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Children's books: Twists between worlds

The Wee Free Men By Terry Pratchett Doubleday pound;12.99 Inkheart By Cornelia Funke The Chicken House pound;12.99 The Book of Dead Days By Marcus Sedgwick Orion pound;8.99

As master of the suspense movie Alfred Hitchcock put it, every story has to have its McGuffin, that wrinkle, plot twist or device that makes it stick, like a burr, in the reader's mind. Where adult literature may disguise this base fact with the messy, unresolved stuff of human relationships, books for children rarely do.

Mostly, they make up for this rigidity with the brio of their storytelling or a bit of knockabout humour.

Sometimes, as in the case of Terry Pratchett and the up and coming Cornelia Funke, they stir in a pot-pourri of samples and souvenirs from other works of literature, mytyhs and forms of comedy.nbsp; There's always a McGuffin, still.

Read the full review in this week's TES

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