12 July 2011

Spaced Out/Camp Croc

Lightning Strikes Series

Walker Books. Australian, Middle Reader delights. Paperback RRP $12.95

Guest reviewer Jo Burnell

It’s often really hard to find spell-binding stories for middle readers, but Walker books nail it with their Lightning Strikes Series. Of their most recent releases, Spaced Out and Camp Croc are my favorites. How can you choose between the two? Don’t. Enjoy them both.

Spaced Out

by Moya Simons

Jessie lives hundreds of years in the future, but he’s no different to any 12 year old I know. Impulsive decisions get him into trouble regularly. However, instead of getting detention or being grounded, he travels clear across the Universe to Centuria, the Shopping Capital of the Universe. All he has to do while there to keep out of trouble is stay inside the city borders. How hard could that be?

Jessie isn’t very good at forward planning or self control so the situations he encounters stretch him to the limit. It all starts when he buys a life-like robot boy, only to watch it walk ‘home’ to the dodgy salesman.

Things get complicated when robot boy wants to find his own kind. Rumour has it they all live in the Farlands. You guessed it. The Farlands are outside the city walls. Will Jessie break the rules again? There’s only one way to find out. Get ready for a fast-paced story with intrigue and unexpected twists. Perfect for anyone who wonders what the world might be like in a few hundred years.

The Reading Stack has reviewed Simons’ Let Me Whisper You My Story, Walk Right In Detective Agency Series and Hello God.


Camp Croc

by Trudy Trewin

This is it: the camp that the whole class has been waiting for. Set in tropical outback Queensland, the boys can’t resist exploring just a little bit further than the actual camp boundary. A rope dangling over a trickling creek is too tempting to pass up.

However, life is never that simple and one thing leads to another. A close encounter with a giant crocodile is just a blip in the boys’ series of heart thumping exploits.

An extra bonus in Camp Croc is Dak’s Fact boxes with a difference. Dak’s words of wisdom are not quite like any I have come across before. They make even the most serious reader crack a grin. For example, ‘teachers with names like Longbottom should just suck it up. I mean, do they really think kids can let a name like that go un-messed with?’

High action and debacles combine with Dak’s fact boxes to make a surprisingly quick read. I wondered where all the pages disappeared to.


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