Tuesday, 29 December 2009

The War Over Treasure

Treasure Island by Robert Louis Stevenson is a great book if you like adventure. It is packed full with adventure, mystery and excitement. I never knew exactly what was coming next.
This story is about a boy called Jim. Jim and his mother (only his mother) owns an inn when Blind Pew and Black Dog come and try to get a treasure map. Jim snatches some papers which he later finds out to be the map, and then sets sail with Doctor Livesey and Squire Trelawney on an adventure and a quest to find the treasure.
Unfortunately for Jim in his crew he includes a one-legged man called Long John Silver. Jim hides in a barrel and hears Long John Silver and his pirates talk about their plan to find the treaure before them. Jim warns his comrades. Then there is a battle to see who can find the trasure first. It is exciting.
The question remains: Will he find the treasure before Long John Silver or will the pirates come away rich?
I learned historical things from this book such as what a parrot would say like 'Pieces of Eight, Pieces of Eight'.
This is a very good book. I enjoyed it thoroughly. It is slightly old-fashioned in the language but my dad told me the words that I didn't understand. He sort of translated it to modern. It's best if someone reads it to you because you can concentrate more on the plot and they can do funny voices.
My star rating is five out of five. I recommend this book for 8 plus.

Sunday, 13 December 2009

Ritchie the Roach

Toonhead by Fiona Dunbar is a book which is really clever because it feels so realistic, because that's what can happen to people.
In the book this boy named Pablo has a not very nice life in a place where the only important thing was art. His mum and dad were artists and they wanted him to be like them too. But he wasn't especially good at art.
One day he meets a person whose very friendly to him and lets him watch television in his house. He never gets to do this in his house because the only important thing is art, so there is no television.
He starts watching cartoons at their house and then starts drawing them. He then finds out that he can predict the future through his cartoons.
One day he predicts the result of a football match and then him and his friend go to the betting shop but they reject him, so a man says 'I'm over 18 shall I go in for you?' and then they say no, and then he gets detention and then he gets kidnapped!
When he's held prisoner he makes friend with a little cockroach named Ritchie the Roach, which is a cartoon he used to watch with his friend. Ritchie helps him to try and escape.
This is a very clever book because I think it's sort of a realistic plot but then there's fantasy as well. Some bits made me laugh and some bits I was dreading what was going to happen next.
I give this book five out of five stars. A really good book for seven plus.

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

A voice in the head

Street Heroes by Joe Layburn is a book which is going to be published in May 2010. I got an copy from the publicity person at the publishing company because they are also going to publish my mum's book and they know I have a blog. If other publishers want to send me books I am very happy, and I will give them very honest reviews.
This book is very interesting because it's coming from lots of people's point of view. One thing bad about it is that it's quite confusing because there are so many people involved. The main sides represented are Fatima, who is Muslim and black and Georgie who has a father who has extreme fascist views.
It also shows how everybody's different because Georgie's dad wants him to be the same as him, but which side will he take? Fatima's or his father's?
This story is about one boy who has a dad who's very extreme and one person who's trying to help Muslims and stop racism. Everyone thinks Georgie has the same views as his father, but he doesn't want everyone to think that.
I liked that it was about politics and you don't get many children's books about politics.
Why the title is 'A voice in the head' is because Fatima can communicate by making her voice go into other people's heads which is a way of helping them.
My star rating is five because I really liked it. I think it's good for seven plus and if seven year olds read it or even similar age groups would have to have some help with it.

Tuesday, 17 November 2009

Too Big Expectations

I listened to Great Expectations by Charles Dickens on an audiotape on two car journeys. It was great having it there to listen to, because it can get boring in the car if you have nothing to do. It was read by Anton Lesser and he did a very good job with all the different voices.

The story was about a boy who brings pie and food to a convict who has escaped from a prison ship. Pip, the main character, gets a mysterious inheritence and he doesn't know who it's from.

He thinks it's from Miss Havisham, however he is not sure. While he is at Miss Havisham's he meets a mysterious girl named Estella. He falls in love her, however Miss Havisham got heartbroken because of a boy so Miss Havisham wanted to take her revenge on men by breaking Pip's heart. Poor Pip falls for her trap because Estella is very cold-hearted.

I thought it was good but it could have had a bit more storyline, the bits that it did have were very very good. It was a bit complicated but we paused it a little bit to help me understand it. The moral of the story was what comes around goes around.

My favourite bit was when Pip ran to the convict and gave him the food.

I give Great Expectations four stars out of five because I think it could have had a more exciting story.

Friday, 6 November 2009

Statue Art

Today I am writing about an art exhibition instead of a book because I found it so amazing that I thought I just had to write about it.

I went to see the Anish Kapoor exhibition at the Royal Academy of Art. Before I went I knew nothing about him, but my expectations were still high because I'd heard great things about him. I was paticularly interested to see it because all the art I do in school is drawing and painting but I want people to know that there are more ways of making art, for instance paper mache and statues and sculpture and animation. These are my favourite sorts of art because I prefer making things 3d because it's more fun.

