A Dinosaur Ate My Sister by Pooja Puri and Allen Fatimaharan, reviewed by Mia

This book looks like so much fun. Mia certainly thinks so!

About the book

A Dinosaur Ate My Sister is the first book selected in the Marcus Rashford Book Club.

‘The perfect story to escape into and find adventure. Pooja is super talented and I’m a big fan!’ – Marcus Rashford MBE

This brilliantly illustrated, laugh-out-loud, wacky adventure through time by Pooja Puri is the perfect blend of The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy and Jurassic Park. 

Before you start reading, there are a few things you should know:

1. I, Esha Verma, am a genius inventor extraordinaire.
2. There is nothing I cannot invent. This includes words. 
3. I did not mean to send my sister back to the Age of the Dinosaurs. That was HER OWN FAULT (Mum and Dad, if you’re reading this, please take note).

Esha Verma, her snotty apprentice Broccoli and his cunning pet tortoise have a dream. They are going to win the legendary Brain Trophy – the ultimate inventing prize. This year’s entry: A TIME MACHINE.

But the day before the competition, Esha’s IGNORAMUS big sister hijacks the time machine and is lost in the Cretaceous age. 

With help from a new recruit for The Office of Time, Esha and Broccoli will have to face hungry dinosaurs, mysterious black holes and malfunctioning inventions to get them back in time.

The Unexpected Tale of Bastien Bonlivre by Clare Povey, reviewed by Rosa

This book was amazing especially the last few chapters, they were breath-taking, gripping and indescribably good!  Bastien Bonlivre is a jewel of my bookcase that I will read again and again.

The storyline of this book is very twisty. It is about a tween boy who has an amazing talent for writing, soon after his birthday his parents are killed and, strangely other writers are going missing too. He and Theo need to stop the kidnappers before it’s too late.

The fact that all the boys at the orphanage all had magnificent talents was a great part and they all were loyal friends to Bastien and each other. The language used in this book was fabulous and set the scene vividly in my mind!  

My name is Rosa and I am nine, I live in Hove with my cat Minty, annoying brother Otto and my parents. I love reading and writing. Writing is not just popping words on a page, to me it’s a step into a new world, everything is amazing and crazy, nothing is boring and grey. Reading is one of my total passions. My favourite books are usually mystery/action and include The Percy Jackson series, Harry Potter and some other smashing books. I have also written two books: Story Le Jenrale; and Paris at its Worst. Currently I am writing another, it is a picture book this time and is called Don’t Zigzag the Zoo.

About the book:

The open door felt like an invitation, or a trap. Bastien wasn’t sure which, but with no other choice, he stepped inside…and hoped he’d make it out again alive.

Bastien Bonlivre is a boy with a big imagination, determined to finish the story his parents started, left to him in a red notebook. 

On the other side of Paris, bestselling author Olivier Odieux is struggling to complete his latest novel. Along with his villainous brothers, he is masterminding his greatest plot yet…one that will spread fear throughout the city and beyond.

What connects these two stories is a dangerous secret, a hidden mystery and an unexpected race across Paris for the truth. Can Bastien and his friends Alice, Theo and Sami be brave enough to stop Olivier stealing the ending they deserve? A classic adventure story about friendship, hope, bravery and the power of imagination.

The House on the Edge by Alex Cotter, reviewed by Evie

‘The House on the Edge’, by Alex Cotter, is all about Faith Walker, a 14 year old girl who lives in a rather precarious place. Her house, The Lookout, is situated on the edge of a cliff. Slowly, the cliff is crumbling and splitting their house in two. Faith needs to take care of her mum and brother, Noah, as well as protecting her house. With the help of Sam, her new-found friend, Faith goes on a journey of emotions to save her home.

‘The House on the Edge’ an an exhilarating read, which shows you how easily everything in life can suddenly change. The story is full of twists and turns which keep you on the edge of your seat. It is emotional at times, and you really feel for Faith. At other times, the story really shocks you – especially when everything unravels towards the end! ‘The House on the Edge’ is a really realistic and relatable book – you can easily put yourself in Faith’s position. It is an absolutely amazing book, I couldn’t put it down!

