Books for children: Tin by Chris Judge

Tin by Chris Judge
Lost in The Mountains Of Death by Tracey Turner
Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill.

Tin by Chris Judge (Andersen Press; €15.10 HB.): When Tin’s mum asks him to look after his little sister, Nickel, he’s so immersed in his comic he doesn’t notice her absence — that is until he sees her way up a tree. Worse is to come when she floats up to the sky with her balloon. Just as Tin catches her, the balloon bursts and they both plummet towards earth. And that’s when the real excitement occurs. Think of a safari park full of animals and people (also tin). Can Tin find his sister? Colourful, off-beat and very funny, this is a delight for age four and upwards.

Lost in The Mountains Of Death by Tracey Turner (Bloomsbury; €6.30). The latest in the Lost series, with its now well recognised format, looks at the dangers of extreme mountain climbing. As well as providing interesting facts about nature and wildlife, a series of problems is posed. If the reader chooses the wrong option, moving to a later designated page will explain the consequences- hopefully not fatal. Suitable for age 10 and upwards.

Only Ever Yours by Louise O’Neill. (Quercus; €10.05). As with many dystopian novels this one is rooted in the habits and mores of the present where appearance is paramount and other peoples’ perceptions considered so vital that girls will go to unnatural lengths to live up to impossible ideals.

The world of the novel is grimly misogynistic, set in a school which is literally a breeding ground for — well — breeding. Girls now have only three roles available to them — as companions, as cold-hearted teachers known as chastities, or perish the thought, as concubines.

Their lives are controlled by the chastities, whose only function is to ready them for one of these roles. The protagonist Frieda suffers agonies of self doubt as she tortuously prepares for the graduation ceremony where she will be paired with a 16-year-old boy.

Her ambition is to remain with him for as long as she can provide pleasure — and many boy-children. This is a dark, dark satire unpunctuated by humour, but eminently readable and maddeningly thought-provoking. Suitable for age 16 and upwards.


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