Bank Holiday Weekend Reviews

There have been some really great reviews of children's books this weekend. First of all, checking out the Irish Times from Saturday, 31st July, we have some of Ireland's best known authorities on children's literature inspecting what's new and exciting for all age levels. Robert Dunbar covers some of the more gritty and shocking books for young adult readers. His initial perusal is of Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma. With the question being "So nothing is taboo any more?", this book sets the tone of the rest on offer in Dunbar's review. Also covered in Dunbar's article are Keith Gray's anthology Losing It (included the foremost authors of young adult fiction today); Margo Lanagan's White Time, iBoy by Kevin Brooks (always a great and compelling author) and Matt Haig's The Radleys. A truly exciting line up, all well written, but still shocking.
Mary Shine Thompson has a good look at some of the best of children's books for the 10-12 range, beginning with Artemis Fowl and the Atlantis Complex by Eoin Colfer. Thompson says "Few writers are as witty and technically adroit or have developed a protagonist with such skill and understatement." Among the other books she covers is my current favourite, Timecatcher by Marie-Louise Fitzpatrick, which she calls "a fast-paced novel, full of surprises." Brilliant. Also, Thompson offers us a look at Michael Scott's The Necromancer and the upcoming My Name is Mina by David Almond, among others.
And in 'The wonderful magic of miniature worlds', Anna Carey examines picture books. April Underhill, Tooth Fairy by Bob Graham; Anthony Browne's Me and You, Arthur and the Meanies by Jan Fearnley and quite a number of other marvelous picture books are included.

Moving on to The Guardian (31st July), Julia Eccelshare suggests  books for all ages in her 'Summer reading for children'. Among her picks are the beautiful Cave Baby by Julia Donaldson and Emily Gravett, Harry and Hopper by Margaret Wild, Jenny Valentine's Iggy And Me On Holiday for young readers, the marvellously funny Vamoose by Meg Rosoff, and the exquiste The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson (a must read in my view, and a welcome antidote for the infestation of vampires we've been having*). Of this book, Eccleshare says, " How grief and love run side by side is sensitively and intensely explored in this energetic, poetic and warm-blooded novel."

*It's not that I don't like vampires as a general rule,. It's simply that there have been far too many of them  and, as far as I'm concerned, they are displaying in very un-vampire-like qualities.


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