Book reviews by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Mars Awakens

Image shows the cover of a children's novel: Mars Awakens by HM Waugh. The cover illustration shows the silhouettes of two children, standing face to face. Behind them is a greenish sky over the red ground on Mars.

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 11, NSW

Mars Awakens by HM Waugh, A&U Children’s, ISBN 9781760526979

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Mars Awakens is a sci-fi novel written by H. M. Waugh. The book is set in the future after humans colonised Mars. Something falls out of the sky near two separate colonies. Is it backup and resources from Earth? Holt from the first colony and Dee from the other one separately fly over to the crash site to investigate and meet for the first time. One of the colonies thought they already knew about the other colony and despised them, while the other didn’t even know that the first colony existed.

Dee and Holt face many troubles and will need to work together to survive and tell their communities about some new information they just obtained.  

What I liked about the book was how the author used science and accurate facts to form the story. I also appreciate it because it has a fun and enjoyable storyline. 

I recommend the book for people in primary school around 3rd to 6th grade, also for children that enjoy sci-fi and science.

Check out our earlier interview with the author, HM Waugh.


Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Book reviews by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Last Light Horse

The image shows the cover of a non fiction book: The Last light Horse by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Brian Simmonds. The cover is predominantly purple and includes a sepia photographic style illustration at the centre of the cover with a soldier from WWI leaning against a brown horse with a white spot on its forehead.

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 11, NSW

The Last Light Horse by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Brian Simmonds, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781760991302

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

This exceptional book by Dianne Wolfer is about the only horse survivor from the First World War – Sandy. Sandy was only one out of 136,000 horses sent from Australia to aid the British and Australian officers. The horses were in a new climate and weren’t used to the war. How would Sandy cope with all the fighting?  

The book takes you on a journey going back to WWI to show you what happened in those days. It also has different newspaper clips from that time and pictures to help you visualize the text. The newspaper clips also tell the opinions that were circulating around in Australia concerning the war such as the Declaration of War which was reported on  Friday 7 August 1914 and the deaths of important generals.

I rated this book five stars out of five because it shows Australia’s perspective of the war and has beautiful illustrations. It should be for people interested in history to read.

Read an excerpt from book.

Listen to the author Dianne Wolfer reading from the book.


Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Book reviews by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Boy Who Stepped Through Time

The Boy Who Stepped Through Time by Anna Ciddor

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 10, NSW

The Boy Who Stepped Through Time by Anna Ciddor, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781760526443

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

This fantastic book is about Perry, a boy who travels back through time to Ancient Rome. Perry learns many interesting things about the Romans such as they drizzle honey over all their meals. He learns to like different things and makes many friends. However, some of his new friends question where he came from. What should he answer? 

After a while, Perry wants to return to the modern days. But Perry knows something about his new Roman mistress and friend that she doesn’t know. He obtained this piece of knowledge from the future. Should he try to help her with the risk of never going back to his time? 

I rate this book nine out of ten because the author based it on actual facts to show how the lives of the Romans’ masters and their slaves’ lives played out. I like it a lot because there is good character development. Anna Ciddor also must have done a lot of research on Ancient Roman facts and buildings.

Read our interview with the author of The Boy Who Stepped Through Time.


Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Book reviews by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Gisela Kaplan, bird and primate scientist

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 10, NSW

Gisela Kaplan Bird and primate scientist, story told by Emily Gale (book cover)

Gisela Kaplan, Bird and Primate Scientist by Emily Gale, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893465

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

How did Gisela Kaplan, a young German survivor of WWII become a world-leading expert in the behaviour of animals?

This book is a biography of Gisela Kaplan written by Emily Gale. Gisela Kaplan had a hard life in Germany after the Second World War. Then after she immigrated to Australia, the book shows how other people helped her along in her career as she played a role in primate and bird science. In addition, there are notes to help explain words you don’t understand.

When she arrives in Australia what jobs could she take? How did she learn a second language, and how does she support her daughter? Read Aussie STEM Stars Gisela Kaplan to find out more and all the answers to these questions!

I like this book and for me, it is five-star rated because it shows an emotional story of immigration. It also shows how much practice has to go into work till you can fulfil your dream, as you can see how she consistently worked away from home, in the work field.   

This book would be for ages ten and up to read by themselves although most children from the age of six to ten can read with someone to help the children understand. Go grab a copy of this amazing book either online or hard copy.

Read a sample chapter from this book

Read our interview with the author


Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here.

Book reviews by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review – Munjed Al Muderis: from Refugee to Surgical Inventor

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 10, NSW

Munjed Al Muderis: from refugee to surgical inventor, story told by Dianne Wolfer

Munjed Al Muderis: From refugee to surgical inventor by Dianne Wolfer, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893373

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Obsessed with S.T.E.M. and mechanics, Munjed Al Muderis had a longing to be an osseointegration specialist since he watched the movie Terminator. Soon his dream was coming to reality. He was about to go to America to study. But when he was about to go to Iraq, Iraq stopped the border crossing between America and Iraq. Nevertheless, he found himself training as an orthopedic surgeon in Iraq. Later on, he was forced to flee his homeland of Iraq in 1999 after he refused to cut off the ears of army deserters as a young trainee doctor in Baghdad Hospital. If the government finds him they will kill him for not cutting off their ears.

What will he do? How would he escape the government? Where would he go? Could and would he return home? How will he fulfil his dream to be an osseointegration specialist?

This true and stunning book about Munjed Al Muderis for me is five-star rated because it is an amazing book about how a refugee tries to advance his way up to be an osseointegration specialist. This book will also show you how refugees were treated back then and what would happen to them.

This book would be for ages eight-plus to read. Go grab a copy of this outstanding book either online ebook, kindle or hard copy.

Read a sample chapter of this book

Read our interview with Dianne Wolfer, the author of this book


Read another book review by Gabriel for The Theory of Hummingbirds. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!