Dani Solomon

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Dani Solomon is a children’s and YA specialist at Readings Kids.

Reviews

Thornhill by Pam Smy

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Thornhill is a beautiful book, from its striking greyscale silhouetted cover to the pages in-between. The book contains two stories set in two different times. Mary’s story is set in 1982, in a child…

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They Came from Planet Zabalooloo! by Sean Taylor & Kate Hindley

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

I adore They Came From Planet Zabalooloo. This is probably one of my favourite books ever. It follows three very giggly, dancey and excited aliens – Zoron, Bazoo and Zob – on an important mission to …

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The Missing Ace by Cosentino with Jack Heath & James Hart

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Cosentino, the Grand Illusionist, is working on his latest illusion – escaping from a pit of deadly snakes while in a sack padlocked in chains – when Ace, an anthropomorphic playing card and escaped …

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The Shop at Hoopers Bend by Emily Rodda

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

The Shop at Hoopers Bend is the kind of book that’s chock-full of all sorts of amazing coincidences. It starts when Jonquil, who has been staying with her aunt’s PA while waiting to be sent to a summ…

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Sparrow by Scot Gardner

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Sparrow doesn’t speak. He lives in the ceiling of the toilet rooms in a mall in Darwin. He doesn’t have many reasons to become anything more than a ‘ghost boy’ – one of those who wander the parks in …

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Exchange of Heart by Darren Groth

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

When Munro’s little sister Evie dies in his arms, from heart complications connected to her Down’s Syndrome, he just can’t cope. A year after her death, he convinces his parents to let him do a stude…

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Funny Kid for President by Matt Stanton

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Max’s schoolteacher has it in for him. Someone has done a poop in Mr Armstrong’s storeroom. For reasons unknown (but probably related to the fact that Max is no good at sports…and forgets his schoolb…

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D-Bot Squad: Dino Hunter by Mac Park

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

It’s Book Week at Hunter’s school – and while everyone else is dressed as a superhero, Hunter is dressed as his favourite thing in the world, a Dinosaur Hunter. Two of his classmates think that’s dum…

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Piglettes by Clementine Beauvais

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Fifteen-year-old Mireille has had the honour of coming first two years running in her school’s annual ‘Pig Pageant’, a horrible Facebook competition to find the ugliest girls in the school, started b…

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The Ones That Disappeared by Zana Fraillon

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Esra is 11 years old and she is kept in a basement with Miran, also 11 and Isa, who is only 7. All three children bear the tattoo of their owner, Orlando of the Snakeskin Gang, a hideously cruel man …

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The Wayward Witch and the Feelings Monster by Sally Rippin

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Polly is not very good at being a witch: she muddles up spells and has trouble reading her potions book, because the letters dance around the page. After a particularly disastrous day at school, Poll…

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The Fall by Tristan Bancks

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Sam Garner doesn’t know why he does all the things he does to annoy his mum, but evidentally he pushed too far – and she finally caves and lets him go stay with his dad, Harry, a crime reporter Sam h…

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Spellslinger by Sebastien de Castell

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

There are only a few weeks before Kellen’s sixteenth birthday. Three weeks to pass the three requirements necessary to earn a mage’s name. Failing will mean becoming a Sha’Tep – no more than a servan…

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The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Told from the point of view of a young girl called Columba, The Blue Cat by Ursula Dubosarsky is a strange little tale in which not much really happens at all. Set during World War II in Sydney, it m…

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Diva and Flea: A Parisian Tale by Mo Willems and Tony DiTerlizzi

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Diva is a tiny dog who lives in a Parisian apartment building. It’s her job to guard the gated courtyard out front. She’s very good at it and runs away yelping whenever people approach. Flea is a ‘fl…

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Frankie Fish and the Sonic Suitcase by

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Frankie Fish is forced to spend the holidays with his grandparents as punishment for a prank gone wrong. Nanna Fish is quite nice but Grandad Fish, a sour man with a hook for a hand, is the meanest m…

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A Shadow’s Breath by Nicole Hayes

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Life has not been great for Tessa. Her dad committed suicide, her mum became an alcoholic, and she became the weird kid by having a public breakdown in front of her entire school. When a nearby priva…

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Wormwood Mire by Judith Rossell

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Stella Montgomery is back! Those who loved Withering-by-Sea by Judith Rossell (which is to say anyone who read it) will be thrilled to hear that Wormwood Mire is even better! After the events of With

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Book Scavenger by Jennifer Chambliss Bertman

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Imagine a website, Book Scavenger, that allowed you to use cryptic clues to find and leave books secreted around your city. Imagine the creator of that website, Garrison Griswold, was the Willy Wonka…

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A Closed and Common Orbit by Becky Chambers

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Compared to A Long Way to a Small, Angry Planet which was very much an ensemble piece incorporating a dozen people and spanning light years of space, A Closed and Common Orbit is a more confined, alm…

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We Found a Hat by Jon Klassen

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Jon Klassen is back with another hat book!

