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

Book review — Refugee: the Diary of Ali Ismail

Refugee: The Diary of Ali Ismail by Alan Sunderland, Scholastic Press, ISBN 1865049190

refugee (cover)

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Joseph borrowed this book from his school library.

Refugee is the diary of a 14-year-old boy who leaves his parents in Afghanistan to get freedom in Australia. He arrives on a boat that almost sank during the journey. It’s not easy for Ali when he gets to Australia either — he’s sent off to Woomera, which is a detention centre. Will he ever be free from Woomera and live a normal Australian life?

I didn’t know much about refugees other than bits I had heard on the news and I was interested in this story. I’d read some other My Australian Story books and when I was looking for some more on the library shelf I came across this one. I like books written as a diary because it feels like it’s really from that person’s point of view and it seems like Ali’s story is actually true. This was a great book. It was quite a long one too, and I learned that sometimes children are refugees all on their own and it’s so hard for them.

This book is pitched at boys and girls who don’t mind books that aren’t humorous. Kids that like history, current affairs and books about human rights would like this book. It’s best for readers aged 11+.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Celebrating Australia: A Year in Poetry. If 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: Taronga

Taronga by Victor Kelleher, ISBN 9780140326314, Puffin Books

Taronga (cover)

REVIEWED BY JULIA, 11, QLD

 Julia is reviewing her own copy of Taronga.

From the first page of the book Taronga, Ben is uncovered as a boy who can communicate with animals. In this futuristic story, Ben is struggling to survive in the ‘new’ unrecognisable city of Sydney. Horrible events happen leaving Ben in a tight position, will he take the chance or give up?

Along the way Ben makes enemies and friends. Elle helps Ben and together they do what they think is right. But is it the right choice?

I didn’t like this chilling story but I felt compelled to finish it, as I wanted to see if Ben and Elle made the right or the wrong choice. I found the story line worrying and distressing. It is a story of a war — a war going on between the people in Taronga Zoo and the people on the outside of the walls surrounding Taronga Zoo.

What will happen to Ben and Elle and all the animals? Will they survive or will the ‘outsiders’ take over Taronga Zoo?

Julia is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of  The Dog Who Loved a Queen.   If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines.

Happy reading!


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

Book review: The Secret Abyss

The Secret Abyss by Darrell Pitt, ISBN 9781922147967, Text Publishing

The Secret Abyss

REVIEWED BY CELINE, 11, WA

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

Imagine living in a world where an infamous villain could be around the corner. One of your long lost friends comes bleeding and gives you a message but because he is dying the messages are shuffled. Jack Mason and his allies are on a mission to capture the Chameleon, a dangerous assassin, who has escaped from prison. Somebody else, however, is involved in the case. Charles Ashgrove, who is apparently linked to an infamous terrorist group, helped the Chameleon escape to achieve numerous crimes. The first on their list is to kill the president. They have already captured an ingenious inventor to build their deadly weapon “The Whip of Fire”.

Will Jack and his allies be able to save the president? Can they catch the Chameleon and punish Charles Ashgrove in time?

Second in the series to The Firebird Mystery, The Secret Abyss was an enjoyable book with hilarious jokes, and scary villains. I was tied to the book from start to finish, experiencing the same story as the characters.

I would recommend this book to hungry bookworms who love a twist of dare and mystery. This book ended surprisingly, and I was both sad for the characters, yet happy for them as well. I would rate it a perfect score: 10/10.

Celine is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Shadow Sister. If 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 reviews by Pippa

Book review: Crooked Leg Road

Crooked Leg Road by Jennifer Walsh, ISBN 9781743316931, Allen & Unwin

crooked leg road

REVIEWED BY PIPPA, 12, WA

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

Andrea, Kitty, Martin and David are a group of friends but then David disappears. Strange men have been spotted and Andrea, Kitty and Martin all think David has been kidnapped. And there’s a new boy at school and he and his family have been acting suspiciously …

Will Andrea, Kitty and Martin ever find David?

This is the second book about these four friends but you don’t have to read the first book to enjoy this one.

