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Posts Tagged ‘Adventure’

To the lighthouse (book cover)REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

To the Lighthouse by Cristy Burne,
ill. Amanda Burnett, 
Fremantle Press,
ISBN 9781925164619

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

Isaac and Emmy are two very different kids. They meet on Rottnest Island when their families are on holiday. Isaac is a shy, nervous boy, but Emmy is an extravagant daredevil. Emmy wants Isaac to begin a game of Dare — involving jumping into icy cold water, riding all the way to the lighthouse, and riding there at night by themselves. It’s dark, and it’s miles and miles away. Isaac’s Mum is very overprotective and she worries a lot. Luckily she doesn’t know they’re planning to go to the lighthouse at night …

It’s great to read a book that is set in WA, instead of the usual places in kids’ books (like England or Sydney). The illustrations are in black and white and appear about once in every chapter. They suit the story — they’re a bit quirky, like the characters in the book.

To the Lighthouse would be a good book for 7 to 10 year olds.


Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. You can read Matilda’s other reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Every week we’ve featured a book creator who answered one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.) This is our last Pass the Book Baton post for 2016 but — after a summer break — we’ll be continuing with the series in 2017.

 

Today the book baton is passed to author Wendy Orr. Wendy’s books have been published in 25 countries and languages and have won awards in Australia and overseas. Her Nim’s Island books were made into movies. Wendy Orr’s latest book is Dragonfly Song. (You can read an excerpt if you go to the publisher’s site.)

Here are some of Wendy Orr’s book covers:

Last week Anna Ciddor asked:
I love to find out how other authors work. There are two parts to my question. Firstly, do you plan the whole book, including the end, before you begin (like I do), or are you one of those authors who start writing without knowing the ending? And secondly, once you begin writing, do you slow yourself down with research and re-writing (like I do), or are you one of those amazing authors who can work fast?

Wendy answers:
I agree with Anna Ciddor that it’s fascinating to find out how other authors work! It always seems to bear out the Somerset Maugham quote that there are three rules for writing a novel, but nobody knows what they are. I’m also intrigued — or depressed, depending on the day — that as soon as I figure out my own rules, I start a new book and the rules change. However, I always need to know several things before I start the book — the first scene and first line, a climactic scene, and the ending. Details about the ending sometimes change, but I have to know where it’s heading. And in general, I seem to be planning more now than I used to. For Dragonfly Song, when my editor asked if the first deadline was achievable, I made a list of all the scenes from where I was till the end. It was amazingly helpful (who knew!). Of course there were still surprises and aha! moments of insight, but I stuck to it fairly closely. Admittedly the book had been freewheeling in my head for the previous year.

As for speed — how I envy those fast writers! I’m very slow. It’s true I’ve got a huge list of books, but I’ve been writing for 30 years, and many of my early books were small. Dragonfly Song took 22 months, (ignoring several false starts over the previous 5 years) without working on anything else. I rewrite obsessively — and oh yes, the research! The two main problems are that I don’t always know what I need till I find it, and conversely, sometimes some little fact really has to be clarified before I can continue with the story. Then down the rabbit hole I go … And then have to rewrite again because there was too much research showing, and sometimes obscure facts have to be bent to suit the story! But what a feeling when I work something out to suit the story, thinking I’ve purely made it up — and then find the research that says my theory is right!

But all I really care about once a book finished is that the reader enjoys it and believes in it while they’re reading.

Happy reading!

Wendy

www.wendyorr.com


ERIC VALE OFF THE RAILSAnd now Wendy Orr passes the baton to the next visitor — Michael Gerard Bauer. Michael is an award-winning author who writes humorous books for children and young adults.

Wendy asks:
I’m curious whether, like me, you draw on different parts of yourself to create your characters (even if other people might not be able to see that ‘seed’   that started the process.) Do you use any techniques to find these beginnings, or does the character appear to grow spontaneously, and you only recognise later the bit that sparked its creation?

The series will be taking a break over the summer school holidays. We’ll leave Michael Gerard Bauer with some thinking music while he considers Wendy’s question …

And Pass the Book Baton will resume in 2017 with his answer.

See you next year! (While you’re waiting, you can check out all the book creators who have had the baton so far.)

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PASS THE BOOK BATON

It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Alphabet Soup features a book creator every Friday who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today bestselling author AL Tait takes the baton. AL Tait is the author of The Mapmaker Chronicles — a series full of danger and adventure.

The Mapmaker Chronicles

Last week Paula Hayes posed a question (actually two questions!) for AL Tait. She asks:

Q. Which book in your Mapmaker Chronicles series have you enjoyed writing the most?

A. It’s funny, but kids always ask me which of the three books are my favourite, and I always give the same answer: I love them all. But then, I qualify that answer. I love the first book a little bit more because that’s where I met all of my characters for the first time. As someone who doesn’t plot very much, I’m really watching the story unfold and the characters develop in much the same way as the readers are.

Q. Does creating a series get easier or harder to achieve?
I think the most difficult part of any series is the middle. But then I feel the same way about every book I write — the middle (act two) is the most difficult section to write. I’m in the process of writing a brand new series at the moment and I’ve whisked my way through book one, and am about to climb the mountain that is book two. Writing a series does teach you the value of at least having an outline to work from, even if you don’t plot every detail.


