Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Happy summer break everyone...

Lightning Readers has ended for 2015 - it will resume in February 2016!

Thanks to everyone who participated. We look forward to reading your reviews and short stories next year.

Enjoy the festive season and we'll see you in in the new year!

December reviews from Albert Park

The long winter by Laura Ingalls Wilder - reviewed by Miranda

Laura and her family (which are her older sister who is blind, two younger sisters and parents) have moved into town. They were living in a small cabin far away from anything but an Indian tells that it will be a long and difficult winter so they decide to move back into town to survive the cold. They do loads of chores when the sun is out like making hay sticks to make a fire because it is freezing cold.

Trains could not get into town because there is too much snow on the tracks, Laura's dad helps to shovel it off. There is also a part where her dad wants to play the fiddle but can't because his fingers are frozen from the cold. Everyone survives the winter. The stories are based on her real life experiences growing up.

Rated:  5/5 - "The author uses lots of good words and it's a good story - it seems very exciting."

EJ spy school series by Susannah McFarlane - reviewed by Miranda

EJ is a spy and when she first becomes one she doesn't think she will be a very good one. But after the first few missions she is the top one. Her code name is EJ 12 and she is very good and the leader. She solves problems.

When you look at the cover it kind of gives away the story. I've read all 20 books and I'm waiting for the next one.

Rated:  5/5 - "I really like them, I've even re-read them."

Gone (bk. 1, Gone series) by Michael Grant - reviewed by Tiana

The story is set in Perdido Beach where all people over the age of 15 disappear and those under 15 have weird powers and rule the world. It is about a group of kids who live there (the book mentions so many people I can't remember all their names) and how they survive starvation and cannibalism and something called the 'Fayz'. One of the characters has very strange dreams, there are also lots of weird, mutant animals.

The main evil thing is the Geiaphage which is radiation that came with a comet and now lives in a cave and is growing bigger and invades people's minds - it feeds off radiation.

Rated:  4½/5 - "really, really good, but not my favourite book. The best one I've read this year was The strange and beautiful sorrows of Ava Lavender."

Demon dentist by David Walliams - reviewed by Georgia

This book starts when a new dentist arrives in town after the old one died under suspicious circumstances. The new dentist greets everyone and goes to school to introduce herself. She wants everyone to call her 'mummy'. Two children, Alfred and Gaby, don't like her and wonder why she is the new dentist and what happened to the old one.

Alfred loses his tooth but when he wakes up in the morning instead of finding money from the tooth fairy he finds an eyeball. There are more gross things - and Alfred follows the new dentist around to find out what she is up to. Lots of strange stuff happens.

Rated:  4/5 - "really funny."

Thursday, December 10, 2015

St Kilda's reviews for November

The rabbits by John Marsden, illustrated by Shaun Tan - reviewed by Netta

This is a really good bed time story, but it’s not just a bed time story. It’s about the First Fleet. There is a lot to find through the pictures which isn’t written.

Rated:  5/5 reallys

Soulprint by Megan Miranda - reviewed by Henrietta

It’s basically this world where, when someone dies, their soul gets printed onto a child. People worry that children whose soul prints come from murderers and criminals may carry on the same behaviour, so those kids get locked up. They lock up this girl Alina, who was printed by a famous murderer lady. At eighteen, she’s broken out of her confinement by this guy. They have to cut out a tracker device and go to a safe house that the woman who printed on Alina owned. It turns out that the guy got her out because he wanted to find out the coordinates to a safe in the house. All of the woman’s money was left to Alina. This dude is really evil. In the safe, they find coordinates made out of money. A lot goes on - there’s blackmailing, life-saving, school break-and-entering and romance.
"Well written, clear, emotionally powerful."

Rated:  4/5 reallys - " 'cos it was amazing!"

And then there were none by Agatha Christie - reviewed by Louise

It’s about these ten characters. Eight are invited to a resort on a remote island, owned by a rich old couple. They get there and have a party and chat and stuff and then a recording begins to play. It says that they were all there because they had killed someone and this was their punishment. They all really freak out then, as the recording lists all of the killings, but without saying who did them. The maid, who had been having trouble sleeping, collapses and dies. Another man dies that night from choking. There is a poem which prophesizes each death, along with ten little statues on the dining table. As soon as someone died a statue would disappear!

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “Because it was so well written, so well put together. And it’s got a great ending!”

Fire will fall by Carol Plum-Ucci - reviewed by Olivia

It’s about a girl whose family is quite religiously Christian. Her and her dad aren’t as religious as the rest of the family. Their religion is very strict and exclusive. They aren’t even allowed to eat food that “Outsiders” (people outside of their religion) touched or made unless they boil it first. She manages to make elders grumpy with her projects, and her dad is always getting in trouble with them too, because he asks too many questions in church. The elders think he is a bad influence on her. When she talks to an outsider boy she gets in trouble with the principle. Then her dad gets expelled from the church. He is shunned, which is when no one will speak to you. So she can’t talk to her dad. Now they have to go and live with her Grandpa, who doesn’t seem to be telling her the whole truth…

Rated:  3/5 reallys - "I really like the story but the writing was a bit too simple."

Feed by M. T. Anderson - reviewed by Jackson

It’s about a world in the near future where people have microchips planted in their brains. The chip feeds ads directly into their minds, like a Siri for your brain. People are called units. One day this group of teenagers are at this anti-gravity bounce place on the moon. They meet a girl who only got a chip inserted at seven because her parents couldn’t afford one when she was born. They’re thought of as an important luxury thing to have. While on the moon a hacker corrupts their chips and they all begin speaking gibberish. After that one of the girls finds out her chip has a virus, which leads to her losing control of her chip. Most of the book is about fighting against the feed, which is trying to give them certain personalities so that they buy things from companies the chip feed supports.

Rated:  4/5 reallys -  “Could have been better, the same thing kept on happening.”

Friday, October 30, 2015

and the winners are...

As always it was a tough decision for the judges, but here are the winners of the Spring school holiday 2015 writing competition... (if you need a reminder of the words that needed to be included you can find them here...)

Category 1 : 7-8 years
Category 2 : 9-10 years
Category 3 : 11-12 years
Congratulations to everyone!!

Puffy and the cupcakes ... by Erian

Once upon a time there was a cat called Puffy. He had black fur, white feet and puffy cheeks.

Puffy worked at Snuffles Bakery which was owned by the mean Mr. John Snuffles.

Snuffles Bakery was known for making the best cupcakes in the world and Mr Snuffles told everyone he made them himself…but really, actually, it was Puffy who made the cupcakes.

