Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: I Like Myself

Image shows the cover of a children's picture book: I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont and David Catrow. The cover is predominantly pink. A girl in a striped red-and-white dress and curly black short hair and brown skin is dancing with her hands above her head and smile on her face.

REVIEWED BY ALINA, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

I Like Myself by Karen Beaumont, illustrated by David Catrow, Cengage Learning, ISBN 9780547401638

Alina reviewed her own copy of this book.

Do you like rhyming books? Then I think you should read I Like Myself because it teaches you to like yourself. In this story it talks, talks, talks about yourself. In this story it talks about your hands, ears and your eyes and your legs and arms and head and more.

One reason I like this book is because it makes you love yourself more than you already do. The second reason I like this book is because the girl is nice. The third reason I like this book is because the pictures are pretty and the girl is cute and she has a dog. In the story it says “I like myself because I am me.”

I recommend this book for ages 8, 9, and 10. Find this book at your local library. Out of 10 stars, I give it an 8.


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: Pizza and Taco series

Image shows the cover of a children's book: Pizza and Taco Too Cool for School by Stephen Shaskan. Cover illustration shows a piece of pizza in sunglasses and a taco in sunglasses in front of a red brick wall.

REVIEWED BY ETHAN, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

Pizza and Taco series by Stephen Shaskan, RHUS Children’s Books, Book 4 ISBN 9780593376072

Ethan read his school’s copies of the books in this series.

Do you like comics and friends and funny beginnings? Then the Pizza and Taco series is for you.

Pizza and Taco are always competing. And I think you should read this book because Pizza and Taco have so much fun together. But Pizza and Taco have one enemy: it’s Cheeseburger! Cheeseburger is Hamburger’s cousin. And some of Pizza and Taco’s friends are Ice Cream and Cake and the Chicken Tender Twins and Hamburger and Hotdog.

One reason I like this book is because Pizza and Taco are hilarious, one time they created a comic which had a lot of funny things. And Pizza and Taco are very nice to each other, but they get into a lot of trouble. In Pizza and Taco Too Cool for School, they get into trouble. The second reason I like this book is because it has imaginative pictures. Another reason I like this book is because they are a bit realistic. For example Pizza is a bit realistic. The third reason I like this book is because Pizza and Taco are so funny and sarcastic.

Do you want to find out more about this series? Visit your local library. I recommend this series to ages seven and up. I give this series 8 out of 10 stars.


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: Fox and His Friends series

The image shows the cover of a children's book: Fox and His Friends by Edward Marshall, pictures by James Marshall. The cover illustration shows three friends - a pig wearing red-and-white striped shorts, a fox wearing an orange tshirt and black shorts, and an alligator wearing a white skirt with orange polkadots. Text at the top of the image says Puffin Easy-to-read, Level 3. .

REVIEWED BY JACOB, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

Fox and His Friends series by Edward Marshall, illustrated by James Marshall, Penguin Young Readers Group, ISBN 9780140370072

Jacob reviewed his own copy of this book.

Have you ever read a book that is funny and has some sad parts but more good parts? Good. You came to the right place because this book series has bad cooks and basic ones. And you do not have to read the books in order. The series is Fox and Friends by Edward Marshall and James Marshall.

In one of the books he gets in a race. He crashes in a garden so he has to fix it himself. And he gets sad about crashing into a garden. Then he broke his bike so he has to get a job, so he gets one …

My first reason I like this book is because Fox is funny. In the story he threw his tunafish sandwich away, but then he got hungry. It is so funny. My second reason I like these books is because they are not that long. You can read one in one day. My third reason is you don’t have to read the books in order.

I hope you get these books right away. I give it ten stars. I think this book is for ages 7 and up.


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids

BOOK REVIEW: The Colour of Music

Image shows the cover of a children's book: The Colour of Music by Lisa Tiffen and illustrated by Matt Ottley. The cover is predominantly yellow and the illustration shows a child with brown skin and wearing headphones and dancing with eyes closed . At the bottom of the cover is a close up view of the scroll-end of a violin.

REVIEWED BY JAMIE, 8, WA

The Colour of Music by by Lisa Tiffen, illustrated by Matt Ottley, MidnightSun Publishing, ISBN: 9781925227871

The publisher provided a review copy of this picture book.

The Colour of Music shows us what music can be like for people with synaesthesia.  When some people listen to music they just enjoy the beautiful sensation, and other people see colours and pictures in their imagination. Reading the book has meant I can listen to music in a new way. 

The illustrations are colourful and have lots of feeling.  I recommend this book for any kids that love music. 


This is Jamie’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: Pinkalicious and the Sick Day

Image shows the cover of a children's book: Pinkalicious and the Sick Day by Victoria Kann. Cover illustration shows a child in pink pyjamas sitting up against a pink pillow in a pink bed with pink bedlinen. She has a thermometer in her mouth and is cuddling a teddy. On her bed is a pink tissue box, some drawings and a crayon.

REVIEWED BY LILA, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

Pinkalicious and the Sick Day by Victoria Kann, HarperCollins, ISBN 9780062246011

Lila reviewed her own copy of this book.

