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

Book review: Our Village in the Sky

Our Village in the Sky by Janeen Brian, ill. Anne Spudvilas, ISBN 9781743318140, Allen and Unwin

Our Village in the Sky

 

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 10, WA

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

This is a book about kids living in a village in the Himalayan mountains. Our Village in the Sky is a book of poems and each poem talks about what the kids do during the day. They have to do chores like take care of the animals, wash clothes and scrub dishes, carry water from a water pipe, and more.

I found it interesting because I didn’t know much about this sort of life and it’s very different from the lives of Australian kids. The kids in this book don’t have the technology that we have, they spend their days doing chores so their families can live, and they make their own fun outdoors. My favourite pages are the ones about the children washing the dishes in summer and winter. But my favourite poem (as a poem) is the one about playing knucklebones.

The illustrations are realistic, serious pictures and they help you to see what the kids in the village are like. It helps you to understand the emotions in the poems.

The book also has a QR code — it takes you to a website with audio. This is especially good for young kids who can look at the pictures and listen to the poems be read to them.

This book is good for kids aged 6 to 12. I would recommend this book especially for grades 3 and 4 in their classrooms because it teaches you about life in another country while enjoying a good read at the same time. I give it 7.75/10 — it’s not the sort of book I would normally pick up but I was glad that I did read it.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Bully on the Bus. 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: Bully on the Bus

Bully on the Bus by Kathryn Apel, ISBN 9780702253287, UQP

bully on the bus

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 10, WA

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

This book is a cross between a kids’ novel and a poem book. (This means it’s a verse novel.) This is the first verse novel that I’ve ever read.

It’s about a young boy called Leroy who is getting bullied on the bus by a high school student called DJ. Leroy is getting scared of DJ and doesn’t want to go to school on the bus any more because of DJ. Leroy is left shattered after he makes a special green monster cupcake for his teacher and DJ finds it in his lunch box, starts eating it, and smashes it on the floor of the bus. He needs to do something about DJ. But what?

I liked how each chapter was a poem and had its own title. I forgot it was a verse novel halfway through and I was very worried for Leroy and couldn’t stop reading. I will definitely read it again.

After reading Bully on the Bus I would like to read more verse novels and maybe try writing one too. I would recommend this book to kids in years 1 to 4 and their teachers — especially the kids because it teaches them about bullying.

I give this book 8 1/2 out of 10.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The Big Book of Old Tom. 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 Big Book of Old Tom

The Big Book of Old Tom by Leigh HobbsISBN 9781743318447, Allen & Unwin

old tom

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 10, WA

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

In this book there are five Old Tom stories:

  1. Old Tom
  2. Old Tom at the Beach
  3. Old Tom Goes to Mars
  4. Old Tom’s Guide to Being Good
  5. A Friend for Old Tom.

I liked how it looks like a novel but inside it’s more of a picture book style so there were lots of pictures. The illustrations are humorous black and white sketches.

Because it’s such a chunky book to hold, it makes you feel satisfied when you finish it. My overall favourite was Old Tom’s Guide to Being Good because it has an unexpected twist.

This book is most suited to ages 6 to 9 because it’s good for kids who aren’t quite ready for big novels but are looking for something longer than a picture book. But I’m 10 and I still really enjoyed it.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of The Cay. 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 Cay

The Cay by Theodore Taylor, ISBN 9780140366204, Puffin Classics

The Cay

 

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 10, WA

Joseph’s mum borrowed this book from the library.

In The Cay, a young boy called Phillip lived in Willemstad. Because the war is on, Philip and his mother go on a boat to sail back to their old home in the USA but their ship gets bombed. The next thing Phillip remembers, he was stranded on a raft with a few biscuits, some chocolate, some water, a cat (called Stew Cat), and an old black man called Timothy. The raft lands on a cay where they have to fight for survival, hoping there’ll be a rescue.

I didn’t know this book existed until my mum pulled it out and started reading it to me. I don’t normally read books like this. The start of the book was very slow but once we’d read about three chapters the story started to run along and it was very interesting.

