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!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: A Crocodile in the Family

REVIEWED BY AIDEN, 7, WA

A Crocodile in the Family by Kitty Black, illustrated by Daron Parton, Hachette Australia, ISBN 9780734419507

Aiden received a review copy of this book from Alphabet Soup.

I like the book because it was all about family. My favourite part was when they said the crocodile was helpful. My favourite characters are the crocodile and the birds. I like the pictures and the bright colours and I also like the texture of the cover, how the words pop out and some of the birds. I also liked the end picture because the crocodile and the birds were holding hands and walking with each other.

Read an interview with the author.


This is Aiden’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 Anishka, Book reviews by kids

Book review: As Fast As I Can

REVIEWED BY ANISHKA, 10, QLD

As Fast as I can by Penny Tangey

As Fast as I Can by Penny Tangey, UQP, ISBN 9780702262814

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

Ten-year-old Vivian Hassler would like to pursue her dream of competing in the Olympics. She’s not exactly sure what she’d be good enough at to compete in, but Vivian is sure one day she could compete in the Olympics. Olivia, her best friend, supports this idea and would like to go to the Olympics herself one day too. Vivian thinks she is not even remotely good at anything (unlike Olivia) except long distance running. Vivian took part in races where she constantly won and conquered. Events take an unexpected turn – will Vivian have to give up her dream of going to the Olympics?

I think this book was targeted for readers that had interest levels in sport or just interest in stories where the main character faces difficult choices. Penny Tangey wrote As Fast As I Can and had written many other books which are all fiction and for young people. When she was in year 5, the 1992 Olympic games were held in Barcelona. Penny was inspired by the Olympics. She and her friends vowed they would become Olympic athletes. Penny wanted to write a story about girls playing competitive sport just like she did. And that was how the book As Fast As I Can was made.

I would rate this book 10 out of 10 because it is a truly magnificent book about resilience, persistence, determination and most importantly, acceptance.

Read an interview with the author of this book.


Anishka is a regular contributor to Alphabet Soup. You can read an earlier book review (The Friendly Games) hereIf YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. 

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure

REVIEWED BY XAVIER, 11, NT

Rowley Jefferson's Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney with help from Greg Heffley

Rowley Jefferson’s Awesome Friendly Adventure by Jeff Kinney with help from Greg Heffley, Penguin Australia Pty Ltd, ISBN 9781760897888

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

Xavier’s Awesomely Amazing Book Review

When the new book arrived, I felt excited because I have been a Wimpy kid fan for a long time. I have read every book many times over, so I know the story well. The book is written by Rowley and his adventures with his best friend Greg. There are twists and turns, which you’d expect from a Wimpy kid book, but they are told from Rowley’s perspective for a change.

My favourite part would be the twist at the end (no spoilers!). My favourite character would be Greg. Life for Rowley and Greg is exciting – vacations, blizzards and weddings. Their adventures are always funny and entertaining.  

I feel like kids who like adventure and funny books would love this book since it is a combination of both. Other Wimpy Kid fans would definitely like it, there is no doubt. I believe kids aged from 7 to 13 would like this book (and series). I have read them since about 7 years old and still enjoy them at almost 12.

The book is 4.5 stars out of 5 because it is funny and you want to know the ending because Rowley is making a book which is a change from the other books in the series.

However, for me the story is quite a bit shorter than other books I am reading so I read it very quickly. If you are new to reading books and like a laugh this book is for you.


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