Tag Archives: kids book

Minecat: A Whole Lot of Ocelots by P.T. Evans


minecatcoverMinecat: A Whole Lot of Ocelots by P.T. Evans, e-book, 64 pages, published by Montage Publishing in 2016.

When Jason’s cat, Spike, gets sucked into the computer, he finds himself in Jason’s Minecraft world. After watching Jason play Minecraft for hours on end, Spike finally gets to build the world himself. He takes full advantage of this to make his perfect home.

Minecraft has many fans around the world that play regularly. I am not one of these people, but I have watched my daughter play, and she talks about her game often, so I wasn’t completely in the dark. I had not seen ocelots in the game before, but after reading this my daughter went and found some ocelots and domesticated them just for me to see!

I rather enjoyed Minecat. It was a short and quick read, but the story was fun. It is a chapter book using reasonably simple language with short sentences and chapters. The allure of Minecraft will get the readers in, and the engaging story will keep them reading.

Spike is quirky, sweet and funny. And maybe just a little bit egocentric! I liked it when he was re-arranging Jason’s Minecraft house, adding climbing stations, beds, and eating all the flowers. Those spiders were a tad creepy, but the domesticated ocelots were very cute!

There are some illustrations in the story, such as images from Minecraft, often with Spike added to them. I liked the way Spike was drawn, he is pretty cute, and his insertion into the images and photos worked well. My favourite picture was where Spike was swinging on a vine in the jungle. The pictures suit the story.

My fourth grader loves Minecraft and spends hours playing it with her friends. She also loves cats. When I told her I had a copy of Minecat for her to read she was very excited. She read it quickly in one sitting, and has already re-read it a couple of times. She thought it was an excellent read for any Minecraft fan, though it was a bit easy for her. She’s quite enthusiastic about reading more in this series.

Minecat: A Whole Lot of Ocelots is suitable for primary school students. It would also suit reluctant readers, especially those with a love of Minecraft.


*I received this book from the publisher as a digital copy in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any other remuneration, and the review is composed entirely of my own opinions.


The Snake Who Came To Stay by Julia Donaldson


IMG_3649The Snake Who Came To Stay by Julia Donaldson and illustrated by Hannah Snow, paperback, 77 pages, published by Scholastic in 2013.

This is a chapter book written by the author of one of our favourite books, The Gruffalo. The summer holidays are coming up and Polly has advertised her home as a holiday place for pets. After she has accepted responsibility for Bill and Ben the guinea pigs, Charlie the Mynah bird, Doris the snake and a pondful of fish next door, Polly’s mum says that is enough. The guinea pigs make lots of noise, Charlie keeps loudly imitating everything, and Doris hisses quietly in her tank in the kitchen. It’s a rather noisy holiday home for pets, but everything is going well until Polly leaves Doris’ tank lid open. Her mum is not impressed, but surely Doris will turn up somewhere soon.

This is an easy chapter book with black and white illustrations throughout. It was a nice story with likeable characters and some funny bits. Suitable for lower primary school children, I read this to my preschooler, and she enjoyed it. My first grader read this and it was an easy read for her, but she liked the story.

Ella and Olivia Series by Yvette Poshoglian


We’ve been reading some of the books from the Ella and Olivia chapter book series. They have simple storylines, with large text and black and white illustrations, making them a great start to reading chapter books for lower primary school children. I’ve read these books to my pre-schooler and she loved them, wants me to keep reading so she can find out what happens. I don’t mind reading them to her either, which is something I can’t say about every book she picks out! When she is ready for chapter books, I would be happy for her to read these books on her own. I think she particularly related to Ella and Olivia because she saw herself as being like Olivia, with an older sister that she idolises, and a baby brother who drools a lot 🙂 These could be stories about her and her sister, so it’s easy for her to picture the story unfolding. We are going to see if there are some more Ella and Olivia books available from the library for us to read together.

Update August 2015: Now in kindergarten, my daughter still loves these books, but now she can read them herself. We have collected the entire set now, and each time a new one is released, she asks for it straight away. I will try to review the rest of the series in the coming months.

IMG_3536Ella and Olivia: Ballet Stars by Yvette Poshoglian and illustrated by Danielle McDonald, paperback, 63 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2012.

This is book number three in the series. Olivia wants to be just like her big sister, Ella. In Ballet Stars, Ella is taking ballet lessons, and Olivia wants to learn to dance too. Ella’s ballet school is putting on a production of Cinderella, and Ella wants to be the star and dance a solo. Olivia wants to be in the show as well. Ella practices and practices, teaching Olivia along the way, even if Olivia only has her swimmers and sandals to dance in instead of a leotard! Will the girls get want they want?


IMG_3644Ella and Olivia: The New Girl by Yvette Poshoglian and illustrated by Danielle McDonald, paperback, 63 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2012.

This is the fourth book in the series. In The New Girl, it is Olivia’s first day at big school, and Ella is starting year two. There is a new girl in her class, Millie, and she is a bit mean. She is rude to Ella, and Ella starts to dislike her. When Millie is mean to Olivia and won’t let her play with them, Ella stands up to Millie on Olivia’s behalf. Maybe Millie isn’t really mean, maybe she is just feeling lonely in unfamiliar surroundings. Will Ella give her a chance?



IMG_3580Ella and Olivia: Puppy Trouble by Yvette Poshoglian and illustrated by Danielle McDonald, paperback, 63 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

This is book number five in the series. In Puppy Trouble, Ella and Olivia are finally allowed to have a puppy. They pick out a cute little fellow from the pet shop and take him home. They soon discover that there is much more to keeping a puppy than just playing with it all the time. This story gentle reminds readers that pet ownership comes with responsibility, including cleaning up after your pet, even when you just want to play with them.



IMG_3631Ella and Olivia: The Big Sleepover by Yvette Poshoglian and illustrated by Danielle McDonald, paperback, 63 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2013.

This is book number six in the series. In The Big Sleepover, Ella is allowed to have her very first sleepover with her best friend Zoe. Ella is very excited. When Zoe arrives for the sleepover, her dad suggests that Ella might like to come riding with Zoe the following day. The girls have fun, but when it’s time for bed they don’t want to go to sleep. A midnight snack, giggling and waking Olivia makes for a late night. And there are consequences come morning.


IMG_4950Ella and Olivia: Hair Disaster by Yvette Poshoglian and illustrated by Danielle McDonald, paperback, 63 pages, published by Scholastic Australia in 2015.

This is the fifteenth book in the series. Ella is preparing to play Sleeping Beauty in her ballet recital. She has been practicing with Olivia everyday. Ella and Olivia decide to try out some hair styles in the bathroom the day before the show. Olivia brushes Ella’s hair over and over, and then Olivia reaches for the scissors. What will Ella’s hair look like for the ballet concert?


There’s a Fly Guy in my Soup by Tedd Arnold


IMG_3405There’s a Fly Guy in my Soup by Tedd Arnold, hardback, 30 pages, published by Scholastic Inc. Cartwheel Books in 2012.

This simple book is part of the Fly Guy series, which follows the adventures of Buzz and his pet fly Fly Guy. In this story, Buzz and Fly Guy are on holidays, and Fly Guy finds himself in some trouble in the hotel restaurant when he mistakes a bowl of soup for a warm bath.

This book has easy to read text with very short chapters and colour illustrations. It could be considered an early or first chapter book and would be suitable for children in lower primary school to read themselves, but also suitable for reading to younger children. My preschooler thought it was quite funny and is interested in reading more Fly Guy stories.