Wednesday, December 14, 2016

December reviews from Albert Park

Rattled! : Maxx Rumble Cricket, bk. 1 by Michael Wagner - reviewed by Flynn (aged 8)

The book is about a boy named Maxx Rumble and he is a tremendously good cricket player. He plays against a fantastic team and they have a superstar whose name is Happy. Happy is amazing at everything but Maxx Rumble hits him for a six, but it was lucky because then he drops the catch on the boundary, it is not an easy catch.

"I rate it a whopping FIVE out of FIVE because it is exciting and tense so that is why I rate it five out of five."

(And for the last book club for the year we enjoyed the yummiest lemon slice treats that Flynn and his dad made. Thanks Flynn!)

Katy by Jacqueline Wilson - reviewed by Zoe (aged 10)

It's about a 12 year old girl and her life. She is the eldest of six. Elsie, her stepsister and Katy quarrel all the time and she also argues with her stepmother Izzi. Halfway through the book Katy loses the use of her legs on a rope swing that collapses. Because of this Katy is not able to go to Wales. Finally, Katy is supposed to go to Springfield for high school but is unable to go for a while because she is in a wheelchair and they do not have a lift. Once she is at high school she is so disappointed because she is not in her friend Caroline's (Cecy) class and almost stops being her friend. She does have another friend she met in hospital named Dexter. But in the end she goes to Springfield and everything ends up okay.

"I rate it Five out of Five wheelchairs because it was interesting."

A waltz for Matilda by Jackie French - reviewed by Emma (aged 10)

This is about a girl who lives in the city with her mum and aunt but they both die. She goes to live with her father in the country, when she gets there her dad is surprised to see her. The owner of the land next door called Drinkwater (which is huge) wants their land. Mr Drinkwater tells them to get off the land but the father said he would rather die and jumps into the lake and gets caught in weeds and drowns.

People tell Matilda to sell her land but she says never and hires someone to help her. Mr Drinkwater's son James comes along and they fall in love but he goes off to war and dies. She has a friend called Tommy who is jealous of James. I have not finished the book yet ...

Rated: 5/5 - "Intriguing! Romantic and people die a lot."

Once upon a dork : Dork diaries, bk. 8 by Rachel Renee Russell - reviewed by Georgia (aged 10)

Nikki Maxwell has an enemy named MacKenzie Hollister who absolutely hates her. One day they play dodge ball for PE and MacKenzie decides to slam the ball on her face. When she wakes up she is surrounded by munchkins. Aaaaaagh! All her original friends turn into fairytale characters. She has to find a way to get back to normal. She finally finds a way out and everything returns to normal. MacKenzie gets detention and has to clean the toilets (for slamming the ball).

Rated: 4/5 - "It's okay because they copied the Wizard of Oz, Cinderella and pretty much everything else."

Thursday, December 1, 2016

November reviews from Albert Park

Pennyroyal Academy by M.A.Larson - reviewed by Miranda

This book is about a girl (she doesn't have a name) who makes friends with a boy when they both arrive at the academy together. What I know so far (I haven't read it all) is that she is the odd one out at the academy because she grew up with dragons. The Academy's shield has 4 quarters on it and on each one is a princess, a knight, a dragon and a witch. Dragons and witches are sort of evil - but the girl grew up with dragons! At the academy she is given the name 'Evie'.

Rated: infinity/5 - "because the story is dramatic and imaginative and the crazy path it goes. I've no idea what is going to happen as I haven't finished it."

Dork diaries : Party time by Rachel Renee Russell - reviewed by Georgia

It's near Halloween and Nikki Maxwell's school is having a Halloween party. The principle asked for people to run it so Nikki and her friends put their hands up, unfortunately so did the CCP girls (they are mean girls). The CCP girls quit 2 days before the party and Nikki is panicking because she thinks they won't finish planning in time. Her crush Brandon tells her to 'calm down we can finish it!', and they do manage to finish everything. She has to host her little sister Brianna's party dressed as a rat, and it is the same day as the Halloween party. Nikki swaps parties so she can go to the Halloween party but doesn't realise her sister and friends have followed her to the school party and crashed it! The principle is angry and Mackenzie an annoying girl blames Nikki.

Rated:  5/5 - "So spectacular and it's like my life, but a bit worse and a bit better!"

Nanny Piggins by R.A. Spratt - reviewed by Charlie

This story is about a pig who comes to babysit three children. Nanny Piggins used to be in a circus, she thinks that chocolate is good for you and gives the children 2 bars of it for dinner! She does lots of weird stuff with the children such as hiring a sailing boat that she wants to sail to China. The boat gets caught in a storm and gets a hole in it so water leaks inside. Some Chinese people in a big boat see them and save them. They take them to China and then back home.

Rated:  4/5 - "because it was good."

Sleepovers by Jacqueline Wilson - reviewed by Zoe

It's about 5 girls who call themselves the Alphabet Club because of their names and they have sleepovers for their birthdays. Daisy from the group does not want to have one though because she has a disabled sister and she thinks the girls will be mean. At the sleepover Chloe is mean to Daisy and makes her watch a horror movie. Daisy's disabled sister starts making strange sounds because she can't talk and is in a wheelchair. Chloe gets nervous and wets her pants. The other girls don't talk to Chloe anymore because she is mean. And Daisy realises she is happy to have her disabled sister.

Rated:  4.9x3/5 - "it's very, very, very, very, very good ... but not great!"

