The Wee Free Men
By Terry Pratchett
By Cornelia Funke
The Chicken House pound;12.99
The Book of Dead Days
By Marcus Sedgwick
As master of the suspense movie Alfred Hitchcock put it, every story has to have its McGuffin, that wrinkle, plot twist or device that makes it stick, like a burr, in the reader's mind. Where adult literature may disguise this base fact with the messy, unresolved stuff of human relationships, books for children rarely do.
Mostly, they make up for this rigidity with the brio of their storytelling or a bit of knockabout humour.
Sometimes, as in the case of Terry Pratchett and the up and coming Cornelia Funke, they stir in a pot-pourri of samples and souvenirs from other works of literature, mytyhs and forms of comedy.nbsp; There's always a McGuffin, still.
Read the full review in this week's TES