The Battle for Rondo, by Emily Rodda

Determined to take control of Rondo, the power-hungry Blue Queen has a new, secret plan, and an enchanted dragon to help her carry it out.

Leo and Mimi Langlander return to Rondo once more for what could be their final visit. With an enchanted dragon and a mesmerised princess on their tail, they’ll have to fight ogres, witches, and much more. They’ll make surprising allies, and even more surprising enemies. Along with a band of misfit heroes, they’ll unite Rondo in one final battle.

A great read for children 10 to 14 years old. Lots of excitement and fantastic tales await the reader of this fantastic book. Battle for Rondo is an exciting mythological adventure written by the internationally best-selling author, Emily Rodda.

A brilliant read.

Battle for Rondo

Battle for Rondoby Emily Rodda
Omnibus Books, 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Edzel Grizzler, by James Roy

He wasn’t aware yet, but through the Egg, he was being called to another place. And that yearning call, combined with a subtle push from the dreariness of West Malaise, was all it really took to make Edsel reach out his right index finger and press the green button, all the way in.

Living with boring – but embarrassing – parents in Bland Street, West Malaise, Edsel Grizzler is unhappy. He dreams of having friends, and different parents and doing exciting things. So, when Edsel finds his way into another dimension, it seems all his dreams have come true. In Verdada there are no rules. Everyone stays forever young and everyone has fun. Want Pizza for breakfast? Want to skateboard? Ride a bike? No problems. But the longer he stays there, the more Edsel realises that not everything is as it seems in Verdada.

Edsel Grizzler is the first in a new adventure trilogy from master storyteller James Roy. Young readers will enjoy the excitement and interest of travelling to a strange world, but should also relate to Edsel’s desire to fit in and belong – feelings all children (and adults, too) experience. There is a message in this tale – about enjoying what you have, and the dangers of always searching for something better – but the message is there to make kids think, as a consequence of the story, rather than being preachy and didactic.

The second instalment in this trilogy will be eagerly awaited.

Edsel Grizzler (Voyage to Verdada)

Edsel Grizzler , by James Roy
UQP, 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Python Problem, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

The snake hissed, hunching and sliding. Now I was looking straight at it, I couldn’t believe I hadn’t noticed it immediately. I bounced back out of range. ‘It’s the escaped python everyone’s been looking for,’ I told Peter Wu. ‘Why didn’t you warn me it was in here?’

When a Python escapes from its tank, the whole neighbourhood is concerned, and Trump must help Dr Jeannie reassure the patients. But on a wet day, Trump finds more than she bargains for when he responds to a distress call from a trapped Siamese cat. She needs to rescue both the cat and the snake.

The Python Problem is the fourth title in the wonderful Pet vet series, featuring Trump, the daughter of Jack Russell, dog detective, from the series of the same name. There are plenty of dog and cat characters in the series, but also the more unusual animal characters such as Diamond, the python. As well as a high-interest story, The Python Problem has elements designed to both appeal to young readers and to enhance their reading – including black and white line illustrations (by Janine Dawson) , definitions of difficult words, and comments on pet care from Trump.

Another great offering in a wonderful series.

The Python Problem (Pet Vet)

The Python Problem (Pet Vet), by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2009

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond . Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Inspector Jacques, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Snap! I had my Jack-jaws at his throat. A dog howled for mercy. That was me.
I backed away, chattering my teeth. The other dog smirked. I’d almost broken a fang on the metal studs in his collar!

Jack Russell is not impressed by Sarge’s houseguests – Inspector Cook from the Art Fraud Squad, and his dog, Jacques. The Inspector is on the trail of an art thief who has stolen a famous dog painting – and he suspects Sarge of being the thief. It is up to Jack to solve the mystery and make sure Sarge is not sent to jail.

This is the eleventh title in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, and features favourite characters from previous books as well as new ones, especially the humorous French-accented Jacques. With a mystery to be solved, some laughs and lots of intertextual elements including glossaries of unfamiliar words and Jack-Facts, this is sure to appeal to readers aged 6 to 10.

Inspector Jacques can stand alone, with an introduction which explains the series to readers who have not read the earlier offerings.

Inspector Jacques (Jack Russell, Dog Detective S.)

Inspector Jacques (Jack Russell, Dog Detective S.), by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Schoalstic, 2009

This title can be purchased online from Fishpond . Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

The Blue Stealer, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Sarge is a clever person.
Even clever people sometimes get hold of the wrong end of the stick.
This is a fact.

Jack Russell, dog detective is back on the case. Someone is stealing special things from the humans of Doggeroo. But what is worse – much worse – is that the favourite things of Doggeroo’s dogs are also going missing. Foxie’s boot, Shuffle’s pug cloth, even the Squekes’ plastic chop, have all gone missing. Jack needs to help his friends get their things back – and, if he does, perhaps he can help Sarge solve the mystery.

The Blue Stealer is the tenth title in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, a series which doesn’t become stale. Authors Darrel and Sally Odgers manage to come up with new twists and new characters each time, as well as the familiar first person (first dogson?) narrative of Jack, the Jack Russell terrier who never lets a mystery rest.

Good stuff, sure to entertain young readers.

The Blue Stealer (Jack Russell, Dog Detective S.)

The Blue Stealer, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2009

Motorbike Bob, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

I pricked up my ears and listened. The yelp came again, and I could tell it was coming from partway down the gully. I trotted back up the road and sniffed the air. I could still smell hot trees and a trace of smoke, but I could also smell another dog…It was Motorbike Bob, the border collie.

