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CHILD IN DARKNESS by ROBERT HILL : An only child spends much time in his tree house near a boarded up cave.  One day he is aware of a being in the cave. This excites his natural curiosity and he endeavours to entice a creature out.  A friendship ensues and this leads to his disappearance and a frantic search by his parents who had not been prepared to listen to his pleas.  The ending sparks interesting discussion.
Another book by this author: Forever in the land.

ISBN 0 624 02006 1


Shaun’s parents tend to mollycoddle him because of his illness.  He is constantly teased at school and treated as a wimp.  When he is allowed to go on a school outing he is very excited.  Unfortunately his tormenters at school plot to tease him and change the plans of the hike. Things go horribly wrong and the children are left fighting for there lives.  A good story especially as our boys have many outings and camps and serves as a good lesson in team spirit and sticking to the instructions laid down. 

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ISBN 0–14–131303–X

JIM DAVIS by JOHN MASEFIELD Published by The Chicken House. 

This is an exciting tale about smugglers during the time of Britian’s blocade of French controlled ports during the Napoleonic wars shortly after the Battle of Trafalgar in 1805.  It is a story of remote country farms, country inns, smugglers, coves, Redcoats and soldiers and customs men, horses and carriages and kidnapping.  It is an exciting read from beginning to end. 


ISBN 1–90 3434-64–5
ADULTS ONLY by MORRIS GLEITZMAN. Published by Puffin Books.   Another funny and enjoyable book by Gleitzman.  Jake is a lonely, only child of parents struggling to make ends meet running an Adults Only hotel on an island.  In trying to help his parents, Jake discovers that he is not the only child on the island as he finds out about the history of the hotel.  


ISBN 0–14–130837–0
MOSSFLOWER by BRIAN JACQUES :  For the lovers of fantasy this and the sequels, provide much enjoyable reading.  A tale of good versus evil, the forest animals have been overrun by the larger cats and their servants who demand feudal–like dues from the unhappy creatures of Mossflower.  The animals escape to the nearby woods from where they launch a campaign to recover their lands.  The language is rich and I often feel that these books are being read by children who are too young to understand the quite advanced vocabulary. 

ISBN 0 09 955400 3

SEE YA SIMON by DAVID HILL :   Simon has Muscular Dystrophy. This is a delightful story of a boy and his family’s courage as they cope with his debilitating disease.  It is funny and tender and often  very sad as it deals with his friends and teachers and how they all cope with his problems.
ISBN 0-14-036381-5

THE INDIAN IN THE CUPBOARD by LYNNE REID BANKS :  This is the first of 5 books about toys coming to life and the problems they cause for the children who have discovered them.  What is good is that some of the toys are rather unpleasant and it certainly makes the children sit up and think.  I think the book is better than the film.

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A WIZARD OF EARTH SEA by URSULA LE GUIN  : This is the first of 4 books.  With the exception of Tolkien, this must be the greatest fantasy story, full of magic, dragons, dangerous voyages and a very human hero. 


Other books include: The Tombs of Atuan, The Farthest Shore,  Tehanu and A Very Long Way from Anywhere Else.
ISBN 0 435 12172 3

TRUCKERS by TERRY PRATCHETT : This is a very exciting and extremely funny book.  It may be a long book to read but there are many lively characters and once you have read it you will be a Pratchett fan forever. 


Also in this series are DIGGERS , and   WINGS.

ISBN 0-552-52595-2

HACKER by MALORIE BLACKMAN : Published by Doubleday Great Britain, 1992.   When Vicky’s father is arrested for allegedly stealing over a million pounds from the bank where he works, she and her brother decide to try to prove his innocence.  Using their computer skills, they hack into the system.  It is a race against time and odds.  A good read. There are many more enjoyable stories by this authoress.


 ISBN 0552 52751 3

Other enjoyable books by Blackman include A.N.T.I.D.O.T.E., THIEF and DEADLY DARE

KENSUKE'S KINGDOM by MICHAEL MORPURGO :  When Michael’s parents are made redundant, the family sell up their house and buy a yacht.  After training, they set off on a voyage around the world. During a storm, Michael is swept overboard while trying to rescue his dog.  He is washed up on an island in the Pacific.  He struggles to find food and water.  He resigns himself to death but on waking finds a bowl of fish, fruit and water – he is not alone. This is a magnificient story of discovery.  It is exciting and thought-provoking.

