Posted in competitions

Guinness World Records 2021 (+ giveaway)

We know many of our readers are fans of the Guinness World Records books and with the release of the 2021 edition we’re excited to share a peek at one of the records – a record that’s bookish, and speedy … and involves knocking things down! We’re also thrilled to be collaborating with the publisher for a Guinness World Records 2021 giveaway. *** THIS GIVEAWAY HAS NOW CLOSED***

From the publisher:

– Travel through the Solar System and see the planets come to life with a free augmented-reality feature
– Encounter the cutest, weirdest, most dangerous and exotic creatures on our home planet
– Meet the world’s tallest, shortest, hairiest and heaviest humans
– Marvel at the latest high scores, speed runs and players at the top of their game in eSports and beyond
– Get the lowdown on the world’s most successful and prolific actors, musicians, TV stars and influencers
– Review the greatest sports achievements from the past year and celebrate today’s top athletes

Check out this bookish record, featured in Guinness World Records 2021:

Most books toppled in a domino fashion: Kmart Australia took an hour to set up 3000 copies of Guinness World Records — before knocking them all over — at their annual conference on 31 October 2018 in Queenstown, New Zealand. A total of 334 employees took part, beating the previous best of 2500, set by Aconex (AUS) set on 20 July 2017.
Extracted from Guinness World Records 2021, published by Pan Macmillan Australia (available now!)

Want to win a copy of Guinness World Records 2021? We have three copies of the book to giveaway, thanks to Pan MacMillan Australia. Here’s how to enter:

  • Email editor@alphabetsoup.net.au with GWR2021 in the subject line. In the body of the email state your name.
  • Entries close 11.59pm (AWST) on 28 September 2020.
  • The winners will be contacted by email and we will request a postal address at that time. Winners’ names and Australian states will be announced on Alphabet Soup’s blog on Tuesday 29 September 2021.
  • Entrants must be aged 18 or over (children can ask an adult to enter on their behalf).
  • The prize will only be posted to an Australian address.
  • See Terms & conditions for more information.

Good luck!

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

Book review: Minecraft Guide to Survival

MINECRAFT GUIDE TO SURVIVAL by MojangREVIEWED BY KOBE, 9, WA

Minecraft Guide to: Survival by Mojang AB, Egmont UK, ISBN 9781405296502

Kobe reviewed her own copy of this book.

ARGH! You just can’t find the right book to guide you through Survival Mode in Minecraft, what should you do? Well, I’ve got the perfect solution for you: read the amazing, fantastic, and spectacular Minecraft Guide to: Survival book! This official book is developed by Mojang, the creators of Minecraft and it is absolutely the unmistakable guide to Survival Mode in Minecraft with every piece of info and tips!

I believe that this book is totally and utterly the most ultimate Survival guide you can wish for! There, solved your problem, but here comes another, how do you use the book? Using the book is quite easy because all you need to do is read the book through and if you come across ANY problems, really look and seek some information to help yourself to any situations you have! How simple is that?

Now imagine you’re playing just fine, hold on! What’s that thing right next to you? Hmm, looks like some sort of creature that swims in water, EEK! It also has some creepy teeth and weird eyes! That’s exactly what happened to me! I was doing amazingly well looking at the stream I was next to behind my tree, then weird tentacles rose out of the water and with circle of teeth! But how could I know that it was only a squid rather than a nerve racking monster without this amazing guide book? If I had that book at that time, I wouldn’t be so creeped out!

Now you can immediately see how your brain is urging you to get that book! I’m just saying, you are not going to survive in Survival Mode for that long if you’re a beginner and you haven’t gotten this book already because when I tried Survival without the book, it was only a matter of time before a creeper exploded right next to me, so I died.

Now I am 100% sure you are going to get this book as soon as possible! Have a good time reading, adventurous reader!


