Books for children

The Selfish Crocodile Book of Words by Faustin Charles, illustrated by Michael Terry (Bloomsbury; €5.92 HB).

This easy to handle little board book is a fun introduction to words. Each page features colourful cartoon-style creatures as they cavort in the jungle, fields and rivers. A delight for age three and upwards.

Never Lie On A Lion by Alan James Brown, illustrated by Barbara Vignozzi (Bloomsbury; €7.10) is a poetic warning on why you should never mess about with animals — such as — ‘never share a cake with a great big snake’ and, of course, ‘never try to put a whale into a tiny little pail!’ Laugh-aloud fun for age five and upwards.

Eddie’s Toolbox by Sarah Garland (Frances Lincoln; €8.35) is about neighbourhood bonding and also discovering skills. Eddie is excited when new neighbours come to live next door. Alas, it’s just a man and his baby daughter. However when the man, Tom, discovers Eddie’s interest in ‘making things’ he teaches him the basic skills of craftsmanship. The two single-parent families delight in Eddie’s first achievement — a bird table. The story is gently enhanced by the hint that perhaps Mum and Tom might coalesce into one family.

Hiking in a forest with her young daughter, the author of this book explained to her little girl that trees are living things. ‘But how can they breathe if they have no noses?’ the child asked. This inspired Are Trees Alive? by Debby S Miller, illustrated by Stacey Schuett (A&C Black; €13.03 HB) which explains how living trees have a lot in common with people. Branches nurture birds in their nests, just as a mother rocks her baby: like people of different races, trees all over the world also have a variety of skin (bark) colours; and, just as our bodies can’t live without blood, trees can’t live without sap. Definitely a book for keeps. Suitable for age eight and up.


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