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

Book review: Maddie in the Middle

Maddie in the Middle by Julia LawrinsonREVIEWED BY HANNAH, 13, QLD

Maddie in the Middle by Julia Lawrinson,
Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925815931

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

Maddie Lee is in year six, and she feels ordinary and dull. Her best and oldest friend Katy is Head School Counsellor and aiming at an Academic Scholarship. Maddie doesn’t have anything that is hers or anything that is special. Enter a mysterious new girl, Samara.

Maddie in the Middle, the new novel written by Julia Lawrinson, brings together the many aspects and difficulties of life as a young girl, transitioning into high school, to create an enthralling story that will keep you hooked until the very end.

I found that it was so easy to get captivated in the plot, with each chapter ending in a cliff hanger and I was wanting more and more with every word. I just could not put this book down; in fact I ended up reading the whole novel in one night! I found myself feeling the inner emotions of every character and also relating to them, rocking with anticipation as I longed for the conflict to be resolved.

This book moves at quite a fast pace, adding to the suspension and overall feels of the storyline. I think that the author has executed the characters absolutely beautifully. They are relatable and loveable while still being able to construct the main conflicts.

I would recommend this book to ages 12+ as some of the themes are quite emotionally demanding. This would be a great book to read with your children to help them understand some of the main aspects (e.g. divorce, poverty, conflict in friendships).

This would make for a fantastic movie. I would even go as far as to say it is the best psychological thriller I have read this year. I can’t wait to read her next book.


Hannah is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereIf 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 Australia Survival Guide

THE AUSTRALIA SURVIVAL GUIDE by George IvanoffREVIEWED BY RORY, 7, WA

The Australia Survival Guide by George Ivanoff, Penguin Australia Pty Ltd,
ISBN 9780143796572

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

The Australia Survival Guide is a nonfiction book about how to survive in the outback. I liked the book because it has lots of fact boxes about different animals. I think this book would suit both boys or girls aged 7 to 11.

My favourite thing about the book is that there is the guide, called Avatar.  Avatar says things to you like,

“So, the Sydney Opera House isn’t really dangerous. Not unless you try to do something really stupid … like climb its roof and fall off.”

I think you should buy this book because I think it would help you survive outdoors in the bush. Three words to describe it are:

  • helpful
  • cool
  • funny

This is Rory’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 Recommended reading, Top Reads

Top Reads: September 2019

Another month has zoomed by and it’s time to post the Top Reads recommendations for September. Add these books to your holiday reading pile …

You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reads Team on the last day of every month (February to November). If you’d like even more recommendations, browse all through all our Top Reads ever!

*All our Top Readers are kids aged 13 and under. No grownups allowed!

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

Book review: Cryptosight

Cryptosight by Nean McKenzieREVIEWED BY HANNAH, 13, QLD

Cryptosight by Nean McKenzie, MidnightSun Publishing, ISBN 9781925227536

A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Cryptosight by Nean McKenzie is a wonder-filled adventure that will keep you hooked until the very end. It captures you into a world unlike any other, a world of magical creatures and escapades.

The story starts right in the action where we meet our lovable main characters. Rafferty Kaminski is 13 years old and believes in facts. Unlike his Cryptozoologist father Max, who searches for creatures not proven to exist? Raff’s younger sister Zara is stubborn and determined, aspiring to be a Crypto zoologist, willing to follow in her father’s footsteps.

When Raff’s father decides to take them on a trip to the Flinders Ranges hoping to assist them in their ‘Crypto zoology training’ he disappears and strange things start happening to Raff and his sister Zara. They learn that their father belongs to a secret organisation and that he is in great danger. Raff is reluctantly drawn into the weird world of Cryptozoology as he and Zara follow ‘sightings’ of mysterious creatures around country Victoria. Will they find their father?

Nean McKenzie has outdone herself with this enthralling novel that draws you in with every word. The book moves at a good pace which is perfect for readers of all levels. This book has so many little details and it is so interesting to see the story develop, it almost feels like you are on a detective case yourself. The story really captivates you, making you feel like you are in a whole other world.

I would recommend this book to ages 10-13. Overall a really fantastic read and great for the upcoming holiday reading!


Hannah is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereIf YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Recommended reading, Top Reads

Top reads: August 2019

Here we are again on the last day of the month … on the last day of the month our Top Reads Team members nominate their favourite reads from the past four weeks. Here they are!

You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reads Team on the last day of every month (February to November). If you’d like even more recommendations, browse all through all our Top Reads ever!

*All our Top Readers are kids aged 13 and under. No grownups allowed!

Posted in poetry, Young Writers in Action

Young writers in action: Back to School

BACK TO SCHOOL
by Liora, 9, Manhattan, USA

Close up on an open notebook with words highlighted. Photo courtesy of pexels.com

Oh no, the summer is over, it’s time to go back to our schools
There is so much homework and so many rules!

You have to go shopping for school supplies
When you’d rather be eating a hamburger and fries

You’ll have PE, reading, science, math and more
And you mumble to yourself that this is quite a bore

But at least, you’ll see all your friends again
And for that I would give away my lucky pen.


You can read more of Liora’s poetry hereTo send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.

Posted in Young Writers in Action

Young writers in Action: Stars in the Sky

STARS IN THE SKY

by Gabriella, 9, Virginia USA

A hand with palm up towards a crescent moon and stars in a pale evening sky. Photo courtesy of pexels.comStars shining,
brightly,
light up the night, like
little lanterns.
.
Stars shining at night,
stars shining in space,
stars shining all day, but only
to see at night.
.
Red, blue, yellowish white,
all of these stars I like.
Spring is when I go outside,
stare and find the constellations that
light up the deep blue sky.
.
Little Dipper,
Big Dipper,
Orion’s Belt,
happy memories light up the night.
.
Stars, constellations,
little lanterns,
shine brightly,
never fading away.
.
When Zeus placed them in the sky, they were meant to stay.
.
Stars are lanterns.
Stars are motorcycles
riding slowly across the deep blue sky.
.
Every time a star dies,
a new one is born.
.
Stars are powerful.
We are powerful.
.
We are stars,
shining brightly, all over the deep, blue sky.
We are the little lanterns lighting up the sky.
We are the motorcycles riding across the sky
at night.
.
All stars are variable,
we are all variable.
We can be ourselves, able to change, able to live our own lives,
capable.
.
So, be you.
Be your own star.
Be your own little lantern.
Be your own motorcycle.
Be your own happy light.
Be the star you were
meant to be.

This is Gabriella’s first poem published by Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.