Jon Agee’s “The Wall in the Middle of the Book” is a humorous exploration of fear.

Inese Zandere, David LaRochelle, Karen McCrombie, Lucy Stranger and Jon Agee

Former Pussycat Doll Kimberly Wyatt: Don’t cha just wish you could dance like her?

The inaugural festival of arts offers workshops for singers, dancers and musicians

Sam Copeland’s debut novel ‘Charlie Changes Into a Chicken’.

Lure your child back to the printed word with Alex Gardiner’s Mossbelly MacFearsome

Winter Funderland is at the RDS  in Dublin until January 13th. Photograph: Nick Bradshaw

Christmas Day is over, but there is still plenty to do with children before school restarts

Hopscotch and the Christmas Tree

Tamsin Lyons’s Ink and Light animation studio is bringing a message of mindfulness

Les Misérables: The ensemble cast move like tiny figures in a game played by the Gods

Hugo’s spiritually benevolent message rings loudly in this immersive, cinematic staging

Our hero is Boy, a large-headed, stick-limbed boy with a wondrous capacity for adventure.

If you have had enough of the flashing lights of the panto, this is the show for you

Sammy Claws: The Christmas Cat

A doubting Thomas, a young girl and a sheep save the day in our kids’ books round-up

We Are Going on a Bear Hunt at the Pavilion, Dún Laoghaire

Your one-stop Christmas events shop is here

The Snow Queen: Louise Bowden as the Gaiety panto’s icy diva

The Christmas show’s sheer spectacle makes up for a few weaknesses in the plot

A fox by Aga Grandowicz, one of the many stunning illustrations in Dr Hibernica Finch’s Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals (Little Island, €25)

Children’s books: from wood mice and red squirrels to beetles and termites, there’s plenty of nature in these new releases

Lauren Child: Hubert Horatio, from How to Raise Your Grown-Ups

Ideas take shape when the mind is drifting, so give kids room ‘to let their minds wander’

With the Pooka who is as furry and friendly-looking as a teddy, Shona Shirley Macdonald demystifies the idea of monsters for the skittish young reader

A lonely Pooka, an invasion of evil teddy bears and a witch from the Louisiana swamp all feature for Halloween

St Nicholas: Brendan Coyle in Conor McPherson’s play. Photograph: Helen Maybanks

Dublin Theatre Festival: Brendan Coyle stars in the Irish premiere of Conor McPherson’s 1997 play

Home Theatre (Ireland): Elaine Murphy in Caroline’s Wedding, for Rose Emmet

Dublin Theatre Festival: Intimate snapshots of life in Dublin 15 pair actors with locals. The results are top-notch

Les Ballets Trockadero de Monte Carlo: classical poise becomes pantomime as they bring Swan Lake to life

Dublin Theatre Festival: The all-male ballet troupe blend dance and physical comedy

The Young King by Oscar Wilde,   presented by Dublin Theatre Festival and The Ark

Work made for children used to be rare, but there's now a rich bounty of shows

Eliza’s Adventures in the Uncanny Valley: Pan Pan explores the influence of artificial intelligence on our capacity to be human

Dublin Theatre Festival: The audience are stuck when a piece of theatre denies its characters humanity

A Portrait of the Artist as a Young Man: Amy Conroy and Paul Mescal in Rough Magic’s production. Photograph: Ste Murray

Dublin Theatre Festival: Rough Magic’s Joyce adaptation is refreshingly unconventional

The Mai: Derbhle Crotty is both tough and tender in what was Marina Carr’s first full-length play

Dublin Theatre Festival: Derbhle Crotty is moving as Marina Carr’s family figurehead

The Fattest Dancer at St Bernadette’s: Julian La Blanc and his unpredictable sidekicks. Photograph: Ste Murray

Dublin Fringe Festival: Thommas Kane Byrne stars in his reinvention of the one-man show

Confirmation: Xnthony stages his story as a confessional coming-of-age pop concert. Photograph: Brian Teeling

Dublin Fringe Festival: This musical memoir of growing up gay in rural Ireland is sonically stirring but lacks focus

Seahorse: Mara, the pregnant heroine of Christiane O’Mahony play, isn’t sure she is ready to hand over her life to a “tiny dictator”.  Photograph: Engin Akyurt

Dublin Fringe Festival: A few tweaks could give Christiane O’Mahony’s play a deservedly long life

Samira Elagoz’s story is an intimate one, but her performance is cool and detached. The overall effect is both very disturbing and immensely sad.