Kobe is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews hereTo send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Oxley Christian College

Book review: Koala

Koala by Claire Saxby and Julie Vivas. Image: picture book with blue sky background and an illustration of a koala in the crook of a gumtree branch. REVIEWED BY CINDY, 7, VIC
Koala by Claire Saxby,
illustrated by Julie Vivas,
Walker Books,
ISBN 9781925126396

Cindy read a copy of this book in her school library.

A koala mum ignores her own little baby koala and says ‘Climb, little koala, it’s time to find your own way’.

Why can’t Koala jump back into his mother’s pouch now? Will his mother come to save him if he falls off the branches on his way to find his own home?

This book is a story about a young koala and his mother advising him about what he should be able to do as he’s growing up.

The book has the extra features of non-fiction text and a poem on each page.

I recommend this book for kids who love koalas, particularly kids who are 3-7 years old. I give this book a rating of 8 out of 10.


If you’d like to read more book reviews by Oxley Christian College students, you can click on ‘Oxley Christian College’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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

Book review: Do not lick this book

Do not lick this bookREVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

Do not lick this book by Idan Ben-Barak, illustrated by Julian Frost, A & U Children’s, ISBN 9781760293055

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

This picture book is an information book about germs — how small they are, and where you’ll find them. This is an interactive book and as part of the story you have to take Min (a microbe) on an adventure. Do not lick this book includes photographs taken with a microscope to show close-ups of paper, teeth, your shirt, and your belly button (your skin), as well as comic-style illustrations.

I like how it turns a serious topic into a fun story with cute germ characters. I found the teeth page very interesting with the close-up view of your teeth.

This book is bright, funny, and child-friendly. It’s great for ages 4+. I’m  11 and I still found it entertaining and interesting. So did my mum (and she’s 43).


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!

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

Book review: Amazing animals of Australia’s national parks

REVIEWED BY MATILDA, 11, WA

Amazing animals of Australia's national parks.Amazing Animals of Australia’s National Parks by Gina M Newton, National Library of Australia, ISBN 9780642278883

Matilda received a copy of this book from the publisher.

In this nonfiction book about Australian animals, there is one page for each animal with the headings:

What is it?

Where does it live? and

What is its life like?

I like the way the book is split up into the climates that the animals live in and the photographs are extremely professional. There is a ‘how to use this book’ page, which is really helpful for understanding certain symbols used in the book.

My favourite animal in this book was the Rufous Bettong (Aepyprymnus rufescens). This animal lives in woodlands, grasslands and forests.

I would recommend this book to anyone who loves animals and wants to know more about Australian animals.


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!

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

Book review: Letters and Numbers

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 12, WA

Letters and Numbers book cover

Joseph reviewed his own copy of this book.

Letters and Numbers by Armand Jammot, Hardie Grant Books, ISBN 9781742700687

This book includes actual rounds of puzzles from the tv show Letters and Numbers (in the UK the same show is called Countdown). It consists of letter games (you are allocated letters and you have to make the longest word you can), number games (you are given a list of numbers to use and you can use any mathematical operation to arrive at a target number), and ‘word mixes’ (like a single crossword clue, plus a list of letters and you must solve the crossword clue by rearranging the letters to reveal the right word).

Each player is on their own when attempting the puzzles and it’s a competition to see who’s the best at each puzzle.

You have to complete each puzzle in 30 seconds, but in my family we always play for one minute. That way the youngest family members have more of a chance. I always like to play a round at dinner time with all my family having a go. The puzzles are challenging for all ages.

In the book there are 50 rounds of puzzles and the answers from the tv contestants and tv ‘masters’ are included at the back of the book.

I would recommend this book for families with children 9 and above, because younger kids probably won’t keep up with the style of puzzles.

I would rate this book 9 out of 10 because I thoroughly enjoy playing it.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Mister Cassowary. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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

Book review: Australian Kids Through the Years

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Australian Kids Through the Years

Australian Kids Through the Years by Tania McCartney, ill. Andrew Joyner, NLA Publishing, ISBN 9780642278593

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

Australian Kids Through the Years is an easy-to-read, informative, and beautifully illustrated picture book about Australia’s history. It is taken from the point of view of kids from different time periods.

