Helen’s Must Reads this Bank Holiday Weekend

If you are looking for Board Book inspiration check out Sam’s selection here, and if you are after some suitable picture book suggestions check out a huge range Sam reviwed recently on the blog here, and here. This blog is a round up of suggested bank holiday (and all year round!) titles as chosen and reviewed by Helen, and feature titles suitable for chapter book readers, ranging from those aimed at 7 Year Olds, and above.


Solve your own mystery – The Monster Maker

  • Written by Gareth P Jones 
  • Illustrations  by Louise Foreshaw
  • Published by Little Tiger
  • Readers aged 7-10 Years

Picture the scene your a detective assistant, your sitting in your office and suddenly a man walks in, he wants to hire you to Solve a mystery, so what do you do ?

Along with your boss you must Solve this as soon as possible. You are the assistant, its up to you to make the decisions. At the end of every chapter you must decide what path to take, who to interview, and whether or not you are going to keep evidence from the boss.

I really enjoyed reading this book, you decide what way you go so there’s no right or wrong, and everyone who reads this will have a completely different story. 

Waiting for murder 

  • Written by Fleur Hitchcock
  • Published by Nosy Crow 
  • Readers age 8-12 Years

It’s a long hot summer, and Dan and his mum are in Scotland for the holidays, he becomes friends with Florence. They become involved in a murder when a cars found in the river, the teenagers can’t keep away and soon they find themselves in danger. 

Can they solve the mystery before its too late. A brilliant story which is ideal for children 9yrs plus. 

Nell and the cave bear

  • Written and illustrations by Martin Brown
  • Published by Piccadilly Press
  • Readers aged 7 Years +

When Nell was a tiny child she befriended cave bear, a baby bear, but bears don’t stay small for long. Worried her clan will make her get rid of cave bear they run away. But it’s not as easy as she thinks and soon runs into trouble. I really liked this book,  and will be ideal for children learning out the stone age. The blue illustrations are beautifully drawn. 

The way to Impossible Island 

  • Written by Sophie Kirtley
  • Published by Bloomsbury 

In the wild way home we met Charlie and joined on his journey of self discovery . We followed him on the day his baby brother Dara as Charlie ended p in the stone age.

Fast forward 12 years we discover what happened to Dara. When Dara was born he had a heard defect, he is now waiting for an operation. He feels likes he can’t do anything,  so while on holiday he needs time to himself.  He meets up with a girl from the stone age, and there adventure begins. 

Although this features characters we know this can be read as a stand along book, I’m planning on using this with year 3 stone age topic work.

Choose your own story- Shadow chaser 

  • Written by Simon Tudhope 
  • Illustrations by Tom Knight
  • Published by Usborne 
  • Readers aged 9-12 Years

I loved this book, you are Rowen, a young apprentice,  there’s something special about you,  you have something someone wants and they will do anything to get it.

This is your quest,  you make the decisions,  it’s up to you if you live or die…

You have a log book, some weapons and some extra lives, off you go and good luck. 

This was fantastic, I’ll be honest and say that when I first started the quest I was dead within 10 minutes, it seems I’m not great at making decisions. I wasn’t having this, I knew I could do better   so when it come to my second attempt I took more care and thought things through better.  I did die again but it took me hours longer this time, and I’ll admit the illustrations were so good that I never saw the clues in them. 

A really fun experience and I hope for more.

Cruel castle 

  • Written by Bryony Pearce
  • Published by Little Tiger/Stripes Publishing
  • Readers aged 13 Years +

Stuck working for an evil millionaire a group of friends are sent on a ‘group building exercise ‘ but it’s not all what it seems,  in fact they’ll be lucky to come out alive. They need to work together to solve riddles to leave each room, each room more dangerous than the previous one. One by one the friends suffer live changing injuries and some won’t leave.

This was an amazing book which read at night is just scary enough to have to leave  the light on, the cover says not suitable for younger children, and there right this is definitely  for the older teens. 

This is a follow on from Savage Island, but this can be read as a stand alone book, in fact that’s what I did, but as I’ve enjoyed it so much I’m definitely going to read savage Island now.

Hide and secrets

  • Written by Sophie McKenzie
  • Published by Simon and Schuster

Facing a summer by herself, 14yr Cat can’t believe her dad’s dead, missing yes but not dead. When she hears a rumour he’s alive she ropes in new friend Tyler to investigate. 

With Tyler the only one to believe her, and people following her they must act quickly to discover the truth. 

But does she really want to know the truth.  

A really good YA book with lots of twists and turns, you will go on an amazing adventure with Cat

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