Children books

WHAT ABOUT BEAR?

(Alanna Books €14.33 HB) is a beautifully illustrated book about the fragile side of friendship.

The perfect introduction to socialising for pre-schoolers.

THE LION’S SHARE by Matthew McElligott (A&C Black €15.40 HB) is a tale of bad manners and greed. When the lion king invites a group of animals for dinner, the tiny ant is nervous ­ she’d never been asked before. The other eight large creatures are late, bad-mannered, noisy and messy. When the king produces a cake to be shared in order of size, the ant is left with nothing to pass on to the king. Mortified, she offers to make him a special cake.

But the others offer bigger and better. However, the wise king knows how to handle the ill-mannered lot.

ILLEGAL by Miriam Halahmy (Meadowside Fiction €8.35) Miriam Halahmy delves into the underbelly of society for her protagonists, so initially it is difficult to empathise with Lindy, especially as she had featured in the first book of the series as a rather bullying type.

Gradually our understanding of her dysfunctional family background and the fact that she is now being bullied wins us over.

The death of her sister Jemma from meningitis, for which she partly blames herself, adds to her feelings of isolation and inadequacy, so when her cousin offers her a well-paid part-time job she jumps at the chance. Her involvement in the subsequent production and distribution of drugs puts her in mortal danger. Her only support is from Karl, a strange mute teenager, the other loner in her class. Both are mutually nonjudgemental and the burgeoning relationship between them is subtly handled by Halahmy.

Running throughout the novel like a Greek chorus are Lindy’s remembered quotations from that other great loner, Hamlet, their school text. This is a gritty no holds barred nailbiting young adult story.


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