Side By Side,
by Rachel Bright,
Illustrated by Debi Gliori
(Orchard Books, €14.80 HB)
In magical woods, many creatures, big and small, live in happy harmony. The Mouse family’s cosy home is under the ground, and the smallest of those, with her sticky-out ears and a whiskery nose, loves playing with her many siblings. But when she can’t keep up with them and gets lost, can anyone help her to find her way home?
Child-friendly characters and magical landscapes make this an excellent, fun book to share with age three and upward.
My Ireland Activity Book — The Wild Atlantic Way (O’Brien, €7.99)
As well as introducing The Wild Atlantic Way, this is a must for long journeys, as it provides loads of puzzles, quizzes,word searches, drawing and colouring challenges and, most engaging of all, a quest to pick out the ubiquitous Larry on Benbulben. Age eight and upward.
A Seven Letter Word, by Kim Slater (Macmillan, €12.30 HB)
Finlay McIntosh is heartbroken when his mother leaves home. His relationship with his father is fraught, and because of his worsening stutter, he is bullied at school.
His only escapism is his passion for Scrabble and caring for his beloved hamster.
He can, however, communicate online with other Scrabble enthusiasts, and it is a relationship online with Alex which makes him wonder if it his missing mother trying to re-establish her bond with him. After all, she had first stirred his interest in Scrabble.
When his teacher asks him to consider representing the school in a scrabble competition, he feels that winning might spur his mother on to contact him.
But he has to overcome major obstacles, as his chief tormentor is also aiming to be on the school team, and his relationship with online Alex has become more and more problematic.
Finlay refuses to accept that he will never see his mother again and constantly writes to her, noting, after any interesting words he has used, how many points it would score in Scrabble. Compelling. Age 10 and upward
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