Book reviews by kids, Book reviews by Matilda

Book review: Annie’s Snails

Annie’s Snails by Dianne Wolfer, ill. Gabriel Evans, ISBN 9781921720635, Walker Books Australia

annie's snails (cover)


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

At the Perth Writers Festival I went into a tent to see the author and the illustrator of this book. At their talk I saw how the author got the idea of the book based on a girl who was a neighbour who loved snails and I saw that neighbour at the talk too. So when I was sent a copy of this book a grin spread across my face.

Annie’s Snails is a book about a girl who loves snails. She finds some and she names them. She paints the first letters of their names on their shells and then she notices they can spell words. The snails are good spellers. She finds out that snails don’t like living in the container she’s keeping them in because it’s too hot and snails like water too so they don’t dry out. But she still wants to keep those snails — it’s a problem.

The illustrations are grey and white and there are pictures on every page so it’s a bit like a picture book but also it’s a chapter book. This book has three chapters about Annie and her snails. I really like snails like Annie does so I really liked this book.

I think Annie’s Snails would be good for 4 to 9 year olds. But 4 and 5 year olds might need a parent to read it to them.

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

Anzac Day, Book reviews by Rebecca, teachers' resources

Book Review: Light Horse Boy

Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer, ill. Brian Simmonds, ISBN 9781922089137, Fremantle Press

A review copy of this book was provided by Fremantle Press

Light Horse Boy (cover)

Lighthouse Girl (cover)This new picture book was recently launched in time for Anzac Day — Light Horse Boy is a companion book to Lighthouse Girl and both are worth buying (or borrowing — ask for them at your library).

When war is declared on Germany in 1914, Jim and his best mate, Charlie, decide to sign up for the war. Jim is not quite old enough to sign up but he lies about his age. When he resigns from his job to go to war, Jim’s boss gives him a horse called Breaker, instead of his wages. Jim and Charlie think joining the Light Horse Regiment is a bit of an adventure and that the war will be over in a few months. But they quickly discover how terrible life on the frontline really is.

Light Horse Boy is based on historical events, though the characters are fictional. (On the first page, the author explains that the characters were created “after researching the records and diaries of Australian and New Zealand soldiers who served in the ‘Great War'”.)

Jim’s story is told as a narrative with charcoal illustrations, and the book includes copies of his letters and telegrams to his sister Alice. Readers are taken back in time with old photographs, maps, and newspaper clippings.

Reading Jim’s letters is like reading letters from someone you know (your own brother, or a friend).  Through Jim’s eyes we see how war affected young Australian soldiers and their horses serving in World War I, and how hard it was for friends and family left behind.

Highly recommended.

© April 2013 “Review of Light Horse Boy” by Rebecca Newman (


Read other Anzac-themed posts on Soup blog


WA event: Book launch of LIGHT HORSE BOY

Don’t miss this family-friendly event at the State Library of WA on 4 April 2013 — the launch of Light Horse Boy by Dianne Wolfer. It’s a companion book to Lighthouse Girl and it’s a brilliant book for older readers. (We’ll be posting a review of Light Horse Boy here soon — but you can check out some sample pages on the publisher’s website in the meantime.)

Light Horse Boy invite

teachers' resources

Rosalie writers’ festival … and book trailers by kids!

Today I was at the Rosalie Writers’ Festival. Rosalie Primary School have a three-day festival every second year, where local authors and illustrators (and editors!) come in and talk to the students about their books and work.

I was lucky to meet the year 2s and 3s and watched them write some amazing poetry! (It was also fun to catch up with a bunch of authors and illustrators in the staffroom in between sessions!)

On their festival website, you can find book trailers made by the year 4 students. The one at the top of this post I especially liked, for Lighthouse Girl, by Dianne Wolfer and illustrated by Brian Simmonds. You can find more of the Rosalie students’ book trailers on the festival website. Do you have a favourite?