New release children’s junior and middle grade fiction (July/August 2022)

I’ve been very fortunate to receive quite a few children’s and middle grade titles for review recently, and I wanted to recap a few of them here. I’ve also talked about them in a recent Kids Books vlog if you want to hear my immediate thoughts. Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the review copies!

How to Make a Pet Monster: Smidgen by Lili Wilkinson
Readership Age: 7-10

This is a very fun story about a group of friends who make pet monsters, and while trying to bring a baby dragon to life, inadvertently find themselves on the set of a reality baking television show… with a theme of making soufflés (eggs everywhere!). Lots of hijinks ensue and this was a fun, fast-paced junior fiction title that will appeal to anyone who’s ever wanted a pet, or dream of their science experiments coming true!

E-Boy 4: A New Gemini by Anh Doh
Readership Age: 10-14

I’ve read quite a few of Anh Doh’s children’s titles, but this was my first foray into the E-Boy series and it was an enjoyably fast-paced read. I probably would have benefited from reading previous books in the series, because it functions like a serial – the book picking up in the middle of the action and ending as the next story begins. E-Boy is on the run from Gemini and when his link fails in the midst of escaping, he and Doctor Penny decide to fix the android – but to do so means heading back into enemy territory. This one will definitely appeal to kids who love a story that thrives on action and adventure. There was a whole cast of interesting characters and some intriguing new plot threads, too.

Rise of the Mythix 5: The Last Gladiator by Anh Doh
Readership Age: 10-14
Release Date: 16th August 2022

It’s been a while since I read a book in Anh Doh’s Mythix series, but it didn’t take me too long to find my bearings and catch up on everything that was happening. The Collector has Jimmy, and is close to capturing our heroes. But when The Gladiator Games commences, the team must learn if a new face – the Kraken – is an ally or an enemy. Just like Anh Doh’s other series, this one is very fast paced with plenty of action to keep kids turning the pages.

Enola Holmes and the Elegant Escapade by Nancy Springer
Readership Age: 10-14

This book was a very pleasant surprise. Historical fiction is not one of my preferred genres, but I wanted to give this one a shot and I found it to be fast-paced, funny and entertaining. My only previous experience with Enola Holmes (as a character) is the Netflix adaptation, but I found it very easy to become invested in the characters and their adventures. Enola is trying to assist a friend who’s father is holding her against her will, but it turns out that Enola’s friend has more secrets than Enola initially thought. I love that we have a clever, strong heroine who stands up to everyone (including her brother, Sherlock), and who isn’t afraid to admit when she makes mistakes or gets things wrong. I did also enjoy reading scenes between her and Sherlock, because they had a fun dynamic. This is a great book for any middle grade reader who enjoys a historical mystery, and some clever wit.

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