The second anthology sponsored by the book trade to celebrate World Book Day (April 23), The Children's Book of Books 1999 has a livelier cover than last year's edition, and a breezy "Hi and welcome - Curl up and enjoy!" foreword from Blue Peter's Katy Hill.
There is a good mix of established names, such as Michael Morpurgo and Jacqueline Wilson, alongside younger writers such as Keith Gray and Chris Wooding. The poetry section includes two sea poems by Ted Hughes as well as the marvellously funny "Haircut Rap" by Valerie Bloom.
Except in the case of Kevin Crossley-Holland's brilliantly condensed Boo!, some of the prose extracts are tantalisingly short, but there are sufficient longer pieces - an eight-page interlude from Anne Fine's Goggle Eyes, six pages from Judith Kerr's When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit - to make this a meaty enough choice for those children whose purses don't stretch to supplementing their pound;1 World Book Day vouchers.
Teachers will jump at it as an economical resource for literacy hour work. The one-page extract from Alex Parsons's The Awkward Bunch, which does not amount to much as a solitary reading experience, could be used in class to discuss any number of things, from use of the colon to the differences between colloquial dialogue and formal, descriptive narrative.
Not quite what World Book Day is about, but there are those targets to reach.
The World Book Day helpline is open 8am-5pm Monday-Friday on 01634 295585