LE GUIN, Ursula K.    

A Wizard of Earthsea  (Earthsea, Book 1)       1968     Fantasy

Real sense of magic, depth, legend


LEWIS, C.S.   

The Lion, the Witch & the Wardrobe (Book 2 of the Narnia series)     1950

Fabulous Christian allegory


VOIGT, Cynthia    

A Solitary Blue (Tillerman Series #3)    1983     Juvenile (Novel)

Poignant and powerful without shouting. Moreso because it *doesn’t* shout






A Stainless Steel Rat is Born 1985

Excellent prequel to the consistent humorous series


KIPLING, Rudyard     

The Jungle Book   1894

Entertaining, skilful, moving. Profound underlying myth


The Second Jungle Book 1895

Sequel atypically as good as original – ‘Undertakers’ brilliant


LEWIS, C.S.   

Prince Caspian (Book 4 of the Narnia series)  1951

‘The Return to Narnia’


The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (Book 5 of the Narnia series)    1952

Narnia’s Odyssey


The Silver Chair (Book 6 of the Narnia series) 1953

Slightly darker tale of rescue


The Magician’s Nephew (Book 1 of the Narnia series) 1955

Lion, Witch & Wardrobe prequel


The Last Battle (Book 7 of the Narnia series)   1956

Antichrist, eschatology and Armageddon for kids! Courageous undertaking



The Princess and Curdie 1882     Juvenile/Fantasy



RODDA, Emily     

The Forests of Silence (Deltora Quest 1)  2000     Fantasy/Juvenile

Enjoyable straight-ahead swords and sorcery for kids




EDDINGS, David  

Pawn of Prophecy (Book One of the Belgariad)    1982

Oversimplified, definitively juvenile, pitch perfect for bookish young teens


Queen of Sorcery (Book Two of the Belgariad)     1982

Enjoyable adolescent fluff


FEIST, Raymond E.   

Magician   1982

Enjoyable ride and D&D characters, some originality in mixing European and Japanese medieval cultures



Poo Poo and the Dragons      1942

Enjoyed by parent and child simultaneously



The Stainless Steel Rat     1961

Enjoyable James Bond/Pimpernel farce in space ships


The Stainless Steel Rat’s Revenge     1970

Enjoyable James Bond/Pimpernel farce in space ships


The Stainless Steel Rat Saves the World 1972

Enjoyable James Bond/Pimpernel farce in space ships



The Princess and the Goblin 1872     Juvenile/Fantasy

Inspiring or elitist? Higher rating for originality rather than ride



Tomorrow, When the War Began       1993     Novel/Action/Teen

Surprisingly workable war and teen romance hybrid; recognisable Oz kids



Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone     1997     Fantasy/Juvenile



Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets       1998     Fantasy/Juvenile

Still enjoyable


Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban      1999     Fantasy/Juvenile

OK ride. Morally dubious. Good series structure


Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire    2000     Fantasy/Juvenile

Fine. Dumb twist. Enticing hints of future developments


Harry Potter and The Order of the Phoenix    2003     Fantasy/Juvenile

Strengths just about outweigh the weaknesses



Jasper Jones        2009     Novel

Engaging coming of age story, rural 70s Australians amped up to Shakespearian proportions


VOIGT, Cynthia    

Dicey’s Song   1982     Juvenile (Novel)

Capable young teen sequel to Homecoming


ZELAZNY, Roger       

A Night in the Lonesome October      1993     SF/Juvenile (and adult)

Charming, able – ‘light’ horror?


ZUSAC, Markus    

The Messenger     2006     Novel/Juvenile ((teen) and adult)

Good heart, engaging Australian expression and humour, oversimple





CROGGON, Alison     

The Gift (The First Book of Pellinor – The Treesong Trilogy)    2002     Fantasy/Juvenile

Competent enough cliché, teen girl daydream, two-dimensional


EDDINGS, David  

Magician’s Gambit (Book Three of the Belgariad) 1983?

Some of the tricks are wearing a bit thin


Castle of Wizardry (Book Four of the Belgariad)   1984

Series starting to irritate a bit now – very lazy writing (no editing), repetitive dialogue


The Diamond Throne (Book One of the Elenium)  1989

Satisfactory fare, no surprises


The Ruby Knight (Book Two of the Elenium)   1990

OK, but I don’t recall ever bothering to finish the series


GALLICO, Paul    

The Boy Who Invented the Bubble Gun   1974     Novel (Adolescent)

Dated but OK. Troubled teen overcomes angst amidst silly spy shenanigans


KIPLING, Rudyard     

Captains Courageous 1897

Ripping yarn of a teen in an ocean fishing vessel


Puck of Pook’s Hill     1906

Glimpses of English historical figures


Rewards and Fairies   1910

Sequel to ‘Puck of Pook’s Hill


LIVELY, Penelope

The Voyage of QV66   1978

Odd post-apocalyptic setting for talking animals’ adventures



At the back of the North Wind      1870     Juvenile/Fantasy

Too long since I read it – I’m not sure I finished


PAOLINI, Christopher

Eragon       2002     Fantasy/Juvenile

OK if you haven’t read much fantasy before, derivative, some weaknesses


RODDA, Emily     

Finders Keepers    1990     Juvenile/SF

OK theme, ideas, execution



Tailchaser's Song       1992     Fantasy / Juvenile (Adolescent)

Pleasant enough fare with poor resolution





EDDINGS, David  

Enchanters’ End Game (Book Five of the Belgariad)  1984

The (yawn) climax. No suspense – every second goodie casually granted godlike powers



The Recruit (Cherub #1)    2004     Action

Effective YA spy fare: not so much for older (or younger) readers who want texture in characters and settings







TAYLER, K. J.            

The Dark Griffin    2009     Fantasy

Slightest variation on a massively over-travelled route. Juvenile. 2D.