THE POWER, by Jesse Harris ($51 each, Red Fox) Ages 12-15. IT had to happen. Adult books have been selling for years on the back of lurid covers and ambiguous fly-leaf notes promising illicit delights for solitary, inadequate readers. Children's publishers and writers have, thus far, resisted the temptation to follow suit. Until now that is. This dreadful series looks like the opening salvo in the war for an increased share of a shrinking market and the victims are the unfortunate consumers. There is a place for stories about the darker side of human nature and these do exist, the late lamented William Golding providing the lead. But, appealing to the lowest common denominator, the six titles in this series promise much more than they deliver. McKenzie Gold is psychic - well at least she has premonitions and visions - and this power leads her and her lacklustre friends into a series of weak adventures that build tension gradually into an anti-climax. RIDING THE GREAT WHITE, by Gina Wilson (Red Fox, $60). Ages 11-16. WHAT looks, at first sight, like just another teenage summer love diatribe turns out to take the familiar rites of passage theme, gives it a twist and emerges with a poignant tale that examines the difference between infatuation and genuine love. Gin, Ruth, Alan, Tilly, John and Jason are a disparate bunch who only come together during the long summer months because there is nothing else to do. The arrival of the street-wise Gav upsets the precarious balance and allied to hormone explosion the result is adventure and trauma. BLOOD, by Alan Durant (Red Fox, $60). Ages 12 and above. A GAUDY front cover hides a brilliantly constructed thriller. Robert Harrison's parents are brutally murdered in their suburban home and his initial shock soon turns to anger as he becomes frustrated by officialdom's efforts and begins his own investigation into the mystery. His inquiries reveal shadowy details of his parents' lives and things about himself he would rather not know. As he approaches the truth, the discussions he has with his psychiatrist, Sigmund, bring his sanity into question. Skilfully written and seething with tension, the book pulls few punches but does not sensationalise as the cover might suggest. Highly recommended. THE PIG THAT BARKED, by Christine Morton (Hodder and Stoughton, $85) Ages 4-7. DADS should be more carefulabout their throwaway lines. When Jill finds a sort of pip in her bacon one morning her dad tells her it is a pig seed that will probably grow into a pig. Rushing home from school, Jill plants the ''seed'' and nurtures it with a variety of techniques for a whole week. Nothing happens. Then one day a creature does appear on the spot looking remarkably like a puppy. Christine Morton leaves the question of whether Jill really believes the story unanswered, and encourages young readers to explore the nature of Jill's relationship with her father in a simple and manageable way. Tastefully illustrated by Angie Sage, a pleasant and entertaining story. BAT CONSERVATION, Headway Project Book (Hodder and Stoughton, $68). Ages 8-13. BATS are among a number of species whose habitat is under threat. Sponsored by the Bat Conservation Trust, this book presents the facts about these nocturnal creatures in an attractive, readable format. WHAT'S FOR DINNER? and other stories (Knight, $51). Age 7-11. TO celebrate the 25th anniversary of the Federation of Children's Book Groups, a number of figures from the book business were asked to nominate their favourite story for young readers. The quality of the material cannot be denied with a range of authors reading something like a Who's Who? But whether these extracts taken from longer books stand by themselves is open to question. A tasty sampler in aid of a good cause. Also available: Merv on the Road, by Alison Prince (Young Piper, $51, six-nine); If it Weren't for Sebastian, by Jean Ure (Red Fox, $60, 11-16); Enemies are Dangerous, by Gwen Grant (Lions, $60, eight to 12); Josh's Expedition, by Margaret Nash and Sue Broadly (Red Fox, $52, four to seven).