But when he meets other creatures who feel the cold, he generously parts with his fluffy scarf, hat and gloves. His kindness is rewarded by a friendly badger. A happy-ever-after story for age two and up.
Bella Donna by Ruth Symes (Piccadilly; €7.10) is narrated by Bella, who was left on the steps of a children’s home as a baby. Not one for fairies or pink princesses, Bella’s ambition has always been to be a witch. She longs for a Forever Family to adopt her, but she doesn’t fit in with any would-be adopters. However, just as she gives up hope, an unusual lady called Lilith comes to visit the home. She is everything Donna has dreamed of, and vice versa, as Lilith also takes to Donna and brings her to live with her in Coven Road, a quiet crescent of pretty houses. But Bella discovers that there’s more to Coven Road than tidy gardens and lace curtains. It is actually peopled by delightful witches. This is a well- paced story that has everything – reality and magic – to capture the imagination for age eight-up.
Dizzy the Dog at 1 Beechnut Gardens by Elizabeth Davis (Book Guild Publishing UK; €9.50) begins with suitcases. Dizzy’s adored mistress packed up and left some time ago, and now her husband is packing his suitcases into the car, leaving Dizzy alone with snappy housekeeper Mrs Pride. Badly fed, shouted at and dejected, Dizzy leaves to try to trace the route of the car. Wet, cold and hungry, he eventually meets Sammy, a small abandoned terrier, who persists in joining up with the big Airedale. Streetwise Sammy knows where to scavenge for food and where to sleep. Unfortunately, even Sammy’s shrewdness can’t outsmart the dog patrol. The language is suitable for confident readers age 10 and upwards but the story is also an excellent read-aloud for younger children.