Alfie, who lives in a cellar with his blind brother Sammy, faithful dog Mutsey and an assortment of ragamuffins, is caught trying to steal bread. However, the farsighted Inspector Denham realises that the boy, with his access to the underbelly of London, could garner information about the death by garrotting the wealthy Mr Montgomery. Thus begins a commitment that puts Alfie and his gang in grave danger, culminating in the abduction of Sammy. A thoroughly exciting page-turner for age 10 and upwards.
Trash by Andy Mulligan (David Fickling; €13.03) is set in a Behala landfill site in an unnamed country, which for years has been under the thumb of a dictatorial and dishonest vice-president Zapanta. Raphael, Gardo and Rat are three slum dwellers who scratch out a living in this stinking environment, scavenging for items to sell. Their lives are utterly changed when they discover a key that leads them to a locker containing a puzzling code. The action of the novel is then concerned with their attempts to break the code, while at the same time trying to avoid the police who have got wind of their find. While the narration is confusing at first, the story, with echoes of Slumdog Millionaire, is a heartwarming tale of triumph in adversity.
A Lesson for Everyday. Literacy for 10-11 years by Christine Moorcroft (A&C Black; €29.60) is one of a series, each of which provides 190 creative activities aimed at a particular age group. The strengths of these are: (1) The accompanying CD-ROM can link up with a white board, or the activities can be photocopied. (2) Guidelines are supplied outlining the objective of each lesson. (3) Comprehensive suggestions on how to deal with each activity are also present. The lessons are highly imaginative and child friendly. Of great benefit to students as an introduction to the study of literature.