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Books we love: December 2018

Stay A Little Longer

Here are the books we reviewed and loved a lot this month: for preschoolers up into the teens. Happy reading!

  • Armadillo and Hare

    Author: Jeremy Strong Illustrator: Rebecca Bagley
    Publisher: David Fickling Books

    In this adorable collection of ten short stories, friends Armadillo and Hare meet other animals in a variety of encounters that centre on the importance of small things. Full of gentle humour and philosophy, reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh.

  • Atlas of Adventures: Wonders of the World

    Author: Ben Handicott Illustrator: Lucy Letherland
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

    From the Eiffel Tower to Angkor Wat, Death Valley to Easter Island, this edition of the beautiful and information-packed Atlas of Adventures series explores 30 wonders of the world, featuring a mix of human structures and natural phenomena.

  • Christmas: A Tiny Little Story

    Author: Lisa Jones & Edward Underwood
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    A colourful and clear cloth book with thick, crinkly pages and a sturdy buggy handle to keep the book with little ones on the go, Christmas: A Tiny Little Story is a lovely present for a baby’s first or second festive season.

  • Conspiracy of Ravens

    Author: Leah Moore / John Reppion / Sally Jane Thompson
    Publisher: Dark Horse Comics / Penguin Random House

    Anne Ravenhall is just trying to get through her exams at boarding school - until a mysterious aunt leaves her a mysterious locket. Soon, she's caught up in a roaring supernatural adventure...

  • Doctor Who: The Secret in Vault 13

    Author: David Solomons Illustrator: Laura Ellen Anderson and George Ermos
    Publisher: Penguin/BBC

    This rip-roaring and fast-paced sci-fi adventure is additional to the stories of the TV series but gives fresh insights into Jodie Whitaker’s incarnation of Doctor Who. It’s an incredible bonus for fans and a total thrill to read. 

  • Emily Brown and Father Christmas

    Author: Cressida Cowell Illustrator: Neal Layton
    Publisher: Hodder Children’s Books

    Father Christmas is on a mission to be modern this year. But are the old ways sometimes best? The unshakeable Emily Brown is just the girl to sort Santa out and save everyone's Christmas. Fabulously fun and festive!

  • Explorers on Witch Mountain

    Author: Alex Bell Illustrator: Tomislav Tomić
    Publisher: Faber & Faber

    This is the second volume in an exciting series about these tenacious junior explorers. The eclectic mix of characters provide plenty of humour in this marvellous fantasy adventure that celebrates courage, loyalty and diversity. 

  • Firebird

    Author: Elizabeth Wein
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke

    The atmosphere and setting of World War Two Russia are brought vividly to life through Anastasia: she’s a young woman full of hope and dreams, yet entirely a product of her country. This novella packs a real punch.

  • Frostfire

    Author: Jamie Smith
    Publisher: Chicken House

    On the day of her Choosing, Sabira is haunted by memories of her lost brother and anxieties about the future of her city. An icy, magical, coming-of-age adventure, set high on a sacred mountain, haunted by venomous mutants and deadly monsters.

  • Hair, it’s a Family Affair!

    Author: Mylo Freeman
    Publisher: Cassava Republic

    This celebration of black hair, demonstrating the variety of hairstyles found in a single family, is another delightful read from Mylo Freeman: full of vibrant illustration and some simple text about elements of everyday life.

  • How To Feed Your Parents

    Author: Ryan Miller Illustrator: Hatem Aly
    Publisher: Sterling Children’s Books

    Bringing a real twist to family meal times, this humorous story highlights that parents can also be fussy eaters. A real treat for foodie lovers, as Matilda explores the fascinating world of cuisine. There are also recipes to try at the back!

  • How Winston Delivered Christmas

    Author: Alex T Smith
    Publisher: Macmillan Children's Books

    How Winston Delivered Christmas is a delightful book written in 24 and a half chapters that are designed to be read, one a day, throughout December. Interspersed with Winston’s story are 24 activities. A wonderful idea for Christmas.

  • Iguana Boy vs the 30 Second Thief

    Author: James Bishop Illustrator: Rikin Parekh
    Publisher: Hodder

    Iguana Boy has started at Superhero HQ, and his first mission is to escape the Cats in Trees department. Just like the first Iguana Boy book, this is zany, funny and warm – like the X-Men if Spike Milligan had invented their superpowers.

  • Lavinia and the Magic Ring

    Author: Bianca Pitzorno Illustrator: Quentin Blake
    Publisher: Catnip

    A modern fairy tale for young readers inspired by the classic story of The Little Match Girl but without the tragic ending and featuring a magic ring and enormous quantities of stinky poo.

  • Little Robin Red Vest

    Author: Jan Fearnley
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    Jan Fearnley’s tale of how Robin got his red breast is celebrating its 20 years' anniversary. With fresh artwork and a lovely hardback gift edition, this is a lovely Christmas present for picture book fans.

  • Maps of the United Kingdom

    Author: Rachel Dixon Illustrator: Livi Gosling
    Publisher: Wide Eyed Editions

    This comprehensive hardback guide to the UK is full of illustrated maps, facts and historical titbits. A great way to get children excited about exploring – or perhaps whet their interest about any planned holidays or day trips.

  • Peter Pan

    Author: J M Barrie retold in rhyme by Caryl Hart Illustrator: Sarah Warburton
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    In this delightful gift edition, J M Barrie’s classic tale about the boy who wouldn’t grow up is simplified and told entirely in verse, while still retaining the magical joy of the original. 