Dublin Fringe Festival: Why should a woman need safety procedures when encountering men she doesn’t know?

Jonathan Auxier’s “Sweep: The Story of a Girl and her Monster” tells of a feisty child, Nan Sparrow, indentured to a vile master sweep.

Children’s fiction from Auxier, Burton, Doyle, Martin and Chambers

Christiane O’Mahony in ‘Seahorse’: ‘I thought, this would be a fun way to examine the anxieties of modern womanhood in Ireland: all the awkwardness, all the expectations that fall upon you’

Christiane O'Mahony's new play Seahorse centres around an unlikely feminist icon

Unwoman Part III: Olwen Fouéré in Maeve Stone and the Rabble’s live installation. Photograph: Patricio Cassinoni

Dublin Fringe Festival: Olwen Fouéré’s Unwoman is stuck in perpetual parturition

Susie and the Story Shredder: Clodagh Mooney Duggan and Matthew Malone bring youthful vim to the stage. Photograph: Neil O’Driscoll

Dublin Fringe Festival: Painful puns, silly dances, perfectly judged audience interaction

Demelza and Nessa in Gabrielle Kent’s ‘Knights and Bikes’.

Authors’ imaginations run riot in this selection of children’s books

Jarlath Tivnan, Maria McDermottroe and Pat Shortt in Martin McDonagh’s “A Skull in Connemara” directed by Andrew Flynn, Decadent Theatre. Photograph: Darragh Kane

Decadent Theatre’s production draws out darkness of McDonagh’s Gothic work

Theatre Lovett’s ‘Frnknstn’ by Michael West, at the Abbey Theatre from August 17th to  September 1st. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

‘Frnkstn’, at the Abbey Theatre, reanimates the monster for a new generation

A Dublin Fairytale: “Look, there’s Trinity College of Sorcery”

Five Irish children’s books that will lead you on a summer family adventure

The Dodo Made Me Do It: an extinct bird is more troublesome than Jo Simmons’s hero could have imagined

Children’s books: new stories from Eirlys Hunter, Ruth Quayle, Jarvis and Jo Simmons

Based on The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, this asks who was the Wicked Witch of the West?

Cymbeline Igloo, the hero of Boy Underwater by Adam Baron is  marked out by his classmates for being different.

An alien warrior, handling grief, and a boy who loves pairs are among this month’s highlights

Neither freak show nor side show, disability is now centre stage

Production at Carlow Arts Festival puts artists, disabled and non-disabled, on stage together

The Yark: a child-chomping beast stalks through suburban bedrooms across the globe looking for a decent meal.

Children’s fiction covers all the basics from child-eating monsters, to nature and grief

Pure, mesmerising storytelling: Shane O’Regan in ‘Private Peaceful’

The storyteller presents war, peace and the human condition through a lens of realism

Struggling with maths? Need to relax? Or just want adventure? These books cater for all

Roald Dahl’s novel may be 30 years old, but this adaptation from the Royal Shakespeare Company resonates chillingly

Sarah Bowie’s ‘We’re Going to the Zoo’

Sara Keating selects the best new books for children

I’m a Girl!: for the heroine of Yasmeen Ismail’s book her sex is a point of pride, even if it defies stereotype and the expectations of those around her

From picture books to YA fiction, it’s a great time to be a girl who loves to read

Ian Lloyd Anderson (Jack) and Kate Stanley Brennan  (Nora) in  ‘The Plough and the Stars’ by Sean O’Casey.  Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

This month sees Ireland’s national theatre playing in London, and its British equivalent coming to Dublin

Mythical beasts lurking in the ocean; an anxious panda bear; a lone wolf on the run; raggedy witches rustling through the trees; a(...)

