Books for children

LITTLE PARROT illustrated by Katie Saunders (Caterpillar E7.10 HB) is a colourful, sturdy touch-and-feel board book.

As Little Parrot flies around his tropical island he meets all kinds of animals and birds whose tactile teeth and scaly bodies will delight. Ages 2 ­ 4.

VIRUS by Tommy Donvaband (Barrington Stoke E5.90). With its slime green title, ominous claws and panicky youngsters on the cover, this story will attract computer savvy readers with a yen for the scary. Clever computer wizard Nahim is not pleased when he’s partnered in class with not-too-bright Max to create a website. He even tries to foist him off on the girls at the next desk, who hoot at the idea. Nahim’s revenge is to forward a virus to the girls’ computer. Not a good idea as the girls and Nahim are sucked into the website. Edge-of-the-seat read for age 9+. Also dyslexia friendly.

PHOEBE NASH, GIRL WARRIOR by Justin D’Ath (A&C Black E7.10) On a cycle in the African bush with her father, Phoebe is horrified when he becomes ill in this desolate place. Fortunately, a well-dressed African man and his driver come to the rescue and take Phoebe and her almost comatose father on board. However, Phoebe’s worst fear materialises when they are set upon by gun-toting terrorists, who order the dignified African from the car.

But before he leaves he thrusts his mobile phone into her hands. Later on, that phone will involve her in a meeting with the man’s son and a dramatic journey through the African bush. This is a compelling read that never falters. Age 10+ THE WORLD’S WORST MOTHERS by Sabine Ludwig, translated by Siobhan Parkinson.

(Little Island E7.99) Bruno, Sophie and Emily each think their mothers are lost causes and enter them in a competition to find the world’s worst mother. Their replacements, seemingly perfect Aunt Annas, are in effect household slaves intent only on pleasing their owners. In an often hilarious story the youngsters, who now know each other, set out to retrieve their mothers.

The question is, who will have learned more from the enforced absence, the mothers or the children? Age 10+


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