Children’s books

Sunita’s Baby Sister by Nicola Call (Bloomsbury; €6.30). The byline to this oh so useful book could be ‘Jealousy’. 

How devastating it must be for the established number one in the family when a new baby arrives — to hog the attention of parents, and get what seems grossly unfair special treatment. The colourful spreads by Sally Featherstone dramatise the situations, gently leading up to a smiling Sunita responding to her baby sister’s smile. It’s no bed of roses, so valuable advice for adults is included in a postscript. Suitable for age three and upwards (and parents).

Nonsense Limericks by Edward Lear (Faber &Faber; €12.60 HB): This is a volume which needs no introduction to adult readers, but will hopefully bring Lear’s wit alive for a new generation. A humorous feature of Lear was his ability to twist rhymes to suit his subject, so’ Ancona’ would match up with ‘no owner’, and ’Corsica’ with ‘saucy cur’. The Illustrations by Arthur Robins add greatly to the volume. Suitable for age eight and upwards

The Watching Wood by Erika McGann (O’Brien; €7.99): This is the third book featuring Grace and her wannabe witch friends in their most dangerous adventure so far. Book one, The Demon Notebook, won the prestigious Waverton Good Read’s Award for teen fiction. Here, in the company of the ubiquitous Miss Quinlan, the girls ‘PE’ consists of a flame-running competition, which soon turns to disaster as the witchlets are sucked underground to a mysterious wooded world. Competitions in this world are deadly serious, and if the girls don’t win through, they will be in mega trouble. Their greatest fear is that they will be unmasked as humans in a topsy-turvy world of faeries, goatbeasts, hunters, nymphs, and a most intriguing new character, The Ferryman. As usual McGann expertly mixes the magical with the everyday. Una, in her hour of mortal danger, having jettisoned her pants while trying to escape, screams when she sees the replacement pants the girls have brought: ‘Are they drawstring! She shrills. It’s that kind of story!

Suitable for age nine and upwards


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