Posts tagged book review

Need Something To Read?

I’ve just read a good book and I’d like to share it with you.

2wolvesTwo Wolves by Tristan Bancks

An old man tells his grandson that there is a battle raging inside him, inside all of us. A terrible battle between two wolves. One wolf is bad – pride, jealousy, greed. The other wolf is good – kindness, hope, truth. The child asks, ‘Who will win?’ The grandfather answers simply, ‘The one you feed.’

One afternoon, police officers show up at Ben Silver’s front door. Minutes after they leave, his parents arrive home. Ben and his little sister Olive are bundled into the car and told they’re going on a holiday. But are they?

This book races at such a breakneck speed, I was hanging on for dear life! Midnight came and went, then 1am, then 2am. Still I kept reading, because I just had to know how it would end, and which wolf 13-year-old Ben Silver would choose to feed.

James Patterson (a famous author) said that when he writes a book he makes sure to leave all the boring bits out, and I think Tristan Bancks does the same. There are no boring bits in this book, which makes it an especially good choice for any reluctant reader.

I recommend it to anyone who enjoys a thrilling book that will keep you reading long after you should have turned out the light!

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Phantom Fantasy

More than any other book I read as a child The Phantom Tollbooth by Norton Juster  gave me a love of words, perhaps the most important thing a writer needs. It’s a celebration of words –it twists them, puns them and pushes them. There are so many cool bits: like the man who is short and tall, thin  and fat all at the same time; and the orchestra that plays colours. Part of the appeal of Tollbooth is in the illustrations by Jules Feiffer. I love his faceless Trivium character (very Dr Who) who says

‘What could be more important than doing unimportant things? If you stop to do enough of them, you’ll never get to where you’re going.”

I sometimes see this devious fellow hanging around. He tries to distract me from writing by telling me to other jobs. He says ‘there’s always something to do to keep you from what you really should be doing.’

Hope Tintin month at the library is going blisteringly well. Wish I could be there to see Zac in his plus-fours (Tintin’s trousers).

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Nanny Piggins by R. A. Spratt

Mr. Green desperately needs to find a new nanny for his children. In the four weeks  since their last nanny left, he has found himself actually having to talk to them, provide  them with meals and pay attention to them himself!! And all this has to stop.

Nanny  Piggins is a most unusual nanny. She is a pig. … Not just any ordinary pig though, Nanny  Piggins has run away from the circus, where she was the circus’ famous flying pig! Mr  Green’s three children Derrick, Samantha and Michael think they are incredibly lucky to have her.

Join Nanny Piggins on a series of wonderful adventures, read them all! There are 3 or 4 books in the series so far. (Is that right Zac?)

My favourite chapter was Nanny Piggins and the ‘sherbet lemon that saved the day’, because it seemed that Nanny Piggins had no idea whatsoever that the man who had got in the car was the one of the town’s most wanted criminals.

This book was recommended to me by my best friend Grace and also by my sister Eibhlin, so I would recommend this to ages 7+ because Eibhlin read it when she was 7.

I rate The Adventures of Nanny Piggins 10/10 because it was very funny; there is a one page disclaimer at the front of Nanny Piggins warning that Nanny Piggins’ diet (which consists of chocolate, cake, lollies, icecream and more) is not one to be followed unless you are a pig.

🙂 🙂


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The Frog Princess by E. D. Baker

This book is about Emma (Emeralda) and she is a princess. But this princess is not ordinary – she doesn’t like the boring princes her mother likes, she is very clumsy and she has a laugh like a donkey braying! Emma finds her mother annoying and thinks she doesn’t understand her. Emma has an Aunt Grisena who is a witch who does magic and she loves her very much.

Emma loves her castle, in particular the swamp where she goes to get away from her mother. When we first meet Emma she is on her way to the swamp to get away from her mother AND the yucky Prince Jorje.  When she arrives she meets [you guessed it!] … a frog! Is the frog really a prince in disguise? Will a kiss solve this spell? This is a very unexpected story so fasten your seatbelt!!!

I give this book a 10 out of  10 and this is a wonderful book. It is for reading age 10 and up but I had it read to me so I was fine.


Eibhlin, age 8

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The witch’s dog at the school of spells by Frank Rodgers

This is a story about a witch’s dog called Wilf. His owner, Weenie, loves to help other people. She gets a letter saying that she is the best witch in town and could she come and teach in the School of Spells! Weenie is very excited and Wilf is very proud because now they can help more people.

Wilf decides to go to the school to learn some magic spells too. But two of his class mates, Sly Cat and Tricky Toad, have a plan. Their plan is to change Wilf’s spells in his jotter … and disaster happens …! My favourite character was actually Sly Cat as he was a funny ‘evil’ cat and in the end realised what he did was wrong after he got into trouble. The rest of the characters are unfailingly positive and nice so Sly Cat made it a better story.

I would recommend this book to anyone 6+ and it is very easy and quick to read. I give this book 8 out of 10 because it was funny.

Eibhlin, aged 8

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Finnigan & the pirates by Sherryl Jordan

My mum, (who is the best librarian in the world – sorry Zac!) chose this book as a read aloud. I’m really glad she did.

