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REVIEWED BY ANISHKA, 9, QLD

I Would Dangle the Moon, written and illustrated by Amber Moffat, MidnightSun Publishing,
ISBN 9781925227529

Anishka received a review copy of this book.

I Would Dangle the Moon is written by Amber Moffat. A mother and daughter explore the moon and relate it to normal events in life. The daughter imagines she could keep the moon forever. Little things matter in this book. Every page is mysterious, for example, what would she do if she was a jeweler? The mother and daughter talk about what they would do with the moon if they were different people.

This book was a perfect blend of imagination and creativity. The pictures in this book are wonderfully illustrated for younger readers.

I think this book would be suitable for younger kids of ages 3 to 5, who have just started to build their imagination. It is a good bedtime story book that younger readers would prefer with their parents or grand parents.

This is Anishka’s first book review for Alphabet Soup, but you can read posts with her writing here. If YOU would like to send us a story, drawing, poem, or book review, check out our submission guidelines. 

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REVIEWED BY HANNAH, 12, QLD

One Careless Night, written and illustrated by Christina Booth, Black Dog Books, ISBN 9781925381856

Hannah received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

“They hunt, but they are also hunted. Carted away. Sold for bounty. And then, one careless night – the last thylacine is gone.”

This beautiful picture book portrays the story of the last known living thylacine. The thylacine has been an endangered species since the year 1936. It begins with the basic life of the featured young thylacine and her mother, listening to the whispers of the night and running to keep up with them. Hunting, playing, growing. They are living a normal life, that is until they become the hunted. She’s kept captive in an unknown forest, one of concrete and cold floors.

The illustrations in the book are absolutely stunning. They perfectly show the expression of pain and agony of the two thylacines, as well as the pure elegance and beauty of the wild and silent nights that they are sharing together. The writing of the book is also wonderful. It makes you feel like you’re right in the moment, running with the thylacines, amongst the mist of the mountains and the cold night air.

It is definitely a good book to read to older children, aged 10 to 12. It didn’t seem to be a book aimed at smaller children as the overall themes were quite dark and scary. I believe smaller children (aged 4 to 9) may find the book overwhelming, so I do not recommend the book for that age group.

Get excited for the release of One Careless Night, written and illustrated by Christina Booth, this month!

Hannah is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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My Coonawarra Farm Resort Camp Experience (May 2019)
by Jessie, 10, VIC

This was my first camp experience and I will never forget it!
The lead up to camp made me both excited and a little bit nervous. I got to buy some new items for camp, which was great and our teddies were also invited to come. I brought my pink bear, who wore her handmade colourful scarf and my friends brought their stuffed toys too.

It was a cold start to our first day, but only the adults noticed that. The kids were all too excited to care and just wanted to get on the bus and go. The weather soon warmed up and the bus trip there and back was heaps of fun and we stopped for lunch at a park. I was very lucky to get to sit with Sarah on the way up, who was my designated bus buddy and then on the way back I got to sit in the prestigious back row with Bianca, Milly and Emma. On the bus there was lots of talking, laughing and singing and on the way back many of the boys sang ‘Let It Go’, redefining how NOT to sing in tune and why not everyone should try to reach the high notes.

The camp I went to (Coonawarra Farm Resort) is located in East Gippsland on approximately 140 ha. It is surrounded by bush, with a huge lake and beautiful views and home to a variety of wildlife, including kangaroos.

Our rooms were terrific, warm and had bunk beds. I shared a room with Milly, Emma, Sarah, Jemima and Lila. We all took turns getting the top bunks, as they were the most sought-after location, with the best views. We had a lot of crazy fun in our rooms including singing, dancing and way too much laughing and not a lot of sleeping.

The food was great, all cooked and prepared for us and the only jobs the kids had to do was help with setting the tables. The only thing that I didn’t really like about camp was that I couldn’t get the shower water temperature as warm as I liked.

We got to do lots of activities such as red faces, trivia night, movie night, night walk, high ropes, hut building, rock climbing, damper making, visiting Den of Nargun, etc, but my favourites were horse riding, the flying fox and the big swing.

I got to go horse riding in a large group, luckily which included my friends Emma, Bianca and Sarah. My horse was called Buzz. He was white and patchy and was a really nice, calm horse. The only thing is that he did those things no one wants to talk about, as he walked along, not even trying to wait until he got back to the paddock.

The Big Swing, what a rush! The adrenaline you get just as you pull the rope was great. Your life flashes before your eyes. Then you just have to do it again and again. I chose the very top level both times, but I would have gone even higher if I could and I could have done it all day.

The Flying Fox was so much fun, though the hill we had to walk up to get there was very steep. The Flying Fox was very high, with incredible views and you could hear the air rushing past as you travelled along the line.

