Tag Archives: junior fiction

The Bad Guys Book Trailer

They sound like the Bad Guys, they look like the Bad Guys . . . and they even smell like the Bad Guys. But Mr Wolf, Mr Piranha, Mr Snake and Mr Shark are about to change all of that! Mr Wolf has a daring plan for the Bad Guys’ first
good mission. The gang are going to break 200 dogs out of the Maximum Security City Dog Pound. Will Operation Dog Pound go smoothly? Will the Bad Guys become the Good Guys? And will Mr Snake please spit out Mr Piranha?

The Bad Guys is a fantastic new series by Aaron Blabey coming in August from Scholastic NZ.  Aaron Blabey is the author and illustrator the brilliant picture books, Pig the Pug, Pig the Fibber and Thelma the Unicorn. The Bad Guys:Episode One is Aaron’s first book for slightly older readers and it looks like it’s going to be hilarious.  I can’t wait to read it!

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Yo-ho-ho! Here come the Steampunk Pirates!

Avast me hearties! Are you a land lubber lookin’ for a book chock full of adventure on the seven seas, robot pirates, laughs aplenty, and gold?  Well the Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates is the series for you. Hop on board The Leaky Battery and set sail with this rag-tag crew.

Wanted: Dead or Alive! (Or smashed into little bits and delivered in boxes.) Causing chaos wherever they sail, the robotic Steampunk Pirates are roaming the high seas, hunting for gold!

But the evil Iron Duke has other ideas…He’s determined to capture the pirates in return for a handsome reward from the King. Can these mechanical marauders stay one wave ahead of their enemy?

The Leaky Battery Sets Sail is the brilliant first book in Gareth P. Jones’ swashbuckling new series, Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates.  The Steampunk Pirates are a crew of robots who were once servants. They decided they didn’t want to be bossed around so acquired a ship and set out to find adventure.  Their crew is made up of their hot-headed leader Captain Clockheart, First Mate Mainspring (who gets dangerous when he gets overwound), Quartermaster Lexi (the brains of the crew who is fitted with an information file), Mr Gadge (so named because of all the gadgets he can attach to himself) and twelve other robotic low-lifes.

Their first adventure sees the Steampunk Pirates on the hunt for all the loot they can find.  They’ve discovered that life at sea isn’t so great when you’re made of metal because it rusts in the salty sea air.  They hear of an alchemist who can turn metal in to gold and Captain Clockheart believes this is the answer to their problems.  Along the way they meet the Iron Duke and other nasty humans who try to foil their plans.

Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates is perfect for readers aged 7+ who love adventure and love to laugh. They’re quick, fun reads with quirky illustrations that will appeal to young readers.  I look forward to seeing what happens in the next adventures of the Steampunk Pirates in Attack of the Giant Sea Spiders.  I highly recommend this series and you should definitely search out Gareth’s other books, including the Ninja Meerkats series, The Thornthwaite Inheritance, and one of my favourite books Constable and Toop.

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My Top 10 New Zealand Books for Kids & Teens in 2012

We have so many great authors and illustrators in New Zealand and I love shouting about them.  There have been a bumper crop of books from NZ authors and illustrators this year and there are strong contenders for the 2013 New Zealand Post Children’s Book Awards.  Some of these books have been included in my other Top 10 of 2012 lists but I wanted to do a separate list to highlight these spectacular NZ books.


Filed under books, children, children's fiction, Illustrators, New Zealand, young adult, young adult fiction

My Top 10 Middle Grade Fiction of 2012

There have been so many middle grade fiction books published this year, both here in New Zealand and overseas.  It was difficult to pick my absolute favourites but here they are, my Top 10 Middle Grade Fiction of 2012.  If you want to know more about these books you can read my reviews here on the blog.

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Filed under books, children, children's fiction, Intermediate Fiction (11+)

Big Nate: Here Goes Nothing by Lincoln Peirce

I’m sure you will know children who are crazy about the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books by Jeff Kinney.  Boys in particular love the funny adventures of Greg Heffley, which are a mix of text and comic-style illustrations.  There are quite a few series now that are similar in style to these books, including the very popular Big Nate series by Lincoln Peirce.  So far there are 8 books featuring Big Nate, including two activity books and two books of original Big Nate comic strips.  The latest Big Nate book is Here Goes Nothing, and it’s chock-full of Big Nate comic strips.

In Big Nate: Here Goes Nothing, Nate and his friends get up to all sorts of mischief as usual, like pulling pranks at school, trying to make money by selling photocopies of his artwork, trying to convince his dad to get a dog, blogging about his teacher, and painting his grandparent’s house.  Lincoln Peirce read a lot of Peanuts and Dennis the Menace comic strips growing up and you can see these influences in Big Nate.  My favourite comic strip in the book is the one where Nate and Teddy hear the ice cream truck music, only to run outside and find out it’s the mobile library.  I don’t know why no one has thought of trying that before!

If you know a kid that’s wants to read a book like Diary of a Wimpy Kid or they just like comics, the Big Nate series is perfect.  Big Nate: Here Goes Nothing is available in libraries and book shops in New Zealand now.

Check out this video of Lincoln Peirce talking about Big Nate and drawing his character.

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Books with bite from Scholastic NZ

Scholastic NZ has just released two great books for younger readers with some real bite – Fishing Fame by Melanie Drewery and Dinosaur Rescue: Spino-rottysaurus by Kyle Mewburn.

Fishing Fame by Melanie Drewery, illustrated by John Bennett

Mark and Dan are desperate to get their names onto the fishing fame board.  But when they start breaking the rules they catch much more than they bargained for.

Fishing Fame is a short, illustrated chapter book perfect for boys.  Kids will love the crazy antics that Mark and Dan get up to and will want to keep reading to find out how they get out of their awkward situation.  John Bennett’s illustrations break up the text into small chunks for easy reading, and the cover will appeal to boys.


Dinosaur Rescue: Spino-rottysaurus by Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley

How do you stop a rampaging sinosaurus from eating the last dracorex?  Arg has to get help fast or he’ll be extinct too!  A spino-rotty-trocious Stone Age adventure that’ll make your teeth tremble.

Kyle Mewburn and Donovan Bixley are back with their 5th Dinosaur Rescue book.  This series just keeps getting better and better (not to mention more disgusting!).  In this book you can learn why prehistoric insects didn’t make good pets, how to train your giant dragonfly, how to hunt with Arg’s dad, and some interesting facts about dinosaurs.  Get this book for your children and they’ll be rolling around on the floor laughing (or possibly looking very green).  They’re perfect for fans of Captain Underpants. 

Scholastic NZ are publishing some really good books for early readers (7-9 years), like those mentioned above.  Check out Diary of a Pukeko by Sally Sutton and Do Not Push by Kyle Mewburn.  These books are the short, with lots of adventure and laughs, so they’re perfect for this age group.

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Filed under authors, books, children, children's fiction, New Zealand