Posted in info, teachers' resources

Last chance to purchase back issues

After 25 December 2013 we will no longer be offering back issues of Alphabet Soup magazine for sale. So now is your LAST CHANCE to order back issues! You can order copies through our website.

Some of the earlier issues are now in short supply and issue 7 is almost sold out. If an issue is no longer available it will not appear as an option on the list to purchase. (We will do our best to remove sold-out issues from the list as soon as they are sold out!)

NB: There was no summer 2008 issue. 

Here is a snapshot of what was in each issue:

Issue 1 SPRING 2008 (limited supply)

issue 1

Theme: Alphabet Soup (a bit of everything!)

Author Q&A: Jackie French

Interest article: Firefighting

Poetry and stories by AB Paterson, Charlotte Clarence, Nardia Bordas

Folktale/fairytale: The Magic Porridge Pot

Issue 2 AUTUMN 2009 (limited supply)

issue 2

Theme: Water

Author Q&A: Duncan Ball

Interest article: Scuba diving

Poetry and stories by Brian Langley, Charlotte Clarence, Michele Purcell.

Foktale/fairytale: The Fisherman and His Wife

Writing tips: Keeping a journal

Issue 3 WINTER 2009 (limited supply)

Issue 3

Theme: Flight

Author Q&A: Jo Oliver

Interest Article: Air Traffic Control

Poetry and stories by CJ Dennis, Marie Clark, Michele Purcell

Greek Myth: Daedalus and Icarus

Writing tips: Describe it!

Issue 4 SPRING 2009 (limited supply)

"issue 4 cover"

Theme: Gardening

Author Q&A: Mark Greenwood

Interest Article: Home-grown vegies

Poetry and stories by Ann Ingalls, Brian Langley, Hazel Edwards, Michele Purcell

Folktale/Fairytale: Jack and the Beanstalk

Writing tips: Writers’ block

Issue 5 SUMMER 2009 (limited supply)

"Alphabet Soup issue 5 cover"

Theme: Space

Author Q&A: Christine Harris

Interest Article: Astronomy

Poetry and stories by Sally Murphy, Jackie Hosking, Paula Hayes and Mabel Kaplan

Folktale/Fairytale: The Red Riding Hood Rap

Writing tips: What does ‘write what you know’ mean?

Issue 6 AUTUMN 2010 (limited supply)

"Alphabet Soup issue 6 cover"

Theme: Outdoors

Illustrator Q&A: Chris Nixon

Interest Article: Rogaining

Poetry and stories by Jackie Hosking, Beverley Boorer, Michele Purcell, Selina Duke

Folktale/Fairytale: Hansel and Gretel

Writing tips: Getting to know your characters

Issue 7 WINTER 2010 (ONLY 3 copies remaining)

"Alphabet Soup issue 7 cover"

Theme: Ice

Author Q&A: Sandy Fussell

Interest Article: Art in the Ice Hotel

Poetry and stories by Karen Collum, Michele Purcell, Di Bates

Folktale/Fairytale: The Snow Maiden

Writing tips: Point of view

Issue 8 SPRING 2010 (limited supply)

"Issue 8 cover Alphabet Soup magazine"

Theme: Music

Interest article: Playing the viola

Poetry and stories by Jeni Mawter, Valerie Thomas, Lyn Oxley, Rebecca Newman

Folktale/fairytale: The Smell of Bread

Writing tips: How do I write a funny story?

Issue 9 SUMMER 2010 (limited supply)

"Alphabet Soup magazine issue 9 cover"

Theme: Wetlands

Author Q&A: Hazel Edwards

Interest article: Wetlands Care

Poetry and stories by Sally Murphy, Edel Wignell, Rebecca Newman, Aleesah Darlison

Folktale/Fairytale: A Needle and Thread

Writing tips: The writer as crocodile hunter

Issue 10 AUTUMN 2011 (in reasonable supply)

"Issue 10 cover Alphabet Soup"

Theme: Chemistry Fun

Author Q&A: Oliver Phommavanh

Interest article: International Year of Chemistry

Poetry and stories by John Malone, Nadine Cranenburgh, Michele Purcell, Kathryn Apel

Greek myth: The Golden Touch

Writing tips: Playing with words

Issue 11 WINTER 2011 (in reasonable supply)

Issue 11 cover, Alphabet Soup magazine

Theme: Things with Wings

Interest article: Bee keeping

Author Q&A: Wendy Orr

Poetry and stories by Edel Wignell, Jackie Hosking, Lorraine Marwood, Michele Purcell and Emma Cameron

Folktale/Fairytale: The Six Swans

Writing tips: Writing great dialogue

Issue 12 SPRING 2011 (in reasonable supply)

Alphabet Soup magazine, spring 2011

Theme: Sail Away!

