Friday, September 24, 2010

The Third Day, the Frost by John Marsden - 1st Place in the Hamilton Young Adult Book/Movie Review Competition

The Third Day, the Frost is the third book in the tomorrow series by John Marsden. Beautifully told in the language of teenagers, it mesmerizes readers until their eyes are frozen to the page. The book captivates you until you have read your way through the entire series. I began to read “Tomorrow, when the war began” as part of a school assignment and became hooked. I found the next six books in the series and continued to read, not stopping until a week later when I had read them all.

John Marsden ensnares our mind in rivers of flowing words, making it a classic novel and a book for teens at the same time. It describes the stages of adolescence and childhood that we all go through, but were too embarrassed to admit we did. It offers subtle hints of advice in its pages, making us all the more eager to keep reading. The book shows us life from a different perspective, making us think, “What would I do if this happened to me?” What would you do if someone invaded your country, and left you with only the clothes on your back and some camping gear? What would you do if someone shot your best friend in the back and you never saw her again, and had to explain to her parents? If you thought your mum and dad were dead and friends dying around you, you had nothing to help anyone, and the only way you could try to stay alive was by killing or be killed? This book shows that there aren't always choices in life, and that if there are, the right one is most often the hardest.

The eight teenagers in this novel have to do things that most people wouldn't think possible. From their daring attitudes to crying in the bush, each faces issues just as difficult as the others. They have to become tough, independent, and totally trusting. There's no-one to tell them what to do, and if they make a mistake, its death or capture. No adults to fuss over them like little children, to wrap blankets around them and send them to bed. The only thing they can do is flee, normally into the roughest and most dangerous territory they can find. Anywhere else and they enemy finds them. They've seen their friends die at the enemies hand's, and they're lethal. Not senseless, but it’s the story of the wolf and the hen. They trick you, they run, you die. Causing explosions that would crackk the Richters scale could get anyone else a life sentence, a death penalty and a huge chat with the police. But these soldiers aren't like your friendly policemen. If they find you doing something wrong, or even find you, they'll press their rifle against your heart and pull the trigger. End of story, your dead.

What else can possibly happen to them? They've broken every law and rule they know into a million pieces, defied bad luck and impossible odds and have survived through sickness and trauma. Death and worse have run straight at them, the bull charging at the red cape. They've run the other way, and there's no room for weakness. What happened to Corrie? Where is Kevin? Is Major Harvey still alive? What is going on with Ellie and Lee? Is Fee cracking up? Will Homer still be alive after the attack on Cobblers Bay? Robyn, always religious, will she soon be joining her beloved God? Don't ask me, read the book to find out.

Reviewed by Shannon - aged 13

Friday, September 17, 2010

A small free kiss in the dark by Glenda Millard - 1st Place in the Children's Book Week Review Competition

Well. I’ll begin by saying that; I read this book because of:

a) My mum’s a librarian and she gave it to me

b) And I hadn’t read a book for ages and this one looked GREATLY GREAT.

The novel: - ‘A small free kiss in the dark’ is about five unlikely people who come together after a major catastrophe where they need each other in order to survive.

The first thing I noticed and liked about the novel was the intricate detail that drew my attention to the environment- this special young boy’s surroundings. I liked the way he – Skip, would take in little things; like light and shadow.

I also loved how we got big details as the novel progressed. (Like the character, Tia’s age – I see, that if we knew her age at the beginning we would be prejudiced and we would not look at her character the same way we do as we read the novel. And we would not have taken to all the things she was good at, so readily.)

I also liked the character of Billy and his part in the healing of both Skip’s and Max’s conditions in that world. Like, if we heard of two young boys being picked up by a homeless old man in our real world, we would be horribly outspoken – and the man would be frowned on by society for ‘daring’ to do such a thing. Yet in this story it is obvious that it is his contribution to their lives that keeps them alive! And the fact that because they (Billy and Skip) were scavengers and had to forage to survive contributed greatly to all of this group being able to survive.

I also liked how in the book Glenda (the author) never gave any details of the war, it was just some impending danger and stupidity, and that it affected even those people who knew literally nothing about it. The mention that there is a “third side of war” in this novel is an interesting idea. Also I really enjoyed the setting of the funpark; it immediately conjured up Luna Park in my imagination. The symbolic ending to the novel was heart warming. I connected with all of the characters and I really enjoyed the book.

Rating - I give this 4.3/5


Reviewed by Liam - aged 15

“Fairest” by Gail Carson Lavine - 2nd Place in the Children's Book Week review competition

Having been abandoned at an inn as a baby, Aza was adopted by the owner. She was thought ugly with her pale skin, blood red lips and big build. Aza had an unusual skill she called ‘illusing’. She could impersonate any sound or voice and project it from wherever she chose.

