Posted in Book reviews by Iona Presentation College, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal

REVIEWED BY EVIE, 12, WA (IONA PRESENTATION COLLEGE)

Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal by Rosanne Hawke, UQP, ISBN 9780702263071

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Fozia and the Quest of Prince Zal is an adventure and fantasy novel. This book is about Pakistan after the floods and about a girl called Fozia trying to find her family. Fozia lives with a boy called Jehan and his family after he saved her from the flood. Jehan’s family grow to love Fozia but they remind Fozia too much of her old family. So to help herself keep the memories of her family alive Fozia tells them a story. She tells a story about a prince with leprosy who is searching for his little sister in the jungle on a flying carpet. Prince Zal faces the beasts of the jungle and the pariyan to find his sister. Will he reach her before it’s too late? Everybody loves Fozia’s story but is it really fiction? Can Fozia learn to love her new family?

I liked this book as it was very original and creative talking about memory and hope as well as the love of friends but most importantly, family. The characters are very realistic, making you believe that this story actually could’ve happened, whilst still adding a bit of that fairytale magic.

This book showed me what the aftermath of a natural disaster would be like. This is the third book in the series so please read the other books first: Jehan and the Quest of the Lost Dog and Kelsey and the Quest of the Porcelain Doll.

If you like fairytales, history and real life references then I recommend this book for you. This book is probably best suited to 9 to 11-year-olds.


Evie is a member of Iona Presentation College’s student reviewers’ team. This is her 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 by Iona Presentation College, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows

REVIEWED BY EMILY, 9, WA (IONA PRESENTATION COLLEGE)

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne

Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows by Denis Knight and Cristy Burne, Hachette Australia, ISBN 9780734420190

Alphabet Soup provided a review copy of this book.

I found Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows to be a fascinating fantasy fiction adventure, but it is missing the absence of surprise when Wednesday made the portal back home. When Wednesday and Alfie fight off the laundry monster I imagined it wearing Alfie’s hat and I almost laughed so hard!

I enjoyed this story because of its detail and how each character showed perseverance and resilience to help family and friends. When I read Wednesday Weeks I had to notice its similarity to Scarlet and Ivy because both books try to help family and are about magic! I liked the skull, Bruce, because he was funny and helped Wednesday and Alfie.

I rate this book a full 5 stars!

Read a sample chapter of Wednesday Weeks and the Tower of Shadows!


Emily is a member of Iona Presentation College’s student reviewers’ team. This is her 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 by Iona Presentation College, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Wizard in my Shed

REVIEWED BY INDI, 9, WA (IONA PRESENTATION COLLEGE)

The Wizard in My Shed The MIsadvendtures of Merdyn the Wild by Simon Farnaby and illustrated by Claire Powell

The Wizard in My Shed: The Misadventures of Merdyn the Wild by Simon Farnaby, illustrated by Claire Powell, Hachette Australia, ISBN 9781444954388

Alphabet Soup provided a review copy of this book.

The Wizard in my Shed is entertaining and takes you on a whimsical journey through the Dark Ages to the 21st century, meeting unique characters with different personalities. All the illustrations enhance and bring to life the story in a funny way.

In the book, Rose meets new friends and gets to know her family better, and though I love all the characters, my favourite is Bubbles (Rose’s guinea pig), and all the unexpected surprises!

 I think this book is perfect for 8–10 year olds who want a hilarious and meaningful novel with a moral to read.


Indi is a member of Iona Presentation College’s student reviewers’ team. This is her 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 by Iona Presentation College, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Footprints on the Moon

REVIEWED BY CHARLOTTE, 11, WA (IONA PRESENTATION COLLEGE)

Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood

Footprints on the Moon by Lorraine Marwood, UQP, ISBN 9780702262838

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Sharnie Burley is in her early teens and is struggling with the problems of life. The year is 1969, around the time of the first moon landing and the Vietnam war. Sharnie’s sister Cas meets a soldier who has returned from the Vietnam war, after being conscripted. Cas becomes an anti-war protester, which causes conflict within the family …

The story is told through the eyes of Sharnie, as she starts to deal with the difficulties of adolescence. She is beginning her high school journey and finding it difficult to make new friends. It is a story about family relationships and growing up in challenging times.

This captivating and engaging story is easy to read and has an interesting storyline. I think that this book would suit children aged around 10-13 and I would definitely recommend it!

Read our interview with the author of Footprints on the Moon.


Iona Presentation College students are members of Alphabet Soup’s review team. This is Charlotte’s first 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 Iona Presentation College

Book review: Girl of the Southern Sea

REVIEWED BY STEPHANIE, 11, WA (IONA PRESENTATION COLLEGE)

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman

Girl of the Southern Sea by Michelle Kadarusman, UQP, ISBN 9780702262937

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

When Nia’s life is turned upside down, can she still find the strength to keep going and persevere? I love how Nia is faced with so many difficult challenges throughout the book and how she gets through them all. 

Her mother died giving birth to her younger brother, Rudi, her Bakap (dad) is always getting drunk and her best friend is making her keep a bad secret. Yet, Nina still has time to work the fritters cart, to help pay the rent, and look after her brother, Rudi. I think Nia is the strongest character from any book I have ever read, she is smart, helps others and is very devoted to her family. 

If I had to rate this book I would give it 100 out of 10,  that is how good it is. I loved learning some Indonesian words, I feel that it was a great touch to put Indonesian words in a book based in Indonesia. Overall, this is one of the best books I have ever read. I hope I can be as strong as Nia when life faces me with challenges.

