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New novel recommendations

The Incredible Adventures of Gaston Le Dog by Michael Rosen ill. Viviane Schwarz, Walker Books (6+)

Gaston is a farm dog who yearns to find a beautiful beach he remembers visiting long ago. Setting off on his quest to find it he leaves old friends finds new companions, faces danger, temptation and disappointment.

This is an enjoyable adventure story with an environmental message, an interesting cast of animal characters, an introduction to the dark tale of Puss in Boots and a sprinkling of French vocabulary.

Michael Rosen reads an extract here
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Visit our activity page for two other novels for newly independent readers by Michael Rosen:

Rigatoni the Pasta Cat

Uncle Gobb and the Dread Shed

The Final Year Matt Goodfellow ill. Joe Todd Stanton, Otter Barry books (9+

This is a powerful and moving verse novel about a boy called Nate who is about to start Year Six. Nate has a lot to deal with, he looks after his younger brothers at home and is separated from his best friend. Things gets worse when his younger brother is taken into hospital. Fortunately, he has a sympathetic teacher who helps him cope with kindness, a carefully chosen book (David Almond’s Skellig) and an encouragement to write his thoughts and feelings.

Matt Goodfellow introduces the book here

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Impossible Creatures by Katherine Rundell ill Tomislav Tomic, Bloomsbury (9+)

This is the first book in a new epic fantasy series from award winning writer Katherine Rundell. It introduces ‘The Archipelago’ where a host of magical creatures have lived safely for many years but is now under threat. A boy from our world, Christopher meets a girl from the Archipelago called Mal with a flying coat and together they try to save the Archipelago and its wonderful creatures.

‘A secret place hidden from us to keep it safe where all the creatures of myth still live and thrive. ‘

Rundell’s writing is unique and exhilarating, and here she has created an epic world. There is an illustrated bestiary at the beginning of the book and a wonderful map of the story world.

Watch the author introduce the book here

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Sere also our activity pages for:
The Wolf Wilder
The Explorer
The Zebra’s Great Escape

Mwikali and the Forbidden Mask, Shiku Nguru, Lantana Books (9+)

Twelve-year-old Mwikali has a supernatural gift; she can forsee the future. Along with her friends who also have super powers she becomes an ‘Intasimi  warrior. They are tasked with destroying a powerful ‘Forbidden Mask’ top prevent the world being taken over by evil monsters.

 This debut novel is an exciting fantasy adventure story, set in Kenya, the first in the series about each of the Instami warriors.

Find out more here

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The Puppets of Spellhorst by Kate di Camillo ill. Julie Morstad, Walker Books

This is a story about five puppets who share a trunk and spend their time imagining a future of adventures and greatness. Although things don’t play out as they imagine they do have a range of experiences and eventually share a story together. With echoes of The Miraculous Journey of Edward Tulane this novella is the first in a planned trilogy of Norendi tales.

Kate di Camillo reads the first chapter here

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Visit our activity page for Flora and Ulysses

The Wonder Brothers by Frank Cottrell-Boyce ill. Steven Lenton, Macmillan (8+)

When a famous landmark goes missing it is up to two young cousins, both would be magicians, to try to get it back. A zany adventure told from various perspectives which takes us from Blackpool to Las Vegas. Mystery, and humour abound and there are tricks, magical terminology and guidelines for would be magicians. 

Frank Cottrell Boyce reads from the first chapter:

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