by Jill Barklem
(Harper Collins; €8.99 HB)
is a delightful little read-aloud book to share with three- to five-year olds. Poppy and her husband Dusty live in a high tree.
The only downside to their cosy home is the loud clatter of Dusty’s mill which wakens the babies. Poor Poppy is exhausted, especially when she has to climb 92 stairs to the kitchen.
This can’t go on. Will she have to find another home? However, Dusty and the wonderful friends and neighbours have a secret plan.
It is the illustrations, complete with endearing characters and the meticulous detail that make this an irresistible book.
Maia and What Matters by Tine Mortier and Kaatje Vermiere, illustrated by David Colmer (Book Island).
In this outstanding book, Maia’s beginning was a strange one. Her mother was so engrossed in reading that she didn’t feel her baby Maia making her way into the world.
Maia was an exceptional child, extremely clever — just like her grandma. They went everywhere together whenever grandma came to visit, whooping on the swings and climbing trees.
But the day when grandma fell and could no longer play, Maia was devastated, even more so when her now disabled grandma began to lose her words.
A Crack in Everything by Ruth Frances Long (O’Brien; €7.99)
This story is set in two versions of Dublin, one the City of 2014, and the other, Dubh Linn, a city peopled by Faes, Angels and Demons.
Woe betide a human who stumbles through one of the gateways — something which Izzy Gregory unfortunately does.
Heading in the opposite direction is Jinx, an extraordinary multilayered being who has been sent to capture her. Izzy finds she has powers she had not known about.
Consequently her entry into Dubh Linn has put her in mortal danger and when both her family and her friends come under threat she has to take unthinkable risks to ensure their safety.
This is an excellent fantasy,with strange but memorable characters set in believable settings. The storyline all through is tense and exciting with a somewhat surprise ending.
Suitable for age 14 and up.
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