Hatchet by Gary Paulsen - reviewed by Julia

This book is about a boy named Brian who is about 13 years old and he is going to visit his dad in a remote part of Canada. He is on a tiny single engine plane when the pilot has a heart attack and Brian has to land the plane in a lake. Brian spends 2 months in the bush, he makes a hut from pine trees, eats raspberries, fish and a bird. On the last day he decides to look in the plane and retrieves an emergency kit. There is dried food, a sleeping bag, matches and a transmitter. He makes a feast with the dried food and then a rescue helicopter finds him. It's really strange because at the end of the book it doesn't say whether he was happy to be found or not.

Rated:  4¾/5 - "I liked the story but it's not very entertaining as there isn't much action - I like books that have a lot of action in it."

Maxx Rumble Cricket : Maximum Maxx! by Michael Wagner - reviewed by Flynn

Maxx has a game coming up and he's not really practicing just playing games. Even though he doesn't practice he always wins (almost).

Rated:  5/5 - "Entertaining! I play cricket so I like it!"

Mad dogs (Cherub series) by Robert Muchamore - reviewed by Emma

This book is about a bunch of kids who are spies called Cherub. They are trained to be spies because nobody would suspect them of being one. James is always sent out on missions because he is so good. Some of the missions he is sent on involve drugs and terrorists (for example one involved an eco-terrorist group). James and another boy Michael have to join 2 gangs who are fighting one another and send the information to headquarters because the police need the info fast. The gangs do small robberies but then do a huge one at the airport. Because Cherub are involved with Mi5 the boys get out of being arrested. This book is not for younger readers, for example James has a girlfriend but he cheats on her a lot!

Rated:  5/5 - "I've read all of them! The only reason I heard about this book is because my mum is a podiatrist and one of her clients recommended it and they are really good."

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

November reviews from St Kilda

The fault in our stars by John Green - reviewed by Nika

It’s this really sad story about a girl who has lung cancer. She goes to support groups because she’s depressed and her mum sent her there. She meets this guy called Augustus who has cancer in his leg. They fall in love and stuff, it’s very like teen romance. She has this favourite author, who is the only voice she can relate to. So they fly all the way to go and meet him. They have dinner and she finds out that his cancer has come back… it’s really cute if you’re into sad stories. If you get really sad and cry easily maybe you shouldn’t read it, but I did and still really liked it.

Rated:  4.5/5 reallys - "I wouldn’t give the full five because there are only two main characters and I wish there were more little ones to help along the story."

A message to the sea by Alex Shearer - reviewed by Spike

It’s about this boy whose dad supposedly died in a ship wreck. He doesn’t believe it and thinks ‘well it’s worth a try’ and he throws out messages in bottles. He throws out lots and never gets any answer, and it’s mostly just him waiting for the bottles (but it’s good, it isn’t boring). He has an Uncle who sails on a ferry which goes round and round. One day he meets some mysterious ship painters, one man named Charlie who reads a message in a bottle. The boy’s sister is sort of meanish, because she shouts at him for believing their dad is still alive. And there’s this guy called Ted Bones who’s from Davy Jones’ locker, which is the bottom of the sea where all the people who have died in the sea are. He starts responding to the messages. They start to engage in conversation and become ‘message in a bottle pals.’

Rated:  4.5/5 reallys

Will Solvit and the Dreaded Droids by Zed Storm - reviewed by Jaxon

It’s a series where this ten year old boy named Will finds a broken time machine named Morph. Morph, since he’s broken, has a mind of his own. So he takes Will Solvit to a random place and this time he goes to Antarctica. When they arrive they meet a bunch of guys, well I shouldn’t say guys, they’re robo-penguins! The robo-penguins keep sneezing on people (I’m not even joking). Whenever they sneeze on someone they turn into mind slaves. The guy who invented these robo-penguins that sneeze on people is Dr Demonex. The book comes with a decoder device. Throughout the book, there are these squares, which don’t look like anything much, but when you get your decoder (making sure the lines are horizontal) and shine it over the square, it makes a picture. There are 30 squares in the book. Will really wants to join the robo-penguins, because they took his parents as slaves. He is willing to become a slave if it means being with them. It’s really good, but the names are really hard to say and sometimes the plot doesn’t make sense. When I saw this book, I thought it was going to be like… well not penguins! When I saw the title I thought it would be something like ‘moving spikes with a mind of their own’ I didn’t expect sneezing robo-penguins.

Rated:  4/5 reallys - "This series is really crazy!"

Harry Potter and the cursed child by Jack Thorne - reviewed by Emese

I’ve only read the first three chapters so far. The start of this story is 19 years after the end of The Deathly Hallows. Harry and Ginny have children - one called James, one called Albus and Lily. James, the older brother, keeps on teasing Albus because he is about to enter Hogwarts and be sorted. James taunts him saying “you could be in Slytherin” over and over. On the train he meets a boy named Scorpius, the son of Draco Malfoy. But he’s actually really nice. Apparently now there’s this rumour going on, but they don’t know if it’s true or not, that Draco’s wife is going back in time to have children with Voldemort so that her offspring are related to him. Which could mean Scorpius could be the son of Voldemort and have lots of power. Albus is sorted and ends up in Slytherin!!! Everyone wonders how he can be a Potter and also a Slytherin. The next year Albus starts being really mean to Harry. Apparently it’s cool to not have parents around near the train. I like the book style more where there are lots of descriptions which help to set the scene. So because of that it’s not as good as it could be. It would have been way better if it wasn’t a play and didn’t skip through first year so quickly.

Rated:  3.5/5 reallys - "Unlike the other books, I think the movie will be better than the book this time, especially as it is a play."

