Guardian Children's Fiction Prize 2012

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Review of

The Unforgotten Coat by Frank Cottrell Boyce

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Gorgeous and slightly surreal story about friendship, difference and enrichment. And a more-than-welcome antidote to anti-immigration rhetoric. Full Review

Other Shortlisted Books


Review of

Dying to Know You by Aidan Chambers

5star.jpg Teens

A wonderful book about friendship, words, and our deepest, most hidden selves. Elegant, precise prose and wonderful dialogue in which space has as much to say as words. This is a book to return to. Discerning readers will love it. Full Review


Review of

A Greyhound of a Girl by Roddy Doyle

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

The story contains a lot of the quick-fire, teasing dialogue typical of loving families, and also many moments to giggle over (well, how does a ghost get an ice cream out of a locked shop?). It deals with serious questions in a way which is both bitter-sweet and direct, and its brevity means it will appeal to a wide range of readers. Light-hearted but not lightweight, sweet but not saccharine, touching but not mawkish – this book is well worth reading. Full Review


Review of

Dead End In Norvelt by Jack Gantos

4star.jpg Confident Readers

Dead End in Norvelt is a quirky semi-autobiography with some deliciously dark humour that is unfortunately let down by a lack of direction in the plot. Full Review


Review of

Soonchild by Russell Hoban

5star.jpg Teens

Sixteen-Face John attempts to retrieve the World Songs so his Soonchild can be born. Funny, scary and beautiful piece of magic realism with illustrations that are as much a part of the story as the words are. Full Review


Review of

The Abominables by Eva Ibbotson

5star.jpg Confident Readers

The unfinished manuscript of this story was found among Eva Ibbotson's papers after her death, and it was completed by her son. But there is no need to worry that this might have in any way compromised the quality of the book. Her trademark humour, her love of nature and her magical imagination are all there, and after an amusing start the plot moves at a cracking pace to its exciting, hair-raising conclusion. Boys and girls alike will love its oddball humour, and while the book does convey a clear message about respecting those who are not the same as us, it is never preachy or heavy-handed. It is, in short, a wonderful book which will be read with great pleasure, and then reread. No author could ask for more. Full Review


Review of

Bullet Boys by Ally Kennen

4.5star.jpg Teens

Another fantastic thriller from Ally Kennen. Great characterisation and a challenging vocabulary sits, as ever, alongside tense and twisting plotting. She really does write some of the best intelligent page-turners for teens. Full Review


Review of

A Boy and a Bear in a Boat by Dave Shelton

4.5star.jpg Confident Readers

Sweet fable about friendship and trials with some lovely interactions between boy and bear and absolutely gorgeous illustrations. Full Review


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