Children's books

Lost In The Crater of Fear and Lost In The Swamp of Terror , both by Tracey Turner (Bloomsbury, €6.30).

The latest in the Lost series, with its now well-recognised format, looks at the challenge of surviving in the huge Ngorongoro crater in Tanzania where boomslang snakes and hyenas watch your every move. 

The question is what move will you make. Twist or stick?

The consequences of your actions are to be seen on a page you will be directed to. In most cases move is the best option.

What to eat or not eat is equally challenging. The swamp is an even more terrifying as rocks and soft ground can conceal the deadliest of predators. 

If you should meet a crocodile, whether you paddle away from, or past him, do so ever so slowly.

Both books will challenge readers from 10 to teens while at the same time providing them with a myriad of interesting facts. An appendix of true tales of lost innocents abroad adds to the credibilty of each volume.

No Heroes by Anna Seidl translated by Siobhan Parkinson

(Little Island, €9.99) 

Children's books

This is an intense and challenging story, an attempt to understand the mindset of a young mass-murderer and the trauma suffered by the survivors of an horrific school shooting-spree. 

Protagonist Miriam barely escapes with her life; not so fortunate is her boyfriend Toby and other students, one of whom is shot some feet away from the cubicle she is hiding in.

In flashbacks we see the normality of the young friends’ lives, their relationships and family situations. 

An extra complication is the fact that Miriam’s parents had separated, though her mother does return to offer a support which Miriam is initially loth to accept. 

The usual shock-horror reactions give way to feelings of guilt, not so much survivor guilt, as a questioning of how the students had treated the killer Mathias Staudt, a loner who had few friends.

The strength of the story lies in this portrayal of a student who grew so resentful of others that he was driven to a suicidal assault on his peers. A great and brave debut novel.

Suitable for age 16 and up.


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