1. Elen Caldecott - Captain Pug by Laura James
I have to confess to a partisan interest in Laura's debut, she was a student at Bath Spa Uni where I teach. I didn't see this book though, which was acquired by Bloomsbury shortly after Laura graduated. This series will be illustrated by Eglantine Ceulemans and I've seen some sketches which are just wonderful; comic, but full of heart, just like the other work of Laura's I've seen. Out May 2016.
2. Clare Zinkin - Beetle Boy by MG Leonard
Another confession, the book proof for this landed on my doormat quite recently, and although I haven't read it yet, I am looking forward to devouring it over Christmas. The first paragraph (sneaky peek) reads like a dream, and the premise - a missing father, beetles, museums - I already know of children who will pounce on it!
3. Tatum Flynn - Secrets of the Dragon Tomb by Patrick Samphire
12-year-old Edward Sullivan is used to looking after his eccentric family in the face of malfunctioning clockwork butlers and stray pterodactyls.
But throw in a lunatic archeologist, kidnapped parents, spies, deadly hunting machines, and a chase through the Martian wilderness, and things are about to get crazy.
A funny adventure story with all of the above AND set on Mars?? CANNOT WAIT.
4. Kieran Fanning - The Great Chocoplot by Chris Callaghan
Imagine a chocopocalypse - a world in which chocolate is running out! Doesn't bear thinking about. But don't worry, because chocolate fan, Jelly, is on the case. Can she solve the great chocoplot?
Chris is a great guy, and very funny too, and I for one am looking forward to his debut.
5. Claire Fayers - The Ministry of SUITS by Paul Gamble
Of all the books I am desperate to read next year, I am most desperate to read this. Jack and Trudy are the newest recruits in the Ministry of Strange, Unusual and Interesting Things, where they find out that the world is much stranger than they'd previously believed, and also contains more pirates and dinosaurs. I caught a brief glimpse of the review copy of this several weeks ago and I'm still laughing. It's due out in July but I'm planning to steal that review copy back because I genuinely can't wait that long.
6. Lara Williamson - Beetle Boy by M G Leonard
This book promises humour, adventure and science and I can't think of a better mix. Not only is the main character fabulously named, Darkus Cuttle, but he joins forces with a super species of intelligent beetles to find his missing father. Now, I'm no big fan of beetles but I am prepared to be amazed and astounded and I suspect I'm going to love those little creepy-crawlies by the time I've turned the last page. I love books that can make me look at things in a new way. So, roll on 2016 and let me discover more about beetles and Beetle Boy.
7. Ruth Fitzgerald - The Voyage to Magical North by Claire Fayers
I have been hearing so many enticing bits and pieces about this book for ages and I'm so excited to read it in full. The main character, Brine Seabourne, sounds like a brilliant new, female lead and the book has pirates, magic, sea monsters and evil, talking penguins! Oh, I'm getting all excited again! I'm down for an ARC but it seems to be very slow in arriving, maybe that's because I'm very impatient but I suspect it's because it's one of those books no one wants to pass on!
Only seven from us this week, but I am sure that if 2014 and 2015 are anything to go by then 2016 will also be a fabulous year for debut middle grade novels.