Books for kids...

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair By Lara Williamson (Usborne, €8.30) 
Squirrel Me Timbers by Louise Pigott (Curious Fox, €8.30) 

The Boy Who Sailed the Ocean in an Armchair By Lara Williamson (Usborne, €8.30) 

Becket Rumsey’s life is in crisis following his father’s decision to do a midnight flit and move himself and young brother Billy away from the existence they had just about come to terms with. 

Becket’s mother had died six years earlier and himself and Billy had accepted dad’s girlfriend Pearl as a suitable mother substitute.

Now even she has been jettisoned. Settling into a new life is heart-breaking, so the brothers set up their own detective agency, Snoop, to locate Pearl and reform the family unit. 

Becket pins everything illogically on amassing one thousand paper cranes, which feat would allow him one cast-iron wish to be granted. Billy befriends a pet snail as his escape from reality.

Settling in at a new school is a huge challenge but it is here they realise that lots of children have problems, perhaps not as major as their own, but problems nevertheless, and here also, they learn to look outside their own lives to help others.

The story is touchingly told, alternating between Becket’s first person narrative and his case-notes as he tries to solve his father’s relationship problems. 

Beautiful character delineation and a nail-biting ending make this a memorable story. Suitable for age 12 and upwards.

Squirrel Me Timbers by Louise Pigott (Curious Fox, €8.30) 

Books for kids...

Sammy the squirrel was always interested in the sea and particularly the careers of much admired pirates. 

When he finds a pirate map, it prompts him to set out in search of buried treasure. However, the journey is uncomfortable and dangerous.

The treasure proves to be more practical than gold and jewels — thanks to another squirrel who many years before had similar dreams as Sammy. 

The colourful illustrations complement the lively rhyming text, sometimes encouraging the young reader to provide the closing rhyme — to be compared with the revelation on the following page.

Though ‘’daunting’’ it might challenge five-year olds, but the story will entertain them.


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