June 17

‘Loyal Creatures’ by Morris Gleitzeman

loyal creatures“The Turks had got Dad. They’d got Otton and Bosworth and Lesney.”

‘Loyal Creatures’, by Morris Gleitzman, is an exciting, action and adventure book about a 16 year old boy who goes to war in Egypt along with his father and their two horses.

The story is set in Australia where they depart from Sydney to go to war in Egypt and fight the Turkish. The two men will stay in a war camp in Egypt whilst waiting for the fighting to start.

Frank, the younger man in this story, was excited about the war and he wanted to fight in it. His father did not want to go to war with his son as he had already lost his wife and his son’s mother. He had made a promise to his wife that they would never go to war but their time had come to serve for their country. The two men embarked on a journey across seas and oceans with their two horses to help fight in the war. The men would find new friends along the journey and fight alongside them.

Frank and his father’s role in the army was to find water for all of the troops because Frank’s horse, Daisy, could sense where the water was underground. This continues until Frank’s father receives ‘the white feather’ and is sent to a different location, leaving Frank by himself with the other men who are much older than him. Frank does his job in the water department of the army until the sergeant allows him to fight.

Frank and all of the troops in his  area were very successful in their first days of fighting until Frank is informed that his father has been KIA ( Killed In Action). After Frank received the information, he was having second thoughts about fighting. This story was very enjoyable as it was very exciting and it was filled with lots of action-packed fighting scenes. This book would be very enjoyable for a person who likes action type books and also you don’t have to be an amazing reader to get the full story.

Jay T.H., Year 8


Loyal Creatures is a great book telling all ages about war. It may be a book that could strengthen people because if you’re a sensitive person this book would be great for you. It will make you not as afraid about the bad and will help you later in life because bad things may happen and you may have to be strong about it if you have lost a family member.

This book is about a man’s son wanting to go off into war and his father is saying otherwise not to go off into war, saying if you go there’s a small chance of coming back because you’re fighting for your peace and country. This is a major event in life and all people in the world should learn about World War I and World War II. These significant events tell a lot about how they lived in the olden days and tells what guns and houses and how work was done, as well as awesome stories that would be interesting for all ages between 9 to old as anything.

This book is about a significant event in life for all kids and parents. Teachers all over the world should know about this event because it involved every country. The book is a very good interesting book and you may learn new things because not all books talk about the same thing. You may learn new words and more interesting events in life that happened around 1900. The book is written by a very famous book writer as it says above the title of the book, so I say it must be a alright book for all people if it’s made by Morris Gleitzman.

Lee S., Year 8

June 10

‘Polar Boy’ by Sandy Fussell

polar boyThe title of the engaging and amazing novel that we’ve read as a class is cleverly named ‘Polar Boy’. ‘Polar Boy’ is a faction book as the story is incorporated with facts such as real places and real tribes of people. ‘Polar Boy’ is an action/adventure book as the tribe is on an action-packed  journey filled with twists and turns.

The author of ‘Polar Boy’ is Sandy Fussell and she has written many books such as the ‘Samurai Kids’ series and most recently ‘Sad the dog’. I haven’t read any of her other works. The illustrator of ‘Polar Boy’ is Wayne Harris and he has illustrated many books including ‘Going Home’, ‘A Bitter Company’ and ‘Edge of the World’. I honestly thought the book was oddly relatable because the main character, Iluak, was trying to earn respect and become a man by facing the polar bear. This can be associated with an adolescent’s journey.

The time period that the book was set in was the 14th century. The place or setting the novel was Baffin Island and Baffin Bay. The setting seems real and convincing as it isn’t a fictional place and it was a type of book where I was engaged in the story so I felt like I was actually in it. The characters also seem real as Eskimos are a real race of people. This may seem cliché but I feel that the main character Iluak stands out and appeals to me the most.

The novel is quite an engaging adventure because I enjoy action and adventure books. It is a convincing story and it sends a powerful message of unity by the Northmen and the tribe making peace with each other. The ending of the story was okay. I would have liked it if it was more action packed or had a plot twist. I personally didn’t like the author’s writing style in this particular book. The theme or overall message of the book is unity.

First of all the relevance of illustrations in a book such as a front cover are extremely important as it can do many things such as: if it has a visual representation of a character this can paint a mental picture of the character in the reader’s head. This also works for the setting and many other things. The front cover is simple but still amazing as sometimes simple is all something needs to be. The illustration on the front cover gives an identification of place and a indication of what is upcoming in the story but the illustration still doesn’t add to it.

I quite enjoyed ‘Polar Boy’ as it was engaging and action packed. My favourite part of the story was when Iluak’s grandma told him to put his ear to the ice even though his grandma lost half of her ear from being frozen. I would recommend ‘Polar Boy’ to children and teenagers from ages twelve to fourteen as I believe it would be more appealing and engaging to that age group. Overall I believe ‘Polar Boy’ is an amazing and engaging book and Sandy Fussell is a skilled author so I would rate the book a six out of ten.

Jack. O., Year 8


Living without challenge is no life at all?

It’s true. Life has many challenges. Some bad, some good, some we learn from and some we don’t. All part of life’s adventures.

In ‘Polar Boy’ by Sandy Fussell, Iluak needs to face his fears. Therefore it’s a huge challenge for him. He’s faced many along the way, like when he saw his first bear. Iluak found a bear in a cave. He was terrified and his feet were frozen to the snow when he saw it, only to realise it was a sick cub. The cub’s nose was crusted with dry mucus, its fur sodden in dirty patches and frozen saliva hangs from its partly open mouth. That’s when Iluak needed to face his fears and approach the bear and help him the best way he could.

Iluak’s other challenge was seal hunting which he went along to with his family and friends.

“Seal hunting became a near death experience for me. Still knowing the ice is thin I still try and catch the seal only thing is the ice cracks open and I go under like I was afraid of. It was so cold colder than I’ve ever been before. That’s when my body numbs and my clothes drag me down. I can feel water filling my nose. Nana knew this would happen. ‘Don’t be afraid’, she said.”

Therefore Iluak experienced a bad challenge but with a great outcome. The seal managed to push him out of the icy water and allowed him to live.

Another challenge in life is learning to get along with each other. But sometimes we find it difficult to get along with people we might not like. Tuaq was never one of lluak’s favourite people, in fact Iluak never got on with him. Tuaq was name calling his little sister and his friend, things Iluak didn’t like. Yet both were very much alike. Both were very competitive. They shared a bond throughout a whale hunting trip. Tuaq saved Iluak’s life just like the seal saved his.

“But Tuaq is still standing up front, arms raised, praying for us all. Horrified, I watch as a wave rises like a giant talon, to wrap itself around Tuaq’s waist and claw him into the ocean.”

Life throws many challenges our way but most challenges teach us things along the way. Whether they’re bad or good we need them to help us grow into adulthood.

James R., Year 8


In a land of snow and ice, Iluak and his village try to survive this weather and enjoy their time with friends and family. Iluak’s journey has been difficult and life-threatening at many times but he was never killed. This made him strive to become a stronger person for his journey into a man. ‘Polar boy’ is a novel by Sandy Fussell. She has written many other books, such as ‘Samurai boy’, but I haven’t read other books by Sandy Fussell.

Iluak’s journey is to overcome his fears and the ancient ones whisper to Nana and she tells Iluak that they talk about him and that a bear is waiting for him. This challenge for Iluak’s journey has only begun – the journey for him to finally meet this bear who is waiting for him. This journey might kill him but it’s worth it if he survives because life without a challenge isn’t a life worth living. Through the life-threatening challenges, if he survives them this will make him stronger in intelligence and in physical appearance for the next challenges that come his way.

Iluak doesn’t like his life on the line but his resilience gives him strength and he is not afraid to put his life on the life. These type of quality makes him a brave and strong person who is trying his best in his journey. He could fail but it is better than not trying at all.

Though his journey is tough, he endures because he wants to meet the bear that’s waiting for him. On his journey a strange man comes to his village and says that his village has all been murdered by Normans but Nana and Papa don’t trust him and his knives and doesn’t allow him to stay.

What I liked about this book is when Iluak fell into the water and started to give up because the Raven was trying to steal his soul but Nana was protecting Iluak. When he was losing hope and he felt like he had died a seal comes up and brings him up to the top of the ice. I didn’t like it whenever he was going to die. Someone or something always came to save him so the story became predictable whenever Iluak went into a battle.

 I didn’t really like this book because it soon became predictable and got boring after reading for a while. At some points the book was good to read but at others it was really boring and not enjoyable.

Matthew K-H., Year 8


In the novel ‘Polar Boy’, a young boy called Iluak faces challenges that seem impossible to succeed in by his age but he finds a way to solve his problems and overcomes his fears. That makes him stronger.

