Books for children

How Are You Feeling Today,
by Molly Potter,
illustrated by Sarah Jennings
(Bloomsbury; €12.60 HB.)

Like adults, young children can have worries, fears and stroppy outbursts that create rows and tears, but unlike adults, they don’t know how to handle these. This big book deals cheerfully with shyness, fears, making friends and all the other pre-school hurdles. Each spread shows simple ways of integrating with others; what to do if feeling scared or sad, how to make friends — just a taste of the treasures inside this book that every home with pre-schoolers to junior infants should have. The comic book layout and witty speech-bubbles make this utterly child-friendly. For harassed parents, the section on boredom will be a godsend as the children are encouraged to explore interesting aspects of their immediate environment with surprisingly entertaining results.

Only Remembered, edited by Michael Morpurgo (Random House; €18.90 HB) This is a fascinating anthology of great War memorabilia including novel extracts, poems, posters, photographs etc. Among the stand out features is the account of Walter Tull who had to battle for recognition on many fronts, firstly as a footballer in the pre-multicultural English league, and then as a coloured officer in the British Army. His legacy even then, was judged not on the colour of his skin but on his extreme bravery. Sadly his body was never found. The most interesting and touching reaction to the war is that of student Flora Fergusson who, standing among the graves in Ypres, wonders why the soldiers who played football during the Christmas truce didn’t refuse to fire on their newly made friends. She wonders if they had been women, would it have been a different outcome. The tombstone that made the biggest impression on her had the single worded “Gone’, which seemed to sum up that terrible era.

In a different medium, artist Stanley Spencer’s war paintings combine scenes of desolation with hints of religious events to show the incongruity of man’s inhumanity.

It would be trite to say this book has something for everybody but it is a thought-proving collection for both young adult and adult readers.


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