Wednesday, 25 September 2013



Roald Dahl

Recommended age: as from 6 years old

This is a book you NEED to read. Why? because you will love it! It is very funny, it is witty, it is surprising and magical, heart-warming and more... If you are too young to read it by yourself, get a grown-up to read it for you, do whatever it takes to meet Matilda!

Pablo L.C.: "Since I was 7 years old I have always liked Roald Dahl, but one of the books that really got my attention was Matilda. What got me was the story, full of laughs, cruelty and a little bit of magic. With characters in all shapes and sizes and an amazing plot, it is the perfect book for all the family. Go on and gasp at Miss Trunchbull´s cruelty, marvel at Mr and Mrs Wormwoods´ stupidity and giggle at Matilda´s fabulous pranks in another Dahl fantasy that will sweep you away."

Matilda, The Reader of Books, as the first chapter is called, is an extra-ordinary girl, sensitive and brilliant who lives in a family of brutes who despise her. But her life begins to change when she makes her first visit to the public library:

"The books transported her into new worlds and introduced her to amazing people who lived exciting lives. She went on olden-day sailing ships with Joseph Conrad. She went to Africa with Ernest Hemingway and to India with Rudyard Kipling. She travelled all over the world while sitting in her little room in an English village."

But Matilda is not only a book lover, she is also a girl who will not accept the unfair things of life without putting up a fight, and she will use her best weapon, her brain! Find out how she uses her powers to make her world and the life of others more bearable and fair.

This wonderful illustration by Quentin Blake can give you an idea of what school felt like for Matilda and her friends under the ruthless Miss Trunchbull.

Jaime L.C.: "The book is a great one where a little girl finds she is extremely talented but no one seems to appreciate it except for one teacher, Miss Honey. With her, Matilda finds she is capable of much, much more. I loved the book when I was young because of the pranks she plays, the horrible school and the mystery behind Miss Trunchbull."

There is a very well known film made of the book, directed by Danny DeVito, click here to watch a trailer.

Matilda the Musical, is currently played in London. If you have a chance to go to the theatre to see it, we highly recommend it, click here to go into their website. And click here to watch a selection of songs as performed at the Tony Awards 2013.

Daniel L.C.: "The musical is amazing, we went to see it with some friends and we had a great time. I most enjoyed the part that takes place at school because the children in the play are super actors and singers."

Did you know...?

Roald Dahl was inspired by Mozart the child, the genius, to create Matilda. However, Mozart´s parents did realize that their son was exceptional. In fact, they took him in endless trips all over Europe as a prodigy child, and the poor boy had a very hard time. 

In this beautiful city called Salzburg, Austria, is where Mozart was born, and it is the home of a unique theatre, the Marionette Theater. In it, all operas and ballets are performed by puppets. Have a look at this video of The Magic Flute, one of Mozart´s best known operas. Click here and you´ll be introduced to Papageno and his friends...and the evil Queen of the Night.


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Wednesday, 18 September 2013

The Secret Garden

The Secret Garden

Frances Hodgson Burnett

Recommended read: 9 years and older

A story of friendship, a book full of secrets.

Jaime L.C.: ‘‘A great classic book about a girl, Mary Lenox, who lived in India with her parents, who did not care much for her. One day, they die of cholera and she has to move to live with her uncle, who does not even want to see her. A story full of mysteries, many plants and a boy who did not want to go outdoors for 10 years. A book for boys and girls that I would recommend.’’

Mary is a spoiled and moody child who is sent on a ship from India to Yorkshire to live with her uncle when her parents die. Mr Craven, her uncle, is a tormented widower, distant and reclusive, who shows no interest at all for her. But Mary´s lonely and gloomy life changes when she finds the key to a secret garden and meets Dickon, a very kind boy from the village who is an animal whisperer.

However, the garden is not the only secret kept at Misselthwaite Manor. What are the spooky noises that Mary hears at night? Is someone else living in the house? Accompany her through the corridors and forbidden chambers, but do be cautious and don´t let yourselves be caught by the very strict housekeeper.

Pablo L.C.: "A very good book featuring an orphan girl, a hypochondriac boy and a very cute robin. But there is more. Much also includes a boy called Dickon who is great with animals, as we bloggers and editors are."

Do not expect to find fights and monsters in this book, it is a story about small everyday things. The Secret Garden is where the magic happens, the miracle of people changing for the better. As the author says, it is up to ourselves to fill our lives with the good things around us so that there will be no room for anything nasty in us:

Where you tend a rose, my lad,
A thistle cannot grow.

