Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Tree

REVIEWED BY AIDEN, 7, WA

The Tree by Graeme BaseThe Tree by Graeme Base, Penguin Books Australia, ISBN 9781760897048

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

It is a story about a cow, a duck and mooberry tree.
Cow and duck were friends but they became greedy and lost everything. They learnt that through sharing, they receive a lot more.
We love the message from this story.

This is Aiden’s second review for Alphabet Soup. You can read his earlier review of A Crocodile in the Family here. 
Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Kobe

Book review: Tricky Nick

REVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Tricky Nick by Nicholas J JohnsonTricky Nick by Nicholas J Johnson, Pan Macmillan Australia, ISBN 9781760787363

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

If you love magic tricks, then I have got a brilliant true and definitely-not-made-up story for you. Pulled right out of the hat is Tricky Nick! This is a real story about a boy named Nick. In fact, he’s the best magician in the world! Magic changed his life and if you live with magic long enough, it’ll probably change yours.

This truly amazing story is all about magic and Nick. It is a truly amazing book and incredible and unbelievable – you would swear that is is so made up, although it is not. In this mystical story, Nick meets a magic mystery girl called Trixie. You’ll even get to learn a trick Nick learnt when he was ten, and a whole bunch more!

This book is such a great book, it is even a magic trick itself – you just read the second last page and you did a fabulous magic trick! If you want a book where you learn a billion tricks, this is certainly the right book for you. I am pretty sure you are walking to the shops as fast as you can!

Read the first three chapters of Tricky Nick on the publisher’s website


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

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Fire Star

REVIEWED BY SASKIA, 11, WA

The Fire Star by AL Tait

The Fire Star: A Maven and Reeve mystery by AL Tait, Penguin, ISBN 9781760897079

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

The Fire Star was an interesting book, though it was hard to get into at the start. Maven is a servant to Lady Cassandra and Reeve is a squire for Sir Garrick. The plot is about how a precious stone, which is the foundation of Sir Garrick and Lady Cassandra’s marriage, gets stolen. This causes a lot of accusations and uncovered secrets. The book is filled with lots of plot twists and great descriptive language. The only downside is that the plot is rather complicated and so are the characters. Otherwise, I enjoyed the book and would recommend it to ages 11+. I give it seven out of ten.

Read the first chapter on the publisher’s website

Read our interview with Allison Tait about writing The Fire Star


This is Saskia’s second review for Alphabet Soup. Read her review of My Place (Younger readers edition) by Sally Morgan.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn

Matilda recommends THE HEARTSONG OF WONDER QUINN by Kate GordonREVIEWED BY MATILDA, 12, NT

The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn by Kate Gordon, UQP, ISBN 9780702262821

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

The main characters in The Heartsong of Wonder Quinn are Mabel Clattersham, a bright young girl who has been held back by invisible strings, and Wonder Quinn a bookworm with a lot to share. Wonder has always been lonely with only a crow for company, until she meets Mabel. They become best of friends, but Mabel seems to have a secret, as she writes a strange list of things to do which she wishes to complete. Strangely, nobody else but Mabel and her crow Hollowbeak notice Wonder. Mabel soon reveals something unexpected. Can Wonder leave her somewhat dark past behind her?

I enjoyed reading about when Mabel comes back to school with a meat pie at the ready to throw at their arch enemy Georgiana. I thoroughly enjoyed reading this book, I loved the plot twist, and would recommend it to others.

I rate this book four out of five stars.

Read our interview with the author.


Matilda is a member of our 2020 Top Reads team. This is Matilda’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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

Book review. Georgia Ward-Fear: reptile biologist and explorer

Georgia Ward-Fear Reptile Biologist and Explorer by Claire SaxbyREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Georgia Ward-Fear: reptile biologist and explorer, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893342

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Do you want to visit rainforests and discover new species of animals, hold anacondas and pat great monitor lizards? You can find out a way to be that kind of person just by reading this fabulous Aussie Stem Stars book.

This book is written by Claire Saxby, an author from Melbourne. She moved to Newcastle when she was a toddler and the to Bougainville in Papua New Guinea. Claire is an amazing author for the Aussie Stem Stars series. Claire is such a good author that she makes the reader think they are a part of the story.

Georgia Ward-Fear is an outstanding reptile biologist and explorer. Since she was a toddler she loved animals and the world around her. Soon she became a reptile expert and daring explorer. And before you know it, she was an expert reptile biologist and adventurous explorer. Georgia didn’t become so excellent as quick as light although; with years and years of passion and practice, she got there in the end and she accomplished her goal. The lesson is that even though you might be good at something it takes passion and practice to be truly good at it.

I feel that this book will be most helpful to children willing to be an explorer or animal biologist. Also, I like how the Aussie STEM Stars books give a little quote from the science genius or animal expertise, this book’s quote is:

Follow your curiosity, express your unique self and always stop to observe the wonders of Nature; we are just one among millions.

I think this quote is completely correct and that you will appreciate that this book was made and published.

Read an interview with the author of Georgia Ward-Fear: reptile biologist and explorer.


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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

Book review: The School for Good and Evil

Kobe recommends THE SCHOOL FOR GOOD AND EVIL by Soman Chainani. (This is a book for older readers.)REVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani, HarperCollins Publishers, ISBN 9780007492930

Kobe reviewed her own copy of this book.

Two girls that are friends are kidnapped at a certain time of their lives to find that one learns cruelty and evil while the other learns loyalty and good. In the end, the result is least expected because the two friends turn out to be great enemies.

