Books for children

Who Ate Auntie Iris?

By Seán Taylor and Hannah Shaw (Frances Lincoln; €14.22 HB). Auntie Iris lives at the top of a high-rise block of flats. The only worries for her visiting nephew, Chinchilla, are the fanged, hairy creatures he has to pass on his way to the top. But the real shock is when Auntie Iris goes downstairs and doesn’t come back. A hilarious book to share, with just enough edginess to create a frisson of scariness. Suitable for age five and upwards.

The Sea Monsters (A&C Black; €5.92) is the latest book from Terry Deary’s popular Victorian Tales series. In 1838. Two steamships set sail across the Atlantic to America, one is Isambard Brunel’s Great Western, allegedly the fastest steamship in the world, setting out from Canvey Island, near London. The other is the much smaller Irish steamship, Sirius, sailing from Cork. Young Patrick Leary and his sister Grace work aboard Sirius, their cousin, Ben Leary, is cabin boy on the Great Western. Naturally the competition is hot between the rival cousins in the race to reach America first. Trouble hits the little Sirius when fuel runs low, perhaps leaving ship and crew stranded in mid-ocean. Can Patrick and his sister help in any way? A fun exciting blend of fact and fiction for age seven and upwards.

Cave Of Secrets by Morgan LLwelyn (O’Brien; €7.99). ‘Anything might happen in a cave. Something terrible or something wonderful.’ These enigmatic lines in the first paragraph immediately capture the reader’s imagination. The story is set in the turbulent 17th century around the historic Roaringwater Bay in West Cork where 13-year-old Tom lives with his family in the nearby Big House. Mostly he is ignored by his indifferent father, but when he tries to comfort his sister who is forcibly betrothed to a wealthy but boorish suitor, his father’s physical anger sends him running away. The historical background weaves seamlessly through this excellent read for age 12 plus.


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