No one knew that. No one knew Puffy worked hard all day and all night…

  •  Shaking (the flour),
  •  Cracking (the eggs),
  •  Stirring in (the butter),
  •  Adding (the sugar),
  •  Mixing (the batter),
  •  Baking (the cupcakes),
  •  Icing (the top)

Over and over and over again; shaking, cracking, stirring, adding, mixing, baking, icing, shaking…And that was the rhythm of his day, every day

One day the Queen and her prince came to town to try the cupcakes - they had heard how good they were.

Mr. John Snuffles was at the counter to greet them. "Come in, come in, come try my cupcakes I make them myself!"

Poor Puffy knew this wasn’t true but he never told anyone and let them believe it was Mr. John Snuffles who made the delicious cakes.

For the queen's and the prince's visit, bossy Mr. John Snuffles had told the cat to make a special cupcake good enough for royalty.

The special cupcake had royal blue icing with a golden crown on top that you could eat.

Mr. John Snuffles was just telling the queen and prince how good his cupcakes were and how hard he worked day after day to make them just right when, suddenly, the cupcake boxes that had hidden Puffy working in the kitchen tipped over and everybody saw Puffy putting a golden crown on to royal blue icing. They all knew it was not Mr John Snuffles who'd been making these delicious cupcakes.

The queen and prince said that the bakery was now to be called ‘Puffy’s Bakery’, not ‘Snuffles Bakery’. They ordered 12 more delicious cupcakes and drove off back to their castle.

The cupcake princess ... by Charlie

The cupcake princess was still awake, frustrated by lack of sleep. Suddenly an idea popped into her head. She crept down the creaky staircase into the kitchen.

The castle tabby cat greeted her with a loud meow. "Shhhh" whispered the princess.

The princess opened the heavy pantry door. Before her lay the cupcake tin she had admired the day before. Being royalty has its advantages she thought.

She lifted the cupcake tin though she knew touching it was against the rules of the castle. She opened the lid and to her horror saw only one cupcake was left. There is a cupcake thief in the castle! How can I catch them? she thought. I will play a trick on the thief, so she covered the cupcake with salt and pepper.

Then she heard a strange screeching noise. She spun around and saw the castle cat. The cat kept on meowing until the Princess heard footsteps coming down the main corridor of the castle. The princess flashed with anger. Quickly she got the cupcake tin and put it quietly back into the pantry. She shut the door and slipped into the ballroom where there was a table with a rather large tablecloth that went down to the floor. She crawled under the table just in time…

The door swung open slowly and she saw a dark terrible shadow coming towards her. The princess was scared and wanted to scream but was too clever for that. A figure walked into the room. It was not a terrible demon but her older brother Erik. He smiled and then revealed the cupcake he had snuck into the pocket of his black hoodie.

He is the cupcake thief thought the princess. She smiled to herself as Eric sunk his teeth into the cupcake. "Arararrarrarrrrarrrrarrraragggggggggggghhhhhhhhhhhhh!!!!!!!!!!!!" Erik spat the cupcake onto the floor then kicked it into the fire like a football. He stomped off upstairs with the rhythm of an angry elephant.

The princess had caught the cupcake thief red handed and was sure he’d never steal cupcakes again.

The cupcake princess lived mischievously ever after.


The story of Princess Natalie and her Kingdom ... by Agnes

In a kingdom far far away there lived a brave and amazing little girl called Natalie, the princess of Utonville. She lived with the beautiful King and Queen and her older brother Peter but suddenly something terrible happened. The year was 1715 when this terrible thing occurred.

"Peter, what have you done?! Mother and Father will be so mad!" yelled Natalie as her brother Peter finished hiding the family riches in a ‘Safer’ place.

"I was just having some fun. And anyway there’s nothing else to do" argued Peter. "What is going on in here? Don’t tell me you two have been quarreling again." said Miss Sally, their maid who was standing in the door way with a glare on her face. The children stood up straight as Miss Sally walked into the room.

"Miss Sally, Peter was hiding the family riches into a ‘safer’ place apparently." Natalie confessed.

"WHAT!?" Miss Sally turned around with the biggest scowl the children had ever seen. "Where are they?" The children pointed to a large chest. Miss Sally took the riches out of the chest and hid it somewhere where the children would never find them. "No supper for you two tonight so off to bed" fumed Miss Sally.

Natalie lay awake in her bed listening to the cool breeze of the night when she heard someone yell "HELP", it came from Peter’s room. Natalie sat upright in bed and put on her slippers, She took her candle and tiptoed out of her room.  "Meow" Tibbles her cat came out from under her bed and followed Natalie. Natalie went inside her brother’s room and saw an empty bed and an open window. Someone had taken Peter.

Natalie had to find him. So Natalie went back to her room and got dressed in a dress, some scratchy stockings, some old boots and an ugly cardigan. She quickly got her satchel and went down into the kitchen. Natalie opened the larder door and took three apples, some cupcakes and biscuits, a leather flask to store water and some leftovers of last night’s dinner and put them in her satchel. Natalie tiptoed to the front door and slowly opened it. Then she closed the door and headed to the well to fill up her leather flask and off Natalie went into the darkness with her cat Tibbles.

It was morning when Peter regained consciousness. "Where am I?" Peter asked himself. "You’re in my house you idiot." said a scratchy and rough voice. Peter looked around and found himself locked up in chains and in an old dirty looking room and he saw a small man with grey tufts of hair sprouting out of his head.

"Why am I here? What do you want from me?" Peter yelled at the small man.

"I want to know where you keep the royal riches. You little children act like spoilt brats and you live in a world of royalty compared to us poor villagers. That’s why I want the royal treasures and that’s why I took you so your parents will take you back and give me the royal treasures in return." Peter sat there speechless. What was he going to do? How would he get out of this misery? The man walked away and got some stale bread and a flask of water and gave it to Peter. All day Peter thought and thought of his family and his little sister Natalie and how he would get out of this house, until he heard little footsteps coming down the stairs.

Natalie had searched for Peter all night but had no success. Suddenly when dawn approached she saw a dirty white handkerchief that looked similar to Peter’s one. He must be close by she thought. A man came out of a house nearby. Natalie walked up to him and asked "Have you seen my brother sir, he’s wearing a white night dress, he has brown hair and brown eyes." The man nodded and pointed to the house next door. "Thank you."

Natalie tried to open the door but it wouldn’t budge. So Natalie tried the window but that didn’t work either. Finally Natalie saw a ladder leading up to a window upstairs. So Natalie climbed it and tried to open the window and it opened! Natalie climbed through it and jumped off the window sill. There was only one room up there and it was the small man’s bedroom leading into a corridor and stairs. Natalie knew Peter wasn’t in that room because she heard loud snoring and Peter never snored. "Psst, Peter it's Natalie. Are you in here?" Natalie whispered into the poorly lit room.

"How did you find me?" Peter replied.

"I’ve been looking for you and I came across this village and looked around, until I found your white handkerchief on the doorstep. So I asked the man next door if he saw you and he pointed to this house, that’s how I found you. Thank good-" Natalie didn’t have time to finish her sentence when the children heard footsteps.

