Seat feats and treats

Angela Kiverstein on the latest children's books


Amy Taylor wants to be a racing driver but for now, in year six, the best she can hope for is to swap her wheelchair for a motorised model. Until her inventive classmate, Rahul, makes a few modifications to the chair and produces The Taylor TurboChaser (HarperCollins, £12.99), with enough Heath Robinson devices to take Amy, Rahul, airhead friend Janet and supercilious brother Jack on a road trip to Scotland. David Baddiel steers the plot through all the compulsory elements, from farts and cow poo to lavatorially-named villages. Age nine to 12.

I Like to Put Food in My Welly by Jason Korsner and Max Low (Graffeg, £7.99) takes rhyme-play and delicious nonsense to a new level. Starting simply, “The butter goes on the bread. The hat goes on your head. You go to sleep on the bed”, Korsner then mixes it up: “The butter goes on your head. The hat goes on the bed. You go to sleep on the bread” and the third permutation is even crazier. Once the formula is established, he has fun applying it to all sorts of scenarios. Perfectly pitched for under-fives.

What Can You See? by Jason Korsner and Hannah Rounding (Graffeg, £7.99) invites participation on every page. Roaming around home and garden, jungle and ski-slope, the colourful picture book repeatedly asks children to name what they see. All answers rhyme with “see” and under-fives will respond with glee.

When Michael Rosen was growing up, his family would talk about his great-uncles, who “were there before the war but weren’t after”. The Missing (Walker, £8.99) is Rosen’s account of his search for details about these relatives before the Holocaust and the circumstances of their disappearance. The book is intended to be both a memorial and part of a wider conversation on refugees today. He includes background explanations where needed, as well as poems, which he describes as “like special rooms, where I can think slowly about what happened”. It is an effective mix, which may inspire readers age 10 up to investigate their own family history.

Also new from Michael Rosen is Mr Mensh, (Smokestack Books, £8.95) a collection of poems for all ages. The title poem imagines Jewish versions of Roger Hargreaves’s Mr Men, including Mr Schloch and Mr Gantse Macher.

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