30 Sensational Stocker Fillers – brilliant book gifts for kids this festive period

Brilliant Books for Kids this Christmas

If you are anything like me, you might still be scrabbling around for Christmas present ideas (or even only starting to turn your thoughts towards giving gifts (like me!!)).  If so, in my opinion, books are a gorgeous gift for children at any time of the year, but particularly over the festive period when there is so much stimulation and a calming bit of quiet reading can be just what a child needs.  I have reviewed an assortment of books, from puzzle books to poetry books, maths to middle grade, so do take a look and see if there is something which might appeal to the little reader in your life.  Even if you are organised and have done all your present buying, you might just find room to squeeze in one more super stocking filler …..

Picture Books

AD | I have been or could be if you click on a link in this post compensated via a cash payment, gift or something else of value for writing this post. See our full disclosure policy and privacy policy for more details.

The Baddies – Julia Donaldson (author), Axel Scheffler (illustrator), Alison Green Books (imprint of Scholastic) (publisher)

Do you have a little Julia Donaldson or Axel Scheffler fan in your house?  Or, does your little one really enjoy twisted fairytales?  This beautiful hardback book would be a gorgeous addition to the little reader in your life’s bookshelves.  I knew that this book would be a huge hit with my little boy in particular because he is obsessed with fairytales and ‘goodies’ and ‘baddies’. Watch out because the baddies are coming!!  They are mean, they are scary, they are never polite and they love to boast about being bad.  The troll thinks he is the strongest, the ghost thinks he is the scariest and the witch thinks that she has the nastiest spells around.  When a little girl moves to a nearby cottage, they rub their hands with glee because they just cannot wait to be mean to her.  Each of them takes a turn at trying to scare her.  But will they succeed?  Or will the little girl be much more brave and kind than they could ever imagine?  This is a hilarious story full of fun and humour, aimed at teaching children that being big and bad isn’t what makes a person brave, and that bad behaviour and bullying does not pay off. The illustrations are characteristically bright and wonderful, adding riotous fun into the colourful pages and bringing the fabulous rhyming story to life. It’s another superb book by this inimitable author/illustrator duo and one which the little reader in your life will love waking up to and unwrapping on Christmas morning.

The Baddies – Julia Donaldson
The Baddies: the wickedly funny picture book from the creators of Zog and Stick Man, now available in paperback!
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 09/14/2023 (Publication Date) - Alison Green Books (Publisher)

Unicorn Moonicorn – Nick Sharratt and Phoebe Tinkler (authors), Nick Sharratt (illustrator), Alison Green Books (imprint of Scholastic) (publisher)

This is a gorgeously bright and sparkly book for any little unicorn lover!  Super fun and cheeky, hugely colourful and playful in the extreme, it would be a brilliant book for your little one to find in their stocking on Christmas morning.  Guess Who-nicorn?  It’s Boo-nicorn.  Joined by its friends Popped to the Loo-nicorn (my twins’ current favourite), Boo-hoo-nicorn, Choo-choo-nicorn and many, many more.   There are fabulously interactive, different-sized lift-the-flaps to explore and wonderfully fun rhyming text to match the quirky, bold illustrations on each vibrantly detailed page.    Your little one will have great fun exploring the cheeky and fun style of this book, whilst also developing their concentration and all-important fine-motor skills as they lift the flaps on the pages.  It’s a fabulous parade of all things unicorn:  full of fun, glitz and sparkle and a wonderful read to enjoy with your little one at this time of year.

Unicorn Moonicorn – Nick Sharratt and Phoebe Tinkler
Unicorn Moonicorn: A brilliant parade of crazy unicorns, from the incomparable Nick Sharratt
  • Sharratt, Nick (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 10/13/2022 (Publication Date) - Alison Green Books (Publisher)

How to Make a Picture Book – Elys Dolan (author and illustrator) (and Bert the bug!), Walker Books Ltd (publisher) (age 6 plus)

Has your little reader ever shown an interest in making a book?  My eldest daughter (who is 7) is obsessed with this – we often find her ‘drafts’ around the house and I am saving these up to show her when she gets older!  I know I would have LOVED this book as a child too.  In fact, maybe I would have been a best-selling author by now, if it had been around when I was little (I can but dream!).  This book is the ultimate, and extremely funny, step by step guide to making a picture book by Elys Dolan.  Elys (who features as a worm throughout this hilarious book) and her*helpful* assistant, Bert, will teach your little ones about the basics of a story and show them how to develop that story idea.  Your little reader will follow the irrepressible Bert and his fun story idea of Marge, the Pizza Delivery Dinosaur, as well as discovering how to build a story, create characters and personalities for them and learn about story settings, colour tone, composition of a page and much, much more.  All done in the most quirky, engaging and humorous of ways.  Packed full of ideas and activities, top tips and a wonderful sense of fun, all your child will need is some paper, some pens and coloured pencils and their sense of imagination.  The illustrations in the book are filled with fun, are bright and colourful (we learn all about how colours can make us feel certain ways in the book (and these tones definitely make us feel happy)) and are wonderfully engaging (not to mention beautifully composed to ensure maximum engagement with the book – see, I was paying attention!).  This would be the perfect present for any picture book enthusiast and budding author out there – it’s sure to get them eagerly putting pen to paper.  We love it.

How to Make a Picture Book – Elys Dolan
How to Make a Picture Book
  • Dolan, Elys (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 11/02/2023 (Publication Date) - Walker Books (Publisher)

The Bear and the Piano; The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle; and The Bear, the Piano and Little Bear’s Concert –  Trilogy of Books – David Litchfield (author and illustrator), Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

If you are looking for a sumptuously illustrated picture book series with beautiful stories and lovely messages of friendship and love then I cannot think of a better set of books to gift to the little reader in your household than these exquisite stories by one of my all-time favourite author/illustrators, David Litchfield.  Each story contains some of the most stunning illustrations that you will find in any picture book, filled with magic and empathy and light, and really bringing to life the sensational stories.    “The Bear and the Piano” book follows the tale of a bear cub who finds an abandoned piano in the woods and learns to play the instrument magnificently so, when he grows up, he follows his dream to become a world-known pianist in the lights of the big city.  Despite achieving everything he always dreamed of, something tugs at his heart …….  In “The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle”, a dog picks up a fiddle and is given the opportunity to play with a famous Bear (I wonder who that could be?!).  He can travel the world and perform for thousands of people but his owner, Hector, does not want him to go.  Can Hector swallow his pride and let his dog pursue his happiness?  In “The Bear, the Piano and Little Bear’s Concert”, Bear’s career as a famous concert pianist is over and he has returned to the forest and started a family.  The much-loved, old piano still stands in the clearing.  Can Little Bear persuade her father to play once again?  Maybe some friends might come along and join in?  These three books would make the most gorgeous gift for any little reader who loves beautifully illustrated picture books, particularly those who are interested in music.  They really do contain some of the most charming stories around and are filled with warm and hopeful messages of love and friendship: “Because good friendship, just like good music, lasts a lifetime.”