Author Q&A: Briony Stewart

Interest article: Sailing

Poetry and stories by Pat (Tricia) Simmons, Edel Wignell, Michele Purcell, Susan Stephenson

Fable: The North Wind and the Sun

Writing tips: Finding the right title

Issue 13 SUMMER 2011 (in reasonable supply)

Issue 13 cover

Theme: Medieval

Author Q&A: Norman Jorgensen

Interest article: Fencing

Poetry and stories by Jackie Hosking, Marianne Musgrove, Michele Purcell, Tracey Slater

Legend: Robin Hood Meets Little John

Writing tips: Finding good names for your characters

Issue 14 AUTUMN 2012 (in reasonable supply)

Alphabet Soup issue 14 cover

Theme: Fun with paper

Writer Q&A: Lorraine Marwood

Interest Article: Making paper

Poetry and stories by Edel Wignell, Jackie Hosking, Rebecca Newman, Zoya Nojin

Fairytale/Folktale: Why Evergreen Trees Keep Their Leaves

Writing tips: Journalists’ skills

Issue 15 WINTER 2012 (in reasonable supply)

Alphabet Soup issue 15 cover

Theme: National Year of Reading!

Author-illustrator Q&A: Peter Carnavas

Interest Article: Judging Book Awards

Poetry and stories by Kathryn Apel, Sally Murphy, Lorraine Marwood, Michele Purcell, Susan Stephenson

Fairytale/Folktale: The Three Wishes

Writing tips: Beginnings — finding a hook

Issue 16 SPRING 2012 (in reasonable supply)

Alphabet Soup issue 16 (cover)

Theme: Champions

Author Q&A: Jen Banyard

Interest article: Behind the Scenes at Big Events

Poetry and stories by Marianne Musgrove, John Malone, Dianne Bates, Rebecca Newman

Fable: The Tortoise and the Hare

Writing tips: 10 Behaviours of a Champion Writer

Issue 17 SUMMER 2012 (in reasonable supply)

issue 17 (cover)

Theme: Come to the Fair!

Author-illustrator Q&A: Mark Wilson

Interest article: Juggling

Poetry, stories and a play by Jackie Hosking, Kathryn Apel, Michele Purcell, Susan Stephenson

Folktale/Fairytale: The Three Billy Goats Gruff

Writing tips: A lucky dip of prompts

Issue 18 AUTUMN 2013 (in healthy supply)

Autumn 2013 Alphabet Soup (cover)

Theme: Long, long ago

Author Q&A: Tania McCartney

Interest Article: School in 1941

Poetry and stories by Rebecca Newman, Tricia Simmons, Zoya Nojin

Folktale/Fairytale: The Little Red Hen

Writing tips: Writing perfect endings

Order back issues from our website

Posted in Anzac Day, book reviews, Book reviews by Rebecca, teachers' resources

Book Review: Light Horse Boy

Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer, ill. Brian Simmonds, ISBN 9781922089137, Fremantle Press

A review copy of this book was provided by Fremantle Press

Light Horse Boy (cover)

Lighthouse Girl (cover)This new picture book was recently launched in time for Anzac Day — Light Horse Boy is a companion book to Lighthouse Girl and both are worth buying (or borrowing — ask for them at your library).

When war is declared on Germany in 1914, Jim and his best mate, Charlie, decide to sign up for the war. Jim is not quite old enough to sign up but he lies about his age. When he resigns from his job to go to war, Jim’s boss gives him a horse called Breaker, instead of his wages. Jim and Charlie think joining the Light Horse Regiment is a bit of an adventure and that the war will be over in a few months. But they quickly discover how terrible life on the frontline really is.

Light Horse Boy is based on historical events, though the characters are fictional. (On the first page, the author explains that the characters were created “after researching the records and diaries of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served in the ‘Great War'”.)

Jim’s story is told as a narrative with charcoal illustrations, and the book includes copies of his letters and telegrams to his sister Alice. Readers are taken back in time with old photographs, maps, and newspaper clippings.

Reading Jim’s letters is like reading letters from someone you know (your own brother, or a friend).  Through Jim’s eyes we see how war affected young Australian soldiers and their horses serving in World War I, and how hard it was for friends and family left behind.

Highly recommended.