Another thing that I thought was really clever about this book was the little drawings of cracks on every page. They were a constant reminder of the lurking danger, that Faith’s home could be destroyed at any moment. They really helped to keep the tension going!

I would definitely recommend this book to anyone aged 8 and up. The feeling it gave me of having absolutely no idea what was going to happen next reminded me of the feelings I had when reading Michael Morpurgo’s ‘Kensuke’s Kingdom.’ If you liked that then you would love ‘The House on the Edge’! Alex Cotter is a very talented author and this is an amazing adventure book which I would thoroughly recommend. ★★★★★ 5 stars! 

Hi, I’m Evie and I live in Maidstone with my mum, dad and little sister, Freya. I’m 10 years old and my favourite things are reading, drawing, pandas and doughnuts! I’m the illustrator for my school book club newspaper, and I’m rarely found without a book in my hand – my absolute favourite is Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. I’m not sure how many books I have read in my life but my favourites are all the Harry Potters and The cursed child – I loved it !!! , The boy at the back of the class,  The star outside my window , Evie and the Animals. I’m so excited to be part of The Book Nook Review Crew

About the book:

A tense thriller that’s impossible to put down – perfect for fans of Emma Carroll and Fleur Hitchcock.

Where has Faith’s dad gone? Why has he left his family living in an old house perched on a crumbling cliff top? A crack has appeared in the cliff and Faith watches anxiously as it gets bigger and bigger each day… Her brother is obsessed with the sea ghosts he claims live in the basement, and when he disappears as well, Faith starts to believe in the ghosts too. Can she find her brother and bring her father back before everything she cares about falls into the pitiless sea below?A great mystery with real heart, from a captivating new voice in middle-grade fiction.With cover illustration by Kathrin Honesta and neon finishes.

Maggie Blue and the Dark World by Anna Goodall, reviewed by Tegan

This book took me a few chapters to get in to but once I was hooked, I couldn’t put the book down. The book follows a girl called Maggie who sees another girl being kidnapped by a wolf and taken into another world. She really likes the girl, Ida, and decides to go into the world and get her back.

This books is good for twelve and under because of the type of story it is and the language in the book. However, older readers are obviously able to read this and enjoy the story. The tale reminds me of a mixture of Stranger Things and other sci-fi stories. Maggie is also part of the LGBTQ community, she doesn’t like boys and likes Ida.

I enjoyed reading this book and I would recommend it to anyone who likes mystery, other worlds, and science fiction. I hope that a sequel comes out because the end made me wanting to read more. 

Hi, my name is Tegen and I am fourteen years old. I enjoy reading book genres like fantasy, crime and adventure. Some of my favourite authors are Holly Black, Alice Oseman, Stephen King and John Green. My other interests include playing chess, horse riding and writing. My favourite quote from a book is ‘that’s the thing about pain, it demands to be felt’ from the fault in our stars.’ 

About the book:

A thrilling tale of friendship and courage – Maggie Blue, strongwilled and isolated, sees her enemy from school taken through a window to a parallel world by one of their teachers and determines to follow, whatever the cost. With the help of irascible cat, Hoagy, they discover a world where happiness is being stolen – and they must do everything they can not to be caught up in its web of destruction.  

Maggie Blue is an outsider, both at home and at school. She lives with her eccentric aunt Esme, and has no friends other than the irascible Hoagy, a stray cat who can talk to her. When Magge sees Ida, her foe from school, being taken through a window to another world by one of their teachers who has transformed into a wolf, she is determined to save her, whatever the cost. But the dark world is full of danger, a place where happiness is valued above all else, and Maggie discovers that her role is far more important than anyone could have guessed. A thrilling and gripping tale of friendship, courage and the power of being yourself.