The Bear and the Piano; The Bear, the Piano, the Dog and the Fiddle; and The Bear, the Piano and Little Bear’s Concert -  Trilogy of Books
The Bear, The Piano, The Dog and the Fiddle: David Litchfield
  • Litchfield, David (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 40 Pages - 02/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Frances Lincoln Children's Books (Publisher)

Sometimes I’m a Baby Bear, Sometimes I’m a Snail – Moira Butterfield (author), Gwen Millward (illustrator), Welbeck Editions (imprint of Welbeck Children’s Limited) (publisher)

This is such a wonderful book to help children develop emotional and social intelligence because it does so in such a relatable way.  Often, it is very difficult for children (and adults sometimes!) to explain how they are feeling, or to talk about feelings such as shyness, or anxiety or anger, or to discuss what physical boundaries they find acceptable on a particular day.  This book uses examples from nature to help them discuss the feelings that they face – so, are they feeling cuddly like a baby bear, or playful like a puppy, or fearless like a lion, for example.  Through these gorgeous examples from nature, your young reader can see that all feelings are valid and they are given the tools to help them respect boundaries.  I love the two-page spread at the end of the book giving information to the care-giver on how to ‘use’ the book and how it encourages an awareness of how feelings change so that a child becomes used to the idea that they are not ‘stuck’ with a label of a feeling, such as shyness, for example.  The lively and fun illustrations are colourful and vibrant, adding feeling and vivacity to the words of the book and really providing maximum engagement.  The drawings of the animals and the people are just adorable and my twins love looking at the pictures and discussing how they think that particular person is feeling.  This is a sweet book, providing animal comparisons and using them to explore the ever-changing emotions of young children.   It would make a wonderful gift and one you will turn to over and over again.

ometimes I’m a Baby Bear, Sometimes I’m a Snail –
Sometimes I'm a Baby Bear, Sometimes I'm a Snail: Ways to Say How We Feel
  • Hardcover Book
  • Butterfield, Moira (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 32 Pages - 07/07/2022 (Publication Date) - Welbeck Children's Books (Publisher)

Colours, Colours Everywhere – Julia Donaldson (author), Sharon King-Chai (illustrator), Two Hoots (imprint of Pan Macmillan) (publisher)

A little girl opens her colourbox and paints out her own adventure with her vivacious bright, blue tree frog companion… where will they go today?  Off on a expedition, an adventure, an exploration… through her imagination, through the colours ….. there are verdant green trees to climb, vibrant yellow birds to discover, red hot air balloons to sail away in, pink milkshakes to drink, purple-mountained islands to conquer, fires to build and grey smoke signals to send out, as well as multi-coloured rescue helicopters to have fun with!  This book is a delight for children on all levels – it’s interactive, with its interesting and engaging different sized and shaped lift-the-flaps and peep-through holes, it’s boldly colourful (and teaches your children not only about colours but what happens when you mix them) and the rhyming text is fun and engaging to read out loud.  The illustrations are sensational: breath-taking brushstrokes of stunning scenery and playful pictures of adorable animals.  It feels like a sumptuous read right from the cover with its shimmering blue foil and cardboard cut-out peepholes which draw your little reader in.  From the creators of the award-winning ‘Animalphabet’ and ‘Counting Creatures’, this book would make the most gorgeous gift for the little one in your life this Christmas.

Colours, Colours Everywhere
Colours, Colours Everywhere: A lift-the-flap adventure from an award-winning duo
  • Hardcover Book
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 48 Pages - 10/13/2022 (Publication Date) - Two Hoots (Publisher)

Chapter Books

The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame (author), abridged by Lou Peacock, Kate Hindley (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

The much-loved classic, “The Wind in the Willows”, is given a new lease of life in this bright and beautiful abridged version by Lou Peacock and illustrated by the hugely talented Kate Hindley.  I adored this book as a child but I do remember struggling through some of the pages of text, after text, after text.  Not so with this wonderfully refreshed version.  Each page tells the tale of the beloved Mole, Ratty, Badger and Toad and the antics that they get up to in the most fun and engaging of ways and with compositions of the most adorable illustrations to ensure that your young reader is enthralled.  Right from the dust jacket, with its vibrant and colourful artwork (and do look underneath it at the sumptuous cloth forest-green-and-silver-foil-detailed cover) and eye-catching silver foil detailing, your little reader is drawn into this hilarious and heart-warming animal adventure story.  And what an adventure Mole has – picnics and boating fun with Ratty, chaotic caravanning with Toad and a trip into the fearsome Wild Woods in search of Badger.  But when Toad’s love of race-cars and mischievous ways leaves him incarcerated, a gang of sneaky stoats and wheedling weasels take over Toad Hall.  Can Toad’s friends come up with a plan to save him and rescue the Hall from thieving paws?  This is a wonderful book, filled with exquisite, quirky illustrations reflecting a beautiful, by-gone era. A beautiful book to truly treasure and one which will make the most gorgeous of gifts.

he Wind in the Willows
The Wind in the Willows – 90th anniversary gift edition: With original artwork, by Winnie-the-Pooh illustrator, E. H. Shepard
  • Grahame, Kenneth (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 272 Pages - 04/01/2021 (Publication Date) - Farshore (Publisher)

Cappy and the Whale – Kateryna Babkina (author), Julia Pylypchatina (illustrator), Hanna Leliv (translator), Puffin Books (publisher)

Translated into English from Ukrainian, this is a beautifully moving story about the power of the imagination, hope, family love and childhood illness.  When 8-year-old Cappy discovers a whale swimming outside his bedroom window, he is very surprised: he has never heard of a whale that can fly, in all of the books he read in hospital about animals.  Cappy has to live a sheltered life because he has childhood leukaemia – he’s not allowed to play with dogs (although his Grandma secretly lets him), he has to take medicine every day, he isn’t allowed sweeties …. So, he is very excited when the whale asks him to go for a ride in the rainclouds in the sky with him one day.  Cappy and the whale become firm friends and together they go on an amazing journey of curiosity, huge imagination and hope.    This is such a delightful and poignant story and it makes a wonderful book for building empathy for children who are affected by illnesses and who have to have stays in hospital.    The colour illustrations are magnificent – empathetic drawings in gorgeous, muted colour-tones of grey, blue and white to emphasise the story and the mood and tone.  I am not going to lie, this is a particularly poignant read for me because my little boy has a heart condition and it brings to mind his hospital stays and treatment but the book is so beautiful and the story so hopeful. Puffin will be donating their profits from the sale of this book to the National Literacy Trust’s campaign to support Ukrainian child refugees so this is another reason to give this as a gorgeous gift.

