But her adoring mixed-nationality pupils in Rainbow Class have just the cure. With colourful pictures and told in jaunty rhyme, this is a heartwarming read for age seven and up.
How Ali Ferguson Saved Houdini by Elen Caldecott (Bloomsbury; €7.10). When Ali and his mum move into their new home in a high-rise block of flats, he’s not too impressed as the first neighbour he meets is a rather dodgy looking guy with shaved head, gold tooth and a loud tattoo on his neck. However, the house move becomes more acceptable when he strikes up a friendship of sorts with feisty Caitlin and discovers she’s also an animal lover. It’s that love of animals that takes them and Gez, Caitlin’s friend, into a risky rescue mission to outwit a gang of exotic animal thieves. Ali’s dilemma is whom can he trust when he discovers that Caitlin’s father is the dodgy neighbour whose activities are suspicious. Full of humour, nail-biting situations and a cast of credible characters, this is one of those rare books that, once begun, will not be put down until the last page has been read. For age nine and up.
Almost True by Keren David (Frances Lincoln; €8.35). This is a sequel to the highly acclaimed teen novel When I Was Joe. This follow-up opens with another murder – a case of mistaken identity which costs the life of Alistair, Ty’s mother’s latest boyfriend. As the witness protection scheme has not proved successful, the family move Ty to his grandfather’s house.
The novel has a perfect blend of tense situations and intriguing relationships, as Ty struggles to take control of his life, and more interestingly, to develop a piecemeal understanding of his past.