Read our interview with the author of Girl of the Southern Sea.


Stephanie is a member of Iona Presentation College’s student reviewers’ team. This is her 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 Elizabeth, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo

REVIEWED BY ELIZABETH, 8, NSW

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo by Kylie Howarth

Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo by Kylie Howarth, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781760652548

Elizabeth received a review copy of this book.

‘Go, Hermie! go’ I whispered.

‘No, mine is going to win,’ said my best friend Emely.

This is Fish Kid and the Turtle Torpedo and it is about Bodhi and Emely. They are on a vacation in the Maldives and they find a turtle that is sick because it can’t swim underwater or dive.

Bodhi (Fish Kid) cannot carry Emely and the turtle back to their island to show Bodhi’s dad who could help. So Bodhi just takes the turtle and leaves Emely behind at the beach island. 

Is the turtle going to survive? Will Emely get home?

I love this book! That is why I give this book 10/10! I love when they help the turtle.  I like that the author introduced real animals in Fish Kid Fact pages such as the spinner dolphins and black tip reef sharks.

Read an interview with the author-illustrator of the Fish Kid series.


Elizabeth is a regular reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read more of her reviews 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 Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Gisela Kaplan, bird and primate scientist

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 10, NSW

Gisela Kaplan Bird and primate scientist, story told by Emily Gale (book cover)

Gisela Kaplan, Bird and Primate Scientist by Emily Gale, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893465

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

How did Gisela Kaplan, a young German survivor of WWII become a world-leading expert in the behaviour of animals?

This book is a biography of Gisela Kaplan written by Emily Gale. Gisela Kaplan had a hard life in Germany after the Second World War. Then after she immigrated to Australia, the book shows how other people helped her along in her career as she played a role in primate and bird science. In addition, there are notes to help explain words you don’t understand.

When she arrives in Australia what jobs could she take? How did she learn a second language, and how does she support her daughter? Read Aussie STEM Stars Gisela Kaplan to find out more and all the answers to these questions!

I like this book and for me, it is five-star rated because it shows an emotional story of immigration. It also shows how much practice has to go into work till you can fulfil your dream, as you can see how she consistently worked away from home, in the work field.   

This book would be for ages ten and up to read by themselves although most children from the age of six to ten can read with someone to help the children understand. Go grab a copy of this amazing book either online or hard copy.

Read a sample chapter from this book

Read our interview with the author


Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here.

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

Book review – Munjed Al Muderis: from Refugee to Surgical Inventor

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 10, NSW

Munjed Al Muderis: from refugee to surgical inventor, story told by Dianne Wolfer

Munjed Al Muderis: From refugee to surgical inventor by Dianne Wolfer, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893373

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Obsessed with S.T.E.M. and mechanics, Munjed Al Muderis had a longing to be an osseointegration specialist since he watched the movie Terminator. Soon his dream was coming to reality. He was about to go to America to study. But when he was about to go to Iraq, Iraq stopped the border crossing between America and Iraq. Nevertheless, he found himself training as an orthopedic surgeon in Iraq. Later on, he was forced to flee his homeland of Iraq in 1999 after he refused to cut off the ears of army deserters as a young trainee doctor in Baghdad Hospital. If the government finds him they will kill him for not cutting off their ears.

What will he do? How would he escape the government? Where would he go? Could and would he return home? How will he fulfil his dream to be an osseointegration specialist?

This true and stunning book about Munjed Al Muderis for me is five-star rated because it is an amazing book about how a refugee tries to advance his way up to be an osseointegration specialist. This book will also show you how refugees were treated back then and what would happen to them.

This book would be for ages eight-plus to read. Go grab a copy of this outstanding book either online ebook, kindle or hard copy.

Read a sample chapter of this book

Read our interview with Dianne Wolfer, the author of this book


Read another book review by Gabriel for The Theory of Hummingbirds. 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 Kobe

Book review: Little Jiang

Reviewed by Kobe, 9, WA

Little Jiang by Shirley Marr and illustrated by Katy Jiang (book cover)

Little Jiang by Shirley Marr, illustrated by Katy Jiang, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925816471

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

This great novel is a wonderful joy to read. It is about a girl named Mei Ling Pang. Somehow, wherever she goes misfortune is dragged along. An example is when Little Jiang jumps out of his grave right into Mei’s life. Her neighbours have also turned into Chi-sucking jiangshi, which is even worse. This makes this story unbelievably interesting and the opposite of boring. This book is a playground for young readers who will be keen on wondering what will happen next.

This book has happy, exciting and disgusting events – for instance, eating very weird things. The characters in this book are thoroughly described and are beautifully drawn as well. The events are extremely clear and make you feel like you are actually in the book.

I would recommend this book to anyone who I know. In conclusion, this book is a perfect book for young readers who love adventure, climax and emotion.

Read a sample chapter from Little Jiang.


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 Treehouse Joke Book 2

REVIEWED BY REUBEN, 7, WA

Book cover: The Treehouse Joke Book 2 by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton

The Treehouse Joke Book 2 by Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton, Pan Macmillan Australia, ISBN 9781760980511

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

This book is hilarious. My favourite thing about the book was being able to tell jokes to people around me.  I love telling these jokes to my friend next door because he always laughs.

The pictures in the book are hilarious – they match the art style so well. Some of the pictures are both funny and weird – like an elephant on a scooter being chased by a mouse!

Take a sneak peek inside the book!


Reuben is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. Check out his earlier reviews here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!