There are many things that parents look for in a children’s book. Bite-size stories with happy endings for reading at bedtime, plenty of bright pictures to spur on younger readers, and tales that hold the imagination and encourage reading progress at all ages, are a few of them.

But the secret hope of most parents when buying a book for older children, especially as the school holidays loom near, is that they have acquired a page-turner that will provide a few hours of peace.

As one American reviewer wrote of such a book: ‘My daughter read this book and she had a hard time putting it down… thank God it’s March break. Since she is not much of a reader, I give (it) 5 stars.’

The school holidays present problems for many parents. Keeping the kids amused maybe only one of them but it is an important one.

When the weather is good, most children amuse themselves outside with bike or ball, but when cold and rain defer this respite the question: ‘What can I do?’ can become a constant refrain.

The advent of computers, with games and social networking, seemed to have largely solved this problem until the dangers associated with addiction and predation became apparent.

Now parents need alternatives, and books are again coming into focus, even if many are now of the Kindle kind. Best of all is still the printed paper version of a book that can give the young reader a break from electronic devices and keep them enthralled to the last page.

A book for a rainy day should also serve to raise the spirits and nothing is better for that purpose than humor. An English reviewer spoke of her niece’s enjoyment of a book for a rainy day in these words: ‘… I gave the book to my thirteen-year-old niece and wanted to see what she thought.

Well, she loved it as much as I did! So funny and gripping, as an adult I enjoyed the sneaky humor, Holly just giggled her way through the whole book!

A book of this sort, not only provides a parent with a few hours of calm in which to accomplish domestic duties, but restores the child to family life in a happy frame of mind.

And as the same reviewer concluded that, ‘Holly and I can’t wait for the next installment,’ yet another rainy day may be cheered by the sunshine of a good read.