Pi in the sky by Wendy Mass - reviewed by Ollie

Basically, it’s about a boy named Josh, who’s the seventh son of the supreme overlord of the universe. He has one job, which is to deliver Pi's. These are messages from around the universe that look and smell like apple pies and are embedded with tiny files. They live in the cosmos and are immortal. Every now and then, the worlds might be able to see them, when there’s a break in what keeps them hidden. Josh’s dad has to wipe out Earth. Josh’s best friend’s parents go around on planets studying them and keeping files. Those parents were on Earth because the powers that be (Josh’s dad) said so. His best friend Carl gets wiped out along with his parents as Earth is ripped out of existence. When they all disappear, a girl is standing there. She is the person who looked through the telescope and saw it happen. Josh has the Pi which contains all the files about the earth, right down to the first molecule. With the girl and people from the afterlife, Josh tracks down the really old scientist to help them rebuild Earth. There is a special mist, because in the Cosmos where they live there is no gravity and they aren’t solid. So when they touch Earth they like the solid feeling. The earthling girl can’t breathe in the Cosmos because there’s no oxygen, so she thinks she’s in a dream, which is helped by Josh transforming all the time. Aunt Ray, who makes Pi's, gets water that Carl created which contains oxygen and helps her breathe properly. So she has water poured on her head all the time.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "I really liked all the scientific ideas and words."

The red pyramid - bk. 1, Kane Chronicles by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Yuanquan

This book is full of Egyptian mythology. It’s about this boy named Carter Kane and his annoying sister Sadie. So he travels around with his father because his mother died sometime at Queen Cleopatra’s Needle in London. His dad is Julius Kane and he is a magician. He gets to see Sadie twice a year. Julius takes them to a museum where he tries to bring their mother back to life by chanting with the Rosetta Stone. Hoping to bring the Egyptian gods out of prison who were banished by a group of magicians who thought they were evil, he tries to only release Osiris, the king of the underworld, but instead he releases Set, Nef, Horace, Isis and Osiris. Set locks Julius in a coffin (like she does to Osiris in Egyptian mythology) and sends him away. Carter and Sally are watching, hidden behind a pillar. Their amulets, the Tine of Osiris and the Eye of Horace, absorb part of the spirit of each god. They travel around and meet this girl named Zia and go to the biggest magic spot. Before they get interrupted, Zia tells them all of this magic stuff about all the specialties magicians can have, like statues, divining, combat, healing, animal charming, amulet making and necromancy. Because they’re hosting gods they have to hurry away for fear of execution. Then they set out on an adventure with a godly cat named Muffins, battle Set in Phoenix and attempt to rescue their Dad, but it’s complicated, because he’s now tied to the underworld… filled with spells!

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "Interesting, funny and cool!"

Friday, October 28, 2016

St Kilda reviews for October

Percy Jackson and the Greek gods by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Ollie

I am reviewing the first half of the book...

It’s full of lying, backstabbing and cannibalism! It’s funny and tells you all about the beginning of the gods. First from the mists of Chaos came Gaia, the earth, then Tartarus, Eros and Uranus followed.

There are lots of comments in brackets which are directly from Riordan’s perspective, where he adds something different, like when it says that “Gaia likes to walk her long legs upon the earth” he says: “(which is practically walking upon herself!)”.

One day Gaia wished she had someone to accompany her. Either Chaos heard her, or she just willed it to happen. A sky formed and that was Uranus, the god of the sky. They married and had twelve Titan children, then they had another set of kids which were a bit ugly and had many arms, called the Hundred Handed Ones. Uranus thought they were really, really ugly and so he chained them up and threw them into Tartarus (a non bottomless but bottomless pit prison). Then they had another set of triplets and they were one-eyed. Uranus exiles them as well and Gaia gets really mad. She makes a scythe and asks one of her twelve children to kill him. None volunteer but the youngest of the twelve, Kronos. He asks for four helpers who hold down his limbs. They chop him up into a million little pieces and chuck him into Tartarus. The four helpers go to the corners of the earth and hold up the sky. Kronos becomes the King of the Universe. But when Tartarus died it was prophesied that Kronos’ children would repeat his actions. So he’s afraid to have kids. Then he gets the nerve to marry Riya, the All Mother, the most beautiful of the Titans who gives birth to their first child. The baby, radiating a godly power, frightens Kronos and so he eats her. He continues to eat all their children until Riya, who is very upset, gives birth to Zeus in the far away land of Crete. Knowing that the child will be eaten upon her return, Riya asks Gaia to swap the baby for a rock…

Rated:  5/5 reallys

Harry Potter and the deathly hallows by J.K. Rowling - reviewed by Emese

It’s about this boy called Harry Potter. He’s a special, chosen child, known as “the boy who lived” because of his undoing of Lord Voldemort. Voldemort was responsible for a lot of people dying, and performed a death curse on Harry when he was just a baby. No one has ever survived the curse, except for Harry.

In this book Harry, Hermione and Ron have run away from Hogwarts into the forest. They were meant to find these things called horcruxes, which contain parts of Voldemort’s power. They have to find them, smash them and kill the power to weaken him. They search everywhere to find them. They meet Luna’s dad Mr Lovegood, who tells them about the three objects of the Deathly Hallows: the vanishing cloak, the elder wand (you can do anything with this wand and be practically invincible) and the philosopher’s stone. If you have all of these objects you are meant to be like the master of death…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "It's better than the movie, more interesting, detailed and exciting!"