 ISBN 0 7497 3639 9

DEVIL ON MY BACK by MONICA HUGHS : Published by Julia MacRae Books 1984 . This is a good read especially for lovers of Science Fiction.  The inhabitants of ArcOne are ruled by a rigid class system imposed by computer.  A rebellion breaks out and Tomi, the son of the overlord, escapes but find himself in the strange world outside. His life is saved by some villagers and Tomi learns some serious lessons.  He also finally returns with a greater understanding of his position to ArcOne but he doesn’t forget his promises to his friends.

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ISBN 0 86203 164 8 

THE VAMPIRE VANISHES by WILLIS HALL : Random House Children’s books London 1993.  Children seem to be drawn to books on Dracula or vampires.  Parents shudder.  This series of “ Vampire Books”  will appeal to the reader who has a “ wacky sense of humour”.  Count Alucard ( Dracula backwards) is a harmless, vegetarian vampire who travels with his coffin!!  After stirring up a tornado at the airport, he escapes and seeks refuge in a peaceful country hotel for a quiet holiday break.  Unfortunately there are many activities taking place at that hotel that weekend including a dog show.  When the dogs get wind of the poor count the fun and games begin. The result is rather slap stick but will appeal to the Grade 6 or 5 reader.


ISBN 0 09 956251 0

ARTEMIS FOWL by EOIN COLFER :  Published by Penguin Group London 2001.  For those who enjoy fantasy, this is a wonderful book.  It is fast moving, clever, tongue in cheek and modern.  Artemis is a 12 year old brilliant, criminal mastermind.  Inspired by greed, his own gratification and the need to recoup the family’s fortune, he sets about stealing fairy gold.  He does, however, take on a bit more than he can chew.  The fairy police counteract with vigour.

ISBN 0-670-91133-X

REFUGEE BOY by Benjamin Zephaniah : Published by Bloomsbury Publishing London 2001.  Living in Africa, we are aware of the plight of so many children who are victims of civil war but we rarely get involved or properly understand what difficulties they experience.  Alem is brought to London by his father.  He is Ethiopian but his mother is Eritrean.  These two countries are at war and there is no future or safe place for this child. Then his father abandons Alem who is cared for by the Refugee Council and fostered by a wonderful family.  Will he be allowed to stay in England?  This is a story about an extremely brave and gifted child alone in a strange country far from the warm sun of Africa and his people.  There is also an interesting Web Site  at the end of the book.

ISBN 0 7475 5086 7
LORD OF THE DANCE by Judy Allen : Hodder Children’s books. 2001.  Mike is the middle child, sandwiched between his hardworking, capable elder brother and his madcap, impulsive dare-devil sister.  He is not an achiever and constantly feels inadequate.  Then his antique dealer father brings home an Antique Cabinet of Curiosities. Inside is an old bottle. Inscribed on it is “There be a witch in this bottle – let her out and there be a peck of trouble.”  Mike is dared to keep the bottle in his room over night.  This leads Mike to have to make some choices and he finds that he grows in confidence.  He is forced to make his own decisions and begins to assert himself.
ISBN 0 340 79941 2

THE RACE FOR THE LOST KEYSTONE by VAL RUTT, published by the Penguin Group, London 2004.  

At first this story seemed a bit far- fetched but as I read on, I became enthralled.  This is a wonderfully exciting story of a rather unusual family’s race to find a magic keystone.  It embodied adventure, danger, hair-raising travel, cruelty and will appeal to all children’s imaginations.  Move over J.K. Rowling?

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ISBN 0-141-31747-7

THE THIEF LORD by CORNELIA FUNKE, published by the Chicken house Great Britain 2000.  

This is an unusual story set amongst the Canals of Venice.  Two orphaned children flee to Venice to escape abusive adopted parents.  They are befriended by a group of street children and their mysterious leader, the Thief Lord.  On their trail is a rather strange detective.  I was immediately absorbed by this tale although it did rather fall away at the end.

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ISBN 1-903434-77-7