Each month, we ask our readers to review the latest kids' books for us! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org if you'd like to take part…
Living with his strict uncle in a top-secret hideaway which holds technology too dangerous to release to the public, Dev (short for Devon) is really unpopular at school. Living in the world’s strongest vault has its downsides, and everybody at school hates him – or so he thinks. Meanwhile, a man only known as ‘The Collector’ is on a mission to break into Dev's vault. And as these two main characters get closer and closer to meeting, a battle will take place that puts the whole world at risk…I didn't enjoy this book that much, but I recommend it to people who like action and adventure.
Dixie Lee, 10
Erica is a little girl who gets sent an elephant from her Uncle Jeff for her birthday. In this book, you hear all about their adventures. My favourite character was the elephant because it's blue and that's my favourite colour. The best part was when the elephant gives rides around the garden even though his leg is poorly – he tries really hard. It is a very good book which I enjoyed.
Gracie Findlay, 6
This exciting book is about a lonely girl called Calypso who becomes best friends with Mae, the new girl in school. Until Mae came along, Calypso’s only friends were the characters inside books. Together, the girls discover Calypso's father's horrible secret. My favourite character was Calypso because she's looked after her dad since her mum passed away. When something bad happened I was expecting something good to come out of the blue but it was quite realistic because it took a while to find some good luck. This book is absolutely spot on. Jo Cotterill is a very talented author.
Clara Waters, 9
The protagonist of The Bone Sparrow is a young boy named Subhi who is a refugee born in an immigration detention centre. He has no idea what's beyond the fences until a girl named Jimmie turns up one day. Can Subhi and Jimmie both find a way to freedom? The book was very well written and it made me keep turning the pages, wanting to know more. The story is quite upsetting as it is based on reality and many people in refugee camps and detention centres are treated badly. Some have even lived in terrible conditions for all of their lives. The only thing I disliked was that the author didn't explain what happened to some of the characters at the end and I found that frustrating.
Sophie Lee, 12
Even though I’ve read lots of books about bodies, The Awesome Body Book is one of a kind. It's jam-packed with disgusting and fascinating facts. For example, how much poo do we create in a lifetime? And how do other creatures see things in comparison to us? This book explains information with amazing drawings and brilliant diagrams. I like it because you can just pick it up, open any page and straight away find out something new. Plus, it has information to trick your parents!
Joshua Pembry, 7
A girl called Suzy sets out on an adventure to prove that Franny, her best friend, didn’t just randomly drown – but was stung by a deadly jellyfish that caused her to drown. The story is told very well as it made me feel a part of Suzy’s life. There are plenty of tense moments that keep you guessing what the final outcome will be. I love Suzy’s determination and it is a wonderful story that I’d recommend.
Rachael Beckett, 12
This magical mystery story changes settings a lot, from Edinburgh to Venice. The main character is Daniel Holmes, a magician’s apprentice who is kind, excitable and grateful. As you read the story it feels like it’s pulling you in bit by bit and it keeps you excited. The more chapters you read the more intense it becomes! I enjoyed every moment and didn’t expect what happens in the end.
Joseph Seward, 8
Tim can create anything he likes with his new Imagination Box. Until it gets into the wrong hands! Can Tim, his friend Dee, and Tim’s talking finger monkey Phil stop the evil Mind Surfer from controlling people with the new hi-tech ‘IcoRama’ mobile phones? I found this book a lot of fun to read and didn't want to put it down. I’d recommend it to readers who enjoy a little adventure and futuristic, technological, cool stuff.
Matthew Cook, 8
This story is about a cat called Zorba who makes a promise to a dying seagull that he will look after her egg and raise the hatched chick. Zorba and his cat friends – clever Colonel, silly Segretario and serious Einstein – all work together to teach the little seagull chick how to fly! My favourite thing about the book is the bond between the cats, and the way they all help the baby seagull.
Daniel Pilling, 9
I thoroughly enjoyed Pax – it's a story full of drama and suspense. The main character is a boy called Peter who sets off to find his beloved pet fox, Pax. They were separated in the woods before the war began. The story is about them trying to find each other again. Their journey is a real emotional rollercoaster – tissues are a must! The descriptions are very vivid and sometimes upsetting. It is a heart-warming story and I couldn’t stop reading it until I had found what happened to them. A book you must read.
