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A cracking good read

Fashionable gadgets and crazes come and go, but children's games change little over generations. Take the cracks in the pavement, for example. Our grandparents avoided stepping on them at all costs and today's children do the same. But why?

Colin McNaughton, in his new book Don't Step on the Crack! (Collins Children's Books pound;9.99) has some of the answers. This serious journey into childhood preoccupation and superstition is conveyed with his usual comic flair.A nerdy-looking boy, walking along the street, is suddenly beset by anxiety. If he steps on that crack (but which one? - that's the problem), the consequences will be dire: he might run into the bully boys; his baby brother might turn monstrous; he might forget to put his pants on when he goes to school; his mum might turn trendy; he might even turn into Preston Pig. McNaughton's images are pared to the bare essentials - stark, bold and very, very funny.

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