Purinina: A Devil’s Tale By Christina Booth Lothian, 31pp, $ 28.95 A TRIBUTE to the Tasmanian devil, this beguiling picture book traces its gestation, birth and devilishly noisy journey to adulthood. Purinina, Booth’s snarling, snorting heroine, shares the Aboriginal name for the marsupial. Although Booth’s prose can be a little flat, her drawings possess a spiring lyricism. Booth is also subtle and moving in the way she explores the threats ( people and disease) that could make the devils extinct. Horseradish: Bitter Truths You Can’t Avoid By Lemony Snicket HarperCollins, 176pp, $ 22.95 THIS book of witticisms and wisdom is drawn from Lemony Snicket’s published and unpublished works, along with things he has said at dinner parties and anarchist riots. Released to coincide with the first paperback editions of Snicket’s megaselling Series of Unfortunate Events books, Horseradish offers Snicket’s philosophies on everything from life’s big mysteries to school bells. Naturally, these observations come with a dash of wryness, a side serve of melancholy and a kernel of dread. Ottoline and the Yellow Cat By Chris Riddell Macmillan, 171pp, $ 24.95 OTTOLINE Brown lives in a penthouse- sized apartment in Big City and is cared for by Mr Munroe, a hairy bog creature cum nanny. Ottoline is a mistress of disguise and when a pampered pack of lap dogs go missing she sets out to solve the mystery. British cartoonist Chris Riddell’s story is as clever as it is ingenious. A sly wit infiltrates his narrative and ornate drawings, and his created world is never less than plausible. griEVE By Lizzie Wilcock Scholastic, 371pp, $ 19.99 THE alienated yet vulnerable teenager is a familiar archetype in young adult fiction. As the title suggests, teen protagonist Eve is the embodiment of sullen grief. When her mother apparently goes missing, her trucker dad resolves his loss through slabs of beer and long road trips, while Eve resorts to shoplifting, cutting herself and underaged, loveless sex. While it’s an achievement to make the self- destructive Eve sympathetic, this schoolgirl endures so many crises ( absent mum, poisonous stepmother, stint in a psychiatric ward) the narrative becomes overwrought. Lizzie Wilcock, who won a Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for her first young adult novel, Losing It , has attempted to telescope too much trauma into one novel, tipping her story into melodrama. Yirra and her Deadly Dog, Demon ABC Books, 100pp, $ 14.95 THIS novel for newly independent readers is a collaboration between indigenous writer Anita Heiss and the students of La Perouse public school in Sydney’s southeast. Yirra depicts a suburban Aboriginal community while telling the story of Demon, an oversized mutt that steals the neighbours’ undies and frightens the daylights out of old women. Preachy in places, it is also graced with a warm, easygoing humour as it paints a human- scale portrait of a minority often in the headlines for all the wrong reasons.