Thursday, 28 July 2011

Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout - Andy Stanton

Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout is about Mr Gum and Billy William the Third, who are always trying to destroy the town of Lamonic Bibber. In this book, they had a secret hideout where they were burning loads of meat to try and pollute the town. Polly, Friday O’Leary and Alan Taylor had to save the town.
I loved reading Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout. It was a funny, light read which was a nice change for me. The plot and the characters were very random, but that was part of what I loved about this book. It was unique, and even though it was seemed to be aimed for a younger age group, I could still enjoy it.
My favourite character was probably Surprising Ben, who I found really funny, but most of all, he actually was surprising. I also enjoyed the story, and how I never knew what was going to happen next, especially with Captain Brazil.
I would definitely recommend this book (and the rest of the series) and I give it a 9/10. I’m deducting one point because the size of the text and the waste of paper annoyed me.
Year 7

Tuesday, 26 July 2011

My name is Mina - David almond

The book focused on the diary of a small quirky girl called mina, who is home schooled by her mum. She writes freely expressing what she is thinking and talking about the world and it's creatures. Mina is a strong minded and well knowledged  girl, yet finds it hard to make friends or be the same as other children her age.

I have read skellig and I liked reading the prequel afterwards, as minas life slotted into the story of skellig and you got to know more about mina and how she met Michael. I loved how mina expressed her thoughts and how she looks at things differently than I would, giving you a new view.

It was a change to usual, and when reading even though every page wasn't a cliff hanger I still wanted to read on.The book was quite subtly emotional and made you feel upset for mina, as her dad had died and I think this had changed her. Also you could see she did actually want friends, but didn't know how to make them, with her being the unusual character she is.

Loved the book, it was beautifully wrote and the pages seemed to skip by magically!

10/10! Review by Chloe  year 8

Momentum by Saci Lloyd

London, sometime in the future; the way which his everyone lives is dependant on oil and as the last drips of oil are slowly running out, It's a crisis. The gap between rich and poor is huge when all the country needs is teamwork.In all this teenager, hunter Nash, a citizen. Not into the virtual life, he free runs. Accidentally becoming a witness to a murder, he meets uma an outsider. They set off to find the keeper to some important codes that help protect an online network.

At first I wasn't really glued to this book, it seemed a chore to read it than a pleasure as it was difficult to understand. Yet I persevered and the plot got more tense exciting and I got to understand the quite complicated storyline.

 Lloyd is writing about a very important issue, while making it more exciting and readable with her characters and plot. She expressed her view on what she thinks is going to happen and it was very interesting to get an insight of what life could be like in the future.

I absolutely loved this book, It had my heart racing and felt like  watching a movie!

10/10! review by Chloe year 8

Friday, 22 July 2011

Small Change For Stuart

By Lissa Evans

Small Change For Stuart is a simply written children’s story about a little boy on a quest to find a magician’s workshop. The book is written in the same way as a typical children’s book- the hero has to follow clues to find the prize. This book was a fun read for me, and I would recommend it for, perhaps, children inn primary school.

It excited, puzzled and entertained me. This is not a very complex book so is easily understandable and readable for people of many different levels and age groups. The title didn’t really attract me to the book, as it gave me an image of a young boy earning money, but the cover of the book interested me, so I picked it up.

I am very glad that I read this book because after several depressing books I have read recently, Small Change For Stuart was an uplifting light at the end of the tunnel. My main views on this tiny wonder of a book are that it was a good idea with a classical structure; for an uplifting, light read.

By Mia, Year 7

Recommended age: 8-13

Last Day of Term!

It's finally here!  Six weeks of reading time!

Hopefully by now you've all got your summer loans sorted out (Jenna, I'm genuinely worried that I'm going to run out of books for you...) and you're all set to go. Don't neglect your public library if you get stuck!  Even if there's not much at Harpenden, the St Albans collection is pretty good and they have downloadable ebooks and audiobooks too.

Keep your reviews for the Guardian prize coming in, we've had some great ones already and they're a lot easier to write than the Carnegie ones! Sign up on the forums so that you can organise books exchanges and stay in contact.  Remember, I'm off to play with the hobbits from 11th August, so I probably won't be able to authorise new accounts after that - make sure you sign up before then, just in case!

Have a gorgeous break everyone, will miss you :)

Small Change For Stuart

By Lissa Evans

This book is about Stuart moving to the town where his Dad was born and finding out some mysterious things about his family. He finds clues and has to risk being caught to try and work out the secrets that have been left in his family for nearly 50 years.