I liked how Timothy used his survival skills to help Phillip learn how to survive on the island. Timothy has a strong accent and it didn’t say he did but the author wrote his speaking parts the way he spoke. I thought that was a good way to imagine how he spoke.

After reading this book I’d learnt a few things like what langosta is (a type of lobster) and that you don’t need a knife to get coconuts off a tree but you do need to be able to climb.

Boys and girls aged 10 to 14 would enjoy this book, especially if they’re into books about survival. Out of 10 I would give it 8.5.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of the Don’t Look Now! series. 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: Don’t Look Now series

Don’t Look Now: Book 1 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311233, Allen and Unwin

Don’t Look Now: Book 2 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311400, Allen and Unwin

Don’t Look Now: Book 3 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311417, Allen and Unwin

Don’t Look Now: Book 4 by Paul Jennings, ill. Andrew Weldon, ISBN 9781743311424, Allen and Unwin

Series reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA

A copy of these books were provided by the publisher

This funny series is all about Ricky (the boy who can fly), Samantha (Ricky’s friend), Ricky’s mum and dad, and Jack (Samantha’s guide dog). Everyone calls Ricky a dork—once he tried to join the freckles on his nose like a dot-to-dot. (It didn’t work, he just got a face covered in pen.) Every book has one page with a single giant word on it: FAMOUS.

In book 1 Ricky learns that he can fly and there are good and bad things he can do with that skill. He’s trying to get back the kangapoo keyring his grandad gave him after an owl stole it from him.

Don't look now 1

In Book 2, Riley wants to show everyone he can fly but whenever he does he falls down.

Don't look now 2

In book 3, Ricky really wants to make friends with Samantha, the car wash girl. But all his strategies seem to fail.

Don't Look Now 3

In Book 4, Ricky’s problems continue. A flood is preventing Samantha and her school friends from getting their stuffed toys for the show’s exhibition. The toys are on the other side of the river …

Don't Look Now 4

This series is exciting—sometimes you can guess what will happen next but most of the time I have to keep reading to find out. Each book is very funny. There are lots of pictures (black and white sketches) and so many pictures makes it fun to read and extra interesting. The series reminds me of the ‘Treehouse’ series by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton but instead of fantasy adventures this series is more everyday funny happenings.

I like that there are maps at the beginning and end of each book. You can find things like Samantha’s yard, and the Tower and Surrounding Areas. I also liked the lists of things like ‘Things to Know about People,’ and ‘Things to Know About Samantha.’

Boys and girls aged 9 to 12 would enjoy the ‘Don’t Look Now’ series. (Books 2 and 4 are my favourites.)

Joseph is one of our regular Junior reviewers. His most recent review was Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

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

Book review: Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats by Anna Fienberg, ill. Stephen Michael King. ISBN 9781743313497, Allen & Unwin.

Reviewed by Joseph, 9 WA

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

Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats

Figaro and Rumba are friends — Rumba writes songs for the Cool Cats (a band) but Figaro likes to sing along and Figaro is not a good singer. This book is about these two friends and a little cat called Dora. The Cool Cats band’s best singer (Marta) has a car and Figaro, Rumba and Dora take the car for a drive without Marta knowing. They end up at the house of one of Dora’s friends and Figaro is sure there is some kind of monster following them. At the house, they make a discovery about Figaro …

Will Marta figure out that someone’s taken her car? What IS the monster? Can Figaro and Rumba fix their mistakes and save the day?

My favourite thing about the book is when Figaro has a dream — it’s a sort of warning about the monster. At that bit of the book, Dad told me it was bedtime and I didn’t want to stop reading. (Unfortunately I had to stop because Dad took the book away, so I finished it the next day.)

One thing that made me stop and think was ‘Why would the friends take the car without permission?’

The illustrations make the story even funnier and you get to know the characters more. I recognised the illustrator from The Pocket Dogs, which is one of my favourite picture books and if you liked Tashi, this is the same author as those books.

I give Figaro and Rumba and the Cool Cats 7.4 out of 10. I think 6 to 9 year olds would enjoy this book best because of the type of storytelling, and they will enjoy the illustrations.

