Latest books for children reviewed

Review: Mary Arrigan

Have You Heard? by Hannah Dale (Words & Pictures, €13.50 HB)

If ever a book could be judged by its cover this is it. We see, in glorious watercolour and wash, what to us is a natural goose appearance, but to the animals of the woods it is a questioning and scared expression. When a mouse is wakened by the sound of a twig snapping during the night he panics and passes on the news that a fox is on the prowl. The fox’s reputation increases til eventually he is portrayed as faster than a speeding train and now able to use his magic powers to fly. The animals need not have worried as the fox has more important things in mind. Rhyme, movement and earthy colours add to the sense of fun for the reader. Suitable for age four and upward.

Sticker Art Ocean and Sticker Art Jungle by Craig and Carol (Frances Lincoln, €6.80 each)

Each volume challenges the reader to create fish and animals using the stickers provided. The outline of each picture is on a stark black background and the finished article will be a veritable stained glass portrait. Inspirational, but because of tiny parts not for the very young. Suitable for age five and upward.

Mystery And Mayhem edited by Katherine Woodfine (Egmont, €9

) Excellent holiday reading with something for everybody — 12 stories in four sections all with a common theme, ie, that kids are more savvy than we think and can solve mysteries more quickly than bumbling adults. Particularly impressive is God’s Eye by Francis Hardinge set in the year of The Great Exhibition in The Crystal Palace. Two rival artists who detest each other have been commissioned to produce a bird’s-eye illustration of London to coincide with the grand opening.

When young Ben threw up on Mr Cork’s picture he became an instant target for Cork’s anger especially as he was apprenticed to the rival artist, Pother. The mystery deepens when Pother is dismissed , soon to be followed by Mr Cork plunging to his death from the balloon. As expected it will take young Ben to solve the mystery. One of many excellent stories. Suitable for age 10 and upward.


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