Children's books

The children have only just gone back to school and we’re already talking about vacations. Before you know it though, the October half term will be upon us. If you happen to be traveling during half term with children, here are a few great reads to keep a variety of ages amused and bemused.

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle is a small, quiet, clever book. Twelve year old Mary is facing the imminent loss of her grandmother, Emer, when the ghost of her great-grandmother, Tansey, who died when Emer was three, appears. But Tansey is not your average ghost – she is not just visible to Mary, but Mary’s mother too. And she has come to help Emer on her way. The book tells the story of four generations of women in a family coming together; a ghost from the past, an old woman, a middle-aged mother and her teenage daughter – in search of their family roots and ice cream!

Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks

Fox by Margaret Wild and Ron Brooks - A one-eyed dog rescues a crippled bird; the two animals forge a deep friendship, both of them helping to overcome the other's disability. Sitting high on Dog's back, Magpie becomes her friend's missing eye, and as they speed through the countryside together, she forgets that she can no longer fly. At the end of the long day, they curl up to sleep, secure in their togetherness. Then Fox enters their lives. Corroded by malice and loneliness, he sets out to destroy their friendship. This archetypal drama about loneliness, friendship, risk and betrayal is as rich a story for adults as it is for children.

Mother Knows Best! by Jill Murphy

In Mother Knows Best! by Jill Murphy, badly dressed Mum (yummy mummies don’t exist in bear land) patiently explains in classic parenting book-mode to Bradley bear why he can’t have ice cream for breakfast or a pet dinosaur. Fun loving Bradley Bear is full of such questions and just wants to play all day long! He wants to go in a hot air balloon, he wants to stay in his pajamas all day, he wants an ice-cream for breakfast and his poor mum just wants five minutes peace! A beautiful and witty picture book, Mother Knows Best! depicts what real family life can be like at times that will bring a smile to both children and parents everywhere!

The Considine Curse by Gareth P Jones

Ten year olds who like a bite to their fiction will love The Considine Curse by Gareth P Jones, which hovers enticingly between queasy humor and horror. How would you feel surrounded by cousins who don't accept you? Giving you sideway glances and evil stares, reciting death threats in verse? Mariel arrives in England with her mother for her grandmother’s funeral, only to discover she has seven cousins, all of whom, except the baby, vary between unwelcoming and threatening. Jones has drawn wonderful characters – particularly eight year-old Elspeth, who speaks in menacing rhyme.

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