"Hide" Peter whispered to Natalie. Natalie could hear the rhythm of her heart beating in her ear as the footsteps became louder and louder.

"It’s time to go to sleep you brat." The small man said as he entered the room. Then it was pure darkness.

"Peter! Are you awake" Whispered Natalie when she heard snoring.

"Yes" Peter whispered back.

"MEOW" Meowed Tibbles.

"SHH! Tibbles, that man might wake up" explained Natalie. “Peter, we have to escape it’s our only chance” Peter stood up and led Natalie to what he thought was the door.

"I think this is the door" he said as he opened it. A whoosh of cool wind blew onto their faces as they stepped out of the house. "Where are you, ye little brat?" said a familiar scratchy and rough voice.

"Oh no, he’s awake quick Natalie" whispered Peter rapidly. The children ran as fast as they could along the cobbles until they reached the dark forest. The only way they could go was through the forest, they wouldn’t dare go back because they feared the terrors down that street. So they ran.

By the time the children were out of the forest they were gasping for breath "Which... way... is...
the... castle?" Peter panted. "I... think... it’s... this... way" replied Natalie, panting and pointing west. They ran and ran west until they saw in the distance a big castle. But suddenly the children heard footsteps coming closer and closer.

"Where are those two little brats?" said the familiar voice of the small man. The children fell silent and hid behind a bush.

"I’ve found them master" said another voice which came from right behind them. A man appeared with a hunchback with warts all over his face.

"Ahh, you can’t get away now you little brats." said the small man. "Now my companion Quasi has found you there’s no way of you escaping." Then came the sound of hissing and meowing.

"You’ve brought a little friend of yours. Well it’s just an old cat, it won’t do us any harm my companion. Now seize the children" cried the small man.

"Get off us" screamed Natalie. But the screaming didn’t help. Natalie bit the hunchback and started to run.

"OWW" the man screeched. In shock the small man let go of Peter and the children ran as fast as they could but the two men were catching up. "Hurry up Quasi! They’re getting away" complained the small man to his companion Quasi.

"This is our chance to escape" said Peter to Natalie. So they hid behind a bush and emerged when the men had passed. They finally reached the castle. They both stopped to look at it but realised they were running away from the men. Peter went up to the big double doors and knocked. ‘Knock, knock’ but the two men were already at the end of the forest so Peter kept knocking. "What is- Peter, Natalie where have you been?" asked the maid Miss Sally and gave them both a big hug. "We were worried sick me and your parents."

"Miss Sally there is no time to explain our absence please let us in" Peter explained. So Miss Sally let them in and locked the door.

"What happened?" asked Miss Sally. So the children explained what happened from the very beginning till the very end. Miss Sally was in shock after the children had finished the story. "What are your mother and father going to say about this?" said Miss Sally to herself. The children laughed and went upstairs and freshened up and went to bed. So from that day on the whole kingdom was happy and so were the king and queen, oh and Natalie and Peter and don’t forget Miss Sally. And those two wretched men, they were sent to prison to never return to Utonville again.

The Adventures of Feather Man ... by Sam

There was once a feather, who wanted to be more than what he was. A feather. So after years of training he came out of the pillow and set off to travel the world (the house). Of course once he got out he was faced with problems, but one thing he did not know was that he was actually royalty and his relative was the King of all Feathers in Port Melbourne. He was going to outer space (outside) and was so close to making it but he was sucked up by the vacuum...

Feather man was trapped in the vacuum cleaner... "How do I get out of here?" he thought. He looked around, there was more than one feather in this vacuum cleaner, it was like a refugee camp but worse, a lot worse. Feather man was not going to give up that easily so he got all the feathers' attention and gave an inspirational speech. "Are you guys just going to wait here for someone to get you out? Or are you going to get out and live your life?" He waited for a moment and then somebody shouted "We were waiting for someone like you". The crowd nodded. "Argh whatever!" feather man said as he started climbing up the vacuum tube. When he was finally out he jumped and started gliding for about 3 seconds and then a dog ate him... yep a dog...and there was also a cat prowling behind him.

Inside the dog's belly, feather man was sitting down and then he stood up angrily and shouted to himself, "OH COME ON REALLY... first the vacuum and now this". He looked around and saw two feathers playing poker. He took a seat and asked curiously "How long have you been here?" the two feathers didn't look up for 5 whole minutes. When they did one said gloomily "Ten years I reckon... and by the way the dog's name is Buster, he is an English Staffy". Feather man looked up and said, "I've heard horror stories about that dog! Why haven't you left? You could just go down the hatch..." the feathers looked at feather man very alarmed and both shouted "NO!!" Feather man understood why they said that, but he knew he had to do it, so he suffered the horror and was out.

Feather man needed to shower. He glided for several days meeting new friends along the way. Finally he came to the great shower. He needed to turn the tap on, but he wasn't strong enough. Suddenly he heard a low growl. Feather man spun around to see Buster outside the shower ready to attack! Feather man had an idea - if he could get Buster to jump at the shower tap and turn it on he would have his shower. When Buster attacked he failed badly, he just ran with a surprising rhythm and speed and slammed right into the shower door. Man, that fat dog could run, he was like a lightening bolt. Feather man had been doing a lot of intense training and jumped right over Buster like a calm relaxed angel (an angel dripping with sweat). Buster came at him again and feather man was struck down to the ground and hard. He pulled out his trusty boomerang, throwing it at the shower tap it turned on - toe biting cold water slammed down on Buster and that fat dog was out. Feather man caught his boomerang and laughed to himself as nice cold water poured down on him. He got out of the shower and saw a little (massive to him) curious drooling 3 year old staring down at him. "OH NO"

He had a small head start and was sprinting with the toddler right behind him. The toddler had a half-eaten, licked chocolate cupcake in his hand. For the toddler this was a playful game but for feather man this was a matter of life or death. He made it into the toddler’s room and hid under the bed. He spied a motorbike and a hot wheels track and hopped onto the motorbike and rocketed down the track. The toddler did not have a clue what was going on, but that didn't stop him from racing after the motorbike. Feather man was near the end of the track and skidded to a halt. He had escaped the toddler but not the walls and crashed right into one while he was looking back and laughing.

