Book Reviews

A place for 5ES to post book reviews of the books they have read!

Use the prompts below to write your book reviews:

Book title:


Reviewer: (your name)

  1. Write a short plot synopsis (without giving away any spoilers!)
  2. Describe what you liked about the book and why.
  3. Describe what you disliked about the book and why.
  4. What were the main themes/big ideas?
  5. What questions do you still have after reading this story? What are you wondering about?
  6. Who would you recommend this book to?
  7. Rating (out of 5 stars)


  1. Book title: Cockawun and Cockatoo.
    Author: By Christobel Mattingley
    Reviewer: TN
    Cockawun and Cockatoo was a very interesting book because some of it is based on a real life story. It’s about two birds called Cockawun and Cockatoo and there was a family that lived in the country. There was the mum, the dad and the boy. The boy’s uncle found the two birdies near parliament house.

    I liked how it was based on a real life story because some stories can be better when they are real but not always.

    I disliked how Cockatoo flew off and got into trouble a lot because Arthur could have taught him to be a good birdie.

    The main theme of the story was a boy named Arthur and his cockatoos. During the story they misbehave and then they become more confident around Arthur.

    A question I still have is, does cockatoo come back? Because the cockatoos normally pass by their house in big groups.

    I recommend this book for 7 to 9 years old because it’s not really for kids too young or old.

    I rate this book a 3 out of 5, overall it’s an ok book.

  2. Book Title: NIPS XI
    Author: Ruth Starke

    Lan and his best friend Izram are sick of being called Nips, so they start to form a cricket team but do they have the courage to do so?

    I liked how Lan and Izram never gave up even if they thought it was impossible it showed that had a lot of determination.

    I disliked how Lan and Izram were being bullied by other kids and how Lan and Izram had to put up with it.

    The main ideas in NIPS XI are that they were forming a cricket team, they meet all different types of people and the multicultural week.

    The question I still have are do Lan and his team continue on with cricket?

    I would recommend this book to people who like sports and aged 10-12.
    I rate this a 3 out of 5.

  3. Book Tittle: Nips XI
    Author: Ruth Starke
    Book Reviewer: MP

    The book was about a boy named Lan who was always being teased at his school and some of his friends and others kids were teased. One day Lan was walking about and then he saw a sign and it said cricket season starting soon and Lan began creating a team and played cricket with the other kids who were teased.

    I liked how Lan stood up for his cricket team, all the time even when they didn’t have the best of days. I liked this because I think that it would be pretty hard to stand up for a team that doesn’t have as many good players as the other teams.

    The parts of the book that I didn’t like was that all the author put in was cricket and then it got boring at the end because you knew it was about cricket because that was the only thing they did in the story.

    The main ideas/themes of the story was the big game at the end of the story, at the school at the start when they were discussing about the multicultural day, at the library when Lan was looking for some books about cricket and then when he was with the famous cricketer and when his team was looking for a coach at the sign up and at the training.

    Some questions I still have about Lan are:
    Did he ever fight back against the bullies?
    How did he meet his friends?
    Did he ever become a cricketer for Australia?
    If he was to be any of the other boys who was in the story who would he be?
    Some questions I still have about the story include:
    Did Lan’s team ever continue the season?
    Did Lan’s friends ever become a Cricketer for Australia?

    I would recommend this book for people who like Cricket and are 9 – 12 because you need to know about different cultures and Cricket.

    I would rate this book 3 out of 5 stars because at the end it got boring but it was still pretty good.

  4. Book Title: Nips XI
    Author: Ruth Starke
    Reviewer: G.X

    This book is about a boy called Lan that wants to show that he is a true blue Aussie. Why not play a game of cricket? He gathers a team of people to play cricket with him as a team. All they need now is some equipment, find a coach, get them a sponsor and learn the rules of the game. How easy could that be? That may change.