© April 2013 “Review of Light Horse Boy” by Rebecca Newman (


Read other Anzac-themed posts on Soup blog

Posted in info, teachers' resources

Free back issues (just ask!)






Magazine covers

UPDATE (20 January 2014). APOLOGIES – following the closure of Alphabet Soup’s print magazine, this offer is no longer available. 

We’re giving away free back issues!


Alphabet Soup magazine is run as a small business—and our only income is from the sale of subscriptions and single copies. We’d love to continue to keep the magazine free of advertisements, but advertising would certainly help us financially.

So—can you help us to keep the magazine ad-free?

If you love Alphabet Soup, please spread the word for us. (Most of our subscribers say they first heard about the magazine from another subscriber.) To help you spread the word, from 4 January until the 4 February 2013, we will give away a back issue to the first 200 people who request it. You don’t even need to pay for the postage. We just ask that you show it to your favourite book-loving teacher, friend or family member!


Just  email our editor and remember to include your postal address.

Fine print:

  • Due to the cost of postage, we can only post free back issues to Australian addresses.
  • The back issue we send will be selected at random from the back issues we have in stock. (You won’t be able to request a particular back issue, and it may not be one of the back issues pictured above.)
  • The offer of a free back issue is only available to the first 200 people who request it.**
  • The offer of a free back issue is only available until 4 February 2013 or until 200 copies have been requested, whichever comes first.
  • We will not use your postal address for any reason other than to post you a free back issue. We will not pass your details on to any other party, except where required by law.
  • We will post out back issues every few days. Thanks for being patient!

**Please note: There is no expiry date for requests from Australian schools.

Thank you. (And Happy New Year to all our readers, writers and artists … and subscribers!)

~ Rebecca
Alphabet Soup magazine

Posted in teachers' resources

Cost-free gifts for young writers (and old ones!)

So—you have a friend who likes to write. And you’d like to give them a gift befitting a writer but you’ve checked your money box and there’s only 25c rattling around in there.

pen and scrunched up paperHere are some low-cost or even cost-free gift ideas.

JAR O’ PROMPTS (for writer’s block)

  • Cut out pictures of funny/cranky/worried (or nice-looking) people or creatures from magazines or the newspaper. Or draw your own.
  • Write interesting words or scenarios on little slips of paper.
  • Write down weird things that you’ve seen or overheard at the shopping centre, on the bus or at soccer training.

Put all these things in a jar or small box. Next time your writer friend is a bit stuck, they can pull one item out of your jar and write about that to get the creative juices flowing again. (Ask your parents if you can have a pasta or jam jar when they’ve finished with it, or there might even be a few covered in cobwebs at the back of the shed. Or use an empty cocoa box and decorate with the comics page from the newspaper … )


All writers need to read LOTS of books to keep those booky ideas cooking. Write them a list of cool books you think they should definitely read. List the books and their authors, and a sentence or two about why you think they’d love each one. Roll it into a scroll and secure with a bit of string, ribbon or a rubber band. Your writer friend can take the list to the library and work their way through the books. Brilliant!


If your writer friend has an iPad or iPod, write them a list of cool apps, websites, e-books or comic-creators you think they would love and should try out. (Know of any free ones? Even better!)


Some writers love to enter writing competitions. If your friend is like this, they might like a list of current competitions they can enter. (You can start by checking out the Alphabet Soup ‘Comps for Kids‘ page right here on Soup Blog. You can thank us later!)


Create your own gift voucher—good for one (or three) sessions of listening to their story or poems read out—and giving an honest opinion if they’d like one. (If you have some suggestions about things that might need fixing, make sure you comment on some parts you did like, too. It’s hard to read your work out to someone.)


Create another gift voucher—promise to play one (or three) games of Scrabble or Boggle or any of their other favourite Word games even if you know they consistently win. You know they’ll love it!


As we said before, writers are readers … why not make a bookmark gift? You can use your own artistic skills to decorate a rectangular piece of card. Personalise it with their name or their favourite word or poem. Or try making these simple bookmarks below. (Ask your parents’ permission before checking out these other websites—and while you’re there asking permission, check about using a cutting blade because some of these involve cutting and you’ll need a parent to help if you are little.)

Owl bookmark (scroll down the page halfway for instructions in English)

Origami Bookmark

Woven Paper Bookmark

Fabric bookmark

Chicken Bookmark

Kimono Doll Bookmarks

Monster Bookmark using an old envelope


We might have mentioned that writers like to read. And readers don’t like their favourite books to go missing. On the State Library of WA website, you’ll find bookplates you can download for free with artwork by some fabulous Australian illustrators, like Shaun Tan, Rebecca Cool and more! You just download them, cut them out and your writer can glue them into the covers of their favourite books. Excellent!