Rosie House, 10
Miles Murphy and Niles Sparks live – and prank – in the tranquil village of Yawnee Valley. They spend their days turning their world upside-down by pranking! Usually, their pranks are aimed at Principal Barkin, with hilarious consequences, until one day it all backfires – and he gets fired! Niles Sparks is my favourite character, because he’s the mastermind of all the pranks. The book gripped me because it was exciting and funny at the same time. I’d recommend this to readers who enjoy fast-paced, ridiculous plots.
Otis Howarth, 9
I felt sorry for the main character, Mouse. He has a big busy family, but his mum and dad are always tired and don’t often have time for him. Mouse desperately wants to be a superhero, and after lots of trying he finally does it – but not
in the way you would think! I love that Mouse got to wear his superhero cape everyday under his clothes – that’s really cool! I think other people my age would enjoy this book and find it funny. It made me laugh and I found it easy to read once I got into it.
Jason Treneman, 7
The front cover of this book suggests it's full of dark humour and I wasn’t disappointed! The main character is a girl called Park, who’s dragged to a village called Larkin Mills by her archaeologist father – he’s obsessed with the ‘egg of life’ that’s been found there. Through a twisting set of tales featuring the village waxwork museum, the ice-cream parlour and an ice dungeon, all the plots come together in a dramatic way. The story made me cry and laugh and kept me full of anticipation. It’s perfect for older readers who love drama, horror and dark humour.
Finn Howarth, 9
This exciting book is inspired by real life at the time of the Romans. But there’s an awesome twist – the animals are the gladiators! Julius Zebra was just an ordinary zebra until he became a Roman gladiator. This book follows his journey from Rome to Britain. If you read it you'll find out facts without it being boring! The pics are really skilfully drawn – if you like Tom Gates you'll love this book. It made me laugh out loud!
Isaac Burrage, 9
When Rory Rooney one day suddenly turns green, everybody thinks he’s contagious and so he is locked in an isolation room. Unfortunately, his arch enemy Grim Komissky has also turned green and is locked in there with him. The story follows their adventures when they escape. Will they ever return to their original colour? The story was gripping and it wasn’t really like anything I've read before, which made it even more exciting.
Bradley Phillips, 8
This is a story about twins Fred and Ellie who, after losing Ellie's game controller, acquire a new one with unusual powers. They discover that dreams and ambitions are possible, if only you believe in yourself. I would recommend this extremely funny, inspiring book to any confident reader that enjoys light-hearted stories. The lettering and line spacing in this book was wider than normal which could help kids with visual stress or who are new to reading a bigger book.
Ben Cook, 9
Alice Jones is a girl who solves mysteries. In this story, she is searching for Dr. Learner, a scientist who disappeared from his office. The story kept you guessing and my favourite part was when Alice falls off a balcony. The mystery scenes were written well but the story was not good at keeping me turning the pages. I would recommend it for readers aged 9-12.
Ben O'Carroll, 11
This is a funny illustrated story about a boy called Vince who lives with his dad and gran. Vince does not like animals but his dad works in a zoo. Vince soon discovers that he can talk to animals!
My favourite character was the llama because of the way he spoke. The best part of the story was when a penguin named Asquith was rude about Vince's new jumper.
This book made me laugh and I really liked the characters. Some of the words were quite difficult for me, but it's a fun book to read with a grown-up.
Heath Fairhall, 5
When a young wizard’s apprentice named Wilfred fiddles with magic above his level he gets transported 1,000 years into the future with no hope of getting back. The author uses a balance of suspense and humour to tell an adventurous tale of friendship, hope and perseverance.
This astonishing, hilarious and original story will make you laugh, wonder and wish you could turn back time to start reading it all over again.
Jasmine Ardeleanu, 10
Eleven-year-old Joe has no immune system, which means he is vulnerable to the slightest cough or cold. He’s not allowed outside and lives in a hospital room. All he has is his sister Beth, and his jolly American friend Henry (who he can only talk to on Skype). But one day a new nurse arrives and changes his life forever…
This is a wonderful book, full of surprises and adventure – you never know what is going to happen next! It is sad at points but ends happily with some humour in it as well.
James Pilling, 11
This story is about a boy called Tom who meets an entertaining circus master called Mr. Baboomski after he almost kills the circus master’s goat.
It’s a great, witty read but did not have enough excitement for me – I knew what would happen next. If you like Roald Dahl you might like this book because it has made-up words.
