The Future Belongs to those who prepare for it today...
July 6, 2017 Some book reviews from books read by our students:
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Boy In The Tower By Polly Ho-Yen
The Boy In The Tower (By Polly Ho-Yen) Is a remarkable and intense story that addresses depression, death and survival. Compared to titles I have read by authors like Baddiel and Williams, this was a more mature and challenging read.
I don’t have an actual specific favourite part; because there were quite a few, it would be quite difficult to choose just one. However, I admire Dory, (another featured character) who demonstrated massive selflessness and courage; by opening and sharing her home to a friend who had lost everything when his house mysteriously collapsed. She also supported another neighbour and friend whose mother seemed to be suffering from depression.
The bit I found hard to swallow was when Ade’s mum took far too long to react to the events that were unfolding around her. I understand that it was probably due to her depression, but I still feel she could have snapped out of it sooner.
I didn’t have any criticisms of this story or the author because this particular title was so unique to anything I have read to date; but it was different in a good/remarkable way.
I believe the character that I most relate to is Dory. This is because she was always helpful towards others and was sympathetic to her friends in bad situations. For example, when Ade knocked on Dory’s door, she could see that he was upset, down and probably hungry, so she made lunch for him and offered a place of refuge.
To Be honest, I would read another book from Polly Ho-Yen. She clearly knows how to create a scary and mysterious atmosphere to build up, grip the reader and at the same time build tension. This story was published 6 years and as I enjoyed something written in 2014; based on that logic I am sure I would love any books she has written more recently.
By Apryl. N. Year 6 student
George’s Secret Key To The Universe By Lucy and Stephen Hawking
George’s Secret Key To The Universe, is a children’s novel by Lucy Hawking and Stephen Hawking.
The main characters are George, who has eco-friendly parents who forbid technology in their home, and his pet pig. When the pig breaks through the garden fence George meets his new next door neighbours; a girl named Annie and her scientific father named Eric.
My overall thoughts about the book was that it’s highly educational and taught me a lot about space. I think the book is awesome in the way the writers bring facts and fiction together, so we kids can enjoy.
The event that I disliked was when George’s dad and his group protested about modern technology and the way it is destroying the planet. This protest made me feel disappointed because I am a huge fan and lover of modern technology and its advances.
The event that I most liked was when Eric and George watched a film about stars dying (metamorphicly speaking).
For example, the star run out of hydrogen (H) to burn into helium (HE) and rapidly expanded until it blew into tiny particles and all that was left was a black hole. I liked this event because it is a good use of imagery so I could imagine the star rapidly expanding into my face!!!
My one and only criticism about the book, is that I wanted to know the outcome of George’s dads protest; like if people strongly agreed or highly disagreed. For me, I felt this moment left things on a cliffhanger.
I don’t have any criticisms at all of the author, because I think Stephen William Hawking is one of the greatest physicists in this big and interesting universe.
I could relate to Eric because I am also a planet/space astronaut adventurer and we want to discover new planets and stars. I could also relate Eric to Albert Einstein because on page 20 he looks like he was doing some pretty hard physics on his new board.
What made the book unique was that the authors blended in fact and fiction like blending two colours together and made this book interesting for us kids to fully understand. You don’t tend to find physicists writing books especially story books for children and families can talk and discuss about the facts and fiction and theories in this book.
By Thomas N., Year 5 student
My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy By Pete Johnson
This humorous book is by an author named Pete Johnson. Overall, I initially thought this book was one I wouldn’t normally go for, as I would normally read books that I am familiar with like: Diary Of A Wimpy Kid, Jack Stalwart and The No1 Car Spotter. As I read through, I enjoyed this more and more and was pleasantly surprised.
Even though this title didn’t have any pictures, the author described the events so well I could create the images in my head and imagine vividly as the events progressed. I learnt that I don’t necessarily need to have all action and violence to catch and keep my attention.
I would rate this book a 9 out of 10; even though I really enjoyed it , there were some parts I didn’t get pleasure from. For example, at the beginning when Louis’s dad was moaning about the house rules. I thought that part was boring and detailed a lot of pointless information that he could have simply just said to him and his brother.