Feather man hopped out of the crashed car. Needing supplies he went back into the kids’ room and found military clothes his size and a remote control plane that shot little pellets. He was ready! His first target was the shower and he fired heaps of bullets. The shower recovered quickly and fired the coldest water it had. Feather man jumped out of the plane hitting the tap off (don't ask me how it turned on in the first place) and the shower fell to the ground. Next was the toddler. He was easy, just fire a few pellets and he was off crying and running away. Next, the vacuum cleaner. He jumped out and was sucked in, but that was his plan! Inside he saw the other feathers were still there. "Come on my brothers we can destroy this!” This time he heard a massive cheer and they all got out of the vacuum and attacked it except some stupid feather named Hiccup went to the front and tried to tame it. He got sucked in but crashed the vacuum. After the battle the feathers returned home (apart from that guy called Hiccup), only the dog and feather man were left standing. Feather man took off his military clothes and looked like a plain old feather. Buster ran at him and feather man knew it was the end. He would never start his new journey and so he closed his eyes and waited but nothing happened. He opened his eyes to get a nice warm lick from Buster. Buster had let feather man go! He hugged the dog and floated out the door and into space (the world).

Disclaimer: Nothing was harmed in this story apart from some feather who crashed a plane into a vacuum cleaner.

Shadow of the light ... by Alex

Silent as a shadow a little cat as black as the moonless night slipped across the cobblestone wall. As if it thought it was royalty it perched itself on the wall gazing upon the dirty alley. Darkness swirled around the cat as if to suit its purpose.

Suddenly a shabby old tabby cat slipped into the starlit alley.

"Lord Noir, Blanc is moving across the country, he is going to the moonlight ball." grunted the tabby.

"I will be there, he can’t have a party without me." Noir whispered back and then he was gone.

As Blanc walked into the ball the smell of fresh cupcakes and the rhythm of music came to greet him.

The ballroom was vast and there was no sign of immediate threats.

Gliding in amongst the chattering cats a string quartet was playing a tune that Blanc didn’t recognize.

A cat came through carrying a china platter loaded with cupcakes decorated to perfection.

Suddenly darkness fell over the ballroom, the doors burst open and the buzz of chatter shut off in almost an instant. A cold breeze rushed in sending a shiver up Blanc’s spine. A dark figure briskly strode into the room, all eyes darting towards him. He was pure black from head to tail.

"Blanc! I know you are here, show yourself!" shouted the figure. Blanc leaped onto the stage, tendrils of darkness shooting towards him like a bullet from a gun. The black cat leaped towards him.

"Noir!" cried Blanc, "What are you doing here?"

"Same as you! Dancing!" answered Noir.

"What, dancing with fire?" asked Blanc while a barrage of fireballs white from heat shot from his paw.

"Exactly!" screeched Noir as one of the fireballs hit his tail. Shadows swirled around him forming pitch-black armor. A blazing inferno swirled around Blanc until nothing was visible but the flames. Noir tried to find weaknesses in the fire but whenever he tried he got heavily charred.

Suddenly the fire died down and Blanc was once again visible. Rods of fire swirled around Blanc occasionally frying the shadows that neared him.

"Everyone out!!!" ordered Blanc.

Frantically the other cats rushed for the door like a herd of wild buffalo. Blanc threw a knife at Noir distracting him for a second. That was all Blanc needed. He threw one of the blazing rods at the roof right above Noir’s head, the roof started to fall. Blanc started to run and before Noir had realized what he had done it was too late. A sickening crunch was heard and a blood curdling screech and then all was silent.

That night a mournful silence hung round the town until the sunlight of the morning proclaimed a new day. Still the town was quieter than usual. The buzz of the town died to a quiet whisper. Then the rumors began…

The icing on the cupcake ... by Melisand

Picture this: a peaceful country village with thatched cottages lining the cobblestone streets, the respectful townspeople going about their business in a friendly and cheerful way. Presumably, you think that the citizens are human but they are not, they're Patty Pan People. Patty Pan People are just like us from the neck down but their heads are cupcakes, their faces are made of lollies and their hair is cream cheese icing. Their - or what we call a - brain is the soft, fluffy sponge cake in the middle, which could explain the events in this story...

The story begins on the night of the annual Squashing Scream, a few years ago. Every year one Patty Pan Person is deprived of their hair by the evil were-cat which haunts the village on the night of the Squashing Scream.

Quentin wished her friends a happy Squashing Scream and walked home from her job at the hair-salon just as the sun was setting. In her joyful frame of mind she forgot to hang up her Philadelphia cream cheese packets to ward off the cat. Consequently, as she got ready for bed the cat lurked stealthily around her house waiting for her to fall asleep.

"Ooh, what an awful dream I had last night," said Quentin to her pet Guinea Pig when she woke the next morning. "I dreamt that this year the evil were-cat came and licked MY hair off ... and ate my sprinkle decoration!"

"SQUEAK! SQUEAK!" squeaked her Guinea Pig frantically ... but not understanding she went downstairs to get ready.

After her breakfast she put on her favourite outfit and twirled around in front of the mirror...

"Aaaah!" she screamed, "my hair is gone! It wasn't a dream! I was the victim of the Squashing Scream Were-cat!" and she burst into uncontrollable tears.

Quite a while later after she had regained her composure she decided that she would go to the hair-salon and get some hair extensions before work. Feeling much happier, she headed off to work.

Everyone at the hair-salon felt very sorry for her and even offered to do her hair extensions for free. But when they went to get the cream cheese icing they found, to their dismay, that they had run out! Quentin's friend Maria telephoned the Icing Factory but they didn't have any either.

"Maybe the cat was still starving after it licked my hair so it went to the factory for more icing," suggested Quentin, but no one thought that likely.

Dolefully Quentin took up her position behind the counter at reception and thought about how she could get some more hair.

"Ah-ha!" exclaimed Quentin around noon. "I'll go and pay Mixer Morris a visit at the factory," and that she did.

Unfortunately for Quentin, the people on the bus weren't as sympathetic as the hairdressers. She was only on the first step when the bus driver grumbled "Get off me bus! Where's ya hair? Being seen in public without ya hair is a disgrace! Get off me bus!"

Then the passengers chimed in "It's a disgrace, A DISGRACE..." they agreed.

"You know how it was the Squashing Scream last night" said one, "I bet her hair was taken then!"

"She might still be haunted by the were-cat," offered another.

"Get off me bus!" the grouchy bus driver snarled.

So poor Quentin had a long, and embarrassing, walk to the icing factory which was on the outskirts of town.

Eventually Quentin arrived at the factory but as soon as she opened the door she knew something was wrong.

CLUG CLUG EEEEEEEK! CLUG EEK EEK EEK RUMBLE RUMBLE! CLUG CLUG EEEEEEEK!

"What funny noises the machines are making," Quentin muttered to herself. "I'd better investigate!"

She peered around the gloomy factory, when she saw Mixer Morris she knew something was wrong with him too.

"Hello... Qqqquentin," he stuttered, "I ccan't ... do anything at a ccccconsistent rate. Cccan you ... please help ... me and the mmmachines?"

"Sure and I think I know what the problem is; you've lost your rhythm! If I help you to get your rhythm back you could stir the main whisk. The other machines could follow you and hey presto everyone is in time again!" Quentin enthusiastically replied, "let's start straight away!"

