This week's best books for children

Reviewing some of the best books for children available this week.

Stanley the Amazing Knitting Cat by Emily MacKenzie (Bloomsbury, €9.30)

Stanley is a decent cat who does not catch mice, he simply likes to be friendly with them and the many other creatures big and small. He is amazingly talented at knitting. His creations are proudly worn by his multitude of friends. When he discovers there is to be a Woolly Wonders competition he is thrilled. His friends wonder what marvellous thing he will come up with — especially as he is completely out of wool.

This big, colourful laugh-aloud book will bring much joy for ages six and upwards.

Cezanne and the Apple Boy by Laurence Anholt (Frances Lincoln, €9.30)

What an excellent introduction to the world of Cezanne, focussing on an incident in his life when he was reduced to such penury that his son Paul took a painting and tried to sell it to the scoffing locals.

Luckily an art dealer spotted the painting and quizzed Paul about the artist. The rest is history as his cubist style became world famous thanks to his son’s support and belief in his father’s talent. The narrative, peppered with reproductions of Cezannes paintings, will appeal to the young reader. Age 10 and upwards.

Running Girl by Simon Mason (David Fickling, €10.60)

The running girl in question is one Chloe Dow whose body has been found in a pond. Chloe was no shrinking violet, but a 15-year-old with attitude, whose exploits and exhibitionism demanded attention from everybody. This attention was briefly provided by the protagonist Garvie Smith, who now fancies himself as a super sleuth.

The problem with amateur sleuths is that they get up the noses of the regular police, and in this case, especially that of investigator DI Singh. Unfortunately for the under- pressure Singh, Garvie tends to be the more adventurous investigator, but his unorthodox methods land him eventually in life-threatening situations.

The interplay between Garvie and Singh is superb. Garvie’s troubles at school and at home, add to the tension in this engrossing detective mystery. Age 12 and upwards.


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