Books for kids...

Though school doors are now closed, Paul Cookson’s Crazy Classrooms Poems (Frances Lincoln, €8.40) will raise many a laugh.

From Twelve Inventions to Help You Survive at School, which includes an extra homework duplicator, to the teacher who has to write a letter of apology to the headmaster for breaking a window while on yard duty, it’s mostly fun all the way.

Some well- handled poignancy also, as Samantha makes a Mothers’ Day card for her separated parent, and a Jehovah’s Witness leaves school early to avoid the Christmas celebrations.

In Tanglewood Animal Park — Baby Zebra Rescue (Usborne, €7.20) 

Zoe’s father buys a run-down zoo, thus realising a life-time ambition. The transition is not all plain sailing for Zoe as she has to confront young Oliver’s hostility and resentment towards the new owners. 

Looking after the animals is rewarding in itself but can be hair-raising. When a newborn Zebra goes missing, relationships are strained to breaking point.

In Sally Prue’s Land of the Gods (Bloomsbury, €7.20) young Lucan is captured by the Romans and has to adapt to a life of slavery. 

Books for kids...

Luckily, he is quite a resourceful and imaginative youngster. Clever, character-based look at Celtic and Roman ways of life.

Terry Deary’s series of light-hearted but informative takes on Shakespeare plays continue with A Midsummer Night’s Dream (Bloomsbury, €5.90) 

The dream is more nightmare for heroine Molly as she is literally a slave to Richard Armin, a theatre fool who is necessary for Shakespeare’s performances. How she gets her revenge on Armin runs side-by-side with the story of the play. Ingenious, as usual.

In Life According to Dani by Rose Lagercrantz (Gecko Press, €11.60) 

Dani and her friend Ella enjoy an idyllic summer on an island, though she does miss her pet animals and looks forward each night for her father to call from his sickbed. 

When eventually he comes to see her, he has a girlfriend in tow. How Dani would accept Sadie as step-mother is the burning question.


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