In the book, Iluak finds himself having to unite two tribes:, a ruthless, violent tribe called the Northmen, in our time called the Vikings, and his own tribe, a peaceful group living in a cold environment that have no clue how to fight with previous warriors with children and elderly. Iluak is frightened and wants to drop out of this massive task but in the end he manned up and decided to risk his life in order to save his tribe from a brutal war. Iluak finds his courage afterwards and decides to head with the Northmen to explore the world outside his freezing home. This shows that Iluak has grown stronger, as few people decide to venture out and leave everything andeveryone behind to start a new life.

 The book ‘Polar boy’ is set in the 14th century, going back into the history of when Vikings were roaming lands claiming it as their territory through war  in the cold regions where polar bears and mammoths were a dangerous thing for the polar tribes. In my opinion, out of all the characters, Iluak stands out the most. His bravery is greater than any other character in the book, having to face his fears and overcome them. He also saves a dying bear cub and unites two tribes to create peace. All the characters have their role and personality and create your pet peeves and character preferences.

In my opinion this story did not entertain me. My choice of book would’ve had more drama, violence and romance. I would recommend this book to younger audiences who aren’t into such a depth of detail for a book.

Ximena C., Year 8

June 9

‘Brotherband: The Outcasts’ by John Flanagan

brotherband-1-the-outcastsWelcome to the brotherband. They’re outcasts, but with ingenuity and courage on their side they might just surprise everyone. If you like the sound of that and you like ‘Rangers Apprentice’, ‘Brotherband’ is the book for you.

To become a warrior in Skandia you must go through brotherband training. When Hal Mikellson finds himself the leader of a brotherband he must use his brains to help them win. He must overcome bullies, be challenged and tested to the limit, undergoing team rivalries, all so that these unwilling teenagers can come out with the title of the winning brotherband. He meets a mentor, Thorn, who teaches him how to overcome mental challenges and physical challenges. The main characters in this book are Hal, Stig, Thorn and Tursgud.

I enjoyed the book ‘Brotherband’ because it was relevant in ways to today’s society. With the theme of overcoming mental challenges, it had a lot of action in warrior fighting and combat. I was glued to it because even in the less action-packed parts of the book, the author John Flanagan still made it interesting and the descriptive language made it easier to imagine the setting and the appearance of the characters which made it much more enjoyable. The ending was easy to understand and linked well with the next book in the Brotherband series “The Invaders”

I recommend this book to young teens and and adults between 12 and 25 who are interested in warriors and combat and enjoy tactics and action. This book is a very satisfying read. I’d rate the book 4 out of 5.

Thomas H., Year 8

November 24

‘The Wrong Boy’ by Suzy Zail

wrong boy“Being kissed by Karl Jager was devastating. And beautiful. War makes you do crazy things.”

Set amid the gruesome horror of the Auschwitz concentration camp in Poland, World War II, The Wrong Boy tells the story of a forbidden and secret love between a young Jewish girl, Hanna, and the German son of a Nazi commander, Karl.

Hanna Mendel is a very talented teenage pianist from Budapest, Hungary who dreamed of becoming a famous concert pianist. Being a Jew, she had been living in a ghetto until her family was rounded up and sent to the concentration camp. Her father was separated from them upon arrival, which caused her mother to become mentally ill. Her mother was later also taken away. Hanna’s sister became sick, refusing to eat the food. An opportunity arises for Hanna when she has the chance to play the piano for the camp commander. She jumps at the opportunity.

Whilst Hanna is playing for the commander, she meets his son, Karl. Initially she doesn’t like Karl however over time she realises he is not the person she initially thought he was. They develop feelings for each other against all odds.

I really enjoyed this book because it felt real. This story could have really happened and I felt sympathetic to the characters’ situations. The book was accurate in its historical accounts of World War II and living conditions in the concentration camps. Young adults of my age haven’t really read many books that are set in this era so it was educational as well as an entertaining read.

I would recommend this book to anybody young or old who enjoys a love story or story of times of war. It was an easy read and moved along at an easy pace.

Tasmin C., Year 9


The Wrong Boy by Suzy Zail is a story about a teenage girl named Hanna who lived in a poor town with her older sister Erika and their parents. During World War II the Nazis decided to displace all Budapest Jews from their homes and send them to another place called Auschwitz.

When Hanna, Erika and their mother were collected from their home, their father is also separated from them. A short while after, Hanna’s mother begins to go mentally insane and is taken away from Hannah and Erika, leaving both the girls to slowly starve to death, until Hanna receives an opportunity to become the commander’s pianist, which then helps to keep Hanna and Erika alive, as food is given to Hanna. As Erika is becoming more ill everyday, Hanna becomes more and more desperate to achieve her goal. When Hanna gets chosen to become the commander’s pianist she begins to gain extra food for her sister and herself until she begins to notice the commander’s son Karl.

Karl is a handsome boy who is completely unaware of anything around him including Hanna’s existence. Hanna is disgusted at Karl as she begins to think to herself that Karl is a lazy, good for nothing young boy who doesn’t care about the Jews his father is killing. Karl starts to notice Hanna as he sits and draws while Hannah plays the piano. As Hanna spends more time in the commander’s house she begins to notice more things, not only about the house but about Karl too. Before Hanna realises, she has fallen in love with the wrong boy.

I would recommend this book to young teenagers as it is a love story with historical events in it and would it relates to a younger audience.

I would rate this book a 4/5 stars as it is filled with detail and depth which is shown through the characters, story line and setting of the novel. This novel will leave you wanting to know more and more as you keep on reading, making it an exciting story.

Tahlia, Year 9


“Being kissed by Karl Jager was devastating. And beautiful. War makes you do crazy things.”

Hanna, a 15 year old talented pianist, lived in a small middle class ghetto with her mother, father and older sister, Erika. All of the Budapest Jews are collected and sent away to Auschwitz, separating Hanna, Erika and their mother from their father. The Nazis begin to strip the Jews of everything, causing their mother to go mentally ill to the state where they had to take her away from her daughters. With Hanna’s older sister, Erika, slowly starving to death, Hanna gets given the opportunity to audition to become the commander’s pianist to score some extra food to keep her sister alive. Hanna is more than desperate to be chosen, with her sister becoming more and more sick every day and the loss of both of her parents.

When she finally gets picked to play piano for the commander, Hannah is ordered to arrive at his headquarters to sit and wait quietly until he feels like listening to music. It was more than she expected, not in a good way either. She began to get extra food for herself and her sister secretly, and all seemed to finally become slightly bearable until Hanna begins to notice the commander’s son, Karl, living with his father. Karl is a handsome young boy who seems to be completely disinterested in Hanna’s existence and all of his surroundings. Hanna then develops a burning hatred for the boy who just sits there and does nothing. He does nothing to help, nothing to help the people that his father is killing. Karl just sketches on his expensive note pad with an expensive pen as he listens to Hanna cautiously playing on the piano.

The more time that Hanna spends in that house, the more things she notices. More secret things. Is Karl just more than just a pretty face? Is he more than what she thinks he is? Before Hanna knows it, she had fallen in love. Fallen in love with the wrong boy.

I recommend this book to teenagers aged 12+ since the moral and the wording of this story would be hard to understand and to relate to with a younger audience.

I’d rate the book a 4 out of 5 stars. It is a brilliantly worded piece. It has a lot of detail in the characters and the theme/setting of the book. It’s definitely one to draw you in and make you come back for more.

By Isabella N. Year 9

November 19

‘Loyal Creatures’ By Morris Gleitzman

loyal creaturesHave you ever wanted to hear a story about a boy who went to WW1 with the Light horse? Me too! Time to hop right into the report.

Frank Ballantyne is keen to join the Light Horse and do his bit in the war effort. So Frank fakes his age and volunteers with his horse Daisy … and his dad. In the deserts of Egypt and Palestine he experiences all the adventure he ever wanted to know about the exciting war, and a few things he wasn’t expecting. Sad moments, love and the chance to make the most important choice of his life. From being at Gallipoli to the famous charge at Beersheba, through to the end of the war and its unforgettable aftermath, Frank’s story tells a lot about WW1 and grows out of some key moments in Australia’s history.

The main character is called Frank who is a fifteen-year-old boy who had his mum pass away and has a crush on the girl who works at the pharmacy.

The other main character is named “Dad” and he is mostly known for not wanting for his son to go to war, and later on meeting up with his son in war.

He also has a horse named Daisy who goes to war with him. As the story develops, so does their friendship and their bond as a boy and his horse.

I enjoyed reading this book because of the emotional roller coaster that it takes you on while reading this book; they can make you feel a range of different emotions, which is why I found this book very enjoyable.

I would recommend this book to an age demographic of 12 and above because of its disturbing scenes when going to war. It is also a good read for anyone who fancies a book about true friendship and bonding.

