Children’s Books

TALL STORY by Candy Gourlay (David Fickling Books; €13.19). When Andi finally meets her brother Bernardo, whom she has not seen for eight years, she is shocked to discover he is literally a giant – eight feet tall.

Andi, whose ambition is to disguise herself as a boy and star on the school’s all-male basketball team, finds herself rather sidelined by the new arrival. Bernardo, who finds it difficult to adjust to a new country and a school which is alien to him, is racked with guilt at deserting the people of his valley in the Philippines, who regard him as the reincarnation of a mythical giant. Issues of separation, being different and family values are treated with humour and insight. For age nine and upwards.

White Time, by Margo Lanagan (David Fickling Books; €8.40), is an entertaining and original collection of short stories.

The first story, White Time, deals with an unusual work experience where students have to sort out inefficient time travellers who have become hopelessly lost and end up in a pool of nothingness. The story, as the old adage advises, begins and ends in the mind of the reader. Suitable for mid-teens.

Goal-Getter, by Michael Hardcastle (A&C Black; €5.98), is a graphic and colourful novel which recounts the travails of soccer-mad but vertically challenged Eddie, who gets very little sympathy from either his coach or his mother when he is battered and bruised by opposition defences.

On a trip to the local funfair, Eddie performs a feat of great bravery and so comes to the attention of a novelty football stallholder who just happens to be the manager of a different boys’ soccer team.

The moral of the story seems to be that to solve football problems Eddie should switch to a different team, but will he not face equally ferocious defences in his new league? The bold outlines and strong all-action illustrations will attract boys.

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