Wednesday 26 February 2020

Review by Kathy Hoyle of "Jim Neat: The Case of a Young Man Down on His Luck" by Mary J. Oliver

Mary J. Oliver describes this work as a "long narrative poem."  Whilst the book certainly does contain sections of vivid, powerful poetry, it’s also a hybrid of hospital reports, diary entries, letters and historical photographs, making it a truly fascinating and original composition.

As a child, Mary hears a whisper of a conversation between her parents, an accusation, revealing a secret her father kept to himself and refused to speak of, ever: "You’re in another world, it’s that woman you married in Canada. And her baby. Isn’t it? Still dreaming about them, after all this time."

Mary’s father is absent, often physically, as he struggles with depression and addiction, and always emotionally. As an adult, Mary has a need to understand her father better, maybe find the half-sister she thinks still lives somewhere on the other side of the world and once and for all get answers as to why her father was never really present in her life. 

Mary remembers that Jim was close to his sister Queenie, and tracks down her daughter, Sally, sparking a journey of discovery. Through Sally, Mary finds boxes of old letters and documents, revealing links to Canada, where Jim spent his early life. She carefully collates hospital reports, letters and diary entries, to build an absolutely fascinating picture of her father. Interspersed throughout the narrative are Mary’s own thoughts, expressed through poetry and short sections of creative non-fiction, as she fills in gaps and processes her feelings. 

This sometimes humorous, yet more often heart-breaking story reveals how Mary came to understand her father and the extraordinary life he led before he met her mother. Unlike anything I’ve read before, I was pulled in by the stunning prose, the gorgeous poetry written by both Jim and Mary, and the powerful themes of loss, duplicity, addiction, love and family secrets. An exceptional book.  

About the reviewer
Kathy Hoyle is an MA graduate of Creative Writing from the University of Leicester. Her flash fiction and short stories have appeared in various online zines. She has been shortlisted for The Exeter Short Story Award, The Fish Publishing Short Memoir Prize and the Ellipsiszine Flash Fiction Collection Competition. She will write for chocolate. 

Tuesday 25 February 2020

Review by Amber Culbert of SoundCafe Leicester

SoundCafe is a Leicester based non-profit organisation founded in 2014. They run weekly workshops on Wednesday afternoons and offer a safe creative space for people suffering in poverty who may be homeless, isolated and vulnerable.

Their main aims are to:

  • Create a safe space for people to explore their creativity.
  • Provide a sense of belonging.
  • Help people to find and have their voices heard.
  • To build and sustain good relationships.

I am a second year creative writing student at DMU and as part of a placement for one of my modules, I have been attending arts events around the city over the past few months. One of the most memorable events I attended was SoundCafe on 22nd January.

Upon arriving I naturally gravitated towards the poetry table (there were several different tables set up, each for different activities such as poetry, arts and crafts, music etc.). One thing that struck me immediately was the sense of community and friendship between the visitors, most of whom I had never met before. Every few minutes someone would approach me and introduce themselves and ask me about myself in a way that felt so genuine like they really cared about what I had to say. 

SoundCafe is set up for people who are vulnerable and in need but these people seemed in such high spirits and were so happy to be there, it was really lovely to see. Throughout the duration of the session, guests were invited to come up to the front and perform, whether it was a song on karaoke, a piece of music or a poem; they all had such enthusiasm it was infectious.

Attending the session was quite a moving experience and I was able to see just how much these workshops meant to people. You could feel the hurt and pain in some of the guests and it was clear that art, particularly writing, drawing and singing, can be a much-needed emotional outlet for people who are struggling. SoundCafe is doing some very important work in our community and I want to thank them for making me feel so welcome!

About the reviewer
Amber Culbert is a second year creative writing student at De Montfort University. She enjoys writing poetry and short fiction and has always loved reading, especially work by Stephen King and Kate Tempest. She is passionate about helping others and encouraging other emerging writers to share their work.

