14. Kate Dicamillo – Raymie Nightingale
Rather than writing a short review, it’d be much better to read Martin Galway’s blog where you can see what he made of it. As I said to him, sometimes I worry that an inflated expectation of a book (or anything at all) can too often end in disappointment.
This is not the case here.
15. Sara Pennypacker – Pax
The story starts with Peter and Pax (Peter’s pet fox) being forcibly separated by Peter’s father.
As a result, Peter runs away, meeting one of my favourite characters of all the books I’ve read so far. Vola comes across as blunt, stoic and no-nonsense. Her layers are gradually peeled away as she teaches Peter more than he’d ever expect.
Meanwhile Pax is busy learning how to be a fox, something he struggles with – however, he does understand the value of trust and friendship.
Set against the backdrop of impending war, the story is ultimately one of two individuals finding themselves whist trying to find one another.
16. Lisa Thompson – The Goldfish Boy
This reminded me a lot of The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time, featuring as it does a boy who struggles with the normality of the outside world. The main protagonist, Matthew, suffers with OCD, so much so that he seldom goes outside, instead watching the world go by from his bedroom window.
When a toddler on Matthew’s street goes missing, Matthew thinks he has the answers. He inevitably gets to the bottom of things thanks to some surprising help, and the source of his OCD is finally revealed – the last chapter is a bit of a tear-jerker.
17. Ross Mackenzie – The Nowhere Emporium
This is all adventure from the word go. Daniel stumbles across a shop – the Nowhere Emporium – that nobody else can see, meaning Daniel has something that others don’t.
Daniel is trained by Mr Silver, the owner, and becomes able to explore more of the labyrinthine Emporium, a place where rooms can be created based on your wildest dreams and desires.
Daniel repeatedly loses and gains Mr Silver’s trust but does befriend his daughter Ellie. The two of them work together to quickly deduce that Mr Silver is in trouble and work together to try and save him, the Emporium, and themselves.
The story is rich in language and would certainly be one a year 5 or 6 class would enjoy.
18. Kate Dicamillo – The Magician’s Elephant
A short-ish story based around a boy who wants to find his sister, and is told he can by following the elephant. So he does.
This is a playful book, full of dry humour and amusing conversations between an interesting cast of characters.