Book Review — Write and Draw Your Own Comics


If you’d like to learn how to write and draw your own comics, but aren’t sure where to start, then the the new book by Usborne Publishing aims to help. They sent us a copy of their book ‘Write and Draw Your Own Comics‘ and we asked 12 year old Cat to take a closer look! 

You can buy the book directly from Usborne, or in your local bookstore. 





The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas Review


The Boy Who Swam With Piranhas Review

By David Almond


This is a story about taking charge of your life (and fish!). It follows the story of young Stan and his journey to discovering the Stan he is destined to be.

The tale begins in his Stan’s home with his Aunt and Uncle. They live in a shipbuilding town, in a time when the main industry and provider of work is in decline . His Uncle tries to solve their problems by opening a fish canning factory in his home. He becomes so absorbed and crazed by this money making scheme that he does something so terrible that he drives our hero to run away.

Stan meets his destiny in the quirky world of a travelling fair. Here his hard working and gentle nature help to change the outlook of his adopted family from a downbeat and can’t be bothered attitude to a more gentle and sunnier outlook . Whilst working the hook a duck stall he meets with the legendary Pancho Pirelli who recognises a young himself in Stan inviting him to put his life in his own hands and fulfil his destiny.

The book generally kept a good pace, but was slow in parts. The ending of this story provided a heart warming feeling of hope that if we take risks and work hard, then maybe we can achieve what we desire. Stan is a nice, strong and likeable character,  with the villains being a group of heavy handed men with clip boards who do not like anything fishy or strange.

In a bold move the author invites the reader to decide if these villains should have their just desserts, and encourages one to look at the rest of the world and imagine the lives of many different people. While this fits the flow of the book I found it wanting and would have like a more formal ending so I could know a little more of Stan and his life. Perhaps there is room for a sequel?

Overall I thought this was a nice heart warming story with a good message. However, I think there were areas which could have been explored more and am a little disappointed that I am left wanting for more meat on this story.



Buy this book at Hive Books 

Review by Claire Lyons




Language & Literature

Mighty Books for Mighty Girls

I’ve been reading only books written by women for nearly a year now and I have read incredible works by women such as Maya Angelou,  Barbara Kingsolver, Margaret Atwood, Agatha Christie and Meg Cabot. There are so many wonderful books written by women that I’ve had to narrow the focus of my reading and read only those books written by women which feature strong, intelligent female characters. It’s been very hard to decide what to read next as so many friends keep recommending me new authors.



Number the Stars by Lois Lowry – A Book Review


How brave are you? And would you help a friend if it meant putting your own life in danger? Those are dilemmas that Annemarie Johansen faces in Number the Stars. Ten-year-old Annemarie and her best friend Ellen live in the same apartment block in Copenhagen. It’s 1943, the middle of the Second World War, and there are German soldiers patrolling the city.

The two girls share stories and secrets, but there is one difference between them – Ellen and her family, the Rosens, are Jewish. And when word gets out that the German army is planning to ‘relocate’ all the Jews in Denmark, the Johansens must help their friends to escape. But will the Rosens make it to safety?

The author, Lois Lowry, had a friend who grew up in Copenhagen during the Second World War, so this is a true reflection of life in the city during the German occupation. The story shows how hard life was for many people. Food was scarce – in the story, the girls can have bread, but no butter, as a snack after school. And because there is no leather to make new shoes, Ellen’s little sister Kirsti has to wear shoes made from fish skin.

Despite the suffering they had to put up with, the Danish people were extremely brave, and determined to stand up to the enemy. The King of Denmark, King Christian, ordered the bombing of his own ships in Copenhagen harbour, sinking them so that the German soldiers could not use them. Lots of people worked as part of the Resistance, a secret organisation that helped to save the Jews.

Lois Lowry is a great storyteller, and if you like learning about life in the past, you will love this tale of these two friends. Number the Stars is quite sad, and full of suspense – once you start reading it you’ll want to keep on going until you reach the end! If you’ve read it, please comment and let us know what you thought.



Pic Credit