Bella Fisher’s mum opens a canine ice-cream shop, Give a Dog a Cone — and Bella has to help there, wearing a dog costume. “Fit Adam” regards Bella as just a friend, while evil ex, Luke, is dating a model. And that model is Bella’s opponent in a competition to win a visit from her favourite band. Truly Madly Awkward by Beth Garrod (Scholastic, £6.99) is an at-times-overexcited comedy of teenage cringedom — with such Austenian reflections as: “He was like a Yorkshire pudding: his ingredients were excellent but combined they achieved a previously unimaginable extra level of perfection”. Age 12 to 16.
Watercolour beach and subaquatic scenes illustrate Elly’s Adventure Saving the Coral by Linda Nissen Samuels (Pato Press, £7.99). Elly and his friend dive into the sea to admire the coral — but the usually colourful formations are white, due to global warming (it kills the algae on which coral must feed to stay bright and healthy). The eco message is clearly explained and Samuels provides practical tips for readers who want to do their bit for the planet. Age three to nine.
Why does the New Year for Trees occur in a season when it is too cold to plant them (January 31 this year)? Find out, in Sadie’s Snowy Tu B’Shevat by Jamie Korngold (Kar-Ben, £5.99). Julie Fortenberry illustrates an increasingly hot-and-bothered Sadie as she begs her family to support her tree-planting mission.
Grandma comes to the rescue with a practical alternative for impatient gardeners — grow parsley and it will be ready to use at Passover. A cosy family story for age three to seven. For the under-threes, there is Tu B’Shevat is Coming, a board book by Tracy Newman and Viviana Garofoli (Kar-Ben, £4.50).
Summoned by a deity, a man builds a boat to save his family and animals (two by two) from a flood. But it is not what you think. Author Irving Finkel is curator of cuneiform tablets at the British Museum. In The Lifeboat That Saved the World (Thames & Hudson, £9.95), he retells the Mesopotamian tale of Atra-hasis, given a Noah-like mission by the god Enki.
Finkel’s version centres on nine-year-old Very Quick, son of Atra-hasis (with scary illustrations by Dylan Giles). Age nine to 12 (unsuitable for Orthodox readers, as Finkel emphasises Atra-hasis pre-dates the Bible).