Waterstones Book Reviews

Six brilliant bookworms have been asked by Waterstones in Truro to review the top titles from this year’s Children’s’ Book Prize.

Gabriel, Sophie, Soumya, Rosie, Adeline and Max have written their thoughts on Girl with a White Dog by Anne Booth, Cowgirl by GR Gemin, Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen, Murder Most Unladylike by Robin Stevens, Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn and A Boy Called Hope by Lara Williamson.

Waterstones will be displaying the pupils comments during March.


Cowgirl by Giancarlo Gemin  –   Reviewed by Soumya, aged 10, Truro Prep School


I really enjoyed this book because it is about animals that not many people would write about.

It is an animal adventure book set in Wales in the present day.

In the story, the main character, Gemma, becomes friends with Cowgirl, Kate Thomas, who is the school weirdo and soon finds herself involved in a plot to prevent twelve cows from being sold or killed. The plan is to  rescue the cows and bring them to live in the backyards of the people who live on Bryn Mawr.

When the girls realise that they have made things worse and will have to give them back, they organise a fete and try to come up with a successful plan.

I liked Gemma because she was stubborn, yet forgiving and also daring.

I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to children aged nine to ten who like animals and adventures.


The Boy in the Tower by Polly Ho-Yen  –  Reviewed by Gabriel, aged 11, Truro Prep School


This book is a truly intriguing read from cover to cover. It is an original idea for fans of adventure and mystery set in a normal place, Camberwell in South East London, to be exact.

The book is about Ade, an average child, who is unprepared for what is to come. You also get to meet other funny, mysterious and normal people along the way.

As time passes by, little by little, the buildings of Camberwell mysteriously collapse and Ade, along with his friend, Gaia, must unravel the disturbing truth behind the collapses. They must also save themselves, their families and their tower blocks from the unknown cause of the destruction.

This book filled my half term with joy. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it. I would recommend it to anyone aged nine and over.


Violet and the Pearl of the Orient by Harriet Whitehorn  –  Reviewed by Rosie, aged 8, Truro Prep School.


‘Violet and the Pearl of the Orient’ is an amazing book because it is a funny detective story.  I found it hard to put down and read it in a day.

It is set in the present, in an ordinary everyday village which is home for Violet and her friends.

The main character is Violet. I like her because she is a funny, determined little girl; I guess some would say she is a bit like me!

The book is mainly about the time when Violet finds out that some suspicious and not very nice people have moved in a couple of houses away: the Count and Countess Duplicitous. Violet knows that there’s something funny going on…

My favourite part is when no-one believes her when she says she has cracked the case. Although I found it frustrating, it was amusing.

An enjoyable feature of the book is the illustrations throughout which are funny and add to the story, especially the portrait gallery.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book because it made me laugh and I wanted to keep reading it to find out what happened in the end. I would recommend this for boys and girls aged 6 – 10.

Will Violet crack the case? Read this amazing book to find out!!


Girl With A White Dog by Anne Booth –  Reviewed by Sophie, aged 10, Truro Prep School


‘Girl with a white dog’ is a mystery that I believe was written to intrigue. It has quite a large focus on family, friendship and two white dogs.

It is set in the present day with glimpses of World War 2. The story is set in a cosy, realistic village in England.

Although I read a lot of books, I found that I just couldn’t get into this one. It was quite a confusing read as it felt like there were chunks of the story missing. I didn’t feel compelled to continue reading after the first few chapters though I did so for the purpose of this review.

Anne Booth presents a strange plot in this mysterious book by using many twists and turns in the story line. Jessie is a young teenager who goes to a normal village secondary school. I liked her character because she is friendly and likable. I didn’t like her best friend, Kate, though, as she is quite stressy. The gran is an unusual character who seems quite caring but also mentally unstable, so can be hard to understand.

The arrival of Snowy, a new Alsatian puppy, jogs her gran’s memory about Nazi Germany. Jessie’s gran begins to talk about concentration camps and she keeps saying “sorry”. Then Jessie’s gran gives her a few pieces of paper and tells Jessie to give them to her closest friends. The notes all say JM. When Jessie goes to a friend’s house to look at some German Nazi photos that Jessie found at her Grans house, she finds that JM stands for Jungmadel which was a branch of the Hitler Youth organisation for girls. Jungmadel translates to ‘young maidens’. Jessie’s gran wanted her and her friends to become Nazi young maidens……

Personally, I didn’t really enjoy the book as I am a tomboy who enjoys more high action filled and adrenalin fuelled stories.   I think that this book would be more suited to girls who have more girl-type interests. I find the focus on emotions not to my taste but this may well suit some readers well.

I hope my review has helped you choose your book.