I really enjoyed this book, even though it was easy to read and I read it very quickly. My favourite character was Stuart’s friend, April, because she was quite surprising. At the beginning of the book it was written in a way that made you dislike her, but as the story went on you grew to like her more.

I thought that it was unpredictable in the way that you didn’t know where he was going to go next and I liked how everything was described. I enjoyed it and found it a nice read, but it was too easy for me.

In conclusion, I thought this book was very good but I would recommend it for younger readers. Although I thought this I still enjoyed it.

By Emily, Year 7

Thursday, 21 July 2011

Twilight Robbery

By Frances Hardinge

Midwives, jewels, dead horses, geese, luck, heroes, and one extremely brave heroine! Toll is split in two, to which side do you belong?

This novel is the story of Mosca Mye and her friends. When debt and work problems send them to the strange town of Toll, Mosca, Clent and their remarkable goose Saracen are drawn into a thrilling plot that threatens to completely destroy the town- handing power to the locksmiths.

Hardinge has invented a whole new world that is believable yet totally crazy. It draws you in and you find it hard to put the book down! Hardinge has created two sides to the story as when the night town emerges a whole new set of characters take the lead. The plot is constantly twisting and turning and it entrances you straight away.

Mosca is a superb character who definitely has initiative and a mind of her own. Her antics seem absurd but they solve the problem in the end. Hardinge describes her so well and lifts her spirit right off the page. I also fell in love with Saracen who it seems was the answer to the whole mystery! Amazing ending, absurd characters, an absolutely awesome book!

Eleanor, Year 8

Moon Pie

By Simon Mason

This book is about eleven year old Martha, having to cope with family difficulties and looking after her family. She makes lists inside her head and the lists keep getting longer and more difficult.

At the beginning of this book I thought it was a sweet story about a girl trying to look after her brother, Tug and her Dad, but it turned out completely different. From reading the blurb you couldn’t tell what the story was about.

My favourite character was Martha’s friend, Marcus. This is because he was funny, enthusiastic, but serious at the same time. He always either cheered up or gave good ideas and he was unpredictable.

I found this book very easy to read (I read it in one day) and I think it is written in a way for younger children, but what the story is about is for older children. I liked the book, but I wouldn’t pick it off a bookshelf and read it.

In conclusion, I liked this book, but it wasn’t amazing. I would recommend it possibly to slightly younger children though.

By Emily, Year 7

Tuesday, 19 July 2011


By Saci Lloyd

This book is about Uma and Hunter who live two very separate lives but are brought together when escaping the cruel kossak soldiers. They work together to try and keep some special codes away from the kossaks.

It took me ages to work out this book. I didn’t find it particularly interesting and it didn’t explain things well at the start. But, the further on I got, the more I started to enjoy it. I finally understood what was going on and really felt for the characters.

It is a very violent book and it took me a while to get into, but once I had got into it I just wanted to finish it, to find out what happened. It was very unpredictable and I found myself asking questions in my head like where are they going to go next? It is cleverly written and the feelings of the characters and their personalities are put across clearly.

In conclusion, I would definitely recommend this book, but to enjoy it as much as you can you must persevere to the end.

By Emily, Year 7

Monday, 18 July 2011

Mr gum and the secret hideout- andy Stanton

This is one of a series of books about the crazy cunning yet wonderful mr Gum  accompanied by his obedient assistant Billy William. Together the villains try and destroy the town of lamonic bibberand make life miserable for everyone!  When the 'department of clouds and yoghurts', made up of  thrill seeking Polly and Friday, come along there is a mystery to be solved...

I liked how this is a book like no others and defiantly doesn't lack excitement and imagination. With weird and wonderful written all over there is something hysterical on every page and it Certainly made me laugh! throughout the book onomatapeas and sound effects that brought the story to life!

However the plot was not very complex and was easy to predict what was going to happen next, apart from the odd talking gingerbread man showing up?! I would have enjoyed it more if something unexpected had occurred.

This is a unique book but i didn't enjoy it as much as when I started to get into it it had finished! Yet a change to normal and great for young readers to enjoy!

By Chloe benson year 8 
Age: 6-10

Friday, 15 July 2011

My Name Is Mina

By David Almond

This book is the diary of a young girl named Mina. She doesn’t go to school and is instead taught at home by her mother who is loving, tender and at the heart of Mina’s life. In her diary, Mina expresses her thoughts and opinions about life in general as well as drawing pictures and telling stories from her past. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and I thought it was perfect in every way!