This book is about Captain Wildbloode the Wicked and her nephew Finnigan. Captain Wildbloode is said to be “the most ferocious pirate in all the seven seas.” So much so that she wants Finnigan to carry on all the glory, fame and fortune that she has created.

But Finnigan has his heart set on a slightly different desire. He LOVES to dance and his dream is to attend ballet school, on land. But in order to get there he must work out a fiendishly clever plan to get his aunt on land, never to return to sea again. But that has its own problems when plans include sea monsters, storms, fire and cannibals!

My favourite character was Finnigan because his obvious joy when he dances and Captain Wildbloode’s obvious joy at mayhem, murder, pillaging and plundering is entertaining when side by side. I liked the cunning nature of Finnigan’s plans and the funny side of the ending.

I would recommend this for 8+ years because Eibhlin, (my sister and another blogger) thought it was exquisite and she is 8 years old. Definitely a great book … READ THIS BOOK!

Saoirse, 10

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Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

I had this book recommended to me by a friend and picked it up rather uncertainly! It was huge! Then I looked inside and discovered some great artwork that made up quite a large part of the book.

I really liked this story. It was about a young boy named Hugo Cabret who loves to fix things, especially clocks. The museum burns down and Hugo’s father is killed. Hugo goes to live with his Uncle and meets a girl named Isabelle. He befriends her and starts out on a magical sequence of events …

My favourite character was Hugo because he was very brave and yet a little mischievous. He has a main purpose in life, which is to fix his father’s Automan, which was very precious to his father.

I rate this book a 10 out of 10 because there were very clever drawings telling you every detail of what was going on, which really added something to the story.

Who would enjoy it? Children aged 9 upwards would really understand this book and how wonderful it is to read.

I think it is being made into a film. Does anyone know? Leave a comment if you do know please.

Saoirse, 10

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Fanny Witch and the Wicked Wizard by Jeremy Strong

Another funny and entertaining group of stories from the amazing Jeremy Strong.

Fanny Witch can do magic, but can she  … first, stop some safari animals rampaging through the streets, next, stop the dreaded Cloud-beast ‘chilling’ the whole village, then bubble bath flooding the streets and finally, Doctor Blackliver’s evil plans?

My favourite character was Casserole (the dog) because he really, really, really doesn’t want to be the hero or the star of the show! He accidentally falls into the role but ends up not minding too much when the praise from Fanny starts to come his way. I guess this is the same with most of us!

I would recommend this book to younger readers (and also those who are ‘young at heart!’) because this is a hilarious book with bit of action in it. A quick, easy read that is sure to make you laugh and want to read more Jeremy Strong.

Saoirse, 10

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Cool! by Michael Morpurgo

Cool! is a fabulous and entertaining tale of 10-year-old boy called Robbie Ainsley. He was in a car accident and he’s now in a coma. His dog Lucky was with him in the crash and we have to wait to find out … is Lucky really lucky? Is Robbie? What will happen to the “Boy in car accident coma”?

What a fantastic book by one of the best authors that ever lived! It says on the back on the book that “Michael Morpurgo’s name on a book is a guarantee of quality” and I absolutely agree. Cool! made me feel like I so wanted Robbie to break out – it must have been so frustrating for Robbie to be trapped in his own mind without being able to escape. In one part Robbie needed to scratch his nose and I felt so strongly for him, I wanted to scratch it for him – he just couldn’t communicate it!!!

The most moving part was when Robbie thought they were going to turn his life-support machines off – oh my goodness, my heart was with him and it was very stressful! I won’t tell you my favourite part because it was the ending.

I loved the way Michael Morpurgo uses humour in a sad book (Dr. Smellybreath!) and made the people and their feelings so real. He describes the interactions and feelings very well when his family visits and you feel like you are in Robbie’s body: “He looks very pink,” Ellie’s saying and she’s touching my cheek. I can feel the sharpness of her little fingernail. “And he’s very hot, too.” She’s sitting on my bed now. She’s playing with my fingers as if they are toys.”

I would recommend this book to people aged 8+ and who (now & then) enjoy a sad, moving story.


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Sophie’s further adventures by Dick King-Smith

This book has three books inside it: Sophie in the saddle, Sophie is seven, and Sophie is lucky. My favourite book is Sophie is seven

Sophie’s further adventures are stories about a girl who has three pets called Beino, Tomboy and Puddle. She is a very determined girl and she doesn’t give up easily. She loves farms and has a ‘boyfriend’ called Andrew. He is a farmer’s son and she wants to be a ‘lady farmer’ when she grows up, with Andrew! She has two sporty twin brothers who hinder Sophie’s life a lot.

In one of her adventures she goes to a farm to visit Aunt Al – this story has a sad ending but I won’t tell you what it is. In another adventure she gets Puddle, her new dog and visits the stables and gets riding lessons.

My favourite part was when Sophie got her dog Puddle because she was so excited about getting a dog for her birthday (which is at Christmas-time!).

