Books we love this month

Every month, we review dozens of children's books. Here are the ones we liked best of all for December 2017. 

Whether they're a teeny toddler or a particular teen, here's where you can find your child's next amazing read from among the very latest books. 

For ages 0-4

Amazing Baby: Mummy, Baby

Beth Harwood, illustrated by Emma Dodd

A chunky glossy board book with exciting tabs to slide and reveal which babies belong to which mummies. Little children will love the "slide and reveal" format and it will make for a lovely talking point.

Read more about Amazing Baby: Mummy, Baby

Big and Small

Britta Teckentrup

It is never too early to introduce some information about how an apple grows from a seed, or how a shark survives by eating fish, and this lovely little board book is an excellent way to ease some non-fiction facts into even the youngest babies’ book routine.

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Chibi Samurai Wants a Pet

Sanae Ishida

Little Kunoichi is a ninja-girl-in-training and has a very special pet – a fearless, powerful, super-duper Ninja Bunny. A charming picture book, combining the search for a suitable pet with a fun look at selected aspects of Japanese folklore and culture.

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Ella Bella Ballerina and The Magic Toyshop

James Mayhew

This charming picture book with timeless illustrations is ideal for children who love ballet, theatre and a touch of magic. 

Read more about Ella Bella Ballerina and The Magic Toyshop

Here We Are

Oliver Jeffers

This manual to life on Earth from new dad Oliver Jeffers to his baby son is simple, life-affirming and showcases the beautiful diversity in the world.

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Katinka’s Tail

Judith Kerr

Katinka is an ordinary and lovely white pussycat – apart from her tail, which is stripy. This is a beautiful, funny, warm and tender picture book, which takes a joyous and magical twist at the end. Fans of Judith Kerr’s Mog books will love it, of course...

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Little Red Reading Hood

Lucy Rowland, illustrated by Ben Mantle

Written in witty verse and accompanied by colourful illustrations, this wonderful contemporary tale is great to read aloud and ideal to show young children that stories have the power to take readers on all sorts of exciting, imaginative journeys.

Read more about Little Red Reading Hood

Rumble! Roar! Let’s Build

Carlos Ballesteros

A beautifully produced board book showing the noisy vehicles at work on a building site. A lovely little book to capture the attention of any babies showing an interest in diggers and building vehicles… Or anything noisy!

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The Grotlyn

Benji Davies

Atmospheric illustrations with a nostalgic feel help build suspense in this delightful rhyming story about how your mind can play tricks on you.

Read more about The Grotlyn

You Choose In Space

Pippa Goodhart, illustrated by Nick Sharratt

You choose how this story unfolds, so a new adventure can be enjoyed each time of reading. A spectacular book to stimulate creative storytelling and language development, full of vibrant illustration. Not to be missed!

Read more about You Choose In Space

For ages 5-12

Beauty and the Beast

Katie Haworth, illustrated by Dinara Mirtalipova

This fairy tale is told very well by Katie Haworth, but the real star of the show is Dinara Mirtalipova's rich illustrations, full of deep, vivid colour, and the incredible 3D scenes that appear through clever paper cutouts.

Read more about Beauty and the Beast

Brownstone's Mythical Collection: Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx

Joe Todd-Stanton

The second book in Joe Todd-Stanton’s Brownstone’s Mythical Collection stands alone well as a highly illustrated graphic novel for younger readers. The pictures are stunning and this is a real treat for kids that love adventure and quick reads.

Read more about Brownstone's Mythical Collection: Marcy and the Riddle of the Sphinx

Christmas Dinner of Souls

Ross Montgomery, Illustrated by David Litchfield

Although it has an overarching narrative, Christmas Dinner of Souls is also a collection of hair-raising and spine-tingling short stories. Some of these are deliciously, deliriously ghoulish, and if your child is the sort that hungers for chills and thrills, they will lap this up.

Read more about Christmas Dinner of Souls

Gaming Record Breakers

Clive Gifford, design by Jake Da’Costa and WildPixel Ltd

Presented in a colourful, large paperback with each double-page spread dedicated to either a different game or gaming-related topic, this is an ideal read for any gaming-mad kid.

Read more about Gaming Record Breakers

Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales

Hilary McKay, illustrated by Sarah Gibb

This gorgeous collection from Hilary McKay will make you see your favourite fairy tales in new and surprising ways; it's a book that you and your children will treasure.

Read more about Hilary McKay's Fairy Tales

I Killed Father Christmas

Anthony McGowan, illustrated by Chris Riddell

This enchanting festive tale is a poignant reminder of what Christmas is really about – love and kindness. With Christmas jokes and games hidden in the jacket flaps, this delightful tale is sure to become a firm Christmas favourite.

