Regular readers of the blog will know I’m a huge fan of young fiction books, they bridge the gaps between illustrated fiction and full length middle grade books ensuring children don’t become overwhelmed with pages of text. Here is my round up of my favourite recent releases all guaranteed to enthral and entertain children. We have a fabulous mix of witches, monsters, vampires, zombies, dragons and ghouls in the line up today.
The Monster in the Lake – Louie Stowell, illustrated by Davide Ortu
I loved, ‘The Dragon in the Library,’ so was excited about going on another adventure with the unlikely wizard Kit and her fab bunch of friends in, ‘The Monster in the Lake.’ Kit is still trying to come to terms with discovering she’s the youngest wizard in the world and the training is a LOT of hard work. Frustrated when her magic starts to go wrong, she suspects something isn’t quite right with the world. When they discover a strange beast in the local park, she feels there has to be a connection to all the strange happenings around her. Can they find a way to uncover the truth and save the world again? Louie deftly mixes humour and magic in this wonderful tale filled with merfolk and loch beasties. I particularly love Kit’s friendship with Josh and Alita, this story shows the reader that we all have our own unique talents – that are equally valid, even if they’re not magical! This series goes from strength to strength and I can’t wait to read the next instalment in Kit’s adventures.
Sam Wu is Not Afraid of Zombies – Katie & Kevin Tsang, illus. by Nathan Reed
Sam Wu is back in what for me is his funniest adventure yet! Sam’s arch nemesis and kind of friend Ralph Zinkerman the Third is being kept awake by loud howling from his basement, convinced that there are zombie werewolves locked down there he reluctantly seeks Sam’s help. We al know that Sam Wu is not afraid of anything, together they must formulate a plan that Spaceman Jack would be proud of! Wonderfully chaotic and packed full of hilarious humour and downright genius illustrations this book is an absolute triumph from start to finish. Katie and Kevin totally get childhood dynamics, from the fast flowing dialogue to the vivid imaginations, it’s so well observed and witty. As usual Nathan’s illustrations are full of joy capturing the chaos and carnage unfold brilliantly. This continues to be one of my favourite young fiction series and is hugely popular at school.
Ghoul Scouts: Welcome to Camp Croak – Taylor Dolan
‘Welcome to Camp Croak,’ is the first in the new series of ‘Ghoul Scouts,’ by indie publisher Guppy Books. When Lexie Wilde is dropped off at Camp Croak instead of the Happy Hollow Camp for Joyful Boys and Girls, she soon discovers she’s not anything like the other scouts. Undeterred by the fact she’s sharing a room with a werewolf, a zombie and a ghost, she soon get stuck into all of the ghoulish activities. But the arrival of Euphemia Vile from Happy Hollow camp signals some very weird happening on the camp. Can Lexie and her new friends find a way to thwart her dastardly plans? Beautifully produced with bold one colour illustrations it’s really eye-catching. A quirky and entertaining read which is bound to delight young readers with it’s mix of humour and gruesomeness.
Amelia Fang and the Naughty Caticorns – Laura Ellen Anderson
The delightful Amelia Fang is back in her sixth adventure, this series has been a huge success in my school with fans eagerly devouring each new release. In ‘Amelia Fang and the Caticorns,’ Amelia is about to become a big sister so when the opportunity to look after three very adorable caticorns she leaps at the chance to prove she is a responsible and trustworthy. Unfortunately the caticorns aren’t quite what they seem, behind their innocent smiles lies the heart of three very naughty creatures who are intent in causing chaos and damage wherever they go. Laura’s illustrations capture the chaos and carnage the caticorns create in their quest to being noticed. It is another fun filled adventure which will complete charm and delight Amelia’s fans. Packed full of humour and heart this is a joy from start to finish.
Dragon Detective: Catnapped – Gareth P. Jones, artwork by Scott Brown
Detective Dirk Dilly is a rather unusual private detective, he’s a dragon. Luckily for him he keeps a low profile, so nobody has uncovered his true identity. That is until one day, Holly sneaks into his life under the guise of being his niece and his secret is revealed. Holly is desperate to find her missing cat and uses her powers of persuasion to convince Dirk to not only hunt for her cat but allow her to become his partner. But this isn’t simply a case of one missing cat, they soon discover that something sinister is at work, something that could threaten the whole of mankind. And it’s up to them to foil their dastardly plan before it’s too late. An entertaining and energetic read with a really intriguing plot at it’s heart. I was completely surprised by how events unfolded within the story and was hooked all the way to the thrilling ending. A solid start to this newly released series, which is a must for mystery and dragon fans.
Scribble Witch: Notes in Class – Inky Willis
Molly is devastated when she discovers her best friend Chloe is moving schools and if that isn’t bad enough, it’s her last day TODAY. Completely despondent Molly inadvertently releases a magical witch who has been living in a pen pot. Notes is determined to put a smile on Molly’s face but her gently interfering causes even more problems for Molly, it really is turning out to be the worst day EVER! A really fun mix of notes and doodles, this story will be hugely appealing to younger readers. Inky has assembled a fab cast of characters who children will instantly like (and dislike) allowing them to engage with the story. Although this is completely entertaining it also deals with friendship problems and how confusion and upset can happen as well as reassuring children about they can deal with change positively. Such an exciting and fun start to this new series.
Thank you to Egmont, Guppy Books, Hachette, Nosy Crow and Stripes for sending me gifted copies of these books. You can buy all of these title online (click the title for the link) or from your local good bookshop.