Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Celine, Book reviews by kids

Book Review: The Apothecary

The Apothecary by Maile Meloy, ISBN 9781921758171, Text Publishing

Reviewed by Celine, 11, WA

The apothecary (cover)

A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

14-year-old Janie lives in a world where war is very common. Her parents are communists, which means they are on a different side to most people. To avoid being put in prison, Janie and her parents have to leave America and move to London. When she arrives, a boy called Benjamin befriends her. However, being friends with Benjamin wasn’t a very smart move. Benjamin’s father is the apothecary, and owns a shop with potions. One day, while Benjamin and Janie were in the apothecary’s shop, the Russian spies turned up, and the apothecary thrusts them a magical book (the Pharmacopeia) and hides them in the cellar. When they go back upstairs, the shop has been ransacked and Benjamin’s father had disappeared. Will Benjamin ever find his father, the apothecary? Can Janie and Benjamin hide from the Russian spies? Is anyone trustworthy?

This was a spellbinding novel, with irresistible characters. Although the cover wasn’t very captivating, I was enthralled from the very first paragraph. I would highly recommend this book to children from ages 10–14, with a vast imagination. This novel receives 110% approval from me.

Celine is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The 26-Storey Treehouse. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Celine, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The 26-Storey Treehouse

The 26-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, ill. Terry Denton, ISBN 9781742611273, Pan Macmillan Australia

Reviewed by Celine, 11, WA

26-storey treehouse

Have you read The 13-Storey Treehouse? Well, Andy and Terry are back with another 13 new storeys! When Andy tries to tell us a story, he is rudely interrupted by Terry, who’s apparently made the sharks sick by feeding them his underwear. Then Jill comes and helps. Inside one of the shark’s bellies, Andy finds a wooden head that belongs to Captain Woodenhead.  This leads into the story of pirates with Jill, Andy and Terry. Then a real pirate ship pulls up at their shore, and out comes a captain with a disgusting head. Apparently he found it in a fish’s tummy.

Could this possibly be Captain Woodenhead, and if so, how will Andy and Terry shoo away the captain and his crew?

I liked this book, however — it was quite gruesome and this book would suit pirate lovers better. I would give this book a rating of 7/10.

Celine is one of our Junior Book Reviewers. Here are two other books reviewed by Celine on Soup Blog: Blood Brothers, and Rotters and Squatters.  If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Celine, Book reviews by kids

Book Review – Blood Brothers

Dragonkeeper: Blood Brothers by Carole Wilkinson, ISBN 978742031897, Walker Books Australia

Reviewed by Celine, 10, WA

Blood brothers (cover)

Recently I devoured the most exquisite yet enchanting book, Blood Brothers. It is the fourth book in the series ‘Dragonkeeper’. It tells the story of a monk named Tao. He is the only monk in his family for one reason. He is accumulating good karma for his brother Wei. His brother Wei is unable to move his limbs or talk, but Wei has the powers of a dragonkeeper. When Tao and Wei hold hands, some of the powers are transferred to Tao, as Wei cannot use them.  Tao can then talk to a dragon that was following him throughout his journey so far.

Kai the dragon is in search of a dragonkeeper. As Tao journeys on from his house, he comes face to face with some terrible bloodthirsty nomads. Will Tao escape? Can Wei survive?

I believe the title is very suitable for this story and you will understand it when you finish the book. Blood Brothers is very hard to put down. I experienced the feelings with the character as if I were in his shoes—sad, relieved, excited and worried.

This book is recommended for ages 9 and above. My favourite part was when Tao called Wei ‘Wei-Wei’. I would rate this book all the stars visible in the night sky.

Now I’m going back to read books 1, 2 and 3!

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Celine is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) A review copy of Blood Brothers was provided by Walker Books Australia.
Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by Celine

Book Review: Rotters and Squatters

Fair Dinkum Histories: Rotters and Squatters (1820 – 1850), by Jackie French, ill. Peter Sheehan, ISBN 978741693157, Scholastic Australia

Reviewed by Celine, 9,  Yidarra Catholic Primary School*, WA

Rotters and Squatters (cover)

Rotters and Squatters is the third book of the series ‘Fair Dinkum Histories’ written by Jackie French. No one wants to read a boring history book but this is not just about Australian history. Rotters and Squatters includes funny jokes and illustrations. I’ll quote a few:

‘Are you idle?’

‘No, I’m Sebastian.’

‘How do you make an apple crumble?’

‘Torture it for 10 minutes.’

‘It’s the votes that should count not the Counts that should vote!’

Who ever knew Australia was full of deserts and almost impossible not to perish on the journey through the Great Australian Bight? Guess who completed the journey? Have you heard of Edward Eyre?

Learn about Yagan the Noongar man from Western Australia and how he was decapitated and taken back to England for display. It was offensive and it is history.

My opinion about this book is that it is intriguing yet fun to read. The book is suitable for Year 4s and up. I will give it a rating of 7/10.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Yidarra Catholic Primary School is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. The book reviewed here was Celine’s own copy.