Pets in peril in the war


A scandalous blot on Britain's animal-loving history is the starting point for The Emergency Zoo by Miriam Halahmy (Alma Books, £6.99). In the run-up to the Second World War, citizens were urged to have their pets put down. Twelve-year-old Tilly and Rosy create a refuge for their pets and those of their friends. But what will happen when the children (including a Kindertransport boy) are evacuated? A classic den-in-the-woods adventure for age nine to 12 and a subtle fable about asylum seekers.

A sardonic cat, slapstick schoolboy humour, magic, football and (kashrut alert!) bacon sandwiches combine in The Person Controller by David Baddiel (Harper Collins, £6.99). Fred and Ellie love video games - even more so when an on-screen genie gives them a gadget that turns Fred into a superhero of their choice. Bullied? At Ellie's command, Fred busts some Street Fighter Moves. Dismal at sport? With FIFA loaded, he will have no trouble winning the school football tournament and being spotted by a scout from Chelsea. Or so the twins think… until the low-battery light comes on. Starts silly (with rear-end and obesity jokes which kids will no doubt adore) but ends heart-warming. Age seven to 14.

Faceless by Alyssa Sheinmel (Chicken House, £7.99) takes the classic American high-school novel (popular athletic kids, prom dresses, Halloween japes and all) and into it places Maisie, who has been burnt by a freak lightning accident and given a face transplant. Can she rebuild her life? The book has been described as a YA version of Wonder (R J Palacio's middle-grade bestseller about a boy with a facial deformity) but Wonder, although sparky, has a sentimental ending, while Sheinmel's book looks life-changing injury firmly in the face. Age 14 up.

What happens after the "happy ever after"? A Court of Mist and Fury by Sarah J. Maas (Bloomsbury, £7.99) finds Feyre living at the palace of her beloved Prince Tamlin, whose hand she won in the beauty-and-the-beast-influenced A Court of Thorns and Roses. Feyre has superpowers and must use them to avert war between the faerie kingdoms (watch out for a Hebrew in-joke). Her sidekick will not be Tamlin but Rhysand, a gloriously seductive supernatural bad boy. Want to know what happens when you touch a faerie's wings? Strictly for age 16 plus.

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