Posted in Book reviews by kids

Book review: A Wind in the Door

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L'Engle

REVIEWED BY JON, 10, CALIFORNIA, USA

A Wind in the Door by Madeleine L’Engle, St Martins Press, ISBN 9780312368548

Jon reviewed his own copy of this book.

This is an adventure-fantasy novel where a child named Charles Wallace is sick, because he is infected with the Echthroi, who are the antagonists of the book. The Echthroi are evil beings trying to erase creation. A teacher by the name of Blajeny comes to Meg and Calvin. Meg is the main character and Calvin is her best friend. The teacher says that Meg’s brother Charles Wallace is sick and that Meg, Calvin, and Progo will try to save him. The book has the adventure you would want to read because they travel to other dimensions.

I like adventure-fantasy novels. I enjoyed the book because the impossible was real. I liked that the book had no pictures so the reader can imagine the characters. I wonder if they will make a movie?

Kids who love adventure fantasy will love this book. 

Visit the publisher’s website to read an excerpt from A Wind in the Door


This is Jon’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 by Gabriel, Book reviews by kids

Book review: The Boy Who Stepped Through Time

The Boy Who Stepped Through Time by Anna Ciddor

REVIEWED BY GABRIEL, 10, NSW

The Boy Who Stepped Through Time by Anna Ciddor, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781760526443

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

This fantastic book is about Perry, a boy who travels back through time to Ancient Rome. Perry learns many interesting things about the Romans such as they drizzle honey over all their meals. He learns to like different things and makes many friends. However, some of his new friends question where he came from. What should he answer? 

After a while, Perry wants to return to the modern days. But Perry knows something about his new Roman mistress and friend that she doesn’t know. He obtained this piece of knowledge from the future. Should he try to help her with the risk of never going back to his time? 

I rate this book nine out of ten because the author based it on actual facts to show how the lives of the Romans’ masters and their slaves’ lives played out. I like it a lot because there is good character development. Anna Ciddor also must have done a lot of research on Ancient Roman facts and buildings.

Read our interview with the author of The Boy Who Stepped Through Time.


Gabriel is a regular book reviewer at Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Rory

Book review: Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus

REVIEWED BY RORY, 9, WA

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus by Steven Herrick, University of Queensland Press, ISBN 9780702263002

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus is a book written in different people’s points of view as well as it’s written in verse

which means the writing
is like a big poem
that goes for the entire book. 

It's like the writing above. 

 Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus is a book about eight kids and one teacher (and also a crossing guard, but he doesn’t ride his bike to school) who all love to ride their bikes to school, but each day when they ride to school the cars on the side of the road get closer and closer to the bike lane they all ride in. Can they all stop the cars getting closer in time or is it too late?

My favourite part in the book is when they decide to ride their bikes to school, rather than a car, because cars can pollute the environment.

My favourite character is actually all of them since they work together all the time! Overall, I’d recommend this book to anyone age 9+. I’d rate it nine out of ten, just because with 10 people it’s a bit hard to keep track of the characters!

Zoe, Max and the Bicycle Bus is a funny and inspiring story that I strongly recommend.


Rory is a regular reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by Ayaan, Book reviews by kids

Book review: George’s Secret Key to the Universe

George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking

REVIEWED BY AYAAN, 10, VIC

George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781416985846

Ayaan reviewed his own copy of this book

George’s Secret Key to the Universe is the first of six books in the George’s Secret Key to the Universe series.

The series is written by Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy Hawking. The first three books are written by both of them but then Stephen Hawking died. Lucy Hawking wrote the last three books in the series and used lots more of her father’s ideas.

The story features George who meets Annie and her father named Eric through a pig investigation. They have a supercomputer named Cosmos and he can open a portal that can take you anywhere in the universe. But before George can view or work with Cosmos, he has to take the Oath of the Scientist.

