As good as goldfish
Fly to Never Never Land, converse with birds, meet Marmaduke the Man from the Moon and join in the Goldfish Song, with Joe and his Magic Snout. For all members of the family to enjoy together, this “operetta of nursery fairy tales” by Hyman Vivian Baron Cohen (Austin Macauley, £6.99) mixes familiarandnew(suchasthegentleman bird, natural companion to the ladybird) and will encourage young listeners to sing along. Even the glossary is a hoot, comprising f i v e words for a hooter. Proceeds support a cancer-research scholarship at the Hebrew University in memory of the author’s late wife.
With a gun in his snout, Lafcadio the lion volunteers to be a living hearth-rug, lying obediently in front of the fireplace. The hunter refuses — but finds himself out of bullets and Lafcadio responds accordingly (the hunter’s woollen hat tastes particularly nasty). Thus begins a fascination with shooting for Shel Silverstein’s Lafcadio, the Lion who Shot Back (reissued by Pushkin, £12.99). He grows famous, devours marshmallowsby the hundred, learns to wear suits and dines in hotels. But whatwillhappen when he is invited on a hunting trip? The philosophical message is inconclusive but Uncle Shelby’s arch narrative voice and Silverstein’s drawings of stretchy-bodied lions make this a great book for sharing. Age five to adult.
A small girl stars in New York’s annual celebratory Israel march, in Meg Goldberg on Parade, a rhyming picture book by Andria Warmflash Rosenbaum (Kar-Ben, £5.99). Powered only by her imagination, Meg shares a parasol with the mayor, hums the Hatikvah while stilt-walking, meets a camel and leads a band. Christopher Lyles’s illustrations use crayon and decoupage to convey Meg’s child-like creativity. Under-fives will enjoy Meg’s adventures, while receiving a positive vibe about Israel.
Elisha Davidson and the Ispaklaria (Menorah, £12) is part two of M. R. Attar’s Harry Potter-like saga with a Jerusalem/Jewish textual background. An ispaklaria is a mirror-like reflection of one’s heart and soul — and a massive shiny stone in Elisha’s bedroom.
Together with former vagrant and priestly heir Aaron Kohen, Elisha must carry out a spiritual mission.
This is an exciting, mostly nonpreachy and occasionally baffling fantasy. Age 11 up.