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His Name Was Walter
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His Name Was Walter

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4.39  ·  Rating details ·  506 ratings  ·  102 reviews
'Once upon a time, in a dark city far away, there lived a boy called Walter, who had nothing but his name to call his own ...' The handwritten book, with its strangely vivid illustrations, has been hidden in the old house for a long, long time. Tonight, four kids and their teacher will find it. Tonight, at last, the haunting story of Walter and the mysterious, tragic girl ...more
ebook, 288 pages
Published July 23rd 2018 by HarperCollins
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Average rating 4.39  · 
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Amanda - Mrs B's Book Reviews
*https://mrsbbookreviews.wordpress.com
One of Australia’s most valued and versatile storytellers, Emily Rodda, returns with a new novel, suitable for readers aged 9 years and over. Adults may also appreciate this intricate turn with Rodda. His Name was Walter is a magical mystery tour, encompassing touches of yesteryear, folklore, fantasy, love and history. When four students and teacher on a history excursion are left in the lurch when their bus breaks down, they seek sanctuary in an abandoned o
...more
Lyn Elliott
Jun 03, 2020 rated it really liked it
This was just what I needed as an antidote to the grim reality of 2020 and reading memoirs and fiction that seem inevitably to tell stories of dysfunctional families, violence and humiliation.
Emily Rodda is a great teller of tales, written mainly for children and young adults, and this is a strongly imagined mystery in which four school children and their teacher break down in a remote place and have to take refuge in an empty house where, it soon becomes clear, something terrible happens in th
...more
Gaby
Aug 21, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Thank you to HarperCollins (via the HarperCollins Reading Project) for this copy. His Name Was Walter could quite possibly be my new favourite Emily Rodda book. The language is divine, the story(ies) engrossing and the conclusion is beautiful and satisfying. The tale combines history with the supernatural, friendship and humour. I shared chapter samples with my confident Year 6 readers and they were enthralled. There is so much to explore in this novel and I am already getting requests to purcha ...more
M.R. Cullen
Aug 25, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2019
I don't know what I expected from His Name Was Walter, the CBCA Book of the Year Winner for Younger Readers in 2019. What I go was a story about an orphan who lived his life for those around him, never shirking his responsibilities and always following his heart.

His Name Was Walter tells the story of Colin, Tara, Lucas, Grace and their school teacher Mrs Fiori. They find themselves stuck in a rundown old mansion overnight after their mini-bus breaks down. In a hidden drawer in a desk, Colin fin
...more
Madison
From master storyteller, Emily Rodda, comes a stunning new story. His Name Was Walter is part mystery, part historical, part fantasy and wholly charming -sure to delight young and older readers alike.

When a small group of school children and their teacher get stranded on a lonely road while on an excursion it makes sense for them to shelter in the large house nearby. But the empty house is hiding many secrets, among them an old book with its thrilling story of young orphan Walter and his adventu
...more
Trisha
Read for readers cup.

Moving and satisfying.
WhatBookNext .com
Dec 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
When Colin, Tara, Lucas, and Grace have school bus trouble and end up staying with their teacher in an abandoned old house, they never dream of what will unfold that night.

Inside the house they find a beautiful, handmade wooden desk – with a secret compartment. Inside this hidden drawer is a book, a locket and dozens of water-colour paintings. The book is full of beautiful, strange pictures of animals dressed as humans and a story of a man who was called Walter.

