Children's books: summer reading

Michael Thorn

Ghost to the Rescue!
By Helen Dunwoodie
Corgi Yearling pound;4.99. TES Direct pound;3.99 (020 8324 5119)

With many of the people involved in children's publishing in Edinburgh for this month's annual book festival, what better choice of fiction can there be than this pacy, light-hearted adventure story set in that city.

Lady Maisie McNeil, a 250-year-old ghost whose powers are flagging, has been summoned from her retreat on the shores of Loch Rannoch to help Rowan, younger daughter of an about-to-be-remarried author and university teacher, foil the plans of a suspicious American impostor.
It has all the ingredients of a satisfying, escapist read, and even animal interest - a heroic Scottie dog, Atholl.

There are shades of Diana Hendry and J K Rowling, and children who enjoy those authors should enjoy Dunwoodie.

One Hot Penguin
By Jamie Rix
Young Corgi pound;3.99. TES Direct pound;3.49

Young Phelan Whelan lives in Ballyfishangel. The sea and fishing have been in the blood for generations. Phelan loves his dad's salty tales of adventure. But he hates fish and anything to do with them.

One blistering summer's day at the zoo, a penguin called Whistler smuggles himself into Phelan's anorak. Neal Layton's comic line drawings reinforce the humour of Phelan's attempts to keep Whistler hidden in the house.

Eventually the penguin is released on an island just beyond the Ballyfish lighthouse, although Phelan's father's has convinced him it is the South Pole.

Wish For A Fish: all about sea creatures
By Bonnie Worth
Illustrated by Aristides Ruiz
Collins Children's Books pound;3.99. Available through TES Direct
Come Over To My House
By Dr Seuss writing as Theo LeSieg. Illustrated by Richard Erdoes
Collins Children's Books pound;4.99. TES Direct pound;4.49

The latest clutch of Seuss titles includes some new ones "written in rollicking Seussian rhyme" as well as books that were written by the main man, Theodor Geisel, but under various pseudonyms.
Wish For A Fish is relatively informative. The verse "rollicks" a little rough-shoddedly, lacking that authentic Seussian spark, rhyme and rhythm on display in Come Over To My House, a book that celebrates the universal hunger for companionship and hospitality.

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Michael Thorn

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