Tag Archives: Laura James

Fabio the World’s Greatest Detective: Peril at Lizard Lake – Laura James. Illustrated by Emily Fox




Bloomsbury Australia

March 2020

ISBN: 9781408889374
Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

RRP: $12.99


I do love Fabio – the Hercule Poirot of the flamingo species – and though the kids who read it may not really get that connection these books are still really good fun.  Together with his rather dopey offsider the rather gullible Gerald (read Hastings) he is launched into a new mystery when a terrible water shortage hits not only Laloozee but the near countryside as well.

Of course the adventure doesn’t start out as a mystery rather it starts with Gerald’s purchase of a bi-plane and his immediate decision to take Fabio on a joyride. Naturally, being Gerald he doesn’t think to check the fuel tank before launching the pair skyward and the inevitable happens when they need to make a forced landing just near a small but remote village. With the new plane slightly pranged it’s a lucky chance to come across a capable mechanic lion called Molly but while the plane is being repaired, events escalate as the pair realises that there is something very wrong indeed about this growing and worrying shortage of water.

Suspicions turn to one character after another with the prerequisite red herrings one expects in a Christie-ish mystery but not for nothing is Fabio ranked the world’s greatest detective – he is well able to ferret out the real villains and save the day.

I repeat – jolly good fun! And perfect for those newly independent readers looking for a narrative with a bit more complexity. I just love the eye-popping flouro colours used in these as well – this one hot pink and citrus yellow!

Highly recommended for your younger readers from around Year 2 upwards.

Pirate Pug: The Dog who Rocked the Boat – Laura James/Eglantine Ceulemans



Bloompiratepugsbury Australia

February 2019

ISBN 9781408895948

Imprint: Bloomsbury Children’s Books

Series: The Adventures of Pug

RRP $12.99

This is the fourth in this hugely funny series for newly independent readers and just as hilarious as the earlier ones. Pug and his owner, Lady Miranda, seem to encounter all kinds of mischief and mishaps whenever and wherever they venture out. So a holiday at the seaside would be no different of course. Pug is none too fond of the water and quite frankly is absolutely terrified of the thought of getting on a boat but when the Lady Mayor’s chain is whisked away by a piratical parrot it seems there is no choice but to become a sea-going pug.

Local bully boys seem determined to beat Lady Miranda and her friends at rescuing the stolen treasure and even dare to scupper their ship but they don’t reckon on Pug’s resilience and his ability to turn the worse situation into an advantage.

Loads of laughs with some very entertaining illustrations abound and this is perfect fodder for readers from around six years upwards. I have a couple of the previous books tucked into my ‘relief teacher’ bag of supplies and they never fail to engage as a read-aloud for kids as old as ten.  However, I know a little girl who is an enthusiastic reader who might really like this particular one so it’s off to her it goes!

Captain Pug: The Dog Who Sailed the Seas – Laura James/Eglantine Ceulemans



Allen & Unwin Australia

Published: 01-06-2016
Format: Paperback
Edition: 1st
Extent: 128
ISBN: 9781408866368
Imprint: Bloomsbury Childrens


RRP $12.99

I told you didn’t I – pugs are the rage! And this pug is every bit as cute as the real thing!

Pug is the jam-tart eating companion of Lady Miranda who is a freckled eccentric of aristocratic origins.  The pair is off to a party picnic with pedalos and ice creams promised. Of course, Lady Miranda has no intention of exerting herself to pedal anything – she has her running footmen to take care of such physical activities – but she is very keen for both herself and Pug to look the part.

So Pug becomes Captain Pug, complete with little jacket and cap and is a very spiffy and sartorial sailor. There is just one tiny problem. Pug is AFRAID of water!

While Lady Miranda eyes up the pedalos, Pug assuages his fear temporarily by searching a handy picnic feast for any stray jam-tarts. His quest for his favourites sees him crawling completely into the picnic basket and whoosh! Suddenly he’s off on a solo sailing adventure that begins with a bus trip and  after marine misadventures, a delicious choc mint ice cream and making several new friends, ends with being reunited with Lady M aboard a very flash ocean liner.

Newly independent readers looking for a first chapter book will giggle their way happily through this first in a new series and they will love the humorous illustrations. (I love the orange and blue theme!)

Some cute activities are available here.

Highly recommended for young readers from around 6 years upwards.