But unfortunately this was easier said than done.

Morris and Quentin thought hard.

"What about," suggested Morris "I learn a rhythmical dance and stir to it?"

"Good idea, I'll teach you a foxtrot. Slow quick quick, slow quick quick. See, easy" demonstrated Quentin, dancing around the machines.

Morris finally got the hang of the very basic rhythm!

"Gosh Quentin that was difficult, my spongy brain couldn't keep up!"

Quentin crossed her fingers as Morris nervously walked over to the main mixer and grabbed hold of the whisk. Heaving really hard, Morris got the whisk moving to his rhythm. Slowly the other machines joined in too; going from eek eek rumble clug clug to rumble clug clug (slow quick quick) rumble clug clug (slow quick quick).

As Morris let go of the mixer he gave a sigh of relief.

"Oh Quentin! Thank you so so much. You have saved my factory and helped all the hair-salons and their hairdressers in all the nearby towns. I cannot express how grateful I am in words ... but please accept this gift card for your hair salon as a token of my gratitude. Your help has meant more to me than being visited by Patty Pan royalty. Thank you!"

"Before I go there is something that you can do for me in return. Do you have any spare icing that I can use for my hair temporarily, so that I can get a bus ride home? It's getting quite late."

"I would like to say yes but all I can offer you is some of my hair!" and he wiped some of his own hay coloured hair onto Quentin's head in a rather bedraggled arrangement.

"I'm very sorry that my hairstyling skills are incompetent but it should serve the purpose," he apologised.

"It doesn't bother me at all and I am very appreciative of your help. Thank you and I hope to see you tomorrow with the delivery!"

The next morning Quentin skipped happily into work. She handed over the gift card and explained her story from the day before. Shortly after she finished speaking, ding, dong! the doorbell rang. "That'll be Mixer Morris with our cream cheese icing" said Quentin running excitedly towards the door.

"Aaah, Quentin, just the person I was hoping to see" started Morris, "I have enclosed a small amount of emerald dye with the icing delivery. I thought the colour would look nice in your new hairstyle!"

"Why thank you Morris. I love the colour! I shall be today's first customer!" said Quentin with a blush.

At the end of the day she emerged from the salon with a beautifully stylish emerald green swirl and a grin on her face. She was so pleased that she had her hair back. That evening she promised her pet Guinea Pig she would never forget to hang up her Philadelphia packets on the night of the Squashing Scream again...

October reviews from Albert Park

Frostfire by Amanda Hocking - reviewed by Tiana

This is the first book in the Kanin chronicles series and it's about a girl named Bryn who is a half-troll. Trolls look human but have special abilities. The Troll kingdoms have babies that they send out to the human world called 'changelings'. Wealthy human parents adopt them not knowing what they really are, but once they turn 18 they need to come back to the Troll Kingdom along with the money they have inherited. Bryn's job is to find these Troll babies/children and return them. She is a Tracker.
Bryn's father is attacked by her idol named Konstanin who is a bodyguard for the King. He claims he did not want to do it. She also finds out that he is tracking the same changeling as her. The book is about her quest to find out why and what is happening.

Warning! This book is definitely for older readers!

Rated:  5/5 - "I liked the way it was written - it was so good I spent 24/7 reading it!"

Ratburger by David Walliams - reviewed by Georgia

Zoe lives with her dad and (horrible) stepmother Sheila. They live on the 37th floor of an apartment. Zoe is not happy there. One day she finds a rat in her bedroom and she adopts him but she has to keep him a secret. At school her rat sits on her head and she is suspended from school. Her stepmother finds out and is very angry and calls the exterminator who wants to turn her pet rat into a ratburger.

Rated:  5/5 - "Interesting - recommend it for Grade 2 & up."

Elizabeth by Kathryn Lasky (part of the My Royal Story series) - reviewed by Miranda

It's 1544 and the story is about Elizabeth, the daughter of Anne Boleyn and King Henry 8th. Elizabeth's step-sister is Princess Mary. Mary is really mean to her and Elizabeth feels invisible and forgotten. She feels sad in most of the book because she was banished. I think this book is good for those over the age of 7.

Rated:  5/5 - "I've read it before and I liked it. I'm too scared to try new books."

The cabbage patch fibs by Paul Jennings - reviewed by Hannah

There are four stories in this book and I am reading the Cabbage Patch Fib story. Chris and his dad are watching Doctor Who on TV and then his dad switches it off. The dad asks 'What shall the family talk about?' and Chris asks how babies are made. His Dad tells him that they are spawned from a cabbage patch at night. That night Chris goes out into the garden and finds a baby in a cabbage. At first he thinks it's fun but then he has to bring it to school and feed and change it ... and he can't play with his friends. He doesn't want it anymore so he brings it back to the garden. Then his sister wants the cabbage patch baby but then when she has to look after it they try to bring the baby back to the garden.

Rated:  5/5 - "It's very funny."

The Mysterious Benedict Society and the perilous journey by Trenton Lee Stewart - reviewed by Letitia

The book is about four kids - Sticky, Rennie, Kate and Constance - who haven't seen each other for a while (since their last mission). The children are all orphans although Constance has been adopted by Mr Benedict. They have to go on a mission to save Mr Benedict after he has been kidnapped by his evil twin brother Mr Curtain. They go on a long journey around the world because Mr Benedict has left them with a task and clues. They fight a miniature war against the 10 Men who work for Mr Curtain (they are named the 10 Men because they have ten ways of hurting you). They eventually find Mr Benedict.

Rated:  5/5 - "Very interesting, the description and the plot is very good."

Thursday, October 15, 2015

October's reviews from St Kilda

The 65-storey treehouse by Andy Griffiths, illustrated by Terry Denton - reviewed by Ollie

Basically what happens is Andy's and Terry’s book is due that day and they don’t have a permit for the 65 storey building. Inspector Bubblewrap comes to check it out and won’t give them one because he says it’s too dangerous. So Andy and Terry go travelling in their wheelie-bin time machine. They get stuck so they have to go around a bit because of that. They finally get back and make a special access, anti-exit ramp. Will it be enough to get them a permit? Or will the tree house have to be destroyed?!

Rated:  5/5 reallys

Holes by Louis Sachar - reviewed by Louise

A boy called Stanley, who is so tall he is basically a giant, apparently steals this guy’s shoes. He gets sent to Camp Green Lake, a juvenile correctional centre. It used to have a lake but now it is all desert, except for two old oak trees. The warden lady who is paranoid and mean uses the trees to string up her hammock. Every day the inmates have to dig a 6ft wide, 6ft deep hole. The ground is very hard. This is supposed to build character. They have to get up at 4am in the morning to start digging so that they can avoid midday, when it is really hot. Another boy, known as Zero, is really, really good at digging holes. One day he sees Stanley writing a letter to his Mum and makes a deal. If Stanley teaches him to read and write, he will dig some of his holes. Oh and everyone in the book has a really weird nickname - Stanley is known as caveman.

