The Trials of Apollo: The Hidden Oracle by Rick Riordan

Overall, this is a classic Rick Riordan book. It’s written in his usual style which I love so much. I like it when one of Riordan’s books gets published or he starts a new series. I get so excited and always try to buy or borrow it from a library or even from somebody else. This book is no exception and everything about it is pretty good, but one or two things could have been changed to make it better. It reads like there are thing missing that could have been added in.

This is the first book in the ‘Trials of Apollo’ series, which now has reached its 3rd book; the amazing thing is that he also wrote the Magnus Chase series (I hope its not finished as a trilogy) at the same time: now that’s hard work. He brings in characters from other books he has written and they help make it all happen.  This mixing of characters between books made this story all the better. He has put power, attitude and personality into new characters, some of who come near to being the main characters.

This book has Rick Riordan written all over it, with his funny and mythological style of writing. The writing completely brainwashes me to read on and on and I haven’t even started on the cover of any of the books. For me, if I see a Rick Riordan cover in a bookstore I go wild if its a new book or series.

Its really all about the Greek god Apollo who has been cast down from Olympus by Zeus as a punishment. He’s now in the body of a 16 year old boy named Lester Papadoulos. Of course, on arrival on Earth, he lands in a dumpster in an alleyway and is mugged straight away.  As if this couldn’t get any worse, he is saved by a 12 year old daughter of Demeter called Meg (oh the embarrassment!). He tells Meg that he wants a powerful demigod to claim his service (meaning he does what they say and hopefully that gets him back into being a god). Meg instantly claims his service and becomes his master. It turns out the way he can become a god again is by completing certain trials which turn out to be freeing the oracles (sacred places of prophecy) of the world and defeating the triumvirate (who want to destroy the oracles and Apollo). Lets just say he is probably not going to have a good time doing any of this because, him being a god, he is used to sending demigods on quests to do this sort of stuff.

This is a great book about Greek mythology. I really liked it. I highly recommend this book if you like Rick Riordan, have read one of his books or just like mythology and adventure fiction. If you read this, I hope you like it.

Review by 12 year old Finn Buck

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‘How to Train Your Dragon’ by Cressida Cowell

This is an extraordinary book. It’s hard to believe the tremendous imagination and thought Cressida Cowell has put into it. You can see all of her work on every page. When I first read it, I absolutely loved it, especially its classic humour and crazy storyline. I recommend it if you like adventure and fantasy.

The book is set in a fantasy world, where dragons are real and can be tamed.  There are tribes of Vikings called The Hairy Hooligans, The Meatheads and similar. They live on islands in an archipelago. It is about Hiccup Horrendous Haddock 111, who is the son of the chief of the Hairy Hooligan tribe Stoic the Vast on the island of Berk.

Well, Hiccup and 10 other boys are part of the Dragon Initiation Program, where they try to become full members of the Hairy Hooligan tribe. While most of the boys are tough and muscly, Hiccup and his friend Fishlegs are what you’d call ‘runts’. All the boys grumble when Hiccup is made their leader (to prepare him for being chief when he’s older).

Their first ‘mission’ comes up, they have to steal a dragon and tame it, but Fishlegs accidently wakes up one of the deadly ones. This causes chaos and Hiccup only gets a common or garden Dragon (same type) and names him Toothless. Toothless is a really BIG troublemaker. Then, after months of training, they try to pass the test to get into the tribe. Then Toothless causes loads of trouble and all the boys are to be exiled.

Before that can happen, a storm washes up two giant sea dragons called Green Death and Purple Death. This is a big problem. Hiccup comes up with a plan to get rid of them or kill them. His plan is to get them to kill each other by annoying them, but Green Death survives and he swallows Hiccup. Incredibly, Hiccup kills him from the inside. For their heroic acts, the boys are allowed to be a part of the tribe.

Overall, I think this is a pretty cool book which brings an entire new world with it. I think the film just about does justice to the story, though I loved imagining everything in the book while I was reading it. Read it: don’t just watch the film!

Review by 12 year old Finn Buck

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‘The World’s Worst Children’ by David Walliams

This book caused an argument between me and my sister. I really like the book (I’m 10), but she didn’t. We both sat down and wrote out why we liked and didn’t like the book. Here’s what we came up with.

Éanna (aged 10)

