Peanut Jones and the End of the Rainbow by Rob Biddulph, reviewed by Aysha (12)

I absolutely loved this book. I got it for Christmas and I couldn’t put it down because it is a thrilling book to read. This book is great for readers who love adventure stories and books with illustrations. 

“This book is funny and definitely one of my favourites.”

Aysha (12)

This book is the third in the Rob Biddulph’s series and it is all about Peanut Jones who is at the end of her journey to beat Mr White and make The Illustrated City wonderful again with the help of her friends. But when Mr White decides to get Peanut Jones’s mum involved, now she’s in terrible danger. Will Peanut Jones be able to save her mum and also stop Mr White?

My favourite character is definitely Rockwell as over the series you can see how much he has grown to become the character he is in the third book. At the start of the series, he was quite shy and scared but at the end of the series he got braver and used his knowledge to his advantage. 

This book is funny and definitely one of my favourites. The illustrations are phenomenal and you can tell that he has put a lot of work into making the illustrations come to life with the different colours. 

(Cover illustration by Aysha)

The Stories Grandma Forgot (and How I Found Them) by Nadine Aisha Jassat, reviewed by Leontine (13)

 Nyla was four when her dad died. Eight years later she and her grandmother go to the supermarket and her grandmother swears she saw her dad. But how could that be true when he’s dead?

“I loved the relationship and unbreakable bond between Nyla and her grandmother.”

Leontine (13)

Determined to fulfil a promise to her grandmother (not only her grandmother but also her best friend) Nyla sets on a journey to find her dad and hopefully find out a little more about herself, about who she is, along the way.

This enthralling book will get rooting for Nyla and itching to uncover the truth about her father. 

This book is a story full of self-discovery and good friendships. I really liked this book because it was in a format I hadn’t seen before, written in short lines like you would expect a poem to be (which I later found out to be called a verse novel). I also loved the relationship and unbreakable bond between Nyla and her grandmother.

I would recommend this book to mystery lovers, in the age range of 9-11 years old but older readers can also love this book just as much.

Scareground by Angela Kecojevic, reviewed by Oliver (11)

Scareground is a book filled with suspense and mystery. Set in Victorian Britain we meet Nancy, a girl, who was adopted 12 years ago by her adoptive parents, the Crumpets. 

“A spine-chilling adventure full of danger and magic.”

Oliver (11)

She lives in Greenwich and has a best friend called Arthur Green – a child who was far more privileged than herself but who also has his own problems and fears.  

However, Nancy’s whole life changes when a fair comes to town. Who are her real parents and why was she left abandoned in the park 12 years ago?

Determined to find out her past histories, Nancy becomes involved in a spine-chilling adventure full of danger and magic.  A fantastic story from start to finish – a perfect book for a child aged 10 to 12 years who enjoys a spooky read.

Safiyyah’s War by Hiba Noor Khan, reviewed by Leontine (12)

Follow this thrilling book filled to the brim with awe inspiring courage as Safiyyah roams the streets of Paris working to keep Jews safe, smuggling them away, handing out fake documents and more. All while also dodging suspicions and the prying eyes of the German soldiers.

“It was very interesting to read about WW2 and how even people who weren’t fighting on the frontlines were helping in the war.”

Leontine (12)

 Set in the streets of Paris, Safiyyah lives in a mosque with her family but when the war starts unfolding in her city and day by day Jews are being arrested, Safiyyah is desperate to help. This desire increases when her father is arrested for aiding persecuted Jews. Safiyyah ends up joining the Resistance and completing her father’s work in his absence.

Based on a true story, this book helps uncover the fundamental role of the Muslim community at the Grand Mosque of Paris in saving Jews.

 I really enjoyed this book as it was very interesting to read about WW2 and how even people who weren’t fighting on the frontlines were helping in the war.

I think this book is good for people who would like to learn more about how World War 2 impacted people’s daily lives.

All in all, this was a really good and thrilling book. Well done Hiba Noor Khan for her amazing debut!

The Final Year by Matt Goodfellow, reviewed by Oliver (11)

The Final year is a story based on the last year of primary school- Year 6. This book is great for children who are about to start Year 6 or who are about to start secondary school because you can relate to what you did in year 6.

For me, every page in this book made me reminisce because I’ve just left Year 6.

“I give this book 5 out of 5 as it is written in verse and truly reflects the dilemmas and issues linked with the final year at primary school.”

Oliver (11)

The main character is a boy called Nate who is about to start his final year at primary school.   However, for the first time since nursery, Nate and his best friend are in different classes.  His world is turned inside out when his friend then develops a friendship with the school bully. This is made worse when Nate’s brother is rushed to hospital.  This story is full of SATs and friendship worries. Will Nate find another friend within his new class? Will he tame the beast inside?

I give this book 5 out of 5 as it is written in verse and truly reflects the dilemmas and issues linked with the final year at primary school.

