Primary fiction with girl power

FAIRYLAND PRINCESSES. By Felicity Trotman. Illustrated by Peter Kavanagh. Puffin pound;3.99

A host of fascinating snippets about princesses from stories around the world. We have princesses who are enchanted, enchanting, endangered, sad, bad and downright dangerous to know. We even have a chapter about the men who marry them. Here are princesses from Greek mythology, or from Arthurian tales such as the desolate Iseult who loved the knight Sir Tristram but was forced to marry another. Plus the more popular tales of The Sleeping Beauty and The Goose Girl.

DANCING ShOES SERIES. By Antonia Barber. Puffin pound;2.99. Ballet with attitude. Barber's main character, a young dancer called Lou, is pretty confident on her pointes, but less sure-footed when it comes to sorting out the problems life seems to throw at her. For example, In a Spin revolves around the dilemmas of Lou's friend Paul - a gifted dancer whose stepfather doesn't approve of boys dancing and threatens his chances of going to ballet school. Barber's chatty style makes a prfect soap for the dotty-about-dancing-over-eights.

RED FOX BALLET BOOKS. By Adele Geras. Red Fox pound;2.99.

More dancing, and rounded narratives, in Geras's series about Louisa. Karen Popham's pen-and-ink illustrations complement Geras's sensitive characterisations. The stories such as A Rival for Louisa relate "Weezer's" struggles with jealousy and disappoint-ment as much as the dramas of her ballet class.

BRIDESMAIDS SERIES. By Diane Redmond. Collins pound;2.99 each.

A mini-series for six to eight-year-olds who want to indulge wedding fantasies. One bridesmaid per title. Saved from frightening frilliness by Redmond's inventive humour and by glimpses of weddings in different cultures.

PEAS IN A POD. By Adele Geras. Corgi Pups pound;3.50

Geras's second book about sisters Jo and Lily, a witty story for new readers, also focuses on matrimony and the girls' opposite reactions when their babysitter announces she is to be married. Adept portrayal of sibling tension gives the books bite.


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