Books we love in December 2023

Copy That, Copy Cat Inventions Inspired by Animals

Here are a few of our favourite books from this month. 

  • Calling the Whales

    Author: Jasbinder Bilan Illustrator: Skylar White
    Publisher: Barrington Stoke
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    A powerful and quick to read adventure story on saving a humpback whale in Scotland.  

  • Peace on Earth

    Author: Smriti Halls Illustrator: David Litchfield
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    Peace on earth – what a wonderful idea that would be! The idea of a sparkling, joyful world is a beautiful one. Yet, sometimes, we can hurt each other, and feel the fires of rage burn deep within us. At times like that, it’s hard to find a sense of peace. 

  • How the Grinch Lost Christmas

    Author: Alastair Heim (based on prequel by Dr Seuss) Illustrator: Aristides Ruiz
    Publisher: Harper Collins Children’s Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 8+

    In this joyful picture book follow-up to classic Christmas tale How the Grinch Stole Christmas, the Grinch has changed his ways.He is no longer the grouchy, mean-spiritedhermit who wants to ruin Christmas for the Whos, the residents of Who-ville. In fact, he now loves Christmas. 

  • Luna Loves Christmas

    Author: Joseph Coelho Illustrator: Fiona Lumbers
    Publisher: Andersen
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Luna and her family are doing something a little different this year for Christmas – they’re volunteering. First, Luna helps Mum deliver food bank packages to neighbours and then she and Dad bake cookies for the big community Christmas dinner. A truly magical book and a real celebration of community and family.   

  • You Choose Christmas

    Author: Pippa Goodhart Illustrator: Nick Sharratt
    Publisher: Puffin
    Interest age: 6-8

    A festive treat of a book that will provide stimulus for conversation, imaginative dreaming and much bonding over choosing the same thing! Fun, brightly illustrated and part of a brilliant series. 

  • Listening to the Quiet

    Author: Cassie Silva Illustrator: Frances Ives
    Publisher: Lantana
    Interest age: 5+
    Reading age: 4-5

    A beautiful and thought-provoking picture book about a mum losing her hearing.

  • The Littlest Yak – Home is Where the Herd Is

    Author: Lu Fraser Illustrator: Kate Hindley
    Publisher: Simon and Schuster
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 4+

    This beautiful rhyming picture book re-introduces Gertie the little yak and her yak family as they are about to embark on an epic journey to relocate to a new home for the herd. Will Little Gertie get to their new home without any disasters? Funny and heart-warming.  

  • Snap!

    Author: Anna Walker 
    Publisher: Scribe Books
    Interest age: 2-3

    A delightful book about a small frog on a perilous journey, filled with fun actions and words to share and copy. Perfect for bedtime!  

  • The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’s Christmas Shenanigans

    Author: Alex T. Smith
    Publisher: Macmillan Children’s Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 8+

    When the Mouse King steals all the sweets across the land, the Nutcracker embarks on a riotous journey to Marshmallow Mountain to save Christmas. This hilarious tale with vibrant, energetic illustrations is sure to become a festive favourite.  

     

  • Heavy Metal Badger

    Author: Duncan Beedie
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 4-5

    Funny picture book about a Badger who is loud and wild and eventually finds his tribe in a heavy rock band. 

  • Whose Dog is This?

    Author: Andrew Sanders Illustrator: Aysha Awwad
    Publisher: Macmillan
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 7+

    It’sonly been ten minutes since Albert’s dad left the living room, but in that time, chaos has occurred! Dad comes in to find a flustered Albert lying amongst toppled-over furniturewith mud and macaroni cheese covering the walls. Albert blames the mess on the dog in the room. But wait a minute – Albert doesn’t have a dog...Whose dog is this? 

  • Monsters Never Get Haircuts

    Author: Marie-Hélène Versini Illustrator: Vincent Boudgourd
    Publisher: Boxer Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    Let’s get to know monsters a little better.What do they like? What don’t they like? The simple text promotes conversations about what makes us different, using slightly scary – but thrilling! –monsters. 

  • Step Father Christmas

    Author: L. D. Lapinski
    Publisher: Orion
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    Harper suspects Mum’s new boyfriend, Nick, is really Father Christmas. He works with reindeer and has a big white beard, for goodness sake! But can she prove it? A fun, festive read. 

  • Illustrated Welsh Folk Tales for Young and Old

    Author: Peter Stevenson
    Publisher: The History Press
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Lavishly illustrated in glorious colour, the stories in this stunning collection range from updates of ancient, traditional tales to charming snippets of entertaining nonsense but both text and pictures share a quirky edge and slightly anarchic humour with knowing winks and witty asides to the reader. 

  • Catch!

    Author: Trish Cooke Illustrator: Ken Wilson-Max
    Publisher: Alanna Max
    Interest age: 4-5

    Kiona and Mummy are playing catch, but Kiona is finding it tricky. Everything she tries to catch is either too big, too small or too hard or too soft. Luckily, Mummy knows there is a very special something Kiona can always catch...  

  • First Festivals: Hanukkah

    Author: Rabbi Ruti Regan (Consultant) Illustrator: Kathryn Selbert
    Publisher: Ladybird Books
    Interest age: 2-3

    This sturdy lift-the-flap board book provides a first introduction for very young children to Hanukkah, the Jewish Festival of Lights.  

  • Casander Darkbloom and the Threads of Power

    Author: PA Staff
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    When Cas discovers hemust defeat a powerfully evil Master of All, as the Foretold, he goes to the Wayward School tolearn to control his magical powers. Packed with themes of friendship, courage and kindness, and with good disability representation.  

  • The Egg Incident

    Author: Ziggy Hanaor Illustrator: Daisy Wynter
    Publisher: Cicada Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Humphrey the egg isn’t allowed to do anything energetic – especially not climb walls. But when he and his new friend are locked in the park, he has to escape somehow! A very funny graphic novel that will have children giggling out loud. 

