A Boy Called Dickens is a great primer to get children interested in what did happen to this little boy, and to read the works of the famed Charles Dickens, who proved that anything is possible through hard work and never giving up on your dream.
This notion of self-awareness is one that is handled delicately and with it, Paolini creates a book that is far more powerful than simply a fast-paced plot driven fantasy about a war between good and evil. Eragon’s growth is one that takes him beyond the moment of his conflict to a connectiveness with the world he lives in and beyond, through the older dragons he encounters.
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.