Books for children

Bee The Book: Farm Friends by Debora and Hilary Tobin, is a big, interactive book to share with three- to four-year-olds.

The oval apertures are for an adult or older sibling to look through and mimic the creature on each page ­— imitating the sound of each farm creature.

Fold-out flaps, visible only to the reader, feature big-print jaunty rhymes to read aloud. The strong, colourful illustrations are by Bernadette O’Neill.

This innovative, face-to-face book is also just perfect for playschool and junior infants.

It is available on-line (€12.99 freepost) from www.beethebooks.com

Foxy! By Jessica Souhami (Frances Lincoln; €14.22 HB). Foxy catches a bee and puts it into his bag. When he meets a woman with a fat rooster he tricks her into minding the bag for a moment. ‘Don’t look in the sack!’ he says.

And of course the curious woman does and the bee escapes.

The canny Fox takes her rooster to make up for his loss.

And so it goes using the same technique until the swag gets bigger. Based on an ancient folktale, this repetitive format will delight children age five and upwards.

Mister Creecher by Chris Priestley (Bloomsbury; €8.35). The Creecher in question is Victor Frankenstein’s monster who helps young Billy to escape from a bullying pickpocket. Creecher’s quest is to follow his maker Victor Frankenstein and force him to create a female who will assuage his desperate loneliness. Billy’s more immediate ambition is survival on the edges of London’s murky underworld. Both travel north towards Scotland in pursuit of Frankenstein, and for the reader, it soon becomes clear that the journey is metaphorical as the monster seeks to take on the nobler aspects of humanity, while at the same time Billy’s edging towards being a gentleman is very much a surface dressing. Age 15 and upwards.


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