The first thing I saw was huge giant metal balls all lined up to eachother, on eachother which was amazing because it was really exciting. That was in the courtyard before you even got into the exhibition.

Once we got inside we saw a big wax train, which was slowly moving and squeezing through doorways. I thought it was a very clever idea however it really should have gone zooming fast because then there would have been a big splat.

In another room there were rocks and things made out of concrete that my mother thought looked like poo. I disagreed. I thought they looked more like worms.

There were shapes coming out of the wall and on the ground that looked amazing because they were just sticking there, they looked like powder. They should have fallen but they just stood there.

There was one other room that we did not look in for very long but however it had a hole in the middle that was very hard to see which made it like an optical illusion.
In one room there were mirrors which made you go upside down, turning you in to a giant and turned you into little thin stripes, making you very very very tall.
Then we went into a room with a big crowd of people just standing there. In the room there was one large gun. The doorway that it was pointing at was filled with red wax. Suddenly a man came, and pushed in a cylinder of red wax and fired the gun. It was a stinging shot that hit the wall bang on and just stayed there. At first I wondered what happened, and then I saw it. It was amazing.
There was also one sculpture that looked sort of like a twisted trumpet with lips for the place where the music comes out.
My favourite piece was probably the mirrors, because I found that one the most strange, which I liked. My friend Adam went to see the exhibition on the same day as me, but I didn't see him there.
Anish Kapoor has made a very good exhibition, and I like his style.

Thursday, 29 October 2009

The Golden Eagle

Eagle of the Ninth by Rosemary Sutcliff is a really really good book full of action, adventure and some cleverness.
This book is set in Roman times. Marcus lives with his uncle Aquila who's not the happiest of people when Marcus comes to live with him. Marcus goes with his uncle to see a gladiator match and saves somebody by saying don't kill him and making the crowd agree with him, then buys him and then they become friends.
The Ninth legion is believed to have walked on and then just disappeared. Marcus and Esca (the rescued gladiator) go on a quest to find the missing eagle of the ninth legion. The eagle was the sign of the Romans. On the quest they think they've won it, then they don't and you're always wanting to know what happens next.
It's one of those books that you'll be trying to read in your sleep because it you're just so interested and excited because you just don't know what's going to happen next.
I learned quite a bit about Roman times, mainly about how many different types of soldiers there were and what games they played.
It was easy to read however some bits of it were quite difficult to understand and so it was good that my dad read it to me.
Star rating is five out of five because I absolutely loved this book. I would recommend it for eight plus but if you're 8 or 7 someone should probably read it to you.

Saturday, 24 October 2009

Where am I?

Tom's Midnight Garden by Philippa Pearce is a very good book. It is quite exciting and the main plot would never actually happen in real life but all the other things could.

It's about a boy whose brother gets measles and he has to live in a flat with his auntie and uncle. At first he finds it boring but then one night he creeps out to find a garden that in daylight is not there. He meets a girl who he spends lots of time with, named Hattie. She becomes his friend in the garden.

I liked how it always had that slight touch of mystery, and you were wondering what was really happening. I really enjoyed the characters because they had a good personality and it really showed that in the bbook. The two people who are friends, Hattie and Tom just seemed to click. They seemed like they were always meant to be friends.

This is a good book for eight plus but you might want to get your dad to read it to you like mine did. It gets four stars out of five. I give only four because some of the clues give the story away a bit too much, but it is still very intriguing.

Tuesday, 20 October 2009

Where is my Money?

Emil and the Detectives by Erich Kastner is a wonderful adventure about a boy who is very poor and gets his money stolen on the train when he goes to sleep. The adventure is about how he gets his money back.

The main character, named Emil, meets some very reliable friends who help him on the quest to get his money back. Their adventure is so big and exciting because you never know what's going to happen next. You never know if he has won or lost and several times you are convinced he has lost his money.

It was first published in Britain in 1931, so as you can see it's not a new book. The setting is in Germany. The time and the place affect the book by the ways that they do things such as how one of the boys is called The Professor which wouldn't be very likely in England today. I liked the fact that it was set in Germany because it felt different from most books, because most books are set in Britain and it's all about what British people would do, and this is an example that shows you whatr life was like in Germany in the 1920s.

This weekend there was a production of Emil and the Detectives on Radio Four which was good but I imagined the voices different, because they sounded like they were cockneys and I didn't imagine that. I thought they'd use better English. The producation did not change the story which I thought was good and it was as still as exciting as the book. I thoroughly enjoyed both of them

My star rating: five out of five.
This would be good for eight years plus.
Sorry for the delay in posting the review, the next one will come soon. Please leave comments on this and also on the last one - Bloggs's guest blog.

Tuesday, 13 October 2009

Bloggs's Guest Blog

My friend Hector Bloggs is doing a guest post today of Lord of the Rings - the Fellowship of the Rings by J R R Tolkein.