Have you ever read the Pinkalicious series? If you have not, you should read Pinkalicious and the Sick Day because it is funny. In this story there is a girl named Pinkalicious who is sick and her daddy tries to cheer her up.

One reason I like this book is because there are a lot of jokes. One of them is “Why did the pink panda go to the doctor? Because it was pink!” (That is why it is funny.)

Another reason I like the book is because I may want to be friends with her because she’s fun, but she may be crazy!

A third reason I like this book is because I like the pictures in the story. There are great pictures!

Do you want to find out more about this book? Visit your local library.

I recommend this book for kids ages 2-8. I give this book 9 and a half out of 10 stars!


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in authors, interviews, poetry

Kathryn Apel and What Snail Knows

Kathryn Apel lives among the gum trees, cattle and kangaroos on a Queensland grazing property, where she writes poetry, picture books and verse novels. Her previous books include Bully on the Bus, Too Many Friends, and The Bird in the Herd. Kathryn’s latest book is What Snail Knows, illustrated by Mandy Foot, and we’re thrilled to chat to her about the book today.

From the publisher:

Lucy’s glad she has Snail, the perfect pet for a lonely girl. If only she had her own shell to hide in every time she started at a new school. But this place is different. She likes her teacher, Miss Darling. She likes her classmates, especially Tahnee. She even likes Mei-hui’s van park, where she lives with Dad and Snail. This place feels like home. Can she convince her dad to stay?

You’re well-known for your verse novels, did you know you’d write this as a verse novel when the story idea first came to you?

I did not! I was talking with a friend about the ‘How Can I Help?’ unit I’d team-taught a number of years earlier, and my friend commented that it would make a great book. I was in the middle of prepping two picture books for print at the time (Up and Down on a Rainy Day and The Bird in the Herd) and I couldn’t imagine how to squeeze ‘How Can I Help?’ into a picture book. But 6 weeks later I realised it could be a verse novel. And I was very quickly excited about that idea!

How did you go about writing What Snail Knows? Did you write a plan before you begin working on the story?

My story plan unfolds as I’m writing. When I get some words on the page, I stop and think about the character more. Is the voice distinctive? What does s/he want? What could cause the problem? 

And that’s how this started … ‘It’s just you and me. We don’t need nobody else.’ I was thinking about my character and wondering how s/he could link in with ‘How Can I Help?’ when I realised I already knew her. And I didn’t need to create a whole class of characters for this story. I already had them! They were in my verse novel, Too Many Friends. The voice I had found was Lucy’s – the quiet girl who was always alone. I did wonder how I was going to fill a book when Lucy doesn’t say much … But she thinks. A lot. And she shares her thoughts with Snail.

I can tell you that there is a lot of stress when you’re 3/4 of the way through your first draft and you still don’t know what happened to your main character’s mum … or why they have to move a lot. Usually I know how a story will end … just not how it will get there. But this time I didn’t even know the ending. Would Lucy and her Dad have to move again? Why? How did things change and resolve? I had no idea, and I was very worried that I wouldn’t be able to finish this book! So – I wouldn’t say I recommend not planning …

Did you talk with Mandy Foot about the illustrations? Do you consider illustrations at all when you’re writing?

I didn’t know there were going to be illustrations – so I didn’t consider them when I wrote. And I didn’t talk to Mandy about them. But I loved them. That tangle of hair, the dirty smudges, and that sweet little face. Finding the right place for them in the story was a bit like a jigsaw – but when the puzzle was complete,  those little line drawings surprised me with the emotions they squeezed from the poetry. They captured the aloneness … And the moments of connection between Lucy and Snail, Lucy and Dad and finally Lucy and Tahnee.

Do you have a tip for young writers who would like to write a verse novel or a verse short story?

  • Say less, best. There are lots of small words we need in sentences that we don’t need in poetry. Cut them out.
  • Play with your words and where they sit on the page. 
  • Try line breaks instead of punctuation.
  • Read your writing aloud. Or better still – get someone to read it aloud to you.
  • Focus on individual poems. Write one poem. Then the next. Forget you’re writing a book and just write lots of small poems that fit together to tell a story. 

Could you tell us a bit about what you’re working on next?

I’m rather excited to have a picture book that has also just gone to print. Miss Understood, illustrated by Beau Wylie, will be released in May 2022 with Scholastic. It’s a romp of a rhyming picture book, as told by the wolf, Miss Understood. She is such a sweetie, and if you have never heard her side of things, you really must read this book, because truly, she has been … misunderstood.

I have a couple of other picture books and verse novels in various stages. And I’m a wee-bit excited about the possibility of another companion title to Too Many Friends and What Snail Knows. I’m still mulling it over in my head – and then I need to do some research. And that may involve me stepping waaaay out of my comfort zone.😬 So it may be a while, yet …

What Snail Knows is out now! Look for it at your favourite bookshop or local library.


AWESOME EXTRAS

Image shows the cover of a children's verse novel: What Snail Knows by Kathryn Apel and illustrations by Mandy Foot. The cover illustration shows a small girl in a blue pinafore dress over a yellow tshirt. She's sitting on a swing, holding up a tiny snail in her left hand. She has messy hair pulled back into a loose ponytail. There's a flowerbed underneath the swing.

