By Joan Aiken, Hodder pound;3.99
Here's the perfect antidote to what the author herself (quoting Saki) has called "Filboid Studge": books so dull that everyone assumes they must be good for the reader. It's an old-fashioned rattling good yarn, full of extraordinary characters and gloriously rich language.
I first read it more than 20 years ago, and it's great to see it re-issued at a time when children's books have a minimal shelf life. The cover of this edition is hideous. But just follow the advice of the proverb and ignore it.