It’s beginning to feel a lot like Christmas

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Christmas isn’t Christmas unless I find a book inside my stocking on Christmas Day. At this time of the year I can’t resist a Christmas story for sharing with my girls, reading at Storytime or for spoiling myself with some peace and quiet and a festive read. Here is my pick of some of my favourite Christmas books I have enjoyed this year. To everyone who has visited my blog this year hope you all have a wonderful Christmas filled with lots of lovely books.

The Princess and the Christmas Rescue – Caryl Hart & Sarah Warburton

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I’ve had so much fun sharing this fabulous book during Storytime at school. Caryl Hart’s superb storytelling is told through the most sublime rhyming, making it an absolute joy to read aloud. Meet the brainy and bright Princess Eliza who loves making contraptions despite this being a hobby that is far from princessy. The Queen wants her to make friends and not get messy, so she goes off on a search and discovers the elves in Santa’s workshop in a real tizzy. With Santa ill, can Eliza use her inventing skills to save the day and hopefully make some friends along the way? It is fantastic to see a feisty, brave princess in a fairytale who doesn’t need to be rescued and in fact uses her creativity and ingenuity to save Christmas. Sarah’s sumptuous spreads are filled with beautifully detailed illustrations ensuring this book is a truly marvellous sight to behold.  A truly imaginative and stunning festive feast of a book.

The Queen’s Present – Steve Antony

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When The Queen needs a special present for the little prince and princess, who better to help her find them than Father Christmas. Whisked away on a sleigh on a whirlwind tour of the world’s best known landmarks, dashing over the Effiel Tower, soaring up to the Great Pyramids and flying over the Statue of Liberty they search and search but to no avail. But when she arrives at Sandringham House they still receive the best present of all. With striking illustrations in a festive red and green palette this fascinating trip around the world is bound to captivate and entertain. Busy elves fill the glorious endpapers and are scattered throughout the spreads giving curious children plenty to spot and discover as they follow The Queen on this exciting journey.

Ned’s Nuddy Christmas – Kes Gray & Garry Parsons

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It’s Christmas Eve, it’s minus three and there’s a VERY special person Ned just can’t wait to meet! Look out Santa, Nuddy Ned is on his way and he’s completely starkers! This crazy festive caper will have you laughing out loud at Ned’s naughty antics. Whenever I have shared this story it has caused much hilarity with its strategically placed flaps to spare your blushes and Ned’s modesty! Kes Gray’s robust rhymes make this a joy to read aloud and Garry Parsons witty, vibrant illustrations will fill you with festive cheer.

The Velveteen Rabbit – Margery Williams & Sarah Massini

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This stunning new illustrated addition of ‘The Velveteen Rabbit’ is a real joy to behold. From the embossed cover nestling underneath the luxurious slip cover, to Sarah Massini’s lavish and exquisite illustrations filled with warmth and emotion.  The Velveteen Rabbit longs to be Real, just like his wise old friend the Skin Horse. But being Real isn’t about how you’re made, it’s something that happens to you, and with a small boy’s love and some strange and wonderful nursery magic, the little Rabbit’s dreams might just come true. An emotional tale about the love between a child and their toy and the adventures that they enjoy together. I adored everything about this beautiful book, it truly deserves to be loved and treasured.

The Cat Who Ate Christmas – Lil Chase & Thomas Docherty

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This gorgeous, heart-warming story of a mischievous kitten who causes chaos at Christmas made me laugh in despair in equal measures. Having recently become a proud owner of a brand new kitten who is just as naughty as Jingles, I’m beginning to feel I may have an interesting time this year. Poor Jingles keeps finding himself in trouble. He manages to knock over the Christmas tree, shred the presents and eat an entire turkey making the whole family very cross.  What else could possibly go wrong? A delightful tale full of humour and warmth, wonderfully complemented with gorgeous illustrations by Thomas Docherty this is a real treat to share. Children will love the facts, jokes, craft activities and recipes that will keep them amused in the run up to Christmas Day.

 Squishy McFluff Secret Santa – Pip Jones & Ella Okstad

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It is four days before Christmas and Ava and Squishy are trying their very best to be good because they know if they’re naughty then Santa won’t come. As you turn the pages you can guess the naughtiness which is about to happen as they encounter Christmas trees with wonky stars that just NEED fixing and leftover Christmas wrapping paper which invites them to wrap everything , including Dad. But when Ava is asked to write her Christmas list she just has one thing she wishes would come true. Ella Okstad’s illustrations are full of humour and the characters are drawn with such endearing expressions that you can’t help but become totally entranced by this story. Pip Jones has created a magical and enchanting story, the ending is a Christmassy as crackers, mince pies and reindeers.

Santa Claude – Alex T Smith

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Claude is back in this hilarious seasonal caper filled with mischief and mayhem. When an intruder whooshes down Claude’s chimney on Christmas Eve he is ridiculously excited at the prospect of catching a real life burglar. Bravely tackling this fearsome criminal and handcuffing him to a chair, little does he realise that he has just captured Santa Claus. A lost key means Santa is stuck and it is down to Claude and Sir Bobblysocks to make sure all the presents are delivered in time. The incredibly witty illustrations are full of energy and humour and will certainly captivate the reader. A brilliantly funny tale, packed full of action and adventure that is guaranteed to be a huge hit with Claude fans.

Mistletoe and Murder – Robin Stevens

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Daisy and Hazel are back in another intriguing mystery which will delight and confound the most ardent of Detective Society fans. Spending Christmas holidays in snowy Cambridge with Daisy’s brother Bertie, their dreams of festive bunbreaks galore are disturbed when a brutal accident takes place amongst the dark stairwells of Maudlin College. Suspecting that a murder has taken place they set off to uncover the killer whilst trying to outwit a rival agency the Junior Pinkertons who are determined to beat them. Dark and mysterious the story will keep you guessing right to the end with its series of clever twists and turns and once again I failed miserably to identify the culprit. Robin Stevens is a brilliant writer, who manages to make me love each book just a little bit more than the last and Mistletoe and Murder is one of my favourite books of the year. This series is truly irresistible and any of the books would make a fantastic Christmas gift for mystery fans.

The Girl Who Saved Christmas – Matt Haig & Chris Mould

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We all need some magic in our lives at Christmas and Matt Haig more than delivers in this wonderful tale filled with hope, dreams and the power of belief. When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas. But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade, and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about with angry trolls on the loose and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled. Amelia is no ordinary girl and if Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone. A marvellous mix of light and shade this story contrasts beautifully the hardship and poverty of Amelia’s life with workshops filled with excited elves getting ready for Christmas. Chris Mould’s illustrations complement the story perfectly. Filled with intricate details and full of energy they capture the despair, joy and magic of the story. If you want your children to ‘believe’ and be sprinkled with Christmas magic then this is the book for you!

Thank you to Bloomsbury, Faber, Hodder, Little Brown Books, Nosy Crow and Puffin, for sending me copies of these fantastic books.

 

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