Monday 24 February 2020

Interview with John Schad

John Schad is Professor of Modern Literature at University of Lancaster.  His books include Victorians in Theory (Manchester, 1999), Queer Fish: Christian Unreason from Darwin to Derrida (Sussex, 2004), a memoir, Someone Called Derrida (Sussex, 2007), a novel The Late Walter Benjamin (Bloomsbury, 2012), an experimental biography called Paris Bride (Punctum, 2020), and (with Fred Dalmasso) Derrida | Benjamin. Two Plays (Palgrave Macmillan, 2021).  He has also had two retrospectives published - Hostage of the Word, 1993-2013 (2013) and John Schad in Conversation (2015). He has read his work on BBC Radio 3’s ‘The Verb’ and at various literary festivals, and his plays have been performed at The Oxford Playhouse, Duke’s Theatre Lancaster, Watford Palace Theatre, HowTheLight GetsIn (Hay-on-Wye), and the Sheldonian Theatre Oxford.

Interviewed by Jonathan Taylor

JT: How would you describe the genre you work in? Is it literary criticism, philosophy, creative writing, creative-criticism, life writing, theology, literary theory, or a mixture of some or all these things? 

JS: Guilty of all the above, plus: slapstick, pantomime, and circus. So, yes, I guess I do mix things up; or, rather, I am mixed up. I am particularly mixed up about the difference between reading and writing, which I shall never grasp. It’s why I am always writing out of reading, always writing in the shadow, or shelter, of a prior text, in the margins, or between the lines. On a good day this works, and I'm off, running away to the circus, off to the far side of Literature. On a bad day, Bad.

JT: How would you describe your style or voice? 

JS: Dull. Which is why I'm always trying to lose my voice, or to throw it, throw it away, and find another one, a voice that can do more with less - less effort (being lazy, you see). It never seems to happen though.

JT: You write for the theatre, as well as for the page. How do the two forms relate to each other in your work? 

JS: Ah, yes, the theatrical antics, they emerged out of the prose. It just happened one day. (Pause). You know, sometimes I am persuaded that all writing, in the end, aspires to the condition of theatre, of voices or bodies performing before a darkened auditorium in which there may, or may not, be an audience. There was, of course, theatre long before ever there was writing. 

JT: Do you find there are things you can do in one form that you can't in the other?

JS: Yes. Theatre lets you get away with not describing boring things like the weather and faces; you can just do the voices and leave the rest to the actors. An almighty relief. And when I can’t find any actors I simply write a book which suddenly, or for a while, becomes a play – it’s cheaper. 

JT: How would you describe the parts played by philosophy or religion in your writing? 

JS: You know, I have recently begun to imagine that I'm writing books which think or pray by themselves. To put that another way, I imagine that the book is a thinking machine – that if I could but wire it up sufficiently, build enough connections both within the text and with the world beyond, that the book will start to think all on its own. I have in mind Alain Badiou’s wonderful question, ‘What does the poem think?’ The answer to this question may, of course, be ‘Not much,’ but that may be where the prayer begins - with stupidity.   

JT: Who (do you think) is your intended reader? Who do you write for?

JS: I’m never quite sure if there is a reader – and not just because I am so very dull.  You see, I suspect that the reader might not really exist at all, or is at best a kind of ghost. I am, then, used to talking to no one, or the air. Like now. Mind you, sometimes I dream that the reader does exist and that s/he might yet redeem the book, make nothing of it.

JT: Much of your writing is heavily intertextual. Do you think the reader needs to have read the explicit intertexts to which you allude (by Jacques Derrida, Samuel Beckett, Emily Dickinson, Katherine Mansfield, Dickens, Walter Benjamin, et al) to understand your work? 

JS: No. You see, these damned texts just turn up, unannounced, out of the blue, much like any other character or voice - walk right in they do, quite unexplained and strange, as fresh as they day they were first coughed up.  

JT: Can you tell us a bit more about your new book, Paris Bride: A Modernist Life - its origin, the premise, its aim? 

