Wednesday, August 24, 2011

August reviews from the Albert Park club (better late than never!)

My haunted house (bk. 1 - Araminta Spook series) by Angie Sage - reviewed by Jo

This book is a little bit funny. There are different bedrooms for different days of the week. There is a key in Sir Horace's left foot (which is Araminta's Coat of Arms). Araminta Spook finds the secret door and goes on an adventure, lets loose her Uncle Drac's bats and gets up to mischief.

Rated:  3  - "I have read better books than this one!" 

The mystery of the blinking eye (Trixie Belden series) by Kathryn Kenny - reviewed by Caitlin

Trixie is 14 years old. She likes mystery and wants to be a detective. She also wants to help people and raise money. Trixie and her friends name their club The BWG's. After Trixie helps a woman at the airport, the woman gives her a prophecy and a doll. But thieves and spies are also after the mysterious dolls and Trixie needs to solve the mystery.

Rated: 5 - "I like mystery and I have read most of the Trixie Belden series!"

Careful what you wish for by Maureen McCarthy - reviewed by Emma

Ruth receives a talking rat from her aunty, called Rodney. She then loses the rat and her life gets worse, but she does make friends with a boy that most people think is weird. A year later she finds her talking rat and he grants her 3 wishes, but it comes with a warning not to linger on her wishes for too long. I have to read it for school bookclub but I like it even though I thought it wouldn't be that interesting. It's for Grade 5 and up.

Rated: 4.5

The Red pyramid (bk. 1 - Kane Chronicles) by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Oscar

It is a long adventure book. I picked the book because he is the same author that wrote the Percy Jackson series which I liked. The main characters are Carter and Sadie, whose father is an Egyptologist. When their father accidently blows up an Egyptian museum he unleashes 5 gods onto the world. The evil god plans to destroy the world, and the good and bad guys are all after Carter and Sadie.

Definitely rated 5! - "I love this sort of book because it's full of action and adventure. I read 39 Clues by the same author so I wanted to read more!"

Dog by Daniel Pennac - reviewed by Alex

A dog is looking for an owner. He finds out that people aren't as easy to understand as he thought. It is told from Dog's (his real name) point of view.

I got it for my birthday and so far it is interesting and I will keep reading it.

Rated:  4 

Bluestar's Prophecy (Warriors series) by Erin Hunter - reviewed by Annabel

This series follows generations of the Cat Clans. The stories mostly are about how the cats survive in the forest and fend off other Cat Clans. In this book they also reunite with a lost branch of their clan.

Rated: 4.9 - "I like the series because the cats are civilised!"

Neighbours (The Floods series) by Colin Thompson - reviewed by Jade

The Floods are a strange family. The parents are Nerlin and Mordonna and their seven children. When their neighbours The Rents steal from them, The Floods use all their magical power to show them that they better not mess with a family of wizards and witches.

Rated:  5 - "Very funny!"

Friday, August 19, 2011

and the winners are...

It's always a hard decision to make when the standard of stories is so high - but, after lots of consideration, here are the judges' winning choices in the FIVE WORDS (stone, invitation, book, key, parrot) writing competition:

7-10 age group:

11-13 age group:
  • Francis, aged 13 - winner of the $50 voucher for "Aliens!"
  • Kenzie, aged 12 - runner up - winner of $30 voucher for "Run"

14-16 age group:
  • Liliana, aged 14 - winner of the $50 voucher for "Title"



Flip Flap's Great Adventure... by Melisand

"A-a-a-a-tishoo!" sneezed Flip Flap. Ring-ring, ring-ring went the phone. "Hello? Yes, this is Flip Flap the doctor-parrot." "I'm Gecko the journalist from Channel 8 TV. I'm ring, ringing to find out about your extraordinary adventure on Kangaroo and Coco Island!" "Ok I get it, but I've got an appointment in a minute or two!" "That's ok because my phone battery is running out. I'll ring, ring back at one o'clock. Does that suit you?" "Perfectly" answered Flip Flap.

