So your child has gone through all the Anh Do Books, Diary of a Wimpy Kid, and Billy B Brown books. They have hung out with Geronimo and Thea Stilton and are ready to move to something a bit different.
What about all the other books published for this age group? There must be other books out there? The short answer is yes, there are many fantastic books out there. I have rounded up seven books that may have flown under your radar.
I am going to do a series of these blog posts. In this post, all of the books have an animal theme.
Agents of the Wild Series by Jennifer Bell, illustrated by Alice Lickens
Jennifer Bell is an English writer of middle-grade fiction. In 2020 she published the Adventures of the Wild series for younger readers. I love Jennifer Bell’s writing, it is clear, engaging and fun.
8-year-old Agnes signs up for SPEARS (the Society for the Protection of Endangered and Awesomely Rare Species). With the help of her elephant-shrew mentor, Attie, Agnes travels the world to save animals in need of protection.
There are three books in the 'Agents of the Wild' series. Each book is beautifully illustrated in two-tone illustrations and the text moves at a fun pace. A Conservation message is at the heart of these adventures. Children will learn about animals from around the world, the environment and nature. Agnes and Attie are strong characters that keep the storyline entertaining.
'Agents of the Wild: Operation Sandwhiskers' the latest book in the series was our July Intrigue Club Selection. We sold out of this one. Highly recommend.
Skunk and Badger by Amy Timberlake, illustrated by Jon Klassen
At the moment there is only one book in this series but a second book 'Egg Marks the Spot: Skunk and Badger 2' is due to be released on 28 September 2021.
'Skunk and Badger' is a book with a dry sense of humour and a large amount of wit.
Badger is a rock scientist and he finds himself with a new roommate (skunk). This annoys Badger a great deal. No one wants a Skunk. They are unwelcome on front stoops. They should not linger in Rock Rooms. Skunks should never be allowed to move in.
Skunk plough's into Badger's life, and Badger's life is upended. Tails are flipped. The wrong animal is sprayed. And why-oh-why are there so many chickens?
The skunk looked away, fiddled with his tail, and then deflated. He met Badger's eyes and whispered, "Not everyone wants a skunk."
This story is a fresh take on the classic odd-couple friendship. Jon Klassen is a Caldecott Medal illustrator, famous for the 'I Want My Hat Back'' series. His distinct humour and eye for design are truly a dream fit for this series.
Amy Timberlake is a Newbury Honour author. Her writing is at once hilarious and deeply felt, calls to mind the work of Kate DiCamillo.
This book is for confident readers it is 136 pages in length and has more text than some other books for this age group.
Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery (Graphic Novel) by Renee Treml
This is a brilliant book for kids who are hesitant about moving from picture books to chapter books. It is in the graphic novel format which is essentially a book-sized comic. It is a laugh out loud mystery set in a natural history museum.
Sherlock Bones is a tawny frogmouth skeleton. Along with his sidekick, a stuffed parrot named Watts, they attempt to solve the mystery of who stole a blue diamond from the museum.
A lot of humour comes from Bones' interactions with the lifeless Watts. The story is fact-filled with snippets of information about different exhibits within the museum.
You can find a copy of 'Sherlock Bones and the Natural History Mystery' here
There is a second book in this series "Sherlock Bones and the Sea-creature Feature' which is also a lot of fun.
Adventure of Anders (Graphic Novel) by Gregory Mackay
Winner of the 2020 Ledger Awards, Gold Ledger.
Anders, Bernie, and Eden are best friends and are always on the lookout for new adventures. In these three exciting stories, discover an unknown comet, explore an extinct volcano, and find their way through a castle maze.
It received 4.57/5 in good reads and is consistently recommended as an outstanding children's graphic novel.
The pictures are delightful and the graphic novel format makes it engaging for young readers.
You can find a copy of 'The Adventures of Anders' here
Armadillo and Hare Series by Jeremy Strong
There are currently three books in the Armadillo and Hare series. It is similar to 'Skunk and Badger' but with more light-hearted fun and camaraderie. I would liken this series to a modern-day 'Wind in the Willows.
Armadillo and Hare live together in a small house in the Big Forest. They enjoy eating cheese sandwiches and playing the Tuba. Each book is broken into smaller stories that are warm, witty and humorous. You won't be able to resist this pair.
Perfect for more confident readers to tackle on their own or as a heartfelt bedtime story that can be read together.
The third book in the series 'Armadillo and Hare and the Flamingo Affair' is only available overseas. It will be released in Australia on the 1st November 2021.
'Armadillo and Hare and the Very Noisy Bear' was one of our July Intrigue Club selections and we sold out.
The Adventure Club: Red Panda Rescue by Jess Butterworth
The Adventure Club series is a brand new illustrated series for younger readers. This is the first book in the series with 'Tiger in Trouble' due to be released in Jan 2022.
Set in the Himalaya's, Tilly doesn't have any plans for the summer holidays. Then she becomes a part of the adventure club and wins a place to monitor endangered red pandas in Nepal. Unfortunately, the red panda that Tilly is monitoring disappears.
Written as if we are reading Tilly’s diary, this book is full of illustrations and stories.
Till the end of August ‘The Adventure Club: Red Panda Rescue’ is the second book selection for the Intrigue Club. You can get it here (need to select two books)
Grimwood by Nadia Shireen
We need to wait a few weeks to get our hands on this one. ‘Grimwood’ is due to be released in Australia on the 15th of September 2021. Talk about this book has been very positive.
After a run-in with the scariest street cat in the Big City, fox cub siblings Ted and Nancy flee for Grimwood, expecting to find refuge in the peaceful countryside.
Instead, they are met with thieving eagles, dramatic ducks, riotous rabbits and an absurd game called Treebonk. While Ted quickly falls in love with his wacky new neighbours, Nancy thinks they’re all bonkers. But she soon discovers that, as kooky they are, the animals of Grimwood always look out for each other.
Now Nancy must ask herself an important question: yes, Grimwood may be weird, but could it also be . . . home?
Nadia Shireen has been described as one of the “best and brightest picture book creators working in Britain today” The Observer, London. This is the first book in a new series and sparked a bidding war among publishers. It is highly original with dark humour and wacky illustrations. Looking forward to it being out soon.
What do you think? Any more you would add to the list? I would love to know what you think. Leave a message below in the comments or send me a message.