Tag Archives: James Patterson

Jacky Ha-Ha – James Patterson, with Chris Grabenstein



Random House Australia

ISBN: 9781784754075

Published: 16/05/2016

Imprint: Arrow (Young)


RRP $15.99


The Middle School series from the James Patterson stable has been terrifically popular and as JP’s new character is introduced I foresee another avalanche of young readers.

Since Jacky Hart first started school and had unkind kids make fun of her stuttering start (hence her nickname) she has protected herself by becoming the continual class clown. We’ve all had one, if not several, amongst our students.  Her perpetual wise-cracking makes lots of people laugh especially her classmates and her much-loved Nonna although definitely not her teachers. Jacky’s defence mechanism not only covers up her stammering issues but helps her to deal with other not-so-happy problems in her life. Her mum is away with the Marines in Operation Desert Storm and her dad seems to never be at home and she and her six sisters seem to be always having to fend for themselves.  Luckily for Jacky, some of her teachers see a positive way for her to channel her ‘creative energies’ and through the school musical and the public speaking event, Jacky begins to realise her full potential. (Thank goodness for educators who don’t give up on kids!)

Written from an adult Jacky viewpoint as a ‘letter’ to her own two daughters, on the eve of her winning an Oscar as a best actress with her comedic talents finally paying off, this does have quite a lot of what I would call American flag-waving but for some of our children who use inappropriate behaviours as a means of survival, I think it would be a boon.

Most definitely a character who will appeal to many  girls from around 10 and upwards, this is very much worth promoting to your Upper Primary students.

Middle School: Going Bush –James Patterson



ISBN: 9780143781219

Published: 01/03/2016

Imprint: Random House Australia Children’s

RRP $15.99

Rafe can’t be more excited. He’s been selected to join a very special Young Artists group along with a very select few youngsters from around the world. They are all to meet up in Australia and take part in an extraordinary all-expenses paid experience investigating ancient Indigenous art, making their own art and being taught by famous Brushes McGarrity.

Of course Rafe’s last Aussie experience did hold a few untoward happenings but this is such an awesome honour and he will get to see his great friend Ellie again. He can’t wait!

Naturally, things just can’t possibly be that simple – not with Rafe’s form.  With a huge hungry looking crocodile in a place it should not be, something very odd about the famous rock paintings supposedly discovered by McGarrity, sneaky and secretive goings-on in the dead of night and some very interesting international companions there is lots to occupy Rafe, Ellie and their new friend Denny which has nothing at all to do with being young art talents.

This latest episode will further consolidate the legion of fans that have enthusiastically embraced the Middle School series. I have noticed that even reluctant readers gravitate to these so they definitely deserve some promotion in your library.

Recommended for readers from around Year 4 upwards.

House of Robots #1- James Patterson



Random House Australia

ISBN: 9780099568278

Published: 01/12/2014

Imprint: Arrow (Young)

Extent: 352 pages

RRP $15.99

There is no doubt that James Patterson must rank as one of the most highly successful authors of our times. His adult novels have always attracted huge readership and now he is simply tearing away with his books for children. I’ve now been lucky enough to review several and just love this new one, first in a series which upper/middle school kids will thoroughly enjoy.

Young Sammy Hayes-Rodriguez is one of those kids who is considered ‘different’ and always seems to be on the losing side of everything. He has a rather unusual family too. A mother who is a super-geek scientist building cutting edge robots and robotic devices, a dad who is a successful manga comic writer, a much loved little sister who suffers from an immune-deficiency condition and a whole house of very quirky robots.

Though the robots can make life easier in some ways, such as Mr Moppenshine keeping everything spick and span and Hayseed ensuring the garden grows plentifully,  the newest robot “E” is less than acceptable to Sammy. E is super smart and very pedantic and when his parents insist on E going to school with Sammy to undergo his final testing, Sammy is less than pleased.

Having to deal with the slings and arrows of outrageous bullying and having E shadow him constantly creates great angst for Sammy. But just as E starts to make an impact on both Sammy and his schoolmates and teachers, there is a dramatic development when E is botnapped!!

Realising his somewhat unfriendly attitude towards E may have been partially responsible for E’s disappearance; Sammy is determined to track down the perpetrators of the cyber-crime.

With a very satisfying happy ending – not just for Sammy but for his entire family – when E is returned, rebuilt and restored to his original condition and intention, readers will enjoy the justice and compassion in this story.

Highly illustrated to the point of almost being a graphic novel, this will also appeal to the more reluctant readers and though essentially a ‘boy’ story, I foresee that girls will also enjoy the humour and action of this one.

Excitingly, James Patterson is planning a visit to Australia soon to promote his books, particularly those for children.  I am very much hoping to secure a blog Q&Q with Mr P.

Watch out for the upcoming collaboration with our own Martin Chatterton too.

Kick off your new year with this addition to the shelves – and watch the readers around 10-12 scramble for it!

Visit James’ website here and read more about his upcoming tour JamesPattersonTour- Media Release