Kids’ Club Review by Sophie: Playing with fire

Playing with firePlaying with fire, by Derek Landy

The positively AWESOME second book in the Skulduggery Pleasant series! Action packed and detailed, a masterpiece of tween literature. Skulduggery and Valkyrie face of against Baron Vengeance, Billy-Ray Sanguine, The Grostequrey, and more. They are helped by Tanith Low, Bliss and other allies. Their adventures are more dangerous every time! I would recommend it to people aged 9 and over who have read the first book. An amazing read! I would recommend it (and am).

5 stars

Reviewed by Sophie from Johnsonville, 10 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Evie: The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and EvilThe School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani

I really like this book because it has everything a book needs, humour, seriousness, fun, adventure, magic and many other things. At the start of the book i thought it would be like of boring but then i reached the part that basically controls the whole story, when Sophie and Agatha think they are in the wrong schools. Sometimes with everything happening thing can get a little confusing (thats the downside) but mostly i just love the whole series and i am exited for the new book to come out in march.

4 stars

Reviewed by Evie from Island Bay and Other , 11 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Varsha: The girl who wasn’t there

The girl who wasn't thereThe girl who wasn’t there, Karen McCombie

This is a wonderful book written by Karen McCombie.I couldn’t put the book down once I started reading it as it has lots of suspense.Its about this girl called Maisie who doesn’t believe in ghosts.But when she starts at her new school there are rumours about a ghost who wanders in the hall.Together with her friend Kat , Maisie really wants to learn more about the school ghost.Then Kat comes across a photograph of something Maisie never expected to see.Read the book to find out what happens next .I think this book is suitable for girls in the age group 9-14.

5 stars

Reviewed by Varsha from Johnsonville and Amesbury School , 9 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Molly: The storm keeper’s island

Syndetics book coverThe storm keeper’s island by Catherine Doyle.

For the summer, Fionn and his sister Tara are staying on Arranmore island with their strange grandfather who is a storm keeper. It is almost time for a new storm keeper, and Bartley Beasley is convinced that he should be the next storm keeper. He will stop at nothing. Also, who is the strange man who calls himself Ivan? I really enjoyed this book because it was exciting. I recommend it to children 9+.

5 stars

Reviewed by Molly  from Karori and Karori Normal School , 11 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Jenny: The School for Good and Evil

The School for Good and EvilThe School for Good and Evil, Soman Chainani

The school for good and evil was a great book that showed that you can’t judge someone by the way they look. As it was quite a lengthy book, people who aren’t really into long stories shouldn’t read it. Some parts of the story did become quite confusing for me, but that was the only bad thing I could find about this book. Soman Chainani is an amazing storyteller and I would definitely read other books of his!
I would recommend this book to older readers that love books that have a great plot and a bit of magic.

4 stars

Reviewed by Jenny from Brooklyn and Brooklyn School , 11 years old

Kids’ Club Review by Laura: Spooky weird

Spooky weirdSpooky weird, Anh Do ; illustrated by Jules Faber

I thought that this book was interesting and funny. I didn’t want to put it down! If you like Tom Gates, Diary of a Wimpy Kid or Dork Diaries then this is the book for you.

4 stars

Reviewed by Laura from Miramar and Seatoun School , 10 years old

Ghosts, monsters, and naughty gods: All you need to know about Halloween!

To many of us, Halloween is not much more than an excuse to wear a spooky costume, listen to some scary stories and maybe carve up a pumpkin, all while hoovering up more lollies than is probably wise. However, to find out more about why people the world over celebrate this holiday, we have to step back in time to visit the ancient Celts, with quick stopovers in 7th-century Rome and 16th-century Germany along the way.

Let’s go for a spooky ride through time.

The brainy people who study such things generally agree that Halloween finds its roots in the ancient Celtic festival known as Samhain (pronounced sa-win). Samhain was traditionally held on November 1, and it marked the end of the harvest season and the beginning of winter, the “dark half” of the year. Ancient Celts believed that during Samhain the world of the gods became visible to ordinary people, and the gods delighted in frightening and playing tricks on their worshippers. Sometimes they appeared as monsters in the dead of night. Sound familiar?

When the Romans conquered Britain in the 1st century CE, they merged Samhain with their own festival of the dead, Feralia. Now the frightening monsters and delicious treats of the harvest were joined by ghosts and restless spirits. The traditions that make up modern Halloween were starting to take form.

Fastforward to Rome, 7th century CE. Pope Boniface IV brought in All Saints’ Day, originally celebrated on May 13 — within a century, the date was changed to November 1, perhaps in an attempt to replace the pagan Samhain festival with a Christian equivalent. The day before All Saints’ Day was considered holy, or ‘hallowed.’ This is where the word ‘Halloween’ comes from — it is the Hallowed Eve.

Zoom forwards in time again to Germany, 16th century CE. The Protestant Reformation, led by people like Martin Luther and John Calvin, put a stop to the still pagan-influenced Halloween festival in most Protestant countries. However, in Britain and Ireland, the festival remained in place as a secular (non-religious) holiday, and the tradition followed English-speaking settlers to the United States, where it is still a hugely important part of the festive calendar. Many of the traditions introduced in the dark and mysterious woods and cairns of ancient Celtia live on to this day in the form of the modern Halloween festival.

Interested in learning more about this fascinating and era-spanning festival, and the people who celebrated it? Why not check out some of these books at your local library:

Celts by Sonya Newland
“The Celts were fearsome warriors, but they also developed trade routes across Europe and made beautiful jewellery. Find out about Celtic tribes, how Boudicca rebelled against the Romans, and how the Celts celebrated with feasts and festivals.” (Catalogue)

Prehistoric Britain by Alex Frith
“From the age of dinosaurs to the Roman invasion, this book tells the story of this vast and exciting period of British history. It describes when and how people first came to Britain, and includes information on the Bronze Age, Iron Age, Celts and the mysteries of Stonehenge. Full of facts, illustrations, photographs, maps and timelines.” (Catalogue)

Celebrate Halloween by Deborah Heiligman
“Vivid images and lively, inviting text illuminate the spookiest night of the year. This book spirits readers on a tour of Halloween celebrations around the globe as it explores the rich history of this holiday and the origins of its folklore, food, games, costumes, and traditions.” (Catalogue)

Traditional celebrations by Ian Rohr
“This interesting book is part of a series written for young students that focuses on a wide variety of celebrations and festivals held for special occasions throughout the world. It focuses on traditional celebrations.” (Catalogue)