Book reviews by Rebecca

Book review: Raven’s Mountain by Wendy Orr

Raven’s Mountain by Wendy Orr, Allen and Unwin, ISBN 9781742374659

This book was selected for review from the editor’s own collection.

"Raven's Mountain (cover)"

Raven isn’t thrilled about moving—and leaving her friends behind. When her step-dad decides to take Raven and her sister Lily mountain climbing they aren’t thrilled about that, either. But when Raven gets to the top first, she is ecstatic and does a

crazy jumping, waving my arms, spinning, Top-of-the-World Dance

and that’s when the rock tilts and everything goes wrong.

Raven has to find her way back down the mountain on her own to find help for Lily and Scott before it’s too late. She’ll have to summon up enough strength and courage to keep going. And going.

While Raven is trying to make her way down the mountin, she has a lot of time to think—she worries about Scott and Lily, she thinks about the friends back in Cottonwood Bluffs, her mum, the bear family they saw on the way up the mountain (and the advice Scott gave her about bears), and her dad who left the family when Raven was very young. It’s a physically and emotionally demanding journey for Raven but she is determine to save her sister and step-dad.

I didn’t want to put this book down. It’s highly recommended if you love adventure and stories of bravery … and possibly if you love being outdoors and mountain climbing—though hopefully you’ll never find yourself in Raven’s situation!

© June 2011 “Review of Raven’s Mountain by Helga Visser”, reviewed by Rebecca Newman (Alphabet Soup magazine)
teachers' resources

Picture book review: Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy

Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, by Sue Whiting, illustrated by Sarah Davis.

CD (included)* narrated by Antonia Kidman. Published by New Frontier Publishing.

"Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, book cover"


It’s a fairy tale book with a CD, about two adults that work as candy makers, their names were Marcus and  Mary.

The King comes and tastes the lollies, he loves them so much he says he’ll take fifty jars.

Marcus was worried how they would make them in time and a fairy overheard.

But will the fairy come to save the day?

I liked the book because I liked the happy ending and the colourful pictures.

[If you’d like to take a peek at a few pages of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, then visit the illustrator’s website. *CD includes the music of Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy, from The Nutcracker Ballet by Tchaikovsky. ]

"Undercover Readers Club logo"Olivia is a member of our Undercover Readers Club, a book reviewers’ club for kids. (The book was provided by the publisher, New Frontier Publishing.) If you or your class would like to join the club, you can download an information pack (PDF) from the magazine’s website. Membership is free!


Winner of ‘Snowy’s Christmas’ Giveaway

Thank you to everyone who entered our Snowy’s Christmas picture book giveaway.Snowy's Christmas, book cover Everyone who emailed us with the correct answer had an entry in the draw. (The correct answer  was: 24 December, or Christmas Eve).

The winner of the draw was Carol Warner, Western Australia – we’ll be posting a copy of Snowy’s Christmas to her this week. Congratulations Carol!

Keep an eye on Soup Blog as we’ll be running more giveaways in the lead up to Christmas!


authors, illustrator

Author website: Hazel Edwards

book cover
book cover

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake Answering Questions!

There’s a Hippopotamus on Our Roof Eating Cake (by Hazel Edwards and illustrated by Deborah Niland) celebrates its 30th birthday this year. Do you have a question you’d like to ask the hippo? You can ask away on Hazel’s website! (You can also find out the answers to to questions from other kids, like: What kind of cake is it? and Do you talk?)

The site also has news about Hazel’s latest picture book Flight of the Bumblebee, which comes with a CD of Antonia Kidman reading the story, and Rimsky-Korsakov’s famous music Flight of the Bumblebee.

authors, competitions


Write-a-Book-in-a-Day is a fundraiser by the Katharine Susannah Prichard Writers Centre and Princess Margaret Hospital Foundation.

Sponsored teams write a children’s book in a day, raising funds 40% for KSPWC and 60% for Children’s Hospitals in each Australian State. Additionally a copy of each finished book will be donated to the hospital library. Teams may compete from school, home, office, library, telecentre or elsewhere.

Write-a-Book-in-a-Day runs from April to the end of August and the teams of writers nominate their day to write a children’s book. (Teams will be given some details about the subject of the book they are to write.)

Teams of 5-10 people will obtain sponsorship (a minimum of $300 per team to enter) and will compete for awards in the following sections-

* Primary School – Minimum 2000 words

* Under 18 – minimum 4000 words

* 18 and over – minimum 8000 words

In addition there will be an award for the highest sponsorship.

A booklet containing rules, hints and judging criteria can be found at