Mr Holford's site for English

Book Reviews

Read what you enjoy – not just what you’re told to read!
This is the place to write about what you’ve been reading. Reading will make you a better reader! And a better writer. You’ll become a more informed person and better at communicating powerfully and intelligently. These are good things. Read more. Read what you want to read, not just what they make you read at school.
Okay, so some of you said you found it difficult to find books that interested you. Well – that’s one of the objectives of this website. If you each write about something you enjoyed, there will probably be someone else who finds your comments inspiring enough to want to read the book yourself. On the other hand, you may find this list published by the Board of Studies helpful:
Note: Stage 4 is for Years 7 & 8; Stage 5 is for Years 9 & 10
Some of you were worried that you are not very fast readers. So go for one of the picture books. Yep – you read it right – PICTURE BOOKS. You will need to study picture books in English (and some other subjects) right to the end of Year 12. There are some brilliant ones out there: sophisticated and quite adult. Not all picture books are suitable for children! There is also non-fiction, poetry, and films for you to consider too. So no excuses – get reading, listening, viewing and WRITING!
Some of you were asking how to write a book review today. There’s some good instructions at – plenty of ideas in there for writine a good review!


  1. The Sisters’ Grimm: Once Upon A Crime. Book 4. Michael Buckley,
    When Puck needs urgent help from his people– the fairy’s. The Grimm’s race to New York City– the girls’ old home– to seek out the heart of Everafters. Daphne and Sabrina have once again uncovered a great secret. Their mother was a secret fairytale detective in New York, helping all Everafters that needed help. When the girls’ are identified and celebrated the fairy king mysteriously dies of poison. The girls are shocked but will stop at nothing to figure out what has happened. Sabrina only wants to be normal again and pretend that the Everafters’ had never existed, will she embrace her ancestries’ work, or move on? While in New York they make friendships– one of which is a fake! There is a traitor helping to conceal their parents, they are helping the organisation ‘The Scarlet Hand’. When the Grimm Sisters’ figure out it is one of their mothers’ closest friends they are shocked. Dangerous things plot behind the Grimms’ back as they race to figure out the secrets of New York City.

    Comment by Renee — June 5, 2012 @ 8:42 pm | Reply

    • Hi Renee – great to see that you are still reading for fun … keep it up!

      Comment by peterholford — June 10, 2012 @ 4:30 pm | Reply

  2. I read “Cat Among the Pigeons” by Agatha Christie. It was a very good book and the plot was very good. There were many clues that were hidden and the story unfolded beneath you but you never found out the murderer until the very end. It kept you guessing and think all the way. It is about a school called Meadowbank and it is one of the finest girls school in England. There is a Prince Ali Yusef and he has jewels but he has to get them out of the country. Then a revolution breaks out and he tries to escape but dies in a plane crash. He, entrusted his jewels to his best friend and his best friend hid them in his sisters luggage. His sisters daughter, Jennifer, starts her first year in Meadowbank and has unknowingly, the jewel’s in her possession. There have been burglaries in her house to find these precious stones. Then a murder is committed in the sports pavilion. A gardener who is actually a secret agent and a police officer work together to find the culprit only to find there is a cat among the pigeons. The murderer was one of them. Jennifer is a good tennis player and thinks her racket is unbalanced. Then, a mysterious woman says she is a friend of Jennifer’s aunty and gives Jennifer a tennis racket from her aunty and takes the old one. What the woman doesn’t realise is that Jennifer and her friend Julia swapped rackets. Then, another murder in the sports pavilion outbreaks, at the same time of night. Meadowbank starts to lose students and the detectives work hard to get to the bottom of the mystery. But a french mistress has been hiding something. Then she is murdered, but why? A girl is kidnapped, or so everyone is lead to. One night Julia discovers the big secret. What everything is all about. What everyone is after. She takes it to Hercule Priot another detective and he digs to the bottom of the mystery. Who is the murderer, or is there more than one? Who is the kidnapper and where are the jewel’s?
    Cat Among The Pigeons is great mystery book. There are many red herrings in the book and can be very misleading at times. Christie has created a great murder mystery of whodunnit in this book and keeps you on edge until the edge. If you love a good mystery read this book.

    Comment by Sarah Hamparsum — March 21, 2012 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

  3. A Waltz for Matilda by Jackie French is a beautiful story with parts of Australia’s true history mixed in. It is fairly easy to read and comprehend and has the best story line! It is set in 1894-1915 in Australia. It is about an 11 girl named Matilda O’Halloran who has to work in the city slums in a jam factory because she is the one responsible for her and her mothers health, whilst at the factory she meets a 14 year old boy named Tommy who becomes a life-long friend. When her mother dies she goes out to look for her father in the bush, she finds out that he lives on a beautiful property which one day becomes her own. The ‘boss’ of the town has an unfair hatred towards Matilda’s father and he is the man that causes Mr O’Hallorans death. When Matilda has to deal with the responsibilities of someone twice her age she soon explores her land and finds an ill Aboriginal. ‘Auntie Love’ shows Matilda how to understand and listen to the land. Auntie is much more than a friend to Matilda (as you will find out if you read the book).

    Matilda is loved by most people because of her willingness to learn and understand all about the land, the people and the animals.

    She is apart of the land and the town Drinkwater where her fathers farm is in more ways than one. She has a dream to pursue and a nation to change but can she do it?

    I would recommend this book to people the ages of 12 and up because it does use raciest terms and does describe violence.

    Overall this was a fantastic book and i would rate it 4 and a half stars. 🙂

    Comment by Rachel Jones — February 18, 2012 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

    • Well done Rachel – you’re the first one this year!

      Comment by peterholford — February 18, 2012 @ 5:57 pm | Reply

  4. Maggie Goes on a Diet.

    Controversial children’s book, “Maggie goes on a Diet” is a story about a young girl and how she ‘transforms’ her life and becomes a hero by going on a diet and loosing weight. The book is aimed at children as young as six and could change the way our youth look at their bodies and could potentially be a huge problem for humanity.

    Parents and experts have condemned the book as sending a dangerous message to vulnerable youngsters and encouraging eating disorders. Author of the book, American writer and Father Paul M. Kramer explains the book in it’s plot summary being about a pudgy 14 year old girl who goes on a diet and changes from being overweight and self conscious to being a ‘normal sized’ girl who becomes the school soccer star and through time her exercise and hard work makes her more confident and develops a high self image.

    Readers understand how it is important to maintain a healthy weight by exercising and eating their vegetables and fruit but the thought of a child on a diet is concerning.

    This book is inappropriate and healthy message to societies youth. It portrays the message that no diet equals unpopular and unsuccessful. What little girl out there does not play a sport? Of course children who read this book will get the message that if you go on a diet you will become better/the best at your sport. What if a child tries this and fails? What will that do to their confidence? Six year old children, going on diets, being concerned about their wight and doing everything that Maggie does in this book could ultimately increase the rate of eating disorders and Anorexia in kindergarten and Primary School Students.

    In reality shrinking yourself down to a lower dress size does not guarantee a happy ending. The front cover of an overweight pigtailed unhappy looking girl holding up a sparkly dress that would fit somebody half her size looking in the mirror at a slimmed down version of herself. Maybe this book can be judged by its cover.

    Olivia Eichorn

    Comment by Liv — August 23, 2011 @ 2:34 pm | Reply

  5. Tomorrow when the war began

    Tomorrow when the war began is a story by John Marsden. John Marsden is an Australian writer, he was born in victoria in 1950.
    The book is an action packed adventure about an Australian teenaged girl called Ellie who gets pulled into a war when her friends and herself go on a camping trip in the middle of the bush to a place called Hell.

    Ellie (the main character) is an 18 year-old who has lived on a cattle farm for all of her life. She is one of those girls who learns to drive at a young age, helps her Dad fix fences and uses the chainsaw to cut up fallen down trees.

    Corrie is Ellie’s best friend. They have always been best friends and they do everything together.
    Homer is wild and always getting in trouble. He is one of those guys who gets arrested weekly. He lives on the property next to Ellie’s so he and Ellie grew up together like a brother and sister.

    Ellie’s other friends who help her along the way are Kevin, Fi, Lee and Robyn.

    The war starts when Ellie and all her friends go on a camping trip . When they get back to their homes they find their houses empty and no one around. They soon realise that a war has started and the only safe place for them is Hell.

    This book tells you the story of how the teenagers have to live, eat, sleep and fight to save their country and their families.

    For me there wasn’t a best part I liked it all.

    I found this book very intriguing and hard to put down. I recommend it to everyone over 13 years of age as it has swearing and it describes violence.

    This book is very well written and goes into a lot of detail to explain and describe what is going on. The genre is war and adventure.

    The end of the book leaves you wondering and wanting more. I would defiantly read it over and over again

    Tomorrow when the War Began is the first book of six in the tomorrow series and nine including the Ellie chronicles.
    Over all I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

    I rate it five stars.

