Nightdancer by Garry Kilworth (Orion Dolphin pound;4.99) is the powerful story of a New Zealand boy who is haunted by ancient spirits disturbed by his mother's archaeological explorations. John Terangi accompanies his mother to Rarotonga, Pacific island home of his Maori ancestors, to excavate ancient sites. The boy's presence unsettles the spirit of the kabu - "a savage shadow I fashioned from hate and fear", which once fed on human sacrifice. Kilworth, a Fellow of the Royal Geographical Society, has created a dark, forceful adventure from Polynesian myths.
Sing Me a Story: Song and Dance Tales from the Caribbean by Grace Hallworth and John Clementson (Frances Lincoln pound;12.99) is a bold, bright collection of five trickster tales for infants, accompanied by songs and music. Hallworth's simple but lyrical storytelling is complemented by Clementson's collage compositions, alive with rhythm and colour, and enriched by opportunities for music and movement. Although these tales are meant to be fun, Hallworth doesn't soften their raw power. In "The Mermaid's Rock", for example, Hazel's overwhelming desire to have tresses like the mermaid Dora leads her to a watery grave.