    My favourite part was when they were playing cricket against The Kings. This was my favourite part because when you read that part, you also want to read more and it dragged me into the story. When I finished the book, I hoped there was another book and I wanted to read more.

    The part I didn’t like about the book was when they went to Izram dad’s restaurant. All they did was just have speeches for the whole chapter. There wasn’t anything exciting about reading the people saying their speeches.

    The big idea of the book was Lan’s team preparing and playing against The Kings and hoping they would prove people wrong.

    The first thing I am wondering about is, if Lan said he didn’t say he snicked the ball, would they have won anyway? My second question is, did Lan and his team keep playing cricket? My last question is, what did Spinner do after? Did he start becoming a coach, teaching other kids or Lan’s team, or will he retire like before he taught Lan’s team?

    I would recommend this book would be enjoyable for all ages. It really drags the person in the story and wants them to read more of it.

    I rate this book 5 out of 5 stars!

  5. Book title: Nips XI
    Author: Ruth Stark
    Reviewer: T.S

    This story is about a boy named Lan who wants to be a true cricketer. He tries his hardest to follow his dreams and finally play a match.

    I enjoyed how the story was set because it had a bit of humour. I liked this because most of the books I read have humour.

    I disliked the fact that it could have had more humour at some points in the story. I disliked this because I like books with a lot of humour.

    The main theme of the story was how Lan was trying to make a cricket team and how he made it with the help of his friends.

    I am still wondering what Lan and the team did next. They almost won so I think they may have played more matches.

    I would recommend this book to cricket fans from ages 10 and over because lower ages might not understand some of the words or language used in the book.

    I would give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

  6. Author: Ruthe Stark
    Book name: NIPS XI
    Reviewer: I.G

    Lan was getting comments about how Asian kids can’t play cricket. He also got a few nasty nick names like a ‘nip’. So Lan and his friend Izram decide to form their own team so that all the people who wanted to play cricket could (the team’s name was NIPS XI).

    What I liked about the book was that Lan had had enough of being judged based on his race and started his own team. The reason why I liked this part was because Lan didn’t care what others thought.

    The part I disliked about the book was that it was a bit racist and had some swearing in it.

    The main themes of the story were that Lan was sticking up for the kids who wanted to play cricket but couldn’t because of their race.

    I am really happy with this book and have no questions because it was explained really well.

    I would recommend this book to 9-12 year olds because it was a bit racist and had some swearing in it.

    I give this book 3/5 stars

  7. Book title: Amina
    Author JL Powers
    Reviewer: Alex

    Amina is a strong girl who wants peace for her country which is currently under the control of al-Shabbab. She wants to help make Mogadishu a better place by creating art for people to be inspired by.

    I liked how the author made people feel for Amina because of the situation she was in because it makes the book more interesting and emotional.

    I disliked how Amina’s brother Roble and her father Abbe never came back from being captured. I think it would have made a better ending if they did come back.

    I think the main idea in the story was Amina expressing her feelings and thoughts through art to make people act against al-Shabbab and have hope.

    Things I am still wondering are, where did Roble and Abbe go and will they even return? Will the war ever stop in Somalia? When will Amina and her family have peace?

    I would recommend this book to people from the age 11-100.

    I would give this book : 4/5 stars

  8. Book Title: Amina
    Author: J.L. Powers
    Reviewer: AC
    Amina is a young girl who lives at the edge of Mogadishu, Somalia. She creates art for people to see in order to find peace within them. With Amina’s father and brother both kidnapped, she tries to find ways to try and survive without them.

    My favourite part of Amina was when Amina travelled to the Bakaara Market to sell one of her father’s paintings because even though they were precious, it helped her, Hooyo and Ayeeyo to survive.

    I disliked how Amina’s father and brother never came back because it could have made a much better ending if the reunited with Amina, Hooyo, Ayeeyo and Jamilah back in Mogadishu, Somalia.

    The main idea of Amina was probably Amina expressing her feelings through art and surviving many dangers that awaited her and her family.

