Books for kids...

* Will You Be My Friend? by Molly Potter (Featherstone, €11.50 HB)
* Life In A Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (Bloomsbury, €9.20)

Will You Be My Friend? by Molly Potter (Featherstone, €11.50 HB) 

This should go a long way to reassuring young school beginners that it actually is possible to make friends — and more important to hold on to them. 

Lying, being bossy, interrupting, not following through on promises are no-nos when making friends. 

Communication is highlighted, as is helping to make others feel good especially if they are feeling sad. 

If a friend upsets you, or vice-versa, remember that everybody makes mistakes and saying sorry is the easiest solution. 

The attractive very child-friendly mini illustrations by Sarah Jennings are complemented by a guide for parents with tips on how to discuss friend issues. Suitable for age four and up.

Life In A Fishbowl by Len Vlahos (Bloomsbury, €9.20) 

Jared Stone has a dilemma — meekly accept his terminal brain-tumour diagnosis, or do something outrageous to provide for his family and finance the horrendously expensive treatment he will need. 

When he offers his life for sale on Ebay he attracts the attention of some really freaky individuals. 

The winning bidder is Ethan who wants to make his name by creating a reality show based on Jared’s declining health, and Ethan hopes that Jared will provide a suitably dramatic and tear-jerking conclusion.

The fishbowl of the title is a metaphor for the life his family will now lead — their every movement and conversation made public, their emotions constantly manipulated by Ethan. 

Jared’s independent-minded daughter Jackie is overwhelmed at first, but soon realises that to survive this ordeal they must fight fire with fire, play the reality TV moguls at their own game via the self-same media.

The disappointed underbidders, some quite sinister, long to participate in the show but find themselves increasingly cut off from any contact with the family. 

There is a host of interesting characters but none as intriguing as the tumour itself which is personified almost as a cartoon character called Glio.

The story is quite disturbing, but raises many controversial moral issues.

Suitable for age 17 and up.



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