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

Book review: Australian Kids Through the Years

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Australian Kids Through the Years

Australian Kids Through the Years by Tania McCartney, ill. Andrew Joyner, NLA Publishing, ISBN 9780642278593

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

Australian Kids Through the Years is an easy-to-read, informative, and beautifully illustrated picture book about Australia’s history. It is taken from the point of view of kids from different time periods.

The book has a different era every four pages — the first two include a brief description, and the next two are a setting from the era.

This book feels light in mood. The illustrations are much like colourful cartoons, with clear yet complex pictures. You might recognise the illustrator from Too Many Elephants in This House (a picture book written by Ursula Dubosarsky). My favourite pages in the book are the 1990s — everything seems modern but it’s still different from how things are now.

At the end of the book there is a summary of each time period, including photographs and paintings from each time.

I like that you can extract lots of information really easily. This is a great book for kids aged 7+ because of the easy language and because it’s fun to read.

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

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

Book review: Ugly by Robert Hoge

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Ugly (cover)

Ugly by Robert Hoge, Hachette Australia, ISBN 9780733634338

Joseph borrowed a copy of this book from his local library.

Ugly is Robert Hoge’s autobiography (this is the edition for children). It starts with Robert being born at the hospital and there’s a debate about whether or not his parents will even take him home because he has a tumour on his face and there’s something wrong with his legs. Eventually his brothers and sisters vote to keep him, and he does come home.

In the book you learn about his early childhood, primary school and high school years. There’s a lot about how he made friends and overcame teasing, lots of operations and walking with artificial legs. There’s a list of nicknames he was called in high school (some are good and some are bad).

This was a very interesting book and I liked the attitude that we’re all different in some way and there’s always a way to overcome differences. I would have liked the book to be longer, and I would have liked to read something about Robert after high school and into adulthood.

Mature readers aged 9 and above would enjoy this book and learning about Robert’s challenges in childhood.

Read an extract from Ugly on the publisher’s site.


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

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

Book review: Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Adam Spencer's big book of numbers

Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers: Everything you wanted to know about the numbers 1 to 100 by Adam Spencer, Xoum Publishing, ISBN 9781921134326.

Joseph reviewed his own copy of this book.

Do you know what a narcissistic number is? Or a Leyland Prime? Or a Cunningham Chain? These are three number concepts that you’ve probably never heard about before and they are explained in this book.

When I first saw this book I thought it would be way too complicated and I wouldn’t be able to understand any of it but Adam Spencer turns out to be a very chatty writer. And so this book is very easy to enjoy and it is not like a textbook.

Inside you will find detailed facts about the numbers 1 to 100 with some quiz questions/activities along the way. The 5X5 magic squares were my favourite because I found them challenging but do-able and satisfying to finish.

Anybody aged 10+ would love this book. It doesn’t matter if you are good at maths or not, it’s informative and interesting.

If you can’t sleep at night, reading this book is better than counting sheep.

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

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

Book review: Sister Heart

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Sister heart (cover)

Sister Heart by Sally Morgan, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925163131

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

Sister Heart is a book about Annie — an Aboriginal girl who is suddenly taken from her parents (part of the Stolen Generation). She’s taken to a government-run school where she meets Nancy, Janey, and Janey’s brother Tim. It’s a shock for Annie and she doesn’t feel like talking.

This is a verse novel told from Annie’s point of view and it’s about finding courage in a new place.

I knew a little bit about the Stolen Generation and this book deepened my understanding because it showed the emotions of the stolen children and how they coped. This is a serious and engaging read, it’s emotional and you feel everything that the characters feel.

I’d recommend this to readers aged 10 to 13.

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

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

Book review: The Invention of Hugo Cabret

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

The Invention of Hugo Cabret

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick, Scholastic Press, ISBN 9780439813785

Joseph borrowed a copy of this book from his local library.

Hugo is an orphan and his job is to check that all the clocks in the Paris station are the correct time. It was really his uncle’s job — Hugo can’t show his face to anyone official (like the station inspector) because then they’ll realise his uncle is gone and send Hugo to an orphanage. His uncle’s uncashed cheques are no good because Hugo can’t cash them. One day he finds an automaton his father was working on before he died. When his father’s notebook (the only thing Hugo has left to remind him of his father) is taken away, he relies on a girl called Isabel to get it back.

Will the automaton write him a message that will solve his problems?

This book has words and pictures. It’s a combination of graphic novel and a regular novel and it means you are satisfied that you read about 520 pages, when 284 pages were text-free!

It’s definitely worth reading. It has an original idea and the setting is not something I’d come across in everyday life.

I’d recommend this book to readers aged 9 and over, particularly kids who are fascinated by machinery. I give it five stars.

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

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

Book review: On Track

On Track by Kathryn Apel, University of Queensland Press, ISBN 9780702253737

On track (cover)

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Joseph received a review copy of this book.

This book is about two brothers (Shaun and Toby) and they couldn’t be less alike. One of them always gets As (Shaun) and the younger one is mostly a C person. When Toby goes to see an OT, he figures out he has a condition with his body. He starts training as a runner which he thought he couldn’t ever be good at but he wants to win an 800m race.

When I saw the cover of this book and that the author was Kathryn Apel I thought I would enjoy it because I liked her verse novel Bully on the Bus. It’s similar to Bully on the Bus because it’s also a verse novel but it’s not the versiest of the two books. Like Bully it’s also about two siblings and they also have to deal with a problem. On Track is for slightly older kids because of the length of the book — it’s longer — and because the characters in the book are older (Toby is 11).

Eleven and twelve-year-olds will like this book, especially athletic readers and fans of verse novels.

Warning: this book may contain traces of nuts. 🙂

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

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

Book review: The Simple Things

The Simple Things by Bill Condon, ill. Beth Norling, ISBN 9781743317242, Allen and Unwin

The Simple Things (cover)

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Joseph reviewed his own copy of this book.

The Simple Things is about a boy named Stephen who’s never met his great aunt Lola before. His only connection with her is the birthday and Christmas cards she sends to him with $10 inside. His family goes to stay with his great aunt because they haven’t seen her in over 10 years and they’re her only relatives left. Stephen thinks there will be nothing to do and Aunty Lola seems very stubborn — she overreacts to everything.

I enjoyed this book because I liked how the characters were reacting to their situation. The illustrations at the start of every chapter are comic-like and black and white. They suit the characters and the story, and give a bit of a hint about what’s going to happen in each chapter without entirely giving everything away.

I thought the choice of cover illustration didn’t suit the book the best. I think the picture that was at the start of chapter 4 would have been better for the cover because the whole book isn’t about Stephen going fishing (and he’s alone on the cover, but he’s almost never alone in the book.)

This is a book about unusual friendships. It was an easy, quick read for me so I think ages 8 to 12 would enjoy it.

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