Thursday 20 June 2019

Terrific tinselly tales which will light up our magical time of year

 

Isobel Conachy (8) enjoying her Christmas Book. Photo: David Conachy.
Isobel Conachy (8) enjoying her Christmas Book. Photo: David Conachy.
The Squirrells who Squabbled
Tilly and the Bookwanderers
Hubert Horatio
There's a Yeti in the Playground!
The Pooka Party
The President's Cat
The Great Irish Weather Book
I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree
Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals
Hetty Feather's Christmas
Fun Unplugged
Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Meltdown
The First Christmas Jumper (and the Sheep Who Changed Everything)

Justine Carbery

The weather outside grows colder, lights twinkle, and the little people in our life grow ever more impatient for the coming of Santa Claus. What better way to celebrate the holiday season than by snuggling up and reading, writes Justine Carbery.

Gorgeous illustrations and rhymes abound at this time of year. The Squirrels who Squabbled (Hachette €9.45) by Rachel Bright is about two greedy squirrels vying for the last nut of the season. A laugh-out-loud hilarious rhyming adventure, as is I Say Ooh You Say Ahh (Templar €9.45) by John Kane, whilst 3, 2, 1 GO (Thames & Hudson €14.80) by Virginie Morgand is a fun new counting book for kids. 

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The Squirrells who Squabbled

Anything by Oliver Jeffers is worth buying and his latest compendium The Boy: His Stories and How They Came To Be (Harpercollins €27.99) is a beautiful collection of four of his classic award-winning tales with a behind-the-scenes' look at how they were made, and a special letter from Oliver himself. The perfect gift. And Jeffers's book Here We Are translated into Irish Anseo ata muid (Futa Fata €16.95) is perfect for your Irish-speaking smallies.

The book behind the internet sensation of a Scottish granny reading this story to her grandchild A Wonky Donkey (Scholastic €8.99) by Craig Smith is now out in paperback.

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The President's Cat

I had tears streaming down my face watching and reading this. The President's Cat (Gill €14.99) by Peter Donnelly won the An Post Children's Book of the Year about the forgetful President who has returned from his holidays in Kerry without his cat.

The Magic Moment (Gill €14.99) by Niall Breslin is a charming book exploring the idea of overcoming fears for small children.

Beautifully produced and including an easy mindfulness technique, this is a lovely book for parents to read with their young ones.

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The Pooka Party

There is such a wealth of quality Irish-produced books to choose from this year and The Pooka Party (O'Brien €14.99) by Shona Shirley Macdonald is no exception. A delightful story of being lonely and then belonging, accompanied by magical images.

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There's a Yeti in the Playground!

For the slightly older child, who is beginning to read independently, comes There's a Yeti in the Playground! (Nosy Crow €9.45) by Pamela Butchart. Those who remember this year's Beast from the East will enjoy this wonderfully beastly tale. Funny, frantic and freezing. Mr Penguin and the Fortress of Secrets (Hachette €11.99) by Alex T follows Mr Penguin and Colin as they crash-land on a snowy mountain. Lots of slapstick humour, mystery and adventure, with fun drawings.

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Hubert Horatio

Hubert Horatio: How to Raise Your Grown-Ups (Harper Collins €14.99) by legendary children's writer Lauren Child is crammed with humour and superb illustrations. Third in a hilarious comedy-crime series for readers of 8+ comes The Big Cash Robbery (Harpercollins €9.99) by Andrew Clover. And Atlantis United (O'Brien €13) by Gerard Siggins will appeal to all those sports fans, who dream of making it big.

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Tilly and the Bookwanderers

Tilly and the Bookwanderers (Harpercollins €11.99) by Anna James is a super debut about the magic of books and the power of the imagination.

For book-lovers, young and old. You've Got a Friend (O'Brien €9.74) by Judi Curtin is a fantastic follow up to Time After Time and Stand By Me about two 13-year-olds trying to put the world to rights.

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Hetty Feather's Christmas

Hetty Feather's Christmas (Random House €6.74) by Jacqueline Wilson is a short story that takes place on Christmas Day in 1888.

And also from Wilson's pen comes My Mum Tracy Beaker (Random House €11.99) featuring the much-loved care home rebel Tracy Beaker and her headstrong, mop-haired daughter, Jess.

Ryan Tubridy's The First Christmas Jumper (Walker €8.99) is flying off the shelves. Sweet, funny and very cute, it's sure to be a hit this Christmas. A self-published book for 9-12 year-olds worth mentioning is Sara Donohue's The Tunnel (€9.50). A mystery spanning two generations, this intelligent book deals with overcoming life's challenges.

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Diary of a Wimpy Kid The Meltdown

Returnees stud these seasonal book choices, with a new instalment from David Baddiel, Head Kid (Harper Collins €10.49) and Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Meltdown (Penguin €12.99) by Jeff Kinney. Return to the mythical world of Nevermoor in the stunningly designed Wundersmith (Hachette €9.74) by Jessica Townsend. Also back is dragon-mistress Cressida Cowell.

Twice Magic (Hachette €11.99) is the sequel to last year's The Wizards of Once -which is a bouncy quest story, and enchanting to boot. The terrific The Train to Impossible Places (Usborne €14.99) is a fantasy adventure crammed with quirky action by first-timer PG Bell. And best-selling author Matt Haig brings us the simple, thoughtful The Truth Pixie (Canongate €11.99), a wise, warm book.

The Dolls' Complaints (€8, at Dunnes Stores nationwide) by 11 year old Keeva Delaney is a charming and witty tale and all proceeds go to the charity Cliona's Foundation which supports families with a life limiting illness. Gift books abound this year. The Secret Science Of Everyday Life (Scholastic €14.99) by Dara O'Briain will appeal to all generations, whilst Blazing a Trail (O'Brien €12.74) by Sarah Webb is a wonderful celebratory book about extraordinary Irish women who took the world by storm.

Packed with fun, fascinating facts, this book celebrates women from every walk of life down through the ages and picked up a prize at the recent An Post Irish Book Awards.

Dr Hibernica's Compelling Compendium of Irish Animals (Little Island €18.99) by Aga Grandowicz and Rob Maguire is a real treat for animal lovers. An amazing large format book with riveting information and first-class illustrations.

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I Am The Seed That Grew The Tree

The National Trust's I Am the Seed That Grew the Tree (Nosy Crow €24.99) by Frann Preston-Gannon is an inspired poetry anthology, with nature poems for every day of the year.

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The Great Irish Weather Book

The Great Irish Weather Book (Gill & Macmillan €19.99) by meteorologist Joanna Donnelly is chock-a-block with fun facts and experiments that every child will love, and you could frame every page of the stunning Planetarium (Templar €23.99) by Raman Prinja and hang them on your walls.

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