Malamander by Thomas Taylor
Set in the misty seaside town of Eerie-on-Sea, Malamander is a suspenseful read that is quite simply irresistible.
This mysterious tale is narrated by Herbert Lemon (Herbie), the Lost-and-Founder at the Grand Nautilus Hotel who spends his days making sure that owners and their lost items are reunited as often as possible. Mostly, he assists with a lost hat or bag, that is, until Violet Parma lands in his office.
Many years ago, when Violet was just a baby her parents went missing from the Hotel and now Violet has returned in the hope that Herbie will be able to weave his magic and reunite her with her long-lost parents. Unfortunately, this isn’t the easiest of tasks.
And so, begins the unravelling of an intricate web of secrets surrounding what is known as the Malamander and the disappearance of Violet’s parents.
Starfell: Willow Moss and the Lost Day by Dominique Valente
Willow Moss is a finder-of-lost-things, a valuable skill to have but not quite so impressive when you come from a long line of witches. Willow’s gift is invaluable to those who have lost their keys, socks or glasses but usually the real action is happening somewhere else.
Yet all of this is about to change when she receives an unexpected visit from Moreg Vaine, the most feared witch in all of Starfell. Moreg Vaine isn’t in the habit of making social visits – she’s in need of help locating something, something big, something unexpected. It appears that someone or something has hijacked last Tuesday, and no one can remember anything that took place that day.
Can Willow the finder-of-lost things find an entire day?
Nullaboo Hullabaloo by Fleur Ferris
Gemma Hart is patiently waiting for Mrs Merrylock to hand out the science competition topics to Year 4. She has her heart set on researching butterflies.
Her mother Kendra is an entomologist so it’s no surprise that Gemma has a keen interest in nature. And who doesn’t like beautiful, colourful butterflies? Surely, if she’s given butterflies as a topic, it will be easy enough to win and she can then represent her school and compete for the trophy?
When Gemma gets stuck with mayflies, she is more than a little discouraged but when she ventures out into the school grounds in search of a boring mayfly what she discovers is nothing short of miraculous – initially Gemma thinks it’s a feather but her catch soon transforms into a fairy called Janomi who is desperate for help.
Can Gemma help them or will she cause more harm in the process?
Sky by Ondine Sherman (The Animal Allies Series)
After her mother’s untimely death, fifteen-year-old Sky moves from the city to a small town to live with her Aunt Paula and Uncle David.
Despite this Sky is determined to try and make the best of things when she starts at the local school. As a vegetarian and environmentalist, she gravitates towards the Landcare group but when the popular girls start to take an interest in her she is distracted by what popularity could offer her.
Is fitting in, worth sacrificing her values for? When Sky starts to investigate a local chicken farm for a school assignment and discovers that they are being mistreated, she begins to question her priorities. Lucy, from Landcare is the one who helps her without question and then there’s Oliver, who feels the way she does about animals and seems interested in more than friendship. Can she make the right decisions and stay true to herself while working out where she belongs in the world?
Moonwalkers by Mark Greenwood, illustrated by Terry Denton
July 2019, marks 50 years since humans set foot on the moon and Moonwalkers, a wonderful new picture book by Mark Greenwood and Terry Denton, takes us back to that day.
Space loving boy Billy is intrigued and excited about space, rockets and the moon and has been patiently waiting for the big day – the rocket launch! In the paddock next door to him is one of the largest telescopes on Earth, nicknamed ‘The Dish’ (Parkes Radio Telescope). This will allow people from all around the world to watch this momentous event on their television screens.
Moonwalkers is filled with vivid and engaging illustrations by the fabulous and award-winning Terry Denton who we all know and love as the illustrator of the Tree House series with Andy Griffiths. Billy gets very creative, leaping off the lounge while re-enacting the rocket launch, covering his siblings in silver foil to recreate space suits and practising lunar gravity while floating in the bath.
It’s a very fun way of telling little ones the story about this historical event and teaching them about all the key players, fuelling lots of role play around this anniversary.