JS: In 1905, in a Baptist church in Paris, a young woman called Marie Wheeler married (or thought she had married) someone called Johannes Schad, a clerk from Basel. Marie and Johannes then lived together in suburban London until one day, in 1924, they went to the High Court in the Strand, and the marriage there ended, or was declared never to have been. The stated reason for what happened in the High Court was, and is, hard to credit. Marie, nevertheless, disappeared, returning alone to Paris. And that is all the official records revealed. 

One day, however, I received a message from an angel in Paris called Jacques, who said his great-grandmother knew Marie, and that her diary revealed quite another version of events. The angel also sent me a photo of the young Marie, a few of her letters, and one or two details of her life and death.  

So, clutching said fragments, I fell head-first into a whole pile of books written by giants like Wilde, Kafka, Woolf, and Mansfield. And there, time and again, I swear that I glimpsed the face or the back or the shadow of Marie. And that’s the book, Paris Bride - it thinks that it reads Marie back into existence. Mad.  

About the interviewer
Jonathan Taylor is the director of Everybody's Reviewing. His books include the novel Melissa (Salt, 2015), the poetry collection Cassandra Complex and the memoir Take Me Home (Granta, 2007). He directs the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester. Many thousands of years ago, he was John Schad's PhD student. 

Saturday 22 February 2020

Review by Victoria Pickup of "Sharp Hills" by Chrissie Gittins

Sharp Hills shows Chrissie Gittins resurrecting ghosts of the past whilst connecting with the reader through her insightful description, vivid imagery and humour.

This collection (Gittin’s third) opens with the sequence ‘Dancing in Silchar,’ inspired by the poet’s travels in India following her father’s footsteps in WWII.

Here, Gittins weaves past imaginings with transportive descriptions of what is real and present. In ‘Prayer Flag, Nainital,’ her prayer flag is first a bedsheet, then a tea towel. Armed with her ‘father in black and white’ ('Dancing in Silchar'), the poet revisits the past whilst highlighting the pitfalls and wonders of travelling in India with her observations that ‘Six boxes of Immodium may be five boxes too many,’ followed by:

          … a party of fellow passengers 
          who embark at Rudrapur will unpack a picnic 
          and present you with a serviette, spoon, and a paper plate 

          of puri, kachori, aloo subzi and jalebi.
          ('Travelling in India') 

Gittins compares her father’s experiences, real and imagined, with her own. In ‘Operations Record Book,’ her writing is spliced with his own words:

          The heat is terrific, we are not used to it, but the boys worked like tigers.

          Still cold, I keep my coat wrapped around me
          as I forget to tick ‘terms and conditions’ to become a reader.

These combined perspectives connect us directly with her story.  By recognising the beauty of their shared, if removed, experiences, the poet reawakens her father’s memory and in doing so is more connected with him.

Gittins also draws upon the contrasts of their journeys. One of my personal favourites, ‘Frontiers,’ describes the poet surrendering her homemade gifts (intended for her hosts) at the airport: ‘Elsinore strawberries hung in their syrup / like air balloons in a red sky. / Seville orange slivers, marinated overnight … in gelatinous amber.’ The poet goes on to reflect upon what loss means in a very different situation:

          I hadn’t lost my clothes, I hadn’t lost

          my childhood in photographs,
          I hadn’t lost my country.
          And still it cut me to the quick.

Inevitably tied to the tracing of history is the experience of loss. Out of India, Sharp Hills remains rooted in the memory of loved ones, of the ghosts Gittins lives alongside. In ‘I Carry You With Me,’ she describes a trip to Spain, ‘through security where, despite you saying / weeks ago they would have to be packed in a separate / polythene bag, I have to search deep in my rucksack / for moisturizer.’ Gittins goes on to refer to ‘Your empty seat,’ acknowledging the absence, keenly felt. 

