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PRINCE DANDYPANTS AND THE MASKED AVENGER by KATE UMANSKY. Published by the Penguin Group, London 2001.

A delightful read for those with a wacky sense of humour.  Clever play on words turn an ordinary story into a clever book combining Medieval and modern concepts, There are also lessons to be learned. The rich exploiting the poor, underhand deals, vanity, arrogance, woman’s rights and the stupidity of a bored housewife.

Dandypants is happily admiring himself and his beautiful clothes when he is jolted out of his comfort zone and sent off to find a bride. He learns a lot on his adventures and saves his Kingdom.   Gr. 6/7

masked.jpg (88545 bytes) ISBN 0–141–51012


NOTHING WRONG WITH A THREE - LEGGED DOG by GRAHAM McNAMEE.  Published by Dell Yearling New York 2001.

A delightful story of a white boy in a predominately black school in New York.  Plagued by bullying, Keath befriends a girl whose mother is a vet.

Keath and Lynda both love dogs. Keath even wants to be a Golden Retriever when he grows up! His favourite dog is Leftovers, a mutt with 3 legs.  He teaches Keath that it is good to stand up for ones rights, to recognize what is special and even if you look different there are ways to fit in.

This book deals with racism, bullying, care of animals and solid family matters.

Gr. 5/6

3_legged_dog.jpg (76248 bytes) ISBN 0–440–41687–6

THE SECRET OF ST. AGUSTINES  by OWEN COETZER. Published by Covos Day  Books Weltevreden Park.  2001 

Set in Kimberley, this is an enjoyable adventure where four friends and a dog discover diamond smugglers in an old unused shaft near the Kimberley Big Hole. The story incorporates excitement, danger, family bonds and has an interesting insert with photos and snippets of Historical information. The pages have an interesting plastic feel.

Gr. 4/5

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BENJY’S GHOST by JACQUELINE ROY.  Published by Walker Books Ltd. London  2004.

Benjy is angry. His parents are divorced, his mother has remarried and moved to the USA. His dad does his best to be a good parent but suddenly he announces he is going to marry Benjy’s teacher who has a daughter and a dog.

Benjy just can’t hide his unhappiness and behaves atrociously. Then the dog dies in a horrible accident and Benjy feels it is all   his fault. But the dog won’t leave Benjy alone……But with the help of this imaginary dog , he finds that life isn’t so bad with a new mum and sister.

A really good book especially for children who might have experienced the sadness and upheaval of a broken marriage.  Gr 5/6

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NO TIME LIKE SHOW TIME by Michael Hoeye published by Penguin England 2004. 

This is a Hermux Tantamog adventure story.  Hermux is a mouse who fixes clocks.  He becomes embroiled in an exciting investigative adventure when the impresario of the local theatre requests his help urgently.  I am not always very fond of talking animal stories but this one makes one feels they are taking off real people. There is perception, history, and a good understanding of human nature. A fun read for Grades 5 – 7

  ISBN 0-141-31567-9
JAKE’S TOWER by ELIZABETH LAIRD. Published by Macmillan Children’s Books London 2001.

Jake lives in constant fear of his mother’s violent boyfriend who frequently beats him up. He is always trying to find secret hiding places where he can dream up a happier life with his own unknown father.

This is a harsh story dealing with life in a lesser privileged   society. Although it is set in England, we can easily imagine this story to be set in South Africa where we hear of so much child abuse, illegitimacy and poverty.

Fortunately there is a happy ending.  Gr. 6/7

jakes.jpg (55414 bytes) ISBN 0 330 39803 2

LIONBOY THE CHASE by Zizou Corder published by Penguin Books Ltd. England 2004.

This is the middle book of a trilogy. Charlie Ashanti has run away from a floating circus with 6 magnificent lions. They make their way to Venice where Charlie believes his kidnapped, scientist parents are being held.  Set in the future this book deals with many issues such as good versus evil, effects of global warming, manipulation by drug companies, treatment of animals and the difference between rich and poor worlds.  Grade 6 & 7

lionboy.jpg (65595 bytes) ISBN 0-141-38053-5 

LIRAEL, sequel to SABRIEL by Garth Nix. Published by Harper Collins USA 2001 and 1995 respectively.

A very well written fantasy that reads like reality. The pace is fast, exciting and interesting.  A warning, though, to those who are averse to witchcraft and sorcery and magic. These books exude free magic and sorcery.  Grade7
sabriel.jpg (26573 bytes) ISBN 0 00 713733 and 0 00 713731