At one o'clock just as planned Gecko the journalist called. "Now can you tell me your adventure on Kangaroo and Coco Island?"

"One day I was in my Clinic and my patient gave me my money but as I touched it, it turned into an invitation to Kangaroo and Coco Island festival. But as soon as I said 'how do I get there?' my question was answered because the invitation turned into a beautiful map. I found a big, brass key and turned it in the clinic door. Before I could move a claw .. I found myself in a cabin in a boat ready to depart for Kangaroo and Coco Island.

As soon as I arrived there my eyes would not blink. I stood in awe of this amazing place! I remembered why I had come here and went to find the festival. But when I saw it disaster struck! The people who ran it couldn't calm some frightened deer and kangaroos! Before I could squawk 'falling coconuts and rainbow parrots' they needed me! As I quickly ran over I remembered how successful I was at soothing antelopes. Surely it would work on deer?"

"Sorry to interrupt your story Flip Flap but did you ever sooth the deer in the festival?" questioned Gecko. "Yes I did" said Flip Flap impatiently. "Now where was I? I have my thoughts about calming the deer but then realised I always have my 'calming book' with me wherever I go. I decided that I should use it for excellent tips. I quickly looked at the contents page and flipped to page 14 paragraph 3. I had to read in my head to keep up with my brain (that's how fast I was reading!). FINALLY... I explained how to calm the animals. First you had to mix grass and hay into a little ball and feed it to the deer and kangaroos by hand. Keep feeding them gently and giving them little bits of food from the ball of grass and hay!"

"Sorry to interrupt again but... did your soothing task actually work on the deer and the kangaroos?" asked Gecko again. "Yes it did" groaned Flip Flap even more impatiently. "The people who ran the festival exclaimed 'Well Done!' and 'Stay forever!' Before long it was time to leave. I was sad about leaving but promised to return. Before I left Kangaroo and Coco Island I threw a stone into a river and attached my wish of good luck. Then... I turned my big brass key in the cabin door and I reappeared in the Clinic with 'A-a-a-a-tishooo' ringing in my ears from my patient."

"What do you think?" asked Flip Flap. "Wonderful!" answered Gecko, "this will be on TV tomorrow at 7 o'clock." "B..b..but.." Flip flap stammered in surprise!

The Book of Names ... by Charlie

India 1648...

Here I am, another day in hell with my pet parrot Janthrow, anyway I got imprisoned by the Great Jaque, "the guys a show off" Janthrow squawked.

"Let me tell you a tale" said a wrinkly man with a face of fuzz. "Back when I was a young lad about your age I was as poor as a donkey, I got stuck in here for stealing an apple" he said.

"So you have not been here for long, right?" I said.

"Is forty years long enough you fool and I'm here for another 20" said the old man. He seemed drunk and smelled of rum. "Rum that got smuggled into India, that is my real reason for being here" said the old fool...

It was settled. I was going to escape, my only worry was a big Indian man who's name was Bosun. Bosun was a man who liked to inflict pain on others. Before I could start thinking Bosun yelled "execution time! How about you kid, it's your turn to lose your head".

Bosun had a muscular body, no shirt, a bald head and carried two swords. Bosun led me down a dark narrow corridor then we got to a big steel door covered in cogs. Bosun put a stone (which was a ruby) in between two cogs and the door began to open.

I walked inside with my parrot behind me, there were bones everywhere, in fact the whole room was made of bones. Bosun raised a huge knife to my throat, it began to cut, I could feel it digging into my throat. Suddnely one of the guards stabbed Bosun in the back, "Gaaaaagh" yelled Bosun as he hit the ground.

The guard said "Allo old chum". It was my brother TanSue. He was tall and skinny with skin as dark as coal. He pulled out a gold key, "I smuggled this from the Caribbean, take it to the Taj Mahal building site and sell it to a man with an eye patch. Now go" said my brother.

I was at Taj Mahal for hours then I found the man with the eye patch, all he had to offer was an invitation and some robes, he said it was for the Princess's birthday.

