NEW TITLES

This selection includes books for readers aged seven to 11 years and covers a gamut of genres and styles from action and humour to fantasy and fairy tales.

Operation Sting
Simon Cheshire

Stripes Publishing

ISBN 9781847154378

Imagine how useful it would be to have secret agents who could go to places undetected or who could get through the smallest gaps and eavesdrop on criminal masterminds. That is exactly what the Department of Micro-Robotic Intelligence has at its disposal - a team of eight tiny robotic bugs under the command of Queen Bee. They all have different abilities ( Widow for example can make webs with thread stronger than steel) which they put to good use when asked to protect the country from evil criminals. In the first book of this new series, SWARM are searching for a deadly weapon that can change civilisation as we know it in seconds. At the same time, the dastardly villains who stole it are searching for someone with the brain power to crack the code that will enable them to unleash its power. This exciting adventure is sure to appeal to readers who enjoy a fast moving story with plenty of twists and turns. The bugs, though miniature robots that can be repaired should they be damaged, all have different characters which will surely be developed in future adventures. The villains are suitably unscrupulous and double crossing, though luckily not as clever as the SWARM operatives, and the plot rattles along to its thrilling conclusion. There is also a sneak preview of the next book in the series when even more villainy is afoot. 144 pages / Ages 7 – 9 / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian

Operation Sting
The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon
Jonny Duddle

Templar Publishing

ISBN 9781848772403

Under the light of each full moon, strange and eerie pirates venture ashore to raid and pillage the usually sleepy town of Dull-On--Sea. Who are they and why do they come? The townsfolk are only keen to lock up their valuables, but Matilda and her pirate friend - Jim Lad - are determined to get to the bottom of this strange mystery. With the help of Grandpa Jolley-Roger and Jim's dog, Bones, the children embark upon a spooky adventure to free the town of the scourge of the ghostly pirates. Following on from the brilliant picture book 'The Pirates Next Door', the Jolley-Rogers return to Dull-on-Sea where Jim Lad and Matilda team up once more. As is Duddle's style, there are a range of comedy characters in this book, with equally comical names, e.g. Chief Inspector Klewless. However, there are also subtle comic effects in the writing and images like the mystery of Miss Pinky's missing dog, which is only solved through the final illustration of the book: this will appeal to readers who still enjoy a rich visual offering within their reading. This is Duddle's first venture into writing for older readers and is a brilliant juxtaposition of novel and picture book which will certainly appeal to newly independent readers. My middle son is an emerging reader who still enjoys 'The Pirates Next Door' and 'The Pirate Cruncher', and he instantly recognised Duddle's familiar style on the front cover and was eager to read the book. Although there are some slightly tricky 'pirate' words (which are explained in a glossary at the end of the book), the main text is simple to read and includes lovely sections of rhyming language too. This is a super book which leads effortlessly on from the picture books of the author. 149 pages / Ages 6+ / Reviewed by Mikeala Morgans, teacher

The Jolley-Rogers and the Ghostly Galleon
The Yoghurt Plot
Fleur Hitchcock

Hot Key Books

ISBN 9781471403248

Brothers Bugg and Dilan have just moved to a new house by the seaside. So far so normal, except that in the kitchen there's a fridge which, mysteriously, won't turn off. It also contains a shelf of yoghurts with no sell by date, just the numbers 1.9.7.4. stamped on the side. One slurp later, and the two boys are amazed to find themselves catapulted back to the 1970's, to a time when their live-in grandfather wasn't dribbling food down his front, glued to the dancing on the television - instead he was winning prizes waltzing with his sweetheart in the ballroom at the end of the pier. That was when there was a pier, before it burnt down. But how did it happen? Soon, with the help of the magic yoghurts and some moving magnetic letters on the fridge, the boys are travelling back and forth in time to uncover the mystery of how the fire started. Can they change the past and save the pier? Can they lead their once-vibrant grandfather to a happier old age? The Yoghurt Plot is a really skilful and funny time travel adventure story . It is the fourth (fifth if you include a story about an alien and a jelly written when she was 8 years old) children's book by Fleur Hitchcock. Highly recommended for aged 8 upwards, and for anyone who enjoys imagining a past world, when their grandparents were young, and romance was in the air... 176 pages / Ages 8+ / Reviewed by Charlotte Eilenberg