Crooked Leg Road is great for readers who like thrillers and adventure books. I was surprised at the ending and it made me see the story in a different way and want to re-read it.

I recommend it to readers aged 10 to 14.

Pippa is one of our regular book reviewers. Her most recent review (if you don’t count this one!) was Verity Sparks, Lost & Found.  If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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

Book Review: The Cay

The Cay by Theodore Taylor, ISBN 9780140366204, Puffin Classics

The Cay

 

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 10, WA

Joseph’s mum borrowed this book from the library.

In The Cay, a young boy called Phillip lived in Willemstad. Because the war is on, Philip and his mother go on a boat to sail back to their old home in the USA but their ship gets bombed. The next thing Phillip remembers, he was stranded on a raft with a few biscuits, some chocolate, some water, a cat (called Stew Cat), and an old black man called Timothy. The raft lands on a cay where they have to fight for survival, hoping there’ll be a rescue.

I didn’t know this book existed until my mum pulled it out and started reading it to me. I don’t normally read books like this. The start of the book was very slow but once we’d read about three chapters the story started to run along and it was very interesting.

I liked how Timothy used his survival skills to help Phillip learn how to survive on the island. Timothy has a strong accent and it didn’t say he did but the author wrote his speaking parts the way he spoke. I thought that was a good way to imagine how he spoke.

After reading this book I’d learnt a few things like what langosta is (a type of lobster) and that you don’t need a knife to get coconuts off a tree but you do need to be able to climb.

Boys and girls aged 10 to 14 would enjoy this book, especially if they’re into books about survival. Out of 10 I would give it 8.5.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of the Don’t Look Now! series. If 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 reviews by Matilda

Book review: The Princess and the Goblin

The Princess and the Goblin by George MacDonald, ill. Arthur Hughes, ISBN 9780141332482, Puffin Books (Penguin Group)

the princess and the goblin

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 8, WA

Matilda borrowed this book from her local library.

A princess named Irene has a nurse who doesn’t let her go out after dark because she’s afraid the goblins will get Irene. Irene goes up a mysterious staircase and there is a woman at the top of the stair — her great-great grandma. But only Irene knows she’s there. This is an adventure story and it’s a bit like a fairytale with magic inside.

I loved this book because it got more exciting every night I read a chapter. I liked that Irene was 8 like me. There’s a picture at the start of most chapters and they made me think of the olden days.

It’s a very, very, very, very, very, very old story because it was first published in 1872. I’m looking forward to reading the next book in the series which is The Princess and Curdie.

I think 7 year olds to forever on would enjoy this book.

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

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

Book Review: Shadow Sister

Dragonkeeper5: Shadow Sister by Carole Wilkinson, ISBN 978922179579, Black Dog Books

Dragonkeeper 5: Shadow Sister

REVIEWED BY CELINE, 11, WA

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

Young Tao has been roaming the mountains in search of a cure of dragons’ weakness: iron, when he stumbles across his old colleague/enemy Fo Tu Deng, along with a gang of nomads. When Tao and his dragon Kai finally escape these savages, he is stuck in a dark passage with unknown ghosts prodding him and breathing cold breath on him. After they escape these ghosts, Tao and Kai are turned upon a seven-headed snake monster, whose bite is deadly, and fatal.

When Tao returns to his deserted home, at night, when the moon shines, a ghost appears. Who is this mysterious ghost? What does she seek from Tao?

All is not as it seems. When battle arrives, will Tao and his new-sought allies actually survive? Can Tao find his qi to defeat the opposition? Will Tao and Pema survive?

Full of action and adventure, Shadow Sister is impossible to put down. Reading Shadow Sister was an adventure in itself, I felt like I was Tao being pursued, haunted, and questioned. I recommend it to ages 10 upwards, but it is not suitable to sensitive children (I was haunted by the ghost and couldn’t sleep one night).

This is the best book of the series, but since I am quite sensitive, I thought this book was a little on the scary side.

In all, I rate it 99.9999999999999999%.

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