I really like this book because it has loads of cool characters. Each chapter contains a story about a different character (all of them are naughty children). The chapters contain:
Chapter 1 ‘Dribbling Drew’ – this is about a boy who floods the world with his dribbled drool. He is so lazy and drools so much when he is asleep: it’s a horrible, funny, idea;
Chapter 2 ‘Bertha the Blubberer’ who cries all the time. She cries about everything and blames most things on her poor little brother (but he gets his revenge after she pulls all her hair out);
Chapter 3 ‘Nigel Nit-Boy’ – yes, nits, horrible nits – he’s a boy who keeps nits as pets (billions of them). It’s so disgusting. He becomes a kind of super hero of nits – urrrggh;
Chapter 4 ‘Miss Petula Perpetual-Motion’ who cannot stand still. She moves non-stop. She keeps moving in places and in ways which cause problems – this isn’t the funniest of the stories. Most kids find it hard to sit still!
Chapter 5 ‘Peter Picker’ a boy who picks his nose too much. Snot of all shapes and sizes – one of his bogeys grows and grows until it is the size of the moon and then explodes. This is a silly story. It could be funnier just by describing boys in my class picking their noses and wiping it on something (yuck);
Chapter 6 ‘Grubby Gertrude’ is a girl who wouldn’t tidy her room. It’s a complete mess, a real rubbish tip. Her Mum tries to clean it but the vacuum explodes! Eventually, she is eaten by ‘The Rubbish Monster’; the lesson is, tidy your room!
Chapter 7 ‘Brian Wong who was never ever wrong’ is a boy who thinks he is really brainy. He thinks he can count to infinity – he finds you can’t. He spends his whole life counting and then dies. But he was not wrong; you can try counting to infinity, it’s just that you never get there! He finds sums easy, Chapter 8 ‘Windy Mindy’ a girl who eats loads of foods to make her do smelly farts; she learns to plays instruments with her farts and becomes famous. Eventually she does a fart so big she ends up in space. Farts are funny, but this story could be funnier.
Chapter 9 ‘Earnest Ernest’ is a boy who has never ever laughed. I didn’t really get this story; and Chapter 10 ‘Sofia Sofa’ a girl who would not get off the sofa – eventually she becomes part girl, part sofa and part TV. I think this story is meant to make you stop watching do much TV!

I recommend this book to people who like comedy fiction who are aged 4-12 years old. David Walliams has written two of these books of stories about horrible children. I hope he writes another one. You don’t have to like all the stories; there are plenty to choose from. They are all about the right length. I could read one on the way to school and one on the way home. It’s easy to read.

Lara (aged 8)

I didn’t like this book. It’s probably to with the way the book jumps from one character to the next. There is no story to keep you reading. I read some of the stories and then got bored. I found it hard to pick the book back up as I wasn’t following any story. I like the story of Miss Petula Perpetual-Motion best. The rest of the stories are just a bit silly and not like children I know at all.

Dribbling Drew is the worst story. I have allergies and my nose drips – I can’t do anything about it. I take anti-histamine tablets (my Dad spelt that word). It’s not funny: I am not a bad child because my nose runs. Is Drew bad because he drools? I like all of the illustrations by a man named Tony Ross. They help you to imagine the story. It’s just some of the children in the stories do things that are silly. They couldn’t do these things in real life. It’s a bit like the Horrible Henry books. It gets boring reading about naughty children all the time. This is meant to be a funny book, but I didn’t really find it funny.

I think it might be a good book to read as bedtime stories to smaller children to make them do things like clean their room and not pick their nose. Some bits of the book are easy to read and some are hard. I think anyone my age could read it. I have a suggestion. What about a nice story about a girl who can’t stop laughing and everyone around her always laughs when they meet her – she makes people happy. I am tired of reading stories of bad children.

Having looked at each other’s reasons for liking and not liking this book, we think the book is worth reading, just not if you can find a book with one really good story in it. We also think that making fun of kids for things they cannot control – like a runny nose – is not nice. David Walliams is trying to be funny and that’s ok; it’s just that pointing out things like a constant runny nose can make a kid feel bad.

Review by Éanna and Lara Buck

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‘Magnus Chase and the Sword of Summer’ by Rick Riordan

This book is a trailblazing up all night page turner. It is in my top 5 favourite books! I absolutely love it. Rick Riordan is my favourite author by far. If you like mythology, Rick Riordan is for you. This books brings Norse mythology to life. The tale told here is flipping great. All of his books bring awesome times in history to life. The books are all about Greek, Roman, Egyptian and other histories. This might make the books sound boring, but I can tell you they’re not and this one is actually insanely cool. The book is about a 16 year old boy called Magnus Chase who has lived on the streets since his Mum was killed in a mysterious explosion; the blast also destroyed his home. But then he manages to die from Surt ruler of the fire world because he found the sword of summer. A Valkyrie by the name of Samantha brings him to Valhalla the home of the Einherji, the warriors of Odin. But Magnus needs to get out of Valhalla to stop Dooms Day, but first he must find the sword of summer which has been lost again.

Review by Finn Buck aged 12.

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‘The Alchemyst’ by Michael Scott

The big title for this book is ‘The Alchemyst: The Secrets of the Immortal Nicholas Flamel’.

This is probably one of my favourite books of all time. I read it fast! I would highly recommend it to anyone. It is extremely well written and explained. I think anyone can love this explosive read, because I really did and I hope you can. The book is about Sophie and Josh Newman, two fifteen year old twins who are found by, the 600 year old immortal, Nicolas Flamel (yes, he is in talked about in Harry Potter!). The twins also have mythical powers, which means they are the supposed twins of destiny in the story. The are tasked with stopping the rising evil before it can destroy the world. This is, as I said, an explosive read.

Review by Finn Buck, aged 12

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