Books for kids...

Vinnie Goes To Vegas by Stephen Walsh and Marita O’Donovan (O’Brien, €8.99)
Vinnie, a Leprechaun metal smith, finds a horseshoe which changes his luck forever. 

First he catches shoals of fish, his vegetables grow overnight and then he fortuitously smuggles his way to Las Vegas. Here he wins a small fortune and tips doorman Chuck O’Leary enough money for him to make a trip to Ireland.

However, the moral in this attractively illustrated book is that money need not corrupt, and when Vinnie builds a fine mansion he soon generously hands it over to be used by his fellow leprechauns. When he decides that enough is enough, he throws away his lucky horseshoe. Guess who will find it? And so the circle will go on. Suitable for age seven and up.

Stargazing For Beginners by Jenny McLachlan (Bloomsbury, €9.30)

This is the story of Meg whose ambition is to become an astronaut. As a first step on the road she must win a competition with a trip to Nassau as the prize.

Standing in her way is her mother, or rather her lack of a mother who has suddenly jetted off to Myanmar on one of her crusades.

Baby Elsa has been left in Meg’s care so she has to learn on the hoof about childcare, looking after a dog, and at the same time keep her over-enthusiastic grandfather in check.

Her mother’s trip couldn’t have come at a worse time as she struggles to complete her speech.School too, is a constant challenge as science-mad Meg feels awkward and isolated as she tries to fit in.

Detention for being late for class leads to surprising new relationships, especially with cerebral palsy student Annie. A major complication is Meg’s rival Ed, who is favourite to win the competition. 

She is torn between gentle resentment and her teenage feelings for him. The book is humorous and slapstick.

The characters are finely drawn, in particular her eccentric grandfather. The many information snippets about the universe are cleverly intertwined with the narrative in a lovely story of friendship and ambition. Suitable for age 11 and up.


Lifestyle

Leopard print midi dresses and sequins swirled beneath glossy goddess hair and golden headbands as the great and the good of Cork gathered for ieStyle Live.Leopard print and sequins to the fore at inaugural #IEStyleLive event

You have a long half-term break ahead of you all, and there’s only so much screen time anyone in the family can handle. Everyone is going to need a book-break at some point or another.We reviewed some of the best new books to keep kids entertained over half-term

Sexual politics, snideput-downs and family rivalries are fuelling the trouble brewing in a small Midlands town.Charlie Murphy and Pat Shortt star in new Irish film 'Dark lies the Island'

Robert Hume tells of the eccentric MP for Athboy, Co. Meath – born 300 years ago this month – who thought he was a teapot, and was afraid his spout might break off.A strange brew of a man: The MP for Meath who believed he was a teapot

More From The Irish Examiner