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Archive for the ‘Book reviews by Matilda’ Category

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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REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 10, WA

Raymie Nightingale

Raymie Nightingale by Kate DiCamillo, Walker Hardback, ISBN 9781406363135

Matilda borrowed this book from her local library.

Raymie’s father has run away with a dental hygienist. Raymie can think of only one way to get him back … she has to win the Little Miss Central Florida Tire Competition so he can see her picture in the paper. She thinks that will make him come home. To win the competition she has to learn to twirl a baton, and she has to do good deeds.

Now she has a problem — how can she complete these good deeds? And her new friends Louisiana Elefante and Beverly Tapinski are also entering the competition. Louisiana really wants to win. And Beverly is planning to sabotage the competition.

Louisiana’s grandma is my favourite character, and I love the part where she yells, ‘Quick, get in the car, Marsha Jean is hot on our trail!’

This is the third book of Kate DiCamillo’s that I have read — I also enjoyed Because of Winn-Dixie, and The Tale of Despereaux. I recommend Raymie Nightingale for ages 8+. It shows that to have a good friendship you need to be a good friend.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Lily in the Mirror. 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

Lily in the Mirror by Paula Hayes

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

Lily in the Mirror by Paula Hayes, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925163872

Lily likes visiting her grandpa because her annoying big brother isn’t around, and there is always cake. Then she makes a big discovery in her grandparents’ rosy room: there is a mirror that has a girl in it (a girl who is also called Lily) and her grandpa doesn’t know. When Lily goes with her grandpa to visit Grandma in the hospital, her grandma is sick and losing her memory. But her grandma does remember Other Lily — the Lily that’s in the mirror.

This is a chapter book fantasy story. It’s a a weird story in parts. As well as the strange mirror with Other Lily in it, Lily finds a fresh finger and a fresh toe in the rosy room … and they’re not attached to anybody! You want to keep reading.

I recommend Lily in the Mirror for ages 7+. It’s creepy but good.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Riddle Gully Secrets. 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

Riddle Gully Secrets

Riddle Gully Secrets by Jen Banyard, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925163957

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

This is the third book in the Riddle Gully series about a girl called Pollo and a boy called Will. Pollo runs her own newspaper and she’s always looking for things to write about in her newspaper.

In this book Pollo and Will are searching for newspaper material but unfortunately the town is so boring at the moment nothing is happening that’s newspaper worthy. They think all is lost until they overhear a plot to steal treasure. Is the mayor involved in the plot too? Pollo and Will (along with Dan and Ash) want to find out more …

I like that Pollo has her own newspaper and solves mysteries, Riddle Gully Secrets reminds me a bit of the Encycopedia Brown books. Even though this is book 3 in the series, you don’t have to read the other Riddle Gully books to enjoy this one.

I would recommend this mystery book for readers 6 and older — especially if you like mystery stories.

[You can read a sample chapter of Riddle Gully Secrets on the Fremantle Press website.]

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

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