Book Age Group: Young Story Books

Remembering Green

Remembering Green

What may global warming do to our world? One possibility is that Table Mountain could become an island – and Lesley Beake envisages a community of Tekkies who live there, barricaded from the outside world. A girl who can remember the green land of Africa where she was born is a prisoner – and so …

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Shaka’s Computer

A clever weaving of two threads of plot. A strange inventor has been strangled and young Shaka finds himself with what looks like a toy computer, though it’s a lot more than that. So we are sucked into a story of Computer Game world and murder, but also into the problems of dyslexia. The brief …

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Oliver Strange and the Ghosts of Madagascar

Oliver Strange and the Ghosts of Madagascar

The boy Oliver and his friend Zinzi are in the east coast forest of Madagascar where they encounter lemurs, leeches, pirates old and new, banana fritters, vandalism of ancient trees, escape down a rushing river and a nick-of-time helicopter. It’s wild, loopy, unlikely, unrelenting “adventure”.

Arabella, the Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut

Arabella, the Moon and the Magic Mongongo Nut

This must be the first ever fantasy to describe Parktown, Johannesburg as a magically entrancing place! This is modern, magical, full of unexpected creatures (including an introspective Parktown Prawn) and nasty dangers. Night flying, a magical book, and a final air-borne battle. A whirling, wonderful tale for upper primary readers!

Goblin Diaries: Apprenticed to the Red Witch

Goblin Diaries: Apprenticed to the Red Witch

A superb magical adventure on the fringe of Hobbit country: in Dol Guldur, the lair of the Dark Lord, but also home to goblins, witches, wraiths and a slightly vicious Vampire. Scary and funny by turns, this dual creation by author and illustrator concerns a magical necklace made for the Dark Lord. Nervously giggly.

The Strollers

The Strollers

A South African classic. A lively, moving story about the street children of Cape Town which has been deservedly popular since 1987. Carefully researched, full of vivid characters, with plenty of humour and excitement in the challenge of everyday survival.

Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince

Oscar Wilde’s story has been cleverly shortened without losing the flavour or wistful pathos. Wonderful for reading aloud. Joan Rankin’s pictures are both timeless and magical. Available in all SA languages.

Dogtective - William and the Pirates

Dogtective – William and the Pirates

A dog who can talk, use a computer and catch international criminals. It was all Mother’s fault for entering that competition with a cruise to Mauritius as the prize. Anyone could have guessed that dastardly pirates would be somewhere around.

The Mystery of the SS Waratah and the Avocado Tree

The Mystery of the SS Waratah and the Avocado Tree

A rollicking, delightful story about children in Durban diving into a mystery story a hundred years ago – the mysterious wreck of the SS Waratah. Chirpily illustrated, this adventure story is fun, full of interest and the whole excitement of finding out.

Oscar Wilde’s The Happy Prince

Oscar Wilde’s story has been cleverly shortened without losing the flavour or wistful pathos. Wonderful for reading aloud. Joan Rankin’s pictures are both timeless and magical. Available in all SA languages.

Balaclava Boy

Balaclava Boy

A splendid school story with masses of backchat and humour, as well as a mystery. Why does the new student, Tommy, wear a balaclava – and never take it off? A delight for primary readers.

Some of us are Leopards, Some of us are Lions

Some of us are Leopards, Some of us are Lions

A simple, warming story of a rural boy in an urban schoolroom where he feels out of place as a newcomer. A reluctant learner who proves his own worth Superb soft pencil drawings. Available in all SA languages.

Fly, Eagle, Fly!

Fly, Eagle, Fly!

A South African classic. Warmly written and beautifully illustrated, a moral folk tale about an eagle chick which has to learn how to fly. Uplifting in its message. Available in all SA languages.

Vumile and the Dragon

Vumile and the Dragon

Gentle storytelling about Vumile who is mostly interested in soccer and Katie who discovers a baby dragon that turns out to be a Dwarf Chameleon. With Lisa Strachan’s gorgeous colour plates, the rest of the book is a treasure hunt, trying to spot the elusive chameleons – with 14 plants and 20 insects and birds …

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The Great Cage Escape

The Great Cage Escape

In a pet shop the caged creatures seem vaguely happy until a captured parrot arrives and tells them about “heaven” – which is to be free. A Great Escape is planned. But creatures from the wild are not going to find much freedom in a city. A schoolgirl suggests Rehabbers who will send creatures back …

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SAM, the Toad in the Hole

SAM, the Toad in the Hole

Hurray for small creatures and small places and large-hearted people! In this case: Western Leopard Toads, the new Skilpadsvlei wetland in Kommetjie, and people like Wally Peterson. A simple, moving and vital story of how rare toads lost their home pool because new houses had to be built. So Wally and the good folk of …

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Dad, don’t go to Work

An unpretentious, enjoyable collection of 23 poems about ordinary life in an ordinary family. A little cricket boy With a big cricket bat A little cricket ball And a big cricket hat Encouraging to read of normal, loving family activities. Nothing arty-crafty. Good line and colour pictures by Meg Jordi. It carries warm recommendations from …

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My Forever Friend

My Forever Friend

A new writer and a newcomer to our illustrating scene (though Olivia has already won a “Best Newcomer Award” at the Bologna Book Fair). Five brief stories, although they read together as one, about an ordinary girl in an ordinary home whose best friend is Copia – the girl quite like her who lives in …

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