The night they stormed Eureka by Jackie French - reviewed by Ruth

It’s about this girl called Sam who lives now. She has a complicated family, with a stepdad and abusive, alcoholic mum. She’s homeless but none of her friends know. Basically she is really upset and wants to get away from her life.

One day she goes for a walk in a graveyard and sees a gravestone marked in memory of Percival Puddleham 1801-1884 and his dear wife Elsie 1814-1854 and their most beloved children. Sam imagines that they were rich and happy and she wishes that she was there. Then a big gust of wind blows and Sam finds herself in the 1800s! She meets Mrs Puddleham who is really nice and good at cooking, and Mr Puddleham, who is quite thin but elegant. She has to fight a bushranger (but it’s not particularly relevant to the story so moving on).

Mrs Puddleham is a cook on the goldfields. Sam works for her and lives in their shop. Everyone wants to eat Mrs Puddleham’s food. She tells Sam she used to be the cook for her Majesty and Percival was her butler. She’s really happy there. In the shop where they live, there is also this man known as the professor. He can read but he’s always drinking. Anyway she tells him she’s from the future… Sam knows things no one else knows, about the future, about the stockade…

There is an appendix and some history at the back, even old recipes like treacle dumplings and sinkers written in old fashioned language.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “Great descriptions throughout. I like everything about it. It’s really good, funny and sometimes violent.”

Crusade by Elizabeth Laird - reviewed by Spike

It’s about the crusades in Jerusalem. There are two perspectives - one from a boy called Adam whose mother dies and has to leave on a crusade to be the baron leader’s dog boy. He’s given a dog. The other perspective is from Salim. His left leg is shorter than his right leg so he limps. He’s appointed as the doctor’s apprentice. He’s the other main character. King Richard and Sir Guy are in this story too (from Robin Hood). There’s a giant fight. Adam is excited about war to begin with, then he experiences real war and realises how awful it is.

Rated:  4/5 reallys

Bakugan: the official handbook by Scholastic and Tracey West

This book covers all of the characters from the movie including the elements, the evil and good characters. This book goes with the movie, where Dan has a brawl with a local boy Shuji. When Shuji challenges him to a rematch he gets Drago. Dan uses a quartet battle card, which makes it so that a darkest fear ripper and also a dragonoid appear (dragons that can change and be upgraded, like to delta are really rare). Dan’s dragonoid Drago evolves in an episode called “Drago’s on Fire” because for some reason he was covered in this ball of fire, which turned rock solid and then exploded open and then a Delta Dragonoid came out instead of a dragonoid.

This book tells you all about the characters such as Bee Striker who has a huge stinger and Clay F of the six legendary soldiers of the Destroyer, who is said to be the strongest of the six. There’s also this Bakugan that’s pretty much impossible to beat, called Agorum.

Rated:  4/5 reallys - “It loses a 'really' if you already know how to play the game. But it has a useful strategy section at the back which you can use (there’s a video game as well as episodes and a movie).”

Percy Jackson and the Greek gods by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Yuanquan

I am reviewing the second half of this book...

After the Olympians beat Kronos, they roll the dice to see who gets what part of the earth. The three gods are Hades, Poseidon and Zeus. Zeus predictably rolls highest and chooses the sky which makes sense because he has a master bolt. Poseidon chooses the sea and Hades chooses the underworld. The book then goes on to explain what led to this moment.

The first chapter is “Hestia chooses bachelor number 0” because Hestia is the goddess of the heart. Other gods start wanting to marry people but Hestia wants to stay single. So then both Poseidon and Apollo go to ask Zeus’ permission at the same time and then Hestia is just sitting by the fire day-dreaming, and then Zeus calls Hestia over to choose and then Hestia falls to her knees and asks not to have to marry. Zeus grants her request.

Next chapter is called “Demeter turns into Rainzilla.” She’s the goddess of agriculture and has a daughter named Persephone. She’s very caring towards her daughter. One day a rich person goes to a sacred grove to cut trees for his mansion. So he starts cutting and Demeter comes. All his friends run away and he gets cursed. He can eat and drink as much as he wants, but he will never quench his thirst of hunger.

Next “Hera gets a little cuckoo” where Zeus is trying to convince Hera to marry him. Zeus makes a deal with her that if she ever says “I love you” she will have to marry him. Then he turns into a cuckoo and flew up to Mt Olympus during a storm, pretending to be injured…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “There are lots of stories, they are very, very good.”

Friday, October 21, 2016

Reviews from Albert Park for October

13 ghostly tales by Freya Littledale (ed.) - reviewed by Miranda

There are 13 small stories in this book. I will tell you about one called "The Railroad" which is about a train that has Queen Victoria aboard and the train needs to go fast to get her somewhere. The train driver sees a man waving his arms on the rail tracks. The driver stops the train and gets out and finds that he has stopped just in time because he was about to cross a river, but because of heavy rain it is swollen and had caused the bridge to wash away. The train driver can't find the man anywhere either. Later the driver finds a giant moth on the headlights when he turns them on, its shadow looks like that of a man flapping his arms. This is based on a true story.

I wasn't really scared reading the book ... I just read it.

Rated:  100/5 - "because each story is different but have similar themes. Really cool."

Dork diaries by Rachel Renee Russell - reviewed by Georgia

Nikki is the opposite of popular, she is a dork. She is starting a new school and is hoping that things will change. She hopes to make friends at her new school. I really liked it, the book is entertaining and easy to read.

Rated:  5/5 - "It's the best book in the world!"

