Children’s Books

Gregory’s Grumpy Day,
by Nicola Call
(Bloomsbury; €6.30) 

This book in the ‘Dealing With Feelings series’ concentrates on the moodiness and frustrations of the very young. Looking out at a rain-swept garden starts Gregory’s day badly, and it gets worse when he slips on his way out. His sympathetic younger sister‘s attempts to help worsen matters, but when the sun reappears the two cheered-up children head for the swings. There is excellent advice for parents in the appendix. Suitable for age three and upwards.

Goldilocks on CCTV, by John Agard (Frances Lincoln; €11.30)

This is a collection of ingeniously rewritten fairy tales and legends, with modern settings and hilarious twists and turns. Goldilocks may be charged for breaking and entering, as all her destruction is captured on the three bears’ CCTV system. Little Red Riding Hoodie is cloned, upsetting her Granny, and posing a menu dilemma for Mr Wolf. Cinderella rejects a pumpkin-turned-coach in favour of a high-powered motorbike. The illustrations by Satoshi Kitamurab are quirky and anarchic. Suitable for age eight and upwards.

No Stone Unturned, by Helen Watts (Bloomsbury; €8.80)

The meticulously researched story, told in the present and in the early Victorian era, centres round a railway line, and the flagstones used for the floors in the Houses of Parliament. Nearby Wilmcote Quarry was the source of the flagstones, but constructing the rail-line for transportation had difficulties. Kelly, a young Traveller student, befriends local lad, Ben, and they set out to unravel the mystery of a railway accident of long ago. The more they delve, the more that subterfuge and dark secrets are revealed, and the more uneasy Kelly’s new friend becomes. Kelly’s teachers and parents are supportive of her enthusiasm for this local history project, though not when she takes the ‘law into her own hands’ when dealing with school bully, Charlotte. Though Traveller customs are glossed over, the youngsters are likeable characters and have more in common with each other than they first realise. Suitable for age 12 and upwards.


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