One of the best parts of Christmas for me is the arrival of the Christmas books. On the 1st December I take them from storage in school and carefully choose which ones I want to share with children at storytime. I have my favourites that I read year after year but I’m always on the look out for new additions to my Christmas collection. Today I have a wonderful selection of nine new titles, so I will be giving you a mini review of each, just enough to tempt you to the bookshop or the library to buy or borrow them.
Snowflakes, Silver and Secrets – Tracey Corderoy
‘Snowflakes, Silver and Secrets,’ is the latest book in the Seaview Stables adventure series from Tracey Corderoy. Bryony and her friends are looking forward to the Christmas holidays especially as it’s snowing, perfect for a magical horse ride. Bryony and her pony Red meet a family of travellers that have arrived in Brook Dale Manor and are keen to get them involved in the festivities. But when a box of silver goes missing from the manor house, fingers point at the new arrivals. Can Bryony and her friends find the true culprits and save their new friends? This series continues to delight me with it’s perfect mix of friendship and mystery. Tracey has a natural gift for creating characters who you care about and writing the most thoughtful and charming stories.
The Great Reindeer Disaster – Kate Saunders, illustrated by Neal Layton
When the Trubshaw family’s sleep is disturbed by a series of thumps in the night, the last thing they expect to find is a reindeer coming down their chimney especially as it’s July! Percy needs to get home, surprisingly not back to the North Pole as you would expect but the distant planet of Yule-1 where Father Christmas really lives. He accidentally beams the Trubshaw family back to Yule-1 with him and that’s when the fun starts! This lively and fun tale is bound to amuse and entertain younger readers with it’s many humorous moments. Neal’s illustrations capture the chaos and carnage of non=stop Christmas preparations brilliantly. A perfect stocking filler of a book.
The Real Family Christmas – Sue Mongredien, illustrated by Kate Pankhurst
Nothing is quite straightforward when the Christmases are about, as we soon discover in these three short stories featuring the trials and tribulations of our favourite festive family. What happens when Father Christmas gets flu just before the big day? And When Granny turns up with her crazy inventions and manages to upset all the elves, causing chaos at every corner. Oh and not forgetting when the extended Christmas family gate-crashes just in time for the festive season. Find out in this hilarious and heartfelt collections of tales that will definitely bring Christmas cheer to your home. Delightfully funny, featuring humorous illustrations that are bound to captivate early readers, this is a really joyful read!
Angel on the Roof – Shirley Hughes
Lewis Brown is lonely and sad, looking out through the bars of his basement window longing to be part of a world where he doesn’t feel he belongs. When a golden feather flutters down from the sky, he’s the only one who notices this strange and wonderful thing. Curious he goes to the roof and discovers an angel who doesn’t speak but this doesn’t stop them striking up an unlikely friendship. The angel’s presence has a wonderful effect on the people who live in 32 Paradise street, small acts of goodwill, kindness and understanding become the norm and they change for the better. Sublimely illustrated with navy line drawings, this is a perfect story for Christmas highlighting how small acts can bring joy and spread throughout communities. A modern classic, this is a picture book that deserves to be treasured.
Meerkat Christmas – Emily Gravett
I absolutely adore, ‘Meerkat Mail,’ so I was thrilled to discover that Sunny and his family are back in a brand new adventure for Christmas. When Sunny reads a magazine all about the perfect Christmas, he decides the desert fails to tick hardly any of the essential boxes. Leaving his family behind he travels all over the globe desperately hoping to find somewhere Christmassy enough but nothing is quite right. Some places are too hot, others are too cold and some are downright too soggy. Even when he finds a place that should be just right, he know something is missing. Can he discover the true meaning of Christmas before it’s too late? Featuring stunning illustrations and a gorgeous selection of cards to discover and enjoy, this is a wonderfully interactive read. Witty and warm in every way, it’s an absolute joy of a book.
Mouse’s Night Before Christmas – Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Sarah Massini
We are all familiar with Clement Clark Moore’s ‘The Night Before Christmas,’ where not a creature was stirring but not even a mouse. But what if that’s not quite true and in fact the mouse is wide awake wishing for a special gift this Christmas, the gift of friendship. So when Santa arrives lost in a blizzard, the mouse hears and the mouse sees and goes to his rescue. Together they navigate the night skies delivering presents to all the girls and boys. Will mouse be rewarded with his heart’s desire? A beautifully told tale that will warm even the coldest of hearts. Tracey has created something truly enchanting, wonderfully enhanced by Sarah’s sumptuous illustrations which capture the wonder a joy of Christmas. A festive triumph!
The Night Before Christmas in Wonderland – Carys Bexington, illustrated by Kate Hindley
I adore ‘Alice in Wonderland,’ so was intrigued to discover this Christmas version featuring a very cross Queen of Hearts who has banned all festivities after her letter to Santa remained unanswered. Santa is horrified when many years later her letter is discovered and he’s determined to right this wrong. But Santa gets more than he’s bargained for when he arrives in Wonderland, a place where everything is so out of sorts. Can he find a way to bring to restore the holiday cheer? Brilliantly told with bouncy and lively rhymes, this is a real delight to read aloud. Kate’s illustrations as ever are packed full of intricate details which will enchant and entertain readers. This is a definite addition to my picture book collection and I will enjoy sharing it for many years to come.
A Cat’s Christmas Carol – Sam Hay, illustrated by Helen Shoesmith
Clawdia, the department store’s security cat is definitely feeling very bah humbug about Christmas. Left alone while everyone else goes home she’s feeling decidedly grumpy especially when her peace is disrupted by the arrival of three mischievous mice looking for shelter. Determined to show him the true meaning of Christmas they lead her on a wild mice chase around the store, showing her all the joys the festive season has to offer. Is it too late for Clawdia to embrace the Christmas spirit and have a happy Christmas? A fun filled retelling of the classic, ‘A Chrismas Carol,’ you can’t help but feel for poor Clawdia who feels unloved and left behind. A heart-warming tale, beautifully illustrated that will fill you with festive cheer.
Santa’s New Beard – Caroline Crowe, illustrated by Jess Pauwels
It looks like there will be no Christmas this year after Santa accidentally shaves off his beard, how will children know it’s him? Surely the elves can rescue Christmas, they’re used to being really creative and can make any toy? When bubble, squirty cream and mashed potato beards fail to do the trick it looks like Christmas will have to be cancelled. But one teeny tiny elf is determined to save the day. With a dash of fluff and a little bit of magic, maybe it’s not too late? Bold and bouncy rhymes make this really fun to read aloud, children will enjoy the elves weird and wonderful attempts to create a new beard for Santa. The bright and vibrant illustrations are packed with humour and mischief making for an entertaining and engaging read.
Thank you to Faber, Macmillan, Nosy Crow, Simon and Schuster and Walker Books for my gifted copies of these festive books. All of these books are available to buy now online (just click on the title to buy) or from any good bookshop.