Toy guide 2016 – and the best children’s books to go with them

Published on: 5 Rhagfyr 2016 Author: Anna McKerrow

Here's a round up of books your child will love in the present pile, based on the toys that they're begging you for this Christmas.

Christmas presents

Is your child obsessed with some of the big toy brands around at the moment? Are they feverishly awaiting whatever new kitten-megastructure-electro-light-up-gravity-defying-plush-doll is the latest in the range?

If the answer to this is YES, here are our book recommendations for the stories they might not have found yet – but the ones that they're bound to love.

Star Wars

Suggestions for Star Wars fans

With the release of Rogue One this Christmas and the past few years' reboots of popular franchises Star Wars and Star Trek, sci-fi is on a roll.

You could treat the teen in your life to Eugene Lambert's The Sign of One, a Star Wars-meets-Firefly-meets-The-Hunger-Games epic space adventure with strong boy and girl characters.

Alternatively, for confident upper primary or lower secondary age readers, check out Philip Reeve's Mortal Engines series, ahead of the film being made next year.

Children's Laureate Chris Riddell's Alienography: Tips for Tiny Tyrants is a phantasmagoria of illustrated aliens, pull-out card games, flaps and other fun for ages 5-8.

Lastly, Chris Riddell and Martin Stewart's Scavenger series are heavily illustrated novels packed full of adventure, space tech and friendship for 8-12s.


Suggestions for Minecraft fans

The official Minecraft books from Egmont and Mojang are a must for the Ender-and-mob-obsessed child, but a new unofficial fan fiction series by Jim Anotsu from Puffin, starting with The Sword of Herobrine, is also ideal for mid-to-older primary age readers and up.

Minecraft fans might also like Lucy Coats's Beast of Olympus series for its monster-filled fun, or a graphic novel with a mythical theme for younger readers like Arthur and The Golden Rope by Joe Todd-Stanton.


Suggestions for superhero fans

There are, of course, lots of official superhero books by Marvel, DC Comics and the like - Daredevil, Spider-Man and Ms Marvel would be good places to start for readers aged 10+.

But if you're looking for something different, why not try Tamsin and the Deep by Neill Cameron and Kate Brown (especially if you're looking for something with a female main character), any of the Hilda books by Luke Pearson, or the award-winning My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons?

For teens, Stefan Mohamed's funny, exciting and razor-sharp Bitter Sixteen and Ace of Spiders about Welsh superhero Stanly and his talking beagle is an absolute must.

Peppa Pig

Suggestions for Peppa Pig fans

Fans of TV's best known pig and her dulcet-toned family will love any of Mick Inkpen's classic Wibbly Pig series or, from The Gruffalo's Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Hide and Seek Pig, ideal for two to three year olds.

Alternatively, for four to six year olds, there's the slightly more anarchic The True Story of The Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith or Claudia Boldt's beautifully illustrated tale of a rather abrasive piggy, You're a Rude Pig Bertie.

Sylvanian Families

Suggestions for Sylvanian Families fans

If animals and families – and animal families – are a key requirement for your Christmas shopping this year, look out for Sammy The Shy Kitten, an ideal animal book for 5-7s by Holly Webb.

For a slightly more fantastical yet still gloriously animal-focused story for 10-12s, Podkin One Ear by Kieran Larwood is a brilliant mix of Watership Down and The Hobbit, with all the feel of a modern classic.

For younger readers, The Beginner's Guide to Bear Spotting by Michelle Robinson and illustrated by David Roberts is hugely enjoyable, or Dorothee de Montfried's A Day With Dogs is a riot of cartoonish fun, featuring dogs going to birthday parties, the doctor's, school and other relatable childhood things.


Suggestions for Transformers fans

For the robot- or car-obsessed toddler or young child in your life, what better read than one of Susan Steggall's On The Road?

Slightly older children will enjoy Gareth P Jones's Adventures of the Steampunk Pirates: Attack of the Rival Robots, and Neill Cameron's colourful and dynamic graphic novel Mega Robo Bros.

Monster High

Suggestions for Monster High fans

This brand of gothy doll may appeal to kids that will enjoy the pun-rich, stylish and faux-historical Goth Girl books by Children's Laureate Chris Riddell, or the hilarious, illustrated Witch Wars series by Sibeal Pounder.

Slightly younger Monster High fans will also enjoy the Isadora books from Harriet Muncaster.

Doggie Doo or Gooey Louie

Suggestions for Doggie Doo and Gooey Louie fans

Stories including bogeys, poo, wee, farts and other gross topics are eternally appealing for kids of a certain age, so if a boy or girl in your life is hankering after one of these games, they might like the Doctor Proctor series by Jo Nesbo, the Barry Loser books by Jim Smith or The Bare Bum Gang by Anthony McGowan.

Younger readers will enjoy Kate Beaton's The Princess and the Pony, which is far more about farts than usual for a traditional princess tale.

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