Annal: 2005 Guardian Children's Fiction Prize

Results of the Guardian Children's Fiction Prize in the year 2005.

Book:The New Policeman

The New Policeman

Kate Thompson

Who knows where the time goes?

There is never enough of it in Kinvara, or anywhere else in Ireland for that matter. When Helen Liddy is asked what she wants for her birthday, she says, “Time. That’s what I want. Time.”

For generations the Liddys have been musicians, and fifteen-year old JJ is continuing the tradition with his wonderful fiddle-playing. But one day in the school yard he discovers that music might not be the only thing that runs in his veins. Can it be true that his great-grandfather was a murderer?

When JJ sets out to buy his mother some time he discovers the answer as well as some truly remarkable things about music, myth and magic. And more.

Who knows where the time goes?

JJ does.

Book:The Boy in the Burning House

The Boy in the Burning House

Tim Wynne-Jones

Two years after his father’s mysterious disappearance, Jim Hawkins is coping—barely. Underneath, he’s frozen in uncertainty and grief. What did happen to his father? Is he dead or just gone? Then Jim meets Ruth Rose. Moody, provocative, she’s the bad-girl stepdaughter of Father Fisher, Jim’s father’s childhood friend and the town pastor, and she shocks Jim out of his stupor when she tells him her stepfather is a murderer. “Don’t you want to know who he murdered?” she asks. Jim doesn’t. Ruth Rose is clearly crazy—a sixteen-year-old misfit. Yet something about her fierce conviction pierces Jim’s shell. He begins to burn with a desire for the truth, until it becomes clear that it may be more unsettling than he can bear. What is the real meaning of the strange prayers Father Fisher intones behind the door of his private sanctuary? Why does Ruth Rose suddenly disappear? And what really happened thirty years ago when a boy died in a burning house?

Book:The Hunted (Alex Shearer)

The Hunted

Alex Shearer

Children are very precious ... because they are so rare. In a future world where people live to be 150, humans have paid the price for their longer lives - the cost being their fertility. Children have become a commodity: they are bought and sold, won and lost, and worst of all, are hunted by the 'kiddernappers' keen to make a quick buck on a big sale.

When Deet wins Tarrin in a card game he rents him out to childless couples. They pay for Tarrin to play in their houses, and they pretend he's their child for an hour or two. But as Tarrin gets older, Deet is keen to secure his future, and his interest in 'The Peter Pan' operation grows. By having 'The Peter Pan', Tarrin would stay a boy forever. He would grow old inside the body of a young boy. While Tarrin faces a difficult dilemma, someone is watching him. Someone who has plans of his own.

Book:The Merrybegot

The Merrybegot

Julie Hearn

Conceived on May Morning, Nell is claimed by the piskies and faeries as a merrybegot, one of their own. She is a wild child: herb gatherer and healer, spell-weaver and midwife... and, some say, a witch.

Grace is everything Nell is not. She is the Puritan minister's daughter: beautiful and refined, innocent and sweet-natured... to those who think they know her. But she is hiding a secret - a secret that will bring everlasting shame to her family should it ever come to light.

A merrybegot and a minister's daughter - two girls who could not have less in common. Yet their fates collide when Grace and her younger sister, Patience, are suddenly spitting pins, struck with fits, and speaking in fevered tongues. The minister is convinced his daughters are the victims of witchcraft. And all signs point to Nell as the source of the trouble...

Set during the tumultuous era of the English Civil War, The Minister's Daughter is a spellbinding page-turner - stunning historical fiction that captures the superstition, passion, madness, and magic of a vanished age.

Book:Brind and the Dogs of War

Brind and the Dogs of War

Christopher Russell

Brind is a kennel boy on the estate of down-at-heel knight, Sir Edmund Dowe - but Brind does not simply look after the highly-coveted pack of mastiff hounds. Found as a baby amongst the litter, he has grown up with them and is now more dog than human, with a particularly strong bond to alpha male - Glaive. In essence, he is their pack leader. When Sir Edmund takes the pack to fight in the Battle of Crecy, Brind's life is changed forever.

Glaive, the only mastiff to survive the bloody battle, runs off; Sir Edmund is captured; and Tullo, the evil huntsman, is determined to bring shame on Brind and go back and claim the Dowe estate as his own. On his journey to reunite the household and most importantly, find Glaive, Brind befriends a feisty young French girl - Aurelie, who has her own agenda of revenge and keeps the adventure at fever pitch.

Book:Candy

Candy

Kevin Brooks

Joe is hooked from the moment he sees Candy. What is it that catches his eye? Is it her hair, her smile, or just the way she's standing? When they chat over coffee there's an instant attraction, but can love ever be this sweet? As the bitter truth about Candy's dangerous world emerges, Joe must decide if love and hope are worth fighting for.

Book:The Little Gentleman

The Little Gentleman

Philippa Pearce

When Bet is first asked to go into the meadow and read a passage aloud from a book - apparently to no-one - she wonders why. But then she realises that her audience is a little mole, who listens attentively. This isn't just any mole. This mole can speak, he is more than 300 years old and he has an amazing tale to tell. So begins an extraordinary friendship between a lonely little girl and The Little Gentleman in Black Velvet.

Book:Wolf Brother

Wolf Brother: Book 1 of Chronicles of Ancient Darkness

Michelle Paver

Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it - 12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear.

With his dying breath, Torak's father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit's help to overcome it. Torak is an unwilling hero. He is scared and trusts no one. His only companion is a wolf cub only three moons old, whom he seems to understand better than any human. Theirs is a terrifying quest in a world of wolves, tree spirits and Hidden People, a world in which trusting a friend means risking your life.

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