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

Book review: In the Lamplight

In the Lamplight by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Brian SimmondsREVIEWED BY MATILDA, 12, WA

In the Lamplight by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Brian Simmonds, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925591224 

Matilda borrowed this book from the library. 

This is a diary-style illustrated book about World War I. It’s by the same illustrator and author of Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy.

In the Lamplight is about a girl called Rose growing up in England. She joined the hospital to help out, hoping to become a nurse one day. In her diary you see her hopes and ambitions, postcards, photographs, and letters. There are also letters from soldiers to their loved ones, and sometimes from her brother to her. The book switches between a diary and a novel format.

I liked how it shows a woman’s perspective of the war and how young some of the helpers were.

Readers who enjoyed Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy will want to read this book. I’d recommend it for 9 to 13 year olds.

Read a sample chapter at the publisher’s website.  


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!

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

Book review: A Wrinkle in Time

A WRINKLE IN TIME by Madeleine L'EngleREVIEWED BY MATILDA, 12, WA

A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L’Engle, Penguin Books Ltd, ISBN 9780241331163

Matilda borrowed this book from the library.

This is a science-fiction novel about a family whose dad is missing. The little brother discovers three ladies who seem to be able to travel to other dimensions, and they tell Charles Wallace that they know where his father is.

I like time-slip novels — this is sort of a dimension-slip novel. I really enjoyed it because it was so different from our world, and I liked the characters in the other world.

The copy of the book I read was a movie tie-in, and had photos from the movie in the middle pages of the book. That was annoying because I had an idea in my head of all the characters and then suddenly I came across the movie photos and they were completely different. (But I’d still like to see the movie.)

Kids who love weird fantasy adventure books will love this.


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!

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

Book review: Goldfish Boy

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson ((blue book cover showing a crowd of people and Matthew has a goldfish bowl on his head)REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 12, WA

The Goldfish Boy by Lisa Thompson, Scholastic, ISBN 9781407170992

Matilda borrowed this book from the library. 

This is about a boy (Matthew) who has OCD and doesn’t like germs at all. He doesn’t like to leave the house.

Then the toddler next door goes missing, and Matthew was the last person to see him. Matthew feels he has to find out where the toddler is and starts trying to solve the mystery.

I liked that this wasn’t just a standard mystery/detective story, it had added layers because Matthew had his own problems to deal with too.

Readers aged 11 and older who like detective stories will enjoy The Goldfish Boy.


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!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The adventures of Jellybean

REVIEWED BY TIRION, 9, VIC

The adventures of Jellybean by Bill Condon and Dianne Bates, UQP, ISBN 9780702260001

Book cover shows a white goat being chased by two small boys. In the background is a wooden fence on green grass and a clear blue sky.

The publisher provided a review copy of this title.

An imaginative adventure of mischief and fun! Guaranteed to make kids smile when they read about the tricks that Jellybean, a family pet goat, gets up to. I find that the authors bring alive the characters, Jellybean and her owners, Rory and Trang, by creating lots of exciting events and problems to solve. Authors Bill Condon and Dianne Bates try their best to make their readers laugh.

Will Jellybean ever stop eating what she’s not meant to?

The book keeps readers interested because Jellybean always gets caught up in a new exploit. This tale of fun and imagination is perfect for kids aged 6+ who enjoy humorous animal adventure stories. I give this book a 4 ½ star rating out of 5.


This is Tirion’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Secret Horses of Briar Hill

REVIEWED BY TILLY, 8, QLD

Book cover of The Secret Horses of Briar HillThe Secret Horses of Briar Hill by Megan Shepherd, ill. by Levi Pinfold,
Walker Books, ISBN 9781406367584

Tilly reviews her own copy of this book. 

It is December 1941, World War II, Briar Hill Hospital.  A girl named Emmaline has a secret: there are winged horses in the mirrors.

The main characters are Emmaline, Foxfire and the Black Horse.  Emmaline is passionate, persistent and courageous in her attempts to save the magical winged horse Foxfire.  Foxfire is in trouble as the Black Horse is hunting Foxfire.

I really like the black and white illustrations, they are beautiful!  The illustrations help paint a magical picture in your head while reading the book.

It is a fantasy book written through the eyes of Emmaline.

I like this book a lot. I recommend this book to children who have a wild imagination from 8 years of age.


This is Tilly’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Stories 1, 2, 3, 4

REVIEWED BY ALBIE, 6, NSW

Girl in striped shirt holding up the bookStories 1, 2, 3, 4 by Eugène Ionesco, translated & ill. by Etienne Delessert,
McSweeney’s McMullens, ISBN 9781936365517

Albie reviews her own copy of this book. 

The reason I like this book is because the dad is really lazy and the doctor’s banned him from going out, but he still goes out (which is the funny part).

The story I like the best is probably story 3, because he teaches the little girl how to speak different languages. And the dad stays up every night watching Punch and Judy shows and going to lots and lots of restaurants and heaps of barbers – and for that reason he’s always very tired in the morning and he sleeps in. And the little girl comes knocking at the door at the start of every story, and the dad tells her a story.

This is the best book ever!


This is Albie’s first 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 Matilda

Book review: The Endsister

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 12, WA

The Endsister by Penni Russon

The Endsister by Penni Russon, A&U Children’s,
ISBN 9781741750652

Matilda reviewed her own copy of this book.

The Outhwaite family is a carefree Australian family but when their father inherits a huge house over in London, the whole family moves. Clancy, the twins, and even Else have to settle into their new lives, and Sibbi knows what an Endsister is …

I really enjoyed The Endsister. It had wonderful twists, and I really liked how small things turned out to be important. The characters were really relatable and lovable, especially Clancy’s new best friend, Pippa.

I would recommend this story for readers 10 years and older who like spooky books, haunted houses, and books about families.


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!