The naughtiest girl keeps a secret by Enid Blyton - reviewed by Charlie

The naughtiest girl is about a girl named Elizabeth who goes to boarding school. Someone is playing mean tricks on her friend Patrick ... he thinks it's Elizabeth! She tries to find out who is playing tricks on Patrick so she can prove it's not her.

Rated:  4/5 - "Good but some bits are boring."

Figgy in the world by Tamsin Janu - reviewed by Zanais

This book is about a girl named Figgy who lives in Ghana in Africa and whose grandma is very ill. She decides to travel around the world to find medicine to make her grandmother better. She also has a pet goat named Kwame who she loves. She finds the medicine she needs in New York but when she gets back her grandma is better but Kwame the goat has died.

Rated:  4/5 - "It could have more characters in it but it only had three - I like books with a lot of characters in them."

Cake pop crush by Suzanne Nelson - reviewed by Julia

Alicia lives with her dad who runs the local bakery in town. Her mother died when she was little. She helps her dad at the bakery and when a new sleek coffee shop chain opens across the road from their shop they have to find a way to survive. Adding to the problem is that the CEO of the new coffee chain has a cute son named Dane. Alicia loves baking and she finds out that Dane does too. There is a bake off and she makes cake pops using a recipe her mum had to win and save her dad's bakery. She kisses Dane at the end of the book.

Rated:  4 1/8 out of 5 - "It was a good book and I really liked it - I would have given it 5 but it had a romantic bit so I didn't give it 5."

Girl online by Zoe Sugg - reviewed by Emma

This book is about a girl named Penny who is a blogger and writes about her life. Her mum is a wedding planner and takes her to New York with her, while she is there she meets a boy named Noah who is a rockstar (but she doesn't know this because she is a nerd). They start falling in love but a mean girl named Megan spreads a rumour over the internet that Noah already has a girlfriend and that Penny is a cheat. It turns out not to be true.

Rated:  5/5 - "I loved it!"

Specky Magee and the great footy contest by Felice Arena and Gary Lyon - reviewed by Flynn

Specky Magee is a really good footy player but he has to pass a footy skills competition and a contest with 100 questions. He wins and goes to Ireland.

This book is good for 7 - 10 year olds.

Rated:  5/5 - "I like sport."

The 65-storey treehouse by Andy Griffiths - reviewed by Zoe

There are three people who live in the treehouse Andy, Terry and Jill. They have added more levels to the treehouse (another 13 storeys). They have created a 24 hour TV station for the latest news from the treehouse. They now have a pool, shark tank, an elephant fighting arena and an exploding eyeball area. But they realise they don't have a building permit for the extra levels so have to go back in time to get it. They accidently time travel but don't know how to do it properly and keep going right back until they go back to the stone age. They also can't work the time machine to get back.

Rated:  3.25/5 - "because it was good but could have been livelier (more interesting)."

Wednesday, September 28, 2016

September reviews from St Kilda

Flamecaster by Cinda Williams Chima - reviewed by Yuanquan

The story is set in the Shattered Realm. It’s about this kid named Adrian sul’Han, known as Ash or Adam Freeman who’s the son of a former street thief who is the king of the Queendom of Fells. Then his party gets killed. He gets upset and runs away from his kingdom to the enemy kingdom, to a place called Delphi where he’s going around killing people.

I should mention there are magical people in this world and if you’re a sorcerer, or a healer you can use your magic to heal, kill, control minds, pluck eyes out and so on.

Then he goes to the King’s court. Because the kingdom of Arden and the kingdom of Feld are arch enemies, to get into the court he has to dress in the disguise of a healer. But really, he’s on a mission to assassinate the king. He meets this girl named Jenna Bandelow, all the time he is under the alias of Adam Freeman, Healer of the King’s court. Jenna has a mark on her neck, and that’s why she gets kidnapped by this group of evil guards. Then an emperor from a land far, far away says they will give the kingdom of Arden a gift in exchange for her. One of the gifts is six really large, expensive diamonds. Adam is in charge of checking them for curses (as a sorcerer he can). He slips in this bottle of living silver because it’s actually this thing from the hot baths of the mountain Fells and if you heat it, it will make people sick. So he is trying to kill the guard. Then this thing happens where because the Queen of Arden doesn’t like the King, she tries to do him in, throwing him off the balcony.

Adam is caught in the scandal, someone is after the diamond and who is Jenna really?

Rated:  4/5 reallys

The Chocolate Box Girls series by Cathy Cassidy - reviewed by Ruth

I was trying to persuade my parents to read this series, but they don’t want to read it, my dad thinks it’s a ‘girly girl book’ but anyway, he’s just judging a book by its cover.

This series is sort of for teenagers. It’s set in England. There a four girls. They’re sisters. Their ages are ranging from eleven to fourteen. Their parents have split up and they live with their mum in this house which is like a mansion. They have a bed and breakfast business in part of the house. Anyway their house is ginormous with like thirteen bedrooms and three dining rooms. The girls are Skye and Summer, Coco and Cherry. Their dad has a chocolate shop and names a truffle after each of them and these are what the books are titled.

Each story focuses on one of the girls. For instance, in Marshmallow Sky, Sky is drifting away from everyone else because she starts having dreams about a girl’s life after wearing some vintage clothes…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “They’re really good books, I really want my parents to read them! Full of really funny and really sad bits.