-Robbie W, Year 9


November 13

‘Brotherband: The Outcasts’ by John Flanagan

BrotherbandImagine you and your friends are on a splintered ship sailing through the treacherous, rough and unforgiving seas. Well that is what Hal, a young Viking in training has to face in order to get his victorious title.

This amazing novel is only one of many of John Flanagan fictional quests and is certainly a thrill to the reader. It is filled with challenges, raids and extraordinary adventures that leave you in cliff hanging suspense. John Flanagan has started an extremely enjoyable series and his endless thought and amazing plot lines make this book impossible to overlook.

Life for Hal has never been great. He has had to grow up without a father figure to look up to, which is difficult when you live in a town best known for its warriors. He is also known as an outcast due to his heritage, a slur that will stay with him for the rest of his life. But Thorn, Hal’s best friend, slowly shakes him out of that thought and helps him become the leader and warrior he always wanted to be and, in the future, needed to be.

The cruel and harsh trial of the Brotherband training is the only way anyone in the town can become a fierce warrior. Teams are put head to head and try to survive the fierce environment that the Brotherband’s training has to offer. When the rules change and a third team is allowed to participate, Hal finds himself with the role of captain of the ship Heron and a crew of outcasts like himself who have barely even seen each other. It is up to Hal to show his team what the Brotherband training is really about and train them harder than they have ever trained before so as they can have even the slightest chance of winning.

This is an unbelievable novel and I have read nothing like it. In every corner you are given close calls and kept in cliff hanging suspense. John Flanagan’s amazing skills of writing thrilling adventure, action and fantasy novels have really excelled in this book especially. He sets the scene perfectly and with such attention to detail, so much so that it actually feels like you are in the action.

I highly recommend this book, especially to teenage boys looking for an amazing adventure. This is definitely one of John Flanagan’s best and he keeps you on the edge of your seat till the very end. I give this book a 5/5 as it kept me in the thrill and action of a real medieval Viking journey from beginning to end and is a fantastic start to a series that I am now looking forward to reading.

Caillin, Year 9


Are you a person who loves adventure books filled with challenges and fighting? Well Brotherband: the Outcasts is the book for you with many adventurous challenges involving navigation and battling. The story is set in the times of the Vikings on an island called Skandian where groups of boys are placed into bands where they must complete challenges for points.

Hal is the main character in the story who unwillingly finds himself the leader of the Herons whose guardian is his friend Thorn who was requested to protect Hal by Hal’s father when he died.

I liked the book because the book has interesting challenges and makes you not want to put the book down. This is also a good book because it had heaps of action to keep the book exciting and the book is easy to read and people can easily relate to some characters.

I would recommend this book to males aged between 12 and 17 who are interested in action-adventure books because teenagers can relate to some characters.

I would rate Outcasts a 4 out of 5 stars because it is an enjoyable book to read.

I personally don’t know why you haven’t read this book yet if you haven’t read it. You won’t regret it. It’s a ‘must read’ book.

Jack, Year 9

June 23

‘Ship kings: The Coming of the Whirlpool’ by Andrew McGahan

The coming of the whirlpool‘When he was a great mariner of his day and famous through out the Four Isles, he was to be known by many names. He would be called the last of the Ship Kings.’

The ‘Ship Kings’ is a book that takes place in the Four Isles in the past somewhere around the 18th century. It is set around a boy named Dow Amber who is a descendant of Honous Tombs. He goes to the Claw to fish and to learn more about the sea.

The book has very dramatic parts but it has time skips that usually skip boring stuff. Instead of having those time skips they should’ve added something more exciting like if he met someone new or he went somewhere. It would be way better than some time skips.

The book doesn’t tell much detail about the characters. It doesn’t tell some of the characters’ backstories or why they are even there. There could’ve been a little more improvements to the book but I still enjoyed the story. I recommend this book to both genders but mostly to boys who are 12 – 15 who enjoy a fantasy world in the past who loves a band of characters with different personalities and it’s for people who love the sea.

Andrew S., Year 8


Ship kings-the coming of the whirlpool is an exiting adventure novel that would be enjoyed by kids from 11-14. The book begins with Dow, an ordinary kid who works with his father as a logger in the wet forests of the New Island plateau, but this all changes when Dow first sets sight on the sea. As soon as he sees it, he knows that is where he belongs. The story takes its first twist when Dow decides to give up his life as a logger and leave his family behind to go to the Claw, a massive bay to the south of New Island.

Dow has many adventures working as a fisherman on the Claw, and meets a mysterious, bad tempered man called Nathaniel who teaches him the way of sailing. One day, a large fleet of ships come into the bay and docked in the main city of New Island, Dow hears of a mysterious device which allows the ship kings to navigate the sea, and also hears that this device has been lost to his people for centuries…

Ship Kings- coming of the whirlpool is a generally good book with decent plot twists and some exciting parts. But as with most books, there is room for improvement. Some parts of the book were slow and even slightly boring. Adding more content and/or action could fix this and make the book more enjoyable. Another problem is the explanation of characters. The book doesn’t give the reader much information about Dow and the other characters, leaving the reader clueless about some of the features of characters such as personality and appearance. This can be a real let-down as it is sometimes difficult to understand the characters’ thoughts and decisions.

Harvey D., Year 8


‘If you go to sea, you will come to the attention of the Ship Kings. If they discover who you are, they will kill you.’

Located on the small island of Yellow Bank is a young timber cutter with the name of Dow Amber. Dow Amber is an average teenage boy. He is the descendent of a powerful ship king. Dow realises he is to leave his loving family and to sail the unforgiving depths of the sea and travel to Stromner to further seek his future. But to do so he would need the help of an old, grumpy, lonely and drunken man who no longer enjoys his life because of his son and grandson’s passing after the tragic Maelstrom incident. While in Stromner, Dow encounters the Ship Kings. Dow is intrigued by their presence and fascinated by the vessels and crew members. But the worst is yet to come…

The reason why I enjoyed this book is because it is the story of a teenage boy who is an unsuspecting hero who moves to Stromner to seek his future. Dow realises that he’s not cut out to be what he’s meant to be. The story was engaging and appealing because of the way Andrew McGahan describes the adrenaline-packed scenes and the personalities of each and every character which made me want to read even more of the book. Whilst reading I could picture every scene in my head which made the book even more enjoyable. The story ended with drama, which made me want to read the rest of the series to see what else happens.

I recommended this book to 12-15 year old boys who enjoy the world of fantasy and adventure. This book is truly a must read. The rating I give this book is 4 out of 5 stars.

Liam B, Year 8

June 17

‘Dragonkeeper’ by Carole Wilkinson

dragon-keeper“He grabbed the old woman and shoved her in the direction of the food store. You go with her, rat-girl, he shouted.”

The novel Dragonkeeper is about a slave girl, a dragon and a mysterious stone. Ping, the main protagonist, finds herself in a village with an evil master, Master Lan. Master Lan makes her a slave to look after the dragons though Ping is not interested in feeding the dragons and usually takes their food for herself. After one of the dragons dies a cruel death, Ping realises she needs to look after the last dragon in the village. Ping and the dragon start to grow fond of each other and she finds a stone in the dragon’s pen. After Ping lets the dragon out of the pen, Ping gets in huge trouble. She needs to escape or she will be executed but then she realises that the stone means heaps to the dragon and it won’t leave without it. Ping and the dragon named Danzy escape with the stone on a big journey across the land to the sea.

The book is an unbelievably great fictional fantasy/adventure novel. It as an amazing story of Ping. The start of the book drags you into the story, which you cannot leave until you have read the whole book. The story leaves you in suspense making you want to read on and on. I cannot tell you enough how good this book is. Even without illustrations the book is so well worded that you can just imagine everything happening. This book has been extremely thought out. It leaves me wanting to read more of Carole Wilkinson’s books. I would recommend this book to everyone because every age and gender would love this book.

Max D. Year 8


“Dinner time,” she said. One dragon stirred. She could barely make out its shape. It lifted its snout to sniff the food, then turned its head away.’

Did this sentence sound interesting? This book is called the Dragonkeeper. It is a fantasy tale of a nameless slave girl and a dragon who travel through ancient China to reach the ocean, carrying a purple dragon stone with them and encountering many dangers on their strange quest, a journey of friendship and self discovery.

Danzi (the dragon) gives Ping her name and they escape together with Ping’s friend Hua who is a rat and they make their way out of palace of Huangling carrying the dragonstone towards the ocean. They face many trials, dangers and distractions along the way. Pursued by both Diao and The Necromancer on their journey, they overcome these evil men, and also meet The Emperor.