Almond really makes you think by creating such a charming character that is Mina. She is naïve and innocent but at the same time seems to know an awful lot about the world around her. As Mina watches the boy moving into the old house, gazes at the birds fascinated, or completes extraordinary art projects with her mother, you find yourself drawn deeper into the book.

Almond sets out this novel beautifully, the design is simple yet so creative. It looks just like a child’s diary and the content is spot on too- unpredictable, random, but almost heart-warming! Since this is the prequel to Skellig I think that anyone reading it who hasn’t read the follow on would love the cliff-hanger. Fantastic, fulfilling, and definitely flawless!!


Eleanor, Year 8

Thursday, 14 July 2011

Small change for Stuart- Lissa Evans

Guardian- small change for Stuart by Lissa Evans

A small ten year old boy, Stuart horten moves to a historical town named Beeton. Yet  he realises he had moved there not my choice; but by fate. As the story unravels stuart finds out about his great uncle Tony horten a magician who mysteriously disappeared. Left with only a letter some coins and a trail of clues stuart and his neighbour try to solve the mystery...

when I first started this book I thought the story line was a little predictable. Yet as the book went on twists  increased the ever changing plot and made the story into one I couldn't put down!

The little known about Stuart makes you intrigued about his personality, and throughout the book you feel like you get to know what he Is like, this is better than all being revealed at the beginning as it makes you want to read on!  I liked how all the clues fitted together and I think the author had been very clever in choosing these and where in the storyline they were to solve them and it didnt ever get boring. 

Great book, an easy read but still a imaginative plot and a magical happy ending! 
 8/10- review by Chloe benson yr 8
Recommended age 7-12:)

Mr. Gum and the Secret Hide Out.

By Andy Stanton.

Mr. Gum is a series about a ‘mischievous’ man, his friend Billy the butcher, as well as a little girl called Polly, a rather unusual man called Friday, and of course a talking gingerbread! (Who could have a child’s book without one?!) they all live in Lamonic Bibber

These characters get up to many adventures. However, this particular book, is about Mr. Gum and Billy trying to pollute Lamonic Bibber by burning all the meat from the town! As usual, Polly and Friday device a plan to stop this bad behaviour!

I have read all series in the past, so in a way, it was like reading about an old friend! I again had a few childish giggles and loved the way the chapters were laid out. However, I feel that this series of books is very repetitive, so I did not enjoy it as much as perhaps, I should have, if I had not read the rest of the series. Although, despite this problem I still thoroughly enjoyed this book although am unsure if others of my age group would (I have incredibly childish humour!) but I would certainly recommend it to anyone in the age range of 5-10!

Jess year 8

Thursday, 7 July 2011

My Name is MIna

David Almond

My Name is Mina was probably the most beautiful, thought provoking, faultless book I have read. It’s about a girl (Mina) who’s about my age, who is different from everyone else and evidently doesn’t fit into school life. She is homeschooled by her mother who Mina portrays as a loving and caring mother who is always on Mina’s side. Mina decides to write a diary where she will write about her life in whatever way she wants. She tells stories and events from when she was younger. Almond sets the pages out beautifully with a black background and white writing or huge letters that take up the whole page or even a blank page here or there. You wait in anticipation to see how the next page will be set out. It was a gorgeous book and made me think more than I have in a while and I saw aspects of the world in which I had never even thought about. For example Mina’s fascination in birds, she puts a whole new angle on them. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it, I would recommend this to anyone who wants to be inspired by the world! The cliff-hanger was pure genius.

Louise Year 8

Monday, 4 July 2011

Mr Gum and the secret hideout

Andy Stanton
There is not much good to say about this book, I declare it plot-less, pointless and paper-wasting (look at the page layout!). Maybe there was a few feeble laughs or childish grins, but it was a comedy right? No lol moments or hysterical gabbles. Just "ah that's mildly funny!". So your friend walks up to you and says, "hey, what book'ya reading, wotsit about?" Well, are you supposed to reply: "well, it's about two slightly evil guys who plan on making the sky fall down by burning horse spam... And it's up to a numbskull old man and a 9-year old girl who can't speak properly to save the day." What do they do? Well they back away slowly of course. I'm very sorry but was this book a joke? Let us all just hope there are no more additions to this dreadful and disastrous series, hope you will never read another book about a guy who has a chewy name and a psychopathic gingerbread-man, who thinks it's in his blood, (they don't even have blood they have flour and almond essence!) to eat cheerios. To end this sarcastic, hateful rage I'm going to call upon the name of the vague town our miss interpreted heroes call home... LAMONIC BIBBER! I rest my case.
Mr Gum and the Secret Hideout

Yr 8