A cocktail of care in the community

The comings and goings of a mixed bag of tenants provide the action in Six Storey House (Hodder Children's Books pound;7.99), Geraldine McCaughrean's poignant, original and funny story for readers in Year 3 and above.

Dexi is a latchkey kid, with a working mum who is too exhausted to pay him much attention, but he has plenty of company. There's Box and Cox, builders and odd-job men (one works nights, the other days, and they sometimes get their contracts in a terrible tangle); Widow Shoo has too many children and too much to do - so the baby occasionally gets hung out with the washing; Mr Tring, the despairing composer, sees sparrows on telephone wires as crotchet-shaped.

This book is a triumph of wit, warmth and careful composition from one of our most creative and versatile contemporary children's writers.

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