Pirate Boy of Sydney Town by Jackie French
It’s 1809 and twelve-year-old Ben Huntsmore has only known the safety and security of life in Badger’s Hill, his family’s estate in England. He loves life on the land and spends his time with his mother and the other families who work with them. Everything is in abundance and life is good.
His father, an elusive man, is a ship-owner and spends most of his time trading in various ports around the world but father’s gambling debts have stolen his home and their farm from them. Despite the property belonging to his mother, they are forced to leave their home and follow his father on his next ill-fated business venture.
Mr Huntsmore has hatched a plan to transport convicts and trade items to Sydney. Once there, they will hire a crew that is ready to attack and plunder enemy trading ships. Believing that Ben has been too protected under his mother’s watch, he challenges him to be part of the scheme with little thought to any impact this might have on a young boy.
However, the plan doesn’t unfold as expected and when the crew mutinies after attacking a Dutch ship, Ben is left to survive with only the help of convict Higgins and Indigenous sailor, Guwara.
Promise Me Happy by Robert Newman
Nate has had a hard time over the last two years dealing with an abusive father, the loss of his mother and a stint in a juvenile detention centre. However, over the last 18 months he’s had plenty of time to reflect and is hoping to start afresh when released.
Nate’s expecting his father to come and pick him up, secretly hoping that he might have changed, but when his mother’s brother Uncle Mick appears at the gate, he doesn’t quite know what to think. Nate doesn’t know much about his Uncle although the last time they saw each other at his mother’s funeral, things were less than pleasant. Why had he only seen Mick a few times before then and why didn’t he ever come and try to help them escape from Nate’s violent father?
Despite Mick coming to pick him up he doesn’t appear thrilled with the situation and what can Nate possibly find of interest in the small coastal town of Oyster Bay where his uncle lives?
Yet, once Nate meets a few of the locals – in particular Gem – he starts to see the appeal of living in a small community on the water and begins to feel at home.
Just when it’s starting to look like things have really turned a corner, Nate discovers something that will throw all his new plans into disarray. Can he pull it together to be everything his newfound family needs him to be and does he have the strength to face one of the biggest challenges of his life?
Elizabella and the Great Tuckshop Takeover by Zoe Norton Lodge, illustrated by Georgia Norton Lodge
Elizabella is faced with the depressing fact that her beloved Bilby Creek Primary is falling apart – literally and they don’t have the funds to get it up to scratch. Things are so bad there that the life of all chalk must be maximised, the monkey bars have been declared a safety hazard and text books are a thing of the past!
The worst thing is that Bilby Creek Primary’s principal Mr Gobblefrump, keen to cut corners wherever he can, has his sights set on a lucrative corporate take-over of the tuckshop.
How can Elizabella and her friends save the school from Nutricorp taking over especially now there are new monkey bars in the playground, new maths textbooks and art supplies? Everyone appears to be getting used to the new world order but are they being brain washed?
Mr Walker and the Dessert Delight by Jess Black and Sara Acton
Mr Walker and the staff at the Park Hyatt are preparing for the arrival of celebrity chef Grethe Schmidt who is visiting to promote her new cook book and to help with the 20th anniversary celebrations of the hotel.
However not everyone is thrilled that she’s coming. Remy the head chef is concerned that she will disrupt his kitchen and add to the pressure of an already stressful day.
Mr Walker is a keen observer of all goings on and is busy familiarising himself with Grethe’s cooking show before she arrives. He’s not allowed in the kitchen or restaurant, but he does love food more than most…
Will Grethe and Remy be able to get past their differences and work smoothly together in the kitchen to make the anniversary celebration a success? It’s going to take all the staff coming together to make it work.
Mr Walker Gets the Inside Scoop by Jess Black and Sara Acton
The Reeves Family have just left to take a well-earned holiday when there is news that a reviewer from the weekend newspaper will be visiting the Park Hyatt. Everything is certainly up to standard but the problem is they don’t know what the reviewer looks like. Will the staff be able to find out who the reviewer is and win them over or will they miss the perfect opportunity to tell the world about their wonderful hotel? You can be sure of one thing; Mr Walker will be right in the thick of it and will make sure he puts his best paw forward.