Georgina S.: "I really liked this book, but I found it a bit hard because it uses Yorkshire accents when the people speak and I have never read anything with Yorkshire accents before. The story is really good though and I would recommend this book to people who enjoy challenging classic books and are 10 years plus. The movie is great for all ages and it´s really cool."

We have even managed to get a review from a character in one of the best known books ever, surely you are familiar with Matilda, by Roald Dahl, the brilliant little girl and book lover. Well, this is what she has to say about The Secret Garden:

Matilda Wormwood: " I liked The Secret Garden best of all. It was full of mystery. The mystery of the room behind the closed door and the mystery of the garden behind the big wall".

This is the movie of the book, if you find it difficult to read, you can watch the film and enjoy the story. Georgina has seen it and she thinks it is very good. Click here to watch the official trailer.

Did you know...?

These are Blinky and Ravioli, our bunnies. They would love to live in a garden like the one in the book. They are very cute although sometimes they are a bit naughty, they also love their books, in fact, they devour them! We must be ever so careful as they have already nibbled on a few. Here they are whispering their own little secrets, they are so sweet!

Thanks to:

Our friend from school, Georgina, who is 12 years old and loves drawing, reading, sewing, and sports. She has a twin brother and comes from Australia.

Wednesday, 11 September 2013

Russian Roulette

Russian Roulette
Anthony Horowitz
Recommended age: as from 12 years old

We begin our 12+ section with a preview of a book that will become an international best seller. Russian Roulette will be out in the bookshops tomorrow in UK but we have read it already and we assure you it is as thrilling and exciting as expected.

In fact, this book is so cool it even has a trailer!  Click here to check it out.

Jaime L.C.: "Yassen Gregorovich is a trained and hired assassin. One day he looks back at his past.... He was a 14 year old boy with a normal life, how could he become a killer? How did he lose his humanity? Find out in the book "Russian Roulette".

Pablo L.C.: "If you have ever read an Alex Rider book you know what to expect: blood, shooting, deranged madmen and horrible tortures. Get ready for twice the action, twice the thrill and a whole lot of suspense as you find out all the secrets about your favorite assassin, Yassen Gregorovich. Discover how he met John Rider (Alex Rider´s father), how he joined Scorpia (a criminal organization which operates globally) and the story of his past, as you travel to France, Venice, Russia and England... and get ready for the spy book of the century!!"

For those of you who are not familiar with this series, let us introduce you to the youngest spy in the world, Alex Rider, a teenager who is an agent of the Special Operations Division of MI6. There is also a movie on the first book, Alex Rider: Operation Stormbreaker, Click here to see the trailer, (it is good, but nothing compared with the book).

Russian Roulette is the prequel to these books. The cold blooded and dreaded professional killer Yassen Gregorovich is given a very simple order: KILL ALEX RIDER, and here is when this story starts. But the book is also the story of Gregorovich´s life. You will be shocked to find out that Yassen (Yasha) was once a fine teenager like yourself, with a loving family, friends and a happy life. In fact, he was a kind, compassionate and brave boy. So, what happened in his life to turn him into an assassin?

Daniel L.C.: " I like this book because it shows the life of the bad guy instead of the good guy, and it also shows how the fourteen year old Yasga is transformed into the expertly trained hired killer Yassen Gregorovich. Be prepared for things you would never expect a child to do, like surviving a perfected chemical gas break out or being on the run from the Russian police. Epic!!"

If you have seen some of the James Bond movies, then you know what we are talking about: powerful criminal organizations, deadly weapons, and missions that give a new meaning to the word impossible.

Did you know...?

One of the good things about spy books and movies is that they take you around the world. In Russian Roulette you will visit very interesting places like Venice, Paris, New York...and of course, Moscow. We have chosen this destination to take you on a visit to its underground stations.

No, we have not made a mistake, we have not selected the Palace of Versailles pictures in our computer files by error. This is the Moscow Metro!!

There is a reason for his extravagant and luxurious architecture. To understand it you have to think of Russia not as it is now but as part of the former USSR, under the rule of Stalin, its powerful and iron-fisted leader. The Metro was built to be admired, as part of the propaganda of his regime and himself.

So now you know, if you want to describe a very luxurious place, you can always compare it to an underground add "from Moscow"!! Here is how Anthony Horowitz does it:

"The central light was a chandelier, hundreds of crystals twinkling brilliantly like a firework display. It made the lights I had seen in the Moscow Metro look cheap and gaudy."

Thank you

To our beautiful local bookshop, Wimbledon Books and Music. They support our reading blog with their great suggestions on new titles and by providing us with uncorrected copies of books so we can have our reviews ready for you before the book is even out for sale.