Little Book Reviews by Little People

Monday, 20 May 2013

Possum Magic - reviewed by Ben

Possum Magic
Written by Mem Fox
Illustrated by Julie Vivas
Reviewed by Ben (aged 7)
This book is about two possums, Grandma Poss and Hush. Grandma Poss does magic. She made Hush invisible so that she was safe from Snakes. Then one day Hush wanted to know what she looked like and asked to be not invisible any more. Grandma Poss looked in her magic books but couldn't find the magic spell she needed. She then remembered that the magic had to do with people food not possum food. Grandma Poss couldn't remember which people food it was. Grandma Poss and Hush then traveled around Australia trying People food. They ate such things as ANZAC biscuits, vegemite sandwiches, pavlovas and lamingtons. Slowly bits of Hush started to appear. Then Hush becomes fully visible. On her birthday each year she eats the People food again to stay visible.

I like this book and I like the pictures.
I will rate this book 7.5/10

Mum's comments
We have read and enjoyed this book before but I couldn't resist buying the new 30th Anniversary Edition. The cloth bound hardcover book also comes with a lovely slipcover. I was 10 when the book was first released and very much into adult novels by then. I didn't become aware of the book until several years ago, when one of my children brought home a copy in his school library bag.
I can certainly see why this story has been popular for 30 years. It is a lovely Australian story that embraces our unique animals, food and country-side. The story and illustrations are timeless, I can see myself in a couple of decades reading this book to Grandchildren and still enjoying the tale.

The story also holds a special place in my heart because it helped encourage my boys to try different foods. Children with autism often have food sensory issues and struggle with tastes and textures of foods. My boys tended to eat a very limited selection of foods. After reading the book, they were willing to try some of the People Food that Hush ate. Now some of those foods are regular additions to their diet. Woohoo for Hush and Grandma Poss.

I bought a copy of this special edition at Big W for $22, which is great value for a classic. The special 30th Anniversary Edition is only available during 2013, so hunt down this beautiful keepsake.

A Bus Called Heaven - Reviewed by Tom

A Bus Called Heaven by Bob Graham
Reviewed by Tom (aged 9)
This book is about an old, abandoned bus called Heaven. It is broken down on the street. A little girl called Stella looked inside the bus and said "it could be ours". The bus is moved to the front of Stella's house. Members of street clean the bus and they use it for meetings and parties. Then one day a tow truck comes and tows it to the scrapyard. Everyone is upset. Stella competes with the Scrapyard Boss to win back the bus. Stella won. Everyone gets together to push the bus back to the street into a vacant lot. Then everyone had a big party around the bus called Heaven.

I like the pictures because they have a lot of colour and a lot of detail. I really like this story. In the story there are lots of different people who get together and have fun together. 

I would rate this book 7.5/10

Mum's comments
This is a beautiful book. The story line is entertaining and it makes a lovely bedtime read. The pictures subtly feature people of different ages, races and religions working together in harmony.  Tom didn't notice this fact himself but I would have been surprised if he had. Tom just accepts people just the way they are. After we had finished the book I pointed out to him how everyone was different but that they were all getting along. He replied that it was good that everyone was nice to the baby birds too.

The hard cover book would make a lovely gift or a lovely addition to the bookshelf. The pictures are beautiful. As a child, I would rate a book's value based on the quality of the pictures. Pretty drawings or cartoons got a much higher value than photos. These pictures would have got a very high rating from my younger self. I don't think Tom really appreciates the pictures like I would have at his age. However he is very impressed that we actually own a framed copy of one of the original drawings. We were very lucky to win the picture when we bought the book. I think it is very special too. Plus my inner child turned cartwheels when it arrived. I still love picture books for the pictures.

The 13-Storey Treehouse - reviewed by Tom

The 13-Storey Treehouse 
Written by Andy Griffiths
Illustrated by Terry Denton
Reviewed by Tom (aged 9)
This is a good book because it is easy to read and very funny. It is about two boys called Andy and Terry and their adventures living in a 13 storey treehouse. There is a lot of weird things on each level such as a man eating shark tank and an underground laboratory. There is also a giant catapult and a marshmellow machine that shoots marshmellows into their mouths. In this book they are trying to write a new book but keep getting interrupted. They have to deal with a sea monster, a lot of crazy monkey and a giant ape. 
This book is one of the funniest books I have ever read. I like the way they have many pictures through out the book. The pictures help the reader understanding what is happening in the story. 

I would really recommend this book.

