Books for kids...

Ella Queen of Jazz by Helen Hancocks (Frances Lincoln, €13.90 HB)
On her journey to fame Ella met many roadblocks, the worst of which was colour prejudice which meant she could not perform in some major clubs. 

But when she was recommended by Marilyn Monroe her career never looked back.

It was a two way friendship as Ella then encouraged Marilyn in her own career which led to her singing at President Kennedy’s birthday party. 

A touching and inspiring story of perseverance and friendship. 

Suitable for age eight and upwards

Cinnamon by Neil Gamon (Bloomsbury, €15.00 HB)

Books for kids...

This is an excellent collaboration between illustrator Divya Srinivasan, whose enchanting illustrations capture both the beauty and the menace of India, and the delightful matter-of-fact style of master story-teller Neil Gaiman.

Cinnamon is a princess who doesn’t speak, much to the despair of her parents. They are so desperate that when a man-eating tiger offered his services they agreed to let him try where so many others had failed. 

When the tiger tells her of the ‘chattering of monkeys, the smell of the dawn’ and ‘the noise of the flamingoes,’ she decides that she will talk. 

Suitable for age eight and upwards

All the Wild Wonders. Poems of Our Earth Edited by Wendy Cooling (Frances Lincoln, €8.10 PB)

This is an entertaining and thought-provoking anthology of nature poems. The poems, often in pairs, look at subjects as diverse as tree-felling, wind power, whales and storms.

The poems are both an appeal to a child’s innocence and a warning of the dangers threatening our natural habitat. ‘What will replace the birds? ’asks Tony Chen; ‘Tiger ,what became of you?’ bewails Clare Bevan; and, ‘O laughter walk on water that the seals may smile again,’ prays John Agard. 

Tennyson’s eagle is in there waiting to fall ‘like a thunderbolt’, while in a far off land a young boy ‘still saw eagle behind my eyes’ long after it had disappeared. 

Delightful watercolours by Piet Grobler embellish the anthology. 

Suitable for age eight and upwards


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