Jenny Nimmo's Midnight for Charlie Bone (Egmont pound;4.99) is the first in a projected series of five books about the "children of the Red King", whose descendants possess magical powers. When 10-year-old Charlie discovers his peculiar talent - he can hear people in photographs talking - he is sent to Bloor's Academy, a special boarding school for similarly gifted children.
The photograph of a man and a baby that first "talked" to Charlie leads him on a trail of deepening mystery. He discovers sinister goings-on at Bloor's and some important information about the disappearance of his own father.
Jenny Nimmo creates characters that the reader cares about immediately, and this promises to be a gripping sequence that will engage children in Years 5 and 6.
Fiona Lafferty is librarian at St Swithun's junior school, Winchester