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!
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.
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.