The year is galloping by, and here we are at the end of February already. The good news is that there are still ten months of 2015 to go, and you can get a lot of reading done in ten months!

In today’s post, our Top Reads Team — who are all Australian kids, no grownups allowed! — share the best books they read this month.

Get thee to a library! (Or a bookshop, or check with your friends to see what’s on their shelves at home …)


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The Top Reads team recommends good books every month. They’ll be back at the end of March with more booky goodness.


by Michelle, 8, India

Oh one day,
I went to,
A land so grassy,
It was named as grassy land.

It was a beautiful and natural place,
Indeed Mum, it is wonderful,
Oh, I think I stamped on something,
And it was a message.

Please do not cut trees,
Then I walked and walked,
I stamped on something,
And it was an another message.

Grow green plants,
And I understood that while I walked,
I will get more messages,
After reading 12 messages,
I understood we must save Nature.

While I went back home,
I thought what did it all mean,
So many years passed,
And I began to grow,
And as I grew up to be a business man,
I kept the messages in mind,
And I had a change in my heart,
I could live happily ever after.

Audrey of the Outback by Christine Harris, ill. Ann James, Little Hare, ISBN 9781742977959

audrey of the outback



Kailani borrowed this book from the local library.

Have you ever wondered what it’s like to live in the outback?

Audrey lives with her dad, her mum, her little brother Douglas, her older brother Price and her special friend in the south Australian desert. Audrey’s dad spends most of his life away from home on the back of a camel. Audrey’s mum stays at home looking after the kids and doing cooking. Audrey is 8 years old and is always asking questions and has lots of clever ideas. Douglas is 3 and likes pretending to be a bird. Price is 12 and takes on the “Dad’s role” when Dad is away. And Audrey’s special friend? You will need to read the book to find out about him.

Lots of swaggies set up camp near Audrey’s house and will often ask for supplies in trade for doing some jobs. One day an unusual swaggie comes to their door and the next morning Audrey sets out to find out about him. After a talk with the swaggie Audrey comes up with the first of many ideas …

I really liked this book, Audrey is very clever and light-hearted. My favourite part of the book was when Audrey and Price blow up the dunny!!! Audrey of the Outback is suitable for any ages especially kids 5 to 11 years.

If you have ever wondered what it is like to live in the desert, meet a swaggie and blow up a dunny, you will really like this book.

Kailani lives on K’gari (Fraser Island) in QLD. She really likes reading books, especially about horses, girls’ adventures, nature, the environment and some historical fiction. In 2014 her family travelled around Australia and now Kailani is writing her own blog called Kailani’s Island Life.

Kailani’s most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The Quicksand Pony. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Today Jacqueline shares her writing with us — a creative piece, describing in detail what a forest looks like to a vision-impaired person. 

by Jacqueline, 10, VIC

The green trees are brightly coloured and show the path that never ends. Scrubs in the soil are waiting to get bigger to protect the insects from the rain. Moss grows on the trees and spreads till they are all covered. The path is brown, soft and smooth like a bed. We’ll never know where it ends if a log stops the way. A stump well-cut by the hunters is dead, but it will grow just the same. Clovers are spreading and one of them might be the lucky one. Animals are hiding among the forest trees not knowing when to come out. Leaves are impatient for autumn to arrive, so they can fall on the ground. The bark is crumbling off the trees and twigs are snapping whilst you step on it.

Seeds are in the soil waiting until the water wakes them and start to grow up. The flowers are blooming to make colours shine in your eyes. Birds in the trees watching you as you go by. They sing a pretty song to make you smile. Bushes are growing fruit and berries that are juicy and ripe. Little trees are weak, but will grow like the others and live forever.

The 19th February welcomes in the Year of the Goat (or Sheep). We thought we’d collect some goat-and-sheep themed books to celebrate.

 Sheep, Goat and the Creaking Gate

"There's a Goat in My Coat cover"

king pig (cover)

Pete the sheep

sheep with boots

the sheep-pig

the goat who sailed the world

Happy New Year!

by Shristuti Srirapu, 8, India

…..It was a stormy night. Ralph was doing his homework. He was writing an essay on UFOs.

…..“Ralph! Go to bed. It is already 10:30. You can finish your essay tomorrow” screamed his mum.

