Two charming Christmas stories from Floris Books, one, The Yule Tomte and the Little Rabbits: A Christmas Story for Advent by Ulf Stark and Eva Eriksson tells of a grumpy Tomte and two hopeful rabbits.  A memorable tale, over its 25 chapters it allows readers to share with the family for the whole of Advent.  The other title, The Three Wise Men: A Christmas Story by Loek Koopmans is a charming retelling of the biblical tale with delightful illustrations.

Celebrating 50 years is The Pushcart War by Jean Merrill and Ronni Solbert.

Picture Books

You Can Do It Bert! by Ole Konnecke (Gecko Press) is the story of new adventures and the difference that a little encouragement from a friend or two can make!

Dinosaur Poo! By Diane and Christyan Fox is a picture book from a new imprint, Words and Pictures, part of Quarto.  It combines two of the very favourite topics of young children and will delight all who come to read it!

Another title on this new imprint is equally charming.  A Guide to Sisters by Paula Metcalf and illustrated by Suzanne Barton is as loving as it is funny and irreverent!

The Moon Dragons by Dyan Sheldon and Gary Blythe (Andersen Press) is breathtaking, artistically  stunning and a lovely story too.  Read it aloud and wonder at the prose, but be sure to take time to admire the imagery too.

If you have a little one who loves to dance then they will enjoy The Dance Teacher by Simon Milne and Chantal Stewart (Allen & Unwin).

Bob and Flo: The Missing Bucket by Rebecca Ashdown (Oxford University Children’s Books) is a bright and charming picture book story of the first day at nursery and making new friends.

Maverick Publishing have been busy this year and this winter they have three new picture books available.  A Scarf and A Half by Amanda Brandon does what it says in the title and tells the story of a hilariously long scarf.  I Wish I’d Been Born A Unicorn by Rachel Lyon is the rhyming story of Mucky the horse and his grand dreams whilst Yuck Said the Yak! by Alex English is a story in just over 100 words of the conversation between one small boy and his Yak.  A charming collection of wonderful new stories to enjoy.

Keep Out by Sally Grindley and Peter Utton is a delightful book complete with a gatefold and popouts.  Wonderful for reading aloud to children and full of classic illustrations (Hodder Children’s Books).

David Roberts is back and this time in partnership with Tom Moorhouse for a retelling of Wind In the Willows in picture book form.  The Adventures of Mr Toad (Oxford University Press) is delightfully bright and funny.

Every considered having a pet?  You may think again after reading Tony Ross’ Rita’s Rhino from Andersen Press.

Ever had a pet and entered them into a competition?  Worst in Show by William Bee and Kate Hindley (Walker Books) is the hilarious tale of just what can go wrong when entering pets into shows!

Want to find the perfect pet?  Look no further than Sparky! By Jenny Offill and Chris Appelhams for some inspiration and advice! (Orion)

Heard the saying children should be seen and not heard?  Seen and Not Heard is the title of a debut from Katie May Green (Walker Books) and it is wonderfully spooky and naughty, perfect for little imaginations.

In a charming new series of board books from Gecko Press, written by Barbro Lindgren and illustrated by Eva Eriksson, we meet Max and frineds.  There is Max’s Bear, Max’s Bath and Max’s Wagon three charmingly simple stories for children to relate to.

The start of the school year has passed but there will always be time to read Neil Gaiman and Adam Rex’s Chu’s Frist Day at School (Bloomsbury) with its adorable panda Chu and its fantastically heart-warming story.

And if heart-warming is what you love, then look no further than Your Hand in My Hand by Mary Sperring and Brita Teckentrup (Orchard Books), a glorious story of friendship.

A Recipe For Bedtime by Peter Bently and Sarah Massini (Hodder) comes with a soft squidgy cover and cute cuddly characters who are certain to entice little ones to bed with a promise of hearing their wonderful recipe for the best bedtime ever.

I love books, you love books, we all love books and that is why we will all love Dog Loves Fairy Tales by Louise Yates (Random House), continuing the book-related adventures of her wonderful Dog.

Back to Top


War stories continue to be popular, Winter’s Bullet by William Osborne (Chicken House) explores the idea that Hitler had a weapon of mass destruction, an exciting read.

My Blitz by Vince Cross (Scholastic) is a diary-style story chroniciling one family’s experience of the Blitz.

The story of a rude girl, a smart boy and a secret kingdom, the ingredients for a great yarn which this is.  Loretta Mason Potts by Mary Chase, illustrated by Harold Berson is a New York Review Children’s Book.

