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Win with Will power

William, in Sink or Swim by Ghillian Potts (Corgi pound;3.99), appears to be nervous of the water. But he's nervous about lots of things. He often checks that his mum is all right, sometimes in the middle of the night. He worries that his toast will catch fire and burn the house down. And he's intimidated by Big Mark, a loud, physical boy who likes to charge around the playground pretending to be a motorbike and calls William a weed.

But William's confidence begins to grow. He manages to persuade everyone to stop reacting to Big Mark the bully. In the end, William shows that he is after all a strong swimmer, diving into a river to rescue a baby. It is only then that the reader discovers that William's father is dead, and that much of his withdrawn nervousness can be attributed to this. A sensitive, multi-layered story for Year 2 up.

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