Cappy and the Whale
Cappy and the Whale
  • Hardcover Book
  • Babkina, Kateryna (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 10/06/2022 (Publication Date) - Puffin (Publisher)

Middle Grade

The Secret Animal Society – The Forgotten Phoenix – Luke Gamble (author), Jane Pica (illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

The first book in this series was one of my favourite middle grade reads of last year and so I was incredibly excited to find out that the second book had just been released.  Naturally, I jumped at the chance to review it! This latest instalment in this thrilling magical animal adventure series follows Edith and her escapades with her Uncle, doctor to incredibly rare and magical animals.  When she arrives at her Uncle’s home for the school holidays this time, she can’t get too comfortable because The Secret Animal Society – made up of Edith, her Uncle, his good friend Francis and Arnold the dog – are off on a highly dangerous mission.  They have to head off to a remote part of the Bavarian Forest to rescue a missing phoenix which is hurt and vulnerable.  Along the way, they make some fantastic new friends of the human variety in Zee-Zee and his mother, Ai Lam, and from the animal kingdom (Blaze is just most adorable and funny little bat creature).  But they also encounter a danger like no other they have ever come across before!  Will they be able to complete their mission and rescue the phoenix before its entire species is wiped out forever? This is a wonderful, fast-paced adventure story, full of twists and turns, darkness and light (much like the forest itself) and superb plot.  The brilliant black and white illustrations which are interspersed throughout the pages of the book really bring the adventure and all its thrills to life and provide maximum engagement.  This would be a superb stocking filler for any animal lover, thrill-seeker or adventure book enthusiast.

The Secret Animal Society
The Secret Animal Society - The Forgotten Phoenix
  • Gamble, Luke (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 400 Pages - 10/13/2022 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

The Elemental Detectives – Patrice Lawrence (author), Scholastic (publisher)

I adored this magical middle grade read.  It is crackling with creativity and a weaves magical web of fantasy and history all at the same time.  A yellow mist hangs around London, a sleeping sickness which is hanging heavy in the air.  There are monsters terrorising the streets.  Who is to blame?  What do the Elemental Spirits – the airy Fumis, the fiery Dragons, the watery Chads and the earthbound Magogs – know about it? Will they do anything to help?  When Marisee’s Grandma disappears one day, and Marisee is chased by these dreaming and sick sleepwalkers, she flees with Robert, an enslaved young boy from Lady Hibbert’s household.  Together, they are the Elemental Detectives chasing clues to try and avoid catastrophe and to save their loved ones.  They face all kinds of monsters and ghosts and have to solve riddles and clues to avoid catastrophe in their fantastical adventure full of twists and turns.  What will happen to London?   I adored this book.  Although, I am not going to lie, I was a little terrified at times, as you are with all the best books!  My heart was in my mouth every time Robert and Marisee faced adversity. I found the pages at the back of the book about the factual inspiration behind the story absolutely fascinating and I read the pages about the “real Robert Strong” with a lump in my throat as I found out more about this period of history and the lives of enslaved people in London.  I am sure the author’s note will prompt the reader to find out more about Jonathan Strong.  The pages on the elementals are superb – a fun and interesting synopsis on each elemental.  I loved the combination of the strong historical background and the fantastical world of the elementals, as well as the fast-paced adventure story.   If your child loves fantasy and adventure, then this would be a superb stocking filler for them.

The Elemental Detectives
The Elemental Detectives: the first book in a cracking adventure series
  • Lawrence, Patrice (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 432 Pages - 09/01/2022 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Graphic Novels

Cat Kid Comic Club Collaborations – Dav Pilkey (author and illustrator), Scholastic (publisher)

If your child loves graphic novels then here’s one of the best.  From the creator of Dog Man comes this fabulously colourful new graphic novel, the latest in the series of the Cat Kid Comic Club books.   This book follows the comic creations of 21 little frogs who dive into the creative pond to produce some fabulous comic club creations (which are going to be published, no less).  With our host, Sarah Hatoff, we follow them on their journey …… There’s Wendy and Raine’s ‘Baby Flippy’ continuing saga where he transforms into baby angry, there’s Summer and Starla’s nature haikus and the parody of Frogzilla by Gilbert and Curly, to name but a few hilarious snippets of creative comics.  We love how fun and funny this graphic novel is.  Packed full of illustrations, drawings and photographs, this book is not only laugh out loud funny, it also has the most beautiful messages: of kindness, selflessness and giving, as well as promoting love and family strength.    There are comic creations which promote how failure is very much a part of success, and other stories which promote community spirit and thinking of others.  All wrapped up in the most brilliant of colourful illustrations and impactful words.  For fans of graphic novels and those who love a giggle, this is the perfect present to find underneath the Christmas tree.

Cat Kid Comic Club Collaborations
Cat Kid Comic Club 4: from the bestselling creator of Dog Man!: Collaborations
  • Hardcover Book
  • Pilkey, Dav (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/29/2022 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Bedtime Story Anthologies

The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories – Sarah McIntyre (illustrator), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

Oh wow!! What a book!  This is an amazing anthology of bedtime stories from some of the best children’s authors around.  From the sumptuous artwork on the front cover, through the contents page detailing the stories by the best of Faber talent (and a heraldic host of rising stars), into the optimistic and hopeful stories themselves, interspersed with the most exquisite illustrations, this is a book to be truly treasured.    With stories by the greats such as Kieran Larwood, Emma Carroll, Hannah Lee and Rashmi Sirdeshpande, there are stories for everyone.  Stories to be read at bedtime or at snuggle down time.  Stories to provide hope, and optimism, and courage, and positivity, and love.  Stories to fill the imaginations of your little children with the dreams that they can certainly achieve. Each of my children has a different favourite story – my eldest loves ‘Queen Bea’ by Kieran Larwood, my little boy loves ‘The Dinosaur’s Egg’ by Ann Jungman and my youngest loves ‘Bug’s Bake Off’ by Pip Jones.  Each story in this charming collection celebrates life: the friendships we make, the things that inspire us, the love that surrounds us….. The book bubbles with comfort and the happiness to inspire our young readers.  The illustrations in the book are just beautiful: gorgeous and colourful craftings bringing to life each individual story.  This stunning hardback book would make a cracking Christmas present for the avid little reader in your life. 

