Summer 2019 reading ideas!


Now that the holidays are upon us, a few suggestions for summer reads might be handy for those moments when the kids are a little bored and with possible long-distance travel on the horizon! So today on the blog I’m sharing some ideas for summer reading, based on the books I’ve read over the last few months all of which are available now from your local bookshop or library.  Happy holidays – and happy reading!

Illustrated fiction


Fabio The World’s Greatest Flamingo Detective: Mystery on the Ostrich Express by Laura James illustrated by Emily Fox published by Bloomsbury, is the second story centred on one of my favourite character’s in children’s fiction! Set in the world of Lake Laloozee, Fabio the Flamingo sets out to solve another mystery, helped by his hapless sidekick, Gilbert the Giraffe. This time it’s the height of summer and a jewel thief is on the loose – Fabio must use all his trademark deductive powers to find the culprit. The clever plot has you turning the page right till the end and gentle humour abounds throughout making this a thoroughly enjoyable story.  Coupled with gorgeous illustrations and fabulous print production, this really is a fantastic read – especially if you happen to be travelling by train this summer! Check out my review of Fabio’s first adventure here.

molly rogers

Molly Rogers to the Rescue by Cornelia Funke illustrated by Kasia Matyjaszek published by Barrington Stoke, is a fun pirate adventure set on Monkey Skull Island. Brave Molly Rogers returns for more swashbuckling and seafaring escapades. She must defeat Captain Firebeard and his brilliantly named gang of pirates – Billy the Bald, William Wooden Hand to name a few. Young readers will delight in Molly’s adventure and enjoy cheering her and her friends on as she shows you don’t have to be big to be brave! Great fun girl-power and an accessible read with lovely illustrations highlighting all the action.

Middle grade


The Great Animal Escapade by Jane Kerr published by Chicken House, is a delightful tale featuring the heroes first discovered in The Elephant Thief. Danny and his best friend, Maharajah the elephant return for a new adventure set in the Victorian zoo, Belle Vue.  Danny is settling into his new found home and family life with zoo-owner Mr Jameson and his wife, but has no time to get comfortable as a plot to frame him and ruin his reputation becomes clear. Mystery abounds as animals escape and Danny is the main suspect.  You’ll be whisked away by the well-written plot, with larger-than-life characters brilliantly bringing to life Belle Vue and it’s inhabitants.  The narrative keeps you guessing as Danny faces increasing danger.  Danny’s charming friendship with Hetty, the zoo veterinarian’s daughter, adds another layer to the story – he needs all the friends he can get!  The Great Animal Escapade is indeed a great escape – animal lovers and fans of mystery stories will not be disappointed.


Clifftoppers The Arrowhead Moor Adventure by Fleur Hitchcock published by Nosy Crow, is a great summer read reminiscent of Enid Blyton adventures, but brought bang up to date with determined young heroes.  Cousins Aiden, Chloe, Ava and Josh are staying with their grandparents and stumble on a mystery they can’t help but try to solve. Adventure ensues with plenty of action scenes as the gang discover a jewel heist in progress and villainous baddies at the heart of the crime.  Great interaction between the cousins, each with a distinct personality, creates believable characters – and of course Bella the dog proves a valuable helper! Edge-of-your-seat moments mean danger is never far away, but with a bit of teamwork and being just a bit clever, the bad guys get their comeuppance.  For fans of adventure stories Clifftoppers makes a great summer read!


Little Badman and the Invasion of the Killer Aunties by Humza Arshad and Henry White with illustrations by Aleksei Bitskoff published by Puffin is a hilarious debut featuring the wonderful voice of Humza Khan (aka Little Badman) and his misadventures with some very scary aunties. Humza is the greatest rapper Eggington has ever known – at least that’s what he thinks. But he could never have imagined just how important his rapping skills would be, as strange occurrences and disappearing teachers reveal a threat to take over the world! Prepare to laugh-out-loud as Humza’s personality and brilliant observations of childhood experiences leap off the page, captured in lively illustrations. Ably supported by a delightful cast including his Grandpa (well actually his Uncle – Humza will explain!), his good friend Umer and class swot Wendy Wang, Humza sets out to find out just why the aunties are taking over the school. It’s a crazy, madcap and mischievous adventure perfect for entertaining readers young and old.


Peril En Pointe by Helen Lipscombe published by Chicken House is an exciting debut with an original take on the idea of a spy school! When Milly’s mum goes missing and a mysterious scholarship arrives for Milly to attend the prestigious Swan House School of Ballet, so begins a quest to find out just where her mother has gone.  Beset with problems, Milly must prove herself in more ways than one.  She makes an admirable heroine and is supported by a cast of fairly unlikely – but very likeable – sidekicks. Peril En Pointe draws you in to the world of intrigue – with ballet and spies at it’s heart! I love the pairing of these two worlds and the school setting – and who doesn’t love a spy gadget?! A great debut novel with the promise of more, introduce your children to Milly this summer and they’ll be totally entertained.


My Parents Cancelled My Birthday by Jo Simmons illustrated by Nathan Reed published by Bloomsbury is a story about Tom, whose birthday party is cancelled after a series of inexplicable disasters. Think falling pigs, dogs succumbing to accident and health issues.  Tom enlists the help of his best friends and younger sister to organise his party (rather than worrying his parents) and their organisational antics are brought to life in fun illustrations throughout. Brilliantly capturing the everyday chaos of family life, the disappointment of birthday plans gone awry and trying to keep your parents happy, there is humour-galore! If you want something to make you laugh this summer, read this book!

Young Adult


Summer of No Regrets by Kate Mallinder published by Firefly Press captures that wonderful time in life when you’ve just finished school, exams are behind you and a long summer stretches out in front of you.  Featuring four friends, each with very different backgrounds, who pledge to live a regret-free summer, taking risks and doing things that scare them to make sure they don’t waste a moment of freedom!  A strong, well-balanced narrative creates a feel-good story, as each of the friends discovers ‘no regrets’ is a hard motto to live by – especially if you are dealing with family issues. Summer of No Regrets weaves a tale of friendship which many will relate to.  It also creates some very believable scenarios handling sensitive themes with great care.  Carefree enough to provide an escape yet not without heart, this is a great holiday read.


The Starlight Watchmaker by Lauren James published by Barrington Stoke is a fantastic and fast-paced sci-fi story. With an unlikely friendship at the centre of the story, this is a hugely imaginative and accessible read.  Hugo is the android watchmaker working in the dusty attic of an elite academy; Dorian is the privileged student being educated there. Wonderfully described, together they uncover a dastardly plot placing the whole academy in danger. Creating a world of unique beings, clockwork inventions and the power of science at its best and worst, The Starlight Watchmaker is a fantastic story.  Read it and escape to a place far away from our own – you won’t want to return!

With thanks to the publishers for sending me these books to review. They will find a great home with my Bookbuddy school!





1 thought on “Summer 2019 reading ideas!

  1. Pingback: New reviews: A little middle-grade magic – great books for stocking fillers! | thebookactivist

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