Agatha was fine living in her town, Gavaldon and her friend Sophie. One night she was staying awake until she saw something black going towards Sophie’s house, she rushes over to find that they are both in a worse situation than she had planned. Then they are both kidnapped and taken to their true home. Agatha is surprised to see the location she is in because she had never known that fairy tales were real. She finds that she starts to like this new life that a black shadow of some sort has driven her in to. After that she finds that trying to be with her best friend Sophie was going to be impossible because a princess can never be friends with a witch. After an attempt to change clothes with each other, they find it not accomplishable to do.

My favourite part about this fantastic book is that this book always keeps you wondering what is going to happen, like when Agatha and Sophie both get kidnapped and Agatha tries to use matches, but it still doesn’t stop the shadow from pulling them on to a tree and a bird made from bones taking them to their rightful schools. You wonder which school are they going to go to and what they’ll learn and do in their school. I also like that it always seems that Sophie and Agatha are going to somehow die or at least be in great danger, but they always seem to avoid it, like when Agatha was hanging on the School of Evil’s roof and there was a gargoyle ready to breathe fire at her or eat her.


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Remarkable

Remarkable by Lizzie K FoleyREVIEWED BY HARUNE, 12, JAPAN

Remarkable by Lizzie K Foley, Penguin Group USA, ISBN 9780142424100

Harune reviewed her own copy of this book.

It’s a nice spring day and the schools have just closed, letting floods of children out to the streets. Laughter rings through the air, feet patter on cobblestone. A girl and an elderly man walk into an ice cream parlour together; the waitress looks at them disinterestedly and waves them to a seat. The pair are grandfather and granddaughter, there to enjoy their Friday afternoon with vanilla sundaes. They went there every Friday, yet every week never received their orders. Why? You might ask. How? Their story begins in a small, spectacular town by the name of Remarkable.

Inside the wondrous town of Remarkable, everyone has their talent. Their gift. In fact, the citizens of Remarkable are all so extraordinary that in their everyday lives people, pets, and surroundings shine with glory. Until Jane. She was utterly, horribly normal and plain, and while the people of Remarkable, being perfect in any way, didn’t hold it against her, she was forgettable. Forgettable in such ways that you may forget to serve her and her grandfather vanilla sundaes. But when Jane meets the Grimlet siblings and a strange pirate moves into her prestigious city, her life takes an unexpected turn into pranks and friendship, danger and fun, and choices that could determine the future of Remarkable. Will Jane discover her own voice in the competitive town, scrape through a series of harrowing challenges, and protect Remarkable’s greatest secret?

I enjoyed Remarkable because it’s a story of an ordinary girl in a community full of talented and gifted individuals, trying to find her own passion while making new friends along the way. The way Jane grows and changes throughout the book is easy to follow and connected with me as a reader. Parts I enjoyed reading of Remarkable were when the Grimlet twins were dreaming up mischief or inviting Jane to find out more about herself. It is a lighthearted, amusing tale that will warm your hearts and make you smile.


This is Harune’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Mama Ocean

Mama Ocean by Jane Jolly and Sally HeinrichREVIEWED BY REUBEN, 7, WA

Mama Ocean by Jane Jolly, illustrated by Sally Heinrich, MidnightSun Publishing, ISBN 9781925227659

The publisher provided a review copy of this picture book. 

This book is about sea creatures helping Mama Ocean when she was feeling sick. Mama Ocean felt sad because she was full of rubbish. What I loved best about this book was the front cover – because I really liked the picture. I also liked the pinks and oranges in the illustrations, lots of wavy curly bits through the illustrations.
This story made me feel happy and sad. The mountain of junk made me sad, the beginning and end made me happy.
The kids in my class would like this book because of the illustrations.

This is Reuben’s second book review for Alphabet Soup. Read his review of The Hole Story here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!
Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Kobe

Book review: Ling Li’s Lantern

LING LI'S LANTERN by Steve Heron and Benjamin JohnstonREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Ling Li’s Lantern by Steve Heron, illustrated by Benjamin Johnston, MidnightSun Publishing, ISBN 9781925227673

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

This joyous and beautiful story is about a Chinese girl named Ling Li. She had two brothers, Jingming the oldest, Miao in the middle, Ling Li was the youngest. Their dad was Da Zhi who was considered the wisest man whoever lived. At times, Da Zhi would present a challenge to nurture his children’s wisdom. In the story he gave the toughest challenge.

Early in the morning, he asked his three children to meet him at the bridge by the three pagodas. Then he told them to spend a sum of money in a small cloth pouch to fill one of the three pagodas with anything in a day. After that, the children set off. In the book I thought that they’d all finish at the same time.

I think Ling Li did the best job because she filled the whole village with something everyone appreciated. This story also makes perfect sense because you don’t have to save all the money to fill a thing up, it’s actually better if you fill one thing up, while you fill up something else as well.

I hope that children will learn a valuable lesson from this story and that they will use this story to guide them to having true wisdom. I am certain that you will also find this story useful and amazing and be ready to be sent to your future wisdom.


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Chickensaurus

REVIEWED BY Alexia, 9, WA

Chickensaurus by James Foley, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925815788 

Chickensaurus by James Foley

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

I liked Chickensaurus because it had some humour in it and I thought it could have a bit more humour. My favourite part was when Sally found out about Dexter’s sister (Lyssa). My favourite character was Lyssa because I liked it when she was a nice sweet girl and then she becomes a strong character. It just goes that girls can be just as strong as boys. I also like the pictures. My favourite chickensaurus was the dinosaur that was in the egg.

This book would be great for people who like humour, dinosaurs and comics. If you have read any other James Foley books and you liked them, you would like this one.

Read our interview with the author of Chickensaurus.


This is Alexia’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!