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Snakes' Elbows by Deirdre Madden
Published by Orchard Books, 2005

Invisible dogs and magic fudge, bats, cats and beans on toast!

This is just a taste of what’s in store if you read Snakes’ Elbows by Deirdre Madden. This witty tale of how life in the small town of Woodford is transformed won the 2005-6 Eilís Dillon Award which goes to an outstanding first children’s book annually.

When a shy gifted, pianist arrives in Woodford and goes head-to-head with a rascally arms trader as both vie for a famous local painting, the result is a funny, intriguing story where the adults (there are no children in the story) are brilliantly portrayed as big kids.

Adult issues such as fame, arms dealing, vanity and the media are presented with a simplicity that readers as young as seven or eight can understand perfectly.

Plain black and white sketches of cats, dogs and coins at the beginning and end of twenty seven short chapters make it even a more enticing read for young children.

Reviewing Snakes’ Elbows in Inis, Summer 2006, Debbie Thomas had the following to say;

"There’s no need to summarise this story. Just read it. From its intriguing title to its triumphant end it’s a slice of wise and playful brilliance."

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