The Wild Before by Piers Torday, reviewed by Catherine

A ‘Terribleness’ has struck. Little-Hare is the only one who can save his world from devastation… or is he? With the help of his sister, Run-Hare, and an eager group of farm animal offspring, the planet might be in for a chance. But is a chance enough to save Mooncalf, the silver cow who is fading away like the sun on the horizon?

The Wild Before is a beautiful story about friendship, courage and climate change. It proves that you don’t need to be big to be brave and that every action you take has an impact on something. It’s interesting how Little-Hare was always shadowed by his older sister, so after he found Mooncalf he started to exist more as ‘Little-Hare’ as opposed to ‘Run-Hare’s brother’.

This book has wonderful descriptions of the countryside that make you feel like you’re one of the characters fighting Mooncalf’s plague. It’s really sweet that when Little-Hare discovers Mooncalf he promises that he will take care of her, even though he’s just a young hare.

The Wild Before is the prequel to The Last Wild trilogy which features Kester Jaynes, the boy who can talk to animals, and I think they sound really good. If you haven’t read them then reading this book will almost definitely make you want to add them to your reading list.

I like animals, playing with my sister, and all types of books. I also love playing football, going on walks and identifying birds. My favourite species of bird is a firecrest because I love the orange stripe on their heads.

About the book:

Can one hare alone change the world? The captivating animal adventure destined to be loved by readers of all ages. A stunning hardback edition from the bestselling, much-loved author, Piers Torday.

One stormy, snowy night, a pure silver calf is born on an ordinary muddy farm by the light of the moon. This is the legendary Mooncalf, whose arrival has been foretold since the dawn of time.

According to a dream passed down from animal to animal, if the calf dies, a great Terribleness will come – rising seas, a plague, skies raining down fire, the end of all things… and Little Hare vows to persuade all the animals to protect Mooncalf, whatever the cost.

But it’s easier said than done, and soon Little Hare realises that he is the only one who can save the world…

A stunning prequel to the award-winning, bestselling The Last Wild trilogy, touching on timely themes of climate change, friendship, and above all, hope.

Maria’s Island by Victoria Hislop, reviewed by Niamh

Maria’s Island is the first children’s book by Victoria Hislop, and is based on her best-selling novel The Island for adults. The main character is called Maria, who tells her granddaughter the untold story of her childhood growing-up on the Greek island of Plaka. Her home is near the island of Spinalonga, where people with a disease called leprosy have to live for the rest of their lives. 

The illustrations by Gill Smith are beautiful and help to bring the story to life, with bright, vibrant colours.

I think that the book is an important story to be told because leprosy is still a real thing and impacts on people in developing countries without the healthcare that they need, even though there is now a cure. 

Maria’s Island provides an important lesson about never giving up hope and I found it really interesting how badly people treated someone with leprosy, even somebody in their own family! The book is fiction, but the island of Spinalonga was where people with leprosy in real life had to move away to and leave their family and friends behind.

There were some upsetting bits in the book, and I would recommend reading it first with a grown-up who can explain some parts. I enjoyed this book and would like to ready more children’s books by Victoria Hislop if she writes anymore.

Perfect for fans of: When Fishes Flew by Michael Morpurgo, andAfter the War: From Auschwitz to Ambleside by Tom Palmer.

Hello! My name is Niamh and I’m aged 9. I’m an avid reader and some of my favourite authors and illustrators are Laura Ellen Anderson, Steven Butler, Steven Lenton, Sophy Henn and Sophie Anderson. I want to be an author and illustrator when I’m older and I love to write and draw in my spare time. I like to recommend books to my friends at school and believe you can never have too many books, even though I’m running out of space on my bookshelves! 