My favourite moment was when Louis’s dad arrived at school to drop off the homework he had forgotten. This was the first time Mr Beach (his class teacher) had actually met Louis’s father. Previously Mr Beach had written to him to inform of Louis’s dreadful behaviour in school, however Louis had intercepted the letter and fraudulently responded. In the letter, he mentioned that he (Louis pretending to be his father) did not really enjoy leaving the house often. I really liked this part because I thought this would lead to Louis being “busted” but instead Mr Beach and his father had a conversation both non-the-wiser.
My criticism of the book is that it features a fair amount of romance and I am not a big fan. Maddy is Louis’s girlfriend and there is quite a lot of dialogue detailing their relationship. Although some of their conversations were funny, I don’t feel that all the “lovey-dovey” scenarios were necessary.
The main character, Louis reminds me of a comedian called Ned Woodman who was on a show called ‘Britain’s Got Talent’. Both were really funny and featured on a television show.
This particular title is different to my normal selections as it is from the comedy genre. I don’t normally choose books from this genre however I have enjoyed and would possibly and probably choose something similar again.
I would in fact like to read another book by this author. If all his books are like this one and better, I would especially appreciate and read a part 2 of ‘My Parents Are Driving Me Crazy’.
This book is similar to the Diary of a Wimpy Kid books because in both they are written as if they were actually talking to the reader in the form of diary entries.
I would definitely recommend this book to people who like humour and don’t take life too seriously.
By Nobel M., Year 6 student
Birthday Boy By David Baddiel
I really enjoyed reading this title by David Baddiel and it is actually the fourth book that I have completed recently. It was really easy to follow and understand as it allowed great description and direction into how the events unfolded.
My absolute favourite part was in the middle of the story, when Grandpa Sam went missing whilst on the way to his grandson, Sam’s (Sam who was named after his grandpa) birthday party. Up until this point, not much had happened and then all of a sudden the story comes to life. This part was where the suspense was first introduced; however I was very confident that Grandpa would be eventually found and also that there would be a happy ending due to the authors style of writing.
The part I loathed was near the beginning when Sam on his birthday made a wish for an unlimited amount of birthday presents and parties; basically he wanted his birthday to be every single day. The reason why I disliked this part was because it made me feel extremely jealous; because I too wish for the same birthday wish!!! But unfortunately I have not been lucky enough to be granted this wish so far.
Even though I enjoyed reading this book, my one criticism pertains to the blurb which was a bit basic and would not have encouraged me to have read this title if I was not familiar with previous books by the same author.
In the story, there is one character that I can relate to personally and her name is Zara. Zara and her family had to be evacuated from their home country due to war, so they became refugees. My own mother shares a similar story where she also had to leave her home country due to a long-standing war. Like Zara and her family, both my mum and her eventually had a happy ending.
I also had something in common with the main character Sam, that was we both would love the opportunity to have a new birthday every single day of every single month each and every year.
I have now read four books from the same author and his style has been quite similar throughout, but obviously the plots are all different and varied. My favourite so far was the second book called The Parent Agency.
Based on what I have read so far, I would definitely read another title by the same author. I would recommend this book for people who love birthdays or anyone interested in the fantasy genre.
By Soliana Y., Year 6 student
Petunia Perry and The Curse Of The Ugly Pigeon By Pamela Butchart
This title by Pamela Butchart was modern and jam-packed with twists and turns. Overall, Petunia Perry and the Curse of the Ugly Pigeon was meritorious because it showed the difference between primary and secondary. Perry (the protagonist) describes how in primary it was easier to become ‘cool’ by doing challenges and that in secondary, it was more about your appearance, wealth and general coolness.
The fact that there is a curse of the ugly pigeon made me laugh in disbelief; as I knew such things are not true. From my standpoint, an ugly pigeon is put in the book just to blame something for the catastrophes that take place.
There were numerous occurrences in the book that I enjoyed but I particularly liked the part when Perry introduced herself by a letter to Epic Records on the first page. She mentions her mood and what really made me laugh was, she questioned them on their choice of name for her (Petunia) “Why would they do this?” In Perry’s agitated mood, she is in desperate need of a Mars bar so that is a new thing I will adopt in the future.
These events made me laugh because of the joviality.
Although this particular title was exceptional, some criticism has to be made! I think this book was too short in length. I am generally more interested in longer books and I believe that because the book was too short the author didn’t expand on the events sufficiently.
I could relate to one particular character in the book; Perry’s mum. She makes Perry walk everywhere and my best friend’s mum makes her family walk to most places. The thing that they both have in common is that they both strive to walk to become healthier.