The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories
The Faber Book of Bedtime Stories: A comforting story tonight for a happy day tomorrow
  • Orders are despatched from our UK warehouse next working day.
  • Hardcover Book
  • Various (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 368 Pages - 10/06/2022 (Publication Date) - Faber & Faber (Publisher)

Snow White and Other Grimms’ Fairytales – The Brothers Grimm, Minalima (illustrator), Harper Design (imprint of Harper Collins)

My goodness! What a gorgeous gift of a book this one would make!  If you have ever seen or read one of this series of books, you will know that they are fantastic.   My twins received one each from this series as christening presents from a guest.   This latest edition to this gorgeous set of hardback books is on another level though.  If you have a child who adores fairy-tales then this is THE ultimate book for them.  Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm’s well-known and much-loved tales are brought to life in the best of ways with this sumptuous, deluxe compendium, taking readers on the most interactive of adventures through twenty of their most popular stories.  Decadently illustrated by Minalima, there are classics such as ‘Snow White’, ‘Rapunzel’, ‘Hanzel and Gretel’, ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, ‘The Frog Prince’, ‘The Elves and the Shoemaker’ and many more, all wrapped up in this lavishly colourful book.  The illustrations are exquisite but combined with the nine interactive features which bring the story to life, this makes an exceptional book to gift.   Whether your little reader is enthralled by trying to get the prince to climb up the interactive tower in Rapunzel, or folding out the frog to turn him into a Prince, or making Cinderella twirl in her ball gown on the dance-floor, this spectacular book is a beautiful book detailing the traditional fairy-tales in the most magical of ways.  A perfect present for any young reader.  It’s almost too nice to let them get their hands on it!!

Snow White and Other Grimms’ Fairytales
Snow White and Other Grimms' Fairy Tales (MinaLima Edition): Illustrated with Interactive Elements
  • Hardcover Book
  • Grimm, Jacob and Wilhelm (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 224 Pages - 11/10/2022 (Publication Date) - Harper (Publisher)

Bedtime Stories Amazing Asian Tales from the Past – various authors and illustrators, Scholastic (publisher)

We love these compendiums of short stories published by Scholastic and this latest addition to our collection is absolutely superb. The collection of stories is aimed at readers aged 6 and above and the stories are of the perfect length to read one or two at bedtime, as you might do with a chapter of a book.  It’s a book which can easily be read by dipping in and out of the stories, any time your child is in the mood for a motivational and inspiring story, or it also works well to read it over bedtimes and snuggly reading sessions.  It has some brilliant stories based on important figures and events across the continent of Asia and it is so tricky to try and pick a favourite. Instead, we decided to highlight some of the stories we loved: there’s the story of the Trung Sisters who bravely fought (atop two elephants no less) for peace in what is now Vietnam and inspired their people; the story of Nijima Yaw, the great female samurai (my girls love this one!), distinguished educator, brave warrior and compassionate nurse; and the story which is written by a very clever and talented young girl, aged 7, called Hannah Jiang.  Each story is also accompanied by the most beautiful of artwork in bold and bright colours which truly help to bring the stories to life.  We also found the section at the end of some of the stories which provides a glossary really helpful.  With its gorgeous cover artwork, gold foil detailing, eye-catching illustrations and inspirational Asian tales from the past, this book is a celebration of wonderful stories to read and would make a gorgeous gift this Christmas.

Bedtime Stories Amazing Asian Tales from the Past
Bedtime Stories: Amazing Asian Tales from the Past
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ahmed, Sufiya (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 160 Pages - 10/13/2022 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Interactive and Activity Books

The Story Orchestra – I Can Play – Jessica Courtney Tickle (illustrator), Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

Does your little one love music?  This sensational Story Orchestra book would be the perfect stocking filler for them then.  Your child can learn how to play some famous classical pieces of music in the most ingenious and easy of ways: by following the colour-coded symbols of different shapes (it means they are also practising their shapes and colours without realising it too!).  We are big Story Orchestra fans in this house so this book was so well received by all my children.  All of the books inspire a wonderful love of music but this one is so special because it invites your children to make their own, learning all about the musical techniques and melodies that make the classical pieces of music contained within the book so powerful.  From favourites such as Swan Lake to The Dance of the Sugar Plum Fairy from The Nutcracker, the Carnival of the Animals to Vivaldi’s Four Seasons, your child can follow the tune by playing the notes using the shapes and colours detailed on the keyboard and also learn how the piece should be played (fast and joyful, perhaps, or sweet and stately, for example).   The fantastic illustrations also help bring each exquisite piece of music to life as they are so beautiful and filled with feeling and soul.  Each piece of music also has a text box of information all about it, detailing what the melody is called and how to play it to experience it to the full.  This is such an amazing, interactive introduction to some of the most exquisite pieces of classical music and it will bring huge excitement and fun to your house.

The Story Orchestra – I Can Play
Story Orchestra: I Can Play (vol 1): Learn 8 easy pieces from the series! (7) (The Story Orchestra)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Flint, Katy (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 16 Pages - 10/04/2022 (Publication Date) - Frances Lincoln Children's Books (Publisher)

The Story Orchestra – In the Hall of the Mountain King – Jessica Courtney Tickle (illustrator), Frances Lincoln Children’s Books (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

This book is an awesome auditory delight for the senses! Discover the magical, spell-binding Hall of the Mountain King in this wonderful, musical retelling of Peer Gynt. At the foot of some mountains, far away, Peer Gynt is at a wedding with his mother.  Peer is bored and dreams of adventure…. Your little reader will turn the pages of this fabulously interactive book and follow Peer on his travels, to bring the story of Peer Gynt, and the music of Grieg, to life.  As we follow Peer on his adventures, we see that page has the most stunning and detailed illustrations on it, bringing the scenery and the magical world that Peer inhabits to life.   Each two-fold spread has a sound button for your little one to press so that they can listen to the beautiful pieces of music as set alongside the story. We also love the final pages of the book.   There’s a section on Edvard Grieg and how he became a famous composer as well as a section which asks the reader about the Hall of the Mountain King and what lessons they think Peer has learned from his adventures.   The final page contains a paragraph of factual information about each piece of music that your child has pressed the button for, explaining more about the music and the tempo and instruments involved in the melody.  This is such a brilliant book; it’s a sensory delight on both a visual and an auditory level; it’s interactive and it educates your child on this wonderful composer and his classical music. A simply superb stocking filler for any little music enthusiast.