A series of unexpected events sees Aza accompanying the Duchess of Olixo to the royal wedding. Unbeknown to the whole of the kingdom (where singing was one of the most powerful and important skills) the new Queen Ivi cannot sing!! When she discovers what Aza can do, she blackmails her to ‘illuse’ for her and appoints her to the position of lady-in-waiting.

King Oscaro becomes very sick and the brand new Queen makes a mess of running Ayortha. Ivi is hiding darker secret than that she cannot sing and Aza finds herself in the middle of an evil plot.

The author Gail Carson Lavine, knows how to spin her words in a way that keeps you wanting more! The charming prince, the secrets of the Queen, ogres, gnomes, twists and turns in every direction make up the nail biting chapters.

“Fairest” is definitely worth a read.

Reviewed by Naomi - aged 15

Twi vs. Potter? - 3rd place in the Children's Book Week review competition

JK Rowling

Harry Potter is a series about a young boy who life and his future has been kept to secret to him and replace by lies. He has always been different for the other kids and always treated like he was never there or he never belong anywhere. But soon mysterious letters have been coming for everywhere. The uncle and Unite moved in fear but why nothing made senses to Harry. But when he is rescued from the lie that his uncle and unite came and become find out that he is enrolled at Hogwarts school of witchcraft and wizardry. The next seven years of his life is learning how to do the imposable, making friendships that will last a lifetime and defeating in the end his greatest emery Lord Voldemort.

My thoughts

I love every second of reading this series. It was full of everything romances, comedy action you named it had it. J.K.Rowling was very clever coming up with all these different words and all the names of the spells. It is really interesting seeing Harry, Ron and Hermione grow up though the seven books. It felt like you had just fallen into another world where anything you dream of can come true. It has lots of feeling towards the book. Also it is written so beautifully that you can actually feel what Harry, Ron and Hermione are feeling all across seven books. It is very rare thing to find a book that you can’t give a bad word about it. The Harry potter book has inspired a new why of reading and creative. These books are full with imagination had cannot be copied at all. The books are very unique how they create a world where wizards and witches live. I think it is very clever how J.K.Rowling create the character you feel like they are right in front of you when you are reading. Whenever Harry is in danger or any of his friends you are on the edgy of you seat you can feel you heart beating harder each second. It makes you never want to put the book down because you don’t want to miss any bit of the action. These books make you feel like the world around you is a lie and the real world is in the book. That how realistic the book real when you read it. Always when you put the book down it is you mind “what will happen to Harry how he will get you out of this one?” The books are very addicted. But I think the best bit about the Harry Potter books is how much feel it has to it. How you can always feel what the character are feeling. How the book is full with love make you always feel good afterwards that is one of the reasons why is so addicted. It makes you feel like the imposable is happening.

Which one is better?

Both books are fantastic how they drew their readers in but I felt like one made you fall in the world of where anything can happen. But both books are wonderful it was nearly imposable to pick but no one can go past Harry Potter. Both series have been beautiful written but Harry Potter that that feeling that you couldn’t go pass. Both books brought out a smile, a tear or even a laugh. But Harry Potter makes you feel like you have just entered the world where anything can happen.

Rating - I give this 9.8/10


Reviewed by Geena - aged 13

Friday, September 10, 2010

Simple softies

As this book demonstrates, you dont need to be an expert stitcher to produce cute and cuddly toys. Simple softies features 15 projects that are just - well, simple to make, as well as delightful, that will appeal to all ages and can be whipped up by adults or by children, with a little bit of help.
I love cats, so the sampler kitty - decorated with all those little bits and pieces of braid and ribbon crafters hoard - and Fred the cat really appeal to me. Littlies will love the finger puppets, boys will be begging for a dinosaur of their own and Zelda zinnia is so cute, colourful and unusual.
As usual in this series of soft toy books, there are clear instructions and the patterns, incorporated in the pages, don't need to be resized. This book is so appealing and would be fabulous for quick and quirky gifts for all ages.
Rating - I give this 4/5
Reviewed by Jan @ Ballarat branch

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Stolen, by Lucy Christopher

What if you were Gemma, an English schoolgirl kidnapped from an airport on your way to Vietnam with your parents? What if you ended up in the unknown outback of Australia with your kidnapper? And what if that kidnapper knew so much about you because he'd been watching you since you were 10 years old. Creepy? Definitely. An effective, engrossing, enthralling plot? You bet. Published last year to great acclaim, Stolen, Lucy Christopher's first novel, is a young adult title that is every bit as gripping as a novel in the same genre written for adults. It's a thriller, a story of survival, a tale about people damaged by their experiences. Read it, admire it and hope that Lucy Christopher can sustain her power throughout her writing life.
Rating - I give this 5/5
Get this from the library
eviewed by Jan @ Ballarat branch