This story is quite unique because I normally read books based on history and the language used is more mature and ‘posh’. This book however, is the most modern title I have read because it includes some ‘slang’ and is set in the 21st century.
I probably would read other books by Pamela Butchart (I have already read To Wee or Not To Wee, which I enjoyed also) because she seems to direct her books at children my age. If her other books/adventures are as fulfilling as this book; I may be willing to give those books a read. I appreciate how she kept this book light and simple yet the events were adequate and intriguing.
By Eliana, Year 6 student
The World’s Worst Children 2 By David Walliams
This fictional story is about the peculiar lives of ten treacherously behaved children. My three favourite were: Clarissa, (a cat hater), Griselda (who is really interested in creepy crawlies), and Harry (the boy who never did his homework).
This book is set in a number of alternative settings as each chapter is almost a completely new story. The book does not specify or mention which country it is set in however I get the impression that it is based in England because they behave and sound British. In particular, Griselda who is a student at a posh school called, The Duchess of Queensbury’s School for Girls.
Although each story was about the disrespectful children, Humbert’s was the most memorable story. I thought this book and this chapter was unrealistic, but funny at the same time. The baby sets out with a huge appetite for eating everything in the house, and his parents overfed him, then as the story progresses, he moves on to eating cars, buses, helicopters buildings and aeroplanes.
Other stories feature a fussy eater (Frankie), a boy who never does his homework (Harry) and another child who is despicable to cats (Clarissa). There is also a spoilt and wickedly rich brat (Brad). All of the stories detail and highlight the lives of the children, however what they all have in common is an unfortunate or miserable ending.
I totally enjoyed reading this title and I am definitely going to read the book that came out before this one (World’s Worst Children 1).
David Walliams is still my absolute favourite author. My favourite part was from the story of the Fussy Frankie, when he refused to eat the vegetables his mum gave, and he secretly threw them out of the window. This is because while reading, I was imagining myself refusing to eat when my mum cooks food I don’t like and being able to do the same as Frankie.
This book was 11/10! It was absolutely amazing and David Walliams has no criticisms from me, and I do hope he is planning on writing a third book.
By Eliana, Year 4 student
The Person Controller By David Baddiel
There were quite a number of characters in this particular book but my favourite character was Ellie because she is a really brave girl and has a love for video games; which reminds me of myself. The other character I really liked was Fred (who is Ellie’s identical twin) and the reason was that he’s really funny and reminds me of my older brother who is really clumsy and funny at times.
This fictional book is about identical twins called Fred and Ellie who are extremely addicted to video games. However, after their controller is destroyed by their father’s bottom, they are determined to buy a new one and that’s when they met the Mystery Man who provides them with a jewelled controller. They discovered that the controller could control people who wore a blue glowing bracelet.
Suddenly, something weird happens, the blue bracelet started to flash leading the twins to their worst enemies (Isla and Morris) who are the school bullies. They too had the same controller as the twins but Ellie decided she was not going to tolerate their bullying behaviour, so she stood up for everyone and declared a literal fight between them using the controllers.
My favourite part was when Ellie stood up to the bullies and declared a fight; it was a really brave moment. I believe that you should always stand up to bullying but also you should stand up for what is right. If I was the author of this title, I would add in more action and a cliff hanger at the end so it would start off the next book.
I would give this book 7/10 for a few reasons: I really liked how the author described the main characters and gave some background information before the book got underway. This book was something new and fresh for me, it was creative, engrossing, stimulating, intriguing and I am already looking forward to reading the next book.
By Soliana, Year 6 student
War Horse By Michael Morpurgo
This fictional story centres around a horse called Joey, before, during and after the First World War. The other main character is an approximately fifteen-year-old boy called Albert who lives and works on a farm with his parents.
In the beginning, Joey is sold to the British Army by Albert’s dad because he has another horse and he needs more money. Albert is left feeling sad, depressed, angry and devastated. During the war, Joey’s job is to take the sick and wounded from the battlefield to the hospital. On an occasion whilst riding Joey, the main officer was assassinated but Joey was unharmed. During the story, Joey tries to escape the disturbing, loud and ear-splitting noises from the guns. Whilst doing so, his leg was caught in a wire which meant he was injured for a period of time. When Joey runs away from the war, he again injures himself and needs medical assistance. One of the veterinarians happens to be Albert and the long lost friends are re-united.