The crown's game by Evelyn Skye - reviewed by Spike

About this girl called Vika and another boy named Nikolai Karamov. The story is set in Russia in 1852. They are both enchanters. Enchanters enchant stuff with magic. In Russia there is only supposed to be one enchanter that harnesses the power of Bolshevik Dito, which is the place that gives them their magic. There’s this thing called The Town’s Game, where each enchanter has to fight. It’s quite weirdly polite. You have to take turns to fight people. You can only use your magic to attack during your turn, you can use it to defend even if it’s not. It’s really good. I would recommend it for people who like magic and stuff like that.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “... the lady who wrote this got offered a job by the C.I.A.!

Earthfall by Mark Waldon - reviewed by Jack

It’s set in London in the middle of an apocalypse and everyone is getting brainwashed by aliens. The main character is Sam, who has been living in a sewer system for safety. When he comes out of hiding, he meets a bunch of kids who are fighting against enslavement. The aliens have a mothership which is a three kilometre saucer disk.

The story is full of tension, as the humans fight against the aliens, known as the Voidborn and their creations, robotic soldiers known as Grendels.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “Exciting. Read this if you like sci-fi!

The war that saved my life by Kimberly Brubaker Bradley - reviewed by Emese

This book is set during World War II. Hitler is trying to bomb the towns. It’s about this girl called Ada who has a twisted foot so it’s basically backwards. Her mum has always been ashamed of her so she never lets her go out or near her window, even though that was her favourite spot. She couldn’t walk properly and had to pull her bad leg around and crawl. She had a little brother called Jamie, and he could walk and play and go outside. Their mother loves him and lets him see everything of the world. Sometimes he wouldn’t come home until early in the morning.

When Hitler and the Nazis start bombing their town, Ada’s mum is really cruel to her, taking her brother somewhere safe and leaving her behind in danger. Ada escapes on a train with her brother and stays at this lady’s place who has a pony named Butter. At first Ada thought she was rich because they had such good food and she had literally never had more than crumbs at home, even though their mother and Jamie would have a feast each night. She finds out later that the lady is actually very poor.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - “An exciting, enjoyable read.

One false note ; bk. 2, The 39 clues by Gordon Korman - reviewed by Jaxon

This is the second book in the series. So they are on the chase for clues and they are trying to get 39. So they had the choice of a clue hunt with the goal of being the most powerful person on earth or decline and get a million dollars.

First, the characters are a fourteen year-old girl called Amy and her eleven year-old brother Dan. A hunger strike begins in two hours east of Paris. Saladin is a cat so right now they’re in Paris and they’re trying to get to Japan. There is this family called Hult, and what they do is they literally boss everyone around because they’re so strong. The youngest Hult is one and they can lift Amy off the ground! So basically the Hult's are these strong guys who try to beat everyone up. Hult Hamilton hates France. And I should have said Saladin has a cat carrier.

Sometimes it’s a bit violent because it includes things like blood lips, poison and scratching and one of the contestants dies in a fire.

Rated:  4/5 reallys

Percy Jackson and the Titan's curse by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Ollie

Percy, Thalia, Chase and Annabeth go to this school for military kids where Grover the Satyr (half-goat) is in disguise as a student. Grover has horns too. Back to the point, Grover has called for help because there are two half-blood kids at that school and there’s a monster there. The vice principle Doctor Thorn is a monster, a manticore. Dr Thorn takes Percy Jackson and the two half-bloods who are brother and sister. They have to fight him. Thalia and Annabeth come to help. The manticore is very strong. Then they hear the horn of the hunters. They shoot and badly wound Dr Thorn. He jumps off a cliff and takes Annabeth with him, but she survives. The Hunters set up camp for the night. Dr Thorn had earlier talked about a monster powerful enough to overthrow the gods and take over Olympus… Artemis and the hunters and Percy and his friends go on the hunt. Also Apollo attempts the haiku and there is a deadly prophecy to be fulfilled….

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "Everything in this series is great!"

Tuesday, September 13, 2016

September reviews from Albert Park

The magic pudding by Norman Lindsay - reviewed by Miranda 

Bunyip Bluegum the koala goes on an adventure, on the way he meets Bill Barnacle the sailor and Sam Sawnoff the penguin. When he meets them they are eating a pudding. This pudding (named Albert) walks and talks, changes flavours. He doesn't always taste like a pudding, sometimes he can taste like kidney beans. The pudding also lasts forever no matter how much you eat or take from it - it's always there!

There are also some pudding thieves who try to steal the pudding from Bunyip Bluegum and his friends.

I give it Infinity out of 5! - "It was really interesting with lots of good ideas and strategies for saving your life! My mum made me read this because she wants me to try new books."

Fifth formers of St Clare's by Enid Blyton - reviewed by Zoe

This book is about a group of girls at a boarding school and their life there. One of the girls is Claudine who is French, she hates sport and finds lots of excuses and tricks to get out of doing it. There are also twins Patricia and Isobel who are the main characters in all of the St Clare series. The girls have lots of midnight feasts!

Rated:  5/5 - "Really good and kept getting more interesting."

Here's the naughtiest girl by Enid Blyton - reviewed by Charlie

Elizabeth comes back for Term 4 and meets a new boy at the school who looks a lot like her best friend Julian Holland. But this boy is competitive, rude, arrogant and mean it also turns out that he is Julian's cousin.

Rated:  5/5 - "very interesting."

Super Diaper Baby by Dav Pilkey - reviewed by Flynn

This book is about a baby and a dog who fall into some super juice that gives them superpowers, they become Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog (they both wear diapers). A man falls into pee and is really angry and blames Super Diaper Baby and Diaper Dog. He has a cat called Petey who steals diapers and the angry man steals potties.

Rated:  5/5 - "very entertaining and funny. I think this book is good for those 7-9 years old!"

