What an absolutely stunning collection of stories to add to your Christmas shelves. I hope that there is something for everyone to enjoy and many will become firm favourites for future years.
Middle grade reads
“The Christmas Carrolls, The Christmas Club” by Mel Taylor-Bessant and Selom Sunu is the final part of the trilogy featuring the Christmas Carrolls, a family so fixated by the festive season that they try and include it in their lives for the whole of the year. Having won a competition in the previous book, they find themselves in New York, to take part in the Christmas parade; but then they receive a mysterious invitation to try and join the “Christmas Club”, something that they thought was just a fairy tale. A totally fantastic and exciting story that sees the family facing some of their greatest challenges yet. It is a totally fabulous series to get you into the Christmas spirit.
“Step Father Christmas” by L D Lapinski is about siblings Harper and Will, and what happens when their mother invites her new boyfriend to stay for Christmas. His name is Nick and he has grey hair and beard, which leaves Harper wondering whether he could actually be Father Christmas. This is a brilliant story for getting you in the festive mood and it has been written in 25 chapters, so you can use it as an Advent calendar to be read every day.
“Adventures of a Christmas Elf” by Ben Miller, illustrated by Chris Naylor and Daniela Jaglenka Terrazzini is the third in the series featuring Holly Claus and Tog, the Elf. After the excitement of book two, things seem to have settled down at the Workshop. But when Santa starts feeling tired and decides to take a short holiday, problems start to happen and the two young heroes step up to the challenge and save Christmas, yet again. It is a tale of redemption (for some) and also how important family can be.
“Juniper’s Christmas” by Eoin Colfer and Chaaya Prabhat is set in a world where Father Christmas has not been seen for ten years and children are forgetting about him. Some do remember the stories told by parents and long for Santa to reappear. Juniper lives with her mother, near one of the London parks, where her father had worked, but when her mother disappears she ask for help from one of the homeless people who find shelter in the wood. But then she discovers his secret, he is Father Christmas. This is a story about helping each other, friendship and evil people who are only interested in themselves. what a fantastic story and so very relevant in the world we inhabit at the moment.
“A Christmasaurus carol” by Tom Fletcher and Shane DeVries. this series featuring the hero William and the last Christmasaurus is fast becoming one of my treats for the Christmas season. There is a mix of fun and also some serious subjects. In this story, the spirit of Ebenezer Scrooge is transported to our time and is determined to get rid of Christmas (as you can guess it is the character, BEFORE the three spirits of Christmas visited him). The question is whether William and his friends can save the day and send Scrooge back into the book “A Christmas Carol”, so that he can change his ways.
“The Great reindeer Rescue” by Stephen Mangan and Anita Mangan is one of those totally silly yet lovable stories, where really quirky things happen. In this case, Dave, the newest reindeer is startled by Rudolph farting (!!) and accidentally un-clips part of the harness, so Rudolph continues his journey whilst the others are left behind with the sleigh, and then due to a malfunction, Santa and the others are sent to different parts of the globe. At this point, a young girl called Holly enters the scene and endeavors to find the missing sleigh and contents, with a bit of ‘help’ from Dave. A really great bit of fun for the holiday season.
“The Nutcracker and the Mouse King’s Christmas Shenanigans” by Alex T Smith. Well the author has done it again. Another of his Christmas stories which are meant to be read over the Advent season. This is his interpretation of the famous ballet, “The Nutcracker” and features many of the same characters, but with a modern twist. It is absolutely fabulous and a future classic.
“The Ice Children” by M G Leonard is a truly magical story, with echoes of the “Snow Queen” and even “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe“. When her young brother is found frozen in the local park, and then each day more children become victims, Bianca faces some incredible dangers to try and release them from their frozen prisons. It is a wonderful tale about imagination, family love and needing balance in our world.
“The Snow Girl” by Sophie Anderson is about a young girl Tasha, who builds a snow girl with her grandfather. When the sculpture comes to life in the image of a girl called Alyana, it looks as if Tasha has achieved her wish of a best friend. But what will happen if spring does not arrive, and is Alyana to blame for this change in the seasons? A wonderful story of friendship, but also a cautionary tale about the way that we interact with nature, and the impact it can have on all our lives.
“The Secret of Helmersbruk Manor” by Eva Frantz and Elin Sandstrom (translated by Annie Prime) is a wonderful surprise of a book. It is a translation from a Finnish book, but inspired by the stories of ghosts at Hampton Court Palace. When Flora and her mother move to Helmersbruk for Christmas, they don’t know that there are hidden secrets and mysteries to be solved. This is a creepy and yet inspiring story for the Christmas season
“Adventuremice: mice on the ice” by Sarah McIntyre and Philip Reeve is the third in the series featuring the delightful and very adventurous mice. This time they face frozen seas and lots of danger, but as always, they work as a team and win the day.
