Loyal Creatures by Morris Gleitzman, Viking (Penguin Australia), ISBN 9780670077427

Loyal creatures (cover)


Hayley borrowed Loyal Creatures from the library.

The story is set in 1914, World War One. It is about a boy, Frank, and his loyal horse, Daisy. They enlist in the light horse brigade after Frank’s dad receives a white feather. I had never heard of a ‘white feather’ or what they did with them, before I read this book, so I was in shock after I’d found out. They face the abomination of war and some utterly unjustifiable things happened.

I enjoyed reading it because it gave me a real insight as to how ghastly war was! The book is so sad it made me cry at some points knowing it was based on a true time in Australian history. I felt so sorry for Frank.

I would recommend this book for grade 5/6 and up because it has very mature themes. This is my first Morris Gleitzman novel and I am eager to read another.

This is Hayley’s first ever book review for Alphabet Soup. (Thanks, Hayley!) Would YOU like to send us a book review?  Check out our submission guidelines. For some great book-review writing tips, visit The Book Chook’s website.)

Happy reading!

Term 2 is underway — we hope you read a heap of great books while you were munching on chocolate eggs. (Send us some book reviews, we love book reviews!) As we wave April goodbye, the weather is cooling down at the Alphabet Soup office and we think it must be time for some recommended books for rainy days. You’ve come to the right place — our team of Top Readers* have just the list for you.

Here are some great reads:


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You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reading Team on the last day of every month. If you missed last month’s, don’t forget to check out the March 2015 Top Reads.

*All our Top Readers are kids aged 13 and under. No grownups allowed!

Lennie the Legend: Solo to Sydney by Pony by Stephanie Owen Reeder, NLA Publishing, ISBN 9780642278654

Lennie the Legend (cover)


A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

This is about a nine-year-old boy in 1932 who has a dream to ride his pony to Sydney for the opening of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. (He lived in Victoria.)

This book is based on a true story and when I heard about the book I thought it sounded adventurous. I also wondered why Lennie would want to do that? Because when I was nine, I wouldn’t want to be away from my parents and I would have been homesick. No nine year olds I’ve ever known could have done this spectacular feat. He was obviously a brave person with a goal he was determined to achieve.

For people who want to know about Australian history, it gives information that’s not normally known by Australian kids. Lennie the Legend has a glossary, photos of old-fashioned flyers and advertisements and certificates and things, old photos of places and people, maps and newspaper articles from the time. I didn’t think it was as good as some other historical books I’ve read — like Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer. Because in Light Horse Boy I felt more like I was there at the time watching everything happen but Lennie the Legend isn’t like that, it’s a different style of book.

Lennie the Legend is a real piece of history. This book would suit kids Lennie’s age and up.

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

Alice-Miranda at the Palace by Jacqueline Harvey, Random House Books, ISBN 9780857982728

Alice-Miranda at the palace


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

In this book Alice-Miranda is invited to Queen Georgiana’s silver jubilee (Queen Georgiana is her great-aunt). There’s going to be a ball, a dinner and outdoor games, but when Queen Georgiana and her workers find threatening notes from an anonymous person, they try to keep Alice-Miranda at the palace as long as they can.

Will they be able to stop the culprits before they take over the crown, and kidnap Alice-Miranda?

This is the eleventh book in the Alice-Miranda series and I enjoyed it because it was a mystery story. Fans of Alice-Miranda will like this book because it’s got the usual — Alice-Miranda in another stranger-than-usual adventure.

I recommend this book for girls aged 7 to 12 who like a mystery — and for girls who are already fans of Alice-Miranda.

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

The Duck and the Darklings by Glenda Millard, ill. Stephen Michael King,    A & U Children (Allen and Unwin), ISBN 9781743312612

The Duck and the Darklings (cover)



Matilda reviewed her own copy of this picture book.

This is a story about how the world is changing. People live underground because they are ashamed about what humans have done to the earth. Most of the old people have disremembered the good things that happened on top of the earth.

When Peterboy looks for something that would make Grandpapa’s eyes light up and stay like that, he finds Idaduck. But ducks need to go on top of the earth and to have the wind in their wings, so she can’t stay with Peterboy and Grandpapa forever.

I know the names of the author and illustrator from the Kingdom of Silk series.

What’s interesting about this book is the way the author has fiddled with the words. It makes the book kind of like a poem and it feels like a different world.

Stephen Michael King does the illustrations and I like them because they show the dark and also show the light with shapes of hot colours. The last few pages are full of light and there is no dark. This leaves you feeling happy.

I think ages 7 to 10 would like this book. Little kids might not understand because of all the fiddled-around words, but older kids might like those.

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

Toppling by Sally Murphy, ill. Rhian Nest James, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781921529429

Toppling (cover)


Celine reviewed her own copy of this book.

I attended a Literature Centre session last term where Sally Murphy was teaching us how to write poetry. She showed us some of her books she had written, and this was one of them, so when they announced that they were selling some of Sally’s books, I jumped at the chance to buy my very own copy of Toppling.

John loves to play with dominoes; they are his passion. He plays with them in his spare time, and when his mother is not looking. Coincidentally, his best friend’s name is Dominic, which sounds a lot like domino. Dominic and John and have a group of friends, which consist of Joseph, Christian and Tran. They hang out together at school all the time, so when Dominic is suddenly sick, John, Joseph, Christian and Tran become very worried. Dominic has to go to hospital, and John and his friends have not seen him for quite a while. They hope he won’t pass away. Will John, Joseph, Christian and Tran ever see Dominic again?

This was a unique book, where the whole story was in verse. It is not rhyming poetry, but it was very entertaining, telling the story of a group of friends, and how they coped with their friend’s absence. I absolutely adored this book, and I felt so sorry for John, Dominic and their friends. I really hoped Dominic would get better soon.

I would rate this book 105%, and it is recommended to a very wide audience, especially people who have had a sick friend or family member.

Celine is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Pharaoh, the boy who conquered the Nile. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!


by Natasha, 7, ACT

 “Wake up, wake up” screeched Harry. Sophie rolled out of bed and laughed until she cried, for her little brother had just started to talk. Sophie had a wonderful dream about painting. She was going to be an artist!

 Sophie painted (without hesitating) an amazing painting. All it had was plants, but hidden in the plants were animals. Sophie liked it so much she jumped into the picture!

 When Sophie was safely in the painting, she noticed she had different clothes on and in her new pocket she found an object that said in sparkling letters: ice freezer: this can freeze your enemy. After a talk with nature for an hour, Sophie caught a glimpse of a gust of flame. She was alarmed because it was killing all the animals and plants! Suddenly, a tall figure appeared in front of Sophie.

 “Well, who have we got here?” he rumbled. Sophie gasped in horror. The tall figure was spikey, it was dressed in red robes. It had fire coming out of its ears. It felt hot and it had a badge that said ‘Jim Burning, The King of Fire’. Sophie was angry about him, so she got out her ice freezer. With perfect aim, she froze him. Jim Burning fell to the ground, for he was dead.

Sophie climbed out of the painting and lived happily ever after.

This is Natasha’s first story posted to Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, story or poem —  check out our submission guidelines.


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