My First Animals by Aino-Maiji Metsola (Wide Eyed, €8.20 HB)
This board book goes beyond simple recognition of animals, as each spread has challenging questions for toddlers.
Which garden animals have spots and which have stripes?
Do these pond creatures swim or fly; where do the jungle animals live — in trees or elsewhere? And which polar animals have beaks?
And in the same series My First Colours And Shapes is even more attractive as readers are challenged to identify three red fruits, yellow animals, purple things which can be eaten, and the number of circles on a page.
Age two and upwards.
The Butterfly Dance by Susanne Barton (Bloomsbury, €14.20 HB)
In glorious colour this tells the story of two caterpillars Dotty and Stripe, who, having eaten their fill of luscious foliage, decide to have a long rest.
After a few days Dotty emerges in all her glory as a blue-winged butterfly and can’t wait to see what Stripe will look like.
A problem occurs when they head off to find some flowers, blue butterflies should stay in their own group and red too should forage with red.
Luckily a nearby meadow has so many different flowers that all types of butterflies can mingle together.
Which is the underlying message for the very young — cherish diversity.
Beautiful harmonious watercolour illustrations make this a treasure.
Suitable for age three and upwards.
Little People Big Dreams. Agatha Christie by Isabel Sanchez Vegara (Frances Lincoln, €11.80 HB)
When mum would read her a story, young Agatha would usually suggest a better ending for it.
She quickly became hooked on detective stories, and after her war–time experiences as a nurse, she drew on her knowledge of toxins and poisons in her tales featuring the eccentric Hercule Poirot.
Miss Marple, her next creation, captured the hearts of millions of readers.
There followed over 100 more books and plays from the inspiring girl who followed her dream.
The art-deco-style illustrations by Elisa Munso capture the atmosphere of the early 20th century.
Suitable for age 10 and up.
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