The protagonist Ping is brave, kind and courageous. I think Dragonkeeper is an amazing written book. Its vocabulary is very rich and full of descriptive language that helps build an image of the towns and villages of ancient China, where the story takes place. I recommend this book because it is a terrific book, and I want to share the joy it gave me. It is an exciting book and it is hard to put down, and it makes you want to read to the bitter end. I think that this book is well suited for people who like fantasy and fictional novels, I believe it is suitable for readers aged 10 and above because of the difficult vocabulary. And I rate this book 8/10 because I enjoy the way the characters act and have emotion and I enjoy the setting of the book.

Ethan P., Year 8


” A bamboo bowl flew through the air, aimed at the slave girl’s head.”

The book is set in the far western mountains of the Han Empire in ancient China, where an ageing dragon and a young slave girl named Ping are abused and neglected by the cruel Master Lan. Nameless and alone, the slave girl is without hope. Ping’s only friend is her pet rat, Hua. Long Danzi gave Ping a stone which he said to keep safe. After that Hua, Long Danzi and Ping escape the Palace. Master Lan is Ping’s master. He is a lazy and cruel man and he lies about himself being an Imperial Dragon Keeper. Ping is a slave girl who gets abused by Master Lan and has a friend called Long Danzi. Long Danzi is an ancient green dragon; the last wild imperial dragon in the Han Empire. He travels with Ping.

This is a good read for people who like fiction books because it is about a dragon and a slave girl Ping. Ping has to look after something that looks like a stone. I have enjoyed reading Dragonkeeper because I like fictional books with weird and amazing things and plot twists. I don’t like reading books but this book was a great book. I don’t read books but l liked this book. I just got stuck into this book like I do with caramel chocolate. This book is not like any other book I have read. This book was amazing. I definitely recommend this book to young adults or elderly between the ages of 13 to 25 and 60 and over. If you read the first paragraph you will want to keep reading it. I’d rate this book ‘Dragon keeper’ 7 out of 10.

Lachlan H., Year 8

November 20

The Outcasts (Brotherband 1), by John Flanagan

brotherband-1-the-outcastsIn medieval times in the mythical town of Skandia there was a group of boys who had a dream: the dream of being included into a BrotherBand. It is one of the highest honours in Skandia.

A BrotherBand is a group of boys who get selected in a team, and train for three months, learning to use weapons and sail a boat. Only one BrotherBand can win the race. The points are totalled up to see, which team wins.  Hals’ BrotherBand is named the “Herons.”  The first activity is to see who can build the best shelter to live in.  If they win the most points they win Skandia’s most valuable treasure.  Hal is an inventor who has designed the Herons’ boat.  They named it the Heron after their team.  He has a revolutionary new idea for the sails. If Hal’s idea works they are certain to win.  Hal is the leader of the BrotherBand, the ‘Herons’, so he drives the boat and coordinates his crew.  He tells them when to row. Hal’s best mate is Thorn. He is a Maktig, which is the champion fighter of the year.  Thorn has been the Maktig for three years in a row when he was in his prime time.  He was like a father figure to Hal.

I liked this book because of its adventurous outlook and the main idea of the book.  If it wasn’t about sailing and adventuring around the sea it wouldn’t be the book for me.  I recommend this book is for 11 to 15 year old boys who are interested in adventure and enjoy being outdoors, otherwise this is not the book for you.  This truly is the book for you, I’d rate this book ‘BotherBand The Outcasts’ 4 out of 5.

Josh, Year 9


John Flanagan, the author of the worldwide best selling series, Rangers’ Apprentice, has made a return to writing with a new fictional series, Brotherband. Flanagan has taken all of the best components, elements and interesting qualities from Rangers Apprentice and has incorporated and further developed them, to create a remarkable, stunning and truly breathtaking read.

Be prepared to sink into Flanagan’s fictional getaway, which is filled with pirate raids, challenges, and prodigious adventures that make you hold your breath. John Flanagan’s creativity and ability to explain his virtual world really has shown in this new, innovative series.

Hal is the main protagonist in the Brotherband series, whose heritage makes him an outcast among the popular boys in town. Hal faces the daily struggle of a young boy. He and his mother have enlisted the help of the old drunk, Thorn, to guide Hal and train him in the ways of a manly Skandian warrior. At the age of 16, Hal will begin Brotherband training, but without knowledge of the world, strength to defend himself and any real friends to rely on, he’s worried that he’ll be seen as an outcast for the rest of his life.

But things take a turn for the better when the selectors announce Hal as a Brotherband leader. However, the only boys left unselected by the other two Brotherbands are a group of witty, quiet, and relatively unknown boys from the town. Hal needs to give his team a real sample of what Brotherband training is going to be about, and needs to form bonds and become closer with his group if they want to even stand a chance of winning.

This story is a combination of adventure, action, fantasy and cliff-hangers that are found in every corner of the book. It was very entertaining and I felt engaged with the feeling of suspense, mystery, and the authors practicality, his attention to detail and his inventive technique that isn’t seen by many other writers. The book gave me a sense of realism, and provided an insight as to what it would have been like to live in a seaside town full of mighty warriors. Flanagan’s style of writing keeps you on the edge of your seat waiting to find out what will happen next.

I recommend this book to people who enjoy adventure, seamanship, and those who take interest in seaside affairs and are aged between 11-14. The book is very well written and the author definitely hasn’t cut any corners with his detailed style of writing. I’d rate this book a 4/5 stars as it kept me deeply interested and entertained and made me want to keep reading.
 – Owen, Year 9

November 20

‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne

boy in striped pyjamasMeet Bruno, a young nine-year-old boy from Berlin. His father is a very important individual of ‘The Fury’ (Adolf Hitler). When the family moves closer to their father’s job, Bruno’s life takes a huge twist forcing Bruno to find new friends. The main characters in the book are Bruno and Schmuel. Bruno is the son of a Fury commander who is moving from Berlin closer to the concentration camps. Schmuel is the young Jewish boy who has been placed in the concentration camp with his father. When these two boys meet by the dividing fence their friendship takes off putting both their lives in great danger. The story follows the two boys as they become unlikely friends and try to help each other through tough situations life throws at them.

I really enjoyed this book, “The Boy In The Striped Pajamas” because it gives the reader a good understanding of what life was like in World War II and also has a beautiful storyline with an interesting view on life in that era. I was engaged throughout the book with clever use of dialogue and a great verbal description of the events taking place. The book was full of twists and turns and the ending was the perfect eye opener to what times were like through war. I recommend this book to anyone who loves a beautiful book and is mature enough to understand the history behind the novel. This book is honestly a fantastic book and is one of the best books I have ever read.

Tate B, Year 9


The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a story with the unlikeliest friendships between Bruno and Shmuel. Written by John Boyne and published in 2006, this is a top selling book.

Bruno, only nine years old ,is a boy living in Berlin when his family has to move closer to their father’s job. Bruno’s life changes in a blink of a an eye and takes a twist when he meets up with another young boy by the name of Schmuel dressed in striped pyjamas and they are divided by a fence. These two boys, Bruno and Schmuel, are the main characters. Bruno’s dad was a Nazi commander and he moved closer to the concentration camps, where Schmuel was living with his father. When Bruno and Schmuel became friends this put both of their lives in serious danger.  The novel is about difficult situations these boys face and then overcome each other’s challenges.

This book is great because you have an understanding what it was like in World War II. Boy in the striped pyjamas has a good storyline throughout which I really enjoyed. It would be really enjoyable to read for all ages, the young and old. I was engaged with the thrill and adventure. Also the use of words the writer put in was very catching, with some parts boring and others parts with a lot of twist and turns. This book made me read to the end and I really enjoyed every page. I would recommend this book to those 12 years old and older as it has a more serious side. This book was great to read. I had a lot of fun reading it and I hope you enjoy it as much as I did. I would rate this 3 out of 5 stars.

By Josh, Year 9


Would you change your view on a person just because of the colour of their skin or their beliefs?

The novel ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas” by John Boyne kicks off in the mist of WWII and begins with a 9 year old German boy named Bruno who comes home to find his maid packing his things because his family is moving from their luxurious house to a ‘smaller’ one. Bruno’s father’s job is very demanding as he is a commandant in ‘the Fury’s’ ranks.

Having grown up in the war, Bruno has been brainwashed into thinking that Germany is the master race and that they can do anything without consequence. While exploring the new house, Bruno discovers a large barbed fence and find huts of people in striped pyjamas. What he doesn’t know is that this is a concentration camp for the Jews that the Fury has taken as prisoners.

Along the way Bruno meets many interesting characters such as Shmuel, a little Jewish boy that he met while exploring along the fence. Shmuel is bruised and very skinny and Bruno is clueless and doesn’t know what he goes through on the other side of the fence.