The book has a different era every four pages — the first two include a brief description, and the next two are a setting from the era.

This book feels light in mood. The illustrations are much like colourful cartoons, with clear yet complex pictures. You might recognise the illustrator from Too Many Elephants in This House (a picture book written by Ursula Dubosarsky). My favourite pages in the book are the 1990s — everything seems modern but it’s still different from how things are now.

At the end of the book there is a summary of each time period, including photographs and paintings from each time.

I like that you can extract lots of information really easily. This is a great book for kids aged 7+ because of the easy language and because it’s fun to read.

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

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

Book review: Ugly by Robert Hoge

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Ugly (cover)

Ugly by Robert Hoge, Hachette Australia, ISBN 9780733634338

Joseph borrowed a copy of this book from his local library.

Ugly is Robert Hoge’s autobiography (this is the edition for children). It starts with Robert being born at the hospital and there’s a debate about whether or not his parents will even take him home because he has a tumour on his face and there’s something wrong with his legs. Eventually his brothers and sisters vote to keep him, and he does come home.

In the book you learn about his early childhood, primary school and high school years. There’s a lot about how he made friends and overcame teasing, lots of operations and walking with artificial legs. There’s a list of nicknames he was called in high school (some are good and some are bad).

This was a very interesting book and I liked the attitude that we’re all different in some way and there’s always a way to overcome differences. I would have liked the book to be longer, and I would have liked to read something about Robert after high school and into adulthood.

Mature readers aged 9 and above would enjoy this book and learning about Robert’s challenges in childhood.

Read an extract from Ugly on the publisher’s site.


Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Posted in book reviews, Book reviews by kids, Oxley Christian College

Book review: Emu

REVIEWED BY ANTONY, 9, VIC

Emu (cover)

Emu by Claire Saxby, illustrated by Graham Byrne, Walker Books Australia, ISBN: 9781922179708

Antony read a copy of this book in his school library.

Emu is a very interesting combination of fiction and nonfiction. It’s about an emu’s birth and its life. There are lots of fun facts, predators like lizards and adventures like running away from circling eagles.

Did you know that:

emus will only fight if cornered. They will peck with their strong beaks or strike out with their clawed feet.

The story is set in the outback in spring. The main character is a male emu who is protecting his chicks. Will they survive?

The detail and illustrations are mind blowing. Readers will wonder how the illustrator made the drawings so realistic.

I think this is a really astonishing book for children aged 6 and up who want to learn more about emus and their lifestyle in a fun way.

Antony attends Oxley Christian College and this is his first book review for Alphabet Soup. If you’d like to read more book reviews by Oxley Christian College students, you can click on ‘Oxley Christian College’ in the grey categories box in the right column of this blog. To send us YOUR book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Check out more reviews of Emu in earlier posts.

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

Book review: Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers

REVIEWED BY JOSEPH, 11, WA

Adam Spencer's big book of numbers

Adam Spencer’s Big Book of Numbers: Everything you wanted to know about the numbers 1 to 100 by Adam Spencer, Xoum Publishing, ISBN 9781921134326.

Joseph reviewed his own copy of this book.

Do you know what a narcissistic number is? Or a Leyland Prime? Or a Cunningham Chain? These are three number concepts that you’ve probably never heard about before and they are explained in this book.

When I first saw this book I thought it would be way too complicated and I wouldn’t be able to understand any of it but Adam Spencer turns out to be a very chatty writer. And so this book is very easy to enjoy and it is not like a textbook.

Inside you will find detailed facts about the numbers 1 to 100 with some quiz questions/activities along the way. The 5X5 magic squares were my favourite because I found them challenging but do-able and satisfying to finish.

Anybody aged 10+ would love this book. It doesn’t matter if you are good at maths or not, it’s informative and interesting.

If you can’t sleep at night, reading this book is better than counting sheep.

Joseph is one of our regular book reviewers. His most recent review (if you don’t count this one) was of Sister Heart. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!