    Comment by Ellie Rowlings — July 20, 2011 @ 11:31 am | Reply

  6. The Last Muster
    By Leonie Norrington

    Set in the NT in the late 1990’s, this book is about the adventures of two friends, Red, an Aboriginal teenager, and her best friend, Shane, who is the son of the manager of their home, Turkey Flats Station. One day the are up exploring a back part of the station, Rochter’s Pass; a bluff on the red mountain range on the station; when a massive Quarter horse stallion creeps up behind him. Shane, who thinks that it is red, trying to scare him, spins around, only to see the stallion. He still had sugar cubes in his pocket from earlier that morning, when he was training his own horse, Chocolate. When Shane tries to offer the stallion a sugar cube, he knocks it out of his hand and starts trying to attack him. Terrified, Shane scrambles up into a little cave. Soon after, the stallion looses interest and leads his mob of mares and a few foals away at a gallop. WHen he tries to tell Red, she only shakes her head, thinking he is going crazy. When they arrive back to the homestead, Shane tells his father about the stallion. “Roman. Killiara station quarterhorse. Mad as a cut snake. Bolted from the Opium Springs camp draft ’bout ten years ago. Took every bloody mare in the cap. Million bucks in horseflesh gone in one night. Going to have to shoot the bastard or he’ll bolt with our mares.” So Shane goes to tell Red. Then one night a few days later, Shane is laying awake. He had put a lick block for the mob of horses the night before with Red, in the hope that the horses would come down from the hills and stay down for a while. Suddenly he hears dingoes howling, and they sound close to him. Being only an hour or so from sun-up, Shane decides that he will go and check that the foals are OK and that the dingoes haven’t got them. So he goes up to the yards and catches Chocolate. He doesn’t bother to saddle her, as that will make more noise when he is riding. Once he gets out to the horses, Roman comes over to him, and then Shane realises that Chocolate is on heat. Normally, this would be a disaster; but Shane cleverly gets Roman into the yards by always keeping his horse just out of Roman’s reach. Over the next few days Shane, Red, Uncle Lofty (Red’s Grandfather) and Shane’s father all work together to break in Roman. A week or so later, Shane’s father gets a phone call that the company that owns Turkey Flats wants to join it together with two neighbouring stations and they have to be off within a week. This really annoys everyone. At the end of the book Shane and Red are fighting to get Turkey Flats back.

    I really enjoyed reading The Last Muster. I thought that it had a really abrupt ending but that is the only thing I could pick on it for. I would highly recommend it to anyone who enjoys reading about horses and station life. I award of 4 and 1/2 stars out of 5.

    Comment by Katie C — June 14, 2011 @ 8:07 pm | Reply

  7. I just finished reading Jillaroo by Rachel Treasure. After a terrible argument with her father over their family property, “Waters Meeting”, Rebecca Saunders throws her swag in the ute and heads north with her three dogs. A job as a jillaroo takes her into the rowdy world of B&S balls, Bundy Rum and boys. When she at last settles down to a bit of study at agricultural college, her life is turned upside down by the very handsome, but very drunken party animal, Charlie Lewis.
    Will she choose a life of wheat farming on vast open plains with Charlie? Or will she return to the mountains, to fight for the land and the river that runs through her soul?
    It’s only when tragedy shatters her world that Rebecca finds a strength and courage she never knew she had, in this action-packed novel of adventure, dreams and determination.
    I loved this book, RECOMMENDED!!

    Comment by Bec Waters 9 — May 30, 2011 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

    • Good one – make sure you include it in your Premier’s Reading Challenge.

      Comment by peterholford — May 30, 2011 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  8. I CAPTURE THE CASTLE – Dodie Smith
    Sitting in a state of poverty and living in an isolated, ruined yet beautiful old castle, Cassandra Mortimer dreams of becoming a poet.
    Her “journal” records her life, her wistful older sires, Rose who “is of pinkish complexion, and looks particularly fetching by the firelight” and her fading, former-artists’ model step-mother, Topaz.
    And then there is Father. The handsome, unpredictable, half-mad man of an author who once tried to kill Cassandra’s and Rose’s mother with a cake knife. He is also the person whom all three women owe their poverty to.
    However, all this changes when the wealthy American Cotton’s become the Mortimer’s new landlords.
    A novel about sibling rivalry, love, poetry and Christmas hams, “I Capture The Castle” is a truly beautiful book that has many surprises in store.

    The book starts strongly, but begins to go downhill near the middle. The plot begins to get boring, and after a while you begin to get a bit sick of the same “Oh, woe to us, we are so poor” then the “Oh, woe to us, our sister has turned into a spoilt, selfish rat” whinging.
    Also, another problem with this and so many other good books, is that it ends too far quickly. It’s ending is too sudden, unpredicted (I suppose this could be a good thing) and confusing.
    Apart for the end, the book is very well written and starts of absolutely brilliantly. The starting line is particularly good: “I write this sitting in the kitchen sink.”. It is both imaginative and intriguing.
    The characters are all perfectly crafted, all with a really balance of good and bad. Cassandra, who narrates the story, is so beautifully charismatic until the middle of the story. It is actually quite sad to see the demise.
    I give this book three and a half stars out of five, as although it is a classic and has lots of good points, it has its bad points which really drag the whole book down.
    All negative thoughts aside, “I Capture The Castle” is the classic tale of youthful optimism over middle-aged criticism and is well worth a read.

    Comment by Weeny Morton — May 28, 2011 @ 3:49 pm | Reply

  9. Flight of a Dragon Fly by Melissa Hawach

    This book is about Melissa and her two daughters, they lived in Canada, She married an Australian born Lebanese man Joseph Hawach, they had two children, Hannah and Cedar, they were both quite young when their Mother and Father split, they were still close friends, Joseph moved back to Australia after being over in Canada. Months after the divorce Joseph demanded that they should have a court case declaring who should get the children, This was a shock to Melissa as he was not the person who would do that, The court case went on and they declared that Melissa and Joseph have to share the children, which was difficult considering they were in different countries. A few months later it was Hannah and Cedars time to go to their Fathers place, they flew on the plane by themselves to Australia. Joseph took the girls and kept them there for a while, they weren’t allowed to contact their Mother. After too long the girls were meant to go back to Canada, Joseph instead tok them to Lebanon, He kept them there in hiding and wouldn’t allow any contact with anyone, they were reported missing. Joseph got found and Melissa sent two Australian soldiers to help in this mission, they got in trouble from the Lebanon police force and are now behind bars.

    Melissa is still fighting for her children. I recommend reading this book as it touches everyones hearts. You don’t know how much you love something until you don’t have it.

    Comment by Skye Ramsay — May 26, 2011 @ 7:08 pm | Reply

    • This is a good review Skye – make sure you count this book towards your Premier’s Reading Challenge!

      Comment by peterholford — May 26, 2011 @ 8:58 pm | Reply

    • This is a seriously good reveiw!!!!! Is it a true story?????

      Comment by Weeny Morton — May 28, 2011 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

      • yes weeny it is a true story 😦
        You should read it, it is amazing

        Comment by Skye Ramsay — May 31, 2011 @ 8:25 am

  10. Submitted on 2011/05/18 at 6:58 pm
    Hey Mr H,

    I just finished reading a book called Stolen by Lucy Christopher.
    It’s a story about this girl called Gemma who gets kidnapped and the
    kidnapper’s plan is to try to make her fall in love with him because
    he loves her. It is basically a twisted love story that doesn’t work out.
    It set in Australia, right in the middle of no where.

    I really enjoyed it and it is pretty much the only book i have really enjoyed.


    Comment by peterholford — May 20, 2011 @ 8:02 pm | Reply

  11. THE GURNSEY LITERACY AND POTATO PEEL SOCIETY – Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows

    In the midst of a struggle to find a new topic for a book, author Juliet Ashton receives a letter from Dawsey Adams, a pig-farmer who dreams of better days. He has acquired a second-hand book by Charles Lamb that once belonged to her.
    Soon, a correspondence between the two is set up. In the letters, Juliet hears about his and the other “Guernsey Literacy And Potato Peel Society” members’ lives.
    Juliet learns of their harsh, cruel lifestyle before and after World War II, and the characters who refused to give in to the Germans. The spunky Elizabeth, who was sent to a Concentrationamp for resisting German occupation; the gawky yet lovable Isola, who makes potions and is in posetion of letters written btbyscar Wilde; and Will Thisbee, the chef of the rather infamous Potato Peel Pie.
    Through their letters, Juliet; her publisher, Sidney and Juliet’s best friend, Anna, soon find out the inhabitants of Guernsey’s lives under the German’s control and how their own country abandoned them.
    Then, when Juliet innocently visits Guernsey herself, her whole world is turned upside down forever.

    This novel is set in the years after World War II, on a small island in the middle of the Chanel, Guernsey (Guernsey is a real island).
    The book is set out in a letter format, which is slightly confusing at first, but once you get used to it, this style of writing, I find, is actually easier to read than a traditional writing format.
    I enjoyed this book thoroughly. There are many twists and turns throughout the book, and these are unraveled as the characters’ correspondence progresses. These surprises are both good and bad, joyful and heart breaking.
    The ending is slightly sudden, though, but given otherwise, the book could’ve gone on forever. However, one page is hardly adequate.
    I have given it four and a half stars out of five. I highly recommend this book to anyone.
    This is a story about love, literature and post-war friendship, and I am very happy to say that this novel succeeds in portraying this message perfectly. This story will totally steal your heart away.

    Comment by Weeny Morton — May 19, 2011 @ 9:48 pm | Reply

    • The best book review I have seen on this site this year. Well done, Weeny, and make sure you add it to your PRC profile!

