‘Department 19’ By Will Hill

This is a very crazy book; loads happens in its absolutely wild and feral storyline. The book is pretty long but very exciting; it keeps you on the edge of your seat and is a totally worthwhile read. It’s sort of a spin off of Bram Stoker’s ‘Dracula’, with the characters each having ancestors who featured in it (some are the actual characters from Dracula because this book contains flashbacks from the original).

The book is set up neatly and nicely. Will Hill has worked hard to make this happen. It all ticks along nicely page after page (and there are 490 pages). I was unsure of this book after reading the blurb. I decided to give it a try and boy was I surprised. It was much better than the blurb made it sound. I really liked it.

The book is about a boy called Jamie Carpenter who is 16 years old. He lives in England with his mum. He has no friends and is bullied at school because his Dad, Julian Carpenter, had supposedly been a terrorist and been shot dead in front of Jamie. This back story would probably make a pretty good book!

One day his life changes. He meets a weird girl called Larissa and it turns out she’s a vampire sent to kill him. For some reason, she doesn’t. It gets worse. His Mum is kidnapped by Alexandru, the second oldest vampire in the world. If you can believe it, Frankenstein’s monster turns up (it has adopted its creator’s name). Frankenstein’ takes Jamie to a place called Department 19, which is the country’s kind of ministry for hunting vampires. It’s also known as Blacklight (it’s kind of a company as well). The Department’s job is to slay vampires.

When he arrives inside, somewhat dramatically, a victim of a vampire attack is wheeled in and so is Larissa. Turns out Larissa is a vampire. She’s been injured by another vampire, but has been arrested for attacking this victim whose name is Matt. Jamie is still taking all these happenings in, when he finds out his Dad wasn’t a terrorist. Instead, he had been a traitor to Blacklight, by giving information to vampires about one of its operations, causing the death of many people.

To save his Mum, Jamie decides he wants to become a Blacklight operative called an ‘Operator’ (they only have one job – killing vampires!), so he goes through 24 hours of brutal training and learns as much as he can about Blacklight and vampires. They get a few leads on where Alexandru and his Mum are but a few of them are tricks and traps. Larissa offers to help and Jamie agrees. This is frowned upon by a lot of the Blacklight operatives (she’s a vampire!).

While this is happening, in Russia, Valeri, one of the brothers of Alexandru, and a pack of other vampires,  have launched an attack on a Russian military base and stolen the contents of one of Blacklight’s vaults. Those contents are Dracula’s ashes. They’ll use them to try to resurrect Dracula. Alexandru launches an attack on a small island called Lindisfarne killing many people and leaving just a few survivors who manage to get to the mainland. Blacklight only send in a small team because they think the Russia incident is more important, The team is Jamie, Larissa, a man called Thomas Morrison, who Jamie had became friends with, and two Blacklight operatives called McBride and Stevenson. Valeri is long gone by the time they get there.

The Blacklight team get to Lindisfarne and find a lot of dead and dying people. One girl called Kate, who is about Jamie’s age, is alive. They see a ancient monastery and take a wild guess that Alexandru and Jamie’s Mum are in there.

Read the book to find out the rest and boy will you be surprised. There are a few sort of flashback stories in between the chapters of the book and those are what make it so long. I recommend this to over 12s who like adventure and fantasy sort of books (it’s not a horror even though it has lots of Dracula and Frankenstein references). The book’s characters are written very well; they are believable (even if the book is totally unbelievable!). This book is one of a series; I am yet to read the rest.

Review by 12 year old Finn Buck

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‘The Wizard of Oz’ by L. Frank Baum

The Wizard of Oz is a bit weird, but I enjoyed reading it. It’s got magic in it, but not like Harry Potter. I’ve seen an old Wizard of Oz film as well, so I kind of knew what the book would be like. It’s easy to see why it would make a film. It is an adventure into another place which has witches and wizards!

The book is about a girl called Dorothy who lives in Kansas in America with her Uncle Henry and Aunt Em. She lives on a farm in the middle of nowhere. One day it got really windy – really, really, really, windy – a thing called a tornado picks up Dorothy and Toto, her dog, and their whole house and blows them away. I think their farmhouse was made of wood. I’m glad my house is made of concrete and stuck to the ground, so it can’t blow away. They have a place called a “Cyclone Cellar” in the basement where they are meant to be safe, but it doesn’t help when the whole house is blown away!