I loved this book because the author gave detailed description about Joey’s emotions while he was at war and how much he wanted to get out of it. My favourite part was when Joey moves away from the war with his new friends.
By Andre-Pierre, Year 6 student
Glubbslyme By Jacqueline Wilson
Glubbslyme is about a young girl called Rebecca who falls out with her best friend Sarah, because of another girl called Mandy. It all started when Rebecca was telling Mandy and Sarah about witches. However Mandy and Sarah didn’t seem the slightest bit interested.
Mandy is rich, mean and bossy. Rebecca was jealous of Mandy as she had all the things Rebecca desired.
Whilst Rebecca was walking in a disgusting river filled with mud, she accidentally trod on a frog. To her amazement she discovered that the frog could speak, but it spoke in an old fashioned way .Unbelievably the frog was 500 years old.
As Mandy was so mean to Rebecca, she decided that she wanted to get her own back. Glubbslyme (the name of the frog) had magic powers, so she asked him to cast some spells; so that the can get her revenge on people who have annoyed her, especially Mandy, but then she changes her mind….
I think that that this fictional story was too predictable and nothing much exciting happened; however some parts of the story kept my attention.
By Soliyana H., Year 5 student
Forbidden Friends By Anne-Marie Conway
Forbidden Friends is a book written by Anne-Marie Conway. She has writtten other books like: Butterfly Summer and Tangled Secrets Friendship.
Anne-Marie lives in London with her husband, two young sons and two eccentric cats, Betty and Boo.
The story is about two girls Lizzie and Bee. They both had a hard time in life; Bee was bullied in school and didn’t have any friends and then to make matters worse her dad went missing. Lizzie was sick of being homeschooled and hated her dad. He was always an angry man mostly because Luke (Lizzie’s older brother) had died. Her mum was also too scared to stand up to him.
One day Bee’s mum took Bee to Spain for a holiday. The same day Lizzie and Bee met on a beach. They had a chat and got along really well. A few weeks later, they decided to share secrets with each other and shortly after Lizzie’s dad arrived in Spain. Lizzie’s dad told Lizzie not to be friends with Bee because Bee’s dad was the one who killed Luke. When they got back to London, Lizzie was forbidden to talk to or have anything to do with Bee. Bee didn’t know and thought that Lizzie didn’t like her anymore. One evening, Lizzie sneaked out of her home and went to see Bee. Both girls had questions they needed answering so they went to Aidan’s (Bee’s older brother and Luke’s best friend) house. Aidan eventually confessed and told them what really happened in Spain many years earlier. He had been drunk and had accidentally run Luke over with his car. Lizzie told her dad what really happened and he got really mad. Bee’s dad had lied to the police and he was scared the police would find out and he would be sent to prison. Lizzie’s dad calmed down and everyone talked things through. It was decided the girls could be friends again and Lizzie would no longer be homeschooled.
I would give this book 4/5 because of the drama and mystery. I still think this book could have a twist or a less obvious ending. I think that the ending went too smoothly after the bombshell revelation. I really liked the book; if you are into mystery you should definitely read this book.
By Sem T., Year 6 Student
Little Red Riding Hood
The main characters in this classic fairytale are a young and shy girl; who goes by the name of Red Riding Hood and a dishonest, greedy and tricky wolf.
This fictional story begins in the little girl’s cottage, which is beside a deep dark wood. However the story evolves and finishes in grandma’s house (which was in the other side of the woods).
The story itself begins with L.R.R.H.’s mother telling her daughter to go and visit her granny (who was unwell) and whom she had not visited for a while. She was also warned not to speak to strangers and go straight there. However during this fairytale, the immature girl ignored the warning and told an unusual stranger (the mischievous wolf) where she was going. Towards the conclusion, and because L.R.R.H. did not listen to her mum’s warning both she and her gran were eaten by the wolf. Luckily a woodsman who was nearby came to their rescue and saved them both.
I enjoyed reading this classic fairytale because although I knew that what happened was false; it reminded me of what my parents have warned me about – strangers.
My favourite part was near the end, when the wolf tricked Grandma (and ate her) and then dressed up in her night clothes and then tricked L.R.R.H. into believing that he was her grandma. I thought this part was really funny because Red Riding Hood was not intelligent enough to realise straight away.