The Story Orchestra – In the Hall of the Mountain King
The Story Orchestra: In the Hall of the Mountain King: Press the note to hear Grieg's music (7)
  • Hardcover Book
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 24 Pages - 10/11/2022 (Publication Date) - Frances Lincoln Children's Books (Publisher)

Poetry Books

Rock-a-bye Rumpus – Poems chosen by Julia Donaldson, Sebastien Braun (illustrator), Macmillan Children’s Books (publisher)

This is a charming collection of poems and rhymes for the very young, chosen by the brilliant, and much-loved, children’s author, Julia Donaldson.  The poems and rhymes are split up into sections so that you can decide what mood your child is in, or what time of day it is, to choose the most appropriate poems for them.  Or, as we like to do, you can just let the book fall open on a page and start your reading from there!  With sections on cuddles and joggles, fingers, toes and faces, hop, skip and jump, bet you a penny you can’t do this, fun and games, cluck, baa, oom-papaa and tea, bath and bed, there really is something for every child, no matter how they are feeling.  There are classic favourites to explore but also lesser-known poems to discover, making this a delightful compendium for your little one.  Most of the rhymes have actions or noises to go with them and when the words don’t make it clear what these are, there are helpful suggestions at the end of the page, making this one of the most engaging and interactive poetry books around.  There are lively lyrics, superb songs and lilting lullabies, as well as some poetry from Julia Donaldson herself.  What’s more, there is even a CD included so you can enjoy listening to these treasures over and over again with your little one.  With super sweet illustrations set out on brightly coloured pages, this is the perfect book to share with your little one so that you can both have fun reading.  A perfect present to create treasured moments together.

Rock-a-bye Rumpus –
Rock-a-Bye Rumpus: Action Rhymes for the Very Young
  • Donaldson, Julia (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 120 Pages - 08/17/2023 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

And Everything Will Be Glad To See You – Poems by Women and Girls – Selected by Ella  Risbridger, Anna Shepeta (illustrator), Nosy Crow Ltd (publisher)

“Today is day one of the rest of your life.  All you have to do Is decide What you’re going to do with it.” Siana Bangura.

“This book is my best shot at being fair” says Ella Risbridger in her introduction to this book as to why she has included only poems by women, girls and non-binary people in her empowering anthology and you will just have to read that introduction to find out why.  It’s a fascinating read in itself.  She goes on to say that she hopes that the reader will be “part of a whole beautiful web of reading things, and loving things”….. how uplifting and inspiring is that?  So, if you are looking for a beautiful book, packed full of a treasure trove of empowering and wonderful poems, then this is the book to buy for the young reader in your life.  It’s a compendium to inspire, to uplift, to hope, to see the world from another’s viewpoint, to feel…..to live every moment of your life to the full.    The featured poems include those from girls as young as five years old to much-loved writers such as Carol Ann Duffy, as well as newer voices such as non-binary writer Kai Cheng-Thom.  Each poem is accompanied by the most sumptuous and beautiful of illustrations; enchanting scenes of bold colour and beauty which really bring the poetry to life. Each page really is exquisite, every page is breath-taking and beautiful, both in words and from a visual perspective.   It’s like all the best kind of books: it can be dipped into at any time of the day, whatever your mood.  A perfect present to gift this Christmas.

And Everything Will Be Glad To See You – Poems by Women and Girls
And Everything Will Be Glad to See You: Poems by Women and Girls (Poetry Collections)
  • Hardcover Book
  • Ella Risbridger (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 144 Pages - 09/01/2022 (Publication Date) - Nosy Crow Ltd (Publisher)

The Big Amazing Poetry Book – chosen by Gaby Morgan, Chris Riddell (illustrator), Macmillan Children’s Books (publisher)

52 weeks of poems by 52 poets!! Yes!!  I learned a new word when I started reading this book – “Annualogy”.  It’s what this book is because it contains seven poems (the very clever among you will work out this is one for each day of the week) by 52 brilliant poets.  Wow!  Each poet is introduced by a short biography and then goes on to showcase their seven poems.   You could dip in and out of this book, read through all your favourite poet’s poems in one go, or read one poem every day if you wanted to.  It showcases a whole world of possibilities, encouraging a love of words and fun and poetry and enticing the reader to say them out loud, to learn them off by heart… to love them.  There are lots of different styles of poetry – riddles, ballads, haikus, sonnets, tongue-twisters, shape poems and raps – so there really is something for everyone.  There are poems about animals, poems about family, poems about food, poems about people…. And so much more.  The amazing artwork on each page is superb, really bringing to life the words of the poem and picking out the detail contained within it.  Combined with these unique and quirky black and white illustrations by Chris Riddell, this would be the perfect present for any poetry lover.  I also think it would be the ideal Christmas gift for any child who has a love of words, and language and fun because they can use it to delve into poetry and learn to play with words.  Oh, and do lift off that dust-jacket to see the bold and colourfully fun cover beneath!

The Big Amazing Poetry Book
The Big Amazing Poetry Book: 52 Weeks of Poetry From 52 Brilliant Poets
  • Morgan, Gaby (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 576 Pages - 07/13/2023 (Publication Date) - Macmillan Children's Books (Publisher)

Cookery Books

How Many Ways Can You Cook an Egg? – Lizzie Mabbott (author), Charlotte Dumortier (illustrator), Big Picture Press (imprint of Bonnier Books) (publisher)

Does your little one like to help you in the kitchen?  Would you like your children to show more of an interest in food and the preparation of it?  Well, this is the book for you.  Written with the intention of turning what might seem like daily chores to children, such as shopping and preparing food, into fun and inclusive activities for the whole family to become involved with, this book is brilliant.  It teaches children all about the enjoyment to be had in making food…. About the shopping the washing, the chopping, the mixing, the cooking, the mistakes, the eating… and it does so in such a fun way.  The colours on the pages are bold and bright and the illustrations are simply stunning: eye-catching drawings of mouth-watering fruit and vegetables, brought to life with a fun and humorous style.  There’s a section on health and safety, tips and techniques and perfecting your slicing skills at the beginning of the book and then the fun-filled, delicious recipes are split up into different parts. There are yummy recipes containing fruit, recipes using ingredients from the garden, recipes using ingredients from the ocean, recipes using ingredients from the land, recipes containing dairy and eggs, pasta, noodle and dumpling recipes, and grains and breads recipes. There is something delicious and inspiring for any young little chef to try.  Children can learn how to make dumplings, or spiced fish fingers, pancakes, or the ultimate cheesy toastie (mmmm!), plus much more. With ‘top tips’ and ‘did you know?’ asides, this is a beautifully bright and engaging cookbook and would make a wonderful present for any little food enthusiast, or parent who is looking for some fun, family-focussed recipes to enjoy and bring families together at mealtimes. 

