The Prophecy of the Key (Book 2 of the Darkin Fantasy) (The Darkin Saga)

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And then it comes, her gorgeous smile. All the tension in her face slides away, and now I know she really is up to something serious. And the word comes out just as quickly as I think it. The last time she tricked me into going, we almost died. She takes out a crumpled piece of paper and unfolds it and then shoves it into my hands. I take it and open it up and look up at her as soon as I recognize what it is.

Head into the town field and find some people for a game of soccer. As if they know we snuck out to the beach alone. Saw how he opens the lock. Saw the map. For as much as I am a logical person, I still do not understand the tug of my emotions for this girl.

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My eyes scour the ripples of sand at my feet. The dropping sensation in my gut grows, the promise that if I go along with her now, I will have kissed the last of my common sense goodbye. Like this is the final straw. Out into the Deadlands. I look at the mesh of lines on the wrinkled yellow paper. Most of it looks like gibberish to me. Under it is written sloppily the word mirror. To watch the tower. I had a hunch, and I was right.

We find the thin trail snaking out of the dunes and back toward the heavier forest. I have to prod her. Her eyes have caught something behind us. She looks back at the tower. A small but bright reflection shining from the tower at a staggering height. I think there are a lot of them pointing at it. But we need to find one first before we can know for sure, right?

Darkin: The Prophecy of the Key

I race over it to keep up. And I took measurements. And when we come to the split, the split that only we know is a split—that deep out there in the woods is a crumbling stone road—she looks at me and hands me a knife from her pocket. The shine alone on the metal produces a gut reaction of guilt. Only the Fathers are permitted to touch it. We cut through the overgrown woods until we find the stone road that snakes toward the Deadlands. But what else can I do? I admit to myself. We fight the bramble together for almost twenty minutes until the road clears out—a road from ancient history, its stones laid down way before the Wipe.

Something only we know about. Or should I say Maze is, and I am stupid enough to follow after her. The last time we did this, a wolf followed us from its den all the way to the fence. Maze hissed like a mad woman and raised her arms long and wide, and somehow, we escaped with our lives. What are you going to do? I can afford to miss one, but this will be three for you in the last two weeks. Something makes me think he must have seen her spying from his roof, sneaking into his house. As daylight creeps up, she woke and looked around only to find herself among creatures that didn't look like anything she had seen, certainly not cats, but the familiar fishy smell drew her forward.

Too tired to move, she lay on the rocks watching the penguins swim and return with fish, making her tummy rumbled. And then one of them approached her. Mel Armstrong, an experienced illustrator making her children's book debut, has created bold illustrations which suggest that Luna is no weak, wimpy cat and so the reader expects that this story is going to go well beyond that initial meeting and that conflict or camaraderie.

On the surface, this is a simple story about two creatures forming an unlikely friendship, one that reaches a climax when humans arrive at the colony and decide that it is no place for a cat. But looking beneath the surface, could it be the story of a refugee arriving in a strange land amongst strange people, and being accepted just for who they are, rather than anything else?

And a government making a determination about their suitability to stay? Or am I viewing it through the lens of so many news stories about worthy people facing deportation, so much so my views of a children's story have been tainted and I see allegory each time I read a story like this? Whichever, it is refreshing to read one that is about resilience and hope and which has the sort of ending we would all wish for, whether it's a cat washed ashore or a person.

Read more about the story behind the story here. Teacher's notes are available. Walker Books, Have you heard of Malala Yousafzai? What about Baruani Ndume? Or Ryan Hreljac? Forty years ago the UN declared that was to be the International Year of the Child and as part of that. Using her iconic graphic format, Marcia Williams has explored the lives of 13 children, all born since the Declaration and all of whom have made a significant difference to the lives of the children in their home countries and beyond.

Each double spread is devoted to the pivotal work of the child under the banner of one of those UN rights. Deliberately designed to inform children of their rights, Williams speaks directly to the reader in the introduction and encourages them to not only be aware of those rights but to take action when they see injustice or something that needs changing. With our students being so aware of the global picture these days, and being involved in actions like School Strike 4 Climate this is an important and timely release to help our students know that they can make a difference and will.