“Winnie the Pooh at the Palace” by Jeanne Willis and Mark Burgess is a beautifully illustrated story of Pooh and Piglet going on a visit to the Palace with Christopher Robin. They have lots of fun in the snow and then find the king’s gold crown in a snow drift. They are then invited in for tea and honey, as a thank you. A delightfully whimsical story with a much loved bear, and friends.
“A very curious Christmas” by Maddie Moate is one of those brilliant pot-potpourris, full of fascinating facts about Christmas. We all know that children ask the most bizarre questions about the festive season, so this book attempts to answer as many of them as possible. It is full of fun and facts and would make a brilliant present
“Pink Santa” by Tanya Hennessy and Ben Whitehouse is a super funny tale of what happens when Rudolph accidentally turns Santa’s coat PINK. Everyone is getting very worried, but Santa is not fazed by events and even paints his sleigh and all the decorations, to match. It has a lovely message about how good things can happen by accident
“Bunnies in a Sleigh” by Philip Ardagh and Ben Mantle is a new adventure for this set of fun loving bunnies. When the elves eat too many sweets on Christmas Eve, the bunnies have to help Santa deliver all of the presents and they do so; even if there are some hilarious escapades on the way. A great rhyming story by a delightfully funny author.
“Christmas Cobweb” by Pippa Goodhart and Ema Maliauka is a delightful story about not forgetting that the joy of Christmas can be found in many things. When old bear decides to have a party for her friends, she spends time cleaning the house and making everything look lovely, but the pesky spiders keep spinning their webs and creating a mess. So bear is horrified to see webs hanging all over her tree, but then her friends point out how magical it looks and she learns to appreciate the beauty of a cobweb.
“The robin who stole Christmas” by Rachel Morrisroe and Richard Merritt brings a very different Robin to our attention; this is one that has close links to Ebenezer Scrooge and the Grumpus. To spoil Christmas for everyone, Rotten Robin decides to steal all of the presents as well as FATHER CHRISTMAS himself. How all the other robins save the day makes for a great fun story, with a lovely underlying message about kindness and sharing.
“Santarella” by Suzy Senior and Lucy Semple brings a delightful twist to the story of Cinderella. When her sisters are out at the ball, Cinderella is surprised by Santa falling down the chimney. Unfortunately he hurts his back and is going to have problems carrying sacks of gifts, so our adventurous heroine volunteers to help him deliver all of the gifts. When she is finally delivered to the palace, she decides that life has more to offer than being a princess and goes of on multiple adventures.
“The Winter Wish” by Helen Mortimer and Rachel Dean is the story of William, who lives in a small bookshop with his parents. Like many shops they are struggling to make end meet, so can a bit of Christmas magic turn things around and save the shop? A gorgeous tale about the importance of reading and books.
“Merry Christmas Blue Kangaroo” by Emma Chichester Clark was first published in 2004 and has been re-printed to celebrate 25 years of this favourite toy. It tells the story of preparing for the big day, from decorations to presents. When Blue Kangaroo magically comes alive, he sneaks downstairs to meet Father Christmas and asks if he can help find a present for Kangaroo’s owner. A delightful tale that has stood the test of time.
“The Three Little Monkeys at Christmas” by Quentin Blake and Emma Chichester Clark is full of anarchy and humour, as the three mischievous monkeys find ways to amuse themselves, on a visit to Hilda’s uncle, for Christmas. However, perhaps they can redeem themselves, when a burglar tries to steal a priceless golden teapot.
“The Burpee Bears, a Christmas Adventure” by Joe Wicks tells how the bears save their Christmas, when the weather gets so bad that they think grandma bear will not be able to reach them for Christmas. So they all decide to load of their sledge and go to visit her instead. things are proving difficult until Santa Bear appears on the scene and helps them get sorted. this is a charming story about the joy of family at Christmas.
“How the Grinch lost Christmas” by Dr Seuss tells of what happens when the Grinch comes second in a Christmas tree competition, which makes him lose his Christmas spirit. However, the winner, a small girl called Cindy-Lou shows him that sharing is what is important and that he is part of the community of Who-ville.
“Santa’s Marvellous Mechanical Workshop” by Vashti Hardy and Katie Cottle is about moving house near to the Christmas holiday and how to keep the festive spirit. Lily has been unpacking all of her books and useful tools into her new room, when she finds an unknown wrapped parcel. It is an empty book that magically takes her to Santa’s workshop, so that she can help to re-purpose some broken toys. When she wakes up she can’t find the book or the elfbot who she had met in the workshop, however she soon sorts that out. A delightful story that will please those who are into STEM and recycling.
“A House for Christmas Mouse” by Rebecca Harry is a warm and cuddly story of a young mouse who arrives in the forest, on Christmas Eve, looking for a new home. He meets a variety of animals on his travels and is able to help them with a variety of tasks, but then he has to go and find this home. When he eventually finds somewhere, it is cold and empty and frankly not very inviting. When he tries to ask for help, the other animals don’t seem to hear him, but when he get back to the new home, it has been magically transformed by his new friends. This leaves a warm glow, thinking about the true meaning of Christmas.