‘Where is Freya?’ shows the poet searching for a child: ‘on the red staircase, / under your mother’s blackcurrant bush … I stroke the surface of the trampoline / for the imprint of your sole.’ Later in the collection, ‘Satin Stitch’ remembers Gittins’ mother through her embroidery. The final glorious couplet, celebrates not only her creations, but their ‘Best love for ever’: 

         The serviettes come out for notable occasions,
         they feature in the art of deepest celebration.

There are also laments to an unknown sister and in ‘Sundays’ the poet compares her memories with a sibling (we presume): ‘We’re each other’s precious reference book,' highlighting the comfort which can be gained by keeping memories alive. 

A powerful penultimate poem in the collection, ‘Though June I Light a Fire,’ is dedicated to Helen Dunmore, the friend she didn’t manage to say goodbye to but who lives on in her every day, as portrayed in the touching final couplets:

          And yet you’re here – as I peel a browned petal
          from a rose, as a lime green caterpillar curls

          against the curve of pink,
          as the cold leaves are lifted by the wind.

Through her poems, Gittins’ takes her reader on a personal journey, reawakening figures of her past whilst also describing what adventure and wonder can be found when journeying through life with the spirit of a loved one in your heart. 

About the reviewer
Vic Pickup’s poetry has featured in a number of magazines and webzines. She is a previous winner of the Café Writers competition and was recently shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruth competition. In 2018, Vic co-founded the Inkpot Writer’s Group in the Hampshire village where she lives with her husband and three children.

Tuesday 11 February 2020

Review by Laurie Cusack of "Earthrise" by Gus Gresham

Earthrise by Gus Gresham ticks all the boxes where page turning is concerned. He draws the reader in from the very first line regarding his feisty heroine: “Erin would remember this as the night everything started getting messed up beyond all recognition.”

The novel is a coruscating read and a testimony of our times concerning the way vested interests manipulate power and our freewill for unadulterated profit; they don’t care if it makes us sick or unwell. Earthrise explores these themes with relish. 

What also makes Gresham’s scorching text stand out is the way it dramatizes the courage and integrity of young adults, with Pullmanesque aplomb. After all, someone must make a stand, or we all will perish. These young adults have guts. They have something to say.

Earthrise is riveting and scary at times as it scrapes under the skin of corporate greed with surgical expertise. And Gresham handles the tense mirroring of reality and fantasy with skilful craft and gusto. This dark twisted fantasy is the real deal … Brilliant!

About the reviewer
Laurie Cusack has a PhD in Creative Writing from the University of Leicester. He is currently working on his first collection of short stories. His story 'The Bottle and the Trowel' is published in the anthology High Spirits: A Round of Drinking Stories. You can read more about his work here

Sunday 9 February 2020

Review by Victoria Pickup of "The Carrying" by Ada Limón

There are many things I admire about Ada Limón’s poetry – most of all her stark honesty, and the bravery required to be frank about the things that matter. 

The central themes in The Carrying, her fifth and most recent collection, are mortality, loss, infertility and self-worth. These are topics with which we associate pain, grief and sorrow … and yet Limón manages to muster so many opposites in her poems: she is at once vulnerable and defiant, sombre and strong, serious and funny – and therein lies her charm.

With opening lines like ‘The birds were being so bizarre today’ (Almost Forty) and ‘Have you ever noticed how the trees / change from state to state?’ (Of Roots & Roamers), Limón adopts a conversational style in much of her poetry. By purposefully digressing and laughing at herself at seemingly inappropriate times (‘I pretend my sunglasses hide / my whole body’ (Sacred Objects)), her reader assumes the role of friend and confidant, feels involved − finds the experience of reading her deeply personal and touching.  

It helps that Limón’s work is so unaffected. She doesn’t try to be mystical or illusive, nor embody more fashionable trends of contemporary poetry: her writing exists on its own merit. It flows naturally, speaks plainly, is tightly formatted − yet the beauty, detail and composition are such that it’s perfectly clear The Carrying was not rushed off in a flurry of mindfulness exercises. 

