Wildlife In Your Garden by Mike Dilger (Bloomsbury, €16.20)
This bright breezy book suggests that you don’t need to go further than your own garden to see nature’s wonders.
It offers fascinating information, especially about little-known creature habits.
The spit of common froghoppers helps to conceal it from predators in what we call ‘cuckoo spit’; solitary bees dig tunnels in your lawn; the whirligig beetle uses the upper part of its eye for seeing in air and the lower part to see underwater.
Perhaps the most important article is the Top Tips To
Welcome Wildlife, Create a log-pile, get a compost bin, and surprise, surprise, have a weed corner. All excellently complemented by Sarah Horne’s illustrations. Suitable for age 10 and up.
Arrivals by Brian Gallagher (O’Brien, €8.99)
When Ciara Farrelly sets out to solve a 90-year-old mystery she learns that she is the only person in whom her late grandfather Mike would confide.
Clues lead to her discovery of his journal which reveals an awful truth.
In 1928 circumstances in Canada brought together three unlikely friends — Wilson, from a rich Irish protestant background; Lucy, a likeable and brave girl from a local reserve, and Mike himself, recently arrived from newly independent Ireland.
All three in different ways are outcasts.
Wilson’s shyness has hindered his attempts to make friends, and he is mercilessly bullied; Lucy lives under strict reservation rules and is out on a limb as she has ambition to be an artist rather than follow her mother’s line in healing; Mike’s parents have lowly jobs in the school and struggle financially.
When the three youngsters set up a secret society they little realise that soon they will have to keep a secret the revelation of which would have serious consequences for all families.
Their backgrounds are excellently explored by Gallagher. The dual narration adds to the tension in this fine story, which also shines a light on Irish attitudes towards the British empire. Suitable for age 12 and up.
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