Summer Reading: Books for Children: Paperbacks

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The Incredible Shrinking Mum by Andy Cunningham, Pan pounds 2.99. When toddler Charlotte's mother shrinks, she puts her in a saucepan of water because 'Mum loved to make phone calls in the bath'. Outwitting bullies and entrepreneurs, Charlotte saves her mother's life. Witty and wacky with excellent cartoons. (Age 6-12.)

Rachel Fister's Blister by Amy MacDonald & Marjorie Priceman, Walker pounds 3.99. A picture book with a racy rhyming story that will bear repeated reading. Rachel's mother sends for the doctor, the farmer, the police, the postman and the rabbi for help with the blister, but it's the Queen (annoyingly for budding republicans) who comes up with the cure. (Under 5.)

Mum's Winning Streak by David Wiseman & Terry McKenna, Puffin pounds 2.99. Angie's Mum wins tons of baby rusks and a year's supply of catfood by entering competitions. When she wins a night out with odious Wallace Windle, the ham actor, things hot up. But he gets his come-uppance thanks to a pantomime cow. (10-12.)

The Special Pony by Patricia Leitch, Lion pounds 2.99. Touching, old- fashioned tale of girl-meets-pony. Thanks to Willow, Sally overcomes fear, saves her dog and wins the approval of the vet in purple jeans.

My Name is not Angelica by Scott O'Dell, Penguin pounds 3.50. Serious novel about the courage and defiance of rebel slaves in the Carribbean of the mid-18th century. Wonderfully free of cliches and preachy stereotypes, it moves at a compelling pace. (From 11.)

The Tunnel by Anthony Browne, Walker pounds 3.99. Sister and brother are at war. Mother sends them out to make friends. Brother crawls into a tunnel at the end of which is a terrifying forest. Sister bravely saves him, which results in much cuddling. Pretty spooky. Marvellous pictures. (4-8.)

Daniel's Dinosaurs by Mary Carmine & Martin Banyon, Hippo pounds 2.99. Daniel sees dinosaurs everywhere - at the supermarket checkout, in suburban back gardens. Eager to rid him of his obsessions, his mother (must mothers be so plain in children's books?) takes him to an aquarium. (5-8.)

Diz and the Big Fat Burglar by Jolyne Knoy, Catherine Sefton & Margaret Stuart Barry, Puffin pounds 2.50. The burglar (mask, stripy shirt, sack of booty, heart of gold) has installed himself in someone's house, but the police don't believe the six-year-old informant and continue to play Snap. The child reforms the burglar - a new angle on Neighbourhood Watch. (5-8.)

Watch out for the Giant Killers by Colin McNaughton, Walker pounds 5.99. The green giant, a bit of a sweetheart, tells his life story to a child in the Amazonian rain forest. A captivating, ecology-minded tale with stunning illustrations. (4-10.)

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