Archive for the ‘reviews’ Category

Hi everyone,

Due to increasing writing commitments, I’m unfortunately unable to maintain so many blogs.

So  Tips 4 Young Writers has moved to my DeeScribeWriting blog http://deescribewriting.wordpress.com where I will be having features for young writers and you will find lots of writing tips, author interviews and reviews.

I’m also the new kid’s book blogger at Boomerang Books and you’ll also find author interviews, reviews and activities there at my Kids’ Book Capers blog http://content.boomerangbooks.com.au/kids-book-capers-blog/

Hope to catch up with you there.

Happy writing.



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The Goanna Island Mystery cover edited

The Goanna Island Mystery

By Dale Harcombe

Published by Aussie School Books Pty Ltd


PB RRP $9.95

Leo Johns can never resist a dare, but when school bully Mark dares him to go to haunted Goanna Island, Leo could be taking on more than he can handle.

Sketch book under his arm, Leo heads for Goanna Island.  He has never believed in ghosts, but the white face at the window, and the secret room full of heads might be just enough to persuade him that ghosts really do exist.

In The Goanna Island Mystery, Dale Harcombe skilfully builds up the suspense using active language, and drawing the reader in until they can feel Leo’s fear.

Simple realistic dialogue helps paint a detailed picture of the characters, and moves the action along. Dillon Naylor’s simple illustrations convey all the emotion and suspense of the story.

The Goanna Island Mystery is another great read from Aussie School Books. It has enough action to keep young readers engaged, and its length and complexity offer an opportunity to help build reader confidence. The book also touches on relevant themes of bullying, belonging and loyalty.

Any kid who enjoys suspense and mystery will find The Goanna Island Mystery hard to put down.

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Sally Murphy’s new verse novel, Pearl Verses the World, made me realise that we all have poetry in our hearts we just need someone like Pearl’s granny to help us find it


In this beautifully told story about a little girl facing big issues, Granny tells Pearl:

A poem comes

when it is needed

and writes itself

in the way it needs to get

its point across.


And Pearl needs poetry to help her get through the hard things that are happening in her life – the illness of her granny, being accused of stealing someone’s boyfriend, and clashing with her teacher over poetry that doesn’t rhyme.


When you read Pearl Verses the World, you feel as if Pearl sat on author Sally Murphy’s knee and spoke to her – asking for her story to be told.  Murphy shows a deep understanding of what it’s like to be a young child, trying to find your place in a changing world.


This effortlessly crafted story will appeal to anybody who knows what it’s like to feel as if everyone else belongs, but you are just ‘a group of one’. The author uses simplicity to convey great depth, and it’s clear that each word has had to earn its place in this story.


Young readers of Pearl Verses the World will connect with Pearl, be engaged by her humour, admire her courage and have hope for her future.


This review is also on http://teacherswritinghelper.wordpress.com together with a classroom writing activity provided by Sally Murphy.



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Pippa’s Perfect Ponytail  (Aussie Nibble) by Julie Nickerson      

Illustrated by Janine Dawson

(Published by Puffin Books – Penguin Group Australia)

PB RRP: $12.95

Everything is set for Pippa’s perfect birthday party. She has the perfect party dress, the perfect birthday cake and eight perfect ponies lined up for rides. Now all she needs is the perfect ponytail.

But when her hairdresser falls sick, disaster strikes Pippa in her quest for perfection. She seeks help from some unlikely sources, and this leads to some very funny outcomes.

Julie Nickerson skilfully builds up the tension as you begin to wonder whether Pippa’s party is going to end in complete disaster.

The great descriptions in this book, clever dialogue, and Janine Dawson’s outrageously funny illustrations made me laugh out loud.

What I liked about Pippa’s Perfect Ponytail is that Pippa found the solution to the problem all by herself, without help from any adults. She also learned something about herself along the way.

 With its likeable heroine, great humour and party theme, this new Aussie Nibble is a fun book to read.


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