Book reviews by Elizabeth, Book reviews by kids

Book review: Creswell Eastman, the Man Who Saved a Million Brains

The image shows the cover of a children's biography: Cresswell Eastman, the Man who Saved a Million Brains by Penny Tangey. The cover is predominantly orange and shows a hand drawn illustration of Cresswell Eastman in a white surgical coat, holding a microscope. He's surrounded by doodle style illustrations of a stethoscope, a needs and a glowing lightbulb.


Creswell Eastman, the Man Who Saved a Million Brains by Penny Tangey, Wild Dingo Press, ISBN 9781925893526

The publisher provided a review copy of this book.

Creswell Eastman was the smartest child in the class. One day, Sister Francis asked Creswell to follow her in the hall. They walked through the senior school, into the classroom and he saw his older sister. He was tested to see if he was better at maths than anyone else. That afternoon a boy punched him for being better at maths. The next day at lunchtime his teacher, who was a nun, taught Creswell to defend himself. The following day the boy was waiting for Creswell. What would Cres do?

The thing I enjoyed the most about the book by Penny Tangey was learning how Creswell used medicine to help people. It is amazing that he saved so many people’s lives in Asia.

I recommend this book to 8 years old and up because it is wonderful and interesting. I rate this book 10 out of 10.

Read chapter one on the publisher’s website.

Elizabeth is a regular reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read more of her reviews here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Book reviews by Ayaan, Book reviews by kids

Book review: George’s Secret Key to the Universe

George's Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy and Stephen Hawking


George’s Secret Key to the Universe by Lucy & Stephen Hawking, Simon & Schuster, ISBN 9781416985846

Ayaan reviewed his own copy of this book

George’s Secret Key to the Universe is the first of six books in the George’s Secret Key to the Universe series.

The series is written by Stephen Hawking and his daughter, Lucy Hawking. The first three books are written by both of them but then Stephen Hawking died. Lucy Hawking wrote the last three books in the series and used lots more of her father’s ideas.

The story features George who meets Annie and her father named Eric through a pig investigation. They have a supercomputer named Cosmos and he can open a portal that can take you anywhere in the universe. But before George can view or work with Cosmos, he has to take the Oath of the Scientist.

The next day, George goes to school and Eric’s enemy, Dr Reeper, tries to take Cosmos by leading Eric into a black hole. George goes to Annie and they track down Cosmos. But can they get to Eric in time?

I would rate this book five stars. It is action-packed and is full of amazing science facts. I would recommend this book to anyone who loves science, just like me!

Note about Stephen Hawking: He was a world-famous cosmologist and physicist who has written many famous books. He was diagnosed motor neurone disease when in his early 20s and was told that he would only live for a few more years but he lived until he was 75 through pure determination to live!    

Ayaan is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read more of his book reviews here. To send us YOUR book review, read our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

Book reviews by kids

Book review: Chickensaurus


Chickensaurus by James Foley, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925815788 

Chickensaurus by James Foley

The publisher provided a review copy of this book. 

I liked Chickensaurus because it had some humour in it and I thought it could have a bit more humour. My favourite part was when Sally found out about Dexter’s sister (Lyssa). My favourite character was Lyssa because I liked it when she was a nice sweet girl and then she becomes a strong character. It just goes that girls can be just as strong as boys. I also like the pictures. My favourite chickensaurus was the dinosaur that was in the egg.

This book would be great for people who like humour, dinosaurs and comics. If you have read any other James Foley books and you liked them, you would like this one.

Read our interview with the author of Chickensaurus.

This is Alexia’s first book review for Alphabet Soup. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

illustrator, Pass the Book Baton

Pass the Book Baton: Aśka


It’s Friday! And that means it’s time for Pass the Book Baton. Every week Alphabet Soup features a book creator who will answer one question before throwing a new question to the next Friday visitor. (It’s kind of like a book relay in slow motion.)

Today the book baton is passed to Aśka.

Aśka in a purple shirt pressing a big red NO button

Aśka is an illustrator and science communicator. She has a degree in Arts and Quantum Physics and works at Scitech in Perth — as well as working with kids’ product design, graphic novels, animation, graphic design and e-publishing. Phew!

Last week Sian Turner asked:

Wow! You have travelled to some amazingly diverse and interesting places, Aśka.

I understand that these experiences have been a rich source of inspiration for your art. Can you elaborate on some of your favourite travel destinations? How have you found that these places have influenced your creativity?

Aśka answers:

I’ve never really thought about how different places I’ve travelled to and lived in have influenced my work. It is an interesting thing to ponder.

I have had a go at studying different forms of art in different places. For example, when I was staying in Thailand I learned Chinese painting. It is an art form where no pencils are allowed, and there is no erasing or undoing what you have done. You make marks with a chunky paintbrush on the thin rice paper to create an image and if you make a mistake you need to start all over again! Even though I don’t paint so much anymore, I still find this practice very useful as it requires commitment and confidence when drawing, which I believe shows up in your work as an illustrator, no matter what technique you use.

But it’s not just learning local techniques which can change the way you draw. It’s also observation. Certainly every location looks different and this isn’t just in art, but in the most everyday situations. For example, the way a yoghurt aisle looks in the supermarket, or the image of the green and red person for pedestrians at traffic lights. It quickly becomes apparent that each place in the world uses images in a slightly different way. Like the cute and perfectly made mascots of uniformed woman and man in front of a Tokyo police station, to the playful and roughly hand painted shopfronts of Accra.

So through travel and seeing so many different ways in which people live, I started to think about how important these visual elements are when creating my own characters and settings.

After all, every new adventure we have, big or small, expands our way of seeing the details in our world a little more. And the details are where I believe the true magic of the world lies.

Check out Aśka’s website where you can find artwork, mini comics, download free ebooks, teachers’ notes and more!

Swimming on the lawn by Yasmin HamidAnd now Aśka passes the book baton to the next Friday visitor — Yasmin Hamid. Yasmin grew up in East Africa and now lives in Western Australia. Her book — Swimming on the Lawn — was published in 2017.

Aśka asks:

To someone like me, who grew up among grey blocks of flats in Eastern Europe, your childhood sounds absolutely fearless. Was there ever anything that you were afraid of? How did you overcome that fear?

Check in every Friday for mini interviews with children’s authors and illustrators. (While you’re waiting you can catch up on all the interviews in the Pass the Book Baton series so far!)