So I’ve shared some of my top picture books choices for this Christmas, now it’s the turn of chapter books. I absolutely LOVE picture books for readers of ALL ages, not just the little ones but sometimes you just a longer book to sink your teeth into or delay bedtime for a few minutes longer. That’s where chapter books come into play, whether for readers just finding their independence or more experienced readers. Here, I have a selection of Wintery tales guaranteed to be hits this Christmas.
Shifty McGifty and Slippery Sam: Jingle Bells! by Tracey Corderoy, illustrated by Steven Lenton (Nosy Crow)
Shifty and Sam feature in some of my favourite picture books and now also feature in their own series of first chapter books. In this festive edition, you get three mini stories to enjoy. Follow Shifty and Sam as they bake a cake for Santa Paws (and rescue his presents), catch a misunderstood sea monster and contend with Sam seemingly having been cursed by a ‘lucky’ cat. With fabulous illustrations from Lenton and more cake-filled canine capers from Corderoy, this book is sure to delight newly independent readers and adults alike.
A Kitten Called Holly by Helen Peters, illustrated by Ellie Snowdon (Nosy Crow)
Jasmine and Tom are busy clearing an old out-building for a clubhouse when they discover a nest of feral kittens, but one’s clearly been abandoned by its mum. Determined to keep it, Jasmine tries every persuasive trick she knows to convince her parents it’s a good idea. They can’t be persuaded so Jasmine must find Holly a new home for Christmas. A lovely story about caring for animals, friendship, and the real meaning of Christmas.
Barry Loser’s Christmas Joke Book by Jim Smith (Egmont Publishing)
Joke books always make a popular gift and this festively-themed Barry Loser joke book is guaranteed to make you laugh harder than an elf telling knock knock jokes (of which there are plenty in this book!) Packed with puns, gags and witty one-liners this book would make an ‘amazekeel’ gift for anyone who loves a good bad joke. Judging from the laughs coming from my son’s bedroom when he read this, the lucky recipient will not be disappointed.
I killed Father Christmas by Anthony McGowan, illustrated by Chris Riddell (Barrington Stoke)
After witnessing an argument between his parents, Jo-Jo thinks Christmas is cancelled and it’s all his fault. He decides that it is up to him to deliver presents to the people in his street and sets about selecting which of his possession will make suitable gifts. The addition of a red coat and a sudden magical snowfall complete his plans. But when he goes to climb out the window and make his deliveries, all is not as it seems. A very funny but touching first chapter book from dyslexia-friendly publisher, Barrington Stoke. ” You can carry enough love for the whole world in one heart.” – goosebumps!
There’s a Dragon in My Stocking! by Tom Nicoll, illustrated by Sarah Horne (Stripes Publishing)
Everyone’s favourite mini-dragon, Pan, is back in this festive funny. Some unexpected seasonal visitors make Eric’s Christmas a little trickier than he imagined as he has to keep Pan’s parents hidden away from his own family. When disaster strikes and a houseful of guests are left without Christmas dinner, will the mini-dragons be able to step in to save the day? Full of all the things we love to hate about Christmas packed with lots of comic moments and plenty of illustrations for Sarah Horne. A great first chapter book for readers aged 6+.
Quentin Blake’s A Christmas Carol, originally by Charles Dickens (Pavilion Books)
This new deluxe edition of Dickens’ Christmas classic combines the complete unabridged story of the miserly Ebenezer Scrooge, with the unparalleled illustrations of Quentin Blake. Follow Ebenezer as he is visited by three ghostly figures who show him the errors of his ways. Surely one of the THE greatest Christmas stories of all time! This hardback volume would make a beautiful gift for existing lovers of the story, or for people experiencing it for the very first time.
The Polar Bear Explorers’ Club by Alex Bell, illustrated by Tomislav Tomic (Faber & Faber)
When Stella Starflake Pearl is finally allowed to join her adoptive father on a Polar Bear Explorers’ Club expedition to the Icelands, things don’t go entirely to plan. There are giant yetis, carnivorous cabbages and frosties to contend with, nevermind magical mirrors and stone trolls! An epic icy adventure about exploration, discovering yourself and the magic of friendship. Absolutely action-packed, full of mortal power and dark fairytale magic. Guaranteed to take your breath away! For readers aged 9+
Well if those recommendations haven’t helped you tick some people off your Christmas list, then there’s no hope for you! Happy shopping and happy reading!
Father Christmas and Me by Matt Haig, illustrated by Chris Mould (Canongate)
This is the final book in the ‘A Boy Called Christmas’ trilogy so you’d expect everything to be wrapped up neatly in a big red Christmas bow. But no, Amelia is discovering it’s very difficult being accepted into the elf community as one of only three humans who live there, despite the fact that she had once saved Christmas. When the jealous Easter Bunny (and evil elf Father Vodol) plot to stop Christmas, Amelia and her new family must once again save Christmas. A sparkling end to the tale, full of drimwickery, spickle dancing and chocolate coins. For readers aged 8+.