Deirdre Kinahan: “People ask ‘How do you feel about being on the main stage?’ I say bring it on.” Photograph: Shane Cowley

In 2018, a diversity of Irish women’s voices will take their place on the national stage

 The Weaver by Quian Shi is a story about a spider called Stanley and his quest to weave a web he can call home

Sara Keating selects the best new books for children

Children enjoying performances at the  Wide Eyes arts festival, hosted by Baboró, in Galway. Photograph: Anita Murphy

Wide Eyes Festival brings performing arts into the hearts of the very young

Fourth class pupils at St Clare’s Primary School in Harold’s Cross, Dublin, with Arts Council director Orlaith McBride and writer Siobhán Parkinson. The Writers in Schools programme recently celebrated its 40th birthday. Photograph:  Andres Poveda

An education scheme is helping children see writers as living, breathing people rather than mythical beats

Mark O’Rowe: 'You remember that making theatre is less about precision than bringing something to life.' Photograph: Alan Betson

Mark O’Rowe’s latest play ‘The Approach’ was triggered by three women in his head

Frida Nilsson’s “The Ice Sea Pirates” is set on a series of imaginary islands in the Arctic. Its heroine is 10-year-old Siri, a storyteller supreme. Photograph: Cory Glencross/iStock/Getty

Frida Nilsson’s great Arctic tale unfolds packed ice and inky skies

In this story - based on the autobiography of Maria von Trapp - the family escapes across the mountains.

Irish stars Lucy O’Byrne and Celine Byrne shine in the iconic story

Here’s our first look reviews at the early season shows

Photograph: IStock

From the moral to the humorous, there’s plenty of seasonal books to choose from

A round-up of events for families and children during the festive season

We Travel So Far

These books for children of all ages are beautifully illustrated and touch on a number of issues

‘Harry Potter: A World of Magic’ is a lavishly illustrated coffee-table book

A new British Museum exhibit places Rowling’s fiction beside the cultural traditions that inspired it

From ‘The Worms that Saved the World’ by Kevin Doyle and Spark Deeley

There are no parents in ‘The Wonderling’, a stand-out debut by Mira Bartok

President Michael D Higgins and his wife Sabina receive representatives of Poetry Ireland to mark its 40th anniversary and Children’s Books Ireland to mark its 20th anniversary, with from left; Theo Dorgan, Siobhan Parkinson and PJ Lynch at Áras an Uachtaráin.Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Sara Keating asks five debut authors appearing at this weekend’s 20th anniversary event five questions about their work

‘Through the Gate’ by Sally Fawsett tells a story that any child who has experienced change will be able to relate to

Sara Keating picks her favourites for children and young adults

Goodnight Stories for Rebel Girls  aims to counter  gender bias by providing 100 female role models  in a series of short bedtime tales

What does it do girls’ ambition if they they are reduced to silent ciphers or pretty princesses? Several new books for young reade(...)

‘There’s a Walrus in My Bed’ by Ciara Flood looks at many toddlers’ fear of sleeping alone

One new title is an instant classic from two giants of the genre

Patrick and the President (Walker Books, £12.99) is a collaboration between the current Laureate na nÓg, PJ Lynch, and broadcaster Ryan Tubridy. It tells the story of John F Kennedy’s visit to Ireland in 1963 through the eyes of a young boy, Patrick.

A collaboration between PJ Lynch and Ryan Tubridy serves up JFK’s visit with Swiss roll

Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore: Lotte Tickner, Jude Owusu and Fionn Gill in Gary Owen’s play. Photograph: Helen Murray

Children are interested in the same ideas as adults, the director of ‘Jeramee, Hartleby and Oooglemore’ says. You just have to pre(...)