How Many Ways Can You Cook an Egg?
How Many Ways Can You Cook An Egg?: …and Other Things to Try for Big and Little Eaters
  • Hardcover Book
  • Mabbott Berlin, Lizzie (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 96 Pages - 08/25/2022 (Publication Date) - Big Picture Press (Publisher)


Richard Scarry’s Storybook Dictionary – Richard Scarry (author and illustrator), Faber & Faber Ltd (publisher)

Do you have a little Richard Scarry fan in your household?  Or are you an admirer of his illustrative style?  This large hardback book is the perfect gift for the little one in your life then.  It’s the perfect coffee table book, particularly as you will find your child just flicking through the pages, mesmerised by the fantastic illustrations and fun words.  With over 2,500 words and over 1,000 pictures, this is the ultimate ABC guide for young readers, setting out on their reading journey.  The exquisite endpapers set out the amazing animals in artistic form that your child will come across in the dictionary.  With examples such as, “brave – Brambles is very brave.  He is not afraid to have his hair cut by the barber.  He knows that he will be even handsomer when the barber has finished.”, accompanied by quirky, humorous drawings, you can see why this book is so attractive to young readers.  It’s a beautifully produced hardback book which is full of ingenious and laugh-out-loud takes on an illustrated dictionary.  It’s a book to keep and treasure, a book to gift to children learning their ABC’s and exploring their use of language, a book to share together.  Classically comedic, amazing in its artistry, a beautiful book for beneath the Christmas tree.

Richard Scarry’s Storybook Dictionary
Richard Scarry’s Storybook Dictionary
  • Hardcover Book
  • Scarry, Richard (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 11/03/2022 (Publication Date) - Faber & Faber (Publisher)

Every Word Tells a Story – Tom Read Wilson (author), Ian Morris (illustrator), Quarto Publishing plc (publisher)

An extraordinary etymological exploration of words from A-Z! Is your child fascinated by where words come from?  Are you?  I am! Ever since my days of GCSE Latin, I have been hugely interested by etymology and I think I have passed this on to my eldest daughter – she just loves this book.  Beginning with an introduction explaining how the book works and telling the reader that words have personalities and come with fascinating stories behind them, this book explores words in the most fun and interesting of ways.  The author has selected four words for each letter of the alphabet and one of these words is the ‘star word’ which has a perfect poem summarising the meaning and the origins of the word.  Wouldn’t you love to know where the word ‘bloomers’ came from?  Or how about maverick (I bet you didn’t know that it has something to do with cows!!)?  Or vermin?  It’s so clever and so inspiring!  My daughter is full of, “Mummy, did you know …..?” comments after reading this book. The illustrations accompanying the words are quirky, fun and full of wit and charm, really bringing to life the words on the page.  This sumptuous anthology would make the perfect seasonal gift for any little reader to pore over and add to their bookshelves.

Every Word Tells a Story
Every Word Tells a Story
  • Hardcover Book
  • Read Wilson, Tom (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 112 Pages - 10/04/2022 (Publication Date) - words & pictures (Publisher)

Puzzle, Games and Maths Books

Puzzle Book – Horses and Ponies and Puzzle Book – Dogs, both published by Collins, in association with National Geographic Partners LLC

Does your little one like puzzle books?  My eldest, in particular, loves them!!  We have chosen a couple of books from this series to review but there are lots more to discover, such as Dinosaurs, Animals, Deadly Creatures, Cats, Travel, Space and many more.  So, if the idea behind these books sounds intriguing but you think your little reader would enjoy a different topic, there are plenty to choose from.    These handy-sized books (which are easy to fit into a large pocket) are packed full of brain-teasing quizzes and puzzles for the young person in your life to enjoy.  There are quizzes, su-dokus, crosswords, wordsearches, mazes, spot the differences and word jumbles to puzzle over and enjoy on some of your child’s favourite subjects.  Not only that but there are intriguing snippets of information and fascinating facts set out in short, punchy statements for your reader to gasp over and digest.  When you then add in all the fabulous photographs on every single page, your young reader will be entertained for hours.  We adore the dog book and the horses and ponies book – there is much oooing and aaahing over the gorgeous animals from my girls!  And never fear, if they (or you!) get stuck, all the solutions are contained at the back of the book (although I am usually mean and Sellotape these together to begin with!!).  These books would make the perfect travel companion to keep your children occupied on long journeys over the holiday season so they would make a sensational stocking filler. Perfect for getting those brain-cells thinking.

Puzzle Book – Horses and Ponies and Puzzle Book – Dogs,
Puzzle Book Horses and Ponies: Brain-tickling quizzes, sudokus, crosswords and wordsearches (National Geographic Kids)
  • National Geographic Kids (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 104 Pages - 03/07/2019 (Publication Date) - Collins (Publisher)

Spin to Survive – Deadly Jungle – Emily Hawkins (author), R Freeson (illustrator), Wide Eyed Editions (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

We were blown away by the ‘Frozen Mountain’ book in this series which was released last year so we couldn’t wait to review this book for you!  Such an ingenious idea.  A game in a book.  A game of survival.  Embark on a dangerous adventure into the heart of the Amazon jungle in this choose-your-own-path book.  There are places for you to put the survival spinner (beautifully included within the front cover of the book) to find out whether your decision was a good one or not, depending on where the hand of the spinner lands.  Your reader will battle with river rapids, wade through swamps, climb craggy rockfaces and face many dangers.   Will they have what it takes to survive?   Yet again, this book is stunningly illustrated in the quirky and fun style of R. Fresson whose amazing artwork really reminds me of Tintin’s Adventures.  Each two-page spread is bold and vibrantly colourful, bringing to life the sumptuous scenery of the Amazon.  Not only that but there are real-life survival techniques, like how to make a log raft, how to escape from quicksand or how to recognise poisonous plants, as well as real life survival stories and lots of fascinating facts about the Amazon rainforest.  We love how this is set out in the book, so you can choose how much to read to each player, depending on their age range and interest.  This book is an absolute must for the little adventure seeker (or seekers) in your life and it would make a great gift under the Christmas tree: this way you can have the family fun and amazing adventure from the comfort of your own home!