      Comment by peterholford — May 20, 2011 @ 9:07 pm | Reply

  12. Submitted on 2011/04/21 at 9:04 pm
    Hey Mr Holford!

    I just finished reading a book called: BELANGLO:THE NEXT CHAPTER. It is the story of Ivan Milat, one of Australia’s worst serial killers in history. The book describes the horrific murders of seven young backpackers, and how Ivan became of suspician to the police, and how he was convicted of murder and sentenced to a life time in gaol. Ivan still tries to prove his innocence, but the amount of evidence found in his and other family members homes, proved him guilty. He could be responsible for atleast sixteen other murders, but the police do not have any evidence to prove it. It is an amazing book, and I did not enjoy reading at all until now, I suggest you read it!

    I hope your having a lovely holiday,
    Keana x

    Comment by peterholford — April 25, 2011 @ 8:31 pm | Reply

    • Hi Keana – great review – I’m pleased to see you’re reading over the holidays. Remind me to reward you in English on Wednesday!

      Comment by peterholford — April 25, 2011 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  13. hello wide world of reading!

    i am goin to tell you about “THE LETTERBOOK” by Ellie Royce.This is a really good story about two girls(Amy and Jess)who started a letterbook. these two girls havent always been best friends but when they start the letter book all of their secrets come out. It is quite a girly book so Mr Holford probably wouldn’t like it, but for all you girls out there, I reccomend it.

    p.s. it’s a very easy book to read

    p.p.s. mum is jealous of you working with clifford…


    Comment by cHrisY — September 22, 2010 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

  14. I recently finished reading SHADOWLAND by Alyson Noel.

    This book is about a girl who is immortal and lives with her aunt Sabine. Her entire family was killed in a car crash and so she had to move to her aunt’s house. There is an evil immortal called Roman who keeps giving her little riddles which she has to solve in order to save a friend whom he is trying to kill. Really he is just trying to prove to her that they are alike and that she should go with him instead of her immortal boyfriend Damen. She has some suspecting friends and no one seems can understand her problems but Damen. As she tries to stop Roman and stop herself from going mad, she meets new people and has plenty of sticky situations to get out of.

    This book annoyed me because 1: she always makes stupid decisions and 2: its too unrealistic for my liking. It makes you wonder where the author got her strange ideas.
    Otherwise it it a fairly good book however not one of my favourites.
    Also, it is a little stressful because her life is full of problems and she never has a normal day. There is always something to worry about, something to solve or something stupid to do.

    I don’t think I would read it if I were you, unless you like reading about someone’s unrealistic problems.

    Comment by Phoebe Parry — September 8, 2010 @ 8:16 pm | Reply

  15. Eureka is a book I have been reading whilst on exchange in Tasmania, and i had first picked it up when I dearly needed something to read and had lost my recently bought ‘Rose for the Anzac Boys’, who was written by the same author, Jackie French.
    “The night they stormed Eureka’, as it’s properly called, is about a young girl called Sam, who has run away from her home in the 21st century, after being abused over and over again by her mothers boyfriend, to whom she is to be grateful for.
    Whilst hiding away from her friends and the ones who truly care for her, she runs to an old graveyard, where she falls ‘asleep’, which she thinks she has in the beginning, but really has fallen through time to the era of the gold rushes and sadly the Eureka Stockade, which has not happened yet.
    When she arrives she meets the family called the Puddlehams, whom adopt her into their family, and take her to the Goldfields, where she meets a drunken professor and a half-caste called George, who other than the Puddlehams, know she is a girl ( having to be disguised as a boy, so not to attract attention).
    This was a sad but wonderfully written novel about friendship, family, trust, and a group of people uniting for one cause only, the ‘Eureka Stockade’

    Comment by catriona Graham — September 5, 2010 @ 11:05 pm | Reply

  16. King of Shadows
    I was at first put off by the name. I mean ‘King of Shadows’? After the beginning I still thought it was stupid with silly little drama games, however after a few chapters I began to get into it.

    It is the story of a boy called Nathan Field (Nat), who was selected to be a part of a company of boys to learn and perform some of Shakespeare’s plays as they were originally performed in a new globe that was built in London. It is set in the present day. After suffering from the bubonic plague (yes, in this century), Nat was transported back in time to Shakespeare’s day. He was working alongside Shakespeare himself. He was there for a fair while and we were constantly finding out about Nat’s life, family and thoughts on drama. After performing ‘Dream’ for Queen Elisabeth I, receiving a poem from Shakespeare, and making friends, he was transported back into his own time during the night. He got out of hospital and returned to the company. He was confused and finally, with the help of Rachel and Gil, figured it all out and continued with the performances. He had sworn to Shakespeare that he would never stop acting, and he didn’t intend to stop either!

    I think the part I most enjoyed about this book was all the Shakespeare language and life with him. Also finding out about how everyone lived back then (watching dogs killing blind bears for entertainment) was interesting. I really enjoyed the book and even though I originally thought I would hate Shakespeare when Mr Holford first announced that that was our next unit, I love it and would actually love to read more books like this.

    Overall I really liked this book and would recommend that others should read it too, as they may also surprise themselves.

    Comment by Phoebe Parry — August 30, 2010 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  17. the book, or books I have currently read are ‘The Starthorn Tree‘ and its sequel, ‘The Wildkins Curse’.
    I first time I saw the book, ‘The Starthorn Tree’, was when I was 8, when i was sooo bored I had stealed into my deadly elder sister’s room, to look at what books she had.
    Other than the Harry Potter series, there was ‘The Starthorn Tree’, picking it up and reading the first few pages, I put it back and picked up the first ‘Harry Potter’ series, and decided that it was more interesting, and took it.
    Later on I kept on thinking about that book, the book that I had read, but not finished, a book which had been written by Kate Forsyth, who I had read some other books from. the thought kept nagging at me until I decided to once again brave my sister’s room, and read it.
    luckily my sisters had left for boarding school, so I picked up the book and ran into mine.
    Ok, ok I better tell you about this book before I bore you to death, like the book did until I actually started appreciating how the words wove together.
    here it goes.
    ‘The Starthorn Tree’ is about a two boys, a goatherd called Pedrin, and the son of the bell ringer (I’ll explain later), Durrik.
    Both are ‘Hearthkin’ boys, or so they think, and both hate ‘Starkin’ who are the tyranical rulers of their homes.
    But here comes the twist, the son of their ruler, for the country has been split into different counties, has come back, so near to death, after a hunting trip. But with everyone that went with him dead, gone.
    with this, everyone, including the ‘Starkin’, will believe anything, including a tyrant of a Regent who does not care for the people of the land, the ‘Hearthkin’.
    The rest of the book, you will have to find out for yourself, and figure out the many twists and turns through Pedrin, Durrik and their companions journey.
    Hilarious at times but sad and horrifying at others (though that depends on who you are), makes ‘The Starthorn Tree’ a wonderful book, and I would love to talk about ‘The Wildkins Curse’ but that would give to much of ‘The Starthorn Tree’ away.
    I give this book a 9/10, and regret not reading it earlier.

    Comment by catriona Graham — August 27, 2010 @ 6:11 pm | Reply

    • Great writing, Trina. I hope the exchange is going well. Remind me to reward you when you get back to class.

      Comment by peterholford — August 30, 2010 @ 9:27 pm | Reply

      • Thanks Mr Holford!
        and the exchange is going well

        Comment by catriona Graham — September 5, 2010 @ 10:51 pm

  18. My Favourite book ever is called: The Best-Loved Bear by Diana Noonan and Elizabeth Fuller.

    It is about a boy (Tim) who has a favourite bear named Toby. Soon at Tim’s school there was going to be a best-loved bear competition. Tim was very worried as he loved Toby so much that he had hugged off most of his fur, sucked a piece of his left ear off and worn a hole in his nose with kisses. He even gave him ice-cream which had made him all sticky.

    Tim then tried to make Toby look as best as he could for the Bear competition so he brushed his fur, bandaged his ear, put a bandaid on his nose and washed off as much ice-cream as he could.

    Tim was very embarrassed when he went to school the next day. He carried Toby in a brown paper bag so that no one could see him.

    When the judging began Tim placed Toby up with everyone else’s bears. The principal was judging so she looked a everyones bears. When she got to Tim’s bear she was surprised to see how much he loved him.

    She awarded the medal to Tim and Toby and Tim held Toby on his shoulders all the way home.

    As you can probably tell this is a little kids story that I received in Kindy as a going away present from my old school.

    I love this story so much!!!!

    Comment by Shannon — August 17, 2010 @ 7:19 pm | Reply

  19. What if all the mythical creatures you heard of in fairytales were real? And what if you were one of them?

    Clary is a normal teenage girl…. or so she thought. After a adventurous night at a night club named ‘Pandemonium’ in new york, after the cute blue-haird boy she was eyeing off got stabbed, after three beautiful people stood in front of her wondering how she can see them, she discovered the wonderful life of being a Shadow hunter. Being a shadow hunter meant she was half human and half angel. she was born to kill demons.

    Her mothers missing and she just got attacked by some sort of demon called a ravener in her own apartment! Jace, one of the beautiful people she met the other night has saved her and brought her to the shadow hunter institute in down town New York. A healing rune has been burned into her skin by jace’s stele. The stele draws all types of runes like healing, invisiblility,strength ect. the institute is owned by the lightwoods. Alec, Isabelle and max.

