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The Cleo Stories: The Necklace, and The Present by Libby Gleeson, ill. Freya Blackwood, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781743315279

The Cleo stories (cover)

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

This book has two stories — ‘The Necklace’ and ‘The Present’. It’s about a girl who’s 6 years old, playing and present wrapping and drawing. The characters include an uncle, her Mum and Dad, and Nick (Cleo’s friend).

‘The Necklace’ is my favourite because Cleo wants a necklace but her birthday is ages away and she solves the problem all by herself. Cleo reminds me of my friend’s little sister because she’s so imaginative and she’s adventurous in her own backyard.

I also like how Cleo wears different headband ears — cats and rabbits. And I really like the endpapers too because it shows Cleo’s town.

Five to eight year olds would enjoy this book. I’d like to read more stories about Cleo and Nick.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Rescue on Nim’s Island. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Pharaoh, the Boy Who Conquered the Nile by Jackie French, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780207200823

Pharaoh cover

REVIEWED BY CELINE, 12, WA

Celine reviewed her own copy of this book.

Narmer is 12 years old, and is often referred to as ‘The Golden One’, by the people of his town because they believe that he has potential to be a ruler, to follow the footsteps of his father, the king. Although he is the second-born child, he is preferred by his father and was therefore chosen to be the heir to the throne. His older brother Hawk, is a pleasant and kind brother, and always treats Narmer with care. But as the days pass by, and Narmer becomes more worthy of the throne, Hawk may not want to be the gentle, caring brother anymore.

After an awful incident with a crocodile, Narmer finds that he has been left with scars and wounds that may disable him forever. He may not have the strength to lead his people anymore. When a foreign trader arrives from another town to offer goods for gold, Narmer discovers his gift for trading. He decides to become one of the trader’s apprentices, and learns from the trader’s ways, as the trader and his travelling group continue to journey across the Nile. Will Narmer be able to survive this journey? What will become of his future?

I admire Narmer because when times were tough, Narmer was resilient. He was daring, even as a little boy. This book is suitable for children aged 11 to 14 who enjoy historical fiction. If I were part of the Children’s Reading Council, I would award this book with the highest commendations. It is a must read for everyone!

Celine is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  My Life as an Alphabet. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Rescue on Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr, pictures by Geoff Kelly, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781743316788

rescue on nim's island

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

Matilda borrowed a copy of this book from her local library.

I read this book because I like all the other books I’ve read by Wendy Orr so far.

There are scientists coming to the island. So far Nim, Jack and Alex have kept the island a secret but now Jack has discovered something on the island and he wants other scientists to come. One of the scientists brings a daughter called Tiffany and when everyone goes exploring in a cave, Tiffany gets stuck …

Rescue on Nim’s Island is not a follow-on book from Nim at Sea, it follows on from the second Nim film (Return to Nim’s Island) instead. I was surprised that it didn’t follow on from Nim at Sea.

People who like to take risks will like this book because Rescue on Nim’s Island is full of risks. It would suit kids 8+.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Fantastic Mr Fox (audiobook). If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl (audiobook), read by Lionel Jeffries, BBC Audiobooks UK, ISBN 9781408483770

fantastic mr fox audiobook

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

Matilda borrowed this audiobook from her local library.

I like listening to audiobooks because they make you have an idea of the picture in your head. With this audiobook I could read along with the book while I listened but sometimes I just like listening without the book. I like the voices they have for the characters.

Fantastic Mr Fox is about a family of 6 foxes (4 children and 2 adults). Mr Fox has a very clever brain and every night he makes sure the wind is blowing towards him so he can go out and steal some dinner from the 3 farmers Boggis, Bunce and Bean. The 3 farmers are really mean and they try to catch the foxes because they want to shoot them. I like this story because it’s exciting and the foxes can dig faster than any other animal.

Most kids from 5 and up would love this book but little kids might need a grownup there to help with the scary bits.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Pearl Verses the World. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Pearl Verses the World by Sally Murphy, ill. Heather Potter, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781921150937

"Pearl Verses the World"

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

Matilda reviewed her own copy of this book.

I saw this on the bookshelves at our house — I’ve met the author and I also really like Roses are Blue and The Floatingest Frog by Sally Murphy, so I read the first few pages of this book and I didn’t stop.

This book is about three people: Pearl, her mother and her grandmother. And that’s how it’s always been. But suddenly Pearl’s life changes. Her grandmother is ill and her mother is thinking they will have to send her grandmother to a nursing home.

This is a sad book. I liked the characters Mitchell Mason and Prudence Jones because they were very interesting people. Pearl Verses the World is a verse novel and I liked it even more than Roses Are Blue, which is also a verse novel.

I would recommend this book to kids 7+ because it’s about school and it might be too sad for younger kids.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Nim at Sea. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Fortunately, the Milk by Neil Gaiman, ill. Chris Riddell, Bloomsbury, ISBN 9781408841792

fortunately, the milk

REVIEWED BY JAKE, 7, VIC

Jake received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

This was a good and funny book. It’s about a dad who needs to get milk because there’s none left in the house, and he goes through a crazy adventure, because when he gets the milk weird things happen. There’s time travel in it, and pirates. There are also dinosaurs.

I liked the characters in it. It wasn’t very suspenseful, but that wasn’t a bad thing. It had excellent pictures, though it’s a chapter book. If you don’t like crazy or funny things you probably wouldn’t enjoy this book.

It’s good for people who are 6 to 9 years old, who like crazy things.

Jake is a member of our Top Reads Team, and this is his first book review on Alphabet Soup’s blog. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Nim at Sea by Wendy Orr, pictures by Kerry Millard, Allen & Unwin, ISBN 9781741148619

Nim at sea

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

Matilda borrowed a copy of this book from her local library.

I’ve watched the movie Nim’s Island and I saw this book in the library, so I borrowed it. Now I’ve read Nim at Sea, I will have to read Nim’s Island.

In this book, Nim tells Alex in a really angry way that it would be better if she was off the island. So Alex goes. Jack still thinks Alex is on the island and Nim is going to get into really big trouble. Then Selkie (a sea lion friend) gets captured by the Troppo Tourists — can Nim get Selkie back? Can they all be together as a group again?

I really like the bits when Fred (the marine iguana) sneezes and everyone says “Yuck, Fred!” and I like feeling inside the story and wanting to encourage Nim.

Kids that like books with lots of adventure should read Nim at Sea. (So should kids who love Nim’s Island.) This book is great for kids aged 8+.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  The Red Wheelbarrow. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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