Children’s books

THE Very Merry Mice by Jack Tickle (Little Tiger; €10.66) is a sturdy book for toddlers. The playful mice are having fun during the lead-up to Christmas. Each spread features a surprise festive pop-up. Fun for little hands.

Father Christmas Needs A Wee by Nicholas Alan (Red Fox; €8.35) is a buttock-clenching account of Santa’s reaction to the juices, teas and milkshakes left out for him on his travels. By the time he gets home he’s red-faced and cross-legged, But wait! Where’s the door key? Giggle-aloud rudeness for age six and upwards. The accompanying CD is hilariously read by Bernard Cribbens.

The Best Christmas Ever by Marni McGee and Gavin Scott (LittleTiger; €13.03). In her search for ingredients for her apple-nut pie, Millicent Mouse finds a hedgehog lying in the freezing snow. She makes him a cosy nest. This draws other needy creatures and soon her house is filled and there’s nothing done for Christmas. However, Christmas morning brings a delightful conclusion to this heartening tale.

Once Upon a Bedtime (Little Tiger; €11.93) is a big, padded book of four stories by different authors and illustrators. ! A charming book to share.

New Town Soul by Dermot Bolger (Little Island; €8.99).Because of bullying, Joey Kilmichael has to change schools. In his new school he is befriended by super-confident, though enigmatic Shane O’Driscoll. Classmate Geraldine Fleming and Joey are mutually attracted to one another, but she is put off by his friendship with Shane. The dark side of Shane’s personality soon becomes evident and the narrative switches back and forth in time to reveal Geraldine’s unease. When she and Joey explore an old house they find an eccentric old man who becomes the fulcrum of the story. This is a splendid evocation of teenage relationships. A truly brilliant book.

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