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By Tom Palmerauthor

Author of the new Football Detective series, reviews a selection of books for boys

Tom Palmer

Tom Palmer — author of the new Football Detective series

Tangshan Tigers: The Stolen Jade by Dan Lee (Puffin, £4.99, PB)

The Tangshan Tigers: The Stolen Jade

Suitable for: boys; younger readers; older readers; reluctant readers; more able readers; reading aloud.

The Tangshan Tigers – a group of young martial arts trainees based in Beijing – have two challenges: to win their next tournament and to solve the mystery of a stolen jade dish. And what a great story! As well as action, suspense and strong child characters, readers learn a lot about the martial arts; mostly the importance of control, respect and intelligence. The best character in the book is an adult – Chang Sifu, the calm and wise teacher, who acts as a superb role model to his students and readers. The story gathers pace as it reaches its climax when a mystery is solved and right overcomes wrong. And – best of all – the next mystery is set up. Great stuff.

The Flea Thing by Brian Falkner (Walker, £4.99, PB)

The Flea Thing by Brian Falkner

Suitable for: boys; older readers; reluctant readers.

Daniel Scott can run fast. Really fast. At 12 years old, he signs for the top Rugby League side in New Zealand. But there’s a price to pay. As he becomes the world’s most famous Rugby League star, his childhood friendships falter and his fantasises switch: from wanting to be a famous sportsman to wanting to be an ordinary boy with ordinary friends.

Although the story is sometimes a bit rushed, this is an otherwise great read with a very sympathetic hero. And unique – as far as I know – as a children’s story about Rugby League.

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