  • The Girl Who Became a Fish

    Author: Polly Ho-Yen Illustrator: Sojung Kim-McCarthy
    Publisher: Knights Of
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    Despite being terrified of water, Ita feels strangely drawn to the nearby river and, when she ventures to put her hands beneath the surface, discovers something unexpected and magical that gradually changes how she sees the world. 

  • The Silver Road

    Author: Sinéad O’Hart
    Publisher: Piccadilly
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9+

    Dealing with contemporary concerns such as climate change, yet steeped in ancient Irish myth, history and folklore, this thrilling fantasy crackles and fizzes like the magic within its pages. 

  • Princess Katie’s Kittens: Suki in the Snow

    Author: Julie Sykes Illustrator: Sam Loman
    Publisher: Piccadilly Press
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 6+

    A charming chapter book starring a curious kitty and a princess who loves her very much. Wintry, snowy fun! 

  • Mama’s Sleeping Scarf

    Author: Nwa Grace-James (AKA Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie) Illustrator: Joelle Avelino
    Publisher: Harper Collins
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 7+

    While waiting for her mama to return from work, Mama’s sleeping scarf becomes an object of magic and whimsy in Chino’s imaginative play. 

  • Where's Mr Penguin Buggy book edition

    Author: Illustrator: Ingela P Arrhenius
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 0-1

    With felt flaps to lift, and a mirror at the end, this small and sturdy book can be attached to a buggy or highchair and enjoyed wherever Baby is! An absolute treat. 

  • Kay’s Incredible Inventions

    Author: Adam Kay Illustrator: Henry Paker
    Publisher: Penguin Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 8+

    A funny, informative collection of inventions, both useful and failed, across the centuries from a best-selling author and illustrator pair. 

  • Evolution: Join us on an exhilarating journey from the origins of life to the present day!

    Author: Sarah Darwin & Eva-Maria Sadowski Illustrator: Olga Baumert
    Publisher: Natural History Museum & What on Earth Books
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 9-11

    Evolution can be defined as the way that living things change over time to suit their environment. In this rather stunning and highly informative read, real-life scientists Sarah Darwin and Eva-Maria Sadowski introduce readers to some of the amazing animals, plants and fungi that have lived on our planet, from dinosaurs to early humans, mushrooms and bacteri…

  • Cat on the Run: Episode 1: Cat of Death!

    Author: Aaron Blabey
    Publisher: Scholastic
    Interest age: 9-11
    Reading age: 7+

    This hilarious, action-packed comic bookis both a funny story with the relatable set-up of internet celebrity, and an astute take on cancel culture and social media. Presented in black and white, with highlights of red for a pop of colour, and short chunks of text, it’s a more accessible book for struggling readers, and should have great appeal for reluctant…

  • If It’s Christmas and You Know It...

    Author: Katrina Charman Illustrator: Angie Rozelaar
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 2-3

    Bright, inviting illustrations and catchy, rhyming text make this a super festive, super fun book to share with babies and toddlers. With sliders to push and pull! 

  • Copy That, Copy Cat: Inventions Inspired by Animals

    Author: Katrina Tangen Illustrator: Giulia Orecchia
    Publisher: Barefoot Books
    Interest age: 4-5
    Reading age: 2-3

    The rhyming text intentionally leads the child towards a wrong answer every time, and then the real answer is revealed under the large flap. With repeated reading, this might mean that children will learn the correct answer, remember it, and then get the pleasure of being right when they revisit the book. 

  • Nikhil and Jay: Off to India

    Author: Chitra Soundar Illustrator: Soofiya
    Publisher: Otter-Barry
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    This delightful first chapter book is illustrated in black and white on every page and is a great way for newly independent readers to experience Christmas in India in the company of two excited young boys.  

  • The Night Train

    Author: Matilda Woods Illustrator: Penny Neville-Lee
    Publisher: Little Tiger
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 7+

    The magical Night Train takes some very special passengers to Sleepy Town, where they will become the main characters in children’s dreams. An imaginative, wintery tale with short chapters and colourful, expressive illustrations. 

  • Bunnies in a Sleigh: A Crazy Christmas Story!

    Author: Philip Ardagh Illustrator: Ben Mantle
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    This absolutely brilliant Christmas romp of a picture book is a real delight. Ardagh’s rhyming text rolls off the tongue very satisfactorily and there are lots of nice repetitive moments that invite little ones to repeat along and even shout out – particularly when the sleigh appears to be headed straight for a clock tower! Ben Mantle’s lovely illustrations …

  • One Christmas in Our Building

    Author: Johanna Lindemann Illustrator: Andrea Stegmaier
    Publisher: Floris Books
    Interest age: 4-5

    When Emma’s turkey goes missing, her neighbours join forces to ensure she has an extra special Christmas day. A heart-warming picture book, full of Christmas spirit.  

  • How Does Santa Go Down the Chimney?

    Author: Mac Barnett Illustrator: Jon Klassen
    Publisher: Walker Books
    Interest age: 6-8
    Reading age: 4-5

    This absolutely brilliant Christmas picture book is just as deadpan and hilarious as you might expect, given this is the team that gave us Circle and Square, and The Wolf, the Duck and the Mouse. New and old fans of Klassen’s will love his adorable, offbeat illustration, and the text is warm and quirky too. A real treat. 

  • Animal Tales from India: Ten Stories from the Panchatantra

    Author: Nikita Gill Illustrator: Chaaya Prabhat
    Publisher: Nosy Crow
    Interest age: 7+
    Reading age: 6-8

    This engaging collection of ancient Indian animal fables is accompanied by stylish, vibrant illustrations.