Fionn and the Fianna by Ronan Moore Gill Books €8.99
FORGET ‘I’m a Celebrity…Get me Out of Here’. Grab your axe, sharpen your spear and join the warriors of the Fianna for some serious life-or-death challenges.
Not yet 14 years old, Fionn Mac Cumhaill leads his comrades into battles with the monsters of the Sidhe, fighting for the hearts and minds of the people and ultimately for the future of Ireland.
With the threatened return from overseas of his enemy Goll MacMorna, and of an army from the Otherworld summoned by his grandfather, the druid Tadg, Fionn faces danger on every side as he attempts to restore the Fianna to their former glory.
The second book from Co Meath secondary school teacher Ronan Moore continues where the childhood tales of ‘Young Fionn’ left off, the action-packed adventures and bonds of friendship providing easy access for readers aged nine-plus into the world of Irish legend.
‘Rainbow Grey’ by Laura Ellen Anderson (Farshore €8.40)
The first in a new series from the author of ‘Amelia Fang’ reveals the beings responsible for creating the weather. Not Met Éireann forecasters, apparently, but Weatherlings from the Weatherlands.
Young Ray Grey, however, doesn’t have the magic touch until a visit to Earth sees her transformed into Rainbow Grey, but now she must learn to control her new-found powers, with the help of her friends Snowden and Droplett and her farting cat Nim. Full of fun, fantasy, and friendship for readers aged eight-plus.
‘The Astonishing Future of Alex Nobody’ by Kate Gilby Smith (Orion €9.80)
For a nobody, Alex receives a lot of attention from complete strangers. Crowds turn up at the hospital on the day she is born, they wait at the gates on her first day of school; strangers even come to watch her perform as a llama in her school play. Alex has no idea why she is the centre of attention until the arrival in her life of Jasper, the new boy at school and sole guest at her birthday party.
When Jasper disappears as suddenly and mysteriously as he had arrived, Alex starts to piece together the clues of the time-travel story of her own life, and the future fame which haunts her present.
‘The Edge of the Ocean’ by LD Lapinski (Orion €9.80)
Members of the Strangeworlds Travel Agency, move between multiple different worlds, using suitcases as transport. The second story in the Strangeworlds series sees Flick and Jonathan pack their bags for a pirate adventure of exploration into why ships are vanishing without trace as the flat world of ‘The Break’ threatens to collapse.
Using only a small suitcase, Flick and Jonathan attempt to transport the assorted inhabitants of The Break and their ships to safety before the end of the shrinking world. A ticket to a multiverse of escapist adventures for readers aged 10-plus.
‘The Caravan at the Edge of Doom’ by Jim Beckett (Farshore €9.80)
Travel by suitcase seems positively normal compared to transportation by toilet to the Land of the Dead, which is the fate of Harley’s grandparents, as described in the attention-grabbing opening lines of Jim Beckett’s darkly comic novel for readers aged nine and upwards.
“I knew my grandparents had been ill, but I hadn’t expected them to explode. Not all on the same night anyway.”
Turns out Harley’s grandparents were visionary gatekeepers, whose job it was to help restless souls pass from this life to the next, until the time came for the grandparents’ own departure through the portal of public convenience.
With the discovery that biscuits, tea, and a wee are the prerequisites for successful lavatorial passage out of this world, Harley finds herself taking over the gatekeeper duties.
But not before she has risked eternal damnation by attempting to rescue her baby brother, who has accidentally stowed away to the Land of the Dead in his Nana’s wheelie bag.
Explosively funny, with pithy wisdom for pre-teens.
‘The Unbelievable Biscuit Factory’ by James Harris (Hodder €9.80)
Things are not as they seem either in the town of Normalton, a town so normal that the concept of normality was named after it. Things are so normal there that the local biscuit factory is 100% not a super-secret science lab or a portal to another dimension inhabited by fluffy orange monsters.
Living near the biscuit factory is certainly not all fun and jammy dodgers when the monsters start appearing in the wrong dimension.
However, most of the residents of Normalton, in a bid to maintain the pretence of normality, are complicit in the pretence that despite the evidence of their own eyes, there is nothing at all out of the ordinary to see here.
Deliciously nutty fun for ages nine and over.