This is the book to develop junior school vocabulary. Poetically written, politically aware, full of suspense and comedy, Jo's battle against the developers is a surreal fantasy for eight-year-olds and above. (Faber Pounds 3.99).
GRANNY. By Anthony Horowitz.
Another battle of the young against the old, with an evil old granny out to get her 12-year-old grandson. But are old people horrible? Only if they've been horrible when they were young, says Mrs Jinks, comfortingly. Horowitz writes with gusto and a keenly satiric eye for middle-class pretension which underpins the fantasy narrative. Age 11 - 14. (Walker Pounds 3.99) TOGETHER ON ICE. By Nicholas Walker.
After Torvill and Dean and the Nancy KerriganTonya Harding saga, iceskating could never go back to Noel Streatfeild's White Boots-Style innocence. One of the fastest growing sports in Britain today gets its own blade-running saga: gripping for the fans. Age 8 - 10 (Piper Pounds 3.50).
SHOOT, DAD! By Michael Coleman.
When football fever strikes the nation's playgrounds, small boys can be enticed into spending time curled up with a book, provided it's raining very hard and the book is about football. Michael Coleman's hero Swot is 14, but he could easily be 10; his Dad is a well-meaning but useless member of Rumney FC; can Swot save the team when the manager walks out? Age 8 - 12. (Scholastic Pounds 5.99).
CLEVER POLLY AND THE STUPID WOLF. By Catherine Storr.
A favourite in the 1950s, this should be a favourite still as quick-thinking Polly outwits the stupid, oddly lovable Wolf in 13 beautifully written stories. Fun to read, for confident readers, or to have read aloud in class. Age 8+ (Puffin Pounds 3.50).
THE SWOOSE. By Dick King-Smith
Is he a swan or is he a goose? Fitzherbert sets off to find his father and ends up at the court of Queen Victoria where, after much confusion, he achieves fame and grandeur. Crisply written and amusing, the joke is well-sustained for those with reading fluency. Age 5 - 9 (Puffin Pounds 3.25).
ADDY THE BADDY. By Margaret Joy.
Naughty Addy does her naughty best to get sent home from the school she hates but ends up staying because she's having so much fun. Fun here for tentative readers who can be lured on by a strong story line. Age 5 - 9. (Puffin Pounds 3.25).
SPRINTERS SERIES: Beware the Killer Coat. By Susan Gates. Gemma and the Beetle People. By Enid Richemont.
CAPTAIN CRANKO AND THE CRYBABY. By Jean Ure.Sprinters are much more fantastic and inventive than most readers and older infant children will whizz through these action-packed tales of the world turned upside down: aliens in the shape of beetles and comic-book characters who ask for sympathy. Age 5 - 8. (Walker Books Pounds 2.99 each).