Book reviews by kids, Duncraig Primary School, National Year of Reading, teachers' resources

Book Review: Think Smart, Hazel Green!

This week we are pleased to be featuring book reviews from students at Duncraig Primary School* in WA. Our first guest reviewer is Lara—welcome, Lara!

Think Smart, Hazel Green! by Odo Hirsch, ill. Andrew McLean, ISBN 9781741141108, Allen & Unwin

Reviewed by Lara, 10, WA

Think Smart, Hazel Green! (cover)

Chocolate dippers! Cherry Flingers! Cream Canoopers! All the delicious pastries in  Mr Volio’s bakery. But how about the thought of them being gone … forever?

Will Hazel Green ever find a way to help poor Mr Volio stay in his baker’s shop? When Mr Volio has ended his lease in his shop a mysterious new owner buys it. Who is this new owner? And how will Hazel Green help Mr Volio to stay, and still devour his glorious pastries? Will her mathematical friend Yakov Plonsk (AKA the Yak) use his logical mind to assist her? Hazel will have to think smart for this adventure!

Andrew McLean’s magical black and white watercolour illustrations make the book come alive. You only need to glance at them to understand them. Odo Hirsch’s detailed words and phrases help readers to really understand the pictures.

This is a book suitable for ten and over. The expressive characters in this book will capture any reader’s mind. I love this book because in every page you turn you feel the tension rising through your body.

Odo Hirsch has captured readers internationally with his essence and flair of describing wonderful and capturing characters. This book is the last of the Hazel Green series. The others are titled Hazel Green; Something’s Fishy, Hazel Green!; and Have Courage, Hazel Green, all with clever and satisfying plots.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"* Duncraig Primary is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. (Download information about the club on the magazine’s website.) Lara reviewed her own copy of Think Smart, Hazel Green!

Duncraig Primary School, teachers' resources

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool: book review

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool, by Odo Hirsch, ISBN 9781741757163, Allen & Unwin.

Reviewed by Year 5 students at Duncraig Primary School.*

Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool (cover)Darius is worried. Time is running out. Will he and his family ever decide upon this generation’s Bell Gift from the family to the town so they can retain the family house and name? When he and his friends find a mysterious glittering pool in the grounds of the house they wonder if it might provide an answer.

This imaginative book will appeal to some tween readers but does not work as a read aloud book as the detail slows the plot. Quirky, well-developed characters carry the story. Our class thinks it would help retain interest if the author moved between locations and plot lines more frequently. We enjoyed the unexpected plot turns and the overall quest structure.

This acclaimed author has written the much-loved Hazel Green series and others such as Amelia Dee and the Peacock Lamp.

*Duncraig Primary School is a member of our Undercover Readers Club. A review copy of Darius Bell and the Glitter Pool was provided by the publisher.

"Undercover Readers Club logo"