The Best Middle Fiction Books of 2014
Here are our top ten middle fiction (ages 8 to 12) books of the year, voted for by Readings staff. Displayed in no particular order.
My Dog Doesn’t Like Me by Elizabeth Fensham
Eric is disappointed when his new dog, who he imagined would be his loyal companion, clearly prefers everyone else in the family. Eric and his friends work out tricks to win the dog over, but Eric has to learn how to look after a pet properly before the miracle starts to happen.
Stunt Boy is sure someone is trying to undermine the circus and that his father’s accident was sabotage, but he, his friend Benny, and faithful, scruffy Blindfold get into real danger trying to prove it. I loved the circus setting, motorcycle stunt-riding hero, gripping plot and rich cast of characters.
Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee
I was enchanted by this fabulous adventure – it gets my vote for book of the year! The story is a delicious juxtaposition of magic and logic, a quest to save the world from an evil Snow Queen. I loved the courage of our heroes, Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy, and even shed a few tears when the going got tough.
The Thickety: A Path Begins by J.A White and illustrated by Andrea Offermann
Be warned: this book is only for those who adore being scared witless. The Thickety is a deliciously sinister tale of sorcery. Until The Thickety: A Path Begins, only Neil Gaiman or the brothers Grimm had the power to keep me reading into the early hours, terrified but unable to stop!
Friday Barnes Book 1: Girl Detective by R. A. Spratt
All Friday Barnes wants is a little peace and quiet to get on with her studies, but when she starts at her new school, she quickly realises that may not be an option. The school is rife with mysteries and crimes and Friday is the only one able to solve them! A delight: captivating and very funny.
Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – Detectives Extraordinaire! by Polly Horvath and illustrated by Sophie Blackall
Madeline’s parents have been kidnapped by foxes! Not knowing what to do, Madeline goes to her uncle but finds him unwell. As he can only help from his bed, Madeline enlists the help of Mr. and Mrs. Bunny – detectives who are slightly lacking in sleuthing skills. Hilarious, witty and perfectly written.
The Adventures of Sir Roderick, the Not-Very Brave by James O'Loghlin
Roderick enjoyed his quiet life as a herbalist before he saved Queen Emily from a poison dart. Then she knighted him and sent him on a quest. But is there any time for him to complete it between being stung on the bum by a bee and having his ear talked off by a very chatty bear?
Do You Dare?: Tough Times by Simon Mitchell
Each book in this series focuses on an era in Australian history. Do You Dare?: Tough Times is set in the 1930s depression. Tom’s dad has lost his job and now the family could lose their house too. Tom and his friends unite intrying to save the family from eviction. An action-packed yarn that champions loyalty and persistence, particularly good for boys aged 7–10.
There’s fantasy and high-seas adventure aplenty in The Mapmaker Chronicles Book 1: Race to the End of the World – think Deltora Quest meets Robinson Crusoe. Plucked from a life of mediocrity, Quinn is handpicked to train as a mapmaker and accompany a crew of adventurers around the world.
Timmy Failure Book 3: We Meet Again by Stephan Pastis
Timmy Failure is an entertaining character with a large vocabulary and a detective agency. He’s lovable, reprehensible, adventurous, misunderstood and completely inept. Timmy Failure Book 3: We Meet Again will make you laugh so much you’ll miss your tram stop!