Faye O’ Carroll, 8
This emotional rollercoaster follows the story of 12-year-old Al Chaudhury, who travels back in time to save his dad’s life. I like Al because he’s funny and up for adventure, though he is slightly reluctant at first.
I enjoyed how he has to work out the rules and consequences of time travel but I wasn’t so keen on some of those consequences – they sometimes made the story a little sad. The book gripped me and kept me guessing – the ending is very unexpected.
Barney Woodrow, 12
I loved everything about this story – it was an adventure! It’s about a girl called Nelly who sets off to find her dad, Captain Peabody, on a ship with knitted sails. Columbus, her turtle, comes along for company. Along the way she meets a pirate postman and a hungry polar bear on an iceberg. Eventually she finds Captain Peabody – in a very different home to normal! The characters are fun. My favourite was Columbus.
Floella Simpson, 8
Wow this book is so fun! It’s about a little girl called Sienna and her invisible dog, who no one believes in. After her mother disappears, Sienna explores the city of Shanghai in China to try to find her. I absolutely loved this story – I read it all in one night! I would recommend it to anyone who loves mysteries and Jacqueline Wilson – the story reminded me a bit of Hetty Feather.
Vita Kan-Moloney, 7
Alien Adventure is the best thing ever. An alien spaceship crashes right outside a school and you get to draw in the book to complete the story! It’s about Daisy and B’ob and, my favourite character, Undrawn John. I had fun drawing their adventure and choosing where they went next. I’ve asked my mum for the next book in the series, Create your own: Spy Mission!
Peter Wright, 6
This thrilling book is about an Irish girl called Slim and her family who are very poor. The potato famine in Ireland forces them to travel to America, where they think the streets are paved with gold. The book is sad as the family are always hungry. Slim’s sister Beatrice is my favourite character as she does lots of drawing. I would recommend it to readers interested in history, travel and the sea.
Arabella Smithson, 9
Two ordinary children, Shelly and Jonathan, are sent on a mission to save the vice-president from a villain called the Seal. The reason they’ve been chosen for this daring rescue is because they are unexceptional (they don’t stand out). The plot is fast, exciting and full of unexpected twists. I couldn’t put this book down, and would recommend it to all people who love mysteries!
Celeste Woodall, 10
In this funny, exciting and fact-packed book, Frank Einstein tries to invent something that will help his friend get picked for the baseball squad. My favourite character was Mr Chimp. He uses sign language and has some mad ideas. The drawings and diagrams are very good, but some are tricky to understand.
Rachel Wilson, 9
Check out India's video review, below!
Check out Anisha's video review, below!
Jacques thought he knew everything about his twin sister Fleur and that Fleur knew everything about him until one day he hears his mum say to his dad, “Do you think there’s such thing as too much imagination?” It turns out Jaques doesn’t really exist! I found some of this book hard to follow and I sometimes got a bit confused about who was talking, but apart from that I loved it. I would recommend this book to someone who likes mysteries.
Emma Day, 9
Darkus’s dad suddenly disappears from the locked vaults of the museum where he works. Then Darkus meets a hamster-sized beetle called Baxter when it falls out of his neighbour’s trousers! What has this beetle got to do with his dad’s disappearance? And can it help him find his father?… My favourite character is Baxter because he’s very intelligent and listens to everything that Darkus says. I really enjoyed the book – it was a page-turner!
Eloise Mack, 9
Beetle Boy is an informative book about the intriguing science of beetles and also the friendship between Darkus and his pet beetle. When Darkus’s father Dr. Bartholomew goes missing, he suspects that the culprit is an extremely evil woman who owns a major jewellery brand based on beetles.
The characters in the story felt immensely real to me because the descriptions were so detailed – my favourite was Darkus because he is willing to take on a challenge and won’t give up. He’s also caring towards the beetles. I recommend this book for fans of adventure and anyone who enjoyed Wonder by R.J. Palacio. I think M.G.Leonard has an amazing imagination.
Holly White, 10
This funny book is about a boy called Tom who often daydreams in class. Things get complicated when a rude picture of a teacher goes missing! The characters feel real to me because it is written like a diary. My fave character is Buster because Tom is afraid of him – until Buster helps him get out of trouble. One of the surprises in this story is that most of Tom’s silly ideas work in the end. The illustrations were well drawn and were on every page. I want to read more of the Tom Gates series to see how he gets into trouble. I recommend this to anyone who likes to laugh.
