Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The adventures of Jellybean


The adventures of Jellybean by Bill Condon and Dianne Bates, UQP, ISBN 9780702260001

Book cover shows a white goat being chased by two small boys. In the background is a wooden fence on green grass and a clear blue sky.

The publisher provided a review copy of this title.

An imaginative adventure of mischief and fun! Guaranteed to make kids smile when they read about the tricks that Jellybean, a family pet goat, gets up to. I find that the authors bring alive the characters, Jellybean and her owners, Rory and Trang, by creating lots of exciting events and problems to solve. Authors Bill Condon and Dianne Bates try their best to make their readers laugh.

Will Jellybean ever stop eating what she’s not meant to?

The book keeps readers interested because Jellybean always gets caught up in a new exploit. This tale of fun and imagination is perfect for kids aged 6+ who enjoy humorous animal adventure stories. I give this book a 4 ½ star rating out of 5.

This is Tirion’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill


Book cover of The Secret Horses of Briar HillThe Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, ill. by Levi Pinfold,
Walker Books, ISBN 9781406367584

Tilly reviews her own copy of this book. 

It is December 1941, World War II, Briar Hill Hospital.  A girl named Emmaline has a secret: there are winged horses in the mirrors.

The main characters are Emmaline, Foxfire and the Black Horse.  Emmaline is passionate, persistent and courageous in her attempts to save the magical winged horse Foxfire.  Foxfire is in trouble as the Black Horse is hunting Foxfire.

I really like the black and white illustrations, they are beautiful!  The illustrations help paint a magical picture in your head while reading the book.

It is a fantasy book written through the eyes of Emmaline.

I like this book a lot. I recommend this book to children who have a wild imagination from 8 years of age.

This is Tilly’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Stories 1, 2, 3, 4


Girl in striped shirt holding up the bookStories 1, 2, 3, 4 by Eugène Ionesco, translated & ill. by Etienne Delessert,
McSweeney’s McMullens, ISBN 9781936365517

Albie reviews her own copy of this book. 

The reason I like this book is because the dad is really lazy and the doctor’s banned him from going out, but he still goes out (which is the funny part).

The story I like the best is probably story 3, because he teaches the little girl how to speak different languages. And the dad stays up every night watching Punch and Judy shows and going to lots and lots of restaurants and heaps of barbers – and for that reason he’s always very tired in the morning and he sleeps in. And the little girl comes knocking at the door at the start of every story, and the dad tells her a story.

This is the best book ever!

This is Albie’s first review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.

Happy reading!

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: On my way to Brazil

by Owen, Eden Lake Elementary, Minnesota, USA.

Letter, writing indecipherable. Photo from pexels.comDear Brother,

​I am on my way to Brazil right now — I can’t wait to go to the Amazon Jungle for my photos, and the waterfalls. I am currently right over the Amazon eating some wonderful Mexican because I left from Mexico City. I will tell you once I land and send you some pictures from Mexico City …

“Attention, there is some turbulence ahead!”

Right after the announcement i feel something bounce. All the cabin crew start running to their seats. At this point everyone is freaked out, especially me — I have $5000-worth of camera equipment in the overhead bin. All of a sudden I see nothing but black emptiness and a fiery ball


At this point there is nothing I can do. This plane is full of chaos!


The plane is submerged. I feel a sharp pain in my leg but I know I have to get out before it’s too late. So I swim. I feel for the exits. I can see light on the ground when my eyes are closed, I follow those. I reach the exit. I swim up and once I break through, I release a giant breath of air. I lie down on the river bank and just lay there, listening to the animals. I check the pain in my leg. It’s my own pen I was writing to my brother with, and when I pull it out I wrap something around it so it doesn’t bleed excessively.

I sleep until morning and get woken up by the sounds of a waterfall. The rainforest is very green, with long vines that spread among the trees, and I even see a little monkey, which is so small it’s like the size of my hand.

I try climbing this giant tree to try to locate civilisation, but as far as I can see there is nothing but dense forest. So because I don’t have the energy to move on, I started making a shelter. I used the vines to tie sticks together to elevate myself off the ground, because I knew there were lots of bugs and ants. After that, I tied it so it would hang from trees. The river that was next to me, I used for water. For my fire I use some rocks I found and sticks and I grab some pots that fell out of the plane, that had washed up ashore. I boil my water so it wouldn’t harm me, because that would be the last thing I want to happen. I lie down, happy at what I have done so far but I am really hungry.

The next morning I set off looking for food but this rainforest is practically impossible to get through fast. I try to quietly sneak up on a giant frog so I could eat it. I leap at the frog and grab it, it’s so slimy but I know I can’t let go. I make a fire and cut it with a piece of glass I found and cook it. While eating, it was about noon I knew I had to go. I think I see a giant tower in the distance. I run to it, up close it is covered in moss like it was abandoned, but I would have assumed it was for airplanes. I climb up on the ladder, once I get to the top I see (or at least I think I see) a little village right in the middle of trees. With smoke coming out! I run down and run over, but these aren’t ordinary people. They try to kill me!

