Children’s books

THE Truth About Leo by David Yelland. (Penguin; €8.80). David Rake has lost his parents. But two positives happen: a girl called Flora stands up for him in class against the unpopular Mr Manders, and the prime minister replies to David’s email inviting him to open the new library.

By coincidence, Mr Manders is even less affectionately remembered by the prime minister as the bullying teacher who sneeringly told him he would get no place in life. The characterisation is largely credible, but a prime minister would hardly admit, in an email to an unknown teenager, that the government was failing to put together its much heralded plan.

The story is inspired by the author’s experiences of alcohol addiction. It is honest in its descriptions of addiction, evasion and, more importantly, human fellowship.

Getting Away With It by Anne Cassidy (Barrington Stoke; €7.55). Mark crashes a van he has stolen to drive his girlfriend home. Katie is thrown through the windscreen and left for dead by Mark. Her family disown him, the police are suspicious and, worse still, when Mark supposedly gets text messages from the dead girl, he is driven to breaking point by fear and guilt. This is a well-structured story focusing on facing up to the consequences of our actions.

The Littlest Dinosaur and the Naughty Rock by Camilla Reid (Bloomsbury; €7.55) is the book to produce when hissy fits simmer. Littlest Dinosaur looks for someone to play with, but his rude demands result in his banishment to the ‘naughty rock’. The rock, however, turns out to be more than just cold stone and Littlest Dinosaur comes to his senses in a friendly way.

Also an antidote to bad moods, Gruff the Grump by Steve Smallman and Cee Biscoe (Little Tiger; €7.55) tells how a rabbit perseveres to bring a bear back to good humour. The soft pencil lines and beautiful watercolours are delightful for ages three to five.


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WHEN I think about the kind of child I was, I would say that I was the exact same kind of person that I am as an adult. I have always been fascinated by things that I don’t quite yet understand. I recognise that I hardly understand anything and that most of the world is and always has been so beautifully complex to me.School Daze: Chris Hadfield - I realised at a young age that teachers were fallible

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