The house, with them in it, lands in the Land of Oz It lands on top of the Wicked Witch of the East killing her. Another witch, a good witch (the “Good witch of the North”), comes over to Dorothy and says welcome most noble sorceress. She says the Munchkins – the people who live in Oz – it is “Munchkin Land” (I’ve been called a Munchkin by my Mum and Dad and that’s where the word comes from!) will be most grateful for her having killed the Wicked Witch.

Dorothy wants to go home and doesn’t know what to do. The good witch tells Dorothy to follow the yellow brick road to the Emerald City to meet the Wizard of Oz who can help her get home. She gives Dorothy silver shoes (they are red in the film I saw). Dorothy and Toto start walking. Along the way they meet a scarecrow, a tin man and a lion.

It’s funny how Dorothy meets the scarecrow. He’s in a field on the side of the road and when she looks at him, be blinks. As they scarecrow’s face is painted on, she thought she was mistaken, but she wasn’t. None of the scarecrows in Kansas blinked! Then the scarecrow nodded. Dorothy climbs over a fence and walks over to the scarecrow with Toto running around barking. The scare crow then said good day. If I was Dorothy I would have been scared. Dorothy then speaks to the scarecrow and it’s ok.

They all want Dorothy to help them get to the Wizard of Oz who they say will help them get what they want. The scarecrow wants brains, the tin man wants a heart and the lion wants courage (he is a cowardly lion). Dorothy helps them and they decide to follow her along the yellow brick road. When Dorothy meets the Munchkins they also think she is a sorceress and treat her well. Things happen along the way.

They arrive in the Emerald City. The Wizard of Oz says he will only help Dorothy if she kills the Wicked Witch of the West. They try but find it’s impossible as the witch has magic. The good witch helps Dorothy and stops her getting hurt by the wicked witch. I don’t really understand how she kills the wicked witch. I think it was by an accident.

Dorothy goes back to the Wizard of Oz who acts all weird. Dorothy finds out the Wizard of Oz is not a wizard – he’s just a normal man. He has just been pretending to be a wizard. He can’t keep his promise to help Dorothy get home because he doesn’t know how. He’s lost in the Land of Oz as well.

The scarecrow, tinman and lion are disappointed but the wizard tells them they already have the things they need inside them (wisdom, love and courage). The three insist they don’t, so he gives them tokens of each thing they want and they are happy.

To try to help Dorothy, the wizard offers to take her in a hot air balloon to Glinda the Good Witch of the South, who he says can help her. It turns out that the silver shoes Dorothy was given when she arrived in Oz are magic. They can take her home. They all say goodbye and Dorothy and Toto go home.

I like everyone in the book (even the Wicked Witch of the West), but my favourite character is Toto. Toto is a little dog – Dorothy’s best friend because she doesn’t have anyone else to play with. I liked him because he is cute, but also because he helps her not to be scared. She loses him once and gets him back. I liked Dorothy, but she is the main character and is in nearly every part of the book, so it is hard to remember everything she does. She is very brave and has to lots of scary things in this book. I wouldn’t like being taken to another world.

This is an old story but a very good one. I enjoyed it. I would read more books about the Land of Oz (there are lots more in the library). I am 8 and I was able to read it ok. It’s not a long book. It’s not really funny; it makes you smile though.

Review by Lara Buck aged 8. Edited by Finn Buck aged 12.

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‘Tanith Low in the Maleficent Seven’ by Derek Landy

This book is from Derek Landy’s world of Skulduggery Pleasant. This is a well written book. I’ve read all the other Skulduggery books, so I am familiar with the setting of the book. The storyline is a bit nuts: I like it. I read this book quickly. It has all the ingredients. It will, I’m sure, be another hit book for a writer who knows exactly how to create fantasy and adventure stories for kids my age.

The book’s full of cool characters who all have powers and abilities. The way the book is set up is great. It is told from a crazy bad girl’s perspective. This makes the story better. The magic in the book feels real, as it does in Landy’s other books.