A big boy called X-ray gets kind of angry that Zero is digging Stanley’s holes. They get into a fight. Mr Brandansky tries to stop the fight, and says something mean to Zero. Zero hits him with a shovel, then disappears into the desert. There aren’t any fences surrounding the centre, because it’s in the middle of the desert and survival is unlikely. A lot happens, a lipstick tied to a historical figure who kidnapped Stanley’s great grandfather is found, he tries to steal the water truck and then there’s the snake venom nail polish…

Rated:  4/5 reallys - "The story is really good, but it lost a 'really' because the transitions aren’t that good."

The wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum - reviewed by Olivia

It’s about a girl called Dorothy who lives in the countryside. When a cyclone comes, her and her little dog Toto don’t make it to the basement in time, so they go in the house. The house gets caught up in the cyclone and lands in a place they’ve never been to before: The Land of Oz. They meet Munchkins, who are really small people. They tell her to follow the yellow brick road. Along the road she meets a scarecrow who asks to be taken off his pole. He decides to go along with Dorothy, because he wants a brain. When they are tired from walking they go into a house on the side of the road and sleep until morning. The next day they walk through the forest where the road is going, and meet a Lion who wants courage and a tin man who wants a heart. They come with them as they cross a big field of poppies, which makes them sleep. Finally they meet the great Oz. He says he can give them what they want but only if they kill the Wicked Witch of the West…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "Really well written."

Battle of the labyrinth ; bk. 4, Percy Jackson and the Olympians by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Jack

In the last book Luke worked for evil Titans. He was trying to get into half-blood but he couldn’t because monsters and their helpers can’t get in because of magic water. The only way they can get in is through the sculpture called Zeus’ Fist. It’s surrounded by a labyrinth. Annabeth, Percy, Grover, and Percy’s half- brother, Tyson who is a Cyclops, the son of Poseidon. They go in the labyrinth. So there is this really big guy. He is the son of earth god Gaia and Poseidon. Whenever he gets hurt the earth immediately heals him. Eventually they come into Dedalus’ workshop. There’s a really cool battle, and they fly away with Dedalus’ wings. Then they go to a museum to find Rachael (they’re frenemies), they take a limo. All the monsters get through Zeus’ Fist and start a massive battle.

Rated:  5/5 reallys

Level 2 by Lenore Appelhans - reviewed by Jackson

The other name for this book is The Memory of Us. It’s about a girl called Felicia who is dead. She lives on Level 2. There she can relive memories of her life. She thinks a lot about her boyfriend, Neil, and another boy, Julian who she accused of stealing the love of her life. She relives the memories through a holographic screen and an injection. This is called The System.

Everything is experienced through the system. She doesn’t have any hair or energy or even clothes. Level 2 is controlled by the Morati (dark angels). A boy called Julian who she knew when she was alive breaks into Level 2 and finds Felicia. The day before she relived the memory of a mugging, where she saw an angel. Because she saw an angel she can power The System. She gets hooked up to the machines by the Morati but then Julian saves her, and gets hooked up instead. She meets people who help her free others like her on level 2, she finds out that they are actually Morati as well, but good.

Rated:  4.5/5 reallys

Heroes of Olympus series by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Ruth

I prefer this series to the Percy Jackson series. Mainly because the stories are a bit different, they’re not just about fighting. Basically there are camps and gods that can change forms and demi gods as well. The series is based on a prophecy, that it will take seven half-bloods to storm the doors of death. The demi gods have to go in the ship Argo II to stop Gaea (who is really evil). They have to sail to Greece to close the doors of death, which is really hard.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "A bit better than the Percy Jackson series!"

An elephant in the garden by Michael Morpurgo - reviewed by Rosa

This girl Elizabeth is living during World War II. Her dad is away, forced to fight with the Russian army. Her mum works at the zoo. Because of all the bombing the zoo keeper says they have to kill all of the larger animals, so they don’t escape because of a bomb, and kill people. Elizabeth’s mum takes the elephant home. It lives in their garden and they take it for walks. On one walk a dog starts barking at the elephant, and so it chases the dog, which is funny except then bombing starts and they lose him. Eventually they find the elephant but they can’t go home because it isn’t safe. They go to her uncle's and aunt's, who aren’t there anymore, and try to put the elephant in the barn. They find an English soldier inside. They cover for him when the soldiers come . The bombing keeps on getting closer and closer, so they leave with the elephant again.

Rated:  4/5 reallys - "It's an easy read but it goes on for a while."

Wednesday, September 23, 2015

September reviews from Albert Park

Meet Marly by Alice Pung – reviewed by Miranda

This book is part of the "Our Australian Girl" series, the main girl in this book is Chinese and speaks Cantonese but her English name is Marly. The reason she is named Marly is because her parents named her after one of the Jackson 5 (who is a boy ... which is really strange).

Marly is a refugee but has lived in Australia for a while. Now her cousins are coming to live with her family and she doesn't want them to. She doesn't want to share her things with them. Her cousins also get given Jackson 5 names.

I think the books are good for kids 6-12 years old.

Rated:  4/5 - "I might have enjoyed it more if I understood it better."

Mr Stink by David Walliams – reviewed by George

Chloe invites a tramp, 'Mr Stink', into her house to live! The government praises her mum for taking him in. Mum and Mr Stink enter a game show and then he becomes famous ... I haven't finished yet.

Rated:  4 1/3/5 - "because I haven't finished ..."

The 65 storey treehouse by Andy Griffiths – reviewed by Julia

This is the latest book in the series with Andy and Terry. Ants start attacking Andy because he always wrecks the ant farm. Jill their friend saves them because she can talk to animals.

They find out that they have no building permit for their treehouse when a building inspector visits their house and he finds lots of things wrong. They try to go back in time to get a building permit but end up going to the Stoneage (and go to Stoneage art school). Then they end up in Ancient Egypt and Ancient Rome - then into the future and then back to the present and get their building permit.

Rated:  5/5 - "very funny."

All fall down by Ally Carter – reviewed by Tiana 

16 year old Grace Blakely has to move to Adriana to live with her Grandpa after her mum dies. Her Grandfather is an ambassador for America.

She has witnessed her mother's death but all she remembers is that a scarred man killed her. She wants to investigate her mums murder and finds out that the scarred man works in Adriana as the head of security. She wants to know more about him and why he killed her mother.

This is the first book in the series and the second one is out in December and I can't wait! My friend and I are obsessed with the book.

I like that it's in the first person, a mystery and just the way it is written.

Rated:  5/5 - "left you wanting more."

