This was a sad and interesting book to read. I was intrigued by learning about World War II and its effect on children's lives. It gave me a better understanding of the impact of war.

I really liked one of the main characters called Dobbs, who stood up for people being bullied and harassed.

I would recommend "Vinnie's War" to children aged 12 - 14 who are interested in stories set during the war.

Very helpful teachers' notes here and some reviews from teachers around Australia here.



The Witch Hunter Chronicles: The Scourge of Jericho novel by Stuart Daly, is a magnificent read.

At first I thought it was for younger readers but as I kept reading, the suspense and action grew and it kept me reading to find out what would happen next.

I loved the main character, Jakob, because he explained things that happened to him so clearly that it felt like I was right beside him on his adventures.

I would recommend this book to boys and girls aged between 10 and 16.

This brand new Australian series is available now. 

Teachers Notes are available here.
The Little Bookroom is
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Student Review: GIRL SAVES BOY by Steph Bowe

Guest Reviewer: 
Chelsea H

GIRL SAVES BOY is novel is about a girl named Jewel Valentine, and a boy named Sacha Thomas. It is the debut of sixteen year old Melbournian author Steph Bowe, who has a popular online blog, “Hey! Teenager of the Year.”

It opens with Jewel saving Sacha’s life after she finds him drowning in a lake one night. Following this heroic event, the teens part ways, only to find that many coincidences begin to unfold – they meet up again at the same school, they have both lived in the very same house, and they both had the same career-driven best friend, True Grisham. It makes the reader feel as though the two were meant to find each other.

However, Jewel soon discovers that, just like herself, Sacha has secrets and troubles – just like her, he has lost loved ones, feels neglected, and has no plans for the future. To make everything worse, Sacha has a terminal disease, and the doctors have not given him much time.

Despite all of this, the novel is not overly downcast or doleful – it is perfectly pitched and bittersweet, and magically realistic. It makes you value your life and recognise the little things that we take for granted. The storyline is as quirky and artsy as the names of the characters - it is romantic, funny and melancholic all in one, and reveals the basic truth - everyone has their own complications in life.

GIRL SAVES BOY is an exciting adventure involving garden gnome theft, lobster emancipation, and a midnight Tim-Tam feast.

Student Review: MORTLOCK by Jon Mayhew

Special Guest Reviewer: Salome

MORTLOCK: You never knew your parents, then your uncle is killed by three odd aunts; and just before he dies, he tells you about the existence of your twin brother. When you finally meet him, he isn't at all like you imagined him to be, he is gross, odious and immature. On top of all, people are chasing you for a mysterious object that could change the world and they would not hesitate to kill you for it. Then, you discover the existence of a totally different world, full of lies and secrets. ‘Death is not the end’.

MORTLOCK is a fantastic novel by Jon Mayhew, the book is clearly written, isn't rushed and the ending is smooth. The story catches you from the beginning. It is also a funny book with a touch of black humour, as well as being a bit scary. The characters are well described, especially their feelings, the settings are also fairly well described. You can easily imagine the characters and the places in which the actions take place.

I especially liked how Jon Mayhew portrays actions which build up into a strong atmosphere of what is happening. I find it very interesting how the characters develop and change during the story right from the beginning to the end. I also really enjoyed reading the quotes that were at the start of each chapter as I thought they related well to the storyline and that they were smartly chosen.

I would recommend this book for children about 12 years and older, due to its more advanced vocabulary and its black humour. I think this book will be attracive to anybody that likes a complicated plot.

Thank you for your brilliant review, Salome. Hope you'll be able to contribute again!

Student Review: QUILLBLADE by Ben Chandler


Christine is a first time reviewer, and this September 2010 new release sound like it is full of promise. Thanks heaps, Christine!

Genre: Adventure, Fantasy, Drama
Category: Teenage, Young Adult
Style: Mecha

QUILLBLADE shares the adventures of Lenis and his twin sister, Missy. The twins have been sold as slaves to operate a massive airship with the help of their Bestia. However, they are not your normal slaves. They are capable of some other things that has endangered not only their life, but the Hiryu's crew members' too. I like how the twins manage to operate the Hiryu despite their young age and how they are inseparable.

I recommend this book to anyone who likes fantasy, adventure and drama.

Student Review: THE KEEPERS: MUSEUM OF THIEVES by Lian Tanner


The Keepers is a fantasy novel about a girl called Goldie. Goldie lives in the city of Jewel where children wear silver chains around their wrist to keep them safe until their Separation Day when their chains get taken off. When Goldie’s Separation Day is cancelled she runs away and takes shelter in the Museum of Dunt where the rooms shift and she has to hide from the Blessed Guardians who are trying to capture her.
I thought this book was very exciting. The characters and places in the book are mysterious and imaginative. The book is full of surprising events which make you want to keep reading to find out what happens.
I think this book is ideal for children aged about 9-13 who enjoy reading fantasy and adventure novels.
I’m looking forward to reading the next books in the series.
By Kirsty