The book is about an English woman named Tanith Low who is usually a good character, but here she has been possessed by a ghost thing which wants the world to burn. To help her, she recruits a team of seven people who all have weird talents (some are in the other Skulduggery books like Black Annis, Sabine and Springheeled Jack). They are called the Malificent Seven. They are kind of the opposite of the good guys.

There are good guys. They are the Magnificent Seven, another group put together and led by Dexter Vex, an energy thrower.

Tanith’s goal is to find four God-Killer level weapons and destroy them. Why? Because her ultimate objective is to unleash a god (Darquesse) who also wants the world to burn. Darquesse can’t be killed very easily – only with these weapons. Tanith is willing to do anything to achieve her goal. Dexter is the same. The difference is, he wants to keep them, not destroy them.

The Malificent Seven agree a plant that uses their particular skills and abilities. Dexter Vex finds out about the plan and race to stop Tanith. Tanith also can’t trust her own team and has to stay ahead of all their scheming. Who will emerge triumphant? There’s a lot going on the book. Tanith has to work hard to stay ahead. I don’t want to give away too many spoilers as for a Skulduggery book, it’s a simple enough story.

Tanith is a great character. I’d happily read more books about her. She is a great baddie with skills in fighting, scheming and plotting! The book tells you she was trained as an assassin.

The book is full of adventure, action and funny bits. You can’t help reading it all once you start. It’s not a long book for a Derek Landy story, so I read it quick. I am not sure I’d have enjoyed the book without knowing the Skulduggery world first – so read the other books!

Review by Finn Buck

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‘Knights of the Borrowed Dark’ by Dave Rudden

This isn’t the best of books. I’m not sure why. I look forward to reading in the car on the way home from school, but I wasn’t when I got back in the car while I was reading this. I think it could be written better. This is Irish writer Dave Rudden’s debut book (it says so on the cover). Perhaps this is why. Hopefully his next book will be better. It’s a good idea for a book and has a storyline I’d usually like; I also like the characters because they all have unique personalities, so there’s plenty of potential here.

The book is about 13 year old Denizen Hardwick who has been in an orphanage for 11 years (like most orphanages in books, it’s nasty). He has been reading fantasy books for years wishing they were about him.

It turns out he has family and this family does have powers. He is collected from the orphanage by a man named Grey who has these powers. Grey explains what has been going on. It turns out Denizen has an aunt who lives with other people at a place called Seraphim Row (in Dublin, Ireland!). His Aunt wants to see him and has sent, him, Grey, to pick him up. Denizen learns he has powers, but also how these powers comes with a price. It causes anyone with the power to turn to iron, starting with their hands.

On the journey to meet his aunt, he’s attacked by a monster. Denizen finds himself in a fantasy world where he has to join the Knights of Borrowed Dark – his aunt is their leader – in a war with The Tenebrous. These are the monsters he has to fight. Their leader is called the Endless King. Denizen quickly has to learn to use his powers.

Weird things start happening at the orphanage, The Clockwork Three, monsters you should only see in nightmares, have taken over. They are keeping the daughter of the Forever King hostage and he is angry. Denizen wants to stop this and he probably can, but he’ll need help. Even then, it’s going to be hard.

I think Dave Rudden is onto something here. He has all the ingredients. He’s just not putting it together like Eoin Colfer or other kids’ fantasy writers do. I just didn’t get pulled into the book. I didn’t really believe some of it (even though it’s all fantasy!) and there are bits that are hard to follow and not explained. The book is worth reading for the twist at the end. I am sure the next book will be better.

Review by Finn Buck aged 12.

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‘Railhead’ by Philip Reeve

This is an awesome book. It shows sci-fi in a way I’ve not read before. It’s the same with Reeve’s other books. They make you think of other worlds: it’s a bit epic. Railhead is well written; it jumps off the pages in places! I couldn’t stop reading it. For me, it ended very mysteriously and is obviously meant to be part of a series of books. I can’t wait to read the next book.