    Things that I am still wondering about are where Roble and Aabbe have gone and if they will ever return to Mogadishu and also where the al-Shabaab has retreated to.

    I would recommend this book to early teens to late teens because it can teach them a lesson on how harsh some people’s lives are and how determined they are to make their lives peaceful once more.

    It was a great book so I’m rating it: 5/5 stars

  9. Book title: Amina
    Author: J.L. Powers
    Reviewer: V.L.

    Amina is an extremely interesting book, based on a real person’s (Amina) life story. She was born in the middle of a terrible civil war in Somalia. Some of her family gets taken away by the Al-Shabaab, whilst the rest are left to suffer horribly. The only way that was left to survive was to sell illegal paintings at the Bakara market made by her father and eat extremely tiny amounts of food each day.

    I liked how the author described everything in detail, because you could easily picture the horrible tragedy that Amina and her family were living through. I also really liked how they included some poetry, because it made the story a lot more enjoyable to read.

    Something I disliked was how Amina kept on thinking that her mother didn’t like her as much as Roble and Abbe, until the very end, because no mother could ever hate their child. I also disliked how Amina was accusing Keinan for the arrest of her father, just because he was the son of the man who sold his paintings, she should’ve just accepted the fact that he had nothing to do with it.

    The main idea of this book would be the life of a young girl named Amina, and how she grew up in a war-zone. During the story, Amina had to face many horrible problems, and had to figure out ways to survive, with little money and food. A big idea in this book could be war and conflict.

    A question I still have is; does Amina generally talk about her life story at her school? Because it must have been really hard to try and keep all her feelings in, and not talk about it with others.

    I recommend this book to 10 to 14 year olds, because some younger children may not be able to comprehend the story. This book would also be quite good for people who are interested in life stories or war and conflict.

    I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars. Overall it’s quite an interesting book.

  10. Book title: Amina

    Author: J.L. Powers


    Amina and her family live in Somalia which is currently in civil war. There was war when Amina was born and it is still happening. It is very hard for them with little food or water. Amina has a dream to be an artist by doing graffiti on the street walls. Amina loses some of her family and the rest is suffering at home. Amina is finding it very hard doing all the work. Will she make it through and inspire others to make a better future with her work?

    I thought the book was amazing. The book was based on a real story and I feel so sorry for Amina suffering in Somalia and it made me feel so lucky living in Australia. I thought Amina had real courage throughout the book. The book made me think a lot and I thought it was a sad book but it was very interesting.

    Some things I didn’t like about the book were all the bad things that happened to Amina and her family. I felt so sad and didn’t want to know anything more that was happening to Amina. I like books about interesting, exciting adventures but most of Amina’s adventures were dangerous and sad. I wish the author had put more really happy things in that Amina loved so her life would be fun.

    The main ideas in the book were Amina and her family in Somalia with civil war. They try to survive but her dad gets arrested and her brother kidnapped and they can’t buy food. Then Amina nearly gets caught doing street art and almost gets kidnapped by al-Shabaab.

    The questions I still have about the book are: What parts of the story are real? What happens next? What happens to her dad and her brother once they are taken? Does her grandma get better in the future? What is Amina like in the future?

    I recommend this book to kids 10 to 13 because it has a lot of big words that little kids won’t understand and it still has interesting ideas for older kids.

    I rate this book 3 out of 5


  11. Book title: Amina

    Author: J.L Powers

    Reviewer: KA

    Amina is a book about a young Somalian girl. The Somalian war has raged on since she was born. Her father has been arrested and her brother kidnapped. She attempts to inspire others through her street art. Her mother is pregnant and food is scarce.

    I enjoyed the book because it gave me a taste of what life was like in poor countries. I like the way that Amina uses her creativity to inspire Somalia not just keeping it for her self.

    I disliked the book because Amina kept taking risks and being careless and it felt frustrating being the reader because if you were in that situation you would do something different.

    The main themes in this book are: creativity, survival and risks.