…..Ralph changed into his pjs, brushed his teeth and climbed into his comfy bed. Ralph was just drifting off to sleep when an unfamiliar buzzing noise rang through his ears. Ralph looked outside the window. He could not believe his eyes. He was seeing a UFO along with an UWP (Unidentified Wierd People a.k.a aliens). He pinched himself. “Ouch,” he thought.

…..The aliens were purple with four legs, one eye and no ears and a small antenna.

…..“What are they doing?” Ralph thought. He squinted. They were playing in his play structure. Finally they left. Ralph fell back into his sleep.

…..“Ugh, morning already?” Suddenly he remembered about the aliens.

…..“MUM, Mum, Mum, Mum, Mum!” he called running down the stairs. “Last night I saw the aliens,” he said.

…..“Honey, I think you are imagining things. Maybe you got stressed about your essay and started imagining about aliens,” said his mum.

…..“I was not imagining things. They were purple with one eye and four legs and a little antenna and they were playing in our play structure and, and, and, and … ” His voice trailed off.

…..“Hmmmmmmmm,” sighed Ralph’s mum. “Anyway, eat your breakfast or you are going to be late for school,” his mother told him.

…..At school all Ralph could think was aliens, aliens, aliens.


…..That night the same thing happened. The aliens got out of their spaceship, played in his playstructure and left.

…..“Tuesday, that means PHYSICAL EDUCATION,” thought Ralph waking up. The ALIENS!!! They had come last night.

…..“MUM, Mum, Mum, Mum!” Ralph called running down. “The aliens came again, the aliens came again!”

…..“Honey I better take you to a doctor. You finished that yesterday,” said his mum.

…..“I DONT NEED TO GO TO A DOCTOR!” shouted Ralph.

…..“Anyway, eat up” said his mum.

…..That night Ralph heard a buzz but something heavy dropped on the ground. He looked outside the window. He only saw some paper. No aliens, no spaceship. Ralph slipped into his slippers and tiptoed downstairs and out of the door. There stood some paper and something else.

…..“I will see what the paper says and then I will look at the gadget,” thought Ralph.

…..He picked up the paper and read.

…..Dear, we do not know your name. We found a bigger play structure and would like to play in that. We would not be coming back. Anyway we left you a present.

…..Ralph picked up the gadget. It was a small spaceship. He liked it.

…..“I finally have proof but I do not want anyone looking for them. They will be hunting and searching for them. I won’t show anybody,” he thought.


…..The next day he got up.

…..“G’morning, Mum,” he said.

…..“Ralph you did not see any aliens?” asked his mum.

…..“Nope,” Ralph replied.

…..“Get ready, your bus will almost be there,” said his mum.


Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry by Lorraine Marwood, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781925081022

celebrating australia: a year in poetry (cover)


Joseph reviewed his own copy of this book.

I like poetry collections where the poems are connected by a theme — in this book the poems are all about key events in the year. I didn’t know of a few events before I read the poems (like Diwali — Festival of Light). Australia has lots of people from different countries and I like to learn about the different celebrations and important events. Chinese New Year, Australia Day, Christmas, Pancake Day (the start of Lent), Ramadan and heaps more.

My favourite poems in this collection:

‘A Recipe for Harmony Day’

At our school we always do a lot of activities for Harmony Day. At the school in the poem they do different activities with food so the kids in the class can try out foods from different countries. I like the way the poem sounds, and I like the humour in it (like the toasted marshmallows).


I’m thinking about graduation this year because I’m in year 6 and graduation is coming up for me at the end of the year. I really like the last three lines in this poem. And I like that the whole poem is like a little list.

‘Swimming Carnival’

I like the rhythm of it, and the repetition of the last line in each stanza makes me imagine I’m there with everyone being excited and preparing for the day. (The swimming carnival is a big deal).

There is a mix of simple drawings and photographs with the poems, they’re all black and white. Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry is fun to read aloud to other people and a good summary of a year. In your class you could probably read a poem aloud when an event comes up.

I would recommend this book to children aged 8 to 12.

© February 2015 “Review of Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry” by Joseph.

Alphabet Soup talked to Lorraine Marwood recently about writing Celebrating Australia: a Year in Poetry. You can read the interview here.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The Billy That Died With Its Boots On. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!


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