#ReviewCrew Niamh’s 24 Best Books of 2023

One of our lovely team of kid book reviewers, 11 year old Niamh, has gathered together her top 24 books of the year in a wonderful Review Crew Advent Calendar!

There is a great range of books, suitable for ages 5 through to teen. So enjoy Niamh’s wonderful reviews and illustrations, and if you like what you read, they’re all available to buy on this page (worldwide shipping available).

Enjoy the first nine entries below….

Finding Wonder by Lauren St John, reviewed by Aysha (12)

Finding Wonder is a brilliant book and it should definitely be on your to-read list!

The story is about a girl called Roo. After the unexpected death of her father, she moves into a wee caravan with her Aunt Joni. Then something extraordinary happens, she discovers that before his death, her father bought a winning lottery ticket.

“My favourite character has to be Aunt Joni as she gives a warm, calming feel to the book.”

Aysha (12)

Deciding to spend the money on something she loves, when Roo sees that her favorite horse, Wonder Boy has gone on the market, she decides to buy the horse. However, before she can collect Wonder, the horse goes missing and within weeks, more famous horses go missing.

Roo and her Aunt Joni decide to investigate. Will they find Wonder Boy and the other horses?

I think this book is for ages 9+. I adored reading this mystery.  My favourite character has to be Aunt Joni as she gives a warm, calming feel to the book. 

Tapper Watson and the Quest for the Nemo Machine by Claire Fayers, reviewed by Niamh (11)

Tapper Watson and the Quest for the Nemo Machine is a thrilling adventure through space by Claire Fayers, who’s best known for the Accidental Pirates book series. It is illustrated by the brilliant Becka Moor who has drawn some of my favourite books like the Mickey and the Animal Spies trilogy and the Libby series. 

The story features Tapper, a boy from the planet Eris who has been sent to space by his uncle. He is accompanied by Argo and Belladonna who are there to look after him. On an unplanned trip to Earth, they meet Fern Shakespeare, her dad and a talking plant called Morse. 

“It’s so imaginative and funny. I absolutely adored how Claire Fayers created so many planets in this book, and who wouldn’t love a book with lobster mobsters and talking plants?!”

Niamh (11)

When Mr Shakespeare loses his memory, Tapper and the others must travel to outer space on an adventure to find the mysterious Nemo Machine to restore his memory, but it isn’t easy doing so when you’re being chased by two lobster mobsters armed with ray guns that turn you into stone!  

Tapper Watson and the Quest for the Nemo Machine is a brilliant, unique story full of twists and non-stop excitement. I love this book because it’s so imaginative and funny. I absolutely adored how Claire Fayers created so many planets in this book, and who wouldn’t love a book with lobster mobsters and talking plants?!

I particularly enjoyed the exciting chase scenes through space, my heart was pounding I was so excited reading it! I also liked the Greek Mythology names (e.g Scylla) and references. 

This book is ideal for people who love space adventures, imaginative characters and thrilling twists! 

Perfect for fans of: The Peanut Jones series by Rob Biddulph. 

Friends and Traitors by Helen Peters, reviewed by Aysha (12)

I think everyone should get to read this Fantabulous book (that is not a word I use often).

“I absolutely loved this book. It taught me so much about World War II and stuff you don’t get taught at school.” 

Aysha (12)

Nancy suddenly finds herself working for a girl’s school in Stanbrook where she encounters a girl named Sidney about her age who has just moved here. They are positive that something is going on in the stables with Mr Armitage, the owner of the house and Miss Taylor, a sports car driver. As Nancy and Sidney explore the house, they discover even more secrets and shocking news. Can they figure out what they are planning before it is too late?

I absolutely loved this book. It taught me so much about World War II and stuff you don’t get taught at school. 

This book includes World War II, Mystery + Detective.

I think this book is suitable for ages 11 upwards. 

Lottie Brooks’s Totally Disastrous School Trip by Katie Kirby, reviewed by Emily (13)

This book is Katie Kirby’s fourth book in the Lottie Brooks series and doesn’t disappoint.  Filled with her usual humour and catastrophic storyline, it was a book which entertained me throughout.

“Lottie Brooks never fails to help me see that my life is far more stable than hers.”

Emily (13)

Lottie Brooks is a twelve-year old girl who stumbles through her teenage years with the help of her friends and hamsters.  This time the novel is based around Lottie going on a residential trip to Camp Firefly with her class.  Separated from her best friend, Lottie attempts to challenge herself by abseiling, raft building and walking along a sensory trail blindfolded.  This story is full of friendship dramas with hilarious consequences. Lottie has to also navigate around the mean girls from a private school who are also staying at Camp Firefly as well as suffer the outcome from having her diary read out loud.  

Lottie Brooks never fails to help me see that my life is far more stable than hers.  A great book for 11 years and up if you like laugh out loud storylines. A must read for anyone about to embark on a school residential trip with their classmates.