Charlie Dunn, 8
Poor old Grandpa Bunting’s memory is going. He believes that it ‘s 1940 and that he is once again a WW2 flying ace. His son and son’s wife are convinced that an old folk’s home is the right idea. But his grandson, Jack, knows that that is the wrong way for his grandpa to spend the last years of his action-packed life. Besides, there is something sinister about Twilight Towers… I loved this book. It was so funny, but a bit scary, too. I laughed out loud as I read it, though the ending gave me more to think about.
Isla Munnik, 9
This brilliant, gripping book is set in the gorgeously described landscape of a South African game reserve. After poachers carry out a horrific attack on a family of rhinos, 11-year-old Martine and her best friend Ben become ‘detectives’ and end up on a scary, mysterious and funny journey. This book taught me a lot about the disgusting trade in rhino horn. Even though some parts were hard to believe, I loved it.
Bryher Gemmill, 10
Operation Rhino is moving and has some cliff-hanging parts. When the rhino calf had to be taken into a sanctuary it was very upsetting! The character Martine was passionate about keeping the rhinos safe. The fact that she wanted to track down who killed the adult rhinos touched me, and I agree with her – rhinos should not be killed for their horn, because it is as valuable as our finger nails!
Lucy Marshall, 10
Dara Palmer’s Major Drama
This hilarious book is about a girl who moves from a Cambodian orphanage to a new home in England. A series of obstacles jeopardise Dara’s dreams of fame and fortune – she feels her life is over when she doesn’t succeed in the school play auditions, especially when she’s asked to join Miss Snarling’s dreaded drama group (my favourite part)! The author balances suspense and humour with great descriptions to keep the reader keen to know more!
Megan Woodgate, 10
The Secrets of Sam & Sam
This book is about twins, confusingly called Sam and Sam. The girl (known as Sammie) is the brave one, a bit of a tomboy. However her brother is afraid of everything except for his dog. The twins love being twins and they love both their mums. Mum Gen, is kind and gentle, while Mum Ken can be very strict! In the beginning, they have a merry little life, but a secret between the mums causes the family to fall apart. Meanwhile, at school, can Sam overcome his fear of heights in time for the school trip? You’ll have to read it to find out!
Naomi Dee, 10
Pugs of the Frozen North
Sarah McIntyre & Philip Reeve
When a shipwrecked boy named Shen meets Sika, a girl from the North Pole, they decide to take part in the Great Northern Race together. If they win, they’ll get their wish granted by the Snowfather. With a sled pulled by 66 pugs, and yetis trying to eat them, an they survive the journey? This adventure story is about friendship and helping each other. I love it – it’s funny, full of unusual characters and has brilliant illustrations.
Elleanore Phillips, 7
Jocelyn longs to meet her father, Captain Hook, but he’s always away sailing. She wants to be a pirate like him, but her grandfather sends her away to a finishing school instead, to transform her into a lady. She tries to squeeze into the rules there, but when she hears news of her dad’s death, she runs away to sea to take on the crocodile that killed him. This book has great descriptions and you experience Jocelyn’s emotions clearly. I’d recommend it to anyone who seeks adventure, but personally the pirate theme was not for me.
Nayra Apaza, 10
The Wild Beyond
Thirteen-year-old Kester can communicate with animals. When the last whale in the ocean informs him that the key to rebuilding their destroyed planet lies on a faraway island, he embarks on a dangerous journey along with an unlikely assortment of animals. But their mission leads them to something far beyond expectations. This gripping book had me laughing out loud. Despite being the third in a series, the storyline is easy to pick up and I look forward to reading the other Last Wild books.
Iona Henderson, 13
Nicholas shares an unbreakable bond with the tree in his garden and will do anything to stay with it – even going on a crazy treasure hunt with fellow misfits Zeke and Jordan! The three unlikely friends follow confusing clues to find four missing heirlooms, with help from Nicholas’ grandfather. It was entertaining to see Nicholas and his friends eventually accept each other for who they were. However, I found it hard to connect with the characters, so when something bad happened I didn’t feel upset. Fans of mysteries will like it.