    I am still wondering if Amina finds her father and if she finds Roble, if Roble and her father are hurt, if Roble was used as a soldier, if the baby was alright, if Amina inspired the people of Somalia and when the war will end.

    I would recommend this book to grade 4, grade 5 and grade 6. I think that this book is not appropriate for people in grade 4 and below because they may not understand what the author is saying. I don’t think this book is appropriate for year 7 and above because the language will be too easy.

    I give this book a 4 star rating out of 5 stars.

    I hope you enjoyed my post. KA

  12. Book title: Nips XI
    Author: Ruth Stark
    Reviewer: A.Ca

    Kids in Lan’s school are always calling him names like ‘nip’ because he’s Vietnamese. So he decides to play cricket and make a team with his friend Izram and show them they are not nips. Their teams name is… ‘NIPS XI.’

    I liked how Lan stood up for his friends and himself against bullies because I like how people stand up for their friends and I also like how they went on a type of adventure so they could learn cricket because they went through a lot and it was kind of funny.

    I disliked how everyone, like his parents and teachers are mean to him.

    The main theme wa, Lan and his friends learning cricket so school kids don’t pick on them.

    I am still wondering about why Lan didn’t stand up for himself in the first place.

    I would recommend this book to primary school students.

    Rating: 4 out of 5 stars!

    Title: Amina
    Author: J.L. Powers
    Reviewed by: H.M.

    I thought that Amina was a great book. It was written very well with lots of descriptive language. Amina is a story set in Mogadishu, Somalia. It is a poor country that has civil war. She lives with her Hooyo (mum), Ayeeyo (grandma), Aabbe (dad) and Roble (brother), but her family starts to get separated. Amina is struggling to find food to eat while Hooyo is pregnant. She starts creating street art to inspire the people in Mogadishu and escapes getting captured like Aabbe. This book helped me understand someone else’s life in a poor and civil war country.

    I liked the way the book had lots of descriptive language that helped me to picture the scenes in my head. I also liked how it made feel sorry for Amina and made me aware about what other people are going through. I like the way it was realistic.

    I disliked the way that at the end it didn’t tell you everything and made me wonder what actually happened.

    I thought the big idea was that some countries are not as fortunate as Australia but, we should still give the people there sympathy and empathy.

    Some of the questions I still have after reading the story are:
    Did Roble come back?
    Did Aabbe come back?
    Will Somalia stop civil war soon?

    I would recommend this book to 10-12 year olds, but I still think anyone could enjoy it.

    I would rate this book 4/5 stars.

  14. Book title: Amina
    Author: J.L. Powers
    Reviewer name: A.J

    Amina lives in Somalia and she loves to do street art to inspire a better place. Her family is decreasing, her father captured and her brother abducted. Amina is in danger next.

    In the book I liked how the author described the characters and their feelings. I also enjoyed how the author ended the story because it was never quite complete.

    What I disliked about the story is that sometimes it got a little bit boring even though it didn’t happen often you sort of drifted off track.

    The main ideas of the story were hope and friendship because Amina was always hoping that her father and brother were ok. Her friends also helped support her mother by giving them food when they needed it most.

    I would still like to know if Amina ever found her missing family members as that was never solved in the resolution of the story and it is a big idea.

    I would recommend this book to people aged 10 to 15 and who like factual based story books.

    I rate this book 4 out of 5 stars

  15. Title: Through My Eyes: Amina

    Author: J.L Powers

    Reviewer: DO

    Amina is a book that is about a girl called Amina and her family including her mum/hooyo, dad/aabbe, grandmother/ayeeyo and brother, Roble. They live in Mogadishu, Somalia. They struggle to survive a terrorist gang in Mogadishu, and they are called Al-Shabaab. Throughout the story, Al-Shabaab has taken aabbe and Roble. Hooyo is pregnant with a future baby sister or brother for Amina.

