Ottoline and the Yellow Cat

By Chris Riddell (Macmillan Children’s Books)

This is the first in a wonderful series about a quirky young girl who loves collecting odd shoes, writing notes about anything and everything and going on wild adventures. Ottoline is left largely alone while her parents travel round the world collecting things.  (A recurring fantasy at this age – being independent and in charge!) She lives in an apartment with her best friend and guardian Mr Monroe – a funny looking Dr Seuss-inspired ‘thing’ with lots of hair who rarely says anything.

Ottoline’s adventures revolve around solving mysteries – the more bizarre the better. Chris Riddell, who also teams up with Paul Stewart for the very successful Edge Chronicles, tells his tales with a combination of text and pen and ink illustrations.  They add a depth and humour that makes this a refreshingly original read.  The illustrations are also great for reluctant Grade 2 -3 readers who need to tackle larger books, although the vocabulary may prove challenging for younger readers.

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Other books by Chris Riddell include:

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Goth Girl series – brilliant, funny and spooky. Features a fabulously quirky and witty female protagonist who grows up amongst ghosts and magic. Expect mystery and adventure and beautiful illustrations – each page is a feast for the eyes. How quirky is Goth Girl? “Ada Goth lives with her father in the sprawling Gastly-Gorm Hall. She spends the majority of her time alone. Her father avoids her because she reminds him of her mother – his dead wife. In fact he makes her wear big clumpy boots so he always knows when she is near. The only time he will see her is once a week for tea.” Grade 3 +

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Scavenger is a sci-fi series about York, a 14 year old zoid (robot) hunter and killer in a world gone mad. Picture robots and humans facing each other in deadly battle. In the first book, Scavenger: Chaos Zone, robots aboard a giant spaceship that sets out to find a new earth become zoids and rebel against their human companions. Soon, almost all humans are dead and the only survivors are hunted down and killed. Only the Scavengers, like York, are fighting back. Humans need zoid parts to fix their own broken technology but survival looks increasingly unlikely as the zoids evolve and become ever more dangerous. York needs all his courage to save himself and his people.

Grade 4 – Age 10+

Interesting fact about Chris Riddell and author Paul Stewart – they are both fathers and met picking up their kids from school in Brighton.  

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