About the book:

A dramatic and moving story set in the same world as the international bestseller The Island from the celebrated novelist Victoria Hislop.  
The absorbing story of the Cretan village of Plaka and the tiny, deserted island of Spinalonga – Greece’s former leper colony – is told to us by Maria Petrakis, one of the children in the original version of The Island . She tells us of the ancient and misunderstood disease of leprosy, exploring the themes of stigma, shame and the treatment of those who are different, which are as relevant for children as adults. Gill Smith’s rich, full-colour illustrations will transport the reader to the timeless and beautiful Greek landscape and Mediterranean seascape.

The Howling Hag Mystery by Nicki Thornton, Reviewed by Aysha

As a fan of mystery, action and adventure stories, the Howling Hag has become one of my favourite stories, along with some other books! It’s great for ages 7-8+ and I would recommend this book to people who love reading a good old mystery book sitting on the couch. Like me, you won’t be able to stop reading it!

The Howling Hag mystery is about two people (well three, if you count the talking cat, Nightshade.) Raven Charming, Mortimer Scratch (but he likes to be called Morti) and Nightshade (the talking cat). Raven knows that her family is the only magical family in Twinhills. Her sister Rookery can move things with her mind and eyes and her mum can detect magic. Sadly, Raven does not have an affinity for magic but will that change?

In Twinhills Primary, some unusual things have been going on and people think that a mysterious witch, The Howling Hag, is causing it. Is there another magical family in Twinhills? As Raven, Morti and Nightshade wander into investigating the case of the Howling Hag. Can they solve the case before it’s too late?

About the book

From the author of The Last Chance Hotel comes a brand new fantastical mystery series! ‘Blending magical adventure with Golden Age crime mystery, this delightfully atmospheric spin-off from the author of The Last Chance Hotel confirms Thornton’s place as one of the most original children’s writers around.’ WATERSTONES When there’s a murder in the village and a hag is heard howling at the local inn, secret witch Raven Charming realizes she could have a rival – one who practises the worst kind of magic.

With the help of amateur sleuth, Mortimer Scratch, and Nightshade, a talking cat with a feline sense of detection, she sets out to solve what’s been going on …

A magical murder mystery perfect for fans of Robin Stevens and Harry Potter

Book 1 in a new spin-off series from the author of The Last Chance Hotel, chosen as Waterstones Book of the Month and nominated for the CILIP Carnegie Award

Features fan-favourite Nightshade as the star of her very own mystery!

Hello my name is Aysha and I’m 10 years old. I love reading, sports and baking. I like to read mystery and adventure books. I play two instruments the piano and the tenor horn which I enjoy. In my spare time I like to draw. 

Evie and the Animals by Matt Haig, reviewed by Aletha

Evie and the Animals is a thrilling adventurous book about an eleven-year-old girl called Evie who can talk to animals!!!  Her ‘Talent’ leads her into brilliant adventures and difficult situations. Evie and the Animals is one of the best books I have ever read and that is saying something!  My two favourite characters are Evie and a dog called Scruff who is really cute and funny.  One of my favourite parts of the book is when Evie is helping out at the Zoo and a boy falls in the lion enclosure.  I won’t give away what happens next but  it’s very dramatic!!! Whilst reading this book I was so excited that I couldn’t put the book down!!! 

Aletha is 7 and three-quarters. She lives in Brighton and has a guinea pig called Bella. Her favourite authors are Jacqueline Wilson, Roald Dahl, Jill Murphy and J.K Rowling. The fictional world she would most like to live in is the Land of Roar and the character she would most like to be is Evie from the book Evie and the Animals. The character she would least to be stuck in a lift with is Draco Malfoy.

About the book

WHEN EVIE TALKS TO ANIMALS . . . THEY TALK BACK.

Eleven-year-old Evie has a talent: a supertalent. She can HEAR what animals are thinking.

She promises to keep it top secret, but then an evil pet-thief strikes.

Every animal in town is in danger and only by DARING TO BE HERSELF can Evie save her furry and feathered friends.

A Glasshouse of Stars by Shirley Marr, reviewed by Leontine

Three ways to describe this book are: heart-warming, beautiful and inspiring.