The book is based in the distant future where mankind has left earth and travelled far and wide through space. Humans now live on many planets. This space travel wasn’t done with spaceships or rockets but with trains that have feelings! (the books made me think – a lot …!). The universe is now the great network of gateways (K-gates) through space – the trains cross these gates. There are over a 1000 of these gates meaning the trains can go everywhere.

The network of gates is watched over by the guardians who are incredibly smart Artificial Intelligence (AI) deities but is sort of ruled by the royal Noon family. The book’s name ‘Railhead’ comes from what they call someone who loves train journeys! Reeve has thought of great names for everything in the book – I can’t list everything here; I can just tell you it’s all easy to follow.

We jump into the book with Zen Starling, a teen thief who doesn’t want to be in poverty but can’t do anything about it. He is a railhead. He lives with his tough, hardworking, sister and his disabled mother. One day a meteorite (an android) called Nova hires him for a job because he looks exactly like one of the Noon family – a boy called Tallis Noon. Zen meets his hirer, a man called Raven. The job Raven wants done is to steal a mysterious box called the Pytis which is in the Noon family’s train. What Zen doesn’t know is that this will uncover many secrets about his past, Raven, the guardians and much more (the universe!).

This is a truly thrilling book. It makes you think about what’s beyond Earth. I’m not going to tell you anything else about the storyline – read the rest to find out what happens.

I recommend this book to anyone – kid or adult – who likes sci-fi and adventure books. There is something new here. It’s a book not like other books. There is so much detail in this book but it’s still funny! It’s also a big adventure – I could hardly keep up with the speed of the story.

Review by Finn Buck aged 12.

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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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‘The Bubble Wrap Boy’ by Phil Earle

This is an incredibly well told story. I find it so realistic. I really know how Charlie (the boy in the book) feels; the descriptions are just so good. I highly recommend this book. I think everything Charlie says in this book is actually true, in a way. It feels so true as well. I think Phil Earle has written a masterpiece kids’ book.

Charlie is 14 years old and very short for his age. His Dad owns the Chinese ‘chippy’ down the road, and, just to make matters worse, he has the most overprotective mum ever. When he starts making deliveries for the Chinese takeaway, his mum buys him a trike instead of a mountain bike. It comes with tons of lights and reflective gear. It’s so heavy it can hardly move. His Mum mistakes his genuine tears for tears of joy! Charlie is friends with Sinus (his real name is Linus). Sinus has a huge nose and stares at walls.

When Charlie is in the middle of a delivery, a boy riding a skateboard speeds past him and Charlie instantly falls in love: with skateboarding. But because his mum would never let him do it, he borrows one from Sinus’ older brother. When his Mum stumbles across him skateboarding, he gets into huge trouble. Turns out, he wasn’t the only one hiding a secret. He finds out he has an aunt, Dora, he never knew about. She had a bike accident as a child which now gives her regular fits; she’s in a nursing home. His mum has been hiding this by making Charlie think she is going to college courses when she’s visiting her.

Then, after trying to get back into skateboarding, but scared he’ll get injured, he gets wrapped in bubble wrap by some other skateboarding teenagers who want to ‘help’ his mum by keeping him safe. Charlie starts visiting Aunt Dora regularly. Weirdly, graffiti keeps appearing all over the school. The tags say BWB in the coolest ways. Charlie finds out it was Sinus and it stands for Bubble Wrap Boy!

Then, a skateboarding competition comes to town and Charlie enters for the half-pipe challenge. Well, the plan is to bring Dora and Mum, to show mum how much he knows and show them his skills. Sadly, Dora dies before that can happen. But Charlie still goes to the competition, as the bubble wrap boy. The book then suddenly ends with Charlie in mid-flight during the contest – this is a bit strange. It just reads: “Flying for Dora”.

This is not a funny book but the story is strong enough to keep you reading. The real lesson in this book is not to keep secrets (or not for too long!). I’d read more books by Phil Earle.

Review by Finn Buck aged 12.