Archery was another of our activities. I didn’t find it that much fun, as the target just kept moving and the ground kept jumping in front of my arrow. I think Mrs Harvey had the same problem.

In groups we all had to attempt to make waterproof huts out of branches, logs, bark etc. Then the adults got to throw large buckets of water over the huts, drenching us. Mr Bennett seemed a little bit too happy doing this job. He had a big smile on his face seeing us all wet and listening to us scream. We then got to warm ourselves by the fire and make and eat damper. The damper had the best fruit in it, that made it especially yummy.

I will also give a special mention and thank you to Monty, who we met while building our huts. Only a small group of kids will know who I’m talking about, but he was very special to us and though only with us for a short time, he touched our lives, gave us a huge amount of laughter and will forever be in our hearts.

We also went on a trip to Den Of Nargun which was the best. I really enjoyed the aboriginal stories and the beautiful views on the way.

Overall I think this was a terrific camp.  I had the best fun, I got to have so many new experiences and I left with fantastic memories that will last a lifetime.

Jessie has had work published at Alphabet Soup previously. You can read her book review here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!
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REVIEWED BY HANNAH, 12, QLD

The Wreckers’ Revenge by Norman Jorgensen, Fremantle Press, ISBN 9781925815450

Hannah received a review copy of this book from the publisher.

The Wreckers’ Revenge, by Norman Jorgensen, is a sequel to the very successful first book in the series The Smuggler’s Curse. The Wreckers Revenge was inspired by two boys from the Cocos Islands who, after hearing one of Jorgensen’s stories, attempted to find William Dampier’s missing treasure. It is not necessary to have read the first book to thoroughly enjoy The Wreckers Revenge, which is set in the early 20th century, beginning with the anticipation of whether Red Read (the main character) is to be expelled from Christian Brothers College. After a series of crazy events – involving the nasty acts of Brother Christian – the infamous Captain Black Bowen, Red’s Guardian, comes to change the day, whisking young Red off to once more become a loyal crew member of the mighty Black Dragon. But don’t get too comfortable on this ship as there is nothing but action and adventure to be had on these decks.

In my opinion, I thought that the book moved at a manageable pace for a wide range of readers and it wasn’t over-complicated. I really enjoyed getting to know the characters as the story developed and it was interesting as each character had their own lovable and different features. Every sentence had a drip of anticipation and I really did find it quite hard to put the book down.

It would be a perfect holiday read and even a great book for adults to read to children as well. I recommend this book to 10–13 year olds as there is quite a lot of violence in it and I believe that these ages would be able to manage that.

In conclusion, it’s a really great book and is worth checking out.

Read a sample chapter of The Wreckers’ Revenge at the publisher’s website.

Download Teachers’ notes for this book from the publisher’s website.

Hannah is a regular book reviewer for Alphabet Soup. You can read all her reviews here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Alphabet Soup by Alphabet Soup - 3w ago

It’s the last day of May! And that means it’s time for our Top Reads Team* to recommend some favourite books.

You’ll find a recommended list from our Top Reads Team on the last day of every month (February to November). If you’d like even more recommendations, browse all through all our Top Reads ever!

*All our Top Readers are kids aged 13 and under. No grownups allowed!

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Alphabet Soup by Alphabet Soup - 3w ago

REVIEWED BY MIA, 8,
RINGWOOD HEIGHTS PRIMARY SCHOOL, VIC

Olivia’s Secret Scribbles: Box Car Racers
by Meredith Costain,

ill. Danielle McDonald,
Scholastic Australia,

ISBN 9781760660031

Box Car Racers is part of the Olivia’s Secret Scribbles series. These books are fiction, written by Meredith Costain and illustrated by Danielle McDonald. This book and series would suit girls between 6-9 who like inventions, experiments and competitions.

Box Car Racers is now my new favourite book, written like a journal, full of special private secrets. The book is filled with drawings that make it so easy to imagine, as if you were there and a part of it.

This story is about Olivia, who is a nice girl who likes to win, but values her friend’s happiness more. This book is about school, recycle week, box car races, the magic of silver stripes, friendships, secrets under the table, older sisters, planes, bat cars, puppet shows, and unicorn carriages, crashes, GLITTER AND MORE GLITTER and so much more.

I love this series because Olivia likes a lot of the things that I do and I have also built and raced a box car:

I read this book from start to finish in one night and I want to read it again tomorrow.

I give this book and all the illustrations 5 plus plus stars.

You can read another book review by Mia here. If YOU would like to send us a book review, check out our submission guidelines. Happy reading!

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Alphabet Soup by Alphabet Soup - 1M ago

MAMIE
by Liora, 9, Manhattan, USA

This woman is nice
This woman is respectful
This woman likes rice
This woman is grateful

This woman is funny
This woman is fancy
This woman is as sweet as honey
This woman likes coffee

This woman likes children
This woman gives to the poor
This woman eats lemon
This woman likes to bring me to the store

This woman is my grandmother
This woman has two brothers
I hope she likes to sip coffee in a cafe
Wishing her a very happy Mother’s Day!

