Books for Children

Butterfly Grave by Anne Cassidy (Bloomsbury; €8.30) is the third volume in The Murder Notebooks series, and sees Rose and her step-brother Joshua continue the hunt to find their missing parents.

Earlier volumes suggested they are still alive and, for safety reasons, unable to make contact. Now Joshua’s uncle has had an accident, so the pair, accompanied by faithful computer expert Skeggsie, journey north to Newcastle to suss out what has happened.

Investigating the accident is anything but straightforward and the youngsters realise that they are being carefully monitored by sinister elements.

When a brutal murder happens on a night they visit a pub their lives are turned upside down and the quest for information becomes a desperate struggle for survival.

The character of Skeggsie has been brilliantly fleshed out, and all will be revealed in the fourth book of the series.

Suitable for young adult.

Max The Champion by Sean Stockdale and Alexandra Strick (Frances Lincoln; €14.20 HB) is a bright, breezy book with a mission — that all children should be included in all activities and children who are “different” should feature in children’s books. Max is an extremely energetic and highly imaginative youngster who lives life to the full.

His passion for sports feeds his imagination and ambition, so a trip to a pool sees him visualise himself climb the podium at the Olympic Games to accept the medal and plaudits of the crowd. Even cycling home from school becomes a thrilling race against the odds, and in his dreams he will flash past the post in the 100m dash, closely followed by his wheelchair-bound friend.

He doesn’t excel in all subjects at school but his enthusiasm for life outweighs whatever problems he has.

The illustrations by Ros Asquith complement the book’s drive, and both overtly and subtly, they include children who have disabilities competing in sporting activities of all kinds.

Suitable for age eight and upwards.

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