I would rate it 9/10.

Mum's comments
I ordered this book online and when it arrived Tom took the book and read the entire thing in one sitting. This is such a rarity that I didn't complain when he was still up way past bed time. Tom laughed constantly while reading. The next night he asked me to read it to him. The boys love my overly dramatic way of reading a story out loud. This book gave me many opportunities to be silly and use my repertoire of funny voices. (Really I'm not that talented but the kids love it).  The book is way over the top in silliness so it is just perfect for 9yo boys to enjoy. 
We bought a paperback edition that was priced at $9.99. I think it is great value for money and can see the boys reading the book again and again.

Thursday, 17 January 2013

Pete the Sheep - reviewed by Ben

Pete the Sheep by Jackie French
Illustrated by Bruce Whatley
Reviewed by Ben (age 7)

The book is about a Shearer who has a sheep-sheep instead of a sheep dog. The Shearer was shearing sheep but the other shearers didn't like how he had a sheep-sheep. So he left and made a sheep salon. The sheep liked going there and soon the other shearers had no sheep left to shear. All the sheep dogs wanted new haircuts and went to the salon too. The other shearers then came to work at the salon and everyone was happy.
I like the book. I like the pictures because they are colourful drawings.

Mum's comments
I love this book which is a good thing because I have been asked to read it to one of my other boys every night for 3 months straight. I love the Australian humour in the book and the Aussie slang, not many books use words like 'strewth' or 'jumping jumbucks', which is a shame really. This is a great book to read at bedtime to finish the day with a smile.

Thursday, 3 January 2013

Simpson and his Donkey - Reviewed by Tom

Simpson and his Donkey by Mark Greenwood and Frane Lessac
Reviewed by Tom (age 9)

The book is about a man named Jack Simpson, who went to war. He was hoping to return to England but instead he goes to Egypt to train with the army. They then get sent to Gallipoli where he was stretcher bearer helping the people in the war who got injured. He finds a donkey to help him with carrying the injured. He named the donkey, Duffy. They did lots of trips up and down the hills. Jack was very brave to help the people when there were so many bullets. They would take water up the hill and bring back injured soldiers. Jack gets shot and he dies. He was buried and everyone was sad. He rescued over 300 men including his old friend from home.
The pictures made it look like the past because it showed horses and carts. I think it would be scary to go to war. The book showed what it was like to go to war.
I rate it 7.5/10

Mum's comments
I always struggle to read this book out loud without getting a lump in my throat. It is a lovely picture book to help children understand events such as ANZAC Day. It isn't gruesome but gives enough details of the hardships, for children to understand that war is not pleasant. I remember hearing of the story of Jack Simpson and his donkey when I was at primary school but have not heard anyone speak of it since. This picture book is a lovely way to teach the next generation about it.

Wednesday, 2 January 2013

The 26 Storey Treehouse - reviewed by Tom

The 26 Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths
Illustrated by Terry Denton
Reviewed by Tom (age 9)
This book is about three people name Andy, Terry and Jill who all have a very weird story about how they met and got stuck on Captain Woodenhead's pirate ship. They all escape. Andy and Terry now live in a 26 storey tree house. Jill lives in a cottage with lots of animals. Captain Woodenhead gets shipwrecked again and tries to take over the tree house. But he fails due to a weird nursery rhyme that comes true and because of a flying fish head. Most of the tree house looks really weird and funny. I liked the ice-cream parlour and all the different flavours.

The book was very funny and silly and I really like the pictures and the weird nursery rhyme about the pirates. I would read this book again and I really want to read the first book, The 13 storey treehouse. I think other boys and girls my age would like this book. I found some of the words hard to read but I was able to read most of it without help.
I rate it 8.5/10

Mum's comment
This was a great chapter book for my boys. They were laughing all the way through the book and always making comments about the silly things that were happening. Tom and I took turns reading the book, usually a chapter each night. More confident readers will be able to read this book alone without difficulty but Tom needed assistance pronouncing some of the words. He didn't get frustrated though as he was so busy laughing at the silly antics of the characters. 
We haven't read the first book, The 13-Storey Treehouse, but it wasn't necessary to understand and enjoy this book. Ben and Tom have loved the book so much that they have requested that I buy the first book. They are also excited to learn that a third book, The 39-Storey Treehouse, is out in September. Ben informed me that September is his birthday month so I think that he is expecting the book in his present stash. It makes me proud as a book lover to hear my boys get excited about books. Parenting - I am doing it right.