The Yoghurt Plot
Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends, and Football
Dave Cousins

Oxford University Press

ISBN 9780192736598

Full of action, both on and off the pitch, this book is bang on target. Charlie Merrick's bunch of misfit friends love football, but they're just not very good at it. Their team, North Star Galaxy, are desperately fighting the battle against relegation in the under 12's league. Their chances don't look too good as at the start of the book they lose eleven - nil. Their fortunes turn when Charlie bribes new boy Jack to join the team as their star goalie, and the team start to win matches. Charlie's best friend Sam refuses to play, having been tricked into missing a match and replaced by Jack. Charlie starts to question if the price of winning is worth paying, when it means betraying his best friend. Meanwhile, Travis, captain of Goldbridge Colts, the arch enemies of North Star Galaxy poaches Jack for his team and it looks like relegation for sure as the Galaxy sink to the bottom of the table. Can Charlie repair the damage he's caused and rebuild some team spirit in time to save the team? The match reports, player cards, drawings, comic strips and fascinating football facts and stats help keep up the pace of the story. It should become a favourite of all football fans; both girls and boys of a wide range of ages from 8-13. It will be eagerly picked up by reluctant readers too as it looks so good, is funny and packed with a whole squad of great characters. Dave Cousins has scored a winner. 201 pages / Ages 8-13 / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

Charlie Merrick's Misfits in Fouls, Friends, and Football
The Sword of Kuromori
Jason Rohan

Egmont Books Ltd

ISBN 9781405270601

This book, the first of a series, introduces us to Kenny Blackwood. We meet him on a flight to Japan to join his father, with whom he has a troubled relationship. Strange things happen on the flight, however, and things just keep on getting stranger after he lands. Gradually, Kenny learns that everything is connected to his grandfather and comes to the realisation that he himself has some special, but still unclear, part to play in the events unfolding around him. There are devilish plots, a mystical sword, battles with terrifying monsters and thrilling motorcycle car chases, all coming at the reader at breakneck speed. Kenny's guide to everything that happens to him is Kiyomi, the dare devil motorcycle rider he first meets when she rescues him from the monster disguised as a policeman and their relationship develops during the course of this book as she rescues him from one dire situation after another. All the action takes place in Japan and Jason Rohan gives a lot of background information about the places Kenny and Kiyomi visit. The sense of alienation that Kenny feels, in an environment where he does not speak the language or understand the customs, is very well conveyed, even before we consider the magic and mayhem that surrounds him. The author has also provided the reader with a very helpful glossary of the Japanese terms that crop up in the book. The book concludes with a sneak preview of the next in the series to whet the reader's appetite and leaves Kenny and Kiyomi in another perilous situation. Fans of fast moving adventure stories who like a mythical twist to their books will enjoy this series. 316 pages / Ages 10/11+ / Reviewed by June Hughes, school librarian.

The Sword of Kuromori

ISBN 9780857551290

This refreshingly different and very engaging debut novel tells a fantastical story with more than a hint of Chitty Chitty Bang Bang, but which is remarkably based upon the actual history of the idiosyncratic Citroen 2CV, one of the 'people's cars' like the Model T Ford or the VW Beetle. It begins in the 1940's when cars were luxury items for the very rich and when Europe was on the verge of war and there was much rivalry between the French and German designers. Boys in particular will love all the detail of car design and engineering, test runs and accidents and the manufacturer’s challenge to build a car that everyone could afford, that was cheap to run and could transport a farmer and his wife to market across a ploughed field without breaking any eggs is apparently entirely factual. The actual discovery, in the 1990's, of three 2CV prototypes hidden in an old barn also gives great credence to this story of French villagers ingeniously hiding every bit of 'their' car so that the German soldiers and spies could not steal the design. There is so much to enjoy in this book, the charming line drawings by Sam Usher, the sparkling prose, the evocation of rural France and the dangers and deprivations of the wartime Occupation, the vivid village characters and the warmth of the sometimes troubled relationship between the designer father and his son, who is the very likeable narrator that tells us this brilliant story of the famous Tin Snail. 400 pages / Ages 9+ / Reviewed by Joy Court, librarian