    An evil shadow hunter named valentine, who was once married to her mother and also happens to be her father is seeking the mortal cup. The mortal cup has the power to make new shadow hunters and also kill them. the only problem is no one knows where it is. If he gets hold of any of the mortal intruments, who knows what would happen to the shadow hunter beings?

    This is an AMAZING book! I loved it!

    Comment by Emily Seery — August 10, 2010 @ 3:10 pm | Reply

    • Oh and the name of the book is called the city of bones and the author is Cassandra Clare

      Comment by Emily Seery — August 10, 2010 @ 3:13 pm | Reply

  20. Hunger Games

    There is only one rule in the hunger games kill or be killed.
    The hunger games is set after the world had a huge war and there were only twelve districts, ruled by the Capitol. Each year they have a game to entertain themselves were two people from 11 districts (one boy and one girl) would fight out in an arena were only one can win. This story is of a girl called Katniss who steps in place of her twelve year old sister. Through pain hunger killing and getting hunted Katniss goes through many events and challenges the capitol. The events are exiting and the ending is a cliff hanger. The end will surprise you. Recommended for people between 10-16.

    Comment by morgan fahey — August 8, 2010 @ 10:19 pm | Reply

  21. Sorry this might make more sense….?????

    If I can sense every fruit tree, floral dress and sun hat, I feel as if that the book I am reading was written well. If I can smell the lavishly applied perfume that a woman might wear, I feel that the author has a descriptive imagination. If the historical insight that I am given through the eyes of someone else makes me experience the feeling that they themselves experience, I feel captivated and enthralled. When I read The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, I was given those exited sensations and those delightful, pure feelings I get when I chop a lemon on a sunny afternoon, or imagine running along a beach of pebbles. This beautiful story begins with a newspaper columnist, Juliet, and a man named Dawsey Adams, who lives on the island of Guernsey and a regular member of the local book society. Dawsey begins correspondence with Juliet after he acquired a second hand book that once belonged to her. A friendship begins between the writer and the islander, followed swiftly by other society members, who are explained to be eccentric and charming. This wonderful post war adventure will make any one truly touched. I felt truly alive when I read it, not a single word is wasted. It is a gorgeous story, one that looks for the meaning of friendship, love and highs and lows of life.

    Does that sound a little better?

    Comment by Bella — August 1, 2010 @ 8:10 pm | Reply

    • Wonderful. In fact I think it would be fair to say that you have written well, have a descriptive imagination and make this book seem captivating! It must be all those books you read …

      Comment by peterholford — August 1, 2010 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  22. NOW
    now is a great book that is the 3rd book of the series.
    In Then and Now the boy called Felix was 11 years old but in Now he is 80 years old.
    In then Felix’s friend called Zelda was killed by the Nazis.
    Felix’s granddaughter is called Zelda. When Felix was younger he was a doctor.
    Bot now that he has grown very old he retired.
    This book was a gripping book that i could not put down.
    I recommend that every on reads this book and Once and Then.

    by EMILY 🙂

    Comment by Emilie Hann — July 31, 2010 @ 6:35 pm | Reply

    • Hi Emily,

      Great to hear that you have finished the final book in the trilogy. Make sure you use quotation marks when you mention the title of a book, otherwise it can be hard for your readers to understand you, especially when the title of the book is an ordinary word, like ‘once’, ‘then’ and ‘now’. I look forward to reading ‘Now’ myself – I really enjoyed the first two! For anyone wondering, these books are all by Morris Gleitzman.

      Comment by peterholford — August 1, 2010 @ 3:38 pm | Reply

  23. Sorry about the spelling mistakes eg ‘people out thee who shred my interests ad feelings’ is meant to be people out there who share my thoughts and feeling’ oops

    Comment by Bella — July 30, 2010 @ 6:22 pm | Reply

  24. Have you ever read something that is so honest and pure, you feel alive and can sense every fruit tree, floral dress and suhat. You can smell the lavishly applied perfume that dons the wrists of newspaper columnists. You are given an insight on peoples lives that made you feel, alive. The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society was just, indescribable. It was the same sensation one might get when they walk across beaches of pebbles, or cuts a lemon on a wooden chopping board, pure bliss. About a writer named Juliet, who lived in England during during the second world war recives a letter from a man who lives on the island of Guernsey, saying that he has a book that belonged to her previosly. Her adress was written on the inside, so a corespondance begin between the two. Juliet soon recieves letters from his friends, telling her about there lives during the German Invasion, but also about their society, convincing her to join them. After reading this book I felt as if I was well aquainted with the characters, and also a sense of relief that there were people out thee who shred my interests ad feelings. This wonderful adventure is so truthful, in the way that our lives are lived, the reality is there, this book touched me, so give it a chance to touch you to.

    Comment by Bella — July 30, 2010 @ 6:17 pm | Reply

    • As usual, a well-considered reflection on the book, with just enough information about it to whet the appetite. However, please proofread your writing before submitting – there’s a few sentences in there that are somewhat ‘uncontrolled’ – the minor errors of grammar and syntax disrupt the flow of your expression.

      Comment by peterholford — August 1, 2010 @ 3:34 pm | Reply

  25. Tomorrow, When The War began
    By John Marsden

    This book is set in the future and tells the story of 17 year old Ellie and her friends, who go on a harmless camping trip for a week, and get involved in the most thought out war since, well never, when another country invades Australia with striking force, Ellie & Co set out to help save their parents, this means sabotaging the enemy and everything goes up in a bang but will that be enough to save their parents, a tale of great survival and compelling novel.
    There are 10 books in the series
    this is one of the best series i have ever read

    Comment by Sophie M Yr 8A — July 29, 2010 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  26. i read the book My Steve By Terri Irwin
    It was an amazing book, by reading this book i found out how tough life can be.
    At the start it is just about Terri and her life in America when she travels to The Australian Zoo, and meets Steve, her future husband.
    She is instantly in love and feels some sort of spark. When they hang out for awhile they really get feelings for each other.
    It was sad for them when Terri had to go back to America. This goes on and there love develop. In the book Terri describes in great detail
    about their adventures together and him catching crocs and how amazing he is. When they get married their life begins, and the stories begin.
    When Steves mother dies they realise how hard it is. The book is dramatic and life changing. Their life is filled with drama and sadness.
    Its such a good book and i think that everyone should read it. When Steve has kids Terri describes so well about Steve’s joys and when he gets upset. and When he first has kids. I recommend everyone to read this because it’s amazing.

    Comment by Holly McDonald — July 20, 2010 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

    • Nice review, Holly. A lot of people enjoy biographies – sounds like this is a good one.

      Comment by peterholford — July 22, 2010 @ 5:40 pm | Reply

  27. The Dead Travel fast …. what type of book does it sound like??
    When I picked up the book in Big W before the 1st term holidays, many things were going through my mind, though the main thing that was, was Vampires.
    Well Let me get to the good part, and yes Mr Holford I obviously don’t know the difference between ‘to’ and ‘too’.
    Getting back on track, the book that I have been reading currently, is based in the Victorian times, about a young woman called Theodora who has the love for the written word and writing. both parents dead, she was raised with her sister, by her grandfather. Her Sister is married, and her grandfather dead, and her editor wanting to marry her, Theodora is relieved when her school friend Cosmina, asks her if she would come to ‘Rumania’ in the Carpathian Mountains, to be there for her wedding to the Count, thus starting her adventure.
    During her stay, she discovers romance, is threatened by a ‘Vampire’ and her hosts, is thought to have killed a young woman and tried and failed in killing the count, along the way meeting the family doctor who is as mysterious as all the other occupants of the Carpathian Mountainside.
    I find this book romantic yet horrifying, and as many times you would like to put the novel down, you aren’t able too for there’s always the fact of wanting to know more of the story and Theodora’s adventure in The Carpathians

    Comment by Catriona Graham — June 24, 2010 @ 10:40 am | Reply

    • I’m more glad to know that you are reading than I am worried about your spelling! Good review – keep up the reading and remind me next term to reward you appropriately!

      Comment by peterholford — June 25, 2010 @ 5:34 pm | Reply

  28. From: Sascha Henderson
    Date: 15 June 2010 9:25:31 PM AEST
    To: Peter Holford

    Hey Mr H

    I read a book called born to run By Cathy Freeman this was my favorite book of all time i have only read a few books since then but i still think it was an amazing read. It is all about Cathy’s life and how she trains also all about her family her mother and all of the troubles and fears she had over come and how she overcame these fears and troubles. It also mentioned when she was asked to open in the common wealth game. It was very a very inspirational book for me.

    Im emailing this because it doesn’t work on the website

    Sascha 🙂

    Comment by Sascha Henderson — June 16, 2010 @ 2:40 pm | Reply

  29. A Rose for the ANZAC Boys by Jackie French
    This one of most favourite books in the world.
    It’s about the world war 1 in 1915 in France and Gallipoli.
    This fictional story stares 3 young girls called Midge , Anne and Ethel.
    When these 3 girls want to help contribute their part in the war they eventually
    got approval to set up a canteen in France. They encounter many people who have been
    injured in the war and learned how to speak some french to help them while they are in France.
    This is a really good book for Young Adults looking for a novel that will certainly change your
    thoughts of the WW1. I recommend it!!!!!!