Spin to Survive – Deadly Jungle
Spin to Survive: Deadly Jungle: Decide your destiny with a pop-out fortune spinner
  • Hardcover Book
  • Hawkins, Emily (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 64 Pages - 09/14/2022 (Publication Date) - Wide Eyed Editions (Publisher)

Just Joking Animal Riddles– J. Patrick Lewis (author), National Geographic Partners, LLC (publisher)

Does your child love a clever joke?  Are they fascinated by plays on words?  Do they love a laugh?  This handy-sized pocket book is the perfect stocking filler for them then.  Contained within its pages are fantastically funny jokes, raucous riddles and perfect puns to fill them with Christmas cheer.  For the ‘What am I?’  questions, there is a short riddle to ponder and when they think they know the answer, they can turn the page to find out.  There are other games to do such as photograph rounds and words to rearrange to spell out something different, all along the theme of animals.  There are plenty of other “Just Joking” titles in the range though, so do take a look at the series to see if there is another title you think your child would prefer.  We love how clever and funny some of the answers to the riddles are and there are even a some bite-sized blocks of factual information about some of the animals in the book which we have found fascinating.  It’s bold, it’s bright and it is full of beautiful photographs of adorable animals, incredible insects and sensational sea-creatures which provide maximum engagement and fun throughout.  Screen-free and lots of fun, this would be a lovely present for the little loved one in your life.

Just Joking Animal Riddles
Just Joking Animal Riddles: Hilarious riddles, jokes, and more--all about animals!
  • National Geographic Kids (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 208 Pages - 04/02/2015 (Publication Date) - National Geographic Kids (Publisher)

The Weirdle Game Book – Sally Morgan (author), Scholastic (publisher)

Do you have a child who adores word games?  Who loves a good puzzle?  Who likes to challenge the grey cells in their brain?  Then this is the stocking filler for them.  I am not going to lie, I have lost a good few hours busting my brain with the amazing anagrams, hink pinks (and hinkie pinkies) and cryptic clues in this fantastic book!  It’s a superb stocking filler to keep your children puzzling over the Christmas period.  There is never a dull moment with this brilliant book of quirky word games: there are word ladders to complete, rune puzzles to decipher, qwerty switches to delight over, rebus puzzles to ponder, wordsearches to do, mixed-up subjects to unscramble and that’s to name but a tiny few.  There are over 1,000 puzzles in this paperback book so you can see why it will occupy your little puzzler for hours at a time. And don’t worry, the solutions are all contained at the back of the book if you do get a little stuck. Wonderful, word-based fun and games.  All you need is a pen or a pencil and you are off!  A sensational, screen-free stocking filler.

The Weirdle Game Book
Weirdle: A Wonderfully Wordy Game Book
  • Morgan, Sally (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 288 Pages - 09/15/2022 (Publication Date) - Scholastic (Publisher)

Awesome Maths and English Books – Age 3-5, Age 5-7, Age 7-9, Age 9-11 – all published by Collins, in association with National Geographic Partners LLC

If you find your child can struggle a little bit with English or Maths, or both, but loves learning about animals then these are the most wonderful gift for them.  Whichever age range your little one is within, these fantastic books are packed full of awesome animal facts and the most phenomenal photos of the animal kingdom.  There are over 50 learning topics in each book and each topic is brimming with fun animal adventures featuring English or Maths.  These books are so inspiring for little ones: for example, they can gaze at animals found in grasslands while practising maths for age 5-6, or admire animals in the rainforest while roaming through the English topics for ages 10-11, there are phonics sounds to practise with African animals for readers ages 3-5, and minibeasts and creepy-crawlies to explore for maths topics for 8-9 year olds.   Your little genius can record what they have learned along the way in the explorer’s logbook and say how they feel about that topic using the feelings colour-code.  And, (yes, there is more  – I cannot rate these books highly enough!) they can celebrate their learning adventure by completing the certificate at the end of the book when they have undertaken their awesome animal adventures.  These books are aimed at injecting fun into English and Maths and they do this in the best of ways: by providing engaging learning activities which are interspersed with fantastic photos of the weird and wonderful wild world of animals we live within.  Not only are these books helping to practise English and Maths, but they are also helping inspire our children with a love of learning through the fascinating facts.  Perfect presents for the little ones in your life.

Awesome Maths and English Books
Awesome Maths and English Age 5-7: Ideal for use at home (National Geographic Kids)
  • National Geographic Kids (Author)
  • English (Publication Language)
  • 128 Pages - 05/28/2020 (Publication Date) - Collins (Publisher)


Frozen Planet II- Leisa Stewart-Sharpe (author), Kim Smith (illustrator), Chris Packham (foreward), Puffin Books (publisher)

“Each year, for months of a time, a fifth of our planet is frozen solid”.  I had no idea so much of our earth was frozen for so long!!  This stunning, twinkling frozen landscape is brought to all its glorious life in this sumptuous work of non-fiction looking at this magical icy kingdom.  Your little ones will have their minds blown by the amazing animals who make their homes in the frozen world and who can survive bitter and snow-filled conditions and icy seas.  From the stories of the hilarious top cock of the rock (the most magnificent crested auklet) who sprays his signature scent and displays his musical talent far and wide so that all the ladies will come flocking, to the hungry packs of wolves, or the giant panda, to the pebble pinching penguins, this book is an absolute delight from a visual as well as a factual perspective.  We love how you have to turn the book around at points to read some of the pages; we love the illustrations of the animals which are at once adorable and incredibly lifelike at the same time; we love how the facts are broken up into manageable chunks of information which is spread out across the pages in the most eye-catching and engaging of ways; and we love how the book includes lots of information about how our planet is changing and the people that have dedicated their lives to protecting it.  An icy, inspirational read for the little animal lover in your life, this book would make a wonderland of breathtaking beauty and fascinating facts all wrapped up under the Christmas tree waiting for them.  Wrap up warm, their adventure to the frozen world is about to begin …..