Thursday, September 17, 2015

St Kilda reviews for September

Cosmic by Frank Cottrell Boyce - reviewed by Jackson

It’s about a twelve year-old boy called Liam Digby who lives in Waterloo Crescent and goes to primary school. He is unusually tall for his age. He goes to the doctor because he’s worried about how tall he is, but the doctor tells him not to worry, everyone else at school will go through a growth spurt over summer and will catch up to him. Everyone did grow over summer, but so did Liam. People start to think Liam is a lot older than he is. For example, people tell him he shouldn’t be using the School gate, because it’s reserved for kids.

Liam starts to find that his height has some benefits. He and his best friend Florida (who is really short) can get into places, like clubs. Liam even pretends to be a buyer for a Porsche! But as he’s literally sitting in the Porsche, his dad rocks up. There’s this company called DRAX, (nothing to do with Dracula) they make mobile phone apps. Liam fills out a survey competition DRAX runs. The last question is about being a parent. Liam is a finalist BUT he’s supposed to have a child, he was pretending to be a dad for the last question of the survey. The major prize is to get to orbit around the moon, but in order to win his spot Liam has to try and convince the organisers that Florida is his daughter.

Rated:  4/5 reallys - "Very interesting, but lost a 'really' because the long middle bit dragged it out."

Murder on the Orient Express by Agatha Christie - reviewed by Nessa

Detective Hercule Poirot is travelling to Istanbul. He gets to a spot where he’ll need to change trains, but then he gets a call from a client. He must go back immediately because there’s a case at home. He embarks on the Orient Express, first class. He meets the man in the carriage next to him, a millionaire named Mr Ratchett. Ratchett asks Poirot if he will work for him. He has been getting threatening letters. Poirot refuses and returns to his carriage. But the night is disrupted by a woman’s scream, and in the morning Mr Ratchett is found with a deadly stab wound.

Rated:  4.7/5 reallys - "Took a while to get into... for 10 years and older."

Cupid cakes by Fiona Dunbar - reviewed by Ruth

It’s about this girl Lulu who owns a star in the sky. She has a book called the Apple Star which is a magical recipe book. Even though the book is supposed to be a secret she tells her best friend Frenchy about it. A bad, evil woman and her evil son want to take the book from her. The woman used to be Lulu’s step mum! Frenchy suggests that to protect the book they should try and get Frenchy’s mum and her Dad together, before the evil woman gets involved.

I think this is the second book in the series.

Rated:  4.999/5 reallys - "Really good, clever and funny!"

To kill a mockingbird by Harper Lee - reviewed by Louise

The story is set in the 1930s and is told from the perspective of a girl, Scout Finch. All this stuff happens but the most important thing is that Scout’s dad who is a lawyer, defends a black man, Tom Robinson. It was so racist in the 1930s in America. Scout has a brother named Jem Finch. One summer a boy named Dill comes to stay with them. Over this one summer they see what happens with Tom Robinson.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "It made me feel really angry."

The Floods : better homes and gardens by Colin Thompson - reviewed by Ollie

This is the eighth book in the series. So what’s happening so far is that the Floods have returned to Transylvanian waters. The Castle is covered in sticky tape and they aren’t sure if anyone is living there so they use this gadget to find out if there is any life in there. There is one person - Aunty Mole! Things aren’t great though, all they find to eat in the castle is cabbage and brussel sprouts! Plus they have to deal with an arch nemesis, but Betty is prepared.

Rated:  5/5 reallys

The miraculous journey of Edward Tulane by Kate DiCamillo - reviewed by Olivia

A little girl called Hazel has a china bunny, Edward, who she keeps with her all the time, except when she goes to school. She leaves him on a ledge looking out the window when she leaves. One day she and her parents go on a cruise and she takes Edward. Some boys on the ship take him off her and throw him to each other as a game. They end up throwing Edward into the water. This begins Edward’s journey as he meets lots of different people, like a fisherman, a homeless man and a boy with a sick sister. The whole story is told from his perspective.

Rated:  4/5 reallys

The bad beginning : a series of unfortunate events by Lemony Snicket - reviewed by Yuanquan

It’s about these kids Violet, Klaus and Sunny who are very smart and good looking. But their house burns down and their parents are dead. The banker Mr. Poe takes them to his house which is a dump. His kids are there and don’t like sharing. They live there until they go to stay with their legal guardian Count Olaf. Olaf tries to marry Violet because she will eventually be given a large amount of money. But will he succeed?

Rated:  4/5 reallys - "because there wasn't a happy ending."

Thursday, September 10, 2015

Spring school holiday writing competition

Get inspired and impress us with a story including the following words:


3 x $65.00 & 3 x $35.00
Book Vouchers to be won!

Prizes awarded in these categories:

7-8 Years
9-10 Years
11-12 Years 

Maximum words: 1500

Please ensure the story is in one of the following formats:
.doc, .docx, .pdf or .jpg

Send your entry with your name, phone number and DOB to library@portphillip.vic.gov.au or drop it in to the library by 10 October 2015. Winners will be notified on 31 October. Enquiries to Michelle or Diana - 9209 6655.

Winning entries will be published on the blog.



Tuesday, September 1, 2015

Albert Park's August reviews

Fireside tales by Enid Blyton - reviewed by Miranda

This is a collection of short stories. I’ve enjoyed reading them all in the past, but there are only a few I have liked re-reading. One of them is The Little Candy House which tells the story of  two sisters who are very different. One is kind hearted (Rosemary) and the other is mean. It is baking day, but their mother has to go out. Rosemary tries to help by baking, but her sister is very mean and pinches and pulls her and throws the baked apple pudding on the floor! Rosemary later gets lost in the wood and finds a candy house and eats it. A witch woman invites her into the house, where she bakes a lovely tart. The witch gives her a "good" magic brooch and cloak as a present. Her mother is angry on her return, and doesn’t believe where she has been. She cries and a lovely voice comes out when she starts to sing. A prince hears it and asks her to marry him. Rosemary’s sister (the mean one), also comes across the witch’s house in the woods. However, she bakes "burnt" tarts and the witch gives her a "bad" brooch and cloak. When she starts to sing a "frog" voice comes out…and she only gets to marry a farmer’s boy and not a prince. 

Rated: 5/5 - "I recommend it for all ages, but not too young as the words are old-fashioned and hard. I thought this was a really interesting book."


The hidden staircase; Nancy Drewe #2 by Carolyn Keene - reviewed by Georgia

There are two mysteries combined in the one story. Nancy helps her best friend’s aunt to solve the mystery of the ghost haunting their old mansion. Her dad Mr Drew has been kidnapped and leads to the discovery of a hidden staircase.

Rated: 4/5 - "I recommend it to 8-12 year olds. I liked that the language was not too easy or too hard. The part I liked the best was how the mystery was solved. She finds the hidden staircase and her kidnapped dad in the staircase!."