Under Wildwood by Colin Meloy - reviewed by Emma

Prue finds out about Wildwood in the first book in the series when her brother is abducted by crows.

This time Prue and her best friend Curtis need to go under Wildwood to save themselves and their friends and the place they live. Prue and Curtis don't know who is their friend or enemy, for example someone is their friend but then turns out to be a traitor (there are lots of traitors in this book). They get put into a cage made of bones.

There are also the Overdwellers, a group made up of mice, squirrels, wolves and moles who are good and fight the baddies.

The worst person in the book is the Dowager Governess - she creates a robot son, and as long as he is around she cannot be killed.

Rated:  4/5 - "It was good because it was long and very exciting but sometimes it was predictable - you knew where the story was going to go. I recommend this for those aged 9+."

Wednesday, August 24, 2016

August reviews from Albert Park

Dory Fantasmagory by Abby Hanlon - reviewed by Hannah

Dory has a really big imagination but her older brother and sister think she is annoying because she asks a lot of dumb questions. They would like her to play with someone else and stop following them. Her brother and sister make up a person called Mrs Gobblegracker who is a witch but Dory thinks it is real. Dory believes that Mrs Gobblegracker wants to eat her up and Dory tries to kill her. Her brother and sister tell her that Mrs Gobblegracker is not real.

Rated:  3/5 - "It's too childish."

Little town on the prairie by Laura Ingalls Wilder - reviewed by Miranda

This is part of the Little House series.

Laura and her family are pioneers from Wisconsin who go westwards. Laura is now 15 years old and still not married. Laura wants to become a teacher but she has to wait until she turns 16. She also wants to teach so she can help her younger sister Mary (who is blind) go to college in Iowa. The family experience extremely bad weather and blizzards and blackbirds eat their crops. She wants to teach to contribute to sending her sisters to school.

Rated:  Infinity out of 5! - "difficult to write about your own life if it is not in a diary. It's interesting and makes me want to be there."

Ratburger by David Walliams - reviewed by Zoe

It's about a girl, Zoe, who has a mean aunt that she lives with. Her dad is away a lot and he is poor. Her dad used to work in an ice cream factory but has lost his job. Zoe is also bullied at school by a mean girl.

She finds a rat that becomes her pet, but there is a man who catches rats and turns them into burgers. Her rat is captured by the burger man but Zoe and her dad save the rat. Also her step-mum has fallen in love with the burger man, but they both fall into the pulverising machine (which had been used for the rats). In the end her dad opens up his own ice-cream shop.

Rated:  3.75/5 - "Quite good but also kind of strange."

The BFG by Roald Dahl - reviewed by Flynn

This book was recently turned into a movie. It's about a Big Friendly Giant (BFG) who goes around at night and catches dreams - no one has ever seen him. Except one night Sophie is awake at the orphanage where she lives and sees the BFG walking around her street during the night while everyone else is asleep. The BFG catches her because no one is supposed to see him and takes her back to where he lives. He lives near nine other giants who eat humans and they want to capture Sophie.

Rated:  5/5 - "A good book, the giant was nice."

The Doldrums by Nicholas Gamon - reviewed by Georgia

Archer wants to travel around the world like his grandparents who were explorers, but his parents won't let him. It's because his grandparents went missing on an iceberg on one of their adventures. New neighbours move in and they are really mean and insult his grandparents and family history when they come over for a dinner party at his parents place. The new neighbours are also going to be teachers at Archer's school.

Rated:  5/5 - "I gave it 5/5 because it's very interesting and makes me want to keep reading."

Harry Potter and the cursed child by J.K. Rowling (parts 1 & 2) - reviewed by Leticia

This book is actually a play and is about Harry's son Albus. Albus now attends Hogwarts, where the sorting hat has sorted him into Slytherin (not like Harry who was in Gryffindor). He also becomes best friends with Draco Malfoy's son Scorpius (although there are rumours that he is really Voldemort's son because Malfoy and his wife couldn't have children).

Albus and Scorpius go back in time with a time-turner to save Cedric Diggory. But not all goes well as the future is changed and Voldemort rules and Hogwarts is a school for dark arts. Harry and the other adults have to find Albus and Scorpius and save them.

Rated:  5/5 - "It's a great story and there is a moral to it. And it's Harry Potter!"

Tuesday, August 16, 2016

August reviews from St Kilda

White Fang by Jack London - reviewed by Spike

I really liked it. The start was actually, I think, written by somebody else. I thought that it was cool how it was from the wolf’s point of view. I really recommend it.

At the start, the book isn’t in the wolf’s perspective, but then when the wolf cub is born it shifts to him. As a cub he learns new things which is cool. They live in a cave and to him as a cub it seemed like a white wall of brightness. His father always disappears outside each day and he wonders where he goes. So he doesn’t know the world existing outside until he leaves the safety of the cave one day. At the end you go aw! It’s really nice.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "A really, really, really good book!"

Percy Jackson and the Staff of Hermes by Rick Riordan, from The Demigod Diaries - reviewed by Yuanquan

This is a 'side book' of The Gods of Olympus series, where Hermes, who is the messenger of the gods ,has to travel roads, cheeseburgers and speedster. He loses his Caduceus, which is his special staff, his symbol of hell. So he has to find it, and this giant who isn’t very giant called Cacus. He breathes fire.

