Reluctant readers of all ages will enjoy this book because it’s full of cinematic action and as many sound effects as a comic strip or Matthew Riley novel (without the exploding heads and continual expletives): “zzingg”, “gadoinnnggg!” “Clatter clatter crash!”. Younger readers from about 8 or 9 will also enjoy it, identifying with Hal’s perfect combination of insouciance and curiosity.
A book like this could spark a love of science that might last a lifetime, but even at its base level, it’s a great story. For those who are meeting George for the first time, the book is self-contained and provides enough background so that new readers won’t be perplexed. For those already a fan of the George stories, this new book won’t disappoint.
The stories read quickly, and are very easy to follow and get into, which speaks to the appeal these books have for reluctant readers. There is a good mix between action, reflection, and dialogue, and the stories are well written, with the wholesome theme of good conquering evil in a variety of forms keeping everything positive without descending into corniness.
Trouble on Earth Day is a simple book that is easy for very young children to understand and for early readers to read themselves. Kurt Wilcken’s bright cartoon images have lots of fun detail (like a baseball cap on the guitar playing bird), and children will relate to the vivacious young animals.
With its shades of Alice in Wonderland, Misfits, Supernatural—and others—this series will delight the Twilight generation. Meadows has handled her large cast of characters with ease; each is as multi-layered and complex as the plot—which really is a slippery thing: easy enough to grasp, but not so easy to hold onto. It twists, squirms and folds back on itself, all the while keeping readers guessing.
Readers are treated to a viewpoint that alternates between Black and Longshadow and are expertly drawn into a plot that’s tighter than the traps these two characters set for each other. The pace would give Matthew Reilly a nose bleed, and the attention to technological detail is impressive to say the least: I don’t know how much fact is woven throughout the narrative, but it all has a ring of truth and that’s what counts.
The book touches on such things as life after retirement, on the dangers of making snap judgements based on appearances, and on learning to keep an open mind and heart. Above all this is a beautifully written heart-warming tale that will appeal to children and adults alike as they discover Pete’s secret.
What really sets this simple story apart from the rest is the illustrative style. Pratt has overlayed black and white photographs of Victorian landmarks with eye-catching coloured depictions of Riley and his menagerie. At each location Riley reveals yet another masterful invention to help with his search—everything from: automated whiz-bang ground-hugging projectiles to fandangled hifalutin patented doodads.
Having your children make their own teacher gifts would pay for the cost of the book, and would also be a lovely way to encourage them to participate and take pleasure in gift giving in a way that just doesn’t happen with bought gifts. Come to think of it, there’s no reason why your children couldn’t make their own holiday and birthday presents either, as well as cooking up their own parties.
In a world where kids are used to the kill or be killed mentality of video games, it’s a pleasure to find a story that demonstrates how the most obvious solution to a problem is not necessarily the best. So, too, it demonstrates creativity and compassion, and shows readers how that which is evident on the surface is not necessarily what lies beneath.