Children’s books

Lottie Lipton lives very happily in the British Museum with her father who works there, and her elderly eccentric Great Uncle, Professor Bertram West.

Lottie Lipton And The Curse Of The Cairo Cat by Dan Metcalf (Bloomsbury, €6.30)

It was he who explained the importance of the precious Golden Cat of Cairo to her, and the curse associated with it. There is utter panic when the statue disappears the day before its exhibition and all hell will break loose if it is not found by Uncle Bert and Lottie.

The story is partly narrative and partly a fun challenge for the discerning eight year-old to solve. The clues given have to be deciphered using a Caesar Shift Code.

Elephant by Suzi Eszterhas (Frances Lincoln, €10.05)

Latest in the Eye On The Wild series follows the baby elephant from birth to adulthood with quite stunning photography. It is a constant struggle for survival as the huge beast may have to dig for water — over 200 litres a day.

They combat sunburn and heat by dousing themselves with sand and mud which clings to the wrinkles on their skin. And they are one of only five species who can recognise themselves in a mirror. Suitable for ages eight and up.

Far From Home The Sisters of Street Child by Berlie Doherty (Harper Collins, €8.80)

This continues the story of the Jarvis family as they find themselves homeless and penniless. When their mother, who is terminally ill, leaves suddenly taking her son Jim with her, sisters Emily and Lizzie are distraught. Luckily Rosie, who had been helped by their mother, takes pity on them and unofficially gets them to do odd jobs in the kitchen of a big house.

Life is bearable for a while but there is always the fear of being discovered, and Lizzie in particular misses her mother terribly.

When Rosie’s subterfuge is revealed she is dismissed. The girls end up working for a pittance in the dreaded Bleakdale Mill, which is both unhealthy and highly dangerous. This sequel to Street Children again captures the reality of poverty in Victorian London and the atmosphere of fear and despair of the apprentices in the mill. Suitable for ages 12 and upwards.


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