Brilliant books to match this Christmas's must-have toys

Published on: 06 December 2022 Author: Rachel Boden

If your children have some of this Christmas's must-have toys on their list for Santa this year, why not pop a matching book in their stocking? We've got great ideas for you here...

XShot - Skins the Last Stand or NERF Elite 2.0 Ranger PD-5 Blaster

The NERF Elite 2.0 Ranger PD-5 Blaster and XShot - Skins the Last Stand plus the front covers of Kitty Quest, Spynosaur, 23% Monster and Mia and the Lightcasters

If your child enjoys shoot-em-up games, whether virtual or with a sponge bullet gun, 7-10 year olds will enjoy the riotous action in Kitty Quest by Phil Corbett, where two cats fight monsters in a comic strip packed with humour.

Similar in humour, and also full of action, is Spynosaur by Guy Bass and Lee Robinson, while the Level Up series by Tom Nicholl and Anjan Sarkar provides the pace and excitement of a computer game.

And for older children aged 10+, the non-stop action of 21% Monster by P J Canning will satisfy anyone longing for adventure, as will Mia and the Lightcasters by Janelle McCurdy.

I'm a Stylist Styling Head Ella or Barbie Fashionistas dolls

The front cover of Little People Big Dreams: Coco Chanel and a range of Barbie Fashionista dolls

For those aged 6-9 with super style, The Queen's Wardrobe by Julia Golding and Kate Hindley is a fascinating look at the late Queen through her clothes. And to inspire fashionistas aged 4 and over, try Coco Chanel: Little People Big Dreams by Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara and Ana Albero.

LEGO Arctic Supply Plane or LEGO Creator Expert 10293 Santa's Visit

LEGO Creator Expert 10293 Santa’s Visit and the front covers of Rosie Revere Engineer and Leila and the Blue Fox

If constructing buildings and vehicles are their passion, Design a Skyscraper by Hilary Koll and Steve Mills reveals how to design something sturdy and fit for purpose.

For slightly younger readers, Rosie Revere, Engineer by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts shows how fun creating things can be – and how important imagination is.

Or for a wintry Arctic read, try Leila and the Blue Fox by Kiran Millwood Hargrave and Tom de Freston for 9+ readers, and Frostheart by Jamie Littler for 7+.

Le Mieux Pony or Princess Twilight Sparkle

Photos of Le Mieux Pony and Princess Twilight Sparkle plus the front covers of Kevin vs the Unicorns and Meg and Merlin

Horses and unicorns are perennial favourites in both toys and books. If humour is important, then Kevin vs the Unicorns by Philip Reeve and Sarah McIntyre will be a winner for readers aged 7 and up. Short chapters and lots of illustrations of Kevin the roly-poly pony cavorting about are sure to delight. And Oscar the Hungry Unicorn is a very funny picture book series by Lou Carter and Nikki Dyson.

Should your horse-lover long for a deep bond with a magical creature, the Unicorn Academy series by Julie Sykes and Lucy Truman are gentle adventures about girls and their very own unicorns. Whereas the unicorn in Unicorn Seekers: The Map of Lost Unicorns by Cerrie Burnell and Lucy Fleming is wild and untameable – yet the story, like Unicorn Academy, is suitable for 7+.

And bringing it back to real life, in Meg and Merlin by Tanya Landman and Sonia Albert, 10-year-old Meg finds a pony in her garden one morning. But she's going to have to give him back...

Play-Doh Ice Cream Cart

The Play-Doh Ice Cream Cart and the front cover of The Shop of Impossible Ice Creams

Young kids love to role play as adults, whether it's dressing up, as in the delightful picture book I Am Actually a Penguin by Sean Taylor and Kasia Matyjaszek, or doing an important job, as in I'm the Bin Lorry Driver by David Semple.

If it's food in particular that has caught their imagination, Granville the dog explores fruit and vegetables in There's Broccoli in my Ice Cream! by Emily MacKenzie. While in The Shop of Impossible Ice Creams by Shane Hegarty, for readers of 7+, Limpet fights to save his mum's ice cream shop – and her crazy flavours!

Squishmallows Plush Toy or Build-a-Bear

The front cover of Narwhal: Unicorn of the Sea and a Squishmallows plush

Should your kids love the soft, cute Squishmallow plushes, try Narwhal and Jelly by Ben Clanton for some under-the-sea cuteness, and Sammy the Shy Kitten or A Treasury of Animal Stories, both by Holly Webb, for fluffy cuddles and gentle adventures.

Pictionary Air Star Wars Family Drawing Game or Throw Throw Avocado

Pictionary Air Star Wars Family Drawing Game , Throw Throw Avocado and the front covers of Double Detectives, Mine, Draw with Rob at Christmas and Escape Room

Christmas is a time to play games with the family – and hope to beat them all! Siblings aged 6 and above will find much to enjoy in the Double Detectives series by Roopa Farooki, where twins Ali and Tulip have to solve the mystery before anyone else. And sibling rivals might learn to work together after reading Mine! by Rachel Bright, where a beloved toy bunny is ripped apart.

Art addicts of 6 and above will enjoy the Draw with Rob series by Rob Biddulph. And for game-lovers aged 9+, Escape Room by Christopher Edge has puzzles to solve, big questions to ponder and a fast-paced adventure to rip through.

Jurassic World Ocean Protector Mosasaurus Dinosaur Action Figure or Chad Valley Dinosaur Waterfall Bath Toy

The front cover of Dinosaurs Rock plus Jurassic World Ocean Protector Mosasaurus Dinosaur Action Figure and Chad Valley Dinosaur Waterfall Bath Toy

Finally, Christmas isn't complete without dinosaurs, of course. For the pre-schoolers, This is Not a Dinosaur by Barry Timms and Ged Adamson is great to read aloud, with lots of funny rhymes as the dinosaur and child have silly adventures.

Similarly, You Can't Count on Dinosaurs by Philip Ardagh and Elissa Elwick is an almost-counting book where one dino keeps eating the others while the reader tries to count to ten.

If it's facts you're after, Dinosaurs Rock by Dougie Poynter, for ages 8 and up, is packed with dino info and trivia and My First Pop-Up Dinosaurs by Owen Davey is a brilliantly illustrated alphabet of these fascinating prehistoric creatures.

Topics: Features