for kids to memorise key principles and therefore be more able to recall and apply them.
This is a great book for young independent readers, but also for families to read and discuss together. It certainly offers opportunities for parents to discuss with their children the sorts of experiences that kids commonly have, and how to deal with those situations when they arise.
The illustrations are engaging portraits of Anderson’s clockwork dragon character Quincy, who also features in Anderson’s steampunk fiction novel series for older readers, and his friends posing to reflect different aspects of the story as it is told.
‘Don’t Be A Meaniehead’ has a strong positive message for children, making it a valuable addition to family collections and libraries.
This is an entertaining and interesting mystery story for kids that delivers positive messages about honesty, friendship and personal integrity.
October Jones is a likeable protagonist who kids will relate to easily. He is basically a good kid, but finds himself getting into trouble from time to time. Alongside his friends and his sister April, October takes it upon himself to solve a mystery and finds himself defending his own innocence at the same time.
This is a kids’ novel suitable for independent readers, or for families to read together. It would make an excellent addition to any family, town or school library.
If there’s anything young readers will find relatable, it’s sibling jealousy and rivalry— especially in blended families. The author has done a great job of creating a realistic and complex family situation in which two girls must each learn to share their father and fully accept one another.
Readers will find Portia both likeable and understandable, and while not all of her responses are ideal, they will se her as a young person who is doing her best to adjust to new challenges and trials. Her challenges in getting to know the real Jasmine are clearly and empathetically portrayed through her thoughts and actions, just as Jasmine’s feeelings are communicated through her behaviours.
Although both girls find the changes they have to make confronting and awkward, this is a positive and encouraging story that is sure to help young readers understand these kinds of situations from someone else’s point of view.
This book is probably best suited for preteen and early teen readers, but it is enjoyable enough for older audiences too. It would certainly be a good choice for families to read together, and a highly appropriate addition to local and school libraries.
Heartwarming and heartbreaking at the same time, this excellent story explores the devastating consequences of bigotry and hatred within families, and the healing power of acceptance and love.
Infused with humour and warmth that serves as a very effective contrast to the bitterness of the antagonist, the story immerses the reader in the lives of Linda, Tim and Ani as they navigate their way through quite significant challenges. It is a positive and uplifting book that helps those who have the privilege of being comfortable in their situations to understand what it is like for others who experience discrimination and prejudice, and how to appropriately respond to differences in others.
The writing is excellent, the story is expertly crafted, and the characters are delightful. All in all, it’s a very entertaining read that comes highly recommended for YA and older. It’s a story that everyone should read.
‘Twelve Tales of Christmas’ is a collection of fantasy and contemporary short stories with Christmas themes. Some of the stories are poignant, while others are lighthearted. The stories offer a good variety of themes, settings and characters, and each one delivers its own unique message to ponder.
As with any collection, there were some stories I preferred over others, but I found them all to be enjoyable and interesting at the very least.
This book would make great family or individual reading during December.
A dark fantasy short story set in a small island community, this can be read — like most fairy tales — as a as a story of heroism and commitment that enables one to face their fears for the greater good, but also on another level as a cautionary tale about the importance of following instructions and meeting one’s responsibilities.
The story is quite well written, although the language seemed a little stilted in places. This may well have been an intentional choice by the author in keeping with the old-fashioned narrative style of the fairy tale genre, but as Huard is an author that is new to this reader, it is hard to tell. It may simply be a matter of not yet being used to his writing style.
The story is enjoyable and the challenges encountered by the characters certainly encourage the reader to engage in the action and hope for a positive outcome. The fact that not all characters survive is realistic in terms of both the fairy tale genre and real life.
This book makes great December reading primarily for YA and older children, or for families to enjoy together.
A delightful fantasy tale that follows on from ‘A Sprig Of Holly’. The characters are warm and engaging, their interactions reflecting quite realistically both the tenderness of a close-knit family and the tensions that quickly develop when a child starts to misbehave.
The story is very enjoyable, and even though it is part of a series, it stands alone very well and makes complete sense without having read the first book.
This short book is a great read for individuals or families in the lead-up to the December solstice and Christmas.