A local library in Lampedusa saw firsthand how wordless books opened up an opportunity for refugees to share worlds and experiences with each other

An initiative to help refugee children on the Italian island of Lampedusa is now a touring exhibition in Ireland

Dawn O’Porter: the accessibility of her writing style will cement The Cows’ popularity. Photograph: Jenny Sharif

Dawn O’Porter’s novel about feminism in the age of social media will appeal to millennials

 Derbhle Crotty: capturing her character’s rich history. Photograph: Bryan Meade

Derbhle Crotty and Denis Conway reach deep for this portrait of middle-aged despair

Owen Roe finds something close to charm in the brutal character of Nicolas. Photograph: Aidan Crawley

Harold Pinter’s vicious play is all about the oppressors. How can cruelty and civility sit so comfortably together?

Sit and ponder: stone bench at Coole. Photograph: Ron Rosenstock

Image enhances wordplay in two revamped classics and a multilingual haiku meditation

Children’s writer and illustrator Judith Kerr: “Everything I have done in my work is autobiographical in one way or another. Taking ideas from cats I’ve known, or my childhood, or something I came up with to entertain my children.”

Judith Kerr, creator of the The Tiger Who Came to Tea and Mog picture-books, also wrote about escaping from the Nazi regime

“It was women who had the power”: Susie Lamb in Horae: Fragments of a Sacred History of Prostitution

Susie Lamb’s show ‘Horae’ asks whether an ancient tradition can be comprehensible to a 21st-century crowd

John MacKenna: His “writing has an unshowy humility despite the potentially epic reach of the stories”. Photograph: Piotr Kwasnik

Disciples of a martyred leader hold fast to ‘fairytales and bullshit’ in John MacKenna’s stories

Khan alternates the astronauts’ present predicament with flashbacks to their lives in Europia, a futuristic self-styled utopia

Katie Khan’s debut novel charts plight of lovers cast adrift in space from utopian home

Lisa Carey: draws on Irish folklore and mythology to explore the extremity of human behaviour

An eerie tale set on a fictional Irish island casts a spell that never loosens its grip

  Kevin Barry recommended “iBird Cloud”, the 2011 memoir by American novelist Annie Proulx, on Alexi. Photograph: Cyril Byrne

Alexi app invites well-known authors and critics to choose favourite digital books

Big The Musical at the Bord Gáis Energy Theatre  in Dublin

A huge encore and digital momentum add colour and noise but children might struggle to see anything fun about being an adult in th(...)

Lisa Dwan: physically lithe and emotionally supple as the doomed, unhappy heroine

A fresh adaptation by Marina Carr offers an ensemble piece rather than a star vehicle and is all the better for it

Clodagh Mooney Duggan in The Snow Queen at Smock Alley Theatre. Photograph: Ste Murray

From panto to ice skating and from circuses to concerts, here is your guide to the best children’s entertainment this winter

A Christmas Carol at the Ark. Photograph:  Ros Kavanagh

The invention at the heart of this show makes it an excellent way to introduce the spookiest of seasonal stories

The Gaiety delivers top-notch performances and production standards in a show that’s not afraid to take risks

Aladdin (Tom Moran) with Dame Lola (Liam Butler) and Wishee (Colin Hughes) in  Aladdin at the Helix Theatre, Dublin

Disney’s lawyers might want to challenge TheatreWorx to a dance off to settle their scores

Supporters of the Waking The Feminists campaign on the Rosie Hackett bridge in Dublin on Monday. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

To mark first anniversary of Waking The Feminists, Gender equality campaigners add 10 points to debate

“The provision of art, music and literature for young audiences has grown enormously.” Aideen Howard, director of the Ark.  Photograph: Alan Betson

The Dublin centre has been providing arts for children for more than 20 years

The final public event after a full year of campaigning by Waking the Feminists took place on the Rosie Hackett bridge, in Dublin. Photograph: Dara Mac Dónaill

Waking the Feminists slate theatre organisations for below-par gender equality record

You know plenty, Jon Snow: Kit Harington in HBO’s “Game of Thrones”.