Perhaps one of them will become the new Greta Thunberg, who has risen to prominence since the book was prepared but who not only deserves a place in it but also demonstrates that kids can be heard and supported and change can happen. This is a book that needs to be promoted to kids everywhere, to give them inspiration and hope that their voices will be heard. We've all heard of a herd of cows and a flock of sheep, but what is a group of giraffes called?

A murder of crows is a common trivia answer, but what about a mischief of mice? Exploring collective nouns is always fun and in this book the ringmaster and the monkey investigate 64 of them opening up a menagerie of creatures for little ones to learn and perhaps wonder about and perhaps research their validity. A parliament of owls? That could either be flattering to some parliaments or insulting to some owls!

Berger has used her skills of making cut-paper collages to create fascinating illustrations and tying the collection together with the ringmaster and the monkey makes it a bit more engaging than the usual word book, especially the final pages! One that will encourage small groups to share and delight in, and perhaps try to make up their own. Would a group of koalas be called a cuddle? Or a group of cockatoos a squawk? Dorling Kindersley, In the inimitable way that DK publishing has to present complex information in a readily accessible way, this book that covers the breadth of science understanding is a wonderful example of publishing.

Robert Winston has distilled some very difficult concepts into easily digested morsels of detail that a young reader will be able to grasp. The illustrations are also incredibly clear and photographs are big, bright and colourful. Complex experiments to reveal what is happening in science are photographed and annotated with clarity. The final sections in the book also explain basic science measurement, procedures, classification and some charts and general explanations.

This book was a joy to read. It clarified much detail that I had forgotten from my own science education and teaching, but would make a wonderful book for those beginning the journey of discovery in science. It could certainly by recommended for a Library collection or to be given to a science enthusiast. Nothing in the book is too complex to leave out, because the author has made the complex into a bite-size chunk of detail that is easily consumed. Carolyn Hull. Cowboy and Birdbrain, book 2. Scholastic, Cowboy who is half boy - half cow and Birdbrain - a brain with bird features return in another wild and crazy story P.

S Fast and Reliable Tracking Services. The Boss is giving them one last chance to deliver a package to the 'middle of the ocean' by 8. Their mission is to take the fragile package to Herman the Hermit in his impenetrable house surrounded by booby traps and five levels of obstacles. Avoiding the flying chainsaws, Snoozing Flowers of Death and electric fence takes skill and daring!

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Herman's booby traps are outrageous and funny, resulting in the friends coming up with some silly ways to outwit the hermit. Birdbrain's often side-tracked by thoughts of completing a world record in some rather unusual categories, juggling chickens, sucking the most lollipops and completing the most spins on ice while a menacing shark swims under him! Author Adam Wallace combines slapstick humour, silly scatological acronyms, repetitive banter and cast of unique characters with their crazy antics to make a laugh-out-loud read.

James Hart's cartoon graphics showcase the madcap situations that Cowboy and Birdbrain find themselves in. The P. Melbournestyle Books, Animology: The big book of letter art alphabeasts by Maree Coote Every part of me's a letter! Does that help you find me better? Look very closely - can you see The hidden letters that find me? Sometimes letters may repeat To make more eyes or fur or feet Look back-to-front, Look upside down, Every letter can be found! This is one of the most unusual books I've reviewed for a long time and one of the most fascinating.

Paired with an informative verse about its subject, each illustration is created by using the letters of the creature's name and the reader is challenged to find each one. From the vibrant mandrill on the front cover, the challenge is set to take a journey through the natural world discovering everything from swans to budgerigars, all cleverly constructed from their letters.

What's the deal with the Darkin? -- Lore & rework discussion

Readers have to examine the details in each illustrations, honing their visual acuity skills amongst others, as Coote has had fun with fonts, their shapes and sizes to tease even the most discerning eye. One for those boys who like to gather round the same book and test themselves. And having got the concept by looking, students can then be challenged to try for themselves, remembering that they not only have to spell the name correctly and use all the letters, but make the finished design resemble the creature!!