See some Snail poetry by Kathryn Apel on her blog

Read an earlier interview with Kathryn Apel about another verse novel

Download the Teachers Notes from the publisher’s website

Visit Kathryn Apel’s website to learn more about her and her books.

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: Fox and Rabbit Celebrate

Image shows the cover of a children's graphic novel: Fox and Rabbit Celebrate by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudás. The cover illustration shows a giant cake with pink icing and a fox in a blue pointy party hat and two balloons, a tiny sparrow in a purple pointy party hat and a rabbit in a yellow pointy party hat and holding balloons. The sky is filled with confetti.

REVIEWED BY LUCCA, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

Fox & Rabbit Celebrate by Beth Ferry and Gergely Dudás, Amulet Books ISBN 9781419751837

Lucca read the school’s copy of this book.

Do you like books with celebration? Then Fox & Rabbit Celebrate by Beth Ferry and illustrated by Gergely Dudás is the book for you because it’s fun.

In this graphic novel, Fox and Rabbit want to make the world’s biggest, yummiest pizza for Sparrow’s birthday. But they can’t cook it until Rabbit reveals a sizzling secret that there’s a dragon close by that can help.

One reason I like this book is because Fox and Rabbit are best friends even though they are different, like how Fox likes swimming and Rabbit doesn’t. Another reason I like this book is because it has extra side stories. For example “Wonder, Wish, and Wow” is about making a rock garden. A third reason I like this book is because I like the graphic novel’s way of telling a story. For example I like how they use dialogue.

I hope you get this book and read it right away. I recommend this book for kids ages three and over. I give this book 10 out of 10 stars.


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: Isadora Moon Goes to School

Image shows the cover of a children's book: Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster. The cover illustration shows a black sky full of stars with a white full moon at the centre of the cover. Moving across the moon is a child with bat wings, a fairy wand, a yellow dress, black-and-white striped tights and black hair blowing behind her. She has fangs. Ahead of her is a pink rabbit.

REVIEWED BY ARIELLA, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

Isadora Moon Goes to School by Harriet Muncaster, Random House Books for Young Readers, ISBN 9780399558238

Ariella reviewed her own copy of this book.

Have you ever read Isadora Moon Goes to School? I think you should read it because it is about a girl who is half fairy and half vampire. So when she goes to fairy school she can not wear black. But at vampire school she can’t whoosh when she is flying; she flaps. So she goes to another school …

Do you want a cool book? This is the best one for you. One reason I love this book is because being half fairy half vampire is awesome and having a living stuffed animal is great. Another reason I like this book is because Isadora can be a good friend. For example, because she is half fairy and half vampire she can be friends with both fairies and vampires. I also think you should read this book because it is funny because Isadora has 2 breakfasts and is so full.

I hope you can get this book right away. I hope you like it!


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by kids, Glenridge Elementary School

Book review: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life

Image shows the cover of a children's book, Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell. The cover image shows a comic-style sketch on what looks like a post-it note. A girl is reading on a school bench. Behind her two other girls are talking, sharing secrets.

REVIEWED BY ALMA, SECOND GRADE, MISSOURI, USA

Dork Diaries: Tales from a Not-So-Fabulous Life by Rachel Renée Russell, Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing, ISBN 9781416980063

Alma reviewed the school’s copy of this book.

Do you like the Diary of a Wimpy Kid series? Well then, I think you should read Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not So Fabulous Life because it is funny.

This story is about a girl named Nikki who gets bullied by MacKenzie and her friend. They tried to change who she is. One reason I like this book is because it’s cool. In the story I like the part where they do a zombie dance. Another reason I like this book is because it’s funny. For example the tooth fairy gets trapped in Nikki’s pillow and Nikki throws the pillow in the washing machine. A third reason I like this book is because the words are even interesting. It looks like a real diary.

I hope you go get this book and read it right away. I recommend this for kids ages 4 to 7. I give this book 10 out of 10 stars.


Second grade students at Glenridge Elementary School (Missouri, USA) are guest reviewers at Alphabet Soup. Click here if you’d like to read more book reviews by Glenridge Elementary School. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in Book reviews by Anwen, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Great White Shark

Great White Shark by Claire Saxby and Cindy Lane

REVIEWED BY ANWEN, 8, WA

Great White Shark by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Cindy Lane, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781760651848

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

This book has a nice story that follows a shark’s day and shows facts about Great Whites. I learnt more about this species of shark from this book. Did you know that female Great Whites grow about as long as a giraffe is tall and may weigh more than a large car?

Great White Shark has amazingly good illustrations. They are so detailed and beautiful. It looks realistic because Cindy Lane used seawater, watercolours, pencil, found natural pigments, digital drawing and digital collage to make different textures. She’s done wonderful blending and she has used lots of colours in her art. It shows underwater scenes with other sea creatures and beautiful coral.

Overall, Great White Shark is a spectacular book and is suitable for all ages over four.

Check out Alphabet Soup’s interview with the illustrator, Cindy Lane.


This is Anwen’s second book review for Alphabet Soup. You can read her review of No! Never! here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!