Babbleabout and Random House Children’s Publishers UK launch “Little Babblers” plus tips on how to write a children’s book review

Babbleabout and Random House Children’s Publishers love to see children enjoy a good book.  So together we are offering children the opportunity to become book reviewers and to see their reviews published on Babbleabout.   In other words, to become “Little Babblers“.   So here’s your chance to get blown away by a good book and then write about it.

To begin with, we will start with a small, invited group of children to trial the idea within the High Wycombe area.   It may then be extended to other areas.  Each child will receive a book to read, say once a month or every six weeks or so.  They will then be asked to write a short review.   Best of all, the review will be published here on the main ‘Books’ pages of Babbleabout and there’s no need to return the book!

Writing a book review is an excellent way of developing your creative thinking and writing skills.   It helps with comprehension, developing a writing style and finding your ‘voice’ to express your response to a text.   When I write a book review, I find the following helpful:-

  • taking notes as you go along, including page numbers so that you can find references or sections that you particularly want to write about quickly.
  • looking at other examples of book reviews.  You will quite often find book reviews by children in magazines e.g. Anorak magazine, or online at Red House Books or Guardian newspaper.
  • before starting a book review, sometimes it is helpful to do some background research on the book and particularly the author.  Really good places to start are the author’s own website and his/her publisher’s website.  Here you might find interviews with the author, quizzes, games and other background material.  A good example is Andy Stanton’s website (author of the Mr Gum series).
  • I find it helpful to draft out a book review first, roughly, under a few main headings e.g. plot, what I liked, the main character, a particular perspective or angle I want to draw out from the book (see my review of Wonder for an example of drawing out a particular perspective; in that case it was the issue of popularity in American high schools.)  Sometimes I use a mindmap to organise my ideas.
  • book reviews should include certain main elements.  These are usually:-
  1. The title of the book and the name of the author.
  2. A brief summary of the storyline or plot but without giving too much away!
  3. Does the book fit into a particular genre or style of book, e.g. historical, dystopian, detective?
  4. What you particularly liked about the book, its strengths.  This might be, for example, the book’s setting and the way the author described it, the twists and turns of the storyline or the fact that you could identify so readily with the main character, that they were so believable or real to you.
  5. You might want to use examples of scenes or parts of the books that you particularly enjoyed or that particularly moved you.  Use quotes from the book.
  6. Whether you would recommend the book and why.

All the above information can be found on a specially created “Little Babblers” page which will be updated on a regular basis.   However, if you have any questions or want further advice about writing a book review or want more information about Little Babblers, please email me at


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3 Responses to Babbleabout and Random House Children’s Publishers UK launch “Little Babblers” plus tips on how to write a children’s book review

  1. Library Mice says:

    What a fab idea, Yvonne!

  2. Zoe says:

    What a tremendously exciting project! I can’t wait to see how it develops :-) I like your tips for writing reviews. I, however, make a point of NOT reading other reviews before I’ve finished writing mine – otherwise I find I sometimes get “stuck” on other people’s words/ attitudes, and find it harder to find my own voice.

    • Yvonne Keen says:

      Good point Zoe. And yes, before I write a review I don’t read other people reviews about the particular book I’m reviewing because, as you say, you can get caught up in other’s comments, words, phrases. It is sometimes useful to look at the general language used in reviews and the structure that a reviewer might have used to pull the whole thing together.

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