Book Review

Ink Pellet’s book review section covers an eclectic selection of new fiction, teachers’ guides, audio books and classics.

Many of our reviews are written by teachers, so we have an expert eye on how texts will work in the classroom. We hope to create a useful archive of reviews so that you can use this as a reference.

If you would like to join our panel of reviewers, please join in or email the editor

We hope the section inspires you to share new fiction with your pupils or to revisit old favorites yourself.

  1. Book Review: Living the Confidence Code

    Book Review: Living the Confidence Code  

    By Katty Kay, Claire Shipman & JillEllyn Riley Published by Harper Collins This is an original and rather good idea for an affirmative, inspirational book celebrating the achievements of young girls as a way of showing what can be done by “ordinary” people once they are fired up by determination and confidence. Its 30 very […]

  2. Book Review: Hide and Secrets

    Book Review: Hide and Secrets  

    by Sophie McKenzie Published by Simon and Schuster Sophie McKenzie is very good at fast paced page turners. And although this is about one of the most implausible stories (think Enid Blyton, spliced with Peter James and seasoned with Line of Duty) I’ve ever read, that is unlikely to bother the 12+ readership at which […]

  3. Book Review: The Runaway Girls

    Book Review: The Runaway Girls  

    by Jacqueline Wilson Published by Doubleday Childrens My third granddaughter, aged 10, recently mentioned The Runaway Girls, a new Wilson title she wanted to read, but her mum had said she had to wait for the paperback. So of course Granny bought it in hardback for GD3’s birthday. She also purchased a download and read […]

  4. Book Review: The Lamplighters

    Book Review: The Lamplighters  

    By Emma Stonex Published by Pan Macmillan In 1900 three lighthouse keepers disappeared from a lighthouse in the Outer Hebrides. And that mystery is the inspiration for Emma Stonex’s oddly compelling and highly original novel set in 1972 and later. Three men, Arthur Black, principal keeper, William “Bill” Walker, assistant keeper, and the much younger […]

  5. Book Review: House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masons

    Book Review: House of Music: Raising The Kanneh-Masons  

    by Kadiatu Kanneh-MasonPublished by Oneworld Publications When I interviewed Sheku Kanneh-Mason for Ink Pellet in 2016 he rather disingenuously told me that his parents weren’t musicians, His mother’s memoir makes the truth clear. She and her husband Stuart both played instruments to a reasonable standard and are competent amateurs. This was why they were so […]

  6. Book Review: The Time Traveller and the Tiger

    Book Review: The Time Traveller and the Tiger  

    by Tania UnsworthPublished by Zephyr Elsie is sent to stay with her rather odd, and very old, Great Uncle John because her parents are working. She finds a tiger skin rug in his spare room and a strange plant in his greenhouse. Suddenly she is transported to India in 1946 where John, then 12, is […]

  7. Book Review: Fashion Conscious

    Book Review: Fashion Conscious  

    By Sarah Klymkiw & Kim HankinsonPublished by Egmont Books Did you know that the fashion industry accounts for more than 8% of global climate impact which is greater than all international flights and sea shipping combined? No, neither did I and – as a compulsive clothes buyer – it certainly made me stop and think. […]

  8. Book Review: Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble

    Book Review: Fire Burn, Cauldron Bubble  

    Published by Bloomsbury With the subtitle “Magical Poems” this slim hard back book has a delightfully old fashioned feel of permanence about it – and it’s pleasant to hold in the hand.  Anthologist, Paul Cookson, has included a wide range of poems from Shakespeare (the witchy bit, obviously) to Benjamin Zephaniah and from Tennyson (The […]

  9. Book Review: Return to Roar

    Book Review: Return to Roar  

    By Jenny McLachlanPublished by Egmont This is a sequel to McLachlan’s earlier Land of Roar and there’s a third title in the pipeline. I read it, though, as a standalone and that works because she sets up the situation very adeptly at the beginning.  Think Peter Pan (we meet the Lost Girls) crossed with Narnia […]

  10. Book Review: The Making of Handel’s Messiah

    Book Review: The Making of Handel’s Messiah  

    The English oratorio was, it seems, born almost by accident. Handel’s Esther, the first known example of the genre, began life as a masque in a Middlesex mansion in around 1718 . It reappeared in London in 1731. These were private performances, staged and in costume. Then, in 1732 – partly because Princess Anne wanted to...