Children’s books

I’m a Girl! By Yasmeen Ismail (Bloomsbury; €8.80)

This is narrated by a feisty little girl who is constantly mistaken for a boy because of her tomboy antics, such as her wild bravery, loud drumming, and race victories. 

When she meets up with a boy who likes to play gentle games with dolls, they rejoice together, each of them openly happy with their particular fun. A gentle tale that embraces gender differences. For age seven and up.

A Dublin Fairytale by Nicola Colton (O’Brien; €12.99) 

Little Fiona is thrilled when her mother asks her to go to Moore St to buy special brew for her ailing granny. With her map and her cat she sets off happily through Dublin. 

On the way, Fiona meets various extraordinary characters, including a giant in Stephen’s Green and a large dragon who is afraid of pigeons. The story is told against a backdrop of iconic Dublin landmarks. 

With beautiful, muted colour tones and excellent child-friendly artwork, this is a charming, evocative book for keeps. For age five and up.

The Bakehouse by Joy Cowley (Gecko Press; €9.74) 

When 84-year-old Bert’s sister dies, his great-grandson visits him to research family history — especially the part which involves his recently dead sister Betty. When the young man, Erueti, mentions the Geronimo Bakehouse, old Bert is so flustered he knocks over his cup of tea. Events that took place in the Bakehouse have lain dormant in his memory for over 70 years.

Back during the war, a caring and conscientious young Bert wanted to convert the bakehouse as an air-raid shelter near his New Zealand township, with the help of his older sister Betty and young Meg. 

But somebody else has plans for the same derelict building and when their paths cross Bert finds himself torn between his own idealism and the plight of the newcomer. 

Helping him would cause severe problems for Bert’s immediate family, so hard choices have to be made. The atmosphere of wartime New Zealand is evocative, both in the setting and cast of family members and minor characters. For age 12 and up.


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