  • Pip and Posy: The Christmas Tree

    Author: Axel Scheffler
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    Pip and Posy are putting up the Christmas tree. Mysteriously, when Posy goes to get some candy, she returns to find that one of the biscuits has gone. What happened? And why does Pip suddenly feel sick? A lovely picture book with a gentle moral. 

  • Planetarium

    Author: Raman Prinja Illustrator: Chris Wormell
    Publisher: Big Picture Press

    Written by an astrophysicist and illustrated by the phenomenally talented Chris Wormell, Planetarium explores the solar system and universe as we know it. A beautiful and wonderful book and a real treasure for any child.

  • Rebel Cats! Brave Tales of Feisty Felines

    Author: Kimberlee Hamilton
    Publisher: Scholastic

    This collection of incredible stories about fabulous felines from history and the present day takes readers around the world with stories of bravery, activism and the love and loyalty that all cat owners will recognise. 

  • Sammy Claws the Christmas Cat

    Author: Lucy Rowland Illustrator: Paula Bowles
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    Meet Sammy Claws, Santa’s sleepy pet cat, who has a more adventurous Christmas Eve than he first anticipates! The rhyming text and humorous antics of the lovable cat make this an ideal tale to read aloud to young children during the festive period. 

  • Santa Claus vs The Easter Bunny

    Author: Fred Blunt
    Publisher: Andersen Press

    Fred Blunt’s anarchic, hilarious story delights with a fat, complacent Santa and an exhausted, desperate Bunny whose bad deed manages to come right in the end. A delightful mash-up (or meltdown) of festive characters, full of genuine laughs.

  • Santa’s Wonderful Workshop

    Author: Elys Dolan
    Publisher: Oxford

    Father Christmas is planning for another year but is beset by continual problems. He brings in some additional penguin workers, but they're rather rowdy and things keep going wrong. Like all Dolan's picture books, this is utterly joyful and endlessly original. 

  • Secret Science: The Amazing World Beyond Your Eyes

    Author: Dara O'Briain (with Sally Morgan) Illustrator: Dan Bramall
    Publisher: Scholastic

    A whistle-stop tour through all the extraordinary things that happen behind the scenes to make our normal lives happen: science is going on everywhere, all the time. Funny and fascinating and it looks gorgeous, too. 

  • Stay A Little Longer

    Author: Bali Rai
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke

    Since Aman’s father died, nothing has been the same. Then she befriends a new neighbour, who is lonely too. This warm, optimistic book carries a vital message about the importance of confronting and resisting homophobia in all parts of society. 

  • Super Frozen Magic Forest

    Author: Matty Long
    Publisher: Oxford

    The third in the excellent, giggle-inducing Super Happy Magic Forest series has a distinctly Lord of the Rings homage which will amuse parents no end, and the semi-comic format is original yet accessible for young ones.

  • The Dog That Saved Christmas

    Author: Nicola Davies Illustrator: Mike Byrne
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke

    A sensitive and fascinating portrayal of how Christmas might be experienced by a boy on the autistic spectrum, and how a therapy dog provides reassurance and helps him enjoy the festive season.

  • The Girl, the Cat and the Navigator

    Author: Matilda Woods
    Publisher: Scholastic

    When Oona Britt is born, she is made to feel like a disappointment, but she doesn’t let this stop her achieving her dream of joining her father on one of his voyages. Readers will become utterly engrossed as they join Oona on her adventure of a lifetime.

  • The Night I Met Father Christmas

    Author: Ben Miller Illustrator: Daniela Terrazzini
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster

    This magical story of the origins of Father Christmas is utterly festive and charming, and adults will recognise and enjoy the nod to A Christmas Carol. A perfect bedtime story while counting down the days to Christmas.

  • The Nights Before Christmas

    Author: Various Illustrator: Tony Ross
    Publisher: Andersen Press

    A beautifully illustrated collection of 24 classic stories, poems and carols that focus on the traditions and the spiritual origins of Christmas. Ideal shared reading for each December night of Advent.

  • The Snowman

    Author: Michael Morpurgo Illustrator: Robin Shaw
    Publisher: Penguin

    To mark the 40th anniversary of Raymond Briggs' The Snowman, Michael Morpurgo has written a chapter book for those who hanker for backstory, but still want the timeless magic of the original. A book made for Christmas snuggles and wishes. 

  • Where’s Santa Claus?

    Author: Ingela P Arrhenius
    Publisher: Nosy Crow

    This charming series of Nosy Crow’s baby board book takes a seasonal turn with Where’s Santa Claus? It's sure to delight tiny bookworms even on their very first Chrismas and is perfect for practising turning pages and a very first game of peek-a-boo!

  • You Ain't Seen Nothing Yeti!

    Author: Steven Butler Illustrator: Steven Lenton
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster

    Fairies, leprechauns, ghosts and others are arriving full of cheer at a magical hotel to celebrate Trogmanay, a summer festival where humans are not welcome. The second book of this series is full of laughs and fast-paced pandemonium.

  • You’re Snug with Me

    Author: Chitra Soundar Illustrator: Poonam Mistry
    Publisher: Lantana Publishing

    Mama Polar Bear tells her cubs about what lies outside their den, and reassures them not to worry or be frightened: ‘hush now, you’re snug with me.’ Lyrical, thought-provoking and stylishly illustrated,with a subtle environmental message.