I would recommend this book to kids around my age who like animals. I think it’s a really good book – I would give it 10 out of 10.
Eibhlin, 8

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Tiger, Tiger by Lynne Reid Banks

Set in Ancient Rome, Tiger, Tiger is a stunning story of when Julius Caesar was the great ruler of a great city. Two tiger cubs are taken from their homeland, one becoming a pampered pussy-cat for Caesar’s daughter Aurelia, the other made into a ferocious beast and made to perform in Caesar’s arena. Will they ever find each other again?

My favourite part was when Julius (one of the servants) fought for his life in the arena; it really had my tummy twisted! I personally connected with this part because the author did a really good job of painting a vivid and clear picture in my mind.

Two things I liked about this book were: the way the author creates a picture in your head and also the mixture of themes. For me it was like an amazing, beautiful meal. A fiery exotic starter of the tigers leaving their home as the entrée, the good meaty main course of drama and high action building up, and to finish with a bitter-sweet dessert where the drama closes with romance between two of the characters. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy a “good hearty read” because this book could leave the least indulgent reader feeling full and satisfied!

Saoirse, 10

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Olga meets her match by Michael Bond

This story is about a guinea pig called Olga da Polga who is quite determined and excitable, and a bit of a storyteller. She is not feeling well and maybe a trip to the seaside will help? At the seaside she meets Boris and a mystery story is told. What will happen next?

My favourite part was when Olga was in her hutch and she could see Boris’ ‘run’ with big black turrets in a castle. She started imagining there might be princesses locked in the castle’s turrets! This made me feel like I was in the story with Olga in the hutch because she thinks so much and so vividly. One of her specialities is ……thinking!

I liked the way Michael Bond told Olga’s story and made her character so funny. I liked the way he did a story about a guinea pig and I liked the way Olga was very assertive.

I would recommend this book to people who like stories about animals and funny stories. I give this book a 10 out of 10. I reread it most nights just before I go to sleep.

Eibhlin, 8

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Kaspar by Michael Morpurgo

This story is about a cat called Kaspar, the Prince of Cats. No one is his owner. He lives at The Savoy Hotel with Countess Kadinsky. Sadly, she gets run over and Kaspar is miserable. Elizabeth arrives and takes Kaspar on a boat trip on the Titanic. What happens next …?

My favourite part was when Lizziebeth (Elizabeth) and her family came because Johnny (the bellboy at the Hotel) was happy to see her and her family. It made me feel like I got lost in the book with the characters.

My favourite character was Kaspar because he was a real superhero – he coped with someone dying and he is the Prince of Cats. The ending was sad.

I liked the way the author made you feel like you were inside the story, I liked Kaspar (because I’m a cat girl!) and I liked the way the author made the action exciting.

I would recommend this book because it is exciting and I like the way the author used the words and adjectives. And I liked the pictures. I give this book 10 out of 10.

Eibhlin, 8

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The Floods: Playschool by Colin Thompson

The Floods Playschool is about the day-to-day life at Quicklime College. The main characters, Orkward Warlock and his sad sidekick, the Toad, are plotting to kill the Flood children on Sports Day.

I loved this book because it was funny and full of action at the same time. Narled, the talking suitcase, was really funny, going around collecting other people’s belongings. The funniest part was Narled’s ‘trundle, trundle, pick up … trundle, trundle, pick up”’– his actions were very low-key and no drama as opposed to the very high drama actions of Orkward and the Toad.

The Toad was my favourite character because he was very sad at the beginning but he got what he wanted and needed at the end, which was great. The characters were so well written (it was especially useful to have the profiles at the end!) and very believable in a weird sort of way. I really enjoyed the ending but I can’t give it away … just to say it was satisfying!

I recommend this book to people who enjoy having a laugh and are keen on adventures. A good author can have you on the edge of your seat and have a laugh at the same time – Colin Thompson is one of these. I give this book a 10 out of 10 because I can’t go any higher!

Saoirse, 10

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The Great Space Race by Joshua Mowll

What do you get when you take a robot monkey, a disused space rocket, several billionaire’s, a race to the moon and add a crazy family?  You get Joshua Mowll’s very cool new book, The Great Space Race.

Eric “Ace” Crankshaw’s family are in trouble.  They’re going to be kicked out of their house if they don’t come up with some money quick to pay all their bills.  His dad, Arthur, is an inventor who hasn’t sold any of his inventions for a while, which is the cause of their situation.  One day Ace comes across an ad for The Great Space Race, a competition to get a rocket to the moon, organized by the Crankshaw’s arch-enemy, Zack Zircon.  The prize money is $10 million, which would pay off all their bills.  So Ace hatches his brilliant plan – buy a rocket, win the race and get $10 million.

This is no ordinary book.  Throughout the book there are diagrams, pictures, photos and blueprints, which give you extra information.  It’s a hilarious story and there are plenty of twists and turns to keep you reading.  Recommended for 8+      10 out of 10

While you wait for The Great Space Race, you could try Joshua Mowll’s other fantastic books, Operation Red Jericho, Operation Storm City and Operation Typhoon Shore – great adventure stories with lots of added extras.

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