They fight the giant and he is defeated because of the staff that has two snakes on it, which are George and Martha. They change the staff into a wicked bazooka rifle gun and they shoot the giant down; and Percy Jackson and Annabeth were just on their one month anniversary for their first kiss and he forgot, so in exchange for killing the giant, Hermes gives him a prize - they get teleported to this really posh restaurant and can have whatever they want and they have access to the Olympus Express til midnight, so they can go anywhere they want; and then Annabeth forgets their anniversary, even though she was the one who reminded Percy he had forgotten before the battle.

This is just one of the stories in this book which also includes The Diary of Luke Castellan and an interview with the staff snakes George and Martha. “50,000 reallys...”

Rated:  5/5 reallys

Percy Jackson and the Last Olympian by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Yuanquan

**Spoilers! This is the final book in the first Percy Jackson series. Most of the book is this big battle defending Manhattan from these armies of bad guys. The main baddie focus is the empire state building because it is the entrance to Olympus.

In the beginning Percy starts off with this guy from the Hephaestus cabin because they’re all from Camp Half-Blood, which is a camp for children that are half boy half god heroes. So this guy named Beckendorf and Percy have to blow up the Princess Andromeda before it reaches Manhattan. They succeed but Beckendorf dies and then he sinks down into the ocean. He wakes up in his father Poseidon’s palace. The palace is being attacked by Oceanus the evil sea titan and his army of bad guys.

So then back in the normal world Dexter gets the sacred great prophecy which is, (well he stumbles over the first sentence and says “A half-blood of the eldest dogs”! instead of gods). It really goes:

“A half-blood of the eldest gods 
Shall reach sixteen against all odds 
And see the world in endless sleep 
The hero's soul, cursed blade shall reap 
A single choice shall end his days 
Olympus to preserve or raze” 

Then he must go with his friend Niko Angelo who is the son of Hades and bathe in the river Styx to get immortality. Then go to fight in Manhattan. The hunters of Artemis help them defeat the big bad. Then Chiron comes who is a centaur of heroes with a whole lot of Party Ponies (centaurs that party, they have paint ball). Together they fight the lord of the Titans, Titan of Time, Youngest of the Twelve Brothers (and most annoying). Kronos attacks Olympus, deciding to cut through everything, then it turns out that Luke, the annoying enemy and former friend is being possessed by Kronos. Kronos has been using his body. So then they fight Kronos with the cursed dagger - it's not actually Percy’s sword which is Anaklusmos (which changes into a pen) - Luke saves the day by getting himself in his weak Achille’s spot. Then the gods fly in, realising they haven’t done much. It looks like all will live happily ever after, (except for Luke of course) until the prophecy of seven is spoken:

 “Seven half-bloods shall answer the call, 
To storm or fire the world must fall. 
An oath to keep with a final breath, 
And foes bear arms to the Doors of Death.” 

Percy is an idiot in this book! He has the chance to become immortal and turns it down! Just because Annabeth looks at him sweetly.

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "So awesome. Luke is the best."

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan - reviewed by Ollie

Basically at the start this boy Percy has a normal life. He has ADHD and dyslexia. For the first six years of school he got kicked out every year. So he’s in his sixth year, and he gets kicked out again. Mrs Dodds, one of his teachers, tries to kill him. But professor Brunner throws him Anaklusmos, a sword disguised as a pen, and banishes her to the underworld.

After he gets kicked out he goes on his summer holidays and takes his stepdad’s car. He calls his stepdad “smelly Gabe”. Gabe is a poker player that treats everyone except his friends badly. So him and his mum go away in the car and he says “no scratches!”

Percy’s real father is one of the Big Three. One of the main gods born from Kronos. The three brothers, Zeus, Poseidon and Hades. You find out his mum chose Gabe because of his pungent, masking smell. Percy’s half human half god blood means monsters can smell him from five miles away. Grover, Percy’s friend, who is a Satyr, a half-boy, half-goat goes on summer holidays with Percy. They meet on a stormy night at his holiday house.

Percy’s mother says it’s time for him to find out where he comes from. On the road they meet the minotaur. Half-man, half-bull. When Percy’s powers are revealed his mother is transported to the underworld and Percy and his friends Annabeth and Grover must try to get her back…

Rated:  5/5 reallys - "it's really, really good."

Emil and Karl by Yankev Glatshteyn - reviewed by Ruth 

This story is set during world war two. It’s about these two really close friends Emil and Karl. Emil is a Jew and Karl isn’t. And everyone is being really, really mean to Emil. And everyone who is not a Jew is being really, really mean to others Jews, like hitting them really badly. And the adults have taken Emil's and Karl’s parents away.

Later in the story it seems like everyone nice is taken away. All the nice people who are Jews or friends of Jews disappear.

The story begins when Karl’s mother is taken away. Karl goes to Emil’s house. Emil’s mother is crying. They go to sleep. There is a Rabbi who gets them to leave. Emil and Karl are then on the run. They go to the Janitor and the janitor’s wife - Joseph and Berta - they’re really kind and generous and look after them. The next day Karl wants some fresh air but Emil is really shy and Karl’s a bit braver. Finally Karl persuades him but when Emil wants to go back Karl says ‘Come on let’s just have a look at these shops” so they go and have a look and then there’s a man in uniform who takes them to a place filled with thousands of Jews and they have to scrub the pavement with their bare hands and it really hurts.

They escape back to their town. It takes them ten days. When they arrive Berta is upset because Joseph has been taken. I’m finding it okay, I haven’t finished it yet, I really want to know what happened in the end. It’s good. It’s not just about people fighting and blood. It’s also about two boys and their friendship.

Rated:  3.5/5 reallys - "It's a bit of a dark one."