Dr Seuss’s legacy

Angela Kiverstein reviews four children's books


Take an entertaining “canter through art history” with Dr Seuss’s Horse Museum by Andrew Joyner (Penguin, £12.99). Joyner’s illustrations, faithful to the style of Seuss, are based on a posthumously discovered manuscript and sketches by the Cat in the Hat’s creator. Our tour around the museum is led by a bow-tie-wearing dobbin, who presents famous equine images, from a Lascaux cave painting to Lucian Freud’s Man With Horse on His Head, encouraging us to ask: ‘why, over the centuries, have artists, looking at one animal, portrayed it in so many ways?’ Age nine to adult.

It’s all kicking off for Kaine, a talented young footballer and the twin of tennis champion Roxy. Both twins hope for sporting stardom, to lift them and their family out of hardship. Kaine’s name is particularly appropriate, as the once-close twins are now in competition for their parents’ esteem and financial backing. Unstoppable by Dan Freedman (David Fickling, £10.99) raises the stakes of sibling rivalry, against the authentic football background that made Freedman’s Jamie Johnson series a winner. Will Kaine be signed by a football team — or by the head of the local thug network? Age 12 up.

Under a Dancing Star by Laura Wood (Scholastic, £7.99) is a rom-com inspired by Much Ado About Nothing. Bea is more interested in the scientific study of insects than in an arranged marriage to repair the family fortunes. Banished to Italy to mend her ways, she meets a young artist called Ben and the two undertake a dare, in which they must flirt but not fall in love. Set in the 1930s, their sunny interlude is overshadowed by antisemitism. Age 12 up.

Inge has a secret. Her boyfriend, Wilf, is Jewish and, although the war is over, there is no love for Jews in her Munich home, especially from her mother On Inge’s 16th birthday, a Polish woman comes to the door, claiming she is Inge’s matka. Suddenly, Inge has to question what her parents did during the war — and whether they really are her parents. The Stolen Ones by Vanessa Curtis (Usborne, £6.99) may hold surprises for those who think they know everything about wartime Germany. Age 12 up.

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