BOOKS FOR CHILDREN

PAPERBACKS

PICTURE BOOKS: Under 7s

8 Come Back Grandma by Sue Limb, Red Fox £4.50. The death of a grandparent is often a child's first intimation of mortality. Limb's text, well supported by Claudio Muoz's Ardizzone-like pictures, deals sensitively with a 4- year-old girl's bereavement.

8 Island Baby by Holly Keller, Red Fox £4.50. The Caribbean setting is lightly but effectively stressed in this story of a 4-year-old helping an old man run his bird-hospital. Bold poster-paint pictures.

8 The Magic Bicycle by Brian Patten and Arthur Robins, Walker £3.99. Cursed by a witch, Danny becomes a two-wheeled Flying Dutchman on an involuntary world tour. Patten's lumpy verse-metre is appealing and Robins's hectic pictures are excellent.

8 Moving by Michael Rosen and Sophy Williams, Puffin £4.50. Rosen's free- verse narrative poem tells of a house-move from the viewpoint of the family cat. Fives and sixes will enjoy the mystery of entering a cat's mind, and should also like illustrator Williams's pastel realism.

8 My Best Friend by Pat Hutchins, Red Fox £4.50. Hutchins's backlist of storybooks for the very young is long and distinguished. In her latest, a best friend comes to stay and is a very paragon, (un)comfortably superior in every activity. Not till the very end do we discover her one saving disgrace.

8 Red Fox on the Move by Hannah Giffard, Francis Lincoln £3.99. An unusual illustrative style - watercolours with the look of linocuts - lends energy to this story of an evicted fox family, den-hunting from country to town.

8 The Sheep Gave a Leap by Hilda Offen, Red Fox £4.50. Jolly rhymes and pictures to give toddlers a lead in leaping, twirling, and other exertions. But why are these Red Fox paperbacks 51p more expensive than all their competitors?

8 Sweetie by Jonathan Allen, Picturemac £3.99. In an amusing variation on the old theme, a cub skunk couldn't make a bad smell to save her life. But with the family threatened by a hungry, stink- stimulated bear, only Sweetie's fragrance sees him off.

8 Fleas' Best Friend by Charles Fuge, Picturemac £3.99. A dog-flea goes the round of the posh breeds (see below), looking for a high-class hide to settle in. But none proves as comfortable as the scruffy-coated mutt next door.

8 Winnie Allfours by Babette Cole, Puffin £3.99. Cole's off-beat, bug-eyed illustrations are well matched by a story-line in which horse-mad Winnie turns into a pony and cuts a swathe of destruction through her parents' lives. Great satire for 5-year-olds and upwards.

ILLUSTRATED STORIES: 5-10s

8 Don Quixote by Miguel de Cervantes, retold by Marcia Williams, Walker £3.99.Williams is one of our very best re-tellers of the classics, not merely illustrating but decorating them so that the whole page delights the eye, while the story is told easily and without fuss.

8 Stanley Bagshawe and the Ice-Cream Ghost by Bob Wilson, Puffin £3.99. Bagshawe is a wonderful character, a deadpan, short-pants ingnu who thinks "nothing much ever happens" to him, while he's constantly getting embroiled in lunatic escapades. Here Stan's outing to a stately home is enlivened by a raid from Specs and Big Sid, villains we fondly remember from a previous story. Period (Fifties) and place (industrial North) are lovingly evoked in Wilson's unique strip-cartoon style.

8 The Starlight Cloak by Jenny Nimmo, Picture Lions £4.99. This Irish folk tale begins as a version of the Cinderella story, complete with ugly sisters, handsome prince and lost slipper. But the Celtic imagination cannot be satisfied by a merely domestic intrigue, and goes on to involve an attempted murder, a charger made of blazing flames and a hungry whale. Suitably incandescent illustrations by Justin Todd.

8 Sanji and the Baker by Robin Tzannes and Korky Paul, Oxford £3.99. This excellent combination of writer and illustrator is new to me. Tzannes's words tell of Sanji, a poor traveller who settles down in a Middle Eastern city above a baker's shop. He likes the smell of fresh bread wafting up to him, though he can hardly afford to buy any. The baker, how- ever, is affronted by Sanji's free pleasure and ruthlessly demands that he pay for it. Paul's pictures are atmospheric, detailed and funny.