Limón’s sense of place is masterful. Each scene is portrayed with such beauty and tenderness, even amidst turbulent emotion. After the poet has invited us in and painted the picture, she then sets about delivering her message, incorporating twists and turns so that until the final line, we aren’t sure where we’re headed. Indeed, Limón has a knack of bringing her poems to a close in such a way that each lingers on − and despite the frequently difficult subject matter, it is rare for her to conclude on a negative note. 

While Limón uses poetry to express her troubles, she doesn’t indulge in pain-worship. Instead she acknowledges the hardships of life whilst finding a way to be positive, grateful. A good example of this is seen in ‘Wonder Woman,’ where we begin the poem with an urgent care doctor saying ‘Well, / sometimes shit happens’ and concludes with a girl dressed as a superhero bowing and posing ‘like she knew I needed a myth − / a woman, by a river, indestructible.’

Ada Limón’s poetry is wise, intuitive, powerful - but above all, it’s accessible. There’s not an ounce of pretension in her work; you could underestimate the skill and craft hidden behind such seemingly simple lines. She bestows such wisdom – in ‘Prey,’ we are instructed ‘Don’t be the mouse’ and given important advice to learn from the trees in ‘Instructions on not giving up’.

Like the trees she describes, ‘a green skin / growing over whatever winter did to us,’ Limón’s poetry stands strong. It would be demeaning to label this collection as ultimately uplifting – these poems are much so more: fortifying, exuberant and full of life. 

About the reviewer
Vic Pickup’s poetry has featured in a number of magazines and webzines. She is a previous winner of the Café Writers competition and was recently shortlisted for the National Poetry Day #speakyourtruth competition. In 2018, Vic co-founded the Inkpot Writer’s Group in the Hampshire village where she lives with her husband and three children.

Review by Ashley Lloyd Smith of "Genre Fluid" by Dan Webber

When I first watched Dan Webber perform at an open mic night I couldn’t stop laughing.  And I wasn’t alone. The whole place was in uproar. We waited, tense on every line, for the next observation to blow our heads off. I laughed more than I do at most stand-ups. It is this which goes to crux of the title and in some ways the whole collection. Am I a stand-up comedian or am I a poet? I’m not sure. “I think I might be Genre Fluid.”

This collection of poetry is more than just the last couple of years of his poems flung into one book but in fact the script of an hour long one man show, including the slides he uses and the funny chatty bits in-between. It takes us through the trials of a performance poet on the circuit, a single gay man’s fight with dating technology and the perversity of labels themselves.  

The show was without doubt one of the best nights I’ve had this year. I can’t rate it highly enough. Inevitably, the poetry collection loses some of that excitement once on the page. I have read it three times now so I am hardly bored by it but that’s partly because I can picture the show itself and I’m reliving it. Dan’s personality, one that welcomes you into his world with a big bear hug (‘bear’ being one of those labels) is so important to the poems in performance that they can’t quite reach those heights on the page. 

However I’d still recommend you read it and never miss him on stage if I were you.  Here’s a taste of the world you’ll enter with the shortest poem in the collection (along with its introduction): 

When I’m at my lowest, I always seem to find
something to remind me what a wonderful
world we live in and this particular time
I found it in Asda in Sutton on Ashfield

Teenage boy applying lip gloss in a supermarket mirror
“So, then he called me queer and I was like, yeah and?”
His friends giggle like it’s no big deal
Stealing from the samples, they trade eyeliners
And ever so slightly, the world changes

About the reviewer
Ashley has had a number of poems and short stories published. Last year his debut novel, Pizza with Jimbob & Twoforks, won Best Foreign Novel of the Year in Greece. He is currently taking the MA in Creative Writing at the University of Leicester.

Saturday 8 February 2020

Review by Lisa Williams of "Your Cleaner Hates You and Other Poems" by Cathi Rae

Your Cleaner Hates You is Cathi Rae’s debut poetry collection; she’s a local performance poet and is currently working as a cleaner.  But please don’t expect the comforting smell of polish as you read though: the opening poem with the same title as the collection is quite a punchy diatribe. 