    The things I liked about Amina are:
    • I liked how Amina was brave enough to go out and look for Roble and aabbe while there was conflict outside of her house
    • I also like how ayeeyo is very nice and usually very calm

    I didn’t dislike anything from Amina because it was a real page turner and I hated putting the book down at the end of each session or pack up time. Another reason is because the book was really interesting and nice to read.

    The main ideas are:
    • Courage
    • Hope
    • Surviving
    • Power
    • Compassion and care
    • Warfare and;
    • Teamwork

    Some questions that are in my mind are:
    • Why was Amina’s brother taken away?
    • Where is Roble and Aabbe?
    • What is Amina’s baby sister’s name?

    I would recommend this book to 10 – 16 year olds because it has words and ideas that not a lot of younger aged children would understand and would suit older children or teenagers.

    My rating is a 9/10 because there could be less conflict and heart breaking ideas throughout; otherwise it is a great book to read.

    Yours sincerely,

  16. Book title: Amina – Through my Eyes
    Author: J.L. Powers
    By MK

    I thought that this book was very interesting and highly detailed. The book had descriptive language, similes, metaphors and facts.
    It was about a teenage girl’s realistic life in Somalia in a conflict zone. Her family is torn apart, her father and brother abducted. Amina likes art, so she continues her father’s habit of painting, but she does it on abandoned buildings and makes it out of rubble. But she and her family are at risk because of her art, which is apparently against the religion.

    The book helped me understand what it is truly like to be a girl growing up in a Somali war zone, and to be starving most of the time, and to lose several family members. I give the book a five star rating, because the book is realistic, descriptive and interesting.

    I disliked the way there was some violence in the book, such as the scene where Al – Shabaab was taking away Aabbe.

    Overall the book was interesting and detailed, so I rate it 4/5.

  17. Book: Amina
    Author: J.L.Powers
    Reviewer: S.R

    Amina was about a true story of a girl who lived in Somalia and had to deal with problems daily such as Conflict, Poverty, Gun Fire and Hunger. This made me very sad because Amina had to go out and get food and money for her family to survive. She also had to try and not get found by the Al-Shaabab as she was making street art and the Al-Shaabab didn’t like what she was doing and tried to kidnap her. Her father was arrested and her brother was kidnapped. She had to basically take care of herself.

    In Amina I really enjoyed reading about what Amina does and what happens in her and people that also live in Somalia’s lives. I felt sad that people in other places than Australia have to wake up to gun fight or conflict or even hunger. I felt lucky that I do not have to face these things every day. I like how the story was based on a true story because it made me realise that what Amina went through was actually real and it happens every day. I started to feel sorry for Amina as I read more.

    I disliked how Amina had no help and was getting sick and starving and her brother and father were gone. This made me sad because I don’t have to deal with these problems and Amina does. Everything you waste is something poor people could have so you shouldn’t waste.
    The main idea of the story was to show people what it is like to live in a country like Somalia in a 3rd person view. It is mainly telling you what the conflict is like and how bad it is.

    I would recommend this book to people from 10 – 20 because it is a bit of an adults’ book but it is still okay for children to read and understand it.

    I would give this book a rating of 3/5 stars because the book had some disturbing parts but it was still good.


  18. BOOK TITLE: Cockawun and Cockatoo
    AUTHOR: Christobel Mattingley
    REVIEWER: Yianni .T
    In the book Cockawun and Cockatoo there was a family who were given two baby cockatoos. When they grew up Cockatoo flew away and Cockawun was going crazy and Cockatoo never came back. Years later Cockawun got shot in the eye and he got taken to the vet and Cockawun was still alive.
    The part I disliked in the story was the part when Cockawun got shot in the eye because it would really hurt a lot.
    The thing I liked about the story is that Cockawun helped Arthur with everything, even finding his way home.
    The questions I have is:
    How old was Arthur and his family?
    How old was Cockawun and Cockatoo?
    Which state in Australia did Arthur and his family live in?

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