Another from the same publisher is Alfred Ollivant’s Bob Son s Battle: The Last Gray Dog of Kenmuir.  Bought back by Lydia Davis to ensure children of today still read something in dialect.  An interesting challenge.

Chilling to the core, this is a ghost story for Halloween set in the First World War.  Piper is interesting, gripping and frightening.  Danny Weston writes it for Andersen Press.

Still in the mood for ghosts?  Turn to Afterwalkers by Tom Becker.  Tom was winner of the Waterstone’s Children’s Book Prize and this book shows why.  Powerful and thrilling, this book has the power to haunt you long after you have finished reading (Scholastic).

For something a little more heart-warming turn to Lucy’s Secret Reindeer by Anne Booth, with gentle and charming illustrations by Sophy Williams, this will brighten up a cold winter day and get little ones ready for Christmas!

Think you know about the Yeti?  Think again for here is Blizz Richards, a yeti, a caring boss and a loyal friend, a yeti who stays out of the limelight until … well find out for yourself in this hilarious new illustrated story, The Yeti Files: Meet the Bigfeet by Kevin Sherry (Scholastic).

More mythical animals feature in The Secret Animal Society: Cornflake the Dragon by Ruth Symes (Hot Key Books) – a story that finds the school lizard becoming a real life dragon!  Beware the school classroom pet!

If myth is appealing then the Write Your Own Greek Myth activity that accompanies a new series The Olympuss Games by Robin Price (Mogzilla) will have great appeal. Great stories too.

As if that were not enough, you could then dip into The Adventures of Hermes God of Thieves: 100 Journeys Through Greek Mythology by Murielle Szac (PR Collective).

Angie Sage, I have been a fan of her books since the publication of Magyk, and now she is back with a new series overlapping her previous but with a brand new cast of characters and a brand new set of adventures. I devoured Pathfinder: A Todhunter Moon Adventure (Bloomsbury) and I am certain you will too.

Marcia Williams is a genius when it comes to turning classic stories into comic strips and her version of Victor Hugo’s Les Miserables (Walker Books) is no exception.

Chris Priestly, another favourite author is back with another twist of a classic story. This time he twists a Dickensian London into The Last of the Spirits (Bloomsbury).

Read the book, see the film or vice versa but it is always great to be able to do both and now the inspiration behind the Boxtrolls film can be read by fans.  Here be Monsters and its tie-in The Boxtrolls by Alan Snow come this winter from Oxford University Press.

Staying with the theme of dark, gothic and macabre books Edward Carey’s Heap House and Foulsham will be popular if you love the mystery and wonder they promise (both Hot Key Books).

A & C Black has been publishing a wonderful sequence of historical novels and this continues with Theresa Tomlinson’s Better Than Gold a tale inspired by the Staffordshire Hoard; Spymaster by Deborah Chancellor; The Gunpowder Plot by Ann Turnbull and The Thieves of Pudding Lane by Jonathan Eyres.

Not sure where to go next?  The Map to Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis (Orion) may or may not help!

For high spirited fun you should definitely read Battle of the Beach Freaks by Sam Hay and Tom Morgan-Jones (Catnip).

Back to Top 



Ever had a boyfriend dilemma?  A girlfriend dilemma?  Fiona Foden’s The Boyfriend Dilemma (Scholastic) is certain to ring true with some readers and will entertain all with its complex love tangles!

Mothers and daughters are known for their very special bond.  Apple and her mother are no different, or are they and if so why?  Apple and Rain is a sensitive exploration of absence, reunion, family and much more.  Moving, hauntingly beautiful and a lovely voice – this is Sarah Crossan’s fourth title – it is a must-read.

Peace and Conflict by Irene Sabatini is a moving and evocative as well as poignant story of what it means to fight for peace (Corsair).

Picture book readers had Les Miserables courtesy of Marcia Williams, teens can read the story of one of its characters, Eponine, thanks to Susan Fletcher’s A Little In Love (Chicken House).

Marcus Sedgwick never disappoints his readership and he won’t with The Ghosts of Heaven a book that can be read in any order being made up of four very distinct quarters (Orion).  Powerful and moving, a book of human longing and much more.

Lauren St John loves to write about animals and The Glory is a stunning stand-alone equestrian thriller that horse-lovers will adore and other readers will greatly enjoy! (Orion: Indigo).

