Hiccups by Holly Sterling (Frances Lincoln, €15.20 HB)
When Ruby and her dog Oscar were happily playing their game on the floor, a strange noise interrupted their fun — it was the sound of Oscar’s hiccups!
Ruby tries many ways to stop those hics — from dancing to jumping, from stomping to dressing up as a giant cat and scaring the daylights out of him.
With easy, minimal background and colourful characters, this delightful board book is the perfect gift for age four plus.
Ralph by Jean Jullien (Frances Lincoln, €13.90 HB)
And still with fun dogs, Ralph, the family pooch, thoroughly annoys his human family by constantly getting under their feet and tripping them up.
However something utterly dreadful happens one night when the house begins to burn while the family are sleeping.
Only Ralph witnesses the inferno.
Ralph may be small and a pest but he goes to extraordinary lengths, literally, to try to save the family. A wonderful heart-warming story for young dog lovers. Age 4+
The Girl In The Blue Coat by Monica Hesse (Macmillan €10.10)
Hanneke, who is grief-stricken and guilt-ridden following the death of her true love Bas at the hands of the Germans in Amsterdam 1943, has assumed control of her life by becoming a one-person blackmarketeer.
On her rounds one day she receives an impassioned request from a customer to find a missing Jewish girl, Mirjam, who is in imminent danger of being transported to a work camp.
Initially hesitant to agree, Hanneke soon finds herself in the resistance and constantly in danger herself.
The search for the missing girl is intruiging, as hints of her fate are sparingly doled out.
Hanneke is a complex character, totally unused to working with others, and the mixture of her feisty nature and sheer courage is appealing.
The strength of the novel is her rapid but fluid transformation from grieving teenager to mature adult.
A gripping story with an unforgettable climax. Age 12+
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