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Just Right For Kids

A curious rat is in a scary castle; and a girl’s pants are haunted. A look at children’s books.

Geronimo Stilton is a busy mouse. He has been running the famous newspaper in New Mouse City,the Rodent’s Gazette,for the last 20 years. The fearless,whiskered journalist scampers to get the latest in the world of rats. But this adventure begins with a trip down a lonely road on a foggy Halloween night.

In Cat and Mouse in a Haunted House,written by Geronimo himself (Scholastic,Rs 200),he lands at Curlypaw Cannycat’s Castle. It has red windows,dark corridors,portraits of the legendary Cannycat family,especially one in which the eyes move,and fireplaces that light up on their own. Geronimo’s car has broken down in the middle of a forest and he has to spend the night in this scary old castle. But it is haunted — by cats. Soon his sister Thea (a special correspondent at the newspaper),his annoying cousin Trap and adorable,nine-year-old nephew Benjamin arrive to help him solve the mystery of the haunted house.

This is the third in the Geronimo Stilton series. And the book has a whisker-licking-good tale. Its colourful fonts and illustrations take you to the heart of the castle and its surprises. You can even glance at Benjamin’s notes that help the curious rats discover a secret and let Geronimo prove that he is not a “scaredy mouse”. A good read for kids who are 8+.

Tweens have their own logic for things and a humour to match in My Pants are Haunted. It is the latest book in the Dear Dumb Diary series by Jim Benton (Puffin,Rs 199).

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If you have liked Greg in Diary of a Wimpy Kid,you would like Jamie Kelly here. Here is her insight into the world of high school: “Wore the new pants again. You can’t wear them every day,or people will say you only have one pair of cool pants.” She also writes about her dog,the beagle Stinker,who has chewed holes in her “cool” jeans. And as we know that it is not okay to wear the same pair two days in a row,she is mad at Stinker. Surprisingly,her mother readily buys her another expensive pair. While the new pants fit well,strange things begin to happen. Jamie and her best friend Isabella’s science project is stolen. A makeover for “gerdy” (girl plus nerdy) Margaret backfires. And Jamie loses her friend Hudson Rivers to another girl in class. Despite chanting the national anthem and stomping on the probably haunted jeans,“the evil powers of the pants” seem to drag Jamie and Isabella down the school’s popularity chart. For kids above 11 years.

The Secret Keeper by Mitali Perkins (Harper,Rs 199) is for young adults. The story is set in 1974. Asha’s father has gone to America to find a job. Asha,elder sister Reet and their mother have to move from their home in Delhi to Calcutta. The teen finds it difficult to live with her uncle and grandmother and to obey their strict rules. This is when she pours her heart into her diary,Secret Keeper. This is for children above 14 years.

First published on: 09-07-2011 at 12:33:52 am
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