With nothing else to do, the group
...more
Jenny Butler
Aug 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: children
Such a good reminder of what an amazing author Emily Rodda is. Read the whole book in 1 session and, like the kids in the book, needed to keep on reading to find out what happened next. Tying it to real events in history was a master stroke- can’t help thinking this would make a great read aloud for years 4-6. Loved it
Kate DiGiuseppe
Sep 28, 2019 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this beautiful story recommended to me by an entire class of year 5s!
Jim
Sep 23, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I debated if this was 4 or 5 stars, but decided if I have to stop everything I'm doing (except to put wet clothes in the dryer...) then it must be 5 stars, right? The book/journal-within-a-book thing can go wrong quite easily, as it either takes over the tale or becomes glaringly obvious it's just a trope for a poorly imagined tale. This one worked almost perfectly (I quibble, but the emotions felt a bit thin, nothing was overly scary or sad or heartfelt) and I enjoyed the back-and-forth progres ...more
Nadine Therese
I ended up listening to this as an audio book because I accidently bought a CD audio book instead of the actual book online, but I think it really added to the story. The characters came alive as I listened to the narrative in my car. I actually looked forward to needing to drive anywhere. I was completely invested in Walter's story and wanted to know it would all end well in the end. ...more
Melanie Worth
Dec 02, 2019 rated it it was amazing
4.5 stars. This is a beautiful book that our family shared as a bedtime read. Emily Rodda is a master storyteller who writes such beautifully simple, well-crafted, satisfying stories, and this is no exception.
Erin
Jun 27, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Loved it! Emily Rodda at her best.
Amy
Dec 30, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2019
Emily Rodda wrote my childhood, and it's wonderful to know she will continue making childhood's magical for years to come. ...more
Kerryn Lawson
Aug 17, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A fabulous story woven together in beautiful fashion by a Emily Rodda. A story within a story that had me trying to finish each page quickly so that I could get to the next part of the story. Loved it!
Sonja Potgieter
Sep 18, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: for-work
Absolutely loved this book. Could not put it down.
Pauline
Aug 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Take a school excursion, four children and their teacher, a storm and a nearby deserted mansion and you have the beginnings of another magical offering from Emily Rodda. While taking shelter in the spooky old house Colin finds in a secret drawer an old strangely illustrated hand written book about a boy call Walter. What begins then is another story, as the original story becomes the frame of a much more imaginative narrative. The children are transfixed, as you as a reader will also be, by the ...more
Lyn Hungerford
Jun 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
I must admit it took me a while to get into this latest book by Emily Rodda. But that was probably because as I started the first chapters I was trying to categorise it as I read. Is this a mystery? Is it fantasy? Is it history? But once I started to realise that it is actually all of these intertwined I was hooked.

I loved how the present and past characters and events reflected on each other. How, for a teacher, it is a brilliant way of demonstrating how a contemporary story can become a fairy
...more
Rebecca
Oct 11, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I adored this book.

As a middle grade novel this would make a wonderful classroom read-aloud.

Well-crafted characters, both male and female, reading a story-within-a-story, while staying in an empty, haunted house.

As an adult reader, it reminded me of 'The Princess Bride' with the fairy-tale style of the parallel - which I loved.

No spoilers, but there were some modern wrap-ups in the ending, which younger readers will marvel at.

Magic, ghosts, fairy-tales, mystery and murder. This book has it all
...more
Joanne
Dec 09, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Oh boy, I cannot say enough about how good this book is. A junior fiction novel that gave me as much pleasure as my 9 year old. The writing is stunning, from the superb Emily Rodda. The story within a story take is thrilling, suspenseful and fantastical. The whole thing is an absolute treasure and would make a perfect shared reading experience (teachers, parents etc take note!!)
Sarah Jackson
Sep 05, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Plans go awry when unexpected car trouble interrupts a group of four school children and their teacher’s excursion to a small historical town. Stuck on a deserted road, and with a storm looming large, the small group seeks shelter in a nearby farmhouse. The cottage is under renovation, with old furniture, building supplies and various bit and pieces scattered throughout. While looking for a safe place in the house to camp for the night, the children come across an old writing desk, in which they ...more
Gabrielle Anderson
Jan 10, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Age: 10 – 14. Themes: Storytelling, Books and Reading, Mystery and suspense stories, Folk tales, Supernatural phenomena.
The idea was to do some research for an authentic History lesson in an historic outback town, but what the four students and their teacher encounter that night is much more powerful than anything they had ever imagined. After they are stranded when their bus breaks down they rush to take refuge in an old house nearby as a wild storm brews around them.
This book is suspenseful, e
...more
Emily Wrayburn
Review originally posted on A Keyboard and an Open Mind 20 May 2019:

I was equal parts excited and nervous to read this book. Excited because Emily Rodda’s books were such a staple of my childhood and teen years and I hoped reading her again would live up to my expectations. And nervous because… well, because Emily Rodda’s books were such a staple of my childhood and teen years and I hoped reading her again would live up to my expectations.

