Books for children

The Monkey with the Bright Blue Bottom by Steve Smallman (Little Tiger Press; €9.50).

Little brown monkey watches the colourful birds flying above the trees and, looking at the drab colours of other jungle creatures, wonders why they shouldn’t be beautiful too. So when he finds an abandoned palette and paint brushes, he paints the animals as they take their afternoon nap. Are they pleased? Find out as you share this laugh- aloud book with two to four-year-olds, or listen to the attached CD. The delightful illustrations are by Nick Schon.

Thawing Frozen Frogs by Brian Patten (Frances Lincoln; €7.10) is a funny dip-into book for emerging or reluctant readers who are put off by fat volumes. Popular poet Patten has his finger on the pulse of what makes children laugh aloud. Wildly imaginative, provocative, affectionate, but mostly funny, the mix of humour and regular verse, along with Chris Riddell’s wonderful pencil drawings make this a delightful read for anyone.

The Adjusters by Andrew Taylor (Usborne; €8.35) The enigmatic opening line: “It’s no fun being dead” sets the tone of this excellent “brain-wipe” story, the theme of which might better be summed up as “It’s no fun being alive”. When Henry Ward and his mother Jennifer move to far- away Newton, he first encounters Gabrielle Henson, who is under threat from the ubiquitous Trooper Dan. Initially Henry doesn’t heed Gabrielle’s frantic warning to run, but a few days in his new school soon convince him that he should have taken her warning seriously. The students unnervingly prove to be super-polite paragons of excellence in all subjects and sports. Henry’s curiosity soon sets him on a collision course with the Newton authorities, especially John Mallory, whose insane egotistic ambition is to adjust the behaviour and intelligence of the students, and of anybody else who opposes his methods. Suitable for age 12 upwards.


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