BrobotAnd now AL Tait passes the baton to the next Friday visitor — James Foley. James is an illustrator and an author-illustrator. His most recent book is a graphic novel, Brobot.

AL asks:
You started out as an illustrator — what made you decide to write In The Lion and Brobot yourself? As an author-illustrator, do you start with the words for a story or start with the pictures?

Check in every Friday for questions and answers from children’s authors and illustrators. See you next week!


Visit The Mapmaker Chronicles website for more about AL Tait and her books. You can read an earlier interview with AL Tait at Alphabet Soup, too.

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REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 12, WA

The Island of Dr Libris

The Island of Dr Libris by Chris Grabenstein, Random House Children’s Books, ISBN 9780553538434

Joseph borrowed this book from his public library.

I really enjoyed Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library (another book by the same author) so I was excited to find this book at the library. Although I enjoyed it, it wasn’t as good as Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library, which was my favourite book this year.

In this book: In the holidays Billy has to go to a boring cabin with his mum instead of staying at the apartment with his dad. Billy’s mum rented the cabin from Dr Libris, her university professor, for a very good price and she’s going to sit and work on her dissertation all holidays. Billy has to entertain himself, so when he smashes his iPhone and there is no other technology he has to amuse himself by reading books from Dr Libris’ giant collection. But as he starts reading he can hear strange sounds coming from the island in the middle of the lake. It’s almost as if the stories he’s reading are coming to life. Together with Walter — a boy he met around the cabins — he goes to investigate what’s happening on the island.

This is a fantasy adventure I would recommended for ages 10+ because it has quite a lot going on in the book and you need to be able to follow it. You’ll appreciate it best if you already know about well-known characters from classic literature like Robin Hood, Tom Sawyer and others.


Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Escape from Mr Lemoncello’s Library. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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REVIEWED BY GEORGIE, 11, WA

Figgy in the World (cover)

Figgy in the World by Tamsin Janu, Omnibus Books, ISBN 9781742990453

Tamsin Janu is a fantastic writer! The book Figgy in the World is about how Figgy needs to find medicine for her Grandma Ama because she has an illness that she won’t tell her about. When you start to read the book Figgy in the World you will find that you can’t put it down!

The story-line of this novel is that Figgy lives in a village in Ghana (Africa) and needs to quickly save her Grandma Ama before she dies. In order to find the medicine for her Grandma, Figgy has to travel all the way to America and then back, with the medicine to save her Grandma before she dies. Alongside her is her goat Kwame who is more like her best friend. However on the journey she meets Nana who becomes her best friend.

Figgy met Nana after he had ran away from his papa. Figgy saw him sitting on the side of the road in the Volta Reigns. He was living in a village with his ‘family’ but none of them were biologically related to him. When Figgy saw Nana she didn’t really know what Nana was doing but then he said, “Would you like to buy some peanuts?”. Figgy had dropped all her money down a drain already so she said, “Sorry, I can’t, I just dropped all my money down the drain and I need to get to America before my Grandma Ama dies.” Nana then wanted to help Figgy, so he ran away from his village without anyone seeing him go. He had only just started his journey with Figgy.

I have never read a book as imaginative as this one. Tamsin Janu uses outstanding abilities to describe scenes in this book that makes you feel like you are there with Figgy and Nana. The fabulous thing about this book is how Tamsin Janu describes the towns and places that Figgy and Nana visit, especially the Orphanage. Nana used to live in this Orphanage when he ran away from his Papa, and when they returned all the children were so delighted to see them it made me want to cry.

I would recommend Figgy in the World for ages 10+, or children slightly younger who can really have an imagination and link the descriptive words to envisaging the scenes Tamsin Janu is writing about. The genre would be drama, and maybe some death too. This book was outstanding and I would definitely read it again! I will surely be reading more of Tamsin Janu’s books. With normal life themes such as friendship, love and death encompassed in this book, I thought it was outstanding and I look forward to reading more of Tamsin Janu’s books in the future.

This is Georgie’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. If you’d like to read more book reviews by Beaconsfield Primary students, you can click on ‘Beaconsfield Primary School’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Rescue on Nim’s Island by Wendy Orr, pictures by Geoff Kelly, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781743316788

rescue on nim's island

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

Matilda borrowed a copy of this book from her local library.

I read this book because I like all the other books I’ve read by Wendy Orr so far.

There are scientists coming to the island. So far Nim, Jack and Alex have kept the island a secret but now Jack has discovered something on the island and he wants other scientists to come. One of the scientists brings a daughter called Tiffany and when everyone goes exploring in a cave, Tiffany gets stuck …

Rescue on Nim’s Island is not a follow-on book from Nim at Sea, it follows on from the second Nim film (Return to Nim’s Island) instead. I was surprised that it didn’t follow on from Nim at Sea.

People who like to take risks will like this book because Rescue on Nim’s Island is full of risks. It would suit kids 8+.

Matilda is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  Fantastic Mr Fox (audiobook). If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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