Tag Archives: Other worlds

The Silver Sea – Belinda Murrell


Penguin Australia

  • August 2022
  • ISBN: 9781761045554
  • Imprint: Puffin
  • RRP: $16.99
I really can’t rave enough over this new series of Belinda’s! The first The Golden Tower was a book that I literally gobbled up and this one took only a little bit longer (due to the fact that The Kid has been sick and I’ve been tired!). And how delightful it has been to re-visit Tuscia, the parallel world that Sophie has come to love.

Young Sophie is still living with her grandmother while her mum and brother are busy with Archie’s summer camp for young geniuses. During her summer sojourn Sophie has discovered, by complete accident, her Nanna’s connection with beautiful Tuscia and the Rossellana family. After one grand adventure, Sophie has been spending lots of time learning to fence and just generally enjoying the time with her grandmother.

Then one morning she wakes up to no Nanna, just a note explaining that her grandmother had to return to Tuscia to help her sister. That in itself would be strange enough – to leave Sophie without notice – but when grumpy cat Baccio arrives to tell a tale of kidnap and danger, Sophie knows it is not just strange but frightening. The only solution is for her to return to Tuscia herself and work with her Rossellana family to rescue the two old ladies.

Little does Sophie, or her family, know that the kidnapping is the tip of an iceberg of intrigues, long-held grudges, monstrous and cruel villains and devious plots.

Belinda Murrell takes her readers on another exciting and fascinating adventure through this fictitious, but almost real, land with a real focus on friendship, courage, resilience and initiative throughout. Sophie’s encounters with travelling players and evil sorcerers, a sea monsters and a winged lion and more make for thrilling reading, which is made all the more enjoyable for the introduction to Italian language and cultural references throughout.

Another cracking read (and series!) from this delightful author. If you missed the first, make sure you catch up and add this one. Highly recommended for readers from around Year 4 upwards.

The StrangeWorlds Travel Agency : The Edge of the Ocean Book #2 – L. D. Lapinski


Hachette Australia

APR 13, 2021 | 9781510105959 | RRP $16.99

Now that Flick is officially a member of the StrangeWorlds Travel Agency, and with one exciting adventure already under her belt, in which she demonstrated some unexpected and remarkable powers, she and Jonathan Mercator are summoned to help another world. This time they are joined by Jonathan’s distant cousin, Avery, to whom Flick takes a strange instant dislike.

The urgent request for help has come from Queen Nyfe, who rules as a pirate chief over a motley crew of almost skeletal ships, in a world called The Break. This strange watery flat world is used to ships disappearing over the edge but in recent times, it’s become apparent that the world is breaking up and so the dangers have increased exponentially for Nyfe, her crew as well as the other mariners and the mer-people who also inhabit the once vast ocean.

Flick, Jonathan and Avery face more than just the pressure of saving The Break’s peoples. The various inhabitants are fighting amongst themselves and navigating the subterfuge on all sides is tricky indeed. Added to this is the shocking realisation that Jonathan’s lost father appears to be indeed dead and his grief renders him almost helpless in the struggle to work out how to transport ships, gigantic mer-people and pirates through a suitcase to a new and suitable world – even if they can actually find one that will fit the bill. And then there is the (to Flick’s mind, weird) way her feelings towards Avery and what seems to be a reciprocal feeling change as the quest unfolds.

Once again, this series delivers amazingly rich narrative with characters with whom readers will fall in love. I, for one, will eagerly anticipate the next instalment and your readers from around middle primary upwards will adore this new instalment.

The Strangeworlds Travel Agency – L. D. Lapinski




APR 28, 2020 | 9781510105942 | RRP $16.99

Twelve year old Flick Hudson is really not sure about her family’s move to a village, leaving their rather cramped flat for a much bigger home. Of course their old home wouldn’t have been so squashy if her dribbling, annoying baby brother Freddy hadn’t arrived some time before. With her parents always busy working so hard it seems that Flick’s life has become more and more a case of looking after Freddy, picking up after everyone, house chores and even cooking. Truthfully she’s a bit fed up with it all and spends a lot of time daydreaming of exotic destinations she’d love to visit.

When she wanders down to explore her new surrounds and check out the village she comes across the strangest shop. The Strangeworlds Travel Agency is like no other travel agent she has ever seen. There are no glossy brochures or computers or schedules of any kind, just shelf after shelf of rather battered suitcases and a young man – boy, almost- who says he is the owner.

Jonathan Mercator has, he says, recently inherited the shop from his father and at first, is very reluctant to even talk to Flick but that all changes when she unwittingly demonstrates her innate magical ability.

Flick is astonished when Jonathan reveals the true nature of the travel agency. Each suitcase is a portal to a different world in what Jonathan calls the ‘multiverse’. More than that, as he begins to initiate Flick as a member of the Strangeworlds secret society he also hopes she can help discover how his father disappeared and where he might be.

The pair begin their exploration and Flick is fascinated by the variety and beauty of different worlds at first but when they end up in the City of Five Lights things begin to be not so fun. It seems that this could be where Mercator Senior disappeared and more than that, there are people in the city who are determined to steal their way out of that world and take over another. Flick and Jonathan must find their way out of a grim adventure which threatens not only their own safety but that of the multiverse itself.  Their burgeoning friendship is severely tested as events unfold and reveal secrets which compromise their mutual trust.

Any of your readers who enjoy narratives such as the Rondo trilogy, Inkspell or Pages & Co with rich imaginative adventures amid magical surroundings will love this. It is a thoroughly enjoyable read with just enough danger to make it exciting and certainly much to offer about family and friendships.

As it’s a debut novel I’m even more impressed and clearly though there is a satisfactory ending there will, no doubt, be more to come as the intrepid pair continue their mission to find Jonathan’s father and to uphold their sworn Strangelands duty of protecting the many worlds of the multiverse.

Highly recommended for tweens of both genders.

Click to access 9781510105942-teachers-resources.pdf

Other Worlds 1: Perfect World – George Ivanoff



Penguin Random House


February 26, 2018

Random House Australia Children’s


RRP: $14.99

George Ivanoff has well established his cred for providing exciting adventurous narratives for the middle school crowd. In Other Worlds and this particular first instalment he’s also giving them what I would describe as a taste of dystopian for younger readers.

Keagan really has a bit on his plate. He and his mum are struggling on their own and his thoughts are overwhelmed with school, homework and bullies. That aside, an errand to go and buy pickles should be relatively simple if tedious. However, Keagan decides to ignore his mother’s advice about avoiding the local industrial estate and though he successfully avoids manic truck drivers, he does discover a weird shop with an even weirder old woman looking after it. When he riskily touches a key, he is transported to a strange world where perfection is the norm. By that I mean that everyone looks and acts almost identical and is instantly hostile to Keagan.  But then he’s shunted to the Dumping Ground and discovers that though people may be ‘perfect’ up above, the ‘rejects’ are discarded like refuse.

It does sound dark and in one way it is however it is written in far more of an adventurous way and really highlights the concept of acceptance despite differences.

I think for middle school readers this will be a fantastic and exciting new exploration. I would endorse it enthusiastically for year 4 upwards.