Monday, 28 November 2011

Recommended Children's Books for Christmas

Not too long until Christmas is upon us and if you are anything like me then some of your Christmas shopping will be done in bookshops.  I just love to browse through books, each year I take it upon myself to help the children I buy presents for improve their love for books.  I bought one of my nephews a book recently and he commented this would be his fourth book.  How sad is that?  My kids have dozens and dozens of books each and we visit charity shops and the library frequently so we can keep rotating and keep our reading fresh. I suppose my love of reading has translated into a love for them too - result!

I was recently sent 3 books to review and share with you.  Here is what we thought!

Magic Beans: A Handful of Fairytales from the Storybag. RRP £9.99 in hardback
This one suited my girls age group (they are 4) with me reading to them but equally JJ could easily have read it to himself at age 8. It is a wonderful book to read at bedtime and I was able to read to all 3 children with them  all equally being interested and engaged. The book contains fourteen wondrous stories and each one is described as a magic bean: written to capture a child's imagination. The collection of classic stories are retold in a modern manner by some of today's best children's story tellers including Jacqueline Wilson, Phillip Pullman, Michael Morpurgo, Anne Fine, and many more.

My girls particularly liked the tale of Rapunzel told by Jacqueline Wilson and I was super pleased to see Aesop's Fables included.  I have such fond memories of being read these simple but brilliant tales by my Mum when I was young. I would happily recommend this book for both boys and girls.



History Keepers: The Storm Begins by Damien Dibben. RRP £12.99 in hardback
JJ who is 8 read this but let me tell you a secret....  so did I and I am considerably older than 8! lol I am assuming this book is aimed at pre-teens/ teenagers but at a mature 8 JJ was fine reading it and really got into the fast-moving story.  In this book (the first of many I hope) young hero Jake Djones travels through time to save his parents – and history itself.  The way that true life historical events are woven into the story is extremely clever. I felt like I was being taken on a  rollercoaster ride through this book and it kept me turning the pages avidly. I believe this book will appeal to both boys and girls and should feature on every older child's Christmas list.  It is superb and I can't wait for the next book in the series...



Sapphire Battersea by Jacqueline Wilson.  RRP £12.99 in hardback
This is the second book in a trilogy, with the acclaimed Hetty Feather being the first. As JJ is a real boys boy I passed this book to my friends 10 year old daughter, H and asked for her comments. 'I loved it' was the first thing she said to me when I saw her the other day.  She told me that she read it in 2 days over a weekend as it was fantastic.  She had not read Hetty Feather prior to this book but she said it did not matter as she was able to understand everything in the book and she would, be using her pocket money next week to buy Hatty Feather. 

Her mum tells me that Sapphire Battersea is well written and very pre-teen/ early teenage years friendly. There is a sad part when a key character dies (I won't spoil it and say who) so you need to be aware that it is not really aimed at younger children. Also your child needs to be aware that there will be a third book out in a year or so which will reveal the ending to the story.....  so they need to be patient and wait for it!

Another recommendation, I am now reliably informed that JJ would have loved it too and whilst my assumption was that it is a girls book, apparently that is not so.

All three books are available at good booksellers such as Waterstones and WH Smiths and can also be purchased online from Random House.


Disclosure:  I received these books free of charge to review.  I was not instructed what to write and I remain honest.

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