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Picture books in paperbacks

THE TALE OF MUCKY MABEL By Jeanne Willis Illustrated by Margaret Chamberlain Andersen Press Pounds 4.50 Ages 4-8.

Mucky Mabel's table manners are so disgusting that her parents go off their food. When a pig takes her place at the table they only notice that the manners have improved. A sparkling, cautionary tale in the style of Roald Dahl's Revolting Rhymes.

THE THREE LITTLE WOLVES AND THE BIG BAD PIG By Eugene Trivizas Illustrated by Helen Oxenbury Mammoth Pounds 4.99 Ages 4-plus The classic tale is up-ended in this hilarious treatment. You cannot fail to sympathise with the nervous and well-meaning little wolves in their endeavours to avoid their terrifying, Terminator-style foe. The amazing transformation wrought by the house of flowers is inspirational and charming. If only real life worked like that!

EMERALD BLUE By Anne Marie Linden Illustrated by Katherine Doyle Mammoth Pounds 4.99 Ages 5-8 A series of textual and pictorial snapshots beautifully evokes a Caribbean childhood. The language is so vivid that you can almost taste the food and feel the hot track to school under foot. The pain of the child's parting from that life and from a beloved grandmother feels quite real.

COURTNEY By John Burningham Red Fox Pounds 4.99 Ages 3-plus Courtney is the Jeeves of the dog world: multi- talented, debonair and slightly mysterious. To the family who adopt him, he is also a life-saver. In the great Burningham tradition, this will appeal to all ages and is eminently re-readable.

THE SAD STORY OF VERONICA WHO PLAYED THE VIOLIN By David McKee Red Fox Pounds 4.50 Ages 4-plus Veronica is a child prodigy on the violin, able to move to tears everyone who hears her - including the birds. But there are a few more twists on the way to the hilarious punchline which fulfils the promise of the subtitle: "Being an explanation of why the streets are not full of happy dancing people".

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