The honest truth by Dan Gemeinhart - reviewed by Tiana

Mark is a kid who has cancer. He got over it but it has reappeared. He is fed up with the treatment. He runs away with his dog Beau and plans to climb Mount Rainier. He likes to write Haiku poems in his diary (which we get to see). He leaves a clue for his best friend Jessie about where he is going, but says not to tell anyone...it is their little secret. He gets to Mount Rainier and wants to die, but I won’t tell you the ending and spoil it. I will just say I cried at the end.

Rated: 4½/5 - "I would recommend it to 11+ year olds. I liked how touching it was... it pulled at the heart strings. It was astounding, even though at times it got a bit boring, like when he was on the bus talking to an 8 year old girl."



This book is a collection of short, easy-to-read, funny stories with rhyming and tongue twisters. It gets funnier as you read it. Terry Denton is in the story.

Rated: 3/5 - "The illustrations are violent, but in a funny way. A younger child wouldn’t get it, so I would recommend it to 6-10 year olds. I liked the first story the best."


It is based on the memories of Laura’s early childhood in the Big Woods in the 1800’s. It is about two little girls (Laura and her sister Mary), their family (Ma and Pa) and their  lives on the homestead. It is often hard work, but they also seem to have fun. The house in the big woods was made by Pa. They hunt a lot and in the summer they look out for bears, who have woken from hibernation. The whole family go to visit Grandma Ingalls for the Maple Syrup Ceremony and the story also talks about the Wheat Ploughing Festival, where they have to hoe all the wheat before the rain comes. There is a bit which talks about the eldest cousin, who is spoilt and doesn’t help with any chores. He is at the edge of the field and starts screaming. He does this three times and by the third time the others don’t believe him anymore and don’t come over to help. This time it is real and  he is really screaming, as he has jumped on a wasp hive and is being stung! He is wrapped in linen sheets and can see very little.

Rated: 4/5 - "I recommend it to 8+ year olds. It is a good story and as it’s set in the olden time, all ages can learn lessons from it. If you are naughty or not good, you will suffer the consequences."


This is a series of books. In this story, Aunt Violet is staying with Clementine Rose and her mother in Penberthy House. There is to be a wedding, which is what her mother needs to pay for the new roof at the hotel run by her. But during the excitement, her Uncle has a heart attack and goes to hospital, which leaves her Aunt in charge. She’s not friendly. The wedding goes well in the end, even though her Aunt gets mad when someone mistakenly sleeps in her bed! Clementine Rose is also invited to a birthday party, but the invitation gets lost and she thinks she’s not invited. At the last minute she has to find a present for her friend and he kisses her on the cheek.

Rated: 3/5 - "I would recommend this book for 6-8 year olds. I liked it when her Aunt Violet went to the bathroom and a man went to her bed by mistake. She screamed... it was funny!"

Thursday, August 20, 2015

August reviews from St Kilda

The necromancer : the secrets of the immortal Nicholas Flamel by Michael Scott - reviewed by Jackson

The back story of this book - which is the fourth in the series - is that these twins Sophie and Josh came from a prophecy created by elders. Elders are invincible beings living in shadow realms. They are all part animal. Some are good and some are super evil, they are dark elders. They can do magic by concentrating on their auras. Some of the dark elders chase Dr John Dee so he is on the run. Dr Dee is actually a real, historical person. He was an adviser to Elizabeth I. Meanwhile Josh operates the leygate lines to travel through to another dimension. He meets the good elder Prometheus, who teaches him fire magic. Dr Dee plans to draw all of the dark elders away from earth to be eaten by Coatlicue who is the mother of all Archons. Archons are older than the elders, they’re like the super boss, smash masters and Coatlicue is super evil. 

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "Brilliant, though insanely complicated. It flows really well so it doesn’t feel complicated."


Out of my mind by Sharon M. Draper - reviewed by Louise

It’s about this girl Melody. She’s got this synaesthesia condition where, for example, if you hear music, other senses overlap, like taste and colour. She can’t talk or walk. She’s super smart and has a photographic memory. A neighbour, Miss V (Violet Valencia) loves her, but tells her not to have self-pity, but show the world what she can do. One day she goes to the doctor. He gets her to do all of these exercises like stacking blocks. Melody ends up being put in class H5, a class for disabled students. She gets a machine that helps her communicate like Stephen Hawking. One day she tries out for this Whiz Kids competition which she wins. Some mean girls try to make out that she cheated, but she gets through. The next stage of the competition is in Washington.  

It’s all told from her perspective. She draws people in. Obviously the author did a lot of research, it's very descriptive.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "so, so good!"


Crystal keepers : bk. 3 of the Five Kingdoms series by Brandon Mull - reviewed by Yuanquan

So in previous books this kid Cole is trapped in the lands called The Outskirts. In The Outskirts you create things out of nothing if you focus on making things happen. In the last book Cole helped his sister Honour get her powers back. The five kingdoms of The Outskirts are Sambria, Elloweer, Necronum, Zeropolis, and Creon. Right now Cole is in Zecropolis trying to find Constance, another one of Miracle’s sisters. When Cole is searching for her he finds he has a brother named Hunter. He has been in The Outskirts for two more years than Cole. Then Cole gets lost and is put in the care of BotSideKick. When they find Constance they find her shaping power, which turns into a monster!

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "it was just good!"


State of Grace by Hilary Badger - reviewed by Olivia

There is this group of people who live in this place that is really nice. There are walls all around it. The creator is D.O.T. They have this gazebo where they worship her. Every day they pick fruit and give them all to D.O.T. Everyone lives in huts. One day, the main character, Fern, starts having all these flashbacks about being at the beach with her little brother. She has a different name in them too, Vera. Nobody else seems to have flashbacks, or brothers, so she doesn’t tell anyone. There are all these text books about happiness. One day Fern notices fine print at the bottom of a page. It says: SHEPHERD CORPORATION, she starts seeing this in other places too.  

Things are getting crazy around Fern as one of the boys, Gill begins taking over because he thinks he can talk directly to D.O.T. One day a boy comes through the gate in the woods. This has never happened before. His name is Dennis. The gates are electric, and there is a password to open them. Once he’s in he can’t get out. Fern and another boy, Blaze decide to hide him, because it no longer feels safe. Then one day a helicopter comes…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "Really good!"


The billionaire's curse by Richard Newsome - reviewed by Ruth

It’s about a boy called Gerald, who becomes one of the richest teenagers ever. He gets most of his money from his great-aunt. He inherits it. He has really good friends, twins Sam and Ruby. His aunt left him a message before she died, which says if he gets this message, she was murdered. She asks him to find out who did it, and to be careful. Sam and Ruby travel to England with Gerald to solve the mystery of his aunt’s murder. But Gerald’s life is in danger and the world’s largest diamond is missing…

This is the first book of a trilogy. 

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "Really, really, really, really, really good!"