CHILDREN'S

CHILDREN’S

WHEN WE GOT LOST IN DREAMLAND by Ross Welford (HarperCollins £12.99, 416 pp)

WHEN WE GOT LOST IN DREAMLAND

by Ross Welford (HarperCollins £12.99, 416 pp)

It’s everyone’s nightmare to be trapped in a terrifying dreamworld, unable to wake up, which is exactly the premise of this cracking adventure.

When troubled 11-year-old Malky accidentally steals from an elderly mystic a Dreaminator machine that can transport him and his annoying younger brother, Seb, into fantasy worlds together, it seems exciting.

They can return whenever they like but something goes horribly wrong and Seb gets left behind, his physical self appearing to the waking world to be in a death-like coma. Malky has to find a way to bring him back — and soon.

Tibetan culture, parental divorce and children’s fear underpin this funny, complex, gripping and deeply empathetic story from the masterful Welford.

THE GRAVEYARD RIDDLE

by Lisa Thompson (Scholastic £6.99, 304 pp)

The children from Lisa Thompson’s bestselling The Goldfish Boy make a welcome reappearance here, but the focus is now on Melody Bird, an only child who finds her special friendship with OCD-sufferer Matthew has been hijacked by cocky local lad, Jake. She then discovers an older boy, hiding out in the ruins of a churchyard plague house, who claims to be an undercover spy and enlists her help. Lonely Melody willingly agrees to trap a wanted criminal but Matthew is sceptical. Who should she trust?

As ever, Thompson weaves threads of complicated family relationships and emotional pain into an absorbing detective mystery with great wit and warmth. Let’s hope we see more of Melody and Matthew.

THE BOY WHO MET A WHALE by Nizrana Farook (Nosy Crow £7.99, 272 pp)

THE BOY WHO MET A WHALE

by Nizrana Farook (Nosy Crow £7.99, 272 pp)

From the author of the dazzling The Girl Who Stole An Elephant, this ripping adventure is again set on the lush island of Sri Lanka where 12-year-old Razi rescues Zheng, an unconscious boy washed up in a fishing boat, from evil men in close pursuit.

With the help of his older sister, Razi is drawn reluctantly into a thrilling race against time to discover long-buried treasure that can be located only by a secret scroll that Zheng has stolen from a shipwrecked boat.

But when all seems hopeless, a giant emerges from the depths of the sea … Danger, bravery, cunning and knife-edge tension compete in this thriller, enhanced by the rich backdrop of the Indian ocean.

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