‘The Martian’ by Andy Wier

Out of all the books I’ve ever read, this one has to be my favourite: really. It’s about Mark Watney, an astronaut botanist, who is stranded on Mars by himself, as his crew left to return to Earth because thought he died. The first sentence of the book has some bad words;  Mark has found out he has been stranded on Mars and isn’t happy! He does “smart ” things to survive, like burning rocket fuel and blowing stuff up. Lots of stuff.

I’ve read the book six times and still can’t stop reading it. The humour is fantastic; it never gets old. It goes from something serious to something random or to a great moment – then it blows up (yay!). If you are thinking of reading the book or watch the movie, I highly recommend reading the book first; it explains unexplained things in the movie. The book says what the NASA name is for; it then says what it actually is.  I also think the book is funnier than the movie.

Even though the book was written in 2011, it seems too futuristic to have been imagined then. Seriously, there is stuff in the book like MAVs (Mars Ascent Vehicle) and RTGs (Radioisotope Thermoelectric Generator) and EVAs (Extra Vehicular Activity): way to complicated for 2011. Definitions for MAV, RTG and EVA are not in the book, so I had to guess their meanings.

Overall, Andy Weir has made the best book I have ever read.

Review by Deasun Byrne aged 12 (my first review for this site).

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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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‘The Witch’s Kitten (Magic Molly)’ by Holly Webb

I like this book. It’s about the right length for me. Not too short or long. I don’t like most animal books, but I liked this book because it is about a girl called Molly who can talk to animals. In this book there’s a really nice witch (“old lady”) who can talk to her kitten (she wears bright clothes, not black ones like a normal witch). The kitten is called Sparkle. Sparkle gets lost in the woods after chasing a butterfly. A grown up called Sarah finds Sparkle and brings her home with her. Molly has a dream Sparkle is outside her window and wakes up to find her there. She had gotten out of Sarah’s cat flap. Molly talks to Sparkle and helps her find the witch. Molly hides Sparkle in her bag when her family go for a picnic in the woods. Molly says she is going looking for bunnies. Molly and Sparkle talk to each other and work out how to get back to the witch. Molly talks to the witch who is happy to get Sparkle back. The witch gives Molly a necklace shaped in a cat’s face as a thank you. Molly goes back to her family. The stars of this book are Molly and Sparkle – I like how they talk to each other. It’s kind of a fun book. I am not sure if I’d read another Magic Molly book though. I would recommend it to ages 5 to 10 year olds.

Review by Lara Buck aged 8.

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‘Horrid Henry’s Holiday’ by Francesca Simon

I don’t like the Horrid Henry books. They are so boring. They are meant for young kids to help them learn to read, but they are just too easy to read and too short. I read this one quickly on the way home from school. They stories are too simple. But the biggest problem is they are not funny. No jokes. Henry always gets in trouble and his brother Peter never does. It’s always the same. I think the books would be better if Peter got in trouble sometimes. Henry’s Mum and Dad are always nice to Peter and are mean to Henry. Why can’t something else happen? If Henry was nice one time, it would be funny to read what happens. This Horrid Henry book is about his family going on a holiday. Horrid Henry doesn’t like the campsite they go to and plays loud music and takes out their tent’s pegs making it fall down when they are in it when it is raining. This is just boring to read. Henry just constantly gets in trouble. I think maybe boys like these books better than I do. I wouldn’t recommend this book.

Review by Lara Buck aged 8.

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