Snogs and a sticky snack


'When you are visiting the cake shop of agony, they don’t mind what you wear in there. Most of their customers are in their jimjams. With big swollen eyes. And covered in dribble.” And so it is for love-struck Georgia Nicolson, in Are these my Basoomas I See Before Me?

(HarperCollins, £10.99) the final part of Louise Rennison’s saga of luurve, jammy dodgers and romantically-challenged kittycats.
Will teenage Georgia hang on to Italian boyfriend Massimo, or is she destined for one of the other males who has pursued her over the past nine volumes?

And how will she fare in the school production of Romeo and Juliet, to which little sister Libby brings pals including scuba-diving Barbie, Burnt-Bottom Panda and Mr Cheese? Will “all endeth happily in the snogging department”? Non-stop hilariosity for age 12 upwards.

Adventure story, props and web-based games come together in Cathy’s Ring, by Sean Stewart, Jordan Weisman and Cathy Brigg (Bloomsbury, £12.99). Teenage Cathy is on the run from assassins, hired by Ancestor Lu, who is immortal — an inconvenient trait in an arch-enemy. As the action plays itself out against a background of tacky waffle diners and seedy art dealerships, the diary-style narrative is enhanced by magnificent “doodles”. Ages 12 to 18.

Josh Flunk and Spencer Topps are two normal boys — except when they’re on a mission for the Mad Monster Agency. Their latest adventure, Hypno-Dwarves and the Night of the Living Bed (Bloomsbury, £4.99), is a satisfying mix of creepy creatures, such as “wereroaches” (like cockroaches, but hairy and scary) and Kung Food fights (a martial art involving cake-throwing). The easy-read, semi-comic-strip format, created by duo “Knife & Packer”, will delight ages five to nine.

Children love to be read a fairy tale. And most adults love to read them to the kids. But when you have lost your voice, or inclination, there is Benjamin Kurzweil. His CD, Kurzweil Stories (£6.99 on Amazon) features the Danish storyteller interspersing his own tales with those of his more famous compatriot, Hans Christian Anderson. Kurzweil comes off surprisingly well in the comparison but they may not appeal to very young children.

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