This novel was an interesting read and showed there is no limit to how cruel humans can be. I recommend this novel for young adults and up from the ages of 14 to 40 as this novel is very mature and is not for the young. This book is for those who enjoy fable or history novels, as it may not be true but focuses on a real event in history and teaches a true lesson about racial discrimination. This novel was an interesting read but it wasn’t the greatest as it takes a long time to get interesting. The ending was very sad and left a large impact and changed my perspective on mankind. I’d rate this novel ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’ 2 out of 5 stars.

Harry, Year 9


No human race is superior; no religious faith is inferior. All collective judgments are wrong. Only racists make them.” Elie Wiesel, a holocaust survivor

The boy in the Striped Pyjamas is a 2006 novel by John Boyne. It is a gripping and touching fable based on a very sad fictional event that we know now as the Holocaust. It is viewed through the eyes of a young boy named Bruno, the son of a Nazi commandant who has formed a very odd friendship with Shmuel, a Jewish boy captured by Nazi soldiers. By focusing on Bruno’s innocent and confused idea of his Father’s job it gives a whole new perspective on how the everyday Germans experienced this event. The tragic but exciting journey that they partake provides resourceful insights on the consequences of WW2.

Bruno, a ten-year-old German boy ,lives in a five-storey house with his mother, father and his older sister, Gretel. His father’s job is “very important” which requires their family to leave the life they have in Berlin. Not long after, they manage to find themselves at a place called “Out With”. Here Bruno finds a very dull looking house with soldiers patrolling everywhere and nothing for him to do. However, from Bruno’s bedroom window he manages to spot, what seems to look like a town, where everyone is wearing blue and white striped pyjamas. Soon after Bruno’s discovery his curiosity and boredom got the best of him, so he decided to go investigate this “town”. He followed the wired fence, which surrounded the area where the people lived. To Bruno’s excitement he saw a figure in the distance that turned out to be a Jewish boy named Shmuel. These two boys manage to form an unbreakable friendship that unfortunately ends in tragedy.

I quite enjoyed reading this book as I like reading novels relating to real life events but this story isn’t suitable for everyone. The story has very serious themes and will require some maturity to fully understand the devastation of war. In saying this, I would recommend the book to anyone aged 13 and above who enjoys reading fictional novels. I believe this age group will have the maturity required to fully understand and appreciate the story. The novel, “The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas” is a gripping and touching fable. I felt that it did have a very slow beginning and quite a sad ending. Therefore, I would rate these book 3 out of 5 stars.

Kye, Year 9


Irish writer John Boyne’s fourth novel, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas,’ is a fictional and touching story about an odd friendship between two boys in awful circumstances and a reminder of man’s capacity for inhumanity. Bruno is a nine-year-old boy growing up in Berlin during World War II. He and his family move from their comfortable home in Berlin to a house in a deserted area where there is nothing to do. When Bruno gets to their new home he is immediately homesick after leaving his school, his three best friends, his house, and his grandparents. His new home is smaller, full of soldiers and there is no one to play with, however, from his bedroom window he notices a town of people dressed in striped pajamas separated from him by a wire fence. He spots a dot in the distance and as he gets closer, he sees it’s a boy. Thrilled by the possibility of a friend, Bruno introduces himself and the boy also introduces himself. He is a Jewish boy named Shmuel who lives a strange but similar life on the other side of the connecting wire fence who, like the other people there, wears a uniform of striped pajamas. Bruno’s friendship with Shmuel grows stronger over time and they become very close. Almost every day, they meet at the same spot and talk. Eventually, for a variety of reasons, Bruno decides to climb under the fence and explore Shmuel’s world.

The storyline is very intriguing and dramatic, which makes the novel more interesting to read. Although the main character is only 9 years old, I recommend this book to older teens and adults who are interested in dramatic novels. This book is truly a great read. I’d rate the book, ‘The Boy in the Striped Pajamas’ 5 out of 5 stars as the storyline is intense and intriguing.

Grace, Year 9

November 19

‘Crispin, the cross of lead’ by Avi

Crispin_and_the_Cross_of_LeadCrispin is a story about a boy who is a slave, and is living in poverty. This book is set in the 1300s, in medieval England. Crispin was accused of a crime that he didn’t commit: killing his mother. Crispin was forced to run away from his village, taking with him his mother’s cross of lead.

John Aclyffe is the villain of this book, and he is also the one who blamed Crispin for the murder of Asta, Crispin’s mother.  During this getaway from his village, Crispin strives to discover more about his mother and himself, as he doesn’t know much about himself due to his mothers death. People then started hunting him, and Crispin was given the title of the ‘Wolf’s Head’, meaning that anyone who found him could kill him.

This book involves a lot of mystery and action. I would recommend this book to be for ages above 12, and throughout the teenage years, stopping at 18. This book has lots of crazy things that you wouldn’t expect; I was so engaged in the book because after every chapter I read, curiosity just kept me reading.

Some of the main characters include Crispin, Asta who is the mother of Crispin and John Aclyffe, who is the steward of the manor of Stormford. This novel has a very slow start, yet it picks up a very nice pace throughout the book as you read on. This is such an exciting book that I would advise many people within the recommended age range to pick up this book and give it a read. Once reading to the point Crispin starts his wild adventure, there is just no stopping yourself from putting down this novel, as the adventure Crispin goes on is the best part of this book.

Braden G.

November 26

‘The Raging Quiet’ by Sherryl Jordan

Raging quiet      Is it that we judge people too much on their looks and not what’s inside? We make assumptions about people based on what they look like without getting to know who they really are. Raver has had to deal with this his whole life.

      The Raging Quiet is a novel by Sherryl Jordan, which takes place in medieval times. It tells the story of a 15 year old girl, Marnie, who is forced to marry a 50 year old man in order to let her family keep their house and farm. Traveling to their new home in a seaside village near the town of Torcurra, she encounters a boy her age whohad been whipped. The young boy Raver is known as the madman of the village; a boy possessed by demons. Pretty soon Marnie and Raver become close friends. The story then follows the difficulty of this friendship, the villagers accusing Marnie of being a witch because she can communicate with Raver.

       I rate this book a four out of five because the characters are loveable, it has a nice setting and the plot is very interesting. What I’ve enjoyed about the book is the plot and the characters. I like how in the first few pages you can tell what the plot includes and the characters’ personalities. This book is suited to readers who like medieval dramas and friendship or romance stories. It is suited to both boys and girls thirteen and over. I like how Marnie is a stubborn but kindhearted, generous girl, who doesn’t judge people by their looks and Raver is a boy who deep down is a sweet gentle soul who just wants to be accepted.

       Eden, Year 9

June 11

‘Brotherband: The Outcasts’ by John Flanagan

brotherband-1-the-outcasts     Daring moves, amazing battles, fierce Vikings!

     If you like all these things than this is the book for you. I especially liked this book. It is the real medieval battles that would have taken place long ago.

     The book starts with two brave Vikings. One dies and the story progresses with his child the other Viking losing his arm but still raising his friend`s child to be as great as his father. His son Hal has a creative mind and has designed his very own ship for Brother Band. Brother Band is where young Vikings go to learn how to sail, raid, use weapons and detect ambushes.

     There is only one little problem. Hal can`t enter because he does not have enough friends to assemble a crew. He does not have many friends at all, well only one friend in fact. How will Hal be able to assemble a crew without friends? Without a crew he will not be able to sail around the world discovering new places or ever being as great as his father.

    This is great book for 10-14 year olds because it discusses peer pressure and also allows you to realise you don`t need many friends to be happy, you just need good ones and that is really all that matters in life – having good friends that will always be there for you

I rate it**** stars because it is a little slow to start off because the Viking that lived turned into a mean homeless piece of junk, until Hal’s mother gets him off his feet and makes him a better sober man. After that he ends up being the handy man of the house, getting through life with only one hand but that hand becomes very strong and that might help Hal out later on.

Rohan, Year 8


Hal, an inventor like no other, experiences the dusk and dawn of Skandia battle training. Hal is joined by fellow outcasts to win. The test to strength and teamwork was at hand for a bunch of outcasts. Could Hal and Stig lead their team to victory? Find out in the amazing book: ‘BrotherBand: the Outcasts’.


The book ‘BrotherBand’ is set in the country of Skandia, known to be a not so populated country, but it is well known for battle and boats. Hal, a young adult, is being bullied as he is an outcast. An old warrior by the name of Thorn has helped Hal and his mates to train. The story is about the lives of outcasts who have to use teamship and tactics, as they are to be the future warriors. The main characters in the story are Hal and Stig. They are only young adult outcasts, fighting for their team. Hal had created a new and fast boat, as Hal is known to be an amazing inventor.


The amazing author John Flanagan, who is also known for an international bestselling series ‘Rangers Apprentice’, produced the book ‘BrotherBand: The Outcasts’. I personally enjoy the book, as I would rate it a three and a half out of five. The parts I appreciate the most would be when they battle against the others. Another few moments would be when Hal is creating a new invention. I would recommend this book to readers from the ages of nine to fourteen who are interested in medieval Vikings and battle tactics. I would also recommend it to people who enjoy a story of medieval battle. The only slight disappointment was that the start slightly drifted away from the story itself and it was slow until the action and crafting of Hal.

