It’s time for my August anticipated children’s book releases – another fantastic month for children’s books, all of which are released on 4th August, except for Ember! I have been lucky enough to get early copies of Alex Neptune and Mia and the Lightcasters, and am aiming to post my reviews close to publication date.
I have taken the synopsis for each of these from the Waterstones website.
Jama is a clever and sensitive young Maasai girl who likes elephants better than people. She decides to escape the classroom gossip about the new boy, Leku, by going to the watering hole outside her village. There, she befriends a baby elephant that she names Mbegu. When Mbegu’s mother, frightened by poachers, stampedes, Jama and Mbegu are blamed for two deaths – one elephant and one human. Now Leku, whose mysterious and imposing father is the head ranger at the conservancy, may be their only lifeline.
As the brutal Second World War stretches on with no end in sight, life for ordinary Dutch people in the Nazi-occupied Netherlands is fraught with peril and hardship. There is very little to eat and the population lives under the constant threat of arrest and enslavement. After the murder of her beloved uncle and the capture of her brother by the Germans, Edda is determined to do anything she can to help the resistance fight back against their oppressors. But what can a teenage girl do and how much risk is she willing to take?
Liverpool, 1910 When Patch runs up the gangway of steamship, RMS Glorious, she isn’t planning to hang around. But if she leaves her hiding place the constable might catch her: sitting tight is worth the risk. Too late, she realises the ship is setting sail! Patch has become an accidental stowaway. Luckily, Patch’s unconventional past has made her pretty fearless when it comes to fending for herself, and besides there are friends in high and low places to be made onboard. But hiding away becomes less and less easy: her new friends urgently need her help and there’s a mystery that needs solving, all before they reach New York . . .
Mouse, a foundling, loves her pieced-together family at the Moth Theatre fiercely. When their leading man, Walter, is wrongly arrested for murder, Mouse swears she’ll free him. But another member of the cast has a secret identity – as a ruthless killer. As Mouse’s investigation leads her ever closer to their true, deadly nature, can she outwit them without losing everything she holds dear?
For as long as Alex Neptune can remember, the ocean has been trying to kill him. So he’s not too happy when a bunch of sea creatures drag him to the abandoned aquarium on the hill, where an imprisoned water dragon needs his help. But how can he say no to a magical myth? Recruiting his tech-genius best friend Zoey, legend-lover Anil, a sharp-shooting octopus, four acrobatic otters and a thieving seagull, Alex plots a heist to break the dragon out. And suddenly discovers the power of the ocean at his fingertips…
Baker by day, spy by night – Alice Eclair leads an exciting double life! A mysterious message sends Alice on a mission aboard France’s most glamorous train. She must uncover an enemy agent before they reach their final stop. But everyone on the train seems to be hiding something… Armed with her whisk, her wits and her will to succeed, Alice has a spy to catch.
Beware of the shadows, the Reaper King is coming… Mia always dreamed of being an umbra tamer until she met the wild creature on the Nightmare Plains. Since that day, she prefers to stay safe within the walls of Nubis. Safe, that is, until a surprise attack. With her parents captured, Mia’s only hope is to travel to the City of Light to find help. But with only her little brother, two friends and one solitary tamed umbra, the journey feels impossible. Mia not only has to overcome her fears, she also has to learn to harness her umbra taming abilities if they are to complete the quest in time.
Ophelia Bottom longs for an ordinary life: to have normal, well-behaved parents rather than embarrassing actors, and to live in a house that stays still. Instead, she’s stuck living in a rickety converted van – and having to manage her parents’ often disastrous plays at Bottom’s Travelling Theatre. When the family are forced to stay in the idyllic town of Stopford, Ophelia’s dream appears to be coming true. But someone is trying to drive the Bottoms out, and there’s the issue of the strange Stopford motto: PLASTIC IS FANTASTIC – DIFFERENT IS DANGEROUS. Can Ophelia discover what lurks behind Stopford’s perfect appearance, before she loses everything that makes her family so special?
A thrilling, unputdownable debut, with extraordinary twists and incredible action, from an incredible new voice in children’s fiction. I can steal time. The most I can take at the moment is fifteen seconds, which is not a lot. Grandmother took almost three minutes once and she told me she’s done more, but I never saw it. She says there are stories of someone who can take all the time in the world, but how can that be right? When Alex and his father are forced to flee their home to escape a brutal government, they begin a life-threatening journey across Europe. But when they are separated before they can reach Britain, Alex finds himself alone, with only his extraordinary gift to keep him alive. Perfect for fans of Alex Rider, Artemis Fowl, and Inception, Running out of Time is an ingenious, high-concept thriller with a twist that you won’t believe.