Thank you Hector for writing this review, I am sure everyone will enjoy your post.

This book is a very good story about hobbits, sometimes called halflings, and how one of them Frodo Baggins has to take a ring from a big volcano where it was once made by the evil spirit Sauron. This is a very good book with a lot of mythical elements to it. Frodo takes the ring with eight more companions: Sam, Pippin, Merry, Gandalf, Boromir, Aragon (the heir of Isuldur), Gimli and Legolas who is an elf.

It's an exciting adventurous story and well written. It feels as it's the right type of writing. It's very atmospheric and you feel as though you are there.

The movie is as good as the book except they changed a few things and they missed out a few things (Tom Bombadill and the Barrowwhites) which was annoying, because Tom would have been really good. When he puts the ring on his finger he doesn't turn invisible and that would have worked well in a film.

I would definitely recommend people to read this book, ages nine plus. My star rating is five out of five, well actually five and a half.

Sunday, 11 October 2009

The great horse

Warhorse by Michael Morpurgo is a classic example of a war book. It tells the story of a horse who gets sold to a man and is trained by his son then has to learn how to plough in a week, and then gets shipped off to the British army fighting the First World War in France. From then he gets captured by the Germans and lives with the Germans for a while, pulling waggons. Then he gets stuck in barbed wire in No Man's Land and eventually the English army win a toss against the Germans and he comes back to them.

This is a very touching story because it's so sad to learn that a horse just get pushed around like that and gets involved in war.

I have seen the play as well as read the book and there is one major annoying thing, it was that in the play the horse was sold for 39 guineas and there was this whole thing about the mortgage and in the book he was sold for three guineas. There's a big difference. Films and plays should not change books.

This book is good for eight plus because there are some bits that you need to be old enough to understand. My star rating is four out of five because of the major difference between the play and the book, because I think it's very confusing.

I learned that horses have so many jobs in war and that horses are more cared for nowadays. My dad took me to the Imperial War Museum and I saw an exhibition about the trenches. I have no idea how any horse or man survived in the trenches. They were really unpleasant because of the stench and because you got lice and there were rats and frogs. I would highly recommend people to visit the Imperial War Museum. They should also see the play of Warhorse as well as read the book, it was really good.

Saturday, 10 October 2009

This message is coded!!

The Name of This Book is Secret by Pseudonymous Bosch is very exiting.It has codes,secrets and a few laughs in between.Cassandra and Max-Ernest (the two main characters) are finding clues all the time making it extremely nerve-racking because you always think that something bad is going to happen, when actually something good happened. Another good thing about this book is that something always happens, you're never left just in a boring bit, there's always something happening.

As good friends do Max-Ernest and Cassandra have a little fight. But it all works out in the end. This book is great. It's really clever because it doesn't talk about the people it talks to you, the reader personally. For example it says: 'Now I know I can trust you.' It makes you feel really drawn into the story.

The story is about a missing magician's diary and a deadly secret. I can't say any more because it would be giving it away. I've told you too much already!

My star rating is five out of five. I would recommend it for 7 plus because some bits are scary.

Friday, 9 October 2009

When will they die?

Are they dead,yes,no yes,no? Skulduggery Pleasant by Derek Landy is exciting and really clever. I loved it.

The story's about a man who dies and then his niece and the man's friend fight using magic. Skullduggery Pleasant is no ordinary man. He is two things - a magician and dead - a skeleton! They search for something that is thought to be not real, but is actually real and evntually they beat the villain. This book is very adventurous, with fighting in it and a bit of crime. It is nerve-wracking because you always think someone's going to die.

It is perfect for the Potter crowd. People who like Harry Potter would like this book. There are a couple of bits that make you think that something tragic has happened when actually there's a way out of it. That is why it's so very clever.

Like the Roman Mysteries, my star rating is five out of five. People of 9 plus should read this book.

Thursday, 8 October 2009

Same Old Thing!

Beast Quest

The series Beast Quest by Adam Blade are easy to get sucked into but they are actually meant for four-seven year olds. The bad thing about his books are that the same thing happens over the series. It is really boring because all Tom does (the main character )with the other main character, Elenna is battle the beast, then win. The only thing that is different is that each book features a different beast.
I wish the beast would win once in a while because you lose interest in the series.
My rating is:2/5. It is a good book for early readers.

Historical Fiction at Its Best

The Roman Mysteries Series by Caroline Lawrence

This is a series of book that is very clever because it uses all the features that a Roman town would have when they go on adventures. It is very fun to read, sometimes dead serious and sometimes it makes me laugh.
There are at least 12 books in the series, starting with The Thieves of Ostia. They tell the story of four young Roman children trying to be detectives. Lupus, the youngest is mute. Then there's Jonathan, who has bad asthma. Flavia is the bossy one, and then Nubia who comes from Africa.
These books show typical ways of living of the Romans so you learn a lot from reading them. For example I learned that if you did something bad you might be forced to become a gladiator and that loads of Jews were taken as slaves.
My star rating: 5/5