Clones and cats

25th May 2001 at 01:00
Human cloning is a subject few people have the stomach to contemplate. Jenny Nimmo, however, tackles the issue full-frontal in her latest novel for older primary readers and above, Milo's Wolves (Mammoth pound;4.99).

This is a moving and provocative account of a family's life being turned upside down when a cloned "sibling" turns up out of the blue.

Gwendal seems painfully alone, cold and empty at heart, so why is Milo, father of the boy's adoptive family, so prepared to risk his life to save him? Like the Milo of Greek myth he finds himself at the mercy of "wolves", the grey, shadowy characters from the Society of Angels who are closing in on the boy. This is a tightly woven, many-layered account which provides plenty of food for thought. The novel presents Nimmo at her very best in a strong, muscular text that will challenge comitted readers and keep them wondering, long after they have finished the book.

An absorbing first-person account of Nimmo's childhood and growing-up years, up to her emergence as a fully-fledged writer for children, appears in the latest Telling Tales series (Mammoth pound;1.99 each). This biography, written by Wendy Cooling, is full of delicious snippets - such as the fact that Nimmo wrote murder mysteries when she was a child, much to her teachers' horror.

Mammoth has also reissued Nimmo's three delightful stories for five to seven-year-olds about Delilah, the wired-up cat who puts fear into the neighbourhood dogs. Delilah and the Dogspell, Delilah and the Dishwasher Dogs and Delilah Alone (pound;3.99 each) show the range of Nimmo's style. These lively, quirky stories will appeal to readers with a mature grasp of language.

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