Got any other low-cost gift ideas for writers? Let us know in the comments below!

© 2012 “Cost-free gift ideas for young writers” by Rebecca Newman and Alphabet Soup Magazine
Posted in book reviews, Duncraig Primary School, National Year of Reading, teachers' resources

Book Review: Dork Diaries: Party Time

This week we are featuring book reviews from students at Duncraig Primary School* in WA. Today’s guest reviewer is Shannon.

Dork Diaries: Party Time by Rachel Renée Russel, ISBN 9781847387424, Simon & Schuster

Reviewed by Shannon, 10, WA

dork diaries (cover)

This book is a comedy mixed with a bit of drama. It is about a girl called Niki who doesn’t really get along with the kids at her school. Her biggest enemy is Mackenzie. Niki is in a bit of trouble when she had to organise the high school Halloween party. Will she cope or will she be a normal dork who has a crush on Brandon the hottest boy in 8th grade?

The book is enjoyable, with a bit of love and dorkiness. I loved the way it was like reading someone else’s personal diary and the great tension. I couldn’t possibly stop reading. It had excellent illustrations and they really suited the book. I loved everything about it. I liked the tension and illustrations best of all.

This book would only suit girls because it is packed with a girl’s life story. This book is nine plus. It has great strong characters and a story that can seem real. Just wait and read and you’ll find out more!

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Duncraig Primary is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) Shannon reviewed her own copy of Dork Diaries: Party Time.

Posted in book reviews, Duncraig Primary School, National Year of Reading, teachers' resources

Book Review: Eleven Days

This week we are featuring book reviews from students at Duncraig Primary School* in WA. Today our guest reviewer is Chloe.

Eleven Days by Michael Manuell, ISBN 9781865046211, Scholastic Australia

Reviewed by Chloe, 11, WA

eleven days (cover)

Are you looking for a book that drags you in by the first expressive sentence? Well, this is the book for you.

Eleven Days will amaze your socks off. This book is a brilliant book for readers from the age of ten years to teenagers and will suit you any mood you’re in.

Eleven Days is about a girl called Izabella. She is really nice and kind until Izabella comes face to face with kidnappers and gives them all her personal details. She is kidnapped and has no idea what to do. Is she brave enough to escape the danger? I really love this book with all the unexpected twists and turns.

It had fantastic complex sentences that brought out the atmosphere in the story. The very few drawings suited the text exactly. I think this book would suit girl readers most because most characters are women.

I really enjoyed this book and I hope you find a book that suits you soon. If you liked my book review please take the chance and have a go.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Duncraig Primary is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) Chloe reviewed her own copy of Eleven Days.

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Duncraig Primary School, National Year of Reading, teachers' resources

Book Review: Think Smart, Hazel Green!

This week we are pleased to be featuring book reviews from students at Duncraig Primary School* in WA. Our first guest reviewer is Lara—welcome, Lara!

Think Smart, Hazel Green! by Odo Hirsch, ill. Andrew McLean, ISBN 9781741141108, Allen & Unwin

Reviewed by Lara, 10, WA

Think Smart, Hazel Green! (cover)

Chocolate dippers! Cherry Flingers! Cream Canoopers! All the delicious pastries in  Mr Volio’s bakery. But how about the thought of them being gone … forever?

Will Hazel Green ever find a way to help poor Mr Volio stay in his baker’s shop? When Mr Volio has ended his lease in his shop a mysterious new owner buys it. Who is this new owner? And how will Hazel Green help Mr Volio to stay, and still devour his glorious pastries? Will her mathematical friend Yakov Plonsk (AKA the Yak) use his logical mind to assist her? Hazel will have to think smart for this adventure!

Andrew McLean’s magical black and white watercolour illustrations make the book come alive. You only need to glance at them to understand them. Odo Hirsch’s detailed words and phrases help readers to really understand the pictures.

This is a book suitable for ten and over. The expressive characters in this book will capture any reader’s mind. I love this book because in every page you turn you feel the tension rising through your body.

Odo Hirsch has captured readers internationally with his essence and flair of describing wonderful and capturing characters. This book is the last of the Hazel Green series. The others are titled Hazel Green; Something’s Fishy, Hazel Green!; and Have Courage, Hazel Green, all with clever and satisfying plots.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Duncraig Primary is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) Lara reviewed her own copy of Think Smart, Hazel Green!