I have to admit that I wasn’t entirely into the story-w
...more
Ruth
Aug 14, 2019 rated it really liked it
What an interesting book! I don't think I have ever read anything quite like this.... the beginning was a little bit slow but I gradually grew to love this book more and more. Until one day I read the last two-thirds in one sitting. I love the story within a story concept, and there is a lovely little "ah!" / twist at the end to look out for. I wasn't really expecting anything less from Emily Rodda (I devoured the Deltora Quest series when I was growing up!) It is an absolutely fantastical story ...more
Jennie
This was a fantastic read! Emily Rodda at her best with a stand alone story, a touch of fantasy and supernatural firmly planted in the everyday world - just enough to make you think "I wonder if ...?"

With dexterous finesse Rodda introduces four very different students, all a 'bit different' and completely disconnected from each other. Throw in a history teacher, an old and decrepit house with a reputation for being unwelcoming and being stranded for a night and you have the makings of an intrigu
...more
The Book Squirrel
This book has been on my radar since last year but while I got a copy last week, I wasn't in much of a rush to read it. When I had to find a book I could read in a few days, though, I thought this would be it.
I didn't read it in a few days. I read it in 3 hours. I literally could not put it down.

This is a story within a story. It has suspense and mystery and excitement and every character has depth. If you like children's fiction, I would HIGHLY recommend it!
It would be a fantastic read-aloud fo
...more
Shaun Keating
Aug 07, 2019 rated it really liked it
He protected a friend
He found true love
He freed a prisoner
He championed the weak
He saved a life
He kept faith
His name was Walter

Walter’s enchanting tale is as consuming as it is fulfilling. The story within a story brings so much depth and understanding as each move along a path destined to intertwine. Rodda has captured the pure and innocent nature of her story in beautiful and vivid imagery. Her ability to craft rich characters and develop the settings that they exist in, while also maintai
...more
Rennai
I loved this story within a story and I loved Walter - what an endearing character. I loved Rodda's characterisation and her poignant description. I loved that it is a mix of genres, adventure, mystery, fantasy, supernatural... (even though it makes it tricky to shelve in a genre based collection!).

A group of students and their teacher are stranded in a spooky old house while on an excursion. They find a very old book in a secret compartment of a desk. They are drawn to read the book and start
...more
MJRead
May 24, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: prc-nsw-aus-7-9
I have been a fan of Emily Rodda since I was young and read and enjoy them knowing they are children’s books.

‘His name was Walter’ was amazing, yes it’s a children’s book but depending on the age of the person they will get different things and meanings from the book. This book in on the 7-9 PRC NSW, and it truly belongs there in my opinion as it means more age range is likely to read it for the challenge.

I really enjoyed it, it had the real-world fantasy element to it as well as the ‘true’ worl
...more
Lee
Aug 03, 2019 rated it it was amazing
It's been a long time since a book supposedly written for children/teens made me cry. (It was "Wonder"). I am happy to report that Rodda's beautiful little story-within-a-story book has broken the drought. I shed a tear or two at the end of "His name was Walter" and suspect that I won't be alone in saying that.

I don't want to say too much about the book other than: readers should go in with a open mind and preferably a relatively clear calendar. It is a "just one more chapter" kind of a read. Th
...more
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Emily Rodda (real name Jennifer Rowe) was born in Sydney, Australia and graduated from the University of Sydney in 1973 with an MA (Hons) in English Literature. Moving into a publishing career, first as a book editor, and finally as a publisher at Angus & Robertson, Rodda's first book was published in 1984. ...more

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