My favourite Annemarie Allan books are those which tend towards the science fiction side. Ushig follows a genre – admittedly favoured by her Kelpies series publishers Floris – which uses Scottish fables and magic in the same way. It’s successful and popular but getting close to being a touch formulaic.

So, when brother and sister Davie and Ellen encounter the kelpie Ushig, their adventures in trying to avoid coming forever under the spell of the Queen of the Night are cleverly interspersed with the alluring world of the helpful selkies, and with their own family history.

Davie thinks the kelpie is leading him into harmless adventures, while Ellen sees through the water wraith’s intentions and enlists the help of the selkies (parents being pretty useless when it comes to magic) to save her brother. It’s Good versus Evil and there’s never any real doubt that Good will win but there are a few twists along the way.

In Ushig, we also find a strong theme of love and loyalty and family values. They certainly puzzle the kelpie and prove in many ways more important and stronger than magic, a brave idea to push in today’s society, where a fair number of readers will belong to families with less than perfect bonds.

Ushig is the perfect, escapist, holiday read for 8-12 year olds and is available from Amazon here.

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Suse Coon

Suse Coon started life training to be an architect but ended up as a fashion buyer then civil servant. After some time out to bring up her family of three, she returned to what had been a hobby and entered the field of freelance journalism. After becoming regional correspondent, then editor of the orienteering magazine CompassSport, she formed Pages Editorial & Publishing Services. In this guise, West Lothian Life was launched, while Suse maintained a level of freelancing and wrote the award winning children's novel Richard's Castle. In 1999, Suse bought over CompassSport and found her time taken up pretty well exclusively with the two magazines. In 2004, West Lothian Life was expanded to form Lothian Life, however, the workload was too great. In 2006, CompassSport was sold and Suse concentrated on the web version of Lothian Life. Her hobbies include gardening, orienteering, sea kayaking and Tai Chi.

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