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Archive for the ‘Book reviews by Matilda’ Category

To the lighthouse (book cover)REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

To the Lighthouse by Cristy Burne,
ill. Amanda Burnett, 
Fremantle Press,
ISBN 9781925164619

Matilda received a review copy of this book from the publisher. 

Isaac and Emmy are two very different kids. They meet on Rottnest Island when their families are on holiday. Isaac is a shy, nervous boy, but Emmy is an extravagant daredevil. Emmy wants Isaac to begin a game of Dare — involving jumping into icy cold water, riding all the way to the lighthouse, and riding there at night by themselves. It’s dark, and it’s miles and miles away. Isaac’s Mum is very overprotective and she worries a lot. Luckily she doesn’t know they’re planning to go to the lighthouse at night …

It’s great to read a book that is set in WA, instead of the usual places in kids’ books (like England or Sydney). The illustrations are in black and white and appear about once in every chapter. They suit the story — they’re a bit quirky, like the characters in the book.

To the Lighthouse would be a good book for 7 to 10 year olds.


Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. You can read Matilda’s other reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Magic Fish Dreaming (book cover)REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

Magic Fish Dreaming by June Perkins,
ill. Helene Magisson, Gumbootspearlz Press, ISBN 9780980731187

Matilda received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

This book has poems mostly based around nature and families in the environment in Queensland. My favourite poem in the collection is called ‘Rain song,’ about the rain moving across the land and affecting banana towns, cassowaries, and fields of sugar cane. I liked the sense of movement.

The illustrations are floaty and dreamy (not bright and shabam!) and they suit the style of the poems. I really like the illustration for the poem ‘Tawny’ — you can almost feel the fluffiness of the bird.

The book is divided into two sections — ‘Hunting for Giggle Poems’, and ‘Magic Fish Dreaming’. I didn’t think that the poems’ themes in each of these sections really matched their section titles and so I thought it would have been more effective just to have the poems all in together, without dividing the book into sections.

This is a poetry book with a really Australian feel to it. I would recommend these poems to children ages 7 to 10.


Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. You can read all of Matilda’s reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

 

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Review of Family Day at the Perth Writers Festival 2017
by Matilda, 11, WA

On Sunday 26 February 2017 it was Family Day at the Perth Writers Festival at UWA. This year there were kid curators who were interviewing authors and illustrators at the Tropical Grove. I thought all the kids did a very good job and asked some great questions.

Mechanica by Lance Balchin.

Mechanica by Lance Balchin.

I also really liked the creativity stand run by Remida.

They provided heaps of interesting recycled materials so we could make robot-ish animals like the animals in the fantastic picture book Mechanica: A beginner’s field guide by Lance Balchin.

 

Here’s a photo of me with the robot caterpillar creature I made:

 

Robot caterpillar junk construction

 

There was also a giant board with wings set up by the children’s author and illustrator Kylie Howarth. You could decorate a feather and write on it what you would do if you had wings. This is how I decorated my feather:

Feather: if I had wings I would live with the birds.

When Kylie Howarth had glued your feather to the wings, then you could get your photo taken as if you had wings yourself:

Photo of Matilda with wings

 

My favourite session at the Tropical Grove was the drawing duel, when James Foley and Donovan Bixley drew robotic cats with some suggestions from the audience. My favourite session at Writers Central was the Pandemonium event, which included swing dancers and a band.

Overall, it was a really great day and I recommend everyone to go next year!

I give this event 5  stars.


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

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REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 10, WA

The Silver Donkey

The Silver Donkey by Sonya Hartnett, Penguin Australia, ISBN 9780143301578 

Matilda borrowed this book from her school library.

Two sisters called Marcelle and Coco discover a soldier in a French forest. He’s blind and he’s trying to go home across the Channel. If anyone discovers him he might be shot because he has run away from the war and so the children need to help him without telling anyone.

The silver donkey is a lucky charm that was given to the soldier by his little brother. Coco likes to hold it while the soldier tells the sisters interesting tales about donkeys. In every tale a donkey is spending its life pleasing or helping someone else. Coco was my favourite character in the book because she had a lot of enthusiasm and she was very determined. It was different from other books I’ve read. It was a very calm and gentle book even though it was about children planning to help a soldier escape.

This book will suit readers aged 9 to 12 because it talks about war. It’s a good book for readers who like a realistic story with a historical setting.


Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 10, WA

THE REMARKABLE SECRET OF AURELIE BONHOFFEN by Deborah Abela.

The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen by Deborah Abela, Random House Australia, ISBN 9781741660951

Matilda borrowed this book from her school library.

This story is set at a pier where Aurelie’s family owns and runs a ghost train. But the pier is now becoming broken down and old and the family can’t afford to fix it up. Someone is trying to pressure them into selling the pier — but they really don’t want to sell their beloved home because it’s been in the family for generations …

On the cover Aurelie is wearing strange clothes so I expected she would be a strange girl. I liked her because she was honest and proud of being different. I like books with lots of adventure and excitement and The Remarkable Secret of Aurelie Bonhoffen was a fast moving story and also had mystery, ghosts, family, friendship and hope. You will have to read the book yourself to find out what the remarkable secret is.

Readers aged 9+ will enjoy this book — especially readers who like fantasy elements in their books.


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

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REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 10, WA

Song Bird Superhero

Song Bird Superhero by Karen Tyrell, Digital Future Press, ISBN 9780994302168

Matilda received a review copy of this book from the author.

This book is about a girl called Rosella Ava Bird whose big dream is to fly. In her nightmares she is trying to save people while she’s flying and in those nightmares she always fails. She also lives next door to Frank Furter the school bully. Rosella’s singing shatters windows, she can’t fly, and she has been banned from the science fair. What can she do?

When I started reading Song Bird Superhero I thought it would be an adventure story. It turned out not to be my style of book but readers who love science fiction and fantasy might enjoy this book. The overall theme is friendship and family and finding what you are good at. It would suit 6 to 11 year olds best.

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

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REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 10, WA

Steve goes to carnival

Steve Goes to Carnival by Joshua Button and Robyn Wells, Magabala Books, ISBN 9781925360219

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

This is a picture book set in Rio — and that’s one reason I was interested in reading this book, because the Olympics are in  Rio this year.

Steve is a gorilla who lives at the zoo and he is lonely when Antonio leaves at the end of the day. (Antonio is the zoo keeper and Steve’s best friend. Antonio is also a jazz band member.) Steve escapes from his cage and catches a tram to the city. He travels ‘past the favelas’ and through the carnival streets until he reaches the Blue Jaguar Jazz Club. I liked that the story includes some words in Portuguese. There’s a mini glossary at the back of the book.

The illustrations are very bright and splotchy, which gives the story an energetic feel. As the story moves from the zoo into the streets, the pages get more busy and more colourful to show the carnival mood. My favourite page is the last page, which shows a new day starting in the zoo grounds. I like the illustration style of the animals, and the details on that page.

When I first read Steve Goes to Carnival I was a bit confused, because could a gorilla really take a bus? And why did no-one notice he was a gorilla? Then I thought the adventure might be in Steve’s imagination. Maybe he was imagining joining Antonio at the jazz club because he was lonely in his cage at the zoo. It’s an interesting book to read whether you believe Steve really goes to carnival, or whether you think it’s just in his imagination.

I recommend this book to readers who like books about places that are different, and to children who want to be artists (because of the style of the illustrations).

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

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