Megan is not like her other sisters. They are loud and love sport, whereas Megan is quieter and loves to draw. It’s not that she doesn’t love them, or her mum and dad, it’s just that the broom cupboard offers a quieter place to get away and draw her fantastical creatures. So does her friend Li’s place. Ever since Li moved in across the road two years ago, the girls have been inseparable. Li is an only child with a single mum, and things are a lot calmer at their house. Plus, Li is a creative too. She loves to write, especially about aliens, and brings Megan’s creatures to life by giving them their own names and backstories. Then one Friday, everything changes. A blue glow takes over the town and everyone in it, except for Megan, Li and Megan’s dog Callie. People stop and quietly stare in a zombie like state. And when Megan tries to draw, it seems the pencil takes on a life of its own and she can’t control her hand. The same happens when Li writes her stories. On their way to get help, Callie leads them to the Talora Caves where they see an eerie blue glow emanating from the cavern. It tries to capture their minds and pull them in. The girls will have to use all their courage and awaken their fantasy beasts to defeat the creature that is The Glow.
This is a fast-paced, supernatural tale of adventure, friendship and heroism, set against a background of creativity and fantasy. Two ordinary girls are caught in an extraordinary situation and must use all of their creative skills to save their town. The story is extremely well written with short chapters, engaging language and plenty of mystery and excitement to keep the reader wanting more. The illustrations, especially those of the creatures, are very intricate with a hint of danger and menace, and will have huge appeal to those who loved the Deltora Quest series and the dragons, orcs, and other beasts from Middle Earth, Harry Potter and Hayao Miyazaki. As a lover of fantasy, I couldn’t put this one down and highly recommend it for upper primary and middle grade readers.
Supporting teaching themes could include mythical creatures, dragons, fantasy, friendship, apocalypses, monsters, dogs, bravery, creativity, illustrating, writing.
Find out more about Sofie Laguna
Find out more about Marc McBride
Published by Allen & Unwin
Released March 2023
Highly recommended for ages 9 +
Mole. Max Mole. Secret agent. Well, not quite a fully-fledged secret agent - yet.
Max is on a mission to save the world from the bad guys – specifically Dr Nude and the extremely evil Eric Goldfish-Finger – so he can become the 007 of the animal world. But first, the secret agent judges have to agree that he has passed their tests. This is not as easy as it sounds for someone who thinks he has a foolproof, masterful plan to thwart the evil villains. If you ask his partners, Helena Hippo (the muscle) and June Bug (the brains), that’s not always – if ever - the case. He’ll have three chances to prove himself and, if he gets it wrong, they all fail.
In this hilarious new graphic novel from the very talented James Foley, we’ll see Max, Helena and June, try their best to defeat a despicable, robot suited mole rat and a maniacal, tank driving, bank robbing fish with a poisonous side kick. There are lots of explosions, tricky situations, toilets and laugh out loud moments that will engage and entertain readers. Two of my favourites are Mr W’s new acronym for the agency – The Official International League Exterminating Terrorism (T.O.I.L.E.T.), and the very clever play on words and images when the team figures out Goldfishfinger’s next move will be to try and steal the priceless, sold gold fishfinger, the new art work by Andy Warthog.
This is sure to be a much sort after graphic novel series for tweens and spy fans. So as Max says, 'Let's Rock and Mole!'
Supporting teaching themes could include friendships, spies, secret agents, animals, perseverance.
Watch the trailer for Book 1 below.
Find out more about James Foley
Published by Scholastic Australia.
Release date 1 March, 2023.
ISBN: 9781761200151 (PB)
Highly recommended ages 9 - 12.
The Book Tree. © Kerry Gittins 2023. All Rights Reserved.