‘A Game of Thrones: Enhanced Ebook’, ‘The Hobbit (Enhanced Edition)’, ‘Eoin Doherty and the Fixers’

Mark Smith as King Lear in ‘Reason in Madness’. Photograph: Vincent Lillis

Adaptation of Shakespeare has 17 cast members who have an intellectual disability

 Cecelia Ahern: Lyrebird will do nothing to convince literary snobs that popular fiction is worth greater attention, but it does showcase the genre at its best. Photograph: Roberto Ricciuti/Getty Images

Cecelia Ahern’s fans will expect the development of an unlikely love affair and a happy ending; they will also get a study of a ra(...)

Sarah J Maas: “There is a lot less literary snobbery now”

Sarah J Maas secured a publishing deal in 2008 and has published eight novels since

The cast of The Commitments. Photograph: Johan Persson

The tremendous ensemble cannot be faulted but the abundant musical numbers overpower the thin storyline

Johannes and Margarethe

Hansel and Gretel as adults and a boy who befriends a stone are among the highlights of the children’s strand at this year’s Dubli(...)

Barry McGovern in Samuel Beckett’s First Love which is being performed in the O’Reilly Theatre as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Patrick Redmond

Mesmerising performance but something hesitant in Barry McGovern’s delivery

Nell Zink: her new novel is an important, funny book with a pretty sharp moral and social message at its heart

Nell Zink uses brilliant satire to take potshots at all sides in her third novel

Margaret Atwood: her novel Hag-Seed is a modern prose version of The Tempest. “It was absolutely my first choice. It has a magician. It has fairies. Can it even be done?”   Photograph: Liam Sharp

Whether tackling Shakespeare, writing poetry or creating a graphic novel, the Canadian author lets her social conscience shine thr(...)

 PJ Gallagher in the “anti-theatrical” Alien Documentary, part of Dublin Theatre Festival

PJ Gallagher leads a likeable trio of men who build things and talk their way around football, fishing and extraterrestrial life

Jessica Thom, right, and her assistant, Jess Mabel Jones

Jessica Thom turns the ‘crazy language-generating machine’ that is Tourette’s to her advantage

Swan Lake Loch na hEala, as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Colm Hogan

Dublin Theatre Festival: Mikel Murfi takes multiple roles in Michael Keegan Dolan majestic retelling of the classic story-ballet

Although Collins is joined at times by his charming son, Johnny, most of the performance is stilted and static  Photograph: Al Craig

Dublin Theatre Festival: a powerful, necessary and moving moment of social testimony that doesn’t quite work as a piece of theatre

John Olohan as Himself and Bríd Ní Neachtain as Maisie in ‘The Remains of Maisie Duggan’ by Carmel Winters, directed by Ellen McDougall at the  Abbey Theatre as part of Dublin Theatre Festival. Photograph: Ros Kavanagh

Dublin Theatre Festival: corpse comes back to life revealing the explosive dynamic of a strange and violent family

Theatre Lovett’s The Feast of Bones. “Production values and costs shouldn’t decrease in line with your audiences’ height.”

How do we capitalise on the innovative performances for young audiences? We asked the experts for their wishlist

Oliver Jeffers: “This idea of the stoic man; generations being indoctrinated into the idea that not communicating is a good thing.” Photograph: Cyril Byrne

The artist's latest picture book is about the way the fantasy worlds of children’s books create the fabric of the grown-up mind. H(...)

Clare Dunne and Karl Queensborough in rehearsals for A Midsummer Night’s Dream. Directed by Sean Holmes and Stef O’Driscoll at Bord Gáis Energy Theatre, as part of the Dublin Theatre Festival

In the hands of Filter Theatre, live music and comedy shake up Shakespeare’s classic

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