Jordan, Year 8


     Imagine you’re 16 and you’re about to face life or death situations. Welcome to Hallasholm in Skandia where there is only one way to become a feared warrior. When boys turn 16 they are put into brotherband training, which is three months of grueling challenges, fitness and warrior training, where you need important teamwork, leadership and extreme strength.

     The main character in this book is Hal. He and his best friend Stig are both outcasts. It’s time to pick the brotherbands.  Names are called and people are walking to their new brotherbands. But Hal and Stig aren’t chosen along with six other boys. Sigurd makes these outcasts a brotherband. Hal is elected skirl and knows he is about face an even tougher three months. In these three months the three brotherbands will face challenges like grueling fitness, extreme battle training, challenging seamanship and stealth in night raiding. Will they be able to overcome these impossible challenges and win brotherband?

     I really enjoyed this book because of the way John Flanagan wrote it, the way you couldn’t stop reading it. There was climaxes in many parts of the book. The start of the book was very slow but when it reached the middle of the book it was great, and action filled. The ending was great, left on a cliff hanger. I will definitely read the rest of the series.

     I would recommend this book to 12-16 year olds who are interested in vikings and seamanship. This was a complicated book at times so the younger kids wouldn’t be able to read it. I would rate this book a 4 out of 5 because of its slow start. This book was a great read it had many climaxes and many action filled parts.

Mitchell, Year 8


The Ranger’s Apprentice series were thrilling, mysterious reads – and all were excellent books. But John Flanagan’s new series, Brotherband, has taken all of the best traits, qualities and elements out of Ranger’s Apprentice and merged them together to create a stunning new accompanying series that dwells in the depths of the dark side in the unknown world he created.

Welcome to the Hallasholm, in the fictional country of Skandia. This book is filled to the brim with daunting pirate ships, dangerous adventures, and challenges that push the characters to their very limits! John Flanagan really has shown us his imagination and creativity in this novel!

Hallasholm is a seaside town, where the mountains meet the sea, and the sea meets the forest. The streets of Hallasholm are filled with local breweries, merchants, townhouses, eateries, and boat docks and shipyards. Hallasholm is the ideal place for Brotherband training, where young knights challenge themselves to become fighting warriors!

When Hal reaches the age of 16 and begins brotherband training he’s a little worried because he has no other real friends in life except for Stig. So when head counting commences, the trainers start to realize that there are too many boys for only two brotherbands. Hal is a little shocked when a sudden change in the rules allows for another Brotherband, full of other outcasts just like himself who are complete strangers to each other; and Hal is voted in as their leader. No one is serious about this training, but the instructors give them a real sample of what brotherband training is all about. Hard work, discipline, seamanship, good sportsmanship and fitness challenges are all that the boys have in store for them for the next three months and Hal isn’t even sure what to do with his team yet!

Will the other Brotherband members ever unite and work as a team? And will Hals team ever prevail when they have to compete against the other competent and dominant Brotherbands?

The story is a mix of fantasy, adventure, action, and challenges with surprises found around every corner on EVERY page. I was entertained by the feeling of suspense, mystery and the author’s practical, detailed and inventive writing technique. It provided me with a sense of realism but at the same time it took me away to a whole new and unfamiliar world that was completely different to the one we know now. The author’s writing style keeps you on the edge of your seat, making you want to know what’s going to happen straight away.

I recommend this book to people that are aged between 12-16. This is book is VERY well written by a great author and is very descriptive but can be a little confusing at times with the storyline. I’d rate this book 8/10 stars as it is truly a great read!

Owen, Year 8

June 6

‘Once’ by Morris Gleitzman

once     Meet Felix. He’s a Jewish boy who escaped from an orphanage during WW2 to find his parents. Are you the type of person that desperately wants a book that is action packed and is so interesting that even if you were starving and about to have pizza for dinner you would rather read this book? If so, then “Once” is the best book for you.

      A boy named Felix is living in an orphanage in the mountains hiding from the Nazis. He receives a carrot in his bowl of soup and that meant that his parents are coming back to get him. He set off on a dangerous quest to find his parents. He had traveled day and night trying to keep himself away from Nazi trucks and patrol units. He saved a girl named Zelda in a house fire and they set off to the city. He then grouped up with a group of other Jewish kids. They were forced on a train to be taken to the countryside and be killed. Felix and Zelda jumped out of the train and escaped. They then started a new life in the countryside.

     I really found this book interesting and enjoyable. Some of the books that I have read never have new events occurring in the storyline. It is just the same throughout the whole book, but this book had so much action, always something new happening and a very catchy storyline. I could not put the book down. I felt like I was paralyzed and I just had to keep reading the book. I was really impressed with the descriptive language that Morris Gleitzman used to write this book. The scenes just kept popping up in my head. The main characters in the book were Felix and Zelda. The book was so enjoyable to read that I have decided to read some other books by Morris Gleitzman.

I recommend this book to teenagers, between the ages of 13 to 20 who are interested in a true and adventurous book. This book is truly satisfying and is a great read. I would rate this book 5 stars.

Mak B., Year 8


     Felix was just an ordinary boy that lived in an orphanage until he found an entire carrot in his soup and now he is a young boy running for his life from the Nazis.

     If you are interested in suspenseful action books that will grab your attention at any moment, books inspired by real events like the Holocaust then “Once” is just the book for you!


When Felix gets a whole carrot in his soup at the orphanage he thinks it is a sign from his parents that they are coming to get him out of the orphanage. After days of waiting and disappointment he packs his things and leaves to go and find his parents but a lot has happened while he has been in the orphanage and there are many dangers.


     Throughout Felix’s adventure to find his parents, he finds some companions to help him on his way to find his parents. These people include Zelda, Chaya, Barny and some other friends he finds on his way. This story is set in the time period of World War II when Adolf Hitler was the most powerful and feared man of that time. It was during the time when Hitler was killing or destroying anything Jewish. The two main characters in this book are both very courageous but have different traits. Felix is a young boy who is nervous at times but is good at making decisions and Zelda is a girl who is very courageous and much like Felix.


I would recommend this book for kids around the age of 13-16 because it is a very good book but is short and easy to read. I would rate the book “Once” by Morris Gleitzman 4 out of 5 stars because of its good story but it’s a little short. Seth M. Year 8


‘Once I was living in an orphanage in the mountains and I shouldn’t have been and I almost cause a riot…it was because of the carrot…”

     Does this sound like the crazy and interesting book that you might want to read yourself? Then the book “Once” is the book for you

     The story is set in 1942 when Adolf Hitler was holding reign across the country, Felix is a nice, and wondrous young boy looking for adventure and his parents, The life for Felix is nothing but wondering where his parents are. All his life he has dreamed about his mum and dad being with him but now he has to make that dream come true. This journey is full of adventure

     I enjoyed the book “Once” a lot because I thought the story gave us a very good idea of what real life was like for an orphan boy in 1942 when Adolf Hitler ruled, and It summed up how any orphan would feel knowing that their mum and or dad may still be alive and maybe even looking for them as well. I was glued to the story as soon as I started reading it because I thought that the book was quirky and a bit unusual, just like me, so I enjoyed reading the funny parts of the book, the serious parts and even the sad parts, and I have enjoyed the little adventures along the way to finding Felix’s parents.

      I would recommend the book “Once” by Morris Gleitzman to kids of around 10 to 12 years of age and of any gender, boy or girl. I think the boys and the girls all over the world who are funny, crazy, and quirky and sometimes a bit weird would love this serious, funny, and also sad book. This novel is great for the whole family.

     I would rate this book probably a 7 out of 10 stars.

-Ryan C, Year 8


     A little Jewish boy called Felix, who has lived in an orphanage for three years and eight months, escapes the orphanage and risks his life to try and find his parents. Felix was no ordinary boy. He lived in an orphanage but Felix’s parents weren’t dead. They were still alive. So one morning while everyone was eating breakfast he escaped from the orphanage to try and find his parents but for that to happen he would have to risk his own life.

      On the way, Felix has risks that he has to take to get to the city where his parents are. On the way to the city Felix sees some smoke in the distance so he runs over and tries to see if anyone was in there. When he got there he saw a man and a woman next to some dead chickens with bullet holes in them and after Felix rolled across the lawn to get the fire off his clothes, his face was next to a little girl that was laying on her side. When he moves the little girl he finds a big bruise on her forehead. Then Felix hears a loud noise in the distance and he looked down the road and it was two black cars. Felix quickly grabs the little girl and carries her through the smoke towards the fence. As Felix tried to get to the cabbage patch he burns his arm on the hot wire but he pushed through the pain and got the poor little girl hidden safely in the cabbages. Once the cars have driven past Felix tried to ask what her name was but no response. He tried to carry the little girl to safety but he couldn’t carry her for much longer. His body was in pain then in the distance he saw a haystack. Then when Felix wrapped her in the haystack she said, “ Where’s my Mummy and Daddy?” Felix tried to keep the little girl quiet so the Nazi officers wouldn’t hear her.