A significant step up from the usual look-and-find books for younger readers. Andersen Press, To celebrate Elmer's 30th birthday, there is a new story called, appropriately, Elmer's birthday. Hoping to get their own back on him, the elephants decide to play a joke on Elmer on his birthday and spend the day getting all the other animals on board.

But who has the last laugh? Great for teaching children about elephants, the animals of the jungle, colour and patterns, as well as the themes of each story, I believe little ones have not had a real education if they don't meet Elmer. These two are going straight to my version of the pool room! Thirty years ago I discovered a lovable character that has been an integral part of the lives of the very young students I've taught and my grandchildren - a patchwork elephant called Elmer.

Every time his creator David McKee offered a new story, it was in my hands and in the ears of the nearest children. So now, to have a collection of the five earliest stories in one volume is heaven on a stick for such a fan. Featuring Elmer , Elmer and the rainbow , Elmer and the lost teddy , Elmer in the snow , and Elmer's special day , just five of the 27 stories in the series, the little patchwork elephant who likes to play jokes on his friends but is always compassionate and helpful, is set to make a whole new generation of fans, as parents discover this childhood favourite all over again.

When Hercules spies a magic kit in the shop window, he falls in love. All the way home he asks his Aunt Alligator questions about the cost and how he could buy it. At last they decide that he can do some odd jobs for his neighbours, a very unusual mix of people. Upstairs lives an extended family of very hairy elks, while nearby live the turtle brothers, and an octopus lives on the floor below.

Under Mr Calamari in the cold dark cellar, lives Queen Claude who is rarely seen. Hercules makes a lovely sign and puts it in his window, advertising his abilities and finds a sock to put his money in when he begins to work. Surprisingly Professor Calamari knocks on the door. He has a most unusual job for Hercules: to take his rose petals and cast them out over the heads of people as they walk by. When the bucket is empty, Hercules is given his money plus an orphaned tadpole as a gift. Next he hears from the Elk family wanting a babysitter. This job is much harder as the elk toddler is full of energy, and just when Hercules lies on the couch, Queen Claude asks him downstairs as she has lost her ping pong ball.

Then the turtle brothers want him to sing a wet and dry song to help with their laundry. His sock is filling with ten cent pieces, and though it is not enough to buy the magic box from the shop, some real magic happens in front of his eyes. Joyner's gloriously funny illustrations keep the story alive as we see inside Hercules' home and those of his neighbours. Each is individual, reflecting the character of the tenant, showcasing the variety of people who may live in an apartment block.

Readers will love pointing out the myriad of objects depicted on each page, and delight in the characters of each of these unusual tenants. A warmth of family and friendship over-arches the story, reminding the reader that family does not mean the nuclear family shown so often in books, but can be as wide and various as the people around us.

In the background some mathematical deduction happens with readers asked to think about Hercules' problem and and the work Hercules must do to earn a few cents, while children will be intrigued by the variety of animals shown. Greenwillow Books, When she touches someone, Lexi can see when they are going to die and she can also see the ghosts of people around her. This means that she has to isolate herself and the only person she is close to is her grandfather, who also has this psychic ability. When she touches Jane, a young person full of life, outside the club one night, and sees her terrible death, a dire chain of events is put into place.

Jane reappears as a ghost, her throat cut, full of revenge and insists that Lexi helps her find her murderer. I picked up Missing, presumed dead , after really enjoying Devils unto dust , and for much of the story I was fully engaged. Lexi is a complex character, lonely and almost friendless, afraid to touch anyone as she will see how they will die. She works in a nightclub, Elysium, for Urie, who gathers together people who have psychic ability, but because of her ability she is unable to go to school or improve her poverty stricken life.