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‘Ready Player One’ by Ernest Cline

This is one of my all time favourite books. I think Ernest Cline has done incredible work in this novel. The book makes you want to sit down on a couch and just read the whole thing in one go. The book shows what could happen in the future because it is set in the year 2045. I recommend it to anyone over 12 who likes Sci-Fi. Ernest Cline has written it in such a way as to make you believe this could be a true story. It sets out a future where pollution and climate change have taken over the world and everything is overcrowded. Wade Watts is 17 years old (nearly 18). He lives in a mobile home stack (a stack of mobile homes) with his aunt, her boyfriend and two different families. Wade goes to school in the Oasis, a vast virtual world where almost anything is possible and most of humanity spends their days. When the creator of this virtual world died 5 years earlier, he left behind a trail of clues and challenges in the Oasis for someone to find an Easter egg. Whoever wins inherits his giant 240 billion dollar fortune. When Wade cracks the first clue 5 years later and surpasses the first challenge, it turns out he is in the lead. A company called IOI (innovative online industries) will kill to take that lead and they’ve already done a bit of that. The prize will be incredibly hard to get to and Wade will need to team up with a band of friends to win; there will be casualties in real life too: can they do it? I don’t want to spoil the rest, so you’re going to have to read the book. There’s a lot of detail to the plot, so get reading! I think the book is being made into a film. I hope so.

Review by 12 year old Finn Buck

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‘Danny the Champion of the World’ by Roald Dahl

This is one of my Dad’s all time favourite books and he asked me to read it to see what I think. I like most of Roald Dahl’s other books, so I didn’t mind. They are easy to read and never too long. His books are deliberately written to keep kids turning the pages. It is really easy to imagine what is going on in the book. I found the book a bit old fashioned and I am not sure I’d have chosen to read it if I were picking books in the library.

It is about a nine year old boy called Danny. Danny doesn’t have a Mum. He lives with his Dad in an old wooden caravan beside a little garage they own. They fix cars and have fuel pumps.

Danny loves his Dad who is called William. They spend so much time together working in the garage (they are both always in dirty clothes!). Danny can already take a car’s engine apart and put it back together again. Danny has skills! Danny really looks up to his Dad. You can tell they love each other and that Danny’s Dad is as good as having both parents (he tells brilliant stories).

The way they live in a gypsy caravan is a bit funny. They don’t have electricity and I am not sure where they go to the toilet. I don’t know why they need to live like they are camping if they own a garage. I guess they are meant to come across as a bit poor. This is probably because their garage is in the middle of nowhere, with just a few customers.

Danny has a tough life. This is shown when his teacher hits him across his hand with a cane (teachers used to be allowed to do this) because he thinks he was cheating. Danny’s Dad goes mad when he sees the mark. He shouts: ‘Who did it?’ ‘Was it Captain Lancaster?’ Danny says: ‘Yes, Dad, but it’s nothing.’ I understand this. I’ve been in trouble in school and I wouldn’t want my parents to know about it or get involved. I felt sorry for Danny.

One night, Danny’s Dad isn’t home when wakes up when it is still dark. Danny is scared but waits and eventually his Dad arrives home. His Dad hadn’t expected him to be awake and has to tell Danny where he has been. It turns out he has been breaking the law. He went to poach (steal) pheasants (birds you can eat – rich people like to shoot them) from the big farm of a horrible rich man called Mr Victor Hazell. I am not interested in pheasants and wouldn’t eat one, so I don’t really get the point of stealing them.

Danny’s Dad hates Hazell because he is always so rude when he stops to buy petrol. Danny knows Mr Hazell doesn’t like him and his Dad. The book makes you feel the same way. I really wanted Danny and his Dad to steal the pheasants from Mr Hazell (though this makes me sound bad!).

Danny’s Dad used to go poaching when his Mum was alive. It was his favourite thing. After Danny’s Mum died, he had to look after Danny until he was old enough to leave him safely at home. He explained this to Danny and Danny said it was ok to go so long as he told him before he went!

One night when William goes poaching, he is gone so long that Danny starts to worry (he knows it is dangerous as William tells him he has been shot in the bum running away before!). Eventually, he thinks there must be something wrong and drives one of the cars they are fixing to where he thinks his Dad will be. This bit is funny and a bit scary, as you keep thinking one of them will get caught by the gamekeepers (the pheasant guards) or the police. Danny’s Dad has broken his ankle and Danny saves him.