The next day, George goes to school and Eric’s enemy, Dr Reeper, tries to take Cosmos by leading Eric into a black hole. George goes to Annie and they track down Cosmos. But can they get to Eric in time?

I would rate this book five stars. It is action-packed and is full of amazing science facts. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves science, just like me!

Note about Stephen Hawking: He was a world-famous cosmologist and physicist who has written many famous books. He was diagnosed motor neurone disease when in his early 20s and was told that he would only live for a few more years but he lived until he was 75 through pure determination to live!    


Ayaan is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his book reviews here. To send us YOUR book review, read our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by Aashi, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre retold by Mary Sebag-Montefiore and illustrated by Alan Marks

REVIEWED BY AASHI, 7, VIC

Jane Eyre (Usborne Young Reading series), retold by Mary Sebag-Montefiore, illustrated by Alan Marks, Usborne, ISBN 9781409539643

Aashi reviewed her own copy of this book.

Jane Eyre is a classic book about love and friendship. The original book was written by Charlotte Bronte, who was a teacher who loved writing along with her siblings. When Charlotte Bronte died her house was turned into a museum.

She wrote Jane Eyre in 1847. The copy I read was written by Mary Sebag-Montefiore and illustrated by Alan Marks.

Like Charlotte Bronte, Jane Eyre was a teacher. She became a teacher after abandoning her supposed husband. Jane Eyre’s life flipped and wobbled as kind Jane moved around her home country and all this time she read lots of her favourite books.

Jane was an orphan who lived with her stubborn aunty and her mean cousin. Her aunty always punished her without a reason and not one hour was spent without punishments. One day Jane’s stubborn aunty sent her to a boarding school that made the pupils (students) shiver and whacked canes and rods on their necks and chests. Until one winter day most kids caught bad diseases and most kids in the school died.

This all sounds very sad but the book has a happy ending with lots of kindness. I would encourage reading this book as this gives a view of olden days.

I would rate this book 4 out of 5 stars as it is sometimes scary. I would recommend this book for 7-9 year olds. 


This is Aashi’s second book review for Alphabet Soup. Check out her earlier review of Tom Gates: Ten Tremendous Tales. To send us YOUR book review, read our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by Elizabeth, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Bella and the Voyaging House

Bella and the Voyaging House by Meg McKinlay illust. Nicholas Schafer

REVIEWED BY ELIZABETH, 8, NSW

Bella and the Voyaging House by Meg McKinlay, illustrated by Nicholas Schafer, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781760990695

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

The book I am reviewing is Bella and the Voyaging House. The author is Meg McKinlay and the illustrator is Nicholas Schafer.

In the book, I love how Bella’s grandad made the house so it is like a boat. Merry Annie is a statue which the grandad moulded and polished. Then he tied it on the front of the  house boat but it fell off when they were sailing. So Bella decided to sail with the house and look for Merry Annie. Will they find Merry Annie? Will the house go back home? 

I recommend seven year olds and up to read this book because it is funny and emotional.

I give this 10 out of 10.

Read our interview with the author of Bella and the Voyaging House


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 by kids, Book reviews by Reuben

Book review: Pow Pow Pig

Pow Pow Pig: An Unexpected Hero by Anh Do and Peter Cheong

REVIEWED BY REUBEN, 8, WA

Pow Pow Pig: An Unexpected Hero by Anh Do, illustrated by Peter Cheong, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781760526405

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Pow Pow Pig is about a pig named Piccolo who joins an organisation called CHOC because he wants to help animals in need, but he ends up always on kitchen duty …

My favourite character is Piccolo. Books about pigs always seem like funny books. This is a hilarious book. I even love the cover. The size of the title makes me laugh. The illustrations suit the story and are also hilarious. There are also stickers inside, at the back of the book.

Pow Pow Pig is similar to the Captain Underpants books and The Bad Guys series. Kids who like pigs, funny books, exciting books and novels (there are nine chapters in this book) will love this too.

