FRANK AND THE BLACK HAMSTER OF NARKIZ by Livi Michael, illustrated by Derek Brazell (Puffin pound;4.99), is superb for reading aloud to six to nine-year-olds. Frank the hamster escapes from his cage and wanders into the "Spaces Between" the terraced houses where he lives. Meeting Elsie, George and Mabel, all hamsters living in Bright Street, is just the start of his adventure.

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