     I recommend this book for kids and teens around the ages of 8-14. If you are interested in thrillers, crave adventure and like Morris Gleitzman books you would love this book and I would rate this book a 4/5.

 Kamii M, Year 8


Once is an intense and heart-racing book that really works with your emotions, in a good way. Morris Gleitzman, the book’s author, really connected with me when I was reading it. He used the best emotive language I have ever seen. Once is the best book I have ever read!

The book is based around the life of a 10 year old Jewish boy living in a Catholic orphanage where his parents sent him while ‘they got their struggling business back up and running’. They lie to him. They are really hiding him from the advancing German Army. He escapes the orphanage and goes on a wild quest to find his parents, who have disappeared from town. On the way he finds a friend who will help guide him along this crazy path.

I won’t say anymore because I don’t want to spoil the book but the end is intense.  Felix’s world will change forever. Once is the book, I would recommend to any level of reader.

Lachlan, Year 8


June 5

‘Brind and the Dogs of War’ by John Russell

BrindImagine having to live with dogs, sleep with them, eat with them, bath with them. Who would do such a thing?

That’s what Brind, an orphan boy, has to do. But he doesn’t mind, he actually likes it. The dogs are like family to him. He would do anything for them. War starts and soldiers take him and the dogs to fight in the war and his life is thrown into chaos. The dogs are used to strike fear into the enemy and tear through small infantry. Brind’s job is to train the dogs and get them ready for battle as well as looking after them and making sure they stay alive. Brind doesn’t fit into the army and is shocked by the horrors and the destruction of war. Soon he finds friends along the lines of infantry and the people that are affected badly by the war. Brind and his friends must survive amongst the ranks of the army and deal with rogue soldiers, mad villagers and prisoners of war. Can Brind and the dogs make it through the war?

I would rate this book a 2 out of 5 stars only because it had a good storyline but it wasn’t executed well. Most of the book was a bit boring and dull. It didn’t have much emotion in it. I didn’t feel excited, happy or sad when I thought I should be. It had some good war and battle scenes but that was it. I really thought this book could have been a good war/adventure book because it had a good layout of the war and had good information about the war. It had so much more potential than to be a boring read. I suggest you still give it a try if you like a normal adventure book but if you are a hardcore reader who likes thick books with juicy storylines then this isn’t the book for you.

Joseph, Year 8

November 1

‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne

It was a time of change. It was time of anarchy, a time of war…

Nine year-old Bruno’s life changed the day he came home from school to find his maid packing his belongings into boxes, even the things he’d hidden at the back of his wardrobe that belonged to him and were nobody else’s business. Little did Bruno know that within those boxes were the remains of his life in Berlin. Bruno and his family have been required by the all powerful ‘Fury’ to leave their home, their friends and their life and move to a miserable place, where there are no other kids to play with and no secret crevices in their house to explore, to ‘Out-With’. But there is something going on at ‘Out-With’ that Bruno doesn’t know about. Why is there a fence? Who are those people in the striped pyjamas on the other side? What are they doing there? These are all questions that Bruno is faced with and one day he decides to explore and find out.

I really enjoyed this book ‘The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas’ because it is a story that captivates your mind and keeps you guessing what is going to happen next. John Boyne’s writing technique and use of words takes you back in time and makes you feel like you are experiencing life in that period of time and puts you in the shoes of the people who lived back then.

I recommend this book to young teens of any gender between the ages of 11 and 15 who are interested in exciting and suspenseful novels. This book is truly a great book and I think everyone should give it a read. I rate the book ‘The Boy in Striped Pyjamas’ 3 out of 5 stars. Ciara, Year 9.


The Boy In the Striped Pyjamas’ by John Boyne

Powerful, interesting, brutal and depressing are just some of the words that describe how this book impacted on me and I believe it is due to this mix of emotions which makes the reader so intrigued to read on.

The story is set in Berlin, Germany where the five characters live happily as a family.  The main character the book is centred on, Bruno, is a nine year old boy.  He has an older sister Gretel who Bruno thinks is a hopeless case, a Father who is one of the main Generals of the Nazi Army, his Mother and also the Housemaid who was brought into the family by the Father when she was three years old.

The story starts with Bruno arriving home from school one day to see his belongings packed away in large suitcases.  He later finds out he has to move to another location away from Berlin with his family, leaving his friends and school behind.   After arriving at his new destination he soon realises that it is quite remote and dull with no other children to play with.  Bruno spends many days before attending school looking out the window near his bedroom and watching the groups of children behind the barbed wire fence wondering who they were, what they were doing and whey they looked so miserable.

Then one day after living at his new house for a little while, he met one of the boys who was encaged behind the fence named Shmuel.  Shmuel was small, skinny, very pale and had a shaved head, and after meeting him, Bruno would visit him every day after school.  His new friend who would be sitting cross-legged waiting for him and they would then talk for ages about the past and present.  Over time he grew rather fond of staying at his new house mostly because of his new friend Shmuel, but he was happy in the end.

To his disappointment, he found out that in a couple of days they were going to move, so Bruno organised to go over to the other side of the fence with Schmuel to play with him and to try and find his missing Papa.  Not all goes well.

I liked this book because of its storyline. I was interested in what things were like back in those days, and the concepts of how life was.  I would recommend this book to teenagers and adults. Although it is an easy read, it takes a bit of knowledge to understand exactly what is going on.  I would highly recommend this book nevertheless.

Denny, Year 9

October 30

‘Across the Nightingale Floor’ by Lian Hearn

“When illusions are shattered by truth, talent is set free”

Across the Nightingale Floor, Lian Hearn.

 This book is extravagantly beautiful, expressing the horrific and wonderful behaviour and emotions of humans in situations of bloodshed, internal wars of higher power, and love. Based loosely in Ancient Japanese times, Takeo used to be just a simple farm boy from the secret religion of the Hidden, but everything changed when a powerful Lord Iida burnt his village to the ground along with his family. Rescued by a Lord from an opposing clan named Shigeru, Takeo embarks on a marvellous journey of friendship, love and the fiery path of revenge as he soon finds that he is not a normal boy like he thought. Lian Hearn leads the reader into a whole different world, expressing the wonders and horrors of the human race and magnificently places a forbidden love right in the middle of it.

I recommend this book to teens and young adults between the ages of 12 and 20 who are interested in ancient times, loosely Ancient Japanese times. With its thrill and suspense, with many shocking twists and turns, this book is truly worth reading. I rate it 4 out of 5 stars.

Bridey, Year 9.


‘Across The Nightingale Floor’ is a great read for teenagers that are interested in action, adventure, romance and thrill. Its backstory is that of a boy named Tomasu who liked to wander off into the mountains of Japan. He lived in an isolated village away from other little villages and him and his family were safe. One day he wandered off into the mountains and when he came back he saw his whole little village burnt down to the ground. When he runs away and Lord Shigeru Otori finds him. Lord Otori takes him back to the Otori palace where Otori’s friend trains him to be an assassin to kill the man who burned down his village. It is a great book with an awesome storyline. Good read. Connor, Year 9


Across the Nightingale Floor by Lian Hearn is a fantastic book. It is a great read for people who enjoy action, adventure, thrill and a little romance.

The book in the beginning is set in the hills of ancient Japan. A young boy named Tomasu is the only survivor of an attack on his village. Everyone is killed and the buildings are burnt down. Tomasu runs away from the people that burnt his village and is saved from pursuers by Lord Shigeru Otori. They travel together to the home of Lord Otori. Lord Otori adopted him there into his family. Tomasu is given the name Teako so people do not know him. As the story continues Teako learns the ways of an assassin so he can kill the person that burnt his village.

This is a great story for people to sit down and read for a long time. You get absorbed into the story so you don’t want to put the book down. Stephen, Year 9

May 2

‘Brind And The Dogs Of War’ By John Russell

Brind and the dogs of war is about a young boy called Brind who was found in Sir Edmund’s stable and raised with his dogs. Brind can speak to the forty female and forty male dogs and especially to the pack leader Glaive. When Sir Edmund goes to war he takes Brind, the dogs and his evil huntsman, Tullo, to France to fight for his king against the enemy French. In amongst the battle, with Glaive lost, what will be the out come? Will Brind, Sir Edmund and Glaive die or will fate be on their side?