After this episode, William and Danny hatch a dastardly plot to steal all of Mr Hazel’s pheasants and I mean all of them. I won’t tell you how or if they succeed. I’ll just tell you that this bit makes the entire book worth reading. Who do you think wins? The rich man or Danny and his Dad?

I think I might be a bit lonely if I were Danny and living just with my Dad (with no Mum, siblings and Danny doesn’t bring friends home from school – maybe he’s embarrassed). This book shows you how life can be fun and happy even when things are not great. Apart from the poaching, this book reads like a true story. It is a funny book – not laugh out loud (LOL funny), it just made me smile. I thought it might be funnier. I’d say it is a bit of an adventure story.

It’s quite an old book now (the inside cover says 1975) and I think this shows a bit. This would be a good book for a Dad to read a son when he is about 7 or 8.

Review by Finn Buck aged 12.

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‘Peppa Pig’ by Neville Astley, Mark Baker & Phillip Hall

We sat down for dinner one night and my Dad asked: “Why did you all like Peppa Pig?” He doesn’t get Peppa at all. We kind of agree. The weird thing is that if a normal girl (not a pig) did the things Peppa and her family do, it’d probably be boring (Peppa’s Dad reads a book about concrete). But because it’s about pigs who do the same things humans do, the stories seem fun when you are little. Maybe because they all snort (or say “yuck”)!

We talked about it. We each remembered different things from the books. We’ve all seen the cartoons (they are always on the TV) and we have some Peppa toys. We gathered all the Peppa Pig books we have in the house into one pile and it’s a big pile. The books are called things like ‘Peppa’s Washing Day’, ‘Daddy Pig’s Fun Run’, ‘George’s Racing Car’, ‘My Mummy’, ‘My Daddy’, ‘Peppa Goes Swimming’, ‘Peppa Pig and the Perfect Day’ and are all simple stories. We don’t have a favourite book as they are all a bit the same.

As 10 and 8 year olds, we find these stories a bit silly now we are older, but we liked them when we were really little. Our 3 year old sister loved these kids picture books when she was between 2 and 3. It seems all little kids of that age love them. Actually, it seems like kids get addicted to everything about Peppa. We think maybe there are too many Peppa things these days – Peppa is everywhere!

Everyone knows Peppa Pig. The cartoons and books have been around for years. Peppa would be 16 now if she was a real person or pig! We think it is funny that the Peppa book ‘Happy Birthday’ which came out in 2017 has a cake with only three candles on it (when Peppa was created in 2004 – according to Wikipedia) – we’ve used the front cover for this review’s picture.

The books are about a bossy little pig called Peppa who lives with her little brother George, who loves to play (but cries a lot!), with Mummy pig who is very clever and Daddy pig who they make fun of (the books make him sound stupid and they say he is a bit round in the tummy!). The family do lots of ordinary things like go to the playground, the library, the supermarket and loads of other places. Peppa goes to playschool where Madam Gizel teaches them. Peppa loves exploring.

Our little sister, Julianne, liked the colours of the books and liked to look at all the pictures. She knows all the stories but still liked them read to her.

There are lots of characters in these books – not just Peppa’s own little family. There are Granny Pig, Grandpa Pig, Miss Rabbit, Mr. Elephant, Danny Dog, Grandad Dog, Grampy Rabbit, Madame Gazelle, Emily Elephant, Mummy Elephant, Doctor Elephant, Edmund Elephant and others. Peppa’s best friend is Suzie Sheep (she only has a Mum – we don’t know why). Our favourite characters are George (because he is cute) and Danny Dog (our little sister says: “I like him because he is a boy”).

Our Mum and Dad are not big fans of Peppa because they’ve had to read the books so many times (they tried to talk us out of reviewing the books)! My Dad says reading the books makes him feel hungry for a cooked breakfast (he’s trying to be funny – he used to change lines in the stories when he was reading them)! We think these books are so short they are ideal for reading as a bedtime story (our Dad says: “Not if you have to read three in a row!”).

The last thing to say is these books are indestructible (we’ve dropped them, written on them, got them wet and much more). Our family have been reading the, for years and they still look brand new. They are tough with hard back covers.

Review by Éanna (10), Lara (8) and Julianne Buck (3).

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