Very Special Friends, by Jane Chapman (Little Tiger; €13.03 HB).
As Mouse sits by the river waiting for her friends, different creatures sit with her. They form a bond and have fun, so, although the other friends don’t come, Mouse has new friends. Beautiful. Age three and upwards.
Blood Red Rose, by Anne Perry (Barrington Stoke; €8.35) is the third story in the Timepiece series. Heroine Rose’s boyfriend Zack wants her to help with his charity work for the third world. A discussion on slavery and William Wilberforce’s role in its abolition is the spur that sends her back in time to the era of the slave traders. On board, Rose becomes vital to the survival of the ship when the crew and most of the slaves are mysteriously blinded. She is appalled by the conditions and treatment of the non-saleable slaves. The story is linked with other Rose time-travels as she questions the significance of watches that seem to be the key to her journeys to the past. Nicely intertwined with the narrative is her embarrassment at her illiteracy. Suitable for age 10 and upwards.
Under The Weather, edited by Tony Bradman (Frances Lincoln; €8.35) is a short story anthology on the subject of climate change. Candy Gourly’s How to Build the Perfect Sandcastle dramatises the destruction of the coral reefs as seen through the eyes of Sugar Island natives Ben, Spit and Peanuts. Wasters, by Linda Newbery, set 50 years in the future, sees Fern and Rowan horrified by their research results on our present-day world: petrol fumes, rubbish bins, gridlock. Urgent messages from the future feature in George Ivanoff’s Future Dreaming, and, in Tommo and The Bike Train, Miriam Halahmy links the flooding in Suffolk with the constant flooding in Bangladesh, impressing on sulky teenager Tommo that he should do something about it. An impressive collection, suitable for age 10 and upwards.
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