Hex never meant for the girl to follow him and his friend Tommo into the woods. He never meant for her to fall off the rope swing and break her arm. When the finger of blame is pointed at him, Hex runs deep into the woods and his fierce sense of injustice leads him to a strange clearing in the woods – a clearing that has never been there before – where an old lady in a cottage offers him a deal. She’ll rid the world of those who wronged him and Hex can carry on his life with them all forgotten and as if nothing ever happened. But what Hex doesn’t know is someone else has been offered the same deal. When Hex’s best friend Tommo wakes up the next day, he is in a completely different world but he only has murmurs of memories of the world before. Moments of deja vu that feel like Tommo’s lived this day before. Can Tommo put the world right again? Back to how it was? Or can he find a way to make a new world that could be better for them all?
Bea Black is in her second term at witch school and she can’t wait for the Year Seven residential trip to the haunted Cadabra Castle. The students are excited to fly around the famous GO pitch, explore the ancient turrets and have a magical time … if they can just stop arguing! Except Ms Sparks has other plans – this isn’t a holiday, it’s a team-building exercise for a class who desperately need to learn to work together. But with rumours of a ghost terrorizing the castle, Bea has a lot more to contend with than scavenger hunts and hikes! Not least being paired up with Blair Smith-Smythe, her ULTIMATE frenemy! Will the class learn anything from their time at Cadabra? And more importantly, will Bea and Blair manage to avoid hexing each other for long enough to solve the spooky mystery?
Kyoto, Japan. Mina is on a bus. Everything is strange and beautiful. Mina watches as a woman folds a piece of paper into an origami boat, then floats it over to her. As Mina discovers the magic of origami, her eyes are opened to the wonders of the real city around her.
Odin has given Loki another chance to prove himself worthy of Asgard. But earning everyone’s trust is tricky, and when Thor’s hammer goes missing, everyone blames Loki! Outrageous! To clear his name, he must:
1) Find Thor’s beloved hammer
2) Uncover the real thief
3) Force everyone to admit they were wrong
An easy feat for someone as handsome and clever as Loki…
Alex’s best friend is Kevin the cockapoo, although what he wants most of all is a friend at school. A charming and gentle story about how life isn’t one size fits all. Everything is changing for 11-year-old Alex and, as an autistic person, change can be terrifying. With the first day of high school only a couple of months away, Alex is sure that having a friend by his side will help. So, he’s devised a plan – impress the kids at school by winning a trophy at the PAWS Dog Show with his trusty sidekick, Kevin. This should be a walk in the park … right?
A thrilling and empowering WWII adventure about the French resistance and their British allies, with a determined, Muslim heroine. Perfect for fans of Michael Morpurgo and Emma Carroll, and those looking for diverse historical fiction. July, 1941. Rosina Raja is half-Indian and half-English. She has always lived in India, so when her mother passes away and she moves to England (where it rains all the time) she is miserable and doesn’t have any friends. Life changes dramatically for Rosie when she discovers that her army captain father is actually a spy for the British government. She can’t bear to be left behind so she stows away in his plane. Finding herself in occupied France, Rosie is soon drawn into the struggle against the Nazis. With new allies and new enemies at every turn, she must help her father complete his mission, and more importantly… make sure they both get home alive.
In the magical village of Everspring, everyone receives a fate card before their twelfth birthday, sent down from the mysterious Mount Never. It tells them their purpose, their profession and how old they’ll be when they die. Nearly 12-year-old Ember Shadows has always believed she is destined for great things. But when her fate card arrives, it’s blank. What does that mean? Then, worse still, her sister’s card decrees she will die before her next birthday. No way is Ember’s going to let that happen. Determined to challenge what – or who – is responsible for these cards, Ember sets off up the mountain, a place no one is allowed to go. She encounters forbidden realms full of magic, trickery and curious creatures. In a thrilling race through a magical landscape, Ember Shadows must uncover the secret behind the fate cards in order to save her sister … But will Ember like what she finds at the top of the mountain?
Do any of these catch your interest? Have you read any already?