Children’s books

LITTLE FROG, by Katie Saunders (Caterpillar Books; €7.10 HB), is a touchy-feely feast for toddlers.

Follow the smiley green chap as he passes through the rough bulrushes, crosses over the stone bridge, and gets back to his soft lily pad. Apart from the satisfying, tactile features, the simplicity and bold shapes of the illustrations make this a perfect book for little fingers to explore.

Also for the very young, Messy Me!, by Marni McGee and Cee Biscoe (Little Tiger; €7.10 HB), is a book of chaotic mess, as little bear goes about his day. Each spread illustrates what a toddler can do to turn the house into disorder. The rhyming verses — ‘Messy milk and messy tray. My messy breakfast starts the day!’ — bounce joyfully through each jumbly spread. The padded cover is an added bedtime bonus.

That young rapscallion and teacher’s headache, Bertie, bounces up again in Dirty Bertie Kiss! — a trio of short stories by David Roberts and Alan MacDonald (Stripes; €5.92). When he finds a juicy, slimy slug, Bertie seeks a victim to scare. Who better than prissy Angela Nicely. Angela fancies him and the chase is reversed as he tries to escape her clutches. In the second story, Bertie is given charge of the class hamster for the half-term holidays. But when the hamster does a runner, Bertie creates a homemade hamster from an old sock, two buttons and some fur. Will teacher and the rest of the class notice? The three stories skilfully get inside the mind of the small boy and his accidentally destructive mishaps. Laugh-aloud fun for age seven and upwards.

Who’s Who in WW2, by Alison Hawes (A&C Black; NPA), is an easy format of photos and information bites. Features include the bravery of Oskar Schindler, who helped Jews escape the Holocaust; the hiding and betrayal of Anne Frank; the courage of secret agents like Violette Szabo; the forbearance of Ruth Foster, who was force-marched for weeks by the Nazis; and Alan Turing’s Enigma code-breaker. Fascinating.

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