Children’s book reviews

Wanted, Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar
The Bike Escape
Black Wreath The Stolen Life of James Lovett

Wanted, Ralfy Rabbit, Book Burglar by Emily Mac Kenzie (Bloomsbury; €6.99.)

Unlike his rabbit siblings who dream of lettuce, dandelions and carrots, Ralfy Rabbit dreams of books — in fact his love for books becomes so great he breaks into peoples’ homes and nicks their books, whether they’re comics, poetry, or cookbooks!

But when he steals books from young Arthur’s shelf, the angry boy sets out to catch the robber but will he outwit the big-eared thief? A tummy wobbling laugh-aloud book to share with ages four to six.

The Bike Escape by Terry Deary, (Bloomsbury; €6.30) is part of a series of books set in World War II. Young Harry’s playful prank of nicking a piece of chalk from headmaster Mr Denton’s box escalates into big trouble involving the police, and Harry is sent away by train as an evacuee.

Children’s book reviews

The tedious six-hour journey ends at Wooton where he is met by thin, elderly Miss Pimm whose initial greeting was that he must have a bath and get rid of nits. However he and the elderly lady become friends.

When he meets a land girl putting away her bike she lets him borrow it. And that¹s where Harry is in big trouble again. With credible characters set in evocative wartime era, and based on a true story, this is delightful read for age eight and upwards.

Black Wreath The Stolen Life of James Lovett by Peter Sirr (O’Brien; €7.99)

When James Lovett is effectively dumped by Lord Dunmain and his scheming stepmother on the streets of eighteenth-century Dublin, it sets in train a struggle for survival against all the odds.

The Black Wreath on his father’s door told the world that James was dead — but when it appeared that there might be a resurrection, James is sold into slavery and put on board a ship for America.

In the process of adapting to his new life of petty thievery, criminality and eventually apprenticeship, James learns much about the meaning of true friendship.

As well as being a gripping tale of disenfranchisement the story’s strength is the multitude of finely drawn Dublin characters, and the very credible atmosphere evoked of a sometimes highly dangerous city.

Suitable for age 12 and upwards.


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