When trump meets Motorbike Bob, a border collie who travels around on the back of his owner’s motorbike, Bob tells Trump that he’ll never need the help of Trump or Vet Jeanie. But it isn’t long before Trump hears a cry for help and finds Bob in need of attention.

Motorbike Bob is the third title in the wonderful Pet Vet series featuring Trump, the Jack Russell Animal Liaison Officer (ALO) and her person, vet Jeannie. As always, Trump’s role is to work with and settle the patient so that Jeannie can help him – but in this instance Trump also turns rescuer, when Bob is injured and lost.

This series is a wonderful offering for young animal lovers, and each title stands alone, being preface by material which introduces the main characters of the book. With illustrations by Janine Dawson and different text elements including maps, definitions and pet care tips, this is another excellent book from the creators of the Jack Russell Dog Detective series.

Motorbike Bob, by Darrell & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2009

Owl Ninja, by Sandy Fussell

Something is wrong. Usually, the Sword Master likes to chat and joke, to tell us stories of the days when he was a boy listening to Ki-Yaga’s feet. Sensei was old, even then.
Across the valley a drumbeat echoes. Thum. Thum.
“What’s that?” Nezume asks.
Ta-thum. Ta-thum. Thum

A drum beat is echoing across the mountains, calling the mountain ryus to war. The samurai kids don’t want to fight. Their sensei can stop the war, but there isn’t much time, and first they must travel across the land for an audience with the Emperor. Only he can silence the drum. But will they reach him safely and on time?

Owl Ninja is the second in the wonderful Samurai Kids series from talented new author Sandy Fussell. Featuring the wonderful cast of characters from the first story as well as some colourful new ones, the story is self contained but will be enjoyed most by those who read the first.

Readers are transported into the world and time of the Samurai, with the landscape coming alive through Fussell’s carefully wrought text, and the characters delightfully illustrated in the manga-style plates of Rhian Nest James.

This is an outstanding series and readers will look forward to the third instalment.

Owl Ninja (Samurai Kids)

Samurai Kids: Owl Ninja, by Sandy Fussell
Walker Books, 2008

This book can be purchased online at Fishpond. Buying through this link supports Aussiereviews.

Fowl Play, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

‘All I can smell is chook and soap, and cat,’ said Foxie. ‘There was a strange smell in the yard, but it wasn’t dog. Did you interrier-gate Shuffle?’
‘Not yet.’ I explained how Sarge had dragged me away from the crime scene. Foxie snorted, then sniffed under the door. ‘There’s that strange smell again.’

Something strange is going on in Dogeroo. Auntie Tidge and her friends have all bought chooks, and when the chooks are attacked, the dogs get the blame. But Jack Russell, dog detective is on the case, and he’s sure that his friends are not to blame. The problem is, he doesn’t know who is responsible.

Fowl Play is the ninth offering in the Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, a fun chapter book series for middle primary aged readers. Like the other books in the series, Fowl Play stands alone, although readers who have read the other stories will enjoy seeing favourite characters again and seeing relationships and individuals develop.

Jack is an endearing first-person (or first-canine) narrator, and the chaos of dogs mixing with chooks make this a fun story.

Fowl Play, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic Press, 2008

The Buried Biscuits, by Darrel & Sally Odgers

Jacks are nimble, Jacks are quick. Jacks are always ready for a scrap. I tugged free and snapped my jack-jaws around a hairy leg. Someone yelped. Sharp teeth closed on my tail. I yelped. Teeth clashed, ears flapped.

When Jack wakes up smelling biscuits, he knows something strange is going on. He goes to see his friend Foxie, but soon he and Foxie are fighting – because someone has thrown biscuits into Foxie’s yard. Now both of the dogs are in trouble, and soon every dog in town is grounded, because someone is stealing biscuits. Jack is determined to solve the mystery – after all he is a dog detective.

The Buried Biscuits is the seventh title in the very popular and highly entertaining Jack Russell: Dog Detective series, by Darrel and Sally Odgers. Narrated in the first person (or should that be first dog?) voice of the feisty Jack and sprinkled with Jack’s facts, Jack vocabulary and more, the story is bound to delight young dog lovers, aged 7 to 10.

The Buried Biscuits, by Darrel & Sally Odgers
Scholastic, 2007

All Stars Series

I was already having a bad day when Josh Reeves, basketball hero, fell for me – literally. Did I mention I was having a bad day? Make that a bad year.

There are plenty of sports fiction books for children on the market, but, with many focusing on male-centered sports like football and cricket, it is refreshing to find a series aimed squarely at girls. The All Stars series, published by Black Dog Books, is just that.

The eight books in the series share the fortunes of a girls’ netball team – the All Stars – as they work their way through the season. Each book is told from the point of view of one of the players and, as well as sharing the girls’ on-court dramas, also focuses on their school and private lives, with each girl having her own set of problems, from boy problems, to shoplifting.

There is plenty of sporting drama, and the first person narration draws readers in to the life of each new narrator. This series would be an excellent addition to a school library.

All Stars 1: Maddy, Goal Defence, by Meredith Costain
All Stars 2: Bree, Centre, by Karen Tayleur
All Stars 3: Josie, Wing Attack, by Meredith Costain
All Stars 4: Jess, Wing Defence
All Stars 5: Sarah, Goal Shooter, by Claire Renner
All Stars 6: Tara, Goal Keeper, by Maryann Ballantyne
All Published by Black Dog Books, 2005

All Stars 7: Mel, Goal Attack, by Karen Tayleur
All Stars 8: Ali, Goal Attack, by Meredith Costain
Both Published by Black Dog Books, 2006