● CHIL­DREN’S BOOKS OF THE WEEK

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Never Evers by Tom Ellen & Lucy Ivison is pub­lished in pa­per­back by Chicken House. IF you ever went on a school ski trip, you’ll have an awk­ward mo­ment of your own for ev­ery awk­ward mo­ment faced by teenagers Mouse and Jack in this two-han­der of a novel.

Writ­ten from both per­spec­tives – which cuts down on too much ro­man­tic moon­ing (al­though not ac­tual moon­ing; it’s about a school trip af­ter all) – our pro­tag­o­nists are your stan­dard teen mis­fits, al­though one can pass them­selves off as a French pop star and the other ends up in a mu­sic video... But do try and sus­pend your dis­be­lief, be­cause the ac­tual char­ac­ter­i­sa­tion isn’t too sloppy.

Mouse finds her­self try­ing to rekin­dle old friend­ships af­ter be­ing kicked out of bal­let school, while Jack tussles with his mates over their band name and who’s go­ing to be the first to kiss a real life girl.

Their sup­port­ing cast of well­wrought friends – Keira, Con­nie, Max and Toddy – pro­vide laughs, warped wis­dom and silli­ness, while gen­tly point­ing out how tough and con­fus­ing (if hi­lar­i­ous) be­ing 14 is.

Throw in a bitchy ex-best friend, the French pop­star who just wants to be “nor­mal” and a bliz­zard or two, and you have a just-about­plau­si­ble plot. Oh, and there’s a ham­ster that gets top marks for steal­ing all the lime­light too. 7/10 (Re­view by

Ella Walker)

Cre­ate Your Own Alien Ad­ven­ture: It’s OK! We’re Go­ing To Save The Planet by An­drew Judge and Chris Judge is pub­lished in pa­per­back by Scholas­tic Press. CHIL­DREN of the Eight­ies and Nineties will be ex­tremely fa­mil­iar with the Choose Your Own Ad­ven­ture con­cept – books that let you, the hum­ble reader, de­cide what your char­ac­ters were go­ing to do next – and many a happy hour could be spent curled up in a chair, ab­sorbed in The Cave Of Time or The Mys­tery Of Chim­ney Rock.

Au­thor and il­lus­tra­tor duo Chris and An­drew Judge are now putting their own spin on the genre, with this book for kids aged seven and older, which in­volves draw­ing in some of the pic­tures, rip­ping and fold­ing pages, as well as choos­ing which way to take our hero­ine Daisy Doodle.

It’s an or­di­nary Thurs­day morn­ing in Doodle­town, and Daisy’s on her way to school – but is it rain­ing or sunny? You de­cide and draw the weather! Dur­ing a par­tic­u­larly bor­ing les­son about their planet, Scratch­pad, Daisy spots an alien out the win­dow and gives chase.

Climb­ing up high (how, you de­cide), she spies a huge crater, with a crashed space­ship, where she finds the alien, B’ob, and joins him on an ad­ven­ture back on his bleak planet, Greyscale, which in­volves try­ing to save Scratch­pad from the Pres­i­dent’s In­va­sion Fleet – with the help of Daisy’s friend, Un­drawn John, who you’ll have to keep draw­ing. Ex­tremely en­ter­tain­ing and a great way to get lit­tle eyes away from screens... Look out for Cre­ate Your Own Spy Mis­sion com­ing in April.

8/10 (Re­view by Kate Whiting)

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