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Monster reads;Children's books

The cover of Raptor by Paul Zindel (Hodder pound;4.99) insists that "Dinosaurs Do Still Exist". This is a novel enthusiastically recommended for dinosaur and disaster-movie devotees alike, but it's not for the faint-hearted or squeamish. Zindel misses no opportunity to describe physical injury in through-the-bone detail. "Norak felt terrible pain now, as the Raptor slowly pushed the point of its claw up into his chin. The tip moved higher, piercing a neck gland, then up into his gums like a thick dentist's needle..." Ouch!

Zack, the son of a palaeontology professor, goes to Utah with his girlfriend following the discovery there of a hatched baby Raptor. The expedition forms the basis of an action-packed adventure, which is compelling enough to stand up to the special effects of the silver screen. There's plenty of blood and poisonous green dinosaur spittle, but it's not gratuitous.

Those wanting a less bloodcurdling monster story should be directed to Spacebaby and the Mega-Volt Monster (Collins pound;9.99) by Henrietta Branford, her fabulously funny and chaotic follow-up to Spacebaby. This fast-paced adventure, moving from Portland Bill to Loch Ness, reminds us what a versatile and inventive talent has been lost since her death earlier this year.

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