I had expected a mystery story with ghosts thrown in and this was true for most of the book, but the relationship between Lexi and Jane overshadowed the mystery and the ghost story so for readers who are expecting either a ghost or mystery as the focus, they may be slightly disappointed. However those who enjoy a story with relationships as the main theme will be happy with this combination of an unusual friendship, horror and mystery.

Pat Pledger. Nosy Crow, Ariana and Whisper. Imagine a school where you meet your own unicorn and have amazing adventures together! That's what happens for the girls at Unicorn Academy on beautiful Unicorn Island. There are 12 books in the series some still to be released , the latest being Ariana and Whisper.

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The Prophecy of the Key

Written for younger independent readers, the series appeals to those for whom unicorns remain a fascination and who dream of having their own one day, a fascination that shows no signs of abating. Such series are very popular with younger readers just starting their reading journey through novels as they associate with and invest themselves in the characters, putting themselves in their shoes and truly immersing themselves in the experiences.

They form relationships with them that mean they are eager to read and re-read each one in the series, honing their skills and understandings of reading as they do so. So this is a series that will have a strong following because it features all those characteristics that hook these emerging readers in. Worth the investment, not just for themselves but the reading pathways that keen readers will then follow.

In all my years of teaching nearly half a century! I remember as a youngster spending endless hours with an atlas mapping out a route around the world that would take me to every capital city, and surprisingly not that atlas is now among my treasured possessions inherited from my wanderlust mum, along with an amazing dictionary that got just as much attention! So there is no doubt that this new atlas for young children will have the same sort of fascination for your young readers. Designed to take children on a journey of discovery around the countries of the world, it begins with intriguing endpapers of the world's wildlife and then plots a contents journey around the continents that is perfect for its target audience.

Funky, colourful illustrations depict a range of themes of the iconic features of countries, building up a hankering to see these in real life when they are older. Minimal text provides basic information and there are the usual non fiction features like an index to help them navigate their way through the book as well as around the world. Guaranteed to provide hours of engagement and entertainment!

WIPE (A Post-Apocalyptic Story), page 1

Harper Collins US, From the time a man first discovers his partner is pregnant, the bond between father and child begins to grow and this relationship is celebrated in this charming book. From the time of the first baby bump through to camping out beneath the stars, the father shares his joy and his wonder and his gratitude at being able to guide and share the life of his little one, the big occasions and the not-so.

Perfect for a dad to give to his child on a special occasion, this is a companion to You Made Me A Mother and turns the tables on the usual format of the story being told by the child about the dad. This is David Yoon's first book and it marks him as an author to follow. The story of Frank Li explores racism, friendship, families and love in a sensitive and engaging page turner. Frank belongs to the Limbos. Limbos are second-generation Korean-American young people walking the line between their involvement in American culture in school and their Korean culture at home.

David's writing is nuanced and witty as he describes Frank's journey in negotiating the perils of young love with the backdrop of high expectations. Frank's parents expect their children to marry Koreans and have already disowned Frank's older sister for dating an American. An elaborate scheme to 'fake date' leads to Frank growing in awareness as he becomes a conflicted and insightful observer of his parents and friends. Frank is able to see his parents as complex characters with unique experiences.

How easy it is to take it for granted that children will speak the same language as their parents. This story highlights the language and cultural barriers immigrant families negotiate on a daily basis. Frank wants to understand his father and mother - and is pressed to action by circumstances arising from a chance encounter. The themes of racism and love are intelligently and sensitively explored in a way that has the reader laughing out loud, or aching with compassion, in response to the well-drawn authentic characters.

David's clever writing invites the reader to consider that the adults can be just as compelled to 'fit in' as any teenager. So frankly this book was a joy to read. Linda Guthrie. Big Sky Publishing, When a beetle looks up from the flower he is on, he tells us that he owns all from the daisy to the tree, every flower and twig belongs to him. But the raven disagrees. From the fence post to the daisy to the oak tree belongs to him.