Back to Top 


Non Fiction

The Oxford Treasury of Nursery Rhymes is a charming collection compiled by Sarah Williams and Karen King with illustrations by Ian Beck.  Great for toddlers learning the rhymes and parents who may have forgotten some!

Another collection of stories, Ballet Stories by Margaret Groves and illustrated by Lisa Kopper come from Frances Lincoln and is a charming selection of some much-loved tales beautifully illustrated and a lovely addition to The Classics collection.

The Awesome Book of Awesomeness by Adam Frost with illustrations by Dan Brammall is really quite awesome, full of fascinating facts (Bloomsbury).

Over the Hills and Far Away is a stunning collection by Elizabeth Hammill (Frances Lincoln) of nursery rhymes from around the world.  A delight and a treasure trove.

Love colouring?  You’ll love The Neon Colouring Book from Buster Books, certain to brighten up a dull winter day.  From the same publisher comes The Halloween Activity Book – no explanation needed for this one but great for Halloween party ideas!

Love a challenge?  A good mystery to solve?  You’ll love the very special How Watson Learned The Trick from Walker Books – a special little book and the perfect gift for Holmes fans.

QED has a wide range of non-fiction books publishing this autumn and winter and so I have done a round-up of them here:

The Storytime Series continues with What’s in Your Pocket by Ruth Symons and Laura Watkins; The Lion Who Lost his Roar But Learnt to Draw comes from Paula Knight and Daniel Howarth

The You Do the Maths series continues with Design a Skyscraper and Launch a Rocket into Space by Hilary Knoll and Steve Mills, illustrated by Vlaimir Aleksic

Spot the Reindeer at Christmas by Tasha Percy and Marc Mones is a fun family book

I Love Cats and Kittens by David Alderton is sure to be adored

The Classic Collection grows with Dracula retold by Anne Rooney, illustrated by Franco Rivoli, Frankenstein retold by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Franco Rivoli, Jason and the Golden Fleece, retold by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Leo Hartas, The Twelve Tasks of Hercules by Saviour Pirotta, illustrated by Gerald Kelley

Learn about the world with Children’s Activity Atlas by Jenny Slater, illustrated by Katrin Wiehle.

Body Works by Anna Claybourne is another educational title for young readers whilst Animals by Camilla de le Bedoyere contains a fantastical collection of weird and wonderful creatures.  She has also contributed Snow Babies the perfect winter read. And if you would like to know where in the world all these animals live try the Children’s Activity Atlas by Jenny Slater ad Katrin Wiehle.

Clash of the Dinos by Jinny Johnson and Barry Croucher will no doubt thrill many boys and more books from the You Do the Maths series, featuring skyscrapers and rockets will add to a great Christmas present for many.

Deadly Pole to Pole Diaries by Steve Backshall (Orion) will thrill adventure seekers.

Have you been enjoying Frances Lincoln’s The Stick Book revealing all the things that can be done with a stick?  If so then you will love The Paint Book: Loads of Things You Can Make or Do With Paint and also The Pencil Book: Loads of Things You Can Make or Do With a Pencil (Miri Flower).  Packed full of inventive and imaginative activities for children and adults to share they will ensure hours of fun. 

True stories are always incredible, none more so that Walter Dean Myers’ retelling of a very special princess.  An African Princess (Walker Books) is packed with facsimiles of original letters, photographs and historical documents, a fascinating book.

Get set for 2015 with two great annuals, Deadly Annual 2015 by Steve Backshall and Horrid Henry Annual 2015 (both Orion).

Back to Top


Continuing Series

Circle Square Moose by Kelly Bingham and Paul O. Zelinsky (Andersen Press) is a brilliant take on the traditional shape book and a joyful continuation of some great characterisation. Perfect for younger readers to identify with.

More characters to identify with in the form of Clare Freedman and Ben Cort’s Monsters Love Underpants (Simon and Schuster), their seventh title!

Fairytales Gone Wrong from QED continues with Steve Smallman’s Keep Running Gingerbread Man and Give Us a Smile Cinderella.

Vivian French has penned a brilliant series, The Five Kingdoms that I urge you to read if you have not already done so.  There may be five kingdoms but The Snarling of Wolves is her sixth title in the series! (Walker Books)

Tales from Schwartzgarten is now in its third volume, Christopher William Hill has bought his characters back for another fantastically funny adventure in The Lily-Livered Prince (Hachette Children’s).

If you love code breaking then you will have been reading H. L. Dennis’ Secret Breakers and maybe sad to know the series is coming to a close with Circle of Fire (Hodder Children’s Books) but add it to your collection and you’ll have the three on your shelf!

