Take Five

TATTY APPLE. By Jenny Nimmo. Mammoth pound;3.99

This gracefully-written story is full of gentle magic that starts when Owen-Owen finds a green rabbit. It's a mischievous and unusual symbol of hope in an engaging and delightful tale.

UNINVITED GHOSTS. By Penelope Lively. Mammoth pound;4.99

Lively talks directly to her reader in these wonderful stories. It's as though we're listening to someone wise and funny who knows how to make our spines tingle to exactly the right extent.

THE CHILDREN OF LIR. Retold by Michael Scott. Mammoth pound;4.99

One of the great legends of the world, from Ireland, and it should be better known. Aife transforms her stepchildren into swans for 900 years. Scott's version reads well, ad the Beardsley-esque illustrations add to the appeal.

A SUDDEN PUFF OF GLITTERING SMOKE. By Anne Fine. Mammoth pound;3.99

This is Fine in swashbuckling style, a real treat which combines a sound moral and hilarious cod-Arabian Nights flourishes with Fine's usual skilful depiction of character. See also A Sudden Swirl of Icy Wind and A Sudden Glow of Gold, also reissued.

THE THIRD-CLASS GENIE. By Robert Leeson. Collins Modern Classics pound;5.99

A very different genie emerges from a beer can in this tale in urban realist mode, 25 years old and still funny. Everyone will sympathise with the hero's constant exhortation: "Make with the shekels!" Good fun, and one to try on the boys.


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