By Jeanne Willis

1. I have recently read a book called ‘Shamanka' by Jeanne Willis. I found the book interesting and I really enjoyed reading the book as I am interested in magic and illusions. I particularly liked the way that in between some chapters it told you how to perform some tricks and illusions that were going to be mentioned in the next part. This gave me opportunities to learn new things as well as reading an exciting fantasy, which kept me hooked throughout the whole story. After reading the whole book and learning about all the different characters that Sam met on her quest to find her Father, I have come to the conclusion that my favourite character is Lola because my favourite animal is an orang-utan and Lola seems to be a kind, polite animal that is unusual as she has human characteristics.

The book was detailed and involved me into what was going on by giving me opportunities to learn things like Sam did for example the book contains a page with some Motu words on that I was able to learn like Sam did as she heard people speaking in it in both her dreams and whilst she travelled around the world. The book had many relations to history, which has made me more interested in learning about the past as I have found out that you can learn about history in a fun way that makes it seem like a make belief fantasy. I also think that Jeanne writes the story in a strange, but exciting way as if she is there watching and listening to what is going on and is revealing to the reader what is happening as she sees it, which makes me want to read more of her books.

I think that the history in the book is good because it tells you about conditions and happenings that could have occurred around the time that the book was set. The book also makes me feel grateful of what I have because Sam didn't have a loving, kind family or any friends that she could rely on to help her and look after her, but I do which made me want to keep reading and find out if she did meet her parents in the end, which she did and even brought her mother back to life. The resurrection of her mother at the end makes me believe that if you believe in yourself and other people that certain things can happen then they will.

By Emma

2. This book took us much, much longer than all of the others to read because it was too easy to become distracted by the magic tricks, illusions and sleights of hand at the start of each chapter!  While this, and the fact that the reader is "used" as an apprentice  in the story,  really hooked us in it also stopped us paying attention quite so much to the story and its setting, making it seem less ‘historical' than some of the others on this list.  It did prompt us to go and do a lot of internet research into the tricks and how they work though!  This is a very clever and original book.  We enjoyed the notebook style and we enjoyed following Sam's story but at the same time found ourselves constantly desperate to discover the next magic trick too.

By Cramlington Learning Village, Northumberland

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