Books for children...

Lift the Flap and Colour- Ocean and, Lift the Flap and Colour-Jungle by Alice Bowsher (Frances Lincoln, €7.10 each)

The first is a challenging themed colouring book which features fish in their undersea habitats. Dolphins, fish and a coral reef are heavily outlined waiting to be coloured in. 

Lift-flaps reveal some mysterious creatures highlighted by divers’ torches. Hours of entertainment. 

Less successful is the Jungle book as the habitats’ foliage seems a bit overpowering, but the huge lift-flaps and the hidden rhymes should maintain the artists’ interest. 

It could do with more suggestions on what colours to use, though. Suitable for age four and up.

Lena’s Story by Judy Waite (Bloomsbury High-Low Series, €7.10)

When14-year-old Lena and three of her friends rescue a dog who has been run over by a hit-and-run cyclist, chaos ensues.

Her dad’s boss has his new jacket torn by the puppy and then accuses the four friends of stealing his wallet. 

Her father may even lose his job because of this.

Hiding out in a derelict theatre brings further trouble as bullies kidnap the puppy and demand a ransom for his return. What are friends for when the chips are down! 

A very credible army ghost and a search to clear their names over the missing wallet make this a tense and gripping read for age 12 and up.

A glossary of multiple-choice questions will also benefit reluctant readers.

Rook by Anthony McGowan (Barrington Stoke, €9.50)

This continues the story of brothers Nicky and Kenny who find an injured rook which they take home. 

For Kenny the rook’s recuperation becomes an obsession but Nicky has greater problems. He is bullied at school by Stanno, and a real complication is that Nicky fancies Stanno’s sister Sarah.

Driven demented by Stanno’s gibes Nicky squares up to him; two families become involved and Nicky is forced to look for a place in a much less desirable school. 

The relationship between the brothers is movingly portrayed as is the atmosphere at the school where survival of the fittest is sometimes the norm. 

Dyslexia friendly for age 12 and up.

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