    Comment by Bec Waters 8 — June 9, 2010 @ 8:50 pm | Reply

  30. Deltora Quests…..
    Heard of it??
    many of you may have, its in the library, Christina Smith in Yr8 slaughtered it when she warned the world about the new firelighters for hobos, not that I disagreed when I had, after attempting too read the first book of the many that followed, but after I had read that review, something in my head turned a light on, making me yearn too be within the midst of the pages, too see and follow the words with my own eyes once more.
    So, seeing as the three series of Deltora Quests are in our family library I picked up the books and started too read about the main characters adventures through Deltora, searching for the mythical Pirran Pipe, the Deltora Belt, which protects the lands that gave their ancient relic too unite all of the tribes, and too destroy the ‘Four Sisters’ who are slowly killing the ground.
    I know it sounds stupid too write, but please please read this book again, I found that whilst it bore me too tears in some areas it was exciting and hilarious in some, for me, all I ask is for you to pick up that 1st book and disappear into the story that the book with holds

    Comment by Catriona — June 7, 2010 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

  31. I Absolutely love the series Ghostgirl by Tonya Hurley
    It is about Charlotte a plain and simple girl who wants to be one of the popular, she has and utterly and repolsive death by choking on a gummy bear. From that day forward things would never be the same, she had to learn to be a ghost. She has to save the mansion/ dormitory from being demolished. Try to get a kiss from the love of her life Damen and then has to pass over to the next world which involves her working in a ghostly office as a conscience. Along the way she makes lots of friends like Scarlet, who is the younger sister to Petula Kensington the most popular girl in school and nastiest with the Wendy’s as her followers.other ghostly friends might be Prue Shelly, Co co and many more.
    I recommend it to all people in 5th year and above.

    Comment by Georgia White — June 4, 2010 @ 6:00 pm | Reply

    • Georgia that is soo true., I agree very much with this review, the “Ghost Girl” series is wonderful, I recomend it also

      Comment by catriona Graham — June 7, 2010 @ 3:30 pm | Reply

  32. The ABC Murders, by Agatha Christie

    About six weeks ago, our english teacher announced our unit on Mystery and Detectives and informed us we were to read a book by Agatha Christie. My first thought was, ‘Great. When am I going to find the time to read? Ugh! This is so annoying!’
    I have always adored reading but these days I never seem to find time to read as I am a border.
    A few days later I dragged myself to the library and chose the Agatha Christie book that I thought looked half interesting. Until Mr Holford pulled out a block of Cadbury Chocolate, I had completely forgoten about it. It so turned out that we had to finish our Agatha Christie book and write a review on it by next Tuesday. The best review would win the block of chocolate.
    So, I had about three days to read the book AND write a killer review to snatch up that family block.
    Well, here it goes.

    I was drawn to Agatha Christie’s book, ‘The ABC Murders’ because of the name. I knew immediately that this book was going to be filled with mysteries and confusion. Plots and unexpected turns. Surprises and – well, that was until I started reading it. The first half of the book was, to me, very predictable and…dull. The murders were going to be committed in alphabetical order, with a letter to Hercule Poirot, the proninent character before each one. Beside each body, an ABC Railway Guide would be left open on the page of the town where the murder was committed. The two detectives and Scotland Yard would have such trouble in finding the seriel killer. Boring, Boring, boring.

    Although I was convinced that the rest of the story would be bland and tasteless, I was somehow hooked. It was like instead of holding you by the hand, it was holding you by the pinkie finger; hardly there but still pulling you along.
    Even so, at the halfway mark, the greatest excitement in relation to the book was the fact I was closer to being finished.
    By the fourth murder, things started to become interesting. The smallest of clues attatched themselves to others and the detectives were becoming closer and closer to finding the murderer…
    Then the B I G G E S T turn completely twisted the story into knots.
    My mother was right. I had come to her, complaining about how predictable the story was and she had said,
    “It is an Agatha Christie Book! You just wait and see, the ending that you are expecting will be nothing like what really happens!”
    But I’m afraid I cannot tell you any more, as it will ruin the story for you.

    I can tell you however, that when I finished, I came to the conclusion that this book turned out to actually be a fantastic read. There was always something to be thinking about, trying to solve the mystery myself. I would most definately reccommed ‘The ABC Murders’ to anyone who loves a bit of suspense and intensity. It is absolutely worth reading.
    A little tip for those reading it – keep going! It only gets better.

    Comment by Ella Tindal — May 30, 2010 @ 4:39 pm | Reply

  33. hey mr H
    i am reading a book called BADBOY it is really really sad and a true story the person writing it is the boy when hes 19 and its about him when he was 9 and what happened was he lived with his mum and his nan, his dad got kicked out by his nan ad his nan was horrible to him callled him a no good young stupid ferrel dumb kid who tries to be better then his mum and make her feel bad he went out with his dad one day and they went surfing then he came back and sat on the couch after he had a shower with his dad and the nan came and asked what happened and the boy joshua said his dad washed him and the nan suddenly got angry and said where did he touch you and coz he was only nine he didnt know what she ment so he said everywhere and then the next day the welfare came to his house and he got taken away a week after because he stopped doing school work because he was so upset, they thought that the dad touched him and no one believed that he didnt so he went to a place called MACCADEMIAS and the second day the phsycologist person put him in an time out room and raiped him because he was naughty and he couldnt tell anyone because the mean man said everyone would hate him if they found out, about 6 months later another phsycologist person DAVID came and now he feels much safer and so far ive gotten up to the part where he meaning david just convinced him that he is a good boy and his nan is just mean and he is smart and so now joshua is going to learn (try atleast) to learn but ive still got 60 pages left so i dont know whats oging to happen next

    by jazzz

    Comment by jasmine bazzica — May 14, 2010 @ 12:43 pm | Reply

    • Sounds sad but gripping. Who is the author?

      Comment by peterholford — May 14, 2010 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

      • micheal gliksmen i think its spelt differently but it made me cry in some spots

        Comment by jasmine bazzica — May 14, 2010 @ 8:24 pm

      • I’ve found it. Michael Gliksman. In case anyone’s interested, there’s information about the book here.

        Comment by peterholford — May 14, 2010 @ 10:36 pm

  34. One of the books I’ve been reading lately is a book called Winter Song.
    It is about the story of four teenagers who all ran away from their dreary and horrible boarding schools and their struggle through one of the wars( is not mentioned), their Names Milos, Helena, Milena and Bartomelio, known as Bart.
    out of the four only three survive too the last page.
    This is a sad story and it made me cry when i read it, but I strongly believe that this is a good book and is very well written, and that Yr 8 should read it.
    I will try and find out the Author as soon as I can.

    Comment by catriona Graham — May 13, 2010 @ 10:28 am | Reply

    • Sounds gripping. Is the author Jean-Claude Mourlevat?

      Comment by peterholford — May 13, 2010 @ 5:54 pm | Reply

      • Deltora Quests, does it ring a bell???
        If it does you would have heard it when Christina Smith slaughtered it.
        Well i discovered something this weekend, whilst I was sitting in my room, with my sister’s Birthday party too begin, I realised that really i had judged the “Deltora Quests” series quite harshly, when really yes it had bored me too tears at the age of 10, and yes i refused too read it there on after my sister, whose Birthday was celebrated with her twins, yelled at me for even reading the first paragraph, when I was found hiding under my bed with a torch, but I realised that, with nothing too do, with nothing too say too my sisters 16 too 17 year old friends, that I needed a book, a series, something too read and acknowledge. Immeadiatley I ran too the family library and searched for a book, anything too stop me from thinking on the fact ‘ oh my god, my sisters birthday is tomorrow and I haven’t even wrapped the prezzies!!’. as I scoured for the right book, my eyes just kept on wondering on the three series of “Deltora Quests” and wondering if there really was more too the books than I first thought at the age of 10.
        shrugging my shoulders I took the book from its place in the bookshelf and walked back too the room I was sharing with my sister Jessica, a kind and caring sister who currently was taken up with the fact she was turning 16 and in yr11, so much homework, so much work.
        so yuo can imagine that i read two pages and got bored, threw it under my bed and tried again with another of Emily Rodda’s books, who in my opinion is a great writer and has a wonderful imagination, but no, I did get bored after the third book that night, but seeing as I am as stubborn and ignorant as my sister once said, yes I persevered with the series.
        ok, this is what you really want too know about this book, not my life story, but really if I didn’t tell you what drove me too reading it in my spare time, really you wouldn’t have known why I wrote this review and of course it isn’t because I’m crazy, but because it is a book.
        ok I’m getting there.
        ok, here it is.
        “Deltora Quests” is a series on the adventures of Leif the heir too the last king before the ‘Enemy’ a person so evil that no one knows if it is a human being anymore, came in and destroyed an ancient relic of the land of Deltora.
        this belt is the protection of the land and its tribes, and the stones that were placed into the belt are each tribes stone, Diamond, for the Jalis for example, and the Topaz for the people of Del. when placed in the right order it makes a spell, DELTORA, Diamond, Emerald, Lapis lazuli, Topaz, Opal, Ruby and last of all Amethyst.
        well throughout Leif’s journey he meets many people, two of which join him on his quests, Jasmine who he comes too love and becomes his bride in the last book of the third series, and Barda who leads a wonderful life and does not die, but has a happy ending as well, marrying one of the friends they make on thier journey.
        now if your interested in this series read it and learn more about Leif and his journeys, but if Christina has completely turned you of these books, I give praise too her on her victory.