I was wearing the robes and was at the Princess's tower, I saw a gold book and there was no one but me at the party. When people came I took the book and found my name and then bumped into a beautiful lady, "Hello I am the Princess" she said.

Suddnely the Great Jaque appeared, he snatched the book. "The Book of Names they call it, now boy you belong in a prison cell" said the fool.

I did not wait, I jumped out the window and landed on a cart. "How was my timing?" said TanSue.

"Great" I said as I gave Jaque the salute, the Princess waved to me and I knew who I was.

The Adventure of Swayel and Jelco ... by Jake

"Jelco" Swayel yelled out. "Yes" Swayel replied. Jelco easily balancing on a small cliff on the 100,000 metre mountain they were climbing. "I just found this letter stuck in the snow" said Swayel. "Come over here and show me" Jelco said as his muscles flexed. He was built like a machine but even with all his strength he stumbled and kicked a mound of dirt on the small cliff. Then suddenly the side of the mountain the cliff was facing crumbled to the ground and Jelco was left standing on what now looked like a floating platform, with a steel padlocked door in front of him. Swayel swang onto the platform like a monkey and carefully opened the letter to see a code and a poem.

read Swayel with a confused and sad face. But as Swayel started to climb Jelco spoke: E, L, W and A are the only letters in capital, it's a simple code "E+ternal=Eternal, L+iving=Living, W+ill=Will and A+rrive=Arrive - Eternal Living Will Arrive" said Swayel as he looked at the hook shaped lock on the door.

"Squawk" a parrot came into view and snapped its jaw. Both Jelco and Swayel knew this wasn't an invitation for a cup of tea as they started hurling large rocks at the parrot. One of Swayel's miss-aimed rocks hit a humungous stone which not only fell and killed the deadly bird but revealed the hook.

Jelco scaled the small wall as easy as you and I read a book and before long had inserted the hook into position and was looking at the 100,000 metre drop with only thin columns of rock to guide them. As Jelco adjusted the rope Swayel put his harness made out of sticks on.

As two of the sticks clicked and the rope tightened one of the many pillars crumbled to the ground. 'Swish' and 'click' the final harness sticks were in place and the two men were ready to go. "Ready" asked Jelco as Swayel climbed onto his rope "once you've said go" "3,2,1 go" yelled Jelco as they sped through the darkness and towards a now faintly visible doorway.

"You there Jelco?" asked Swayel as his eyes adjusted to the dark and he saw Jelco turning the knob on the door handles. When the door finally opened up a mysterious voice said "you are now eternal". Everyone knelt before them, the eternal men. This was the day they celebrated the day Swayel and Jelco were made eternal.

And that's the story of Swayel and Jelco

Aliens! ... by Francis

David walked home from school like any other day. Everything seemed normal but what happened that Friday night was far from normal. He opened the door with his key and entered the house at around 3.30 like he always did and sat down to do his homework from his books.

At around 4pm his father returned home and surprised the entire family. He was holding in his hands 5 tickets to the St Kilda-Collingwood football game on that night. An invitation to a fantastic evening. His entire family were fanatical Saints supporters, and were overjoyed to hear the news. They got out the Saints flags and scarves and entered the car. 

Once they arrived at the colossal arena the sheer quantity of people going there amazed him. The stadium contained around 95,000 eager spectators. The ball bounced and the game began.

The half time siren blasted out around the stadium, and the St Kilda Football club was down by 4 points. David went to the bathroom while his father got drinks. His mother and sisters were going to get food. As David washed his hands he heard a thunderous noise erupt outside. It sounded like some sort of huge engine, but somehow not quite, like a parrot was stuck in it. He heard a rattling, like stones in a blender and realized the ground was shaking. Then he heard the people screaming and he bolted outside. He couldn't see anything. But then, a huge spacecraft flew across, its sheer size not even slightly comprehendible. The lights illuminated the entire stadium as though it were day. David could not tell the shape of the craft, for the lights nearly blinded him. He looked across and saw people getting up and running.