The World of Norm: May Need Rebooting: Book 6
Jonathan Meres

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408329498

Life is unfair to Norm, and this really was turning into a bad day even by Norm's standards. His history teacher dumps a punishment exercise on him about Kings and Queens because he fell asleep in class, which was hardly his fault; she should have made the lesson more entertaining shouldn't she. Things get a lot worse though when Norm finds his bike has been stolen. Mountain biking is Norm's thing, it's what he does; how's he ever going to become the world mountain biking champion with no bike? So he's being punished and he's lost his bike, but his kid brothers on the other hand not only get away with murder, but they're also now getting presents when it's not even Christmas! How unfair is that? In the search for his stolen bike he gets into more situations that are totally unfair; he has to deal with Chelsea (the world's most annoying neighbour) and he even ends up agreeing to play a football match to keep his Grandpa happy. Football! He detests football, and despite what Connor Wright mistakenly thinks, he's really rubbish at it. The conversations between Norm and the other characters and the way he constantly misunderstands people because he takes everything literally provides a lot of the humour. Norm is incredibly popular with year 7-9 boys at my school and I'm sure the appeal is equally widespread in primary school too. It's a humorous, easy, quick read with the text broken up with funny cartoons and plenty of white page, which is part of the attraction to my more reluctant readers. Anyone who has enjoyed Horrid Henry or the Wimpy Kid will abso-flipping-lutely love this. 295 pages / Age 8-13 (particularly boys) / Reviewed by Melanie Chadwick, school librarian.

The World of Norm: May Need Rebooting: Book 6
Shadow of the Zeppelin
Bernard Ashley

Orchard Books

ISBN 9781408327272

It is now a hundred years since World War 1 broke out, and this is the turbulent backdrop against which Bernard Ashley's latest novel takes place. It was a time of great change - Man had only very recently taken to the air - and, with the world now at war, also a time of huge uncertainty. The story is told from three very different perspectives: Young Freddie Castle's, on the ground in Woolwich, his older brother Will's, on the front line in battle-torn France, and the crew of Zeppelin L31, tasked with bombing England's capital city. These three quite disparate and contrasting viewpoints allow the author to weave an emotionally complex tale that gives the reader a very real, three-dimensional picture of life in a time of literally earth-shattering conflict. Freddie, like the majority of his fellow Londoners, is vehemently anti-German and can't understand why his beloved Will won't take the King's shilling and sign up; a shocking incident finally pushes Will into uniform and sends him away to fight. The third point of view is provided by possibly the story's most interesting character, Ernst Stender, a German Jew. There are many questions in this book - the biggest probably being why we never seem to learn the hard lessons History teaches us... why, only twenty one years after the end of 'The War to End All Wars', did another, even worse war, break out? Bernard Ashley doesn't provide any easy answers, but what he does do is take his readers on fascinating trip back in time to meet some great characters, and also allow us look at an event that shaped the world we now live in. 320 pages / Ages 10+ / Reviewed by Graham Marks, author.

Shadow of the Zeppelin
A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, Book 2)
Soman Chainani

HarperCollins

ISBN 9780007502813

A World Without Princes is the sequel to The School for Good and Evil, which was a New York Times bestseller last year and is now well on its way to being turned into a film. In the series, Soman Chainani encourages us to question fairy tales and in this latest story, the role of men and women in fairy tales. Since the end of book one, when Agatha chose her 'happy ending' without a prince, the girls in the School for Good and Evil have taken her as a role model and decided to take control of their own 'happy endings' - which means princes have been banished! The School for Good and Evil is now a school for princes, with a separate school for princesses; the two don't mix, ever. But when best friends Agatha and Sophie are forced to return to the school, the status quo is upset and Agatha and Sophie have to decide whether they should fight for this world without princes, or try to turn the clock back... The story is, like the first book, hugely engaging and as well as adventure, there is plenty of humour in the exploration of our expectations of girls and boys - the section where one of the girl characters becomes a boy for a brief period is especially illuminating. To really understand what is at stake, however, readers will need to have read the first book before beginning this one. Do that and like us, you'll be wanting to read book three! Ages 11+ / 448 pages / Reviewed by ReadingZone.

A World Without Princes (The School for Good and Evil, Book 2)