TES books editor Geraldine Brennan on the inside literary track
The Ultimate Book Guide, coming soon from Aamp;C Black (pound;15.99), points eight to 12-year-olds towards 600 books, each with at least one passionate fan in the world of children's books. Contributors include Jacqueline Wilson (who loves Karen Wallace's Raspberries on the Yangtze), and Brian Jacques's Redwall gets a vote of confidence from Tim Cross of the top teens' book site, www.cool-reads.co.uk, and from eight-year-old Alexander Male, winner of a competition set up by the editorial team ("They are all so brilliant. I couldn't pick the best one.")
As Anne Fine points out in her introduction, finding the first recommendation that takes a child's fancy might need persistence if you don't know the title or the author, but the themed lists, special features on favourite genres (by authors including Hilary McKay and Dick King-Smith) and suggestions for further reading are a browser's delight. She advocates persistence (and support for libraries and independent bookshops) in telling children how to get their hands on the books they want: "Be resourcefulI If it doesn't arrive, go back and ask again."