You can read more of Liora’s poetry here. To send us YOUR story, poem, artwork or book review, check out our submission guidelines.

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Last week Year 6 students at Cawdor Public School (NSW) staged a dramatic telling of the 2019 National Simultaneous Storytime book – Alpacas with Maracas by Matt Cosgrove. We hear their performance was so good they had to do an encore!

Cawdor Primary School students in costume for NSS 2019 (Alpacas with Maracas)

National Simultaneous Storytime (NSS) is an annual event run by the Australian Library and Information Association (ALIA). Every year a picture book, written and illustrated by an Australian author and illustrator, is read simultaneously by children all over the country.

Well done to Cawdor’s fabulous performers!

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WARMTH OF MY LIFE
by Anishka, 9, QLD

I know you do the washing up every night.
And clean up all my mess.
You always make us happy,
And still find time to stress.

Thank you for your hugs,
And teaching me how to keep in touch
Even though I never thanked you
I love you very much.

You are so hardworking
Today it’s your special day
We’ll give you whatever you want
On the twelfth of glorious May

I’ll answer all your work emails
And order 50 pizzas from the pizza store
Because I know you like them
I also know you like little cute boars.

You’re the one special mother
Who gets all these gifts from me
Because I am thankful
I might make you some tea.

The tulips in our garden
Do not grow without sunlight
You are their sunshine,
Without you it would be always night.

The honey in the bees’ hive
Wouldn’t be there without you,
For you, gave them loads of flowers
And  a nice sunny area too.

You might be a university student,
Or work for a company of book covers
But there is something you will always be
My happy, loving mother.

One more word for you mum,
There goes another Mother’s day
But remember one thing
I will always love you in every way.

Anishka is a regular contributor to Alphabet Soup. You can read her earlier work here.

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Today we are very pleased to welcome Teena Raffa-Mulligan to Alphabet Soup. Teena’s publications for children include poems, short stories, picture books, chapter books and middle grade novels. She has also worked as a journalist and editor. Teena’s latest publication is a picture book called When the Moon is a Smile (illustrated by Amy Calautti). This is a gentle story about a small girl spending time with her dad, who no longer lives with them.

When was your first piece of writing published?
A long time ago! I was a member of an ABC radio club for kids called The Argonauts and I had a poem read during one of their sessions. That gave me the confidence to send it to the children’s page of the Sunday Times newspaper, where it was published. I’m not sure of the exact year, but I think it was maybe 1964. About 10 years later I had my first two children’s stories accepted and they appeared in Woman’s Day magazine.

You write poetry, picture books and novels – how do you know which format will be best when you have a story in your head?
Good question, Rebecca. Usually the story ‘tells’ me and I go along with that. However, sometimes I’ll write what I think is a picture book but then I can’t find a publisher. So I make a few changes and submit them as poems or short stories to magazines and anthologies – usually successfully. Interestingly, my children’s novel Mad Dad for Sale began as a picture book that I couldn’t sell. Catnapped and Getting Rid of Wrinkles also began as picture books.

Your latest book – When the Moon is a Smile – is a picture book. How do you go about writing a picture book once you have the story idea?
I scribble random sentences and paragraphs from anywhere in the story on scrap paper as they pop into my mind. Then I get a clean sheet of paper and divide it roughly into page spreads so I can work out how the book might work. When I finally sit down at the computer, it’s a bit like doing a jigsaw puzzle. I put all the bits and pieces in the right order and play around with them until everything feels like it’s in the right place.

Teena’s drafts of When the Moon is a Smile.

Do you have a tip for young writers wanting to write a picture book?
Writing stories is fun. You get to create characters, put them in weird and wonderful situations and then decide what happens next. Don’t worry about whether what you’re writing is an amazing story. Just play with the words. Let one follow another and see where they take you. It’s an adventure.

What’s next for you?
I’m working on a novel called Talibut Vish. It’s about a kid who hires a parent tamer because he’s had enough of trying to sort out his problem parents. At first Mike thinks he’s found the solution to his dilemma. But when Vish becomes less of a friend and more of a threat, Mike realises he has a bigger problem than misbehaving parents. It’s a fun story to write but because I don’t really know what’s going to happen from one chapter to the next, it’s taking me a long time to get to The End. I’m 14 chapters in but I still have no idea how Mike is going to escape from Mr Vish, find his runaway parents and reclaim control of his life.

This interview is copyright http://www.alphabetsoup.net.au May 2019

When the Moon is a Smile will be available from June 2019. Find out more about Teena Raffa-Mulligan and her books by visiting her website: www.teenaraffamulligan.com

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