These are additions to popular Oxford Children’s series : thanks to the publisher for sending them for review
Rudy and the Secret Sleepskater
Paul Westmoreland, illustrated by George Ermos
Rudy is a wolf boy; his good friends are ghost girl Edie and Femi the mummy and they love to skateboard together. In this story, Rudy and Edie are invited to Femi’s home for a sleepover, something Rudy is eagerly anticipating until he’s told he must leave his beloved pet wolf cub Wolfie behind.
When he gets there, Rudy finds the food, let’s say, somewhat unusual and certainly not to his taste; but then one of Femi’s older sisters divulges something even more unusual about their young brother: he’s a secret sleepwalker.
At bedtime, unable to sleep on account of Femi’s grandmother’s snoring, he climbs out through the skylight and howls to his Wolfie; he then embarks on a game of hide-and-seek with Edie. However Rudy has failed to close the window and not long after, the two of them notice Femi sleepwalking on the roof.
Not only does he sleep-walk though: a fall lands the young mummy on his skateboard and off he goes at considerable speed. Can Rudy and Edie steer Femi back safely from a nightmarish situation? Perhaps, with a bit of assistance from a certain wolf cub. Moreover can the friendship between the three transcend the differences that make themselves apparent during the sleepover?
I’ve not met these characters in their previous adventures but certainly found this one, with its important messages and splendid illustrations by George Ermos, a fun, snappy read.. The series is ideal for bridging the gap between picture books and solo reading of longer chapter books and I have no doubt Rudy et al will find a place in the hearts of younger newly independent readers. The power of Rudy’s pack clearly extends well beyond his family.
Isadora Moon and the New Girl
Isadora doesn’t take to Ava, the new girl who joins her class wearing snazzy, sparkling boots, thinking her standoffish and mean. Nevertheless, at the insistence of her Mum and Dad Isadora agrees to make an invitation for Ava along with all her friends for the party she’s going to host for her beloved Pink Rabbit.
The following day she hands out almost all the invites but somehow can’t find the right time to give Ava hers and in fact Ava’s behaviour seems even meaner so she keeps her invitation in her bag.
Back at home she eventually confesses to her Dad saying she feels really mean about the way she’s acted. He suggests two things: first that Isadora gives Ava the invitation the next morning and second that they take a pre evening breakfast fly to help his daughter clear her head. As they swoop over the park, Isadora spots some ducklings; so have other people – Ava and her parents are watching them too.
Suddenly Isadora spots something else, something small that Ava has just taken from her pocket. From that moment the little vampire fairy starts to change the way she treats the new girl.
Don’t make judgements about people too quickly; get to know them first is the message that emerges from the latest Isadora Moon story. As always, it’s an Isa-delight to be in the company of the Moon family, but young solo readers new to the series might want to start with the first book, Isadora Moon Goes to School.