Then came the abductions. He watched as huge probing wires came down and picked people up with a claw with three pincers. He saw Nick Dal Santo and Dane Swan get picked up and pulled back to the ship. That's when he ran. He had a brief idea of where to go, but in the confusion, with people rushing everywhere, he had no idea what to do. Then the gargantuan machine pulled off. It was over.

Everyone was shaken the next morning. The TV was on and the story came up. The newsreader stated: "Last night a huge ship flew over Etihad Stadium and abducted the St Kilda and Collingwood AFL teams. Federal agents have informed us this was not aliens, but a rather unlikely culprit. The Port Adelaide football club have issued a press release taking full responsibility of the abduction shortly after an accusation." The screen showed the CEO of the club. "We apologize, last night we did in fact abduct two teams of football players, they will be returned as soon as possible. Our actions were reckless and..." It switched back to the newsreader, "The club will be fined and investigation is pending about NASA's involvement with the incident."


Run ... by Kenzie

There is a knock on the door. Mama answers it but then goes stiff when she sees who is there. The Nazi officers march through the door, demanding to see father. I hug my little sister, Anetta, closer to me. Mama goes to my father's study and the Nazi's stare at me and Anetta. Father turns pale as soon as he sees the Nazis.

"Yosef Hersch?" the taller officer asks.
"Yes." My Father replies.
"Come with us."

My Father picks up his bag which he had packed weeks ago because he knew this day would come. He tells me to take care of Mama and then he leaves. Anetta asks Mama when he is going to come back.

"He'll be back soon." she replies.

By the look on her face I can tell that she isn't so sure herself.

Mama, Anetta and I are sitting down to a roast dinner when there is a tap at the window. Mama gets up to see Gabriel Gefril, our neightbour, tapping the window. She immediately lets him in. He is out of breath and had sweat running down his face.

"I was just in the village," he says, "and I overheard the Nazi officers saying how they were going to take the Hersch family to an imprisonment station to be deported to the camps."

My Mama knew this day was coming so she tells us to pack out things into suitcases.

"Where are we going?" Anetta asks.

"On a special holiday." Mama replies.

Of course I know where we are going. I grab my warmest clothes and my favourite book, Little Women. I also get my gold necklace from my jewellery box. My father gave me the necklace with a key on it. He never told me what the key opens but I think one day I will know.

"Oh dear," I can hear Mama say from the kitchen, "Tatiana had sent me an invitation to the Ladies' Ball but I won't be able to attend it."

I love my Mama. At times like this she still thinks about things like balls and events. I meet Mama and Anetta at the front door and Mama locks up. We walk away from town because the officers will come from that way.

The road gets dusty as we walk along but after a while we arrive at a nearby town. A few shop windows are smashed by what looks like rocks and  stones. These shops would have been run by Jewish people. As we keep walking I see some colourful parrots and lorikeets in the trees, which makes me smile because I know that there is still joy in times like this.

We are just about to reach the next town but then we hear a rustling in the bushes. Suddenly three men in uniforms jump out with their guns. Mama screams at me and Anetta to run. I run but slip. The Nazi's grab me but I can only scream out one more word.


Title ... by Liliana

Monty's dad was always giving him peculiar advice. Just that morning he had told Monty wisely, "Remember, you are the maker of your own destiny".

Monty pondered this adage as he strolled through the woods. In the early afternoon a particularly interesting stone caught Monty's eye. Warm and golden coloured it fit snugly in his hand. He admired the curious stone before placing it in his pocket and continuing his walk.

Not long after this he spotted something out of place. It was a deep red colour, thickly bound. A book. Monty loved to read and so settled down under an oak. The story was about a boy lost in the woods. There was a Captain Redbeard with a talking parrot and an alarmingly red beard, a magical princess with an unfortunate wart and other fascinating characters.

Three chapters in, Monty found an invitation to a party. Monty was intrigued. So with the book underarm he set off for the party.

On arrival Monty found the door already ajar so he stepped inside. The room was filled with an assortment of party guests. By the only window stood a large man with a striking beard. A fair lady in a beautiful gown smiled at Monty as he entered.

