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It's perfect 'horse' sense;Books;Fiction round-up

The Last Gold Diggers, the second in Harry Horse's The LastI series (Puffin pound;3.99 each) was a 1998 Smarties Gold Award winner. His new title is The Last Cowboys, which continues the picaresque adventures of Grandfather and Roo the dog in diary format.

Looser, non-episodic narrative structures are finding increasing favour with young readers, particularly boys. Here the appeal would seem to be the whimsical at-one-remove reality created by the combination of Harry Horse's prose and illustrations.

For example, a plane in The Last Gold Diggers appears to be like any normal plane, except that it is powered by steam, and in The Last Cowboys a Greyhound bus is full of greyhounds.

There are also some rib-tickling running jokes - watch for Uncle Freddie's golf trolley, which has appeared in one guise or another in all three titles.

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