Tulsi Parmar, 13
Naughty Nixie uses her wand to cause problems for the other fairies, especially Adorabella. But the Fairy Queen is coming to open the Blossom Ball and everything needs to be perfect by then. Can Tabitha and Buzzby get Nixie out of trouble? I loved it when Adorabella’s dress got turned into candyfloss! And when things went really crazy in Chapter 5. This book is full of fun.
Alaya Apaza, 7
Micah Tuttle lives with his dying grandfather who tells him stories about the magic circus he discovered as a boy. Back then, the Lightbender promised his grandad a miracle. Can Micah use it
now to save him? My fave character is
Ms. Chintzy, a parrot – she’s so full of herself. It was a bit annoying the way the book gets interrupted by grandfather’s stories – I was tempted to skip them. I hope they make a second book as it ends on a cliffhanger. Grr!
Zaynab Price, 12
Set in Ancient Egypt, this gripping mystery is full of twists and turns. I couldn’t put it down! It’s all about a young boy (called Boy) who is taken out of the River Nile as a baby and now works at the local inn making crockery from mud – as well as amazing model animals. It focuses on the exciting events that happen after Boy meets a mysterious stranger. I enjoyed the book, although I did find it hard at times to grasp the story.
Annie Bullough, 12
This story is about a boy who sees a shooting star and makes a wish of a million wishes. Do they come true? You’ll have to read the book to find out…The best part of the book was that it was quite random and kept me interested. I really enjoyed the comments (in brackets) which made the story more real! It's certainly NOT a boring book!
Noah Battelley, 11
Although this isn’t a book I would normally have chosen, I found myself constantly wanting to know what happened next. It’s about twins (Ned and Jamie) who do everything together. But then Ned becomes very ill. One day whilst exploring the beach, they find a Merman, who’s known in stories to help the sick, like Ned…
The story was light hearted and emotional. Especially the end. It’s descriptive and a good read, just hard to get into.
Charlotte Carswell, 12
Hamish discovers he has an amazing ability – the power to move within the world when it pauses – which it's been doing lately. Anything is possible in this temporarily frozen world, but Pause Walkers like Hamish do not walk alone – something terrible is out there, too. He sets out to save the world by joining the Pause Defence Force – and has an adventure before its time, within time! This book is fantastic. It made me both laugh out loud and read with excitement to an ending that left me wanting more. I’m eagerly awaiting the sequel!
Jayson Childs, 10
A girl called Violet investigates when her neighbour Dee Dee’s precious pearl goes missing. Could it be something to do with the Count family who have moved in next door? My favourite characters were Violet and her friend Rose – they were very brave to break into the Counts’ house! The only thing I didn’t like were the illustrations – there were too many and they were all purpley. People who like mystery and adventures will enjoy this book.
Aoife Sweeney, 9
When a suspicious Baron inherits a mansion in Sedric’s village, it isn’t long before he captures Sedric’s pig Denzel for slaughter, and takes all the village turnips. It’s up to Sedric and his friends to get Denzel and the turnips back! The story is hilarious, I really liked it. It takes place in the Dark Ages and is written in a rustic sort of way, but seems very realistic. There really is nothing wrong with this book.
Hannah Riordan, 9
The Giant Yuk is terrorising the town of Tumber – and Greta wants the monster to stop. She believes that Hercufleas will save them. Unfortunately, he's just a flea! Can the pair find out why the giant is doing this – and discover the real reason for Tumber’s suffering? I really enjoyed this story. The best part is when you’re introduced to Hercufleas for the first time. I could really picture it in my head!
Elizabeth Dutton, 10
When people start being torn to shreds by something evil in the woods near Grindle Village, three friends set out to try and stop it... but what could it be? Paddy was my favourite character, because he’s afraid of nothing and always keeps a cool head. The author is very good at writing suspense – you won’t want to put this book down. You might find it annoying how many cliffhangers there are – but there’s nothing wrong with being on the edge of your seat!
Ralph Davies, 11
When ten-year old Tim sneaks a peek at the mysterious box that Professor Eisenstone always carries around, his life is transformed. With the help of a special hat, the Imagination Box turns his thoughts into actual objects! Tim imagines a teeny talking finger- monkey (aka a pygmy marmoset) and thus Phil is created! I loved Phil – he’s posh and funny and his use of very long words is amazing! When the friendly professor disappears, it’s up to Phil, Tim and Tim’s imagination to save him…
Emily Lonsdale, 9