Posted in competitions, info, poetry, teachers' resources

Winter 2011 Alphabet Soup — out now!

Issue 11 cover, Alphabet Soup magazineThe eleventh issue of Alphabet Soup magazine (yay! yay!) was posted yesterday. If you are a subscriber, keep an eye on your letterbox.

Here’s what you’ll find inside the winter issue:

  • Q&A with author, Wendy Orr
  • Meet a beekeeper
  • Writing tips for kids from The Book Chook
  • Stories by Michele Purcell and Emma Cameron
  • Poetry by Edel Wignell, Jackie Hosking and Lorraine Marwood
  • Stories, poems and book reviews by kids
  • Crossword
  • Our winter writing competition
  • Our annual design-a-cover competition

and more!

Later today we’ll be posting the Q&A with Wendy Orr and on Monday we’ll be posting the winning stories from our recent story-writing competition. So stay tuned!

Subscribe to Alphabet Soup magazine

Posted in activities

Issue 10 activities: mad scientists!

"Issue 10 cover Alphabet Soup"We’ve updated the ‘Activities’ page! (You’ll find the page on the menu across the top of the blog, under the header picture).



1. PLAY with chemistry online. Check out ChemiCroc—a cool website for primary school kids, with online activities.

2. Check out the International Year of Chemistry 2011: Australia website. There are some chemistry-related word searches and activities.

3. HANDS-ON CHEMISTRY: Visit the CSIRO website to see how you can make your own bath bombs. (Give as gifts, or drop one in your own bath and watch it FIZZ!)

4. TRY a YUMMY EXPERIMENT: experiment with reactions—visit the Science Wizard’s website to find out how to make your own sherbet. Yum! (You’ll find citric acid in the grocery store,  near tartaric acid.)

5. READ some chemistry-themed books! We like George’s Marvellous Medicine by Roald Dahl. Can you think of any others? Click here to tell us your favourites, and we’ll add them to the list!


Our listening list is compiled by Danielle Joynt, from Cantaris. Danielle has also included comments for some of these pieces. (Tip: Ask about CDs at your public library—libraries often have a good collection of CDs for loan if you prefer not to buy.)


"Music for the Royal Fireworks cover"This is a suite—originally for wind-band and later re-scored for orchestra—composed by George Frederic Handel in 1749. The music was commissioned by King George ll of Great Britain to celebrate the end of the War Of Austrian Succession and the signing of the treaty of Aix-la-Chapelle in 1748.

The music was first publicly performed in rehearsal on 21st April 1749 in Vauxhall Gardens, London. Over twelve thousand people attended the rehearsal, causing a three hour traffic jam of carriages, after the central arch  on the newly built London Bridge collapsed.

During the actual concert on the 27th April, the musicians were housed in a purpose-built theatre which caught fire after the collapse of a bas-relief scultpure of King George during the fireworks!


In 2003, researchers in Italy began transforming the low-frequency seismic rumblings of volcanoes into musical scores in an effort to predict when the volcanoes would erupt. Researchers created a concerto from the underground movements of Mount Etna in Sicily and created melodies from Tungurahua in Ecuador. By correlating music with precise volcanic activity, researchers hope to learn the signature tune of an imminent eruption.

3. CARL PHILIPP EMMANUEL BACH (1714-88) compared the music of his father’s generation with “overly-spiced cooking”.

Erik Satie likened the chromaticism of Wagner’s music to sauerkraut!

Sergei Prokofiev compared the cloyingly sweet berries he sampled on a visit to the country with Chopin’s “effete” nocturnes.


Love Potion Number 9 is a classic popular song written in 1959 by Jerry Leiber and Mike Stoller. It was originally performed by The Clovers that year. The well-known version was recorded by The Searchers in 1963.

5. THE ENGLISH COMPOSER EDWARD ELGAR is said to have believed that the tune of the first of his “Pomp and Circumstance” marches would “knock ‘em flat”. As an amateur chemist, he proved that literally …

"Pomp and Circumstance cover"His friend, the conductor and composer William Henry Reed, tells how Elgar delighted in making a ‘phosphoric concoction’ which would explode spontaneously when dry—possibly Armstrong’s mixture, red phosphorus and potassium chlorate, used in toy cap guns. One day, Reed says, Elgar made a batch of the stuff but then musical inspiration struck. He put the mixture into a metal basin and dumped it in the water butt before returning to the house.

‘Just as he was getting on famously,’ wrote Reed, ‘writing in horn and trumpet parts, and mapping out wood-wind, a sudden and unexpected crash, as of all the percussion in all the orchestras on earth, shook the room … The water-butt had blown up: the hoops were rent: the staves flew in all directions; and the liberated water went down the drive in a solid wall. Silence reigned for a few seconds. Then all the dogs in Herefordshire gave tongue.’


