Children’s books

Wibbly Pig and the Tooky by Mick Inkpen
Squishy McFluff, The Invisible Cat Meets Mad Nanadot by Pip Jones
The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss

Wibbly Pig and the Tooky by Mick Inkpen (Hodder; €8.80.

Wibbly’s sisters have been to the zoo. When they show Wibbly a toy they’ve brought home, Wibbly is intrigued by its huge beak and loud squawk. Where is it’s battery?¹ He asks.

But there are no batteries this is a real, loud, biting toucan! And that’s when the fun starts as they realise they must return this loud, squawking toucan back to the zoo. But how can they disguise such a creature?

Laugh-aloud fun to share with three-year-olds.

Squishy McFluff, The Invisible Cat Meets Mad Nanadot by Pip Jones (Faber & Faber; €7.55)

When her mum has to go away for a while, dad takes little Ava (along with her invisible cat, Squishy) to stay with her gran, nana Dot a lively, eccentric lady who loves fun and eats her fried eggs with bananas and honey.

And, she even welcomes Squishy, (wherever he is), into her home. When gran has an appointment with the hairdresser, Ava and Squishy come too. But when boredom sets in, what is a young girl to do but mess around with dyes!

Luckily nana Dot is delighted with her green hair. And that¹s just the start of the fun, especially when Mum arrives home with an exceptional present. Told in simple rhyme and delightfully illustrated by Ella Oakstad, this is just the laugh-aloud book to share with age four and upwards.

The Year of the Rat by Clare Furniss (Simon and Schuster; €7.99 )

All Pearl’s relationships are torn apart when her mother dies giving birth to her sister Rose whom she immediately detests.

A whirlwind of emotion sees Pearl reject her stepfather and all other figures of authority, antagonise both her teachers and her best friend, and relentlessly seethe at the injustice of having her beloved mother replaced by a repulsive and dependant infant.

The story ingeniously backfills her relationship with her mother as Pearl struggles to make sense of her own disintegrating existence. It is only by looking outside herself at other people’s problems that Pearl realises that life must go on.

Excellent characterisation and a variety of complex relationships throughout, in this outstanding debut novel.


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