I start sprinting away. I cut my face on a branch and just keep running — but there’s another problem … I have to cross a river. I look back. I see them! I jump into the water and swim. Is this the same river the plane crashed in? I don’t have time to be thinking, I need to swim and get out of the river.

I think I lose them. I make it out of the river and hide. I go back to that river at night and see an alligator. If he was there only four hours earlier I would have been lunch for him! I think I see bright lights in the distance. I run towards it … in fact it is bright lights from a city. I ask for directions and I make it to the airport, and then … made it to Rio.

This is Owen’s first story published with Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Recommended reading, Top Reads

TOP READS: July 2018

Here we are at the start of Term 3, and every booky person knows that TERM 3 IS THE BEST TERM. Term 3 includes Children’s Book Week — and for many schools that means a dress-up book week parade, and libraries sometimes have visiting authors or illustrators, and everyone around Australia celebrates good books!

If you need to work on building up your reading muscles before Book Week, our Top Reads team* have some great books to add to your reading list.

This month we welcome a new team member, Matthew (age 10), who joins the team as Vivaan is stepping down. A big thank you to Vivaan for his recommendations this year.

You can read about Matthew here.

And now, here are the must-reads for July:

You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reads Team on the last day of every month (February to November). If you’d like even more recommendations, browse all through all our Top Reads ever!

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

Posted in poetry, Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: Seashell

by Anishka, 8, QLD

I saw a seashell,
To mum and dad, I might tell,
No way, I’ll keep it a secret,
Anyway, we just met.

Inside it wiggles a bit,
Like someone’s head invaded with nits.
It squirms and wiggles,
Zig-zagging like scribbles.
I wonder what is inside,
Maybe something washed in through the tide.

It could be treasure or gold,
Or a tent that can fold.
I’m getting silly, those things don’t move,
They don`t scamper on my roof.

An animal peeps out of the shell,
And climbs out then it fell!
I play with it all day long,
Keeping the secret all day long,

Saying goodbye, off I run,
Today is already done!

Anishka is a regular contributor to Alphabet Soup — you can read all her earlier work here.

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young Writers in Action: Friendship Tree

by Gabriel, 7, NSW

A hand holding two green seeds. Photo courtesy of pexels.comDan found a seed and planted it in his family garden.

He wondered to himself, “What type of seed is it? An acorn or a pineapple or a …”

Every day, he watered the seed. He waited and waited. Every day, he checked the seed to see if it was growing.

One day, he saw a tiny green point. Dan still watered the plant as he did every day.

Ten days later, it was one metre tall. Every day, it grew ten centimetres taller which was very quick for a plant.

He saw some apples on it the same day, so he thought it was an apple tree.

Thirty days later it was three metres tall! He said to himself, “This tree is growing quick.” Then he saw it was growing apples, mangoes and acorns which were all fresh.

Another month later it was five metres tall! And this time it was growing five different types of fruit. He thought, “I could pick some fruit and make a fruit salad.” When he picked the fruit in the same place, the fruit grew back!

When he came indoors it was time for afternoon tea. He gave his mum some of the fruit and said, “This is some fruit that I picked off my tree. This fruit is for a fruit salad for afternoon tea.”

Then he went to set the table for afternoon tea. He thought afternoon tea will be tasty with the fruit salad and with the little muffins and cupcakes.  When he tasted the fruit salad, it was very sweet, but not too sweet.

When Dan had finished afternoon tea, he went to play fetch with his dog, Tom.

While Tom was coming back, he got out his note book and wrote:

Plan: I want to build a treehouse in my tree, enjoy the fruit in the tree, climb to the very top of the tree, have picnics under the tree and a swing.

Dan wanted a friend to play with, but most kids went to school.

Five days later, Dan started to build his new tree-house. When he was nailing his third piece of wood, he broke a branch off and it fell into Sam’s farm. (Sam was the neighbour.) He was resting out in his garden when he saw that some of his strawberry plants were crushed.

Then Sam told Dan, “I will tell your Mum and Dad to chop down that tree.” After Dan heard this, he was sad.

Sam had a little girl and her name was Sally. When Sam went to get the garden hose to water the farm, Sally came out. When Sally saw the treehouse that Dan was making, she wanted to be friends with Dan so that Dan would maybe let her go into the treehouse.

Sally went to Dan’s garden and then said, “Could you and me be friends?”

Dan answered, “Yes, we can be friends.”

Sally said, “Could I help you in building the treehouse?”

“OK,” said Dan.

So Sally and Dan set to work. CRASH! BANG! CRASH! BANG! The sound of the nailing was so loud that Sam came out and shouted, “Stop that noise!”

Then he saw it was Dan and Sally that were making the noise. And he saw their happy faces. He thought, “I should not tell Dan’s parents to chop down that tree. Or else their happy faces will became sad faces and now Sally has got a friend and I don’t want Dan to be sad because he might not want to be Sally’s friend.”

In the end, Dan became Sally’s best friend. And together the parents and children happily built the treehouse and the swing.

Gabriel is a regular contributer to Alphabet Soup. You can read some of his earlier work here. If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy writing!