Further in, we cover buying beds, dying dogs, feral boys and summer storms. Intimate secrets sit beside things found at bus stops. There are lists you want to devour quickly to get to the next but find yourself lingering longer over certain lines. 

All through the collection, Rae lifts your heart with humour only to fill it with sorrow in the next stanza or paragraph. She explores memory and things forgotten; relationships with partners, employers, pets, parents, children; the passing of time and procrastination - all done with a beautiful blend of wit and poignancy. 

Read the book. 

Go see her perform. 

About the reviewer
Lisa has just completed the MA course in Creative Writing at Leicester Uni, is working as a shopgirl, and although nearly 50 hasn’t yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. You can find her online @noodleBubble

Thursday 6 February 2020

Review by Charles Bennett of "Longship" by Jessica Mayhew

Contemporary poetry sometimes feels a daunting and precarious place: the ground can give way suddenly, leaving years of wide reading, disciplined writing and artistic values feeling like outdated preconceptions which have no longer have validity. In the face of this multiverse – which might be more effectively labelled contemporary poetries (such is the bewildering variety of writings which now adopt the title of poem) it is a joy to welcome a wise, thoughtful and yet surprising collection from a gifted and reflective poet.

There are good reasons to buy and read this book. Here is someone who knows how to build a poem. The formal lightness of touch is exemplary – giving the poems a shape on the page as well as in the air. Often playful – a series of couplets often ends in a mischievous or profound triplet – Mayhew’s sense of timing, as the meaning of the poem unfolds and develops in its travel down the page, is a real joy. I found myself thoroughly enjoying the journey of the poem – and was delighted by the formal variety in which Mayhew shows how open form poetry always needs some subtle references to more formal elements to achieve its purposes: in the way a jazz improvisation of a classic melody both reinvigorates and refreshes the original. Free verse is, a Eliot reminds us, never really free at all – and it seems to me that poetry must display some kind of formal structuring or surrender its claim to being a poem. There are two, possibly three moments when her formal sensitivity deserts her – but prose poems like ‘Mistletoe’ and the uncomfortable long lines of ‘Cuttings’ only go to show how brilliant the rest of the collection is.

In its interplay with Norse mythology the book achieves an overall unity of purpose. Fortunately, the poetry is never over-reliant on our own knowledge of these myths; and the helpful notes supply solid support. A dancing and delightful collection, full of profound music and strong women, which echoes in the ear after reading, like chilly birdsong heard in a deep fiord.

About the reviewer
Before establishing himself as an academic, Charles Bennett was the Creative Director of Ledbury Poetry Festival, and has acted as writer-in-residence for Wicken Fen. Additionally, his work with choral composer Bob Chilcott has seen him hailed as a memorable and mesmerising librettist. He lives on the edge of Northamptonshire & Leicestershire with his wife, daughter and dog. His latest collection is Cloud River, published by Cinnamon Press. His website is 

Wednesday 5 February 2020

Huge thanks to the children of Wolston St. Margaret's Primary School who, for the past two weeks have entertained us with their fabulous reviews. 
You have all worked so hard, we are very proud of you and we do hope you continue on with your reading. 

With thanks to teachers, Miss Brown and Miss Cunnigham.

We hope you, the readers, have enjoyed our children's fiction fortnight but, for now, it's back to the grown ups...

Best Wishes

The Editors.

Review by Sophia, aged 8 of “Gangsta Granny” by David Walliams.

Gangsta Granny is written by David Walliams. The main characters are Ben, Ben's granny, his mum and dad and Raj, the shopkeeper. 

My favourite part of the book is when Ben can only say 'urm...umm" because his granny is doing naked yoga! this made me laugh out loud. 

