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

Book review: Annabel, Again

REVIEWED BY HANNAH, 12, QLD

Annabel, Again by Meg McKinlayAnnabel, Again by Meg McKinlay, Walker Books Australia, ISBN 9781925381542

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

‘Seven bags of pistachio nuts, twenty packets of flower bulbs, and every single book in the house, all 782.5 of them, in alphabetical order is what it takes.’

After her best friend Annabel moves to Queensland permanently Olivia sets off on a mission to ‘forget’ her. That is until she walks right back into class like it never happened after just one year. It’s Annabel, again, but this time … it’s a whole lot different!

Meg McKinlay, author of the award-winning A Single Stone, initially wrote this story in 2003. She believes that ‘language reflects the world’ so she made changes to address the advancement of technology over the years. Meg only wanted readers to focus on the heart of the story.

The book is written from the perspective of Olivia, showing her frustration over her once-best-friend Annabel, returning but now getting close to her once-enemy-Summer. This novel took quite a while to progress into the action. I felt myself neglecting to read it until I had reached the real core of the events, then I couldn’t put it down! I read most of the book in only one night (a new record for me!). I absolutely loved the way the emotions of Olivia were portrayed. I actually found myself feeling the energy of jealousy and resentment in favour of the main character. I wanted to jump into the book, be in the action, stand alongside the characters and resolve the conflict myself.

The whole storyline really is about such a simple yet understated aspect of life. As a tween, this type of thing isn’t new to me. People talking behind other’s backs, excluding friends and hating on people are all regular occurrences. To read about exactly this was quite thrilling and definitely entertaining!

I would recommend this book mostly to children aged 10 to 13 who like a quick read. It would also be great for holiday reading – which is coming up very soon!

Get excited for this new release of Annabel, Again.


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 Rebecca

Book review: Once There Was a Boy

Once There Was a Boy written & illustrated by Dub Leffler. Published by Magabala Books, ISBN 978 1 921248 37 5.

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

Once there was a boy (cover)

A boy lives all alone in a boat, on an island. One day, suddenly, there is someone else on the island. She eats all his sapotes. She sleeps in the hammock. He asks her not to look under the bed while he is away collecting more sapotes—but she is too curious and she does look under the bed …

This is a picture book about friendship and sharing, and how strange it is that friendship can mean happiness and also disappointments sometimes.

The illustrations really show the beauty of the island, and the stillness and sadness of the boy. I especially love the colours of the ocean and the way shadows appear in many of the illustrations. There is sense of peace at the end—and a feeling of hope.

Dub Leffler says:

“I wrote Once There Was a Boy to show kids that boys have feelings too … ”

© July 2012 “Review of Once There Was a Boy by Dub Leffler” by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)