See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 9 (summer 2010).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 8 (spring 2010).

See the activities and the themed listening list for issue 7 (winter 2010).

Posted in activities, Events, info, teachers' resources

Indigenous Literacy Day, 1 September 2010

Indigenous Literacy Day aims to help raise funds to raise literacy levels and improve the lives and opportunities of Indigenous Australians living in remote and isolated regions. On 1 September our editor will be in Perth city checking out ILD events organised by Fremantle Press.

"Issue 8 cover Alphabet Soup magazine"On 1 September 2010 Alphabet Soup magazine will donate 10% of all orders received on that day (subscription and single issue orders) to the Indigenous Literacy Project.

If you’ve been thinking about buying a subscription, make sure you place an order on Wednesday! You can subscribe and order single copies of the magazine via our website. (Actually, if you order any day this week and add a note marking it ‘ILD order’, we’ll count it with the orders for 1 Sept!)

A 1-year subscription (4 issues) is only $29.80.

Posted in competitions, info, poetry, teachers' resources

Spring issue 2010 out Monday 23 August!

Alphabet Soup magazine will be arriving in subscribers’ letterboxes from Monday 23rd August.

The spring issue will have you humming a happy tune!"Issue 8 cover (spring 2010)"

  • Meet Dr John Long, palaeontologist and author
  • stories and poems by adults and children
  • Verse round for 2 or 4 voices
  • meet professional viola player, Helen Tuckey
  • The Book Chook’s column: ‘How to write funny stories’
  • book reviews
  • crossword
  • writing competition – win a $20 book voucher!
  • design-a-cover competition!

Alphabet Soup magazine will be available from our WA stockists from Tuesday 24 August. (Westbooks, Zero to Ten, The Well Bookshop Shenton Park.) Or  subscribe via the magazine’s website!

Posted in competitions, info, teachers' resources

Issue 8, coming soon!

Issue 8 of Alphabet Soup magazine will be out in a few weeks, and it has us humming a happy tune. It will be heading off to the printer very soon—here’s a taste of what you’ll find inside.

  • Q&A with John Long, author and palaeontologist
  • a round chant in four parts you can try with your friends
  • Stories, poems and book recommendations
  • crossword
  • kids’ writing and artwork (stories, poems, book reviews and artwork)
  • The Book Chook’s latest writing tips (How to write funny stories)
  • Helen Tuckey, talking about playing the viola
  • KID’S COMPETITIONS: our spring writing competition and your last chance to enter our design-a-cover comp

and more!

"Books from Fremantle Press"

Do you subscribe to Alphabet Soup? The winner of our issue 8 subscriber draw will receive a $200 book pack from Fremantle Press. If you’d like to subscribe, you can subscribe online (and order single copies of the magazine) via our website. 🙂

Posted in authors, Events, illustrator, info, teachers' resources

The celebrations are over!

Well, the Undercover Readers Club is now officially launched. In case you missed it — we’ve had children’s authors, poets and illustrators visiting the blog to talk about what they used to read undercover when they were growing up.

Tomorrow we’ll post a list of all the books mentioned, in case you’d like to look for them the next time you’re at a library or book shop.

And if you came late to the tour, here’s a list of all our visitors. Thanks for helping us launch the Undercover Readers Club. Hurrah!

~ Rebecca

Authors, poets and illustrators who visited:

Sheryl Gwyther
Aleesah Darlison
Katrina Germein
The Book Chook
Sandy Fussell
Sue Walker
Dee White
Chris Nixon
Kathryn Apel
Jackie Hosking
Hazel Edwards
Wendy Orr
Duncan Ball
Karen Collum
Robyn Opie
Angela Sunde

Posted in Events, teachers' resources


"Undercover Readers logo"Today we are officially launching our new Undercover Readers Club!

What is Undercover Readers?
Undercover Readers is the book review club for kids under 12 – and it’s free to join! The club is run through Alphabet Soup magazine. Club members write book reviews, and send them in to Alphabet Soup for publication in the magazine, and/or on the magazine’s blog at Members can review their own books, books they borrow from the library, or books that we send.

Who can join?
Individual children can join, with their parent’s permission. A teacher can sign up their primary school class.

What does it cost to join Undercover Readers?
Membership is free!

Download the information pack (PDF) from the home page of the Alphabet Soup website.

To celebrate the launch of Undercover Readers, we have invited a different author or illustrator to visit the blog every day until 29 June. They’ll be sharing stories about what they used to read under the covers after ‘lights out’ when they were growing up.  Today Sheryl Gwyther is sharing her undercover reader story with us. Be sure to check back every day for other authors and illustrators!

What do YOU like to read after ‘lights out’ at your house?