I loved this book and I recommend this book to be read by both male and females who like history, war and adventure type novels. This book would be best suited between the ages of 12-17 as it is based in the time period of the war when England was fighting France.

The main characters in this book are: Brind the dog boy, Glaive the leader of the pack of dogs, Sir Edmund, Tullo and Aurelie. This book is an excellent read for the entire family.

Matthew, Year 8


‘Brind And The Dogs Of War’ By Christopher Russell.

“Wake up, boy. You’re going to war.”

Brind and the Dogs of War is set in a medieval era. Brind is the main character, and he was raised by dogs. He prefers to be around dogs. He can also communicate with them. Aurelie is also one of the most exiting characters. Sir Edmund is also one of the main characters. He owns the dogs, and this also one of the only people who cares for Brind.

I liked this book a lot. I personally thought it was quite different from many other books I have read, in a good way! I’ve always wondered what it was like to live in the past, and run with dogs, and just be free really. It gave me all of those feelings, combined in one book. It was also extremely thrilling. Even though I’m not one for thrills, I still enjoyed those parts. I think war is interesting, and would be a good book for anyone who thinks the same as me. If you like dogs, or ever wonder what it would be like to be able to communicate with dogs, or canines in general, this book might just be for you.

This book wouldn’t be good for children aged 9 or so, as it has some very difficult words and scenes that may be hard to understand, and it’s more suited for boys, who have a taste for adventure. But, that doesn’t mean girls can’t read it!

By Heather, Year 8.


Brind and the Dogs of War By Christopher Russel

Brind and the Dogs of War is about a boy by the name of Brind who was found as a baby with a litter of hounds by an awful man named Tullo. Brind works for Tullo and a knight called Sir Edmund in the medieval era. Brind is more dog than human, he understands dogs, he speaks to dogs and most importantly, he leads them.

While in the midst of a bloody battle against the French and the English one of Brind’s dogs, Glaive runs away through the charging French enemy and into the dark forest. Brind follows Glaive’s scent getting badly hurt and is close to death. Brind searches high and low for his missing hound, when suddenly he meets a ten year old French girl by the name of Aurelie. From this point in the story their adventure continues.

I would recommend this book for both boys and girls ten to sixteen who like war, adventure and history.

This book is one of the best books I’ve read I would rate it four stars for its great characters, brilliant plot and its fantastic setting. I could not put this book down and I’m sure you won’t to. Eden, Year 8

May 1

‘Dragon Keeper’ by Carole Wilkinson

I’m not the person who will just read any book I get given as I am a very fussy reader but Dragon Keeper is one of the very first books that I have read even though I didn’t select it out myself.

This book is targeted at young teenage girls who enjoy fantasy books such as ‘Harry Potter’. The reason this is suitable is because it gives us fantastic life lessons such as putting others first as well as being interesting. Honestly I would not recommend this book to impatient readers as at times the story can be slow but when the action is happening the novel does become very thrill seeking. This book follows a girl who, as an everyday job must feed dragons and, when one saves her life she runs away with it on an amazing journey to the sea and along the way must keep safe a mystical dragon rock.

To summarise the book I have to say that the author Carole Wilkinson is very imaginative and that this is a wonderful book about facing fears, a miraculous journey and friendship. Simone, Year 8


I love books, so I will read anything I am given, but The Dragon Keeper is definitely one of my top five. The Dragon Keeper is an exciting and adventurous book. I loved every single moment of reading it and I was so keen to turn the page to find out what happened next.

This book would be most enjoyed by ages 12 and up and for all those who read books like Harry Potter. This book has also received awards including the QLD Premier Literary Award for 2004 and has had positive comments from the Herald Sun and Gary Crew.

To summarise this book Carole Wilkinson is a very enthusiastic and imaginative writer and this book will “enchant every reader”. I hope you love every “Dragon Tooth, Scale and Claw”.

By Amity, Year 8


I am not the type of person who particularly likes to read. If a teacher or somebody told me to read a book, I would try to avoid it as much as I could. But I have never found a book that that I enjoy more than Dragon Keeper by Carole Wilkinson, which is a fantasy and adventure book set in an Ancient Chinese Han Dynasty to be read by any gender.

The book’s main characters are Ping, Long Danzi, Hua, and Diao.  The character ‘Ping’ was a slave girl taken away from her family when she was a young girl, and the only friend she had was a rat called ‘Hua’. ‘Danzi’ is her dragon companion who helped Ping escape from her terrible master and they are now travelling to the ocean. Along the way, ‘Diao’ stops them in their tracks and is trying to take away the dragon stone. On the way to the ocean Ping finds a special power in her, to defeat the horrible Diao!!

I especially love this novel because it never gives away any detail of what might happen in the next chapter. It is a great book with so much fantasy and adventure in every page to make it impossible to put down!!

I would highly recommend this this book for anybody starting at age 12- to a suitable age maybe higher than 60, as the vocabulary featured in this book is suited for any age. It is a great book, filled with new problems, adventure, yet it also brings a smile or maybe even a tear to one’s face.

By Courtney, Year 8


I am not one of those people that love to read but when I read Dragon Keeper it was like a fantasy novel.  It blew me away!

In Dragon Keeper there was a girl named Ping and she was a slave that lived on a dragon farm. Her master was Master Lan, who controlled her. She had to do everything that he said.

The book’s main characters were Ping, Danzi, Master Lan, Diao, Hua, Kia Duan and Lao Ma. Hua was a rat that got carried everywhere with Ping.

He would always hide in her pocket of her jacket to keep nice and warm. Danzi was a dragon that escaped from Master Lan and took Ping with him.  He could change into an old man and a snake and  couldn’t be recognised by other people.

I highly recommend this book for girls between 14 and up, as the vocabulary featured in this book is very hard to understand. It’s a great book filled with a lot of adventures. Every page you turn to there would be a new adventure.

By Maddison, Year 8

October 24

‘Across the Nightingale Floor’ by Lian Hearn

Travel, suspense and detailed character development. Those three words are enough to loosely summarise the fantastic journey that is Across the Nightingale Floor. From the first few pages, this novel will leave you wanting more. So many questions arise that need to be answered, so many stories that need to be told, so many chapters to scale, and the shocking revelation? You haven’t even completed the first chapter yet. Across the Nightingale Floor is very satisfying to read, and the story outline is a memorable one.

Across the Nightingale Floor starts off with a young boy named Tomasu who lives in a remote land in Japan called the Hinode. He tells you briefly the stories of his family, the stories of his land and the stories of its mysterious history. Shortly after, Tomasu is exposed to perhaps the most saddening and appalling event that he has ever experienced; after arriving back home from playing in the hills, Tomasu stares down at what used to be his home village, but is now reduced to a pit of fire, rubble and the dead bodies of his neighbours.

This was all the doing of a hidden clan. Three guards of this clan soon spot Tomasu, where he runs for his dear life. Then, suddenly, an old man named Lord Otori appears right before his very eyes to defend Tomasu. At that moment, the author writes exquisitely about every aspect of the battle that ensued. From then on in, it is an extremely vast story, filled with travel, combat and vengeance. It is truly engaging and is very entertaining to read.

The characters are another thing worth noting. There are so many to keep track of, all with their own unique personalities. They are very well developed throughout the story, however at times I found myself dumbfounded after I stumbled across a name that sounded familiar, but I just couldn’t remember who they were. Luckily, in the near beginning of the book, there are several pages that explain every key character.

Overall, Across the Nightingale Floor is a memorable, engaging experience. The long tale of vengeance does a very good job of setting the reader in the mind of Tomasu, where the reader can feel every single sprout of mystery, sadness and anger that flies into his thoughts. The audience that this type of novel is aimed at would be around the mid-teens and older. This book does contain violent sections that aren’t exactly appropriate for younger ages, added to the fact that the vocabulary in this novel may be a bit advanced at times. So far, I’m enjoying Across the Nightingale Floor. I look forward to unravelling the story to the final pages and finding out what happens next. A truly excellent novel.   James, Year 9

Across the Nightingale Floor is a Japanese oriented book. It jumps between two stories. They are intertwined in a way. Takeo was rescued after Lord Lida attacked and destroyed his village. Lord Otori Shigeru saves Takeo’s life by protecting him from the soldiers that are chasing him. Across the Nightingale Floor jumps from that side of the story to a completely different side of a young slave girl whose father turned her into a slave for protection over his kingdom. Both stories can be quite confusing, but it can be interpreted as quite a happy story if you go into more depth of the book. Across the nightingale floor has so many questions which are quickly raised in the early stages. Across the nightingale floor is a difficult book to read. Remembering all the characters’ names, their different clans and the different locations in the book is challenging to read and understand. The storyline to this book is very memorable. You will remember the book for most of your life, and you will most likely want to read it again. The writer has done a great job allowing the reader to get into the mind of the characters and to see their feelings. Daniel, Year 9