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

Book review: The 39-Storey Treehouse

The 39-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths, ill. Terry Denton, ISBN 9781742612379 , Pan Macmillan Australia

Reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA

The 39 Storey Treehouse

I’ve read The 13-Storey Treehouse  and The 26-Storey Treehouse, so when The 39-Storey Treehouse came out I looked for it at my library and saw with horror that every copy had four reserves on it already. I added my name to the waiting list and waited MORE THAN A MONTH for it to be my turn. When I got the library email to say it was waiting for me I thought ‘YES!’

This is the third book in the series and there are 13 more levels than in the previous book. I wanted to know what storeys they had added and I thought some were very clever like the not-very-merry-go-round. My favourite storey would be the Top Secret Not-Yet-Finished one and I thought the name of the machine on that level was great but I’m not going to tell you what it is because it’s better to get a surprise.

It was worth the waiting — this book is just as funny and interesting as the first two, though I still think that The 26-Storey Treehouse is my favourite because I really liked the new storeys they added in that book. The illustrations in this book made me laugh out loud and I really like the colour maps inside the covers of all the Treehouse books that give you a cool look at the new storeys each time.

I can’t wait till The 52-Storey Treehouse comes out in September 2014 to see what the new storeys will be.

Now I’ve finished it, I’d better rush this book to the library so the next kid on the waiting list can enjoy it too. I would recommend the Treehouse books to kids aged 6 to 12 and cheeky grownups too. I rate it 9/10.

Joseph is one of our Junior Book Reviewers. Here are two of his other book reviews: The Nelly Gang, and Maximum Maxx. 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 Nelly Gang

   The Adventures of Nelly Nolan: The Nelly Gang by Stephen Axelsen,   ISBN 9781921977916, Walker Books Australia

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

Reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA

The Nelly Gang (cover)

This book is a graphic novel — it’s a bit like a comic book with lots of picture frames but it tells one long story through the whole book.

Nelly’s gang are Nelly and her friends Miro, Jin, plus Nelly’s goat. Nelly lives in Christmastown in Victoria in 1860 with her Pa who is looking for gold. When he finds gold (lots of gold!) they decide to go back to Sydney to find Nelly’s Ma. But someone knows about their gold and bushrangers are everywhere — like Captain Sunbeam and also Captain Moonshine. (The title of the book made me think of Ned Kelly, but Ned Kelly is not in this book.) The Nelly Gang have to fight the bushrangers.

The pictures in The Nelly Gang have interesting things to look at in the backgrounds. In a normal book you would have lots of description in words but the comic-style pictures do that in a graphic novel. I like the message tree — the posters on it made me laugh. Nelly’s goat (Queen Victoria) also makes me laugh. That’s my favourite character. And I liked funny lines like ‘as rich as pigs in a parsnip patch’ which is what Pa says to Nelly when they are weighing his gold.

Boys and girls age 8+ would thoroughly enjoy this. You learn a bit of history like what clothes are like in 1860, what school was like (the kids used slates instead of books and pencils), what money they used, how people lived in the goldfields, how they weighed gold and what their transport was like (horses and carriages).

When I got to the end I wondered what will happen to Nelly next so I would like to read a sequel. I would rate this book 9.5 out of 10.

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

Book Review: Maximum Maxx!

Maxx Rumble Cricket: Maximum Maxx! by Michael Wagner, ill. Terry Denton, ISBN 9781922077806, Black Dog Books

Reviewed by Joseph, 9, WA*

Maximum Maxx! (cover)

This is about Maxx’s cricket days—it’s all 8 of the cricket books in one book. Maxx has to captain the team to victory against some teams that cheat.

My favourite book in the collection is Tricked. It’s a lot different from the other stories. (Maxx and Rexx find a way to stop The Outhouse Rodents team from cheating at all.)

The illustrations definitely go well with the stories. They make me laugh and I already like Terry Denton’s illustrations from The 13-Storey Treehouse so I knew I would like them here, too.

I think 5 to 9 year olds would like this book because they sometimes have quite big words but in short chapters.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Joseph is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.