I think 7 to 10-year-olds would enjoy this book most. Kids older than 10 would still enjoy it though, and kids who are younger than 7 would enjoy it if someone reads it to them.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars!

Pow Pow Pig: An Unexpected Hero is out now! Ask for it at your favourite bookshop or local library!


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!

Posted in Book reviews by Fergus, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Shadowghast

REVIEWED BY FERGUS, 12, WA

Shadowghast by Thomas Taylor

Shadowghast by Thomas Taylor, Walker Books Ltd, ISBN 9781406386301

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Get ready to join Herbie and Violet on another nail-biting adventure in the mysterious sea side town of Eerie-on-Sea. Shadowghast is the third book in the Eerie-on-Sea mysteries series by Thomas Taylor. With Autumn coming round, and the annual Shadowghast festival coming up, everyone is tense. So, no one really pays attention to the performers arriving for the festival. And still, no one notices when people start disappearing. Herbie and Violet are arguing but can they put their differences aside in time to solve what might be the most dangerous mystery yet?

            Shadowghast is the amazing sequel to Malamander and Gargantis. It is, I think, my favourite yet. Thomas Taylor has, like usual, created a fantastic story with lots of mystery and suspense. The plot and characters are great there are many great twists that no one would suspect. Shadowghast kept me on the edge of my seat the entire book. I would recommend this to anyone 9+ and I would rate it 10 out of 10.

I am sorry if I have left you hanging off a cliff but if you want to find out more then read it yourself and who knows … Maybe you recognise the flickering neon lights or the theatre on the end of the pier.    

Shadowghast is out now! Ask for it at your favourite bookshop or local library.


Fergus is a regular reviewer for Alphabet Soup. Read read his earlier reviews of Malamander (Book 1 in this series) and Gargantis (Book 2 in this series). If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by Aashi, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Tom Gates Ten Tremendous Tales

REVIEWED BY AASHI, 7, VIC

Ten Tremendous Tales

Tom Gates: Ten Tremendous Tales by Liz Pichon, Scholastic UK, ISBN 9781760974282

Aashi reviewed her own copy of this book.

Ten Tremendous Tales is a book with ten stories, all of the different ten stories are written by Liz Pichon.

The main character of the book is Tom Gates who likes to doodle. You must be wondering what doodling is. Well, it is practically drawing!

I like the book because there is a whole range of stories to read. Each story is unique and has a different moral, like one of them is about always to have hope. I liked this moral because in Covid times having hope is so important!

After reading this book I feel like I could read many more books where Tom Gates is the main character. He is super-duper at doodling but always gets into trouble. I won’t say more about Tom to keep some surprises for you.

This book is also cool as it is the tenth book in Tom Gates series by the author. The Brilliant World of Tom Gates was the first book and sent out to stores in 2011.

I would rate this book 9/10 because I think that some of the stories could continue a little bit longer. It will be enjoyed by children who are ages 7-11.

I hope you would like to read Ten Tremendous Tales.


This is Aashi’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 by Iona Presentation College, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Amira’s Magpie

REVIEWED BY WILLIAM, 10, WA (IONA PRESENTATION COLLEGE)

Amira's Magpie by Kate Gordon and Krista Brennan

Amira’s Magpie by Kate Gordon, illustrated by Krista Brennan, Wombat Books, ISBN 9781925563986

Alphabet Soup provided a review copy of this book.

“He sings to her, too, and she knows his language.”

Amira’s Magpie is a slow-moving, gentle book of imagination and longing. Amira imagines her magpie flying across the world, to visit her homeland and the family she left behind. From this, and through both words and pictures, we are left to imagine her story.

This book isn’t very long, but it doesn’t need to be, because every thing you need to know comes from the beautiful illustrations and your imagination.

I would recommend this book for people who can read beyond the words, and feel that the character is their own self.

I rate this book: 5 stars.


Iona Presentation College students are members of Alphabet Soup’s review team. This is William’s first review for Alphabet Soup. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!