        Comment by catriona graham — June 7, 2010 @ 4:02 pm

      • Nice to see a thoughtful response to Christina’s review. But we really must review ‘too’ and ‘to’ sometime soon.

        Comment by peterholford — June 7, 2010 @ 7:40 pm

  35. The Thirteen Problems by Agatha Cristie

    The Thirteen problems is about a group of people who gather together on a Tuesday at Mrs Marple’s house they are all having a friendly conversation when the conversation goes to unsolved murder mysteries. There are all different mysteries but Mrs Marple seems to always solve them, with her knowledge of the clues, the murders are quite interesting, they just keep you guessing, and as soon as you suspect someone another clue comes along, it is a very interesting and intregueing novel, you won’t be able to put it down, I highly recommend it.

    Comment by Sophie M Yr 8A — May 12, 2010 @ 8:31 am | Reply

    • BEST Agatha Christie book….EVER!!!!!

      Comment by catriona Graham — August 27, 2010 @ 6:16 pm | Reply

  36. Pride and Prejudice

    Yes I know everybody says it’s fantastic, read it when your older, etc, your probably sick of hearing it over and over again. So if you will please excuse me for a moment or so I am going to put that same old record back on the machine and dance the night away.

    This book is one of the most fantastic books I have read. As you possibly know Elizabeth Bennet is just ‘coming out’ into the local society. She meets Mr Darcy, the wealthy,pompous and rude man from a large estate in England, they gradually and confusingly fall in love after having a mutual dislike of each other. Lizzies sister Jane is thought to be involved in a scandalwith Mr Bingley and the entire family becomes involved.

    But why is it so fantastic? I asked this question myself after it was handed to me a few weeks ago. I read the first chapter ,deemed myself rather confused by the language used, and then after I had finished the second chapter was absolutely delighted. I soon found that this book is actually about how humans relate to each other in different circumstances or under judgement. The characters were fantastic, scandalous and eccentric.Superb it was!

    I think I would advise this book to older people, who quickly get into the rythm of reading. Or to someone who is rather on the side of the romantic. In our class a book for Phoebe Parry and Ella Tindal. It is fantastic I could barely stop reading. Sorry I have not told you much about what hapens I do not want to disturb your peace of mind by telling you to much of the plot.
    It really, truly is a much valued masterpiece

    Comment by Bella — May 11, 2010 @ 7:52 pm | Reply

  37. Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James
    They say that you shouldn’t run from you fears, but 17 year old Katherine isn’t running, she is hiding.
    Ever since that day Katherine has kept her head down and pretended to be a shadow in the background. That is until the fun-loving Alice brings her out of her shell. Alice is everything you could ask for in a best friend; Kind, caring, outgoing.
    What is it about Alice?
    What does she want from Katherine?
    And what will she do to get it?

    “So. Where you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?”

    This book kept me up for hours over the weekend. It is a bit confusing in parts, but it is worth every second of it. I think one of the main things that I really liked about this book is that it is set in Australia, so there is no random American towns you have to look up on the map.

    If you want a good book that will keep you waiting, then I suggest this book for you.

    Comment by Kimberley Payne — May 10, 2010 @ 3:50 pm | Reply

  38. I have read The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. This book has caught me from the start!

    In the ruins ruins of a place once know as South America lies a nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts from district 1-12.The capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one girl and one boy between the ages of 12 and 18 to participate in the annual Hunger Games, A fight to the death on live TV.

    16 year old Katniss Evergreen, who lives with her mother and younger sister Prim (Primrose), regards the Hunger Games as a death sentence when she steps forward and takes her sisters place in the Games. But katniss has been close to death before, and survival, for her, is second nature. Without really meaning to she becomes a contender in the games. But if she is to win, she will have to weigh survival against humanity and life against love.

    This is one of the best books i have ever read. I have not given you the details of wat actually happened because i think you should read it for yourself.

    The second book in this series is called Catching Fire. I have just started to read this and I am already hooked. Sparks are igniting.

    Flames are spreading, And the capitol wants REVENGE!!!!!!!

    Comment by Emily Seery — May 8, 2010 @ 11:42 am | Reply

    • Sounds awesome. I’m glad you’re enjoying it! Let us know what happens in the sequel.

      Comment by peterholford — May 9, 2010 @ 10:05 pm | Reply

  39. THEN

    Then by Morrice Glelizman is a gripping book that i could not put down.
    Then is about a boy called Felix and a little girl called Zelda, who escape from a train going to a Nazi death camp. Zelda and Felix in there desperate attempt to find Felix’s parents stumble across a women called Gina who took them in and cared for them for almost a year and on Felix’s 13th birthday Gina and Zelda went into town to buy Felix a birthday present, it turned from a lovely day into an utter disaster.

    This book was amazing if you like action and drama than you have to read this book!!!!!!


    Comment by Emilie Hann — May 7, 2010 @ 8:26 pm | Reply

    • Hi Emily, I loved this book too. Did you read the first one, ONCE? The third book is called NOW and will be published later this month. I’m hoping to get it and read it soon! PLUS I’m going to a conference in July where Morris Gleitzman will be speaking. I might ask him to sign my copy!

      Comment by peterholford — May 9, 2010 @ 10:02 pm | Reply

  40. I am currently reading The Big Four by Agatha Christie. When I first started I was freaked out and didn’t want to read it. As it carried on the murders stopped and it was just detective work.
    It is about a secret organisation called The big Four which consist of four leaders in different continents. Hurcule Piorot and Hastings begin to solve the case and uncover the identities of the four members. This involves travelling undercover, solving hidden messages and getting caught several times. The best part is you never expect what is coming which I think all murder stories need but don’t necessarily have! I now read it every day on the bus but I still resist reading at night!
    Overall this is a good book so far and it just keeps getting better!

    Comment by Phoebe — May 5, 2010 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

    • Good feedback, Phoebe! I’m glad you’re getting into it. Don’t forget there is a special page now for feedback and comments on Agatha Christie.

      Comment by peterholford — May 6, 2010 @ 6:56 pm | Reply

  41. Well as you know the first book i read was Zamba and my second was Christen the lion
    This book was very similar to Zamba but in the end they released Christen into the wild
    and went back to visit him a year later. Normally a lion wouldn’t exactly remember them
    after a year but this sure proved the theory untrue. It was a remarkable story of friendship
    between man and man eaters.

    Comment by Rebecca Waters 8 — May 5, 2010 @ 8:19 pm | Reply

  42. The Sheep Can’t Sleep by Unknown Author

    This would have to be my all time favourite book ever.
    Considering it was my bed time story as a kid.
    It’s about a sheep who can’t sleep so he go to all his friends houses
    to see if they can help but eventually decides to count jumping sheep 🙂

    I think i will have to read it again but if you are a softy or baby sitting take this book.


    Comment by tessa haron :P — May 4, 2010 @ 11:38 am | Reply

    • I tried to find the author. I wonder if this is the same book as When Sheep Cannot Sleep: The Counting Book by Satoshi Kitamura. Picture books are fine, but let me know what you are reading NOW …

      Comment by peterholford — May 4, 2010 @ 7:42 pm | Reply

      • heyy mr h

        right now i’m not reading anything because i’m trying to find a good
        book and its really hard to find something that i would be interested in…
        have u got any ideas???


        Comment by tessa haron :P — May 5, 2010 @ 9:44 am

      • Hi Tessa, give me some ideas on the kind of things you’ve enjoyed in the past, and I’ll suggest some books you might like.
        Two other ideas are:
        1. go to this site and look for books listed for Stage 4
        2. go to the Premier’s Reading Challenge site and click on one of the links under ‘Challenge Level 7-9’

        Comment by peterholford — May 5, 2010 @ 7:39 pm

  43. The infinite magic of horses.
    this book is a great book for all ages and all people who in enjoy the magic of horses. this book is filled with true stories from people who have been changed by the magic of horses and the joy they bring. I recommend this book to all who love or live for horses.
    i rate this book 9/10 🙂 and think it is a great read. 🙂

    Comment by Asti lethbridge — May 4, 2010 @ 11:37 am | Reply

  44. Matilda🙂

    is a great book, and my all time fav 🙂

    Comment by Hannah Laurie — May 4, 2010 @ 11:35 am | Reply

    • Short and sweet. Make sure you supply the name of the author so that if other people want to look it up, they know where to start! This one is by Roald Dahl.

      Comment by peterholford — May 4, 2010 @ 7:39 pm | Reply

  45. I’m currently reading Liar, by Justine Larbalestier. It’s almost a diary written from the point of a girl aged around 13-14. Her name is Micah, she struggles to be socially accepted as she has the reputation of a compulsive liar. This book is almost a diary, although she isn’t writing it herself, it’s written about what runs through her mind. At the beginning of the book she promises to tell the truth about the lies she’s told previously to get her in her current situation. At the moment she is suspected of killing a boy of which she was considered to be his ‘after school hours’ girlfriend; although she doesn’t wish to admit this to anyone. I’m presently undecided about this book, I’m enjoying this book although the plot is a bit different and it’s also extremely unpredictable to the extent that I’m really unsure where the author is going to go with the story. I’d recommend this book to anyone 🙂 Anna B – Year 9 English

    Comment by Anna Brouwers — May 3, 2010 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

    • Hi Anna, great to hear what you’re reading. You write well – I look forward to hearing how the story ends! Also, interesting to know you’re reading a book that is ‘almost’ in the form of a diary, because we’re going to look at diaries in our next unit … more about that next week!