A special series from Frances Lincoln for early readers and bridging the gap between picture book and full chapter book Time to Read Series by M. P. Robertson now features four titles: Big Foot, The Egg, The Dragon Snatcher, The Great Dragon Rescue.

Have you met Frog yet?  His adventures began in August.  There are now four titles; Frog is Frog, Frog is Frightened, Frog is a Hero, Frog in Winter.  Next year come Frog and the Stranger, Frog in Love, Frog and a Very Special Day, Frog and the Birdsong all by Max Velthuijs from Andersen Press.

For young football fans a treat is in store with Frankie’s Magic Football: Frankie Saves Christmas from Frank Lampard and Little Brown books.

A series in one book Secrets of Flamant Castle: The Complete Adventures of Sword Girl and Friends by Frances Watts and Gregory Rogers is a brilliant combination of fun and fantasy in a series of stories for younger readers. (Allen & Unwin)  And from the same publisher for fans of horses comes Golden Stranger: Diamond Spirit 4 by Karen Wood.

Joss Stirling is continuing her successful series with Misty Falls a follow-up to Finding Sky a passionate romance from Oxford University Press Children’s.

Another mythical treat is in store for readers of Thor is Locked in My Garage! By Robert J. Harris (Floris Books), a riotous read.

A series of adventure stories inspired by Jules Verne The Curse of the Ice Serpent by Jon Mayhew (Bloomsbury) is a new and dangerous mission for fans of monsters and villains.  This is the latest title in the Monster Odyssey series.

Jacqueline Wilson continues to write us stories about the delightful Opal Pumstead and her 100th title Opal Plmstead is a fantastic read (Penguin Random House).

The fifth title in The Kingdom of Silk series by Glenda Millard (Phoenix Yard) is Plum Puddings and Paper Moons and is a delightful read.

The Lovegrove Legacy continues with book 2, Whisper the Dead by Alyxandra Harvey (Bloomsbury).

Harvey Drew makes a welcome return in Harvey Drew and the Bling Bots by Cas Lester (Hot Key Books) another space, sci-fi adventure!

Pig is back in a second outing.  The Super Amazing Adventures of Me Pig by Emer Stamp is a riotously funny diary journal (Scholastic).

On her third book in the Ravn Cycle is Maggie Stiefvater;  Blue Lily, Lily Blue is the title (Scholastic).

Another third title comes from Catherynne M. Valente with The Girl Who Soared Over Fairyland and Cut the Moon in Two (Much-In-Little).

And yet another third, Mortal Heart by Robin La Fevers, concludes a stunning series (Andersen Press).

Horrid Henry is up to his old tricks in a new book from Francesca Simon, Horrid Henry’s Tricky Treats perfect at Halloween or any time really! (Orion)

Meanwhile the Fish Finger gang are back in The Frozen Fish Fingers by Jason Beresford and Vicky Barker (Catnip).

Back to Top 

In Paperback

Star Girl by Karin Littlewood (Frances Lincoln), as charming in paperback as hardback.

Here Be Monsters by Alan Snow and The Boxtrolls are published by Oxford University Press to co-incide with the release of The Boxtrolls film.

Love music?  Heard of the Beatles?  You will love The Beatles by Mmick Manning and Brita Granstrom now out in paperback from Frances Lincoln.

A 10th edition copy of Wolf Brother by Michelle Paver would make a nice paperback gift this winter.

It is also the 10th anniversary of Cornelia Funke’s Dragon Rider (Chicken House) and the special edition has a lovely foiled cover.

On the subject of anniversaries we have the 100th book from Jacqueline Wilson, continuing the story of Opal, Opal Plumstead will delight fans old and new (Random House).

Beetle and Bug and the Grissel Hunt by Hiawyn Oran & Satoshi Kitamura (Andersen Press).

Not paperback but in a special mini edition is the very special Polar Express by Chris Van Allsburg from Andersen Press.

The hilarious combination of Sam Gayton and Chris Riddell comes to paperback with The Snow Merchant from Andersen Press.

Ophelia and the Marvellous Boy by Karen Foxlee is now out in paperback from Hot Key Books.

The recreated The Railway Rabbits by Georgie Adams and with illustration by Anna Currey are a charming series in perfect paperback (Orion).

You could also dip into a great comic book adventure with Asterix and the Picts by Jean Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad (Orion).

Back to Top