At first it was a bit confusing as the style of writing the author, Shirley Marr, used was one I hadn’t come across before. But I soon got used to it and started to really enjoy the story.

Meixing Lim ( the main character) had very strong and relatable feelings that I thought fitted into the story perfectly. The characters were amazing! Like Meixing they were also very realistic, with really well thought out personalities.

It’s a story bursting with big feelings about the life of a girl moving to a new land. 

It’s a sad story but also (like I said before) heart- warming with a satisfying ending.

I didn’t know what to expect as it wasn’t like the books I read most of the time and for the same reason I wasn’t sure I would like it, I was definitely proven wrong.

An unforgettable story.

My name is Leontine, I’m 10 years old and I live in Hove with my French mum, my Italian dad and my annoying little brother, who is 7 years old. I love reading books especially books about adventure, magic, myths and mysteries. I also enjoy reading comics with my brother.

About the book

Meixing Lim and her family have arrived in the New Land to begin a New Life. Everything is scary and different. Their ever-changing house is confusing and she finds it hard to understand the other children at school. Yet in her magical glasshouse, with a strange black-and-white cat, Meixing finds a place to dream.

But then Meixing’s life comes crashing down in unimaginable ways. Only her two new and unexpected friends can help. By being brave together, they will learn how to make the stars shine brighter. 

A Glasshouse of Stars is based on the author’s childhood and beautifully illustrates the importance of friendship, kindness and love.

 “Told in a unique second-person narrative, this is an exceptionally beautiful and lyrical debut, based on the author’s own experiences”. Picked as Editor’s Choice by Fiona Noble in her June Bookseller previews.

“Heart-twisting and hopeful, bursting with big feelings and gentle magic.” Jessica Townsend, New York Times bestselling author of the Nevermoor series

“A rare and beautiful masterpiece; deeply heartfelt, dreamily magical, and glitteringly hopeful. I adored it!” Sophie Anderson, bestselling author of The House with Chicken Legs

Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths by Maisie Chan, reviewed by James

Danny Chung Does Not Do Maths is a heart-warming story about a young boy (Danny) growing around his maths champion family, and when his nai nai (grandma) arrives from China, it doesn’t get any better! Why doesn’t he fit in with the rest of his family? All Danny wants to do is draw mythical creatures and hang out with his best friend Rav, but his parents have him baby-sitting (or grandma-sitting in this case) Nai Nai for the entire holidays! Maybe this is a good time to get to know each other? Or will they just grow apart even more? I would recommend this book to anyone 8+ who wants a light, heart-warming story to read when they’re feeling down. It is an extremely well written book that I thoroughly enjoyed!

I am 13 years old and I have Type 1 diabetes.  I like reading, experimenting with new things, playing football and I support Arsenal. At school my favourite subject is Drama.

About the book

‘DANNY CHUNG DOES NOT DO MATHS is both heartwarming and hilarious, filled with characters you’ll instantly love’ Jamie Smart, author and illustrator of BUNNY VS MONKEY

‘Funny, heartwarming and packed with fascinating snippets of Chinese culture. I loved reading about the intergenerational relationship between Danny and his grandmother. We all need a Nai Nai in our lives’ Jen Carney, author and illustrator of THE ACCIDENTAL DIARY OF B.U.G.

Eleven-year-old Danny Chung loves drawing more than anything – certainly more than maths, which, according to his dad and everyone else, is what he is ‘supposed’ to be good at. He also loves having his own room where he can draw in peace, so his life is turned upside down when a surprise that he’s been promised turns out to be his little, wrinkly, ex-maths-champion grandmother from China. What’s worse, Nai Nai has to share his room, AND she takes the top bunk!

Nai Nai can’t speak a word of English, which doesn’t make things easy for Danny when he is charged with looking after her during his school holidays. Babysitting Nai Nai is NOT what he wants to be doing! Before long though it becomes clear to Danny that there is more to Nai Nai than meets the eye, and that they have more in common that he thought possible …