      Comment by peterholford — May 3, 2010 @ 8:24 pm | Reply

  46. Dear John by Nicholas Sparks

    This an absolutely fabulous book and i recommend it for everyone. If you are into Drama and Romance then u need to get this book.
    The book is about a Man named John who meets the love of his life Savannah and decides to make some changes in his life.
    Instead of being the rebel he once was at school he decides to enrol in the army, not knowing what he is doing with his life or what lies ahead.
    Eventually John is promoted to re-enlist in the force and he finds it hard to turn the offer down, feeling he has a duty to his country.
    To keep in touch Savannah and John write letters every week, telling each other about how everything is going and how the army force is going.
    But after a while the letter to Savannah started to get fewer and fewer and she got worried.
    She realised that he probably wasn’t coming back for a while and started a new life and got engaged.
    When John found out he was ripped to shreds with heart ache

    I personally love this book and cant wait to see the film

    Comment by tessa haron :P — May 3, 2010 @ 4:09 pm | Reply

    • Hi Tessa, good review – remind me to reward you with a Chupa Chup! I’m glad you enjoyed the book – what do you think you will read next?

      Comment by peterholford — May 3, 2010 @ 8:17 pm | Reply

      • hey tessa, i have seen the movie and i loved it 🙂

        Comment by Sophie M Yr 8A — July 29, 2010 @ 7:37 pm

  47. Last year in english while we were studying fantasy and we were given the book Artemis Fowl and as soon as i started to read it i got so board that i ended up reading through so fast i didn’t even know what was happening. When i came back to class to find out that almost every one was up to about the 4th chapter when i was only on the 2nd page i went home determined to get at least a quarter of the way through but i couldn’t as the book made absolutely no sense at all and i just found my self confused and i was preying that Mrs King would tell us that we didn’t have to finish the and thank god she did !
    So thats my opinion on the book and if i were you i would keep searching for a bette rbook that you actually want to read.

    Comment by Laura Brown (LOZ) — May 2, 2010 @ 4:29 pm | Reply

  48. Deltora Quest was awfullll!!!!!!!!!!!! i hope to see it burned at the stake!!!!!!!!! throw all your copies away and recycle the pages to use as fire lighters for hobos!!!!!! please if you want to stay sane do NOT i repeat NOT! read these books !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    😦 😦 😦 😦

    Comment by Chrisy — April 30, 2010 @ 7:16 pm | Reply

    • A lot of people liked those books … but a lot of people can be wrong. I’ve only read one of them, The Forests of Silence and I was not that impressed, considering that they have best-seller status!

      Comment by peterholford — April 30, 2010 @ 11:12 pm | Reply

      • If it makes you feel better Chrisy, I fell there is no point in reading them, my sister read them and couldn’t put them down, I read the first one and fell asleep!!!!!

        Comment by catriona Graham — May 7, 2010 @ 8:17 am

  49. The very hungry caterpillar.
    i looooovvvveeeee the very hungry caterpillar because….. because i like chupa chups 😀 it is very colourful and happy and cheerful and exciting and joyful and quirky and makes me hungry. it puts a huge happy on my face……

    Comment by Chrisy — April 30, 2010 @ 7:11 pm | Reply

  50. I’ve been reading the Inkheart Trilogy this week and I thought it would be nice too post even though i bet everyone has read it.

    The ‘Inkheart Trilogy’ starts off with a 13yr old Meggie and her father,Moe, who is a bookbinder.
    One cold and Windy night a stranger knocked on the door wanting too talk too her father.
    You later find out this is only the start of a wonderful adventure, about the bookbinder who turns too a Robing Hood in the pages of a book, A shy sweet teenager who learns about love, family and the world beyond the book, a stranger who dances with fire and longs for his lovely wife, a boy from the pages of a book who adores anything too do with fire and a frail old writer who starts this whole story off, from the first word of the book too the last page that is bound.
    This book is by Cornelia Funke who in my case is a wonderful writer and has a fabulous imagination and works so well with the unwritten words on a blank page.
    I recommend these books, Inkheart, Inkspell and Inkdeath, too any that haven’t read or heard of it, and too those that have enjoyed it too take it out of the bookcase and read again, just one more time, too sink back into the pages of a wild and adventurous fairytale.

    Comment by catriona Graham — April 30, 2010 @ 6:33 pm | Reply

  51. I’ve been reading The Stockmen by Rachael Treasure which Sophie Marret told me it was quite a god read.
    Tje book is about women called Rosemary Highgrove-Jones with the hyphen which, after a horrible accident, starts writing a article about ‘Jack Gleeson’, the semi famous Stockman.
    This book is an interesting novel and I think most girls in our year would love too read about ‘Rosie Jones’ and her adventures with the ‘Sexy Irish Stockman’

    Comment by catriona graham — April 30, 2010 @ 12:19 pm | Reply

  52. Zamba-is my favourite book
    it was written by Ralph Helpher
    It is a true story about a man and his lion travelling and performing
    shows. After 20 years Zamba died.
    This was the story of the greatest lion that ever lived!!!

    Comment by Rebecca Waters 8 — April 30, 2010 @ 8:18 am | Reply

  53. The girl who could fly [by Victoria Forester] ever since she was a baby but she would just float and it is such a creative book with all the discriptive book she needed to learned how to fly better but I.N.S.A.N.E got to her first. they try to make her normal but she just has the peppiest instincs. her friend slash enemy Conrad Harrington the third is the only one who knows what they are trying to change anything abnormal in the world, they sabatash everything but doesn’t work then they try to rebel and it works. the cricket is a one of a kind that sings for weeks befor it dies. it sings to help everything that has been turned abnormal.

    Comment by Georgia White 8A — April 29, 2010 @ 5:00 pm | Reply

    • Hi Georgia, sounds like you enjoyed this book – excellent. Next time you write a review for me, I want you to include the author (I’ve included it for you this time) but more importantly, I want you to read over what you’ve written before you click ‘submit’. This is really important in checking your punctuation and meaning – some of which is a bit unclear in your post. However, sounds like a great book!

      Comment by peterholford — April 29, 2010 @ 8:49 pm | Reply

  54. Leaving the Bellweathers by Kristan Clark Venuti
    In the school holidays I was fortunate enough to go to San Franscisco, where upon visiting the City Lights Books Shop, I was accosted by a woman who insisted that I read ‘Leaving The Bellweathers’. Although it was a book that would really would be best for a reader at the age of 8 or 10, I will admit I purchased it because of the wonderful use of primary colours on the cover and an illustration of a lighthouse. But as soon as I peeked in the dust cover I was really rather amused.It read the following:employment opportunity, wanted:one gentlemen possessed of nerves of steel and impeccable organizational skills. Applicant must know how to set a formal dinner table as well as the method of Large-Animal sedation. Lunatic-asylum experience is helpful.
    With that I read a charming little book about a simple and plain Butler going by the name of Benway, who has lived an entire life with the grating, troublesome family of the Bellweather’s. The novel is mostly based on the extravagant Bellweather children: Ninda, Spider and the triplets- Brick, spike and Sassy- and the antics that poor Benway has to put up with. The marvellous characters are joined by an albino alligater and offspring, a rather grumpy scientist, a painter, a rather downtrodden circus family and the Mona Lisa!

    I found this book very easy to read. It is one of those ‘I need to relax, with my feet up and a cup of tea’ books. I enjoyed it thouroughly and was a great read for someone with jet-lag.

    Comment by isabella (Bella) — April 28, 2010 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

    • Bella, this is probably the best review on ‘The Drill Instructor’ yet. I like your writing – excellent expression which really makes me want to check this book out! Well done. PS ‘accosted’ would make a great word of the day.

      Comment by peterholford — April 28, 2010 @ 9:57 pm | Reply

  55. I just finished My Big Birkett by Lisa Shanahan. It is about a girl called Gemma in year 9 and her year at school. Her sister is getting married, shes tries out for the school play and the class loser has a crush on her when she likes another guy. She learns about the family of war freaks that her sister Debbie is marrying into, the strange themes Debbie wants for her wedding, and how love hurts but in the end its worth it. She also discovers that at the right time, and for the right reasons, a birkett can be a wonderful thing.
    I loved this story and it is now one of my favourites ever!

    Comment by Phoebe Parry — April 27, 2010 @ 8:57 pm | Reply

    • i forgot to mention that
      1. a birkett is like a tantrum
      2. I couldn’t say too much because it would ruin all the suprises!