Big Ideas from History – Anna Doherty (illustrator), The School of Life (publisher)

Following on from ‘Big Ideas for Curious Minds’, this fascinating hardback book is aimed at enabling wide-ranging discussions about the past, from pre-history right up to the modern world, and how that ties in with the world today while also clearly looking ahead to the future.  That’s a lot for a book, right?  The book is split into manageable chunks: there’s an introduction all about what history is for, part one looks at pre-history, part two deals with ancient history, part three dwells on the middle-ages, part four details the beginnings of the modern world, part five looks at industrialisation, part six takes a peek at the modern world and part seven is forward-looking, into the future.  Each part encourages your reader to think about things a little differently. What might the Ancient Egyptians tell us now that could be interesting?  Would it change anything?  The final part of the book also looks to the future and asks your reader to create and imagine the kind of world that they would like to live in.  What would it look like?  Are we far away from that now?  We love that the final part of the story is to be written by the children themselves because they are the future, after all.   Each section has gorgeous colour illustrations throughout, bringing to life aspects of history and the thoughts and ideas of the time, as well as serving to engage the reader in the text.  The blocks of text are dense but extremely engaging and thought-provoking. This is a sensitive, thoughtful and inspiring look at the world around us and how it was shaped which encourages children to engage with history.  With its gorgeous cloth-bound and gold-foil cover, this would make a gorgeous gift to any budding historian or deep-thinker.  I would have loved it as a child!

A Fact for Every Day of the Year – Collins (publisher), in association with National Geographic Partners, LLC

We love books like this in our house!  We adore the bite-sized blocks of information that we can pick up and read about on a daily basis, or pick up and pore over whenever we feel like it.  This handy-sized hard-backed book is just the perfect present for any non-fiction lover.  There is literally a fact for every single day of the year.  We love finding out the fact on our birthdays – I feel it is no coincidence that on my birthday, way back in 1938 (which was, yes kids, WAY before I was born), the modern superhero was born!  The twins were sad to read the fact for their birthday, which was that the Arctic Ocean’s areas of sea ice are shrinking because of climate change.  The facts are made to make your child say ‘wow’ – they are mind-blowing and awe-inspiring at the same time – and when they are accompanied by the fantastically bright and colourful photographs that are composed so wonderfully on the page, you can see why this is such a brilliant book for children. Your little ones will be amazed by what they read and we love how accessible and digestible this work of non-fiction is.  It’s a superb stocking filler for any little non-fiction lover or fact finder but also brilliant for those children who struggle with larger blocks of text because the composition of the information and the arrangement of the words and pictures makes it incredibly engaging.  A huge hit here!

Little People, Big Dreams- Mae Jemison  – Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (author), Janna Morton (illustrator), Frances Lincoln Children’s Book (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

My youngest daughter is desperate to be an astronaut (she’s five – dream big, kiddo) and I love that there are books out there like this one to inspire her to pursue her dreams.  As a child, Mae looked up at the stars and knew that she wanted to travel into space.  Watching ‘Star Trek’ as a child only furthered this ambition but she couldn’t understand why there were no astronauts who looked like her – she thought that if aliens met an astronaut then they would think that there were only white people on Earth.  Mae set about following her dreams and studied hard, obtaining her degree, becoming a doctor and traveling around the world helping people but she still wanted to see those stars.  After coming back home from a volunteering trip, she received a letter to say that she had been accepted into NASA’s astronaut class!! And, sure enough, she became the first woman of colour to enter space aboard the US ‘Endeavour’.  Mae still inspires children to fulfil their potential and to dream big and heads up an organisation with an aspirational goal to travel to another star in the next 100 years.  Let’s watch this space (pun intended!).  We love this inspirational story of this determined and focussed lady and we were fascinated by her journey, particularly as we read further detail in the black and white photo section and timeline at the back of the book.  The illustrations are out-of-this-world, as we have come to expect from this series of books: gorgeous, bright, happy artwork really bringing the success and achievements of this fantastic lady to life.  What a gorgeous gift to pass on, a book which inspires….. “Just keep going and reach for the stars!”

Weird but True! 2023 -Collins (imprint of HarperCollins) (publisher) in association with National Geographic Partners, LLC

My children love books like this!!  To be honest, who doesn’t?  Packed full of awesome facts and mind-blowing photographs, what’s not to love?!  Split into 14 different chapters, such as ‘Gruesomely Gross’, ‘Sporting Superstars’, ‘Grub’s Up’, ‘Out of this World’, ‘Step Back in Time’ and many more, there are fascinating facts, sensational snippets of information and wonderful words all about that particular topic.  My eldest daughter has become particularly fascinated by the ‘Gruesomely Gross’ section of this book but, in case you are reading this whilst eating, I won’t turn your stomach and detail these here!! But did you know that if you put two straws into your mouth and placed one end of one of them into the drink in your glass, and the other straw you left hanging outside of your glass, then you can’t drink a single drop of liquid?!! Fascinating.  Or, that Macaroni Penguins (yes, that a type of penguin -cute, huh?!) are so happy when they see their mate that they perform an ‘ecstatic display’, swinging their heads around and making a cackling noise.  Aww.  There are hundreds of wild, wacky and wonderful photographs contained within this magnificent book.  If you have a little non-fiction lover, or a child who just adores quirky ‘did you know….’ facts then this is the ultimate stocking filler for them (although it is rather big and beautiful book so it does rather depend on the size of the stocking!).  Cool, quirky, fun and factual, a great gift.

Little People, Big Dreams- Helen Keller  – Maria Isabel Sanchez Vegara (author), Sam Rud (illustrator), Frances Lincoln Children’s Book (imprint of Quarto) (publisher)

What an outstanding lady!  I am ashamed to say that I didn’t know anything about the life of Helen Keller before I read this new addition to the Little People, Big Dreams series.  If you are looking for a gift which will help inspire your little ones then look no further.  The book follows the remarkable lifetime achievements of Helen Keller.  As a very young child she became deaf and blind following a childhood illness.  She spent frustrating years not being able to communicate as she would wish until her parents found her a teacher (who became a lifelong friend) who helped her communicate in different ways.  Through her courage and determination, she became the first deaf-blind person to be awarded a degree and she wrote many books and lots of inspirational speeches.  She became an advocate for disabled people everywhere by campaigning and giving them a voice.  And, on top of all that (and much more), she also found time to campaign for the rights of women and the rights of African-American people, as well as making lots of time for her friends. This is a wonderful, real-life story of overcoming adversity and each and every hurdle life throws at you. It would be a fantastic book to share with your little ones, particularly if they are struggling with something or having a difficult time and don’t know how to continue.  As is usual with books in this series, there is a black and white photo timeline and a two-page spread with further facts and details which my children always find fascinating.  The illustrations are also fabulous, sensitively drawn and full of beautiful detail and expression.  This book would make a wonderful addition to your little one’s library, all wrapped up under the Christmas tree

+ posts

Fiona lives in Yorkshire with her husband and little girl who is 6 months

Leave a comment

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.