Book reviews by Joshua, Book reviews by kids

Book review: When the War Came Home

Image shows the cover of a children's historical novel: When the War Came Home by Lesley Parr. The cover illustration shows two girls and a boy running across a field with blue skies above and the scene is framed with red poppies.


When the War Came Home by Lesley Parr, Bloomsbury Publishing, ISBN 9781526621009

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

World War I has ended. Twelve-year-old Natalie is outraged at her mother, Ffion, who was fired from work and is a month overdue on rent. On top of that, they are moving away to Ysgol Ynysfach, to her uncle’s smallhold. Her mother is an advocate for the underdog but she gets herself into trouble. Natty meets her cousins Nerys, who is a know-it-all and Huw, a seventeen year old, who was in the war. In the park, Natty meets two other war veterans, Johnny and Charles. Johnny has lost his memory, known as hysterical fugue, and the doctors tried everything they could think of to help him. Natty wants to help. But how can she?

I enjoyed this novel because I can relate to Natty and how she feels emotionally and personally. It also shows the growth and development of Natty’s mind and beliefs. The author relates to the audience, making it personal, bringing the story to life. As it is a historical fiction novel I really appreciated getting an inside view of the lifestyles back then.

In this captivating book, follow Natty’s adventure in finding her purpose and her confidence. I rate this five out of five, for ages 9 to 15.

Joshua is a regular contributor to Alphabet Soup. Read more of Joshua‘s reviews here If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Matilda

Book review: In the Lamplight

In the Lamplight by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Brian SimmondsREVIEWED BY MATILDA, 12, WA

In the Lamplight by Dianne Wolfer, illustrated by Brian Simmonds, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925591224 

Matilda borrowed this book from the library. 

This is a diary-style illustrated book about World War I. It’s by the same illustrator and author of Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy.

In the Lamplight is about a girl called Rose growing up in England. She joined the hospital to help out, hoping to become a nurse one day. In her diary you see her hopes and ambitions, postcards, photographs, and letters. There are also letters from soldiers to their loved ones, and sometimes from her brother to her. The book switches between a diary and a novel format.

I liked how it shows a woman’s perspective of the war and how young some of the helpers were.

Readers who enjoyed Lighthouse Girl and Light Horse Boy will want to read this book. I’d recommend it for 9 to 13 year olds.

Read a sample chapter at the publisher’s website.  

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!