This book is about a boy called Ben who wants to be a plumber but his parents want him to be a dancer.
On Fridays Ben goes to his granny's house but he finds it boring and all granny makes for dinner is things with cabbage. Surprisingly, Ben looks in the biscuit tinned finds jewels which leads him into wanting to find out more about granny.
Could she be hiding a big secret? dun, dun duuuun!

My favourite character in this book is granny because she makes me smile as she is so funny and she is addicted to cabbage. I also think she is a very cool gran.

I recommend this book, it is suitable for children aged 8 and over. There a few tricky words for younger children.

I would give this book 5/5 and a big thumbs up! 

by Sohia, aged 8. 

Tuesday 4 February 2020

Review by Esme, aged 8 and John and Harry, aged 9 of “Roy the Rooster” by Rose Impey.

It was brilliant we all loved it! 
Roy the rooster was very ugly. He was the ugliest in the world when he hatched and near the middle, he said to himself that he was lonely and had no friends.
Everybody stayed inside when Roy was around. Everybody made fun of him. They said, ‘you look like a bad dream,’ and ‘how can anyone be that ugly?’
Soon Roy had a reputation. Roy was the boss of the town and he was a bully to everyone. But some turkeys wanted trouble. Roy couldn’t run back to his ranch, he could only hide behind a horse or run as far as he can. 
One day, he decided he wanted to go out fishing and he would like to stop fighting. He wanted a nice quiet life.
People said that he wrestled rhinos. Mothers told their children you better be good or Roy the rooster will get you everyone was scared of him so everyone kept well away from him but Our favourite part was when he became the nicest rooster in town because he wasn’t nice at the start and he was nice at the end. 
Roy was happier when he was nice, and he met new friends. It actually had a nice happy ending.

By Esme (aged 8) John and Harry (aged 9) thank you for reading this book review.

Monday 3 February 2020

Review by Sofya and Reuben, aged 8 of “Believe it or Not” by The Navigator.

In our story, we found out that a T-Rex is as tall as a double-decker bus, which is 4m tall and 12.8m wide! 
Susan Hendrikson was part of a team of fossil hunters who were looking for dinosaur bones on a farm in South Dakota, America. One day, the team found a dead horse on the farm.
A few days later, the fossil hunters’ truck got a flat tyre, some members of the group took the truck into town to get the tyre mended. But Susan Hendrikson decided that she would walk over to Mr Williams’ farm to have a look around. Susan looked closely at the cliffs on Mr Williams, farm. She saw a small pile of bones lying at the bottom of one of the cliffs. 
Susan knew that these bones must have come from a very big animal. She took one of the bones back to the dig side, and showed them to them to the rest of the team. They pieced the bones together to form ‘Sue’s’ (a T-Rex) skeleton, which is now on display at the museum of Natural History in Chicago.
It was a good book because we like T-Rex’s. It was interesting because we learnt something we didn’t know. We liked when their tyre went flat it was a bit funny then. It was interesting, when they told us about the double decker bus and the T-Rex. 

By Sofya and Reuben aged 8.

Saturday 1 February 2020

Review by Gia, aged 8 and Amaana, aged 9 of “The Creakers” by Tom Fletcher.

We both really liked the book because it has lots of detail and is really different to other books we have read. It was good because it started sad then ended happy. It   wasn’t like normal princess books.
This story is about a girl called Lucy whose parents went missing, which was very upsetting. Then, every other child on their lane lost their parents too. All the children made lots of mess in all the houses and on the street. They even threw toilet paper on the trees. 
Lucy investigates and tries to find the parents. Under the bed she finds the Woleb    which is from the world of the Creakers. Everywhere is upside down. Could this be where the parents have disappeared to?
Lucy and Norman create a plan rescue their parents. Will their plan work? Read the book to find out.
Lucy Dungston is my favourite character because she investigates and tries to find the parents. Norman Quirk is also good because he is very smart and neat and he has lots of badges from scouts.
We recommend this book because it is adventurous and it’s very funny.
Welcome to the mysterious world under your bed! 

By Gia and Amaana aged 8 and 9