The best kids' books to buy right now
PIG THE BLOB
SCHOLASTIC, RRP $18
Laziness becomes such an art form for lounge-loving lump Pig the Pug that, loaded up with fatty snacks and TV-bingeing, he becomes part of the couch! Beware - the latest in Aaron Blabey's cheeky Pig series may seem dangerously close to our lockdown lifestyle. But Pig soon comes back to reality with an almighty thud. Who better than this stubborn pug to give us a jolt to get our heart rate pumping again?
- reviewed by CARINA BRUCE
VILLONY VIRUS COMES TO TOWN
JANICE MCKAY, ILLUSTRATED BY JERAM FAHEY
INDIEMOSH, RRP $12.95 (PAPERBACK), $29.95 (HARDBACK)
Pesky coronavirus has a new moniker, thanks to an Aussie psychologist's quest to help primary-aged children understand the pandemic and its impact on their feelings and lives. Janice McKay explains how Villony Virus spreads easily, why we need to stay 1.5m apart to stop it jumping between people, the need for hand hygiene and a vaccine. She even ponders enjoyable times during Villony's visit - like lazy PJs days - as she spreads the word that it's OK to be sad, confused and lonely while Villony's in town.
- reviewed by CARINA BRUCE
MERMAID SCHOOL, BOOK 2: THE CLAMSHELL SHOW
LUCY COURTENAY, ILLUSTRATED BY SHEENA DEMPSEY
ANDERSEN PRESS, RRP $15
This book is about a school. But not an ordinary school, a school for mermaids doing a play. Imagine a clam stage in the middle of the ocean … watch the characters change from mean to kind under the influence of an octopus instructor. My favourite part was when the mean characters, Jet and Gilly, try to stay under the spotlight to make their own album. But they are tricked and miss out. Read the book to find out what else happens. Mermaid School 3: Ready, Steady, Swim! is out now too.
- reviewed by SOPHIE SLADE, 9
WHERE THE DRAGONS LIVE
ALADDIN, RRP $18
Rasmus is a friendly dragon who loves flying kites and has a human pal called Rosie. But when Rasmus spreads his little wings and flies to the island of dragons, he is sad to find he doesn't fit in. He can't breathe fire or roar to be scary. Rosie helps out with a lesson about the importance of being yourself in this second book in Melburnian Serena Geddes' delightful series featuring special friends Rosie and Rasmus.
NONE SHALL SLEEP
ALLEN & UNWIN, RRP $20
Teenagers interviewing serial killers for the FBI may seem like a questionable concept, yet everything about None Shall Sleep rings true in Ellie Marney's masterful hands. The story centres around Emma and Travis, who, after first-hand experience with trauma, are recruited by the FBI to interview murderers their own age. Their super-sleuthing finds them embroiled in an active case, where the story really takes off. The partnership between gutsy Emma and dependable Travis is a shining ray of light in a YA killer thriller guaranteed to creep you out. If you're faint of heart, consider yourself warned for the epic ending.
- reviewed by ELOUISE TYNAN
THE WIZARDS OF ONCE, BOOK 4: NEVER AND FOREVER
HODDER, RRP $20
This story is about the partnership between two children, Xar and Wish, who make a pact to take down evil witches scattered across the country. This leads to amazing adventures, including travelling to a mysterious land called the lake of the lost. This book is so exciting because you never know if it will end in a complete disaster or the beginning of a new peaceful world. This is the final book of The Wizards of Once series, but you don't need to have read the other books.
- reviewed by SEBASTIAN STOCK, 8
WILL YOU BE MY FRIEND?
SAM MCBRATNEY, ILLUSTRATED BY ANITA JERAM
WALKER, RRP $25
This sequel to the worldwide hit Guess How Much I Love You has been a long time coming - 26 years, in fact. Sadly, its release has coincided with the death of its author, aged 77. Nevertheless, fans of Big Nutbrown Hare and Little Nutbrown Hare will be excited to join a new adventure as the playful youngster explores a little far from home but finds a welcome new pal.
EDIE'S EXPERIMENTS, BOOK 2: HOW TO BE THE BEST
CHARLOTTE BARKLA, ILLUSTRATED BY SANDY FLETT
PUFFIN, RRP $15
Edie is a competitive grade five girl who loves science. She does experiments all the time. One day a boy named Dean Starlight, who also loves science, starts at the school and is in her class. He quickly becomes her enemy and they don't like each other at all. Little do they know an Eco Fair Competition is coming up. And they will compete against each other. Who will be the better scientist? Who will win the grand prize? I highly recommend this book if you enjoy science and a bit of sneaky competition.
- reviewed by MADDY SIMMONDS, 10
ROWLEY JEFFERSON'S AWESOME FRIENDLY ADVENTURE
PUFFIN, RRP $15
This book was so good. Rowley Jefferson is writing a story about Roland and his best friend Garg the Barbarian, who have to go on a dangerous mission to rescue Roland's mum from the White Warlock. Rowley changes his story every time he reads a chapter to his friend Greg, because he thinks it isn't good enough. This gets annoying because Greg is always negative, but it makes Rowley's story even better because he brings in more characters, twists and turns. The last twist is the best. If you like Diary of a Wimpy Kid, you will love this book.
- reviewed by HENRY BENNETT, 7
Originally published as Best kids books to buy right now