Book Reviews

See our latest book reviews and search for all previous reviews. We’ll be adding more over the coming months, so check back to see if your favourite book has been reviewed by us.

Fiddle Dee Dee!

Dianne Hofmeyr, illus. Piet Grobler

Monkey makes an exciting find – a musical bow which makes magical sounds; finders keepers surely? But no, Hyena lays claim to the bow. How can the dispute be resolved?

Tiger walk

Dianne Hofmeyr, illus. Jesse Hodgson

A little boy visits an art gallery to see the painting "Surprise" by Rousseau, and the tiger in the picture draws his attention. In his dreams the tiger comes to him and together they go on various adventures. But there is always something that scares him – what does he actually fear? 

White horse

Yan Ge, ill. James Nunn, transl. Nicky Harman

Yun Yun is ten. With her older cousin she is looking forward to “growing up”. But then her cousin does grow up, leaving her behind.

Shadow

Lucy Christopher and Anastasia Suvorova

After the move to a new home, Ma seems completely preoccupied. She doesn’t see the Shadow; the Shadow that lures the child into the forest to become truly lost and alone.

Iced out

C. K. Smouha, illus. Isabella Bunnell

Wilfred and Neville do not fit in. How can they? One is a Walrus (rather large and smelly), the other a narwhal (with a dangerous pointed horn). The arrival of Betty Beluga changes everything.

The Little Fir Tree

Christopher Corr

The little Fir Tree wishes to be cut down and go and see the world, but whilst the other trees are taken to be used in what is perceived as exotic and wonderful places, he is left to grow.

Life on Mars

Jon Agee

Everyone says there is no life on Mars but is there? Whilst the little space boy roams around Mars looking for life, life just evades him, always one step behind or not quite where he looks...

Fly flies

Ziggy Hanaor, illus. Alice Bowsher

The little Fly just wants to have lots of fun practising flying in her own way. But there are others who think she is doing it all wrong, and convince her to try flying their way.

Here comes Lolo

Niki Daly

This book is part of a mini series​; it consists of four short stories all featuring Lolo, a spirited ordinary seven-year-old girl of colour.

Beyond the Fence

Maria Gulematova

Piggy lives with Thomas. They do everything together - but only what Thomas wants. Then one day Piggy gets the opportunity to do something by himself and he meets Wild Boar. Will Piggy be able to break free from the stultifying life in the Big House controlled by Thomas?

Child of St Kilda

Beth Waters

What was it like to live on the “islands on the edge of the world” - or rather on Hirta, the largest island of St Kilda? Beth Water’s has based her account of life on this the remotest island off the coast of Scotland on the memories of Norman John Gillies, the last child to be born on Hirta.

Born Bad

C K Smouha, illus. Stephen Smith

Does the way we look affect the way we see ourselves? The wolf of this story would certainly say yes. He was born bad, he looks bad and in turn, he is expected to act bad. But what happens if he wants to radically change?

Umbrella

Elena Arevalo Melville

Lonely Clara has no one to play with until she finds an umbrella in the park.

A million dots

Sven Völker

This is a beautiful book for counting games. Children love to count the dots, but what happens when there are too many dots to count?

The pirate tree

Brigita Orel and Jennie Poh

When two lonely children meet up The Pirate Tree becomes a metaphor for a ship and friendship.

The golden cage

Anna Castagnoli & Carll Cheut

Valentina wants a talking bird and will go to any lengths to get her wish.

Where did you go today?

Jenny Duke

Where did you go today? Was it the park to swing on the swings? Or did you fly? Perhaps you went on the slide? Or maybe, you skied down a mountainside?

Sing to the moon

Nansubuga Nagadya Isdahl, illus. Sandra van Doorn

It is raining - nothing to do, boring. If only there were wishes that can transport you to different exciting places. But you don’t need magic; you just need a loving grandfather and imagination!

The Phoenix of Persia

Sally Pomme Clayton, illus. Amin Hassanzadeh Sharif

When the wish of King Sam and Queen Aram is granted and they have a baby, their joy turns to sorrow – anger even. The baby, Prince Zal, does not look like the prince the king wanted...

Moonstruck! Poems About Our Moon

Roger Stevens (ed), illus. Ed Boxall

This anthology is another ‘stuff in your schoolbag’ poetry book from the Otter-Barry series that encourages children to read and share poetry.

A Kid in my Class

Rachel Rooney, illus. Chris Riddell

The variety of poems is past imagining – the thoughts of a hamster; wondering what present to give a leaving teacher; haikus to describe pop-up ideas, including a ‘her-ku’, twins; school sports day; advice (with a twist) to a new boy; playground life; feeling shy; every aspect of the school day.

Sock Story

C K Smouha, illus. Eleonora Marton

Phil and Dave are a pair. They spend time together, making jokes, chatting and playing games. Suddenly, they get separated. Without having each other, life seems scary. But why is their adventure unique? I can give you at least two reasons.

Alfred and the Blue Whale

Mina Lystad, illus. Ashild Irgens

Alfred is scared about lots of things but speaking in front of the class in four days’ time about the blue whale is going to be the worst thing ever.

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