Our favourite September new releases for kids
From spooky houses to chickens on Vespas, here are the best kids' books September has on offer.
(Find the best new releases in young adult books here.)
KIDS' BOOK OF THE MONTH
Ada Twist, Scientist by Andrea Beaty & David Roberts (3+)
The team that brought us Iggy Peck, Architect and Rosie Revere, Engineer are back again with yet another unforgettable character. And if you’ve got a curious kid in your life, you might like to introduce them to Ada Twist. Ada is a young scientist-in-the-making, and like every scientist worth their salt, she questions a lot of things: Why are there pointy bits stuck to a rose? Why are there hairs growing inside your nose?
Ada’s inherent curiosity serves her well when an awful stink fills her house, and she embarks on a mission to get to the bottom of it.
Children’s specialist Angela Crocombe writes: ‘The rhyming text is just perfect and shows a strong-willed child following her passion for a scientific career. This is another wonderful must-have addition to the series on the young geniuses in Miss Greer’s classroom and a beautiful stand-alone book that will be enjoyed by adults as much as children.’
Mr Chicken Arriva a Roma by Leigh Hobbs (3+)
I’m not sure that new release announcements get any more exciting than this: not only does Australian Children’s Laureate Leigh Hobbs have a new book out, but it’s also starring the irrepressible Mr Chicken AND it’s set in Italy. Readers of all ages are going to love joining Mr Chicken on his Vespa as he tours Rome.
A Child of Books by Sam Winston and Oliver Jeffers (4+)
The incomparable Oliver Jeffers has illustrated yet another gorgeous book that is sure to become a classic. A Child of Books sees a young girl invite a boy on a magical literary adventure. Jeffers has collaboration with typographical fine artist Sam Winston to create this enchanting tale that celebrates the object of the book itself. Children’s specialist Alexa Dretzke writes: ‘This is a book for book-lovers and for anyone who wants to encourage a child to love books.’ Read the rest of Alexa’s review here.
Day of the Dinosaurs by Dr Steve Brusatte and Daniel Chester (5+)
This fact-filled book on dinosaurs belongs on every budding palaeontologist’s bookshelf. Written by Dr Steve Brusatte, who was a consultant on the 2013 film Walking with Dinosaurs, this amazing book brings young readers back in time to the prehistoric eras. Daniel Chester’s bright and eye-catching designs put a modern twist on an ancient favourite.
JUNIOR & MIDDLE FICTION
Elizabeth and Zenobia by Jessica Miller (11+)
Timid Elizabeth isn’t keen on moving to spooky Witheringe House, but her odd friend Zenobia loves it because she’s convinced she can contact a spirit. And while Zenobia doesn’t manage to scare up any ghosts, strange things are happening in the manor – can the girls get to the bottom of this mystery? Children’s specialist Isobel Moore writes: ‘This is such a great adventure. It’s funny and interesting but also thrillingly frightening at times.’ Read the rest of Isobel’s review here.
Dog Man by Dav Pilkey (7+)
From the brains that brought you Captain Underpants comes the adventure of an all new hero: Dog Man. George and Harold have penned the crime-fighting Dog Man, the result of a policeman and his dog who have been fused together after an accident. This is riotous humour that kids will love.
Twins of Tintarfell by James O'Loghlin (9+)
Twins Dani and Bart find themselves in a spot of trouble after they attempt to help out the spoilt Prince Edward. Now Bart has been kidnapped, and it’s up to Dani (with a reluctant prince in tow) to save him. A hilarious and fantastical adventure packed full of memorable characters.
Seven Signs: Skyfire by Michael Adams (10+)
Seven winners of the DARE Awards are thrust together on a mysterious journey across seven continents. Along the way, they’ll encounter intriguing puzzles and deadly attacks – can they work as a team to save the world? This is the first in a nail-biting series that is sure to thrill readers; think Matthew Reilly for the younger set.
CLASSIC OF THE MONTH
Journey to the River Sea by Eva Ibbotson (9+)
After Maia becomes an orphan at 13, she is sent to live in Manaus with distant relatives. Accompanied by her mysterious governess, Maia approaches this new journey in her life with trepidation, but what she soon finds is a vibrant and colourful world, bursting with adventure. First published in 2001, Journey to the River Sea has been re-released with a gorgeous 15th Anniversary Edition cover.
Children’s specialist Athina Clarke writes: ‘Maia is an admirable and lovable protagonist, brave and determined in spite of the many obstacles she encounters, and incredibly curious about the exotic world of the Amazon. She’s surrounded by intriguing people, some humorous and mysterious, others villainous and downright mean! But what makes this marvellous adventure so enduring is masterful storytelling – a multilayered, moving yet humorous story, fascinating characters and a highly gratifying ending.’
Holly Harper is a children’s bookseller and author who blogs for the Readings website.