This time two turtles find a hat. And the hat looks good on both of them. But there are two turtles and only one hat. Both turtles agree that it’s only fai…

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There May be a Castle by Piers Torday

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Mouse Mallory is 11 years old and he’s very little for his age. It’s Christmas eve and Mouse’s mum is hassling him to please help her out by packing his bag and getting ready for the short drive acro…

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The Twins of Tintarfell by James O'Loghlin

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Dani and Bart are orphan twins who serve the bedridden King Corolius the Fifth and his son, the spoiled Prince Edward. When Edward’s father buys him a magnificent but huge and angry-looking horse, Pr…

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When Friendship Followed Me Home by Paul Griffin

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Ben Coffin spent 10 years in children’s homes before 67-year-old Tess adopted him. It was almost worth the wait. Tess is the kind of mum who, when Ben walks into the apartment one day with a stray mu…

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A Face Like Glass by Francis Hardinge

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

The people of Caverna are born without the ability to naturally make facial expressions. Instead they must learn them manually from a ‘Facesmith’. The rich folk, of course, can learn as many intricat…

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One Would Think the Deep by Claire Zorn

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Seventeen-year-old Sam’s mum has died. With no father in the picture and nowhere else to go, the Department of Child Services have directed him to call his estranged Aunty Lorraine, the only relative…

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The Other Side of Summer by Emily Gale

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Summer’s brother, Floyd, is killed in an accident. Unsure how to cope with the loss, Summer clings to his Ibanez Artwood guitar (Floyd was giving her lessons before he died) while her dad moves the f…

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Dreaming the Enemy by David Metzenthen

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

Johnny stares at the screen as a celebrity, watched over by a nearby government official, pulls a number out of a barrel and reads it aloud. Just like that, Johnny’s future is decided. Three months o…

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The Way We Roll by Scot Gardner

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

All we know about Will in the first few chapters of The Way We Roll is he’s dropped out of a wealthy private boarding school (it’s complicated) and he lives under a bowling alley. With Julian, the ot…

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Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long

Reviewed by Dani Solomon

I admit that before I even opened the cover of this picture book, I was ready to declare it the best one we currently have in our shop. Something about the bright and busy illustrations had hooked me…

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News

Reflecting on the final Discworld novel

by Dani Solomon

Longtime Terry Pratchett fan Dani Solomon writes about the bittersweet experience of reading the final Discworld novel. (Please note, there are some spoilers in here.)

A few weeks ago I held an unread Discworld novel in my hands for what would be the last time. I didn’t want to read it. I didn’t want to open it. I didn’t want to never have a new Discworld book to look forward to. Terry Pratche…

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The beginner’s guide to Emily Rodda

by Dani Solomon

If you haven’t picked up a fantasy novel since childhood but want to introduce your children to the magic of reading about magic – never fear. Here I provide a stepping-stone guide for your children to follow, through the books of Emily Rodda, the deserved queen of the junior fantasy genre.

Step One: Rowan of Rin

Rodda’s Rowan of Rin series is a gentle and exciting introduction to tradition…

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Three authors that remind me of Terry Pratchett

by Dani Solomon

In an attempt to cheer myself up and make myself feel a little better since my literary hero Sir Terry Pratchett passed away, I thought I’d list a few authors whose work Terry has influenced, or who simply remind me of him in their work.

Frances Hardinge

The first Frances Hardinge book I read was A Face Like Glass and the day after I finished it, I ordered every other book she’s ever written. T…

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A tribute to Terry Pratchett

by Dani Solomon

Stop all the clacks.

An entire world ended last Friday: warring countries; vibrant, huge, dirty cities; small villages settled by people with busy work-filled lives all gone. Individuals perished too: a sharp-as-nails old woman and her wicked friend; a straight-as-an-arrow cop and his big-hearted wife and son; a sixteen-year-old girl who had just discovered what love can mean. A world full of pe…

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Dani Solmon reflects on Cat Out of Hell by Lynne Truss

by Dani Solomon

I have to confess that even though I do own a cat I am not – as I discovered in the early days of my cat ownership – a cat person. Not at all. Not in any way. And perhaps it was because of this that this book resonated with me so strongly.

Cat out of Hell starts off with freshly retired librarian, Alec, escaping to a cottage by the sea to mourn the recent and not yet suspicious passing of his wi…

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Why I want my sister to read Terry Pratchett

by Dani Solomon

Bookseller Dani Solomon tells us why she’s gifted her sister Terry Pratchett’s series about a witch named Tiffany Aching.

My sister turned 11 this year. She’s an excellent human with a wicked sense of humour who very much knows her own mind and I am stupidly proud of her just for existing. She’ll start high school soon and like any decent big sister who works in a bookshop I want to load up he…

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