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The Finger-eater. By Dick King-Smith

The master turns his hand to fingers.The frozen north, Ulf the finger-eating troll, Gudrun the plucky snow-maiden and Dick King-Smith's characteristic surreal inspiration lead the most reluctant beginning reader on to a happy - at least for the reader - ending. (Walker Pounds 2.99) The Haunting of Pip Barker.

By Anne Fine.

It's dark. A horrible golden skull gleams on the wall. Is Pip the only person staying awake on Christmas night? There is enough suspense and enough resolution here for a satisfying eight-year old read.

(Walker Pounds 2.99) Own Goal. By Michael Hardcastle.

Good football stories are at a premium. This one, while catering to an apparently insatiable appetite for match descriptions, also has a neat joke in Russell, the goalie who keeps scoring own goals. And the moral is, take each shot as it comes.

(Faber Pounds 3.99) The Bailey Game.

By Celia Rees.

What happens when bullying goes too far? This chilling evocation of the world of a tough junior school gang has conscience and cowardice fighting it out in the heroine's sensitive spirit.

(Piper Pounds 2.99)

The Iron Woman.By Ted Hughes

Powerful sequel to The Iron Man fable pulls no punches in its black picture of environmental degradation and renewal. As always with Hughes, the happy ending rings less true than the grim tale, but stirring reading for the imagination. (Faber Pounds 3.99)

Trumpets in the West.

By Geoffrey Trease

Though 50 years old, the adventures of young Jack Norwood in Restoration London are as fresh now as when they were first published. Music, political intrigue and period detail are seamlessly woven together by a master storyteller who still has few equals. (Piper Pounds 3.50)

The Cast-Off.

By Catherine Sefton

Misery, rejection, friendship in adversity and tracing of old sorrows: the stuff of all too many young lives, perhaps. This sensitive, plainly written account of two young runaways addresses highly contemporary worries of young people, their teachers and parents. (Puffin Pounds 3.50)

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