FICTION: 6-12s

8 The Bed and Breakfast Star by Jacqueline Wilson, Yearling £2.99. This story of a family fallen on hard times and living in a DSS hotel is told in the voice of 10-year-old joke-crazy, would-be comedian Elsa. She is under no illusions about her family's situation, nor about the mixed motives of those allegedly there to help. An unsentimental and truthful book that is even better for a strong sense of mischief.

8 Children of Winter by Berlie Doherty, Mammoth £2.99. Three children sitting out a storm in a barn on a remote Derbyshire hillside are suddenly whisked back 300 years. They become their own ancestors, similarly marooned by their parents to avoid an outbreak of plague in the valley. An artificial premise, but mitigated by sympathetic writing as the children learn to fend for themselves.

8 A Fortune Branches Out by Margaret Mahy, Yearling £2.99. Mahy is a world-class children's author who happens to live in New Zealand. This amusing, slim, story concerns 10-year-old Tessa and her ambition to be "a rich corporate executive with a cellular phone". Her money-making skills are put to the test when she and her friends resolve to raise money for the Telethon. This latest in Mahy's Fortune family sequence offers spirited story-telling for the over-8s.

8 Granny by Anthony Horovitz, Walker £3.99. When Granny is a socio-path, life can be difficult even if you're rich, as 12-year-old Joe Warden and his parents discover. As Granny decides to move in with them, she sets in motion a chain of events which will drive the Wardens to flee to Heathrow Airport and thence to Africa, Asia, America - or anywhere. Cheerfully dotty stuff.

8 Ruth and the Blue Horse by Charles Ashton, Walker £3.50. Lonely Ruth knows a blue horse which seems to understand everything she says to it. But the relationship gets difficult: the blue horse appears to grow jealous as Ruth becomes friendly with a classmate at her new school. A magical and delicate tale enhanced by Emma Chichester-Clark's lovely pen-and-ink pictures.

8 Taking the Cat's Way Home by Jan Mark, Walker £2.99. The story of two small girls outwitting the class bully when he lies in wait for them on their way home. A well-constructed "real book", yet ideal for L-plated readers beginning to build up their confidence.

8 The Upside-Down Mice and Other Animal Stories ed Jane Merer, Piccadilly Press £4.99. An unpublished Roald Dahl mouse-tale is the coup of this collection, sold in aid of child cancer. It's a variant on the climax of The Twits, with pestiferous mice being caught in con- fusion when a householder glues his furniture to the ceiling. Stories by stalwarts Colin Dann, Penelope Lively, Dick King-Smith, Brian Patten and others complete the anthology, which is also in hardback at £7.99.

FICTION: 10-plus

8 Bully by Jan Needle, Puffin £3.75. For issue-orientated school novels, bullying can be one of the most fruitful problems to treat because the children are often left to deal with it without adult support. This is a well-plotted example of the genre, although the class-conflict at Needle's Comprehensive is slightly pre-digested.

8 In the Money by Helen Dunmore, Red Fox £3.50. 11-year-old Paul's family, suddenly enriched, moves to a big old country house where he comes upon a strange, wild girl hiding in the cellar. But how can she claim this is 1892 instead of 1992? And why does she warn him of the "bad money" which built the house? The questions multiply as gradually the secrets of a hundred years ago merge into the dangerous mystery of his parents' newly acquired wealth. An enthralling half-thriller, half-ghost story from a writer now also making a name as an adult novelist.

8 Private, Keep Out by Gwen Grant, Mammoth £3.50. You could call this classic story a Midlands One End Street. Set in 1948, it's the "diary" of a girl, the youngest (she seems to be around 11) in a working class family. The events are described in no-nonsense style and, if low-key and with an appropriately limited horizon, they are jolly and life-enhancing.

8 Ticket to Freedom by Rosemary Harris, Faber £4.99. Lallie has come up the hard way. The family's disintegrating, her boyfriend Paul's in trouble with the police and she has to see a shrink once a week "to cure me of being me". Startlingly different from Harris's magical children's classic The Moon in the Cloud, this is a strong piece of realism for young teenagers.

