Book reviews by Rebecca

Book Review: Mbobo Tree

Mbobo Tree by Glenda Millard, ill. Annie White. Scholastic Press for Scholastic Australia, ISBN 9781741693515

A review copy of this book was sent to us from the publisher.

"Mbobo tree (cover)"

Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo is found as a baby, swinging in the branches of the tree on the crest of a hill. Like the tree, the baby belongs to no-one and everyone. She grows up in the village and shares in the dancing and celebrating and mourning but she never speaks. The tree where she was found is a source of joy and life for the village and the animals that live around it. One day the tree is threatened—can Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo’s bravery save the village?

This story is told in the style of a folktale or a myth and it includes some wonderful description.

I like this sentence—

They gave her a name that was longer than she was: Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo.


Late at night, when the moon was as round and yellow as a cornmeal pancake, Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo sat by her window.

The illustrations are in oils on canvas and I love how you can see the texture of the canvas showing through on many of the pages. My favourite pages show Tiranambo Adesimbo Mbobo and the villagers dancing.

This is a good story with a bit of mystery about it. Mbobo Tree is now on the shelf with my favourite picture books.

© July  2011 “Review of Mbobo Tree by Glenda Millard, ill. Annie White”, reviewed by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)
Book reviews by Rebecca, teachers' resources

Book Review: The Last Viking

The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen and illustrated James Foley. Published by Fremantle Press, ISBN 971921888106.
(A review copy of this book was sent to us by the publisher.)

"The Last Viking (cover)"Josh’s pop is always talking about ‘exciting stuff like Vikings, and Spitfires and Redcoats, though not usually when Nan’s around.’ Josh is staying with Nan and Pop for the holidays and that’s when he decides to become a Viking, and change his name to Knut. Although he’s not very brave, when trouble arrives, Josh summons up some Viking courage and discovers just how brave he really is.

If you don’t know anything about Vikings yet, you’ll know heaps about them by the time you finish The Last Viking. The illustrations are fun and cartoon-like and if you’re a super sleuth, you’ll notice that on some of the pages there are messages written in code—rune carvings. At the back of the book (on the endpapers) you’ll find the key to crack the code.

Keep an eye out for the ravens in the book, too. In Norse mythology they are Odin’s messengers, and in The Last Viking, they keep the Viking gods updated on Josh/Knut’s progress.

The Last Viking is an exciting adventure about courage, imagination and dealing with bullies.

Time to go a-viking!

PS Check out The Last Viking blog where the author and illustrator talk about creating The Last Viking. The blog also has Viking activities and teacher’s notes.

© June 2011 “Review of The Last Viking by Norman Jorgensen & James Foley” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)