Chosen by Class 5 (Year 3) students of Chase Lane G.M. Primary School, Essex.
Thanks to Toby Hime, class teacher.
Fantastic Mr Fox
Roald Dahl, ill. Quentin Blake, Puffin, 0 14 038251 8, £3.99 pbk
Fantastic Mr Fox is all about three really horrid and nasty farmers. They want to kill Mr Fox and his baby foxes. Mr Fox is fantastic because he thinks a lot and has lots of ideas that are really clever. When there is trouble he thinks of amazing plans. He is smart, sensible, brainy and has a good sense of smell! He can smell the farmers! The farmers’ names are Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Bean is the cleverest but Mr Fox is cleverer.
The bad side are Boggis, Bunce and Bean. Boggis is the fattest of them all. Bunce is small and cross. Bean is sly and mean.
The illustrations are very funny and enjoyable and sad sometimes. They are drawn in a comical kind of way and help you to know what is happening in the story. Quentin Blake is a good illustrator.
We think the book is about nasty, rich, fat people who do not give money to poor people. The meaning of the story is all about bad people not giving the poor people any food or anything to drink as well. The poor people are in jail. The book is also against fox hunting. Roald Dahl does not like fox hunting. You should not be selfish and keep everything to yourself because it’s not fair to the poor.
We think that the book is very interesting, exciting and completely fantastic. It can put fox hunters off. People should read Fantastic Mr Fox lots of times so if the person has killed a fox they can think about what they have done. We think the best bit is when Boggis eats chickens, Bean drinks cider and Bunce eats ducks. We think that the book will help people when they have done something horrible. We think the farmers are greedy pigs!
Chosen by Year 8 and Year 9 students of Newfield School, Sheffield
Thanks to Gill Ager, Librarian and English Teacher.
Death or Glory Boys
Theresa Breslin, Mammoth, 0 7497 3100 1, £3.99 pbk
Death or Glory Boys is an action-packed thriller. It uses the lives of a normal group of teenagers to convey the message that wars aren’t glamorous, as sometimes they are portrayed. Basically the main question is, are wars a devastating waste of lives or glorious events? This is achieved by having a group of teenagers who all have their own opinions and express them. These are stimulated by a school project on the war poets.
Apart from this argument that runs through the novel, the other storyline includes bombs, a bomber on the run and a frantic hunt for the next place that the bomber may strike. My favourite aspect of the book is probably the humour. It is just based on normal things that would happen. I also enjoyed the way that the focus switches from one storyline to another until the storylines merge together for the enthralling and thrilling climax and conclusion. At the end of the novel there is also a wonderful, unexpected twist, which startled me so much that I had to read it a few times to realise what had happened.
Death or Glory Boys is a terrific novel that has an action-packed, readable and enjoyable story, well worth the read! I give it full marks!
The Tulip Touch
Anne Fine, Puffin, 0 14 037808 1, £4.99 pbk
From the moment I started to read this book I knew that I was going to be hooked on it.
It’s about two girls called Natalie and Tulip. Natalie has just moved into a new town because her father has taken up a job managing a hotel. Tulip is the first girl that Natalie meets and they become friends.
Natalie doesn’t know why she’s friends with Tulip. Tulip is a very mysterious girl; nobody else wants to be friends with her, except Natalie. Tulip often truants from school leaving Natalie on her own, but Natalie doesn’t attempt to make new friends. It’s as if Tulip has a hold over Natalie and they stay friends with a strong relationship until the games that Tulip plays start to become sinister. Natalie realises that Tulip is going too far and finally she begins to hate her. But Tulip won’t rest until she has won the last game, but what will that be?
This book is a very powerful and tense novel about friendship and hate. It’s a great read, well written and gripping. I give it 10 out of 10!
Lambs to the Slaughter
Lisa Bruce, Orchard Books, 1 86039 088 9, £4.99 pbk
The book concerns a girl who lives in a town where nothing goes wrong. Suddenly the police start swarming onto the beach and children are told to watch for any strange looking people.
Tamara Chambers is on her way to school one morning. She falls down, so she goes into an alleyway to clean her wound. As she does so, a police officer chases a man down the alleyway and kills him. We discover that the police are aliens from another planet. They want to eat all the children’s brains on Earth. They realise that Tamara has discovered their identity and try to kill her by throwing her off a cliff. She survives by landing on a dead body.
She climbs into the cliff and discovers an alien called Rick. He tells her about the plan to turn earth into a food farm and explains how to save Earth. She steals a web that the aliens need to return to their planet and destroys it, saving Earth.
I think that it is a good book. The beginning is boring but once the action starts I couldn’t put it down. Although it is science fiction, I think that it would appeal to a wider audience.
Skinny Melon and Me
Jean Ure, Collins, 0 00 675147 4, £3.99 pbk
Skinny Melon and Me is about a girl called Cherry. Her teacher told her to write a diary and this book is her diary. Cherry’s mother has just remarried and is pregnant but hasn’t told Cherry. Cherry says that the worst thing about her step-dad is his name because he’s called Roland Butter. She’s always wanted a dog but she can’t have one because Roland is allergic to them. She loves to tell her best friend Melanie about him. Cherry thinks Roland is weird because he’s always sending her coded messages. Cherry’s mother finally tells her that she’s pregnant and Cherry doesn’t mind. Cherry really wants a dog so for Christmas Roland buys her one and calls it Charlie.
At the end of the novel Cherry says that now she has Charlie she doesn’t need to write the diary anymore. Cherry likes Roland now because he bought her the dog. The book is realistic and I feel it would help children with a new step-parent because their problems are not resolved overnight but over a period of time. There are no magic solutions. I thought it was quite good and I enjoyed reading it.
Laura Scott, Year 9
Chosen by Juliana Oliver
Thanks to Joan Lindeman, a teacher working with dyslexic learners in Haringey, London.
Someone Like Me
Elaine Forrestal, Puffin, 0 14 038644 0, £4.99 pbk
This book is set in Australia in the countryside, near a small town. The two main characters are Tas, a young Australian boy, and Enya, a girl from Ireland. Last but not least there is Reebok the dog. I liked Tas because he has a very interesting character. He has a very complex personality; for example he finds it hard not to fight with some of the boys in his class, but he’s nice to the new girl, Enya.
This book is different compared with other books I’ve read; for example, although there is a scary part, it doesn’t continue after the middle of the book, unlike Goosebumps. It does have a sad part but I’m not going to tell you about that because it will ruin the sadness. There is something that the author doesn’t reveal until the end. She gives no clues whatsoever in the whole book. I guarantee you a SURPRISE!
For me, it was easier to read this book with a grown-up. I read half a page and my mother read half a page, but sometimes I accidentally read a whole page. I could do this because the writing made me want to keep going because it was so interesting.
The other books I’ve read that I can really remember are usually series books like Sophie books, Goosebumps or Sweet Valley Twins.
This book is different compared with the others I’ve read because it isn’t part of a series. Also, I’ve never read a book by an Australian author I don’t think. This one has a few words I could not understand; for example, ‘fracky daks’, ‘the footie oval’, ‘the ute’ and ‘chooks’, which are Australian words. At first my mother and I ignored the words which only came up once but ‘chooks’ came up a few times so we had to look it up in the dictionary and surprisingly it was there. We sort of guessed it before we looked it up.
The reason was, I was getting the idea of what it was as we went along.
I might read one of this author’s other books, but I’m not sure because there are so many other books I want to read.
Juliana Oliver, age 10
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