Read more about I Killed Father Christmas

Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki

Kevin Crossley-Holland, illustrated by Jeffrey Alan Love

If your children loved the recent Marvel movies featuring Thor but haven’t heard the original Norse legends before, this fantastic compendium of new retellings would be an excellent place to start.

Read more about Norse Myths: Tales of Odin, Thor and Loki

One Christmas Wish

Katherine Rundell, Illustrated by Emily Sutton

One Christmas Wish has the right amount of charm and mischief to delight young readers, and Emily Sutton’s beautiful illustrations evoke the Christmases we dream of: cosy, colourful and magical.

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Prisoner of Ice and Snow

Ruth Lauren

Valor’s privileged family is brought to its knees when her sister, Sacha, is imprisoned in an ice fortress for stealing a valuable music box from the royal household. Ideal winter reading.

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Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry

Various, illustrated by Riya Chowdhury, Elanor Chuah and ...

A new collection of poems from five young poets, all aged 26 and under. This selection of exciting and inspiring poems from young talent is guaranteed to get young minds working, and hopefully writing poetry of their own. 

Read more about Rising Stars: New Young Voices in Poetry

Tales from India

Bali Rai

Discover India’s rich folk-tale heritage and ancient cultures, with this captivating collection of both popular and lesser known, mostly secular Indian folk tales – reworked for a modern audience.

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The Ali-A Adventures: Game On!

Ali-A and Cavan Scott, illustrated by Aleksandar Sotirovski

Ali-A is a popular YouTube gamer and this is his first book, co-written with Cavan Scott. It's a fast-paced, fun read with amazing visuals that gaming fans will love, as well as anyone else that enjoys a good yarn.

Read more about The Ali-A Adventures: Game On!

The Creakers

Tom Fletcher, illustrated by Shane Devries

The Creakers is a charmingly written adventure story. Monsters under the bed (AKA The Creakers) are acknowledged as scary, but the warm and humorous narrator will make more nervous children feel they are in safe hands. A really lovely, funny book.

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The Greatest Magician in the World

Matt Edmondson and Garry Parsons

A sweet story about believing in yourself with a series of fantastic magic tricks included in various ingenious slots, boxes and envelopes – all engineered to provide an exciting book full of brilliant activities, as well as a storyline.

Read more about The Greatest Magician in the World

The Hippo at the End of the Hall

Helen Cooper

Ben and his mother's ordinary life is disturbed when Ben receives an invitation to a museum of curiosities. With exquisite descriptions ratcheting up tension along the way, this book will convince you that magic really does exist. 

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The Midnight Peacock

Katherine Woodfine

In book four of The Sinclair’s Mysteries, Sophie and Lil’s fledgling detective agency is making ripples across London. A tightly woven and engaging adventure, The Midnight Peacock is full of characters you can’t help but root for.

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The Snow Angel

Lauren St John, illustrated by Catherine Hyde

Twelve-year-old Makena was born for the mountains, and she dreams of following in his footsteps. However, the arrival of the Ebola virus shatters her world and her life becomes a struggle to survive. A story of resilience, kindness and the power of nature. 

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What Would She Do?

Kay Woodward

In this collection of women’s stories from across history and the present day, Kay Woodward introduces the reader to 25 heroines from around the world: featuring awe-inspiring artists, scientists and political activists, among others.

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For ages 12+

A Shiver of Snow and Sky

Lisa Lueddecke

When the lights in the sky turn red, the inhabitants of Skane know that the Goddess is warning them of great danger ahead. An atmospheric and thrilling quest that is packed with adventure and magic. 

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Geis 2: A Game Without Rules

Alexis Deacon

In this sequel to Geis: A Matter of Life and Death, Alexis Deacon creates a darker, perilous fairytale, in which his characters have to be wily to escape and win. An original, edgy and haunting graphic novel, which will appeal to adventure and fantasy fans.

Read more about Geis 2: A Game Without Rules

Grave Matter

Juno Dawson, illustrated by Alex T Smith

After Eliza dies, Samuel gets caught up in the sinister rituals of an occult sect, which promises to bring back his one true love.A chilling, supernatural tale of love, obsession and the darkest magic presented in a high-spec, super-readable format. 

Read more about Grave Matter


Ryan Graudin

Born out of time, Far McCarthy has always planned to be a time traveller, but his hopes are dashed when a computer appears to malfunction. However, it turns out to have been no malfunction, but a plot – one which will involve him, and everyone he loves.

Read more about Invictus

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