"Monty!" bellowed a gruff voice. It was the man with the beard; a balding parrot perched on his shoulder. Monty smiled politely trying to remember where he knew the man from. "It's sure been a while" sighed the man.

Monty realised too late it had been a mistake to come. "I was just leaving," mumbled Monty frantically searching for the door. Before he could getaway the man's rough hand caught his arm. "What about the key?" the old man asked furtively.

"The key..?"
"The key!" he sighed gravely "which unlocks the safe where the last page of the book is hidden."

Monty stared at him in utter bewilderment.

"Without the last page of the book we are stuck in this story forever!"
"We?" Monty interrupted.
The old man nodded serenely. "Unfortunately so, doomed to spend an eternity as story characters".
"I'm sorry but I don't think I'm who you think I am" Monty said backing towards the door. All eyes in the room were now on him.
"You can't just leave," screeched the princess.
"Let's get him!" yelled someone and his cry was met with an enthusiastic roar from the crowd. So he did the only thing he could do. Run, letting his feet guide him up the stairs.

He reached the attic puffing and saw a safe on the floor. But it was useless without a key. Suddenly Monty felt a heat in his pocket. He dug his hand in but instead of finding a stone he held a key. Monty slipped the key easily into the lock and turned it. The safe flew open violently and he saw the page.

Suddenly a memory came to him that seemed distant now. "Remember," his father had said, "you are the creator of your own destiny." But that was impossible, thought Monty. My destiny lies in a book. And just like that he had the answer.

Monty scanned the last page:

It was now or never. Monty pulled a pen from his pocket just as the party guests crashed down the door brandishing weapons...

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Reviews from St Kilda for August

By Royal Command : bk. 5 of the Young Bond series by Charlie Higson - reviewed by Charlie

He has just got back from Mexico and is going to a mountain in Austria. He sees this man in Austria and England in a hat and cloak and another mysterious man who is asleep. James Bond heard him say that someone was trying to kill his cousin. Then his Latin teacher, who is actually a spy, recruits James Bond to be a spy. That is all I am going to say because the rest will just spoil it.

5 reallys

Scorpia rising by Anthony Horowitz - reviewed by Sam

Really, really good. Probably one of the best in the series. It’s the last one about a boy called Alex Rider. Good descriptions, good storyline.

3 reallys - "it's not perfect!"

Ark Angel by Anthony Horowita - reviewed by Georgia

This is number 6 in the Alex Rider series (there are 9 in the series). It's about super spies – action fights and deadly eco-terrorists.

"They're very good books!"

4.9 reallys

The face on the milk carton by Caroline B. Cooney - reviewed by Edie 

It is a blend of realistic fiction and mystery and I like those two genres. One of the best books I've ever read – I couldn’t put it down. There are 3 in the series.

5 reallys

(Edie's from America - welcome to Australia and the Lightning Readers!)

The word spy by Ursula Dubosarsky - reviewed by Lily

I really like this book. It’s all about words and spelling and grammar, and why it’s like that. In every chapter you have to crack a code. In every chapter there is a different kind of code and puzzles. My two favourite chapters were “Back to the future” and “Who likes playing games?”. From this book I have learnt pig-Latin.

4.9 reallys

I shall wear midnight by Terry Pratchett - reviewed by Oriana
It’s about a rich girl called Tiffany, and a toad. There is an evil guy who hates witches even though in this story they are good and useful and cut toenails.
5 reallys
Ties that bind, ties that break by Lensey Namioka - reviewed by Oliver (who had to read this for school)
This is about a Chinese girl who had to try to break the Chinese tradition of foot binding. She went against that – she went to a public school. Her grandmother and dad died and her big uncle comes to look after the family. He takes her out of school so she runs away. The start was boring – the end is sudden – but in between it’s okay.
Harry Potter and the half-blood prince - bk. 6 - by J. K. Rowling - reviewed by Elly
This is about how Harry finds out that Voldemort has 7 horcruxes. Harry needs to quit school and find them and kill them so he can kill Voldemort. Horcruxes are parts of Voldemort's soul.

5 reallys