Books for Children

Ten Little Babies by Rose Impey, illustrated by Nicola Smee (Bloomsbury; €7.10) embraces all the elements that please the very young.

A bouncy rhyme, bright colours and toddler-friendly, recognisable characters.

As they frolic together on the grass, their numbers gradually decrease as each one wanders away on a humorous adventure. Will they come together again? Just the laugh-aloud book to share with two- and three-year-olds whether they’re at the counting stage or not.

Starting school is daunting enough for four and five year-olds, and trying to get to grips with a new language is a major stepping-stone.

Binjí, Madra Ar Strae by Patricia Forde, illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald (Futa Fata; €9.95). When scruffy dog Binjí is lost, clever cat, Cloigín, offers to help.

Simply and wittily told and beautifully illustrated, this is just the bedtime book, or better still, classroom book, to make learning Irish a joy.

Snobs, Dogs and Scobies by Elizabeth O’Hara (Little Island; €8.99) originally published in Irish as Hurlamaboc for which it got a Bisto Merit Award, this updated English version is a thought-provoking read for late teens.

It focuses on three Leaving Cert students: Ruán, whose class-conscious, tidy-wife mother, Lisín, is pushing him towards Trinity College (he’d like to study Art): Emma, well grounded and very intelligent, lives nearby with her single mother whose acquisitive toy boy has driven a wedge between mother and daughter; and there’s Colm, who lives in a less genteel area with his emotionally destructive father and subservient mother.

Their stories gradually intertwine. The story’s credibility, grounded as it is in reality, is compromised by the series of visitations — imaginary or otherwise — by a recently dead mother.


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