Arts and Entertainment
Ellie Levenson’s The Election book demystifies politics for children
bookNew children's book primes the next generation for politics
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams' “Happy” was the most searched-for song lyric of 2014
musicThe power of song never greater, according to our internet searches
Arts and Entertainment
Roffey says: 'All of us carry shame and taboo around about our sexuality. But I was determined not to let shame stop me writing my memoir.'
books
Arts and Entertainment
Call The Midwife: Miranda Hart as Chummy

tv Review: Miranda Hart and co deliver the festive goods

Arts and Entertainment
The cast of Downton Abbey in the 2014 Christmas special

tvReview: Older generation get hot under the collar this Christmas

PROMOTED VIDEO
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment
Transformers: Age of Extinction was the most searched for movie in the UK in 2014

film
Arts and Entertainment
Mark Ronson has had two UK number two singles but never a number one...yet

music
Arts and Entertainment
Clara Amfo will take over from Jameela Jamil on 25 January

radio
Arts and Entertainment
This is New England: Ken Cheeseman, Ann Dowd, Frances McDormand and Richard Jenkins in Olive Kitteridge

The most magnificently miserable show on television in a long timeTV
Arts and Entertainment
Andrea Faustini looks triumphant after hearing he has not made it through to Sunday's live final

TV
Arts and Entertainment
Rhys says: 'I'm not playing it for laughs, but I have learnt that if you fall over on stage, people can enjoy that as much as an amazing guitar solo'
musicGruff Rhys on his rock odyssey, and the trouble with independence
Arts and Entertainment
Krysia and Daniel (Hand out press photograph provided by Sally Richardson)
How do today's composers answer the challenge of the classical giant?
News
Shenaz Treasurywala
film
News
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Watkins as Christopher Jefferies
tv
Arts and Entertainment
Star Wars Director JJ Abrams: key character's names have been revealed
film
Arts and Entertainment
Pharrell Williams won two BBC Music Awards for Best Song and International Artist
music
Arts and Entertainment
Mark, Katie and Sanjay in The Apprentice boardroom
TV
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    War with Isis: The West needs more than a White Knight

    The West needs more than a White Knight

    Despite billions spent on weapons, the US has not been able to counter Isis's gruesome tactics, says Patrick Cockburn
    Return to Helmand: Private Davey Graham recalls the day he was shot by the Taliban

    'The day I was shot by the Taliban'

    Private Davey Graham was shot five times during an ambush in 2007 - it was the first, controversial photograph to show the dangers our soldiers faced in Helmand province
    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Revealed: the best and worst airlines for delays

    Many flyers are failing to claim compensation to which they are entitled, a new survey has found
    The stories that defined 2014: From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions

    The stories that defined 2014

    From the Scottish independence referendum to the Ice Bucket Challenge, our writers voice their opinions
    Stoke-on-Trent becomes first British city to be classified as 'disaster resilient' by the United Nations

    Disaster looming? Now you know where to head...

    Which British city has become the first to be awarded special 'resilience' status by the UN?
    Finally, a diet that works: Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced

    Finally, a diet that works

    Californian pastor's wildly popular Daniel Plan has seen his congregation greatly reduced
    Say it with... lyrics: The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches

    Say it with... lyrics

    The power of song was never greater, according to our internet searches
    Professor Danielle George: On a mission to bring back the art of 'thinkering'

    The joys of 'thinkering'

    Professor Danielle George on why we have to nurture tomorrow's scientists today
    Monique Roffey: The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections

    Monique Roffey interview

    The author on father figures, the nation's narcissism and New Year reflections
    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Introducing my anti-heroes of 2014

    Their outrageousness and originality makes the world a bit more interesting, says Ellen E Jones
    DJ Taylor: Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    Good taste? It's all a matter of timing...

    It has been hard to form generally accepted cultural standards since the middle of the 19th century – and the disintegration is only going to accelerate, says DJ Taylor
    Olivia Jacobs & Ben Caplan: 'Ben thought the play was called 'Christian Love'. It was 'Christie in Love' - about a necrophiliac serial killer'

    How we met

    Olivia Jacobs and Ben Caplan
    Bill Granger recipes: Our chef's breakfasts will revitalise you in time for the New Year

    Bill Granger's healthy breakfasts

    Our chef's healthy recipes are perfect if you've overindulged during the festive season
    Transfer guide: From Arsenal to West Ham - what does your club need in the January transfer window?

    Who does your club need in the transfer window?

    Most Premier League sides are after a striker, but here's a full run down of the ins and outs that could happen over the next month
    The Last Word: From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015

    Michael Calvin's Last Word

    From aliens at FA to yak’s milk in the Tour, here’s to 2015