Disagreeing, the farm cat tells them that he owns every nook and cranny from the farm house to the fence post to the daisy to the oak tree. The farm dog disagrees, adding what he owns, then this is supplanted by the cow and what she owns, then the farmer intervenes. All tell the readers that they own the land and all on it, repeating the string of things each says with an easy rhythm.


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By now the readers will have understood the message that everyone thinks they own the land, and question perhaps who does? Turning the page the argument heats up with a queen, a pirate and a general disputing the ownership, the general using force to get his point of view across. The dispute over land ownership has taken a nasty turn. Children will easily see the outcome of land disputes and through this story, predict what will happen when such disputes occur. They will be relieved when turning the page the story comes to a resolution, one that more should abide by. The illustrations engender a feeling of comedy behind the story, diffusing the reality somewhat, making it more palatable to younger readers.

This will readily encourage students to talk about their environment, who owns it and just who is responsible. National Geographic Kids, From something as manageable as forgiving someone or leaving a complimentary note in their locker to more complex ideas such as taking a First Aid class or letting your trash be someone else's treasures, this is a small book full of big ideas about how to make the world a better place both physically and emotionally.

With philosophy such as being the kind of friend you'd like to have and being inclusive, it covers personal issues that can help the individual be more calm, more mindful and more responsive to their world while also taking actions that can help shape the world into what they want it to be. Ideas are presented as simple concepts with engaging graphics and photographs, and many are followed by detailed supporting information, including advice from Nat Geo explorers, interviews with experts and weird but true facts. Readers can get a sense of their own power to make a difference and an understanding of what actions contribute to positive outcomes and how they can change things by themselves.

While journalling and personal challenges are becoming a popular way to have students focus on the positives and support their mental health, sometimes knowing where to start can be overwhelming so this could be used to guide that journey by having students set themselves the tasks over the school year, and help them structure their progress that way as they work their way through them.

They might also have spaces for another 20 ways they discover that are not mentioned in the book and these could be added to a class wall chart to inspire others to look more widely. While these sorts of books always inspire when you first pick them up, without accountability life can go back to routine quickly so offering ways to keep the ideas in focus and support the reader over time will not only help them, but also the adult offering that support.

We can all make our world better. HarperCollins, Ever since it peed on him in Miss Bennett's Year 2 class, Tommy has hated Snowflake the school rabbit. And now it has come to stay because his sister Angie is in Miss Bennett's class and Snowflake needs a home while Miss Bennett goes to look after her mother. But because Angie is so little, Tommy has the task of looking after Snowflake and while the extra pocket money will be handy because he thinks if he wants a new bike he will have to buy it, this is not a task he is savouring.

And so the trouble starts. There really is a curse! Written and illustrated during the final year of her life - Kerr died in May aged 95 - this is an engaging story for the newly-independent reader from the author of classics such as the Mog the forgetful cat series and When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit.

It shows she still had all the imagination and wit that she had when she first wrote The tiger who came to tea in and will probably gain her a whole new legion of fans. You can read more about her work in this obituary. Lulu is happy to live in her hutch in the backyard but one night when she spots a hole in the fence, she is tempted through to explore the world further.

Unfortunately a hungry fox is on the prowl and his nose smells Lulu and the chase is on.

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Can she escape? Metzenthen has used the minimum of words to tell this tale because with the exquisite illustrations in a style that might be unfamiliar to younger readers, no more than what are there are needed. This is perfect for encouraging the reader to look carefully, tell their version of the story and predict the outcome. All are essential elements of the early reader's arsenal in making sense of print and stories and demonstrate their level of comprehension.

A delightful story that offers something new to explore each time it is read, especially if the astute adult asks "what if. Metzenthen says he dreams of writing the perfect story - this is getting close to it. Transit Lounge, Themes: Dystopian fiction, Addiction, Climate change. John's science fiction novel tells the story of Manfred, who after a complex and difficult childhood, escapes to Hollow Earth via a cave that takes him through the Earth's crust. Reminiscent of Journey to the Centre of the Earth , Manfred finds life beneath the surface. He befriends Ari and Zest and guides them to the surface to experience another life.

