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Case of the clam racket

The Sea Caves by Colin Thiele (Lothian pound;3.99) is a great little adventure story by an eminent Australian writer, told with a high level of excitement. It could be recommended as a quick one-night read for a Year 6 pupil or given as a first longer novel to a child in Year 3 or 4. Two 12-year-old boys get trapped in a cave and stumble on a racket which involves trading in undersized abalone shells and out-of-season clams. The crooks get caught and the boys each receive a $1,000 reward. It's all refreshingly simple and well sewn-up.

Stranger danger Bernard Ashley's comelling short story, Your Guess is as Good as Mine, was first published in 1983 as an illustrated chapter book and has been reissued by Barn Owl (pound;3.99).

On his way home in a downpour, Nicky is enticed into a yellow Mini that looks like his father's car. When the driver speeds past his road and heads for the desolate marshes, Nicky fears the worst. The atmosphere of panic and impending doom is skilfully deployed up to Nicky's escape into the arms of a friendly policeman.

Michael Thorn is deputy head of Hawkes Farm primary school, Hailsham, East Sussex

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