      Comment by Phoebe Parry — April 27, 2010 @ 8:59 pm | Reply

  56. I read Saving Francesca, by Melina Marchetta. This book is about a girls ho has just gone into year eleven. She is at an all boys boarding school that has just started accepting girls, in the higher classes. Francesca who also gets called Franki, has a hard life, her mother has a breakdown and she can not even move from her bed. Franki fight with her father and hates school. But there is this one guy, in year 12 a prefect named Will. At first Franki thinks that this guy is really weird as he tells all the younger kids what to do and he is in the choir. Franki later finds out that he is not really that bad, Will goes parties, gets drunk, and has a girl friend! Meanwhile Franki old friends that have all gone to an expensive private school still love her, well thats what Franki thinks. Franki has more and more fights with her father and mother but wishes that everything could go back to how it was before the breakdown, like that is going to happen.

    Will, this year 12 guy, seems to “like: Franki talks to her and winks at her. A desperate Franki can’t help herself but to smile back. Will and Franki become really close friends and something more. Will brakes up with his other girlfriends and claims and new one. Franki and Will, a good couple but things are not much better back home. After a long fight (with some bad language) and slamming doors Franki finally catches a train and leaves her home town of Sydney to an outer suburb. Being the last one on the train seems more frightening than it sound and Franki gets off at the last stop. Franki thinks that nobody loves her not even Will, stupidly (she thinks) rings the police and gets taken back to her house and realises that she is loved very much. Franki’s mother is making a slow recovery but finally makes it back to her normal singing self, Franki realises that life really is awesome!

    I really enjoyed this book mostly because I think you can relate to the events in the book. Even though it had some bad language I think that is what made it really real and interesting. I have also read some more of Melina Marchetta’s books and really enjoy her writing style. I love reading books that are fiction but not fantasy and also love reading the true stories or the ones that are based on a true story. Do you have any suggestions or book that are not fantasy but have a real meaning and moral that I could life off, for example. Thanks!!

    Comment by Emily (Jelly) — April 27, 2010 @ 7:18 pm | Reply

    • Jelly – great to hear you’ve enjoyed Saving Francesca. Can I assume you’ve already read Looking for Alibrandi? That’s the only one of her books which I have read, but I did think it was good. Here are some which you might enjoy:
      Finding Grace or anything else by Alyssa Brugman
      Making the Most of It by Lisa Forrest
      So Much to Tell You or anything by John Marsden
      The Fifth Quest by Debra Oswald
      Castaway or Runaway by Lucy Irvine
      I can think of more, but these ones you might prefer because they are mostly from the perspective of a girl.

      Comment by peterholford — April 27, 2010 @ 8:23 pm | Reply

      • Yes Sir, I have read Looking for Alibrandi and thought it was wonderful as well. Thankyou for the suggestions, I have such a large book list but those books will have to make there way to the top. It is so hard for me to explain what I mean, you seem to understand but I was looking in the Library today and found some more books by Melina Marchetta and thought they looked quite good as well. Thanks…

        Comment by Emily (Jelly) — April 29, 2010 @ 7:44 pm

      • I think your written expression is pretty good, Jelly. If you want to get better at explaining things in writing, then you’re in the right place! That’s what I want you guys to get good at – expressing your thoughts and ideas, in writing and in speech.

        Comment by peterholford — April 29, 2010 @ 9:01 pm

    • Don’t worry – I think I knew what you meant. The important thing is to read over what you have typed before you click ‘submit’. You’ll see mistakes and be able to correct them without anyone ever knowing. Even after all these years, I still try and read everything I write before I click ‘send’ or ‘print’ because I know it’s so easy to make those little mistakes!

      Comment by peterholford — April 27, 2010 @ 8:33 pm | Reply

      • Daughter of fortune by Isabel Allende,
        This book was really interesting and Factual. It is set in the 1800’s (around the time of the Californian Gold Rush) in Chile. A young girl named Eliza arrives on the doorstep of a woman called Rose and is taken in by her and her brother, who is a wealthy shipping merchant. Eliza grows up with a stiff English view from Rose, but also quite a Chilean sensetivity from Mama Fresia ,the family cook. Segments are taken from the life of Eliza, Rose and a bible selling reporter who is madly in love with Rose. When Eliza falls in love with a ruffian, Joquian Andieta, previous mysteries unravel and lives become more confusing. After Eliza’s lover leaves for Califonia in search of fortune, she relises that she is pregnant with his child. With the help of a chinese healer she sets of to find him.

        This was an amazing book! It was full of historical information. I really enjoyed the fact that Each main character would have a chapter or two based on the childhood and previous life. The were links everywhere between character habit and events that occured in the story, i really enjoyed once i got into it.

        Comment by isabella (Bella) — April 28, 2010 @ 8:52 pm

      • Another excellent review. You’ve provided some detail on the nature of the book, but gone further and explained what it was that you liked about it. You’ve reflected on the unusal narrative structure and also shown some persisttence in finishing a book which may have at first been quite difficult to ‘get into’. Isabelle Allende has written many books – have you read any of the others?

        Comment by peterholford — April 28, 2010 @ 10:15 pm

  57. Well i read OLD CHARLIE which was my dads when his was a kid and even though its only a thin book and a kids book its still a really good story. Its a story about Bruce Todd and his brother who found an old horse that was for sale and when they were talking to the man who owned old charlie he said that if no one had bought him by wednesday he was going to send old charlie to the cat-food factory. So bruce and his brother are determined to save old charlie before its too late and even though they don’t have enough money they come up with many different money making schemes. Even though they only need $25 dollars by next wednesday back then this was a lot and for a boy selling lemonade for 3 cents a glass with a sign out the front saying HELP A HORSE it could take a bit longer…

    But all in all i thought it was a good story!

    Comment by Laura Brown (LOZ) — April 27, 2010 @ 5:58 pm | Reply

    • Sounds good. Sometimes the oldies are goodies. There are some kids’ books that I still really enjoy. Who is the author?

      Comment by peterholford — April 27, 2010 @ 6:37 pm | Reply

  58. I read Storm Boy by Colin Thiele. It was a bit confusing at first but it was good by about the second chapter. It is about a boy who lives with his father on a sandhill in a humpy. Young men come to the nearby bird sanctuary and ruined the pelican’s nests but Storm Boy found three baby pelicans still alive. He cared for them until they were too big and ate too much to keep. He and his father took them back to the sanctuary but one of them (Mr Percival) returned and so Storm Boy kept him. One day a boat gets stucks further out and using Mr Percival, they save them. The sailors offer to pay for Storm Boy to go to school in Adelaide. After a fair while, shooters came to the sanctuary and shot Mr Percival. He died that night and after burying him, Storm Boy agreed to go to school.
    It was a pretty good book but not one of my favourites.

    Comment by Phoebe — April 23, 2010 @ 4:43 pm | Reply

    • Hi Phoebe. There is a movie of this book, as well as a picture book (I have a copy of the picture book if you are interested). Some people (especially teachers) have described Storm Boy as a modern classic, but I’ve never read it. If you don’t like it, that’s fine by me! Congratulations on reading through to the end – perseverance is a virtue, BUT I hope you enjoy your next book more!

      Comment by peterholford — April 23, 2010 @ 7:28 pm | Reply

  59. Possessing Rayne by Kate Cann-
    About a girl from England, London and is sick of looking after her brother and all the noises that surrounds her the city.
    She decides to look for jobs in the country land away from everything.
    She finds a job in a tea room at Mortons Keep, a far way away from her annoying mother, boyfriend and little brother.

    Mortons Keep is a big mansion with a terrible history, she lives in a Sty out the back and loves it.
    She then starts to get a social life and meets a boy called St John. She is amazed at how he kisses and falls for him.
    His friends are very oddly welcoming and a friend who sometimes works at Mortons Keep says to stay away for they are trouble.
    They are too friendly too keen.
    as time goes on she realises that St John is a bit mysterious and he always wants to see the house and asks questions all about the house.
    She then starts getting scared of him as he does stuff he wouldnt usually do and how he wouldnt usually act.
    At a party at Mortons keep something goes missing and only Rayne has the spare key, she starts to gets suspicious.
    Towards the end everything starts coming together.
    He ends up being a descendent of a man that used to live in Mortons Keep and raped and tortured women a long time ago.
    And he tries to follow what his ancestor did.
    In the end it ends in suspense.
    It was one of the best books i have ever read

    Comment by Holly McDonald — April 23, 2010 @ 2:36 pm | Reply

    • Hi Holly – great to hear that you enjoyed this book so much. Did you know that there is a sequel called ‘Fire and Rayne’? Maybe you should check that out next – maybe you are reading it right now! Remind me to give you a Chupa Chup!

      Comment by peterholford — April 23, 2010 @ 7:01 pm | Reply

  60. The other thing you can do if pressed for time or a slow reader, is get a book of short stories! These are great because you can get the whole thing in one sitting. There are a list of short story writers in the document mentioned above. Quoting from page 9:
    “The brevity of short stories makes them accessible to those who are still acquiring the skills of concentration required for extended works of fiction, while the subtlety and sophistication of some stories provide challenges of interpretation and response for more experienced readers. Such students may be encouraged to read the stories of some of the great writers in the genre including Anton Chekhov, Guy de Maupassant, W Somerset Maugham, O Henry, Edgar Allan Poe, Katherine Mansfield and Henry Lawson together with more modern writers such as Olga Masters, Tim Winton or Alice Munro. Stage 5 students may also be led to the long short story or novella form, as practised by John Steinbeck, Elizabeth Jolley and A S Byatt, by considering some of the stories listed here. “

    Comment by peterholford — April 20, 2010 @ 12:37 pm | Reply

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