This is a confronting story of addiction. Addictions come in many forms and this book highlights these as Ari and Zest interact with the violence and betrayal of humanity. John's work addresses the issues of climate change, drug use, sustainability, respectful relationships and inclusive communities. The reader is invited to draw their own conclusions. While not an easy read, this book offers an opportunity to consider the lives of surface dwellers from the perspective of a new arrival. We are left to reflect on the ethical and natural consequences of our current cultural and political practices.

Bloomsbury, , ISBN: Bloomsbury, , Renee Watson is an Afro-American writer drawing on her own community experience to create a story that weaves the dreadful circumstances of a murder with the Afro-American experience of Christian life and practice within a Baptist church family. The central character is a young Eighth Grade student, Serenity, and with her younger brother Danny, they have experienced the worst family tragedy.

The story reveals their need to recover after the significant family trauma, which destroys their family and challenges their own identity and security. Their grandparents are involved in a Pastoral role in a Baptist church, and Serenity and Danny become reconnected with them and make new friends, when they move to restart their lives.

Attending Christian events, volunteering their time and challenging poor choices, and attending counselling become part of the journey to recovery. They carry with them baggage from their past, with attendant tears, and they must also learn how to redefine themselves.

Their new friends have the potential to lead them astray, but the influence of their grandparents shines through. The traumatic events and difficult circumstances that are addressed are quite confronting for a young reader, but there are moments of lightness scattered through the book, along with delightful pieces of poetry and other explorations of literary devices. These are school-based English tasks, that headline the chapters and reveal Serenity's internal dialogue.

The cultural experience of an Afro-American experience of Christian faith in a church community will be foreign to most Australian readers, but there are some delightful and perhaps quirky features of the service-oriented family life within this context. Those without any Christian heritage will perhaps find some of this faith-based expression to be unusual. The author has included risky behaviours for some of the young characters that include some illegal behaviour, and in combination with discussion about incestual abuse as well as family violence, and the keeping of unhelpful secrets, there are some very complex and mature issues that are dealt with within the lives of the main characters.

Resilience and character formation are woven through these difficult issues, but sometimes the author seems to have aged them beyond their stated age. High in the mountains where he lives, Cam tells his grandfather that he wishes he could see the sea and his grandfather promises to take him there "one day. Come with me. I will take you to the sea. The beautiful, lyrical words of one of New Zealand's premier authors for children, Joy Cowley and the stunning, detailed, muted illustrations of Kimberly Andrews which echo both the high country of New Zealand and the Canada of her childhood come together in what is indeed a song of the river.

With a text that builds much like the river itself, rises to a crescendo and then returns to its original melody like a piece of music, this is indeed an aptly named story both in content and style. It lends itself to all sorts of mapping activities, more than just the physical journey of the trickle to the sea. Even exploring why the author named it Song of the River rather than Story of the River will open up the beauty of the language and the build-up of the journey.

With a landscape very different from those of the illustrations, and much of the country in one of the worst droughts ever, this is an ideal book to begin an investigation of Australia's rivers and compare their origins and uses to those of the river in the story. Alma Books, The 50th anniversary of man stepping on the moon and the declaration by President Trump that they will be back there by with NASA's Project Artemis has again ignited the debate about the cost of space exploration and whether the money could be better spent back here on this planet.

So the publication of this new book from Dr Sheila Kanani, a British astronomer with a particular interest in Saturn, is very timely because it examines how the discoveries in space have been translated back into everyday objects on Earth. It is full of amazing facts about everyday innovations, from drills and dustbusters to bike helmets, that have been inspired by space travel and includes sections on the people who brought them to us, Divided into three sections - technology, health and fashion - it examines objects as diverse as baby blankets, artificial limbs and skiwear, examining how their development is related to space exploration as well as a short piece about the scientist who imagineered the development.

Intriguing and offering much food for thought that could spark further investigations. Pavilion, And then along came