If you walked into the children’s section of your local book store and felt your panic levels rise, stay calm – Dad.info is here to help
The Little Boy/Girl Who Lost His/Her Name by David Cadji-Newby and Pedro Serapicos
OK, hands up, let’s admit we were a little bit sceptical about this. After all, the more cynically-minded among us may have thought it was not so much a book, and more of a marketing concept. Well, think on, ye doubters, it’s actually a very well-executed story and the illustrations have real child appeal. What’s more, your child gets her (or his) name at the end. Yes – their very own name is written out at the end of the book! Less of your bah humbug, please – kids will love it and you’ll be reading this to them for a very long time to come. So get over it.
www.lostmyname, age: 3+
Snow by Sam Usher
Despite what the Met Office may or may not have forecast, this book is guaranteed to turn December 25 into the White Christmas of your child’s dreams. It manages to sum up all the fun and joy and silliness of a snow shower and the excitement it generates in small kids (and let’s be honest, a few of us adults, too). There’s actually nothing Christmassy about this book at all (so you can still read it after December 25 – result!) but at its heart is the close relationship between a young boy and his grandfather and their sheer delight in the snow they discover (with a few surprises along the way). An utter joy.
Templar, age: 3+
The Beano Prankipedia
Ah, the fun they’ll have with this over the Christmas period. Perfect for evil little devils everywhere, this tome is actually a clever bit of packaging that contains a catapult and balls for target practice (don’t worry, they’re the foam ones that won’t maim anybody) plus a 64-page book. That bit includes Dennis the Menace and Minnie the Minx’s verdicts on some real-life hoaxes and japes, and all kinds of other tomfoolery. Perfect for those naughty kids up the road – not your own little angels, of course.
Puffin, age: 6+
The Island of Adventure by Enid Blyton
There’s a reason why everyone remembers reading Enid Blyton as a kid and that’s because the stories were massively entertaining. This is one of the very best, and modern day How To Train Your Dragon author Cressida Cowell has even written an introduction that explains how La Blyton turned her into an avid reader. Yes, after decades of being out in the cold, it really is cool to read Enid Blyton at last. Beautifully bound, waves of nostalgia will wash over you as you read this to the kids, and they really will be every bit as entertained as you, too. Win-win.
Macmillan, age: 7+
Moone Boy: the Blunder Years by Chris O’Dowd and Nick V Murphy
Now you may remember the times when celebrities used to write books for kids (please, let’s not mention Geri Halliwell) and they… ahem…weren’t much cop. Well, nowadays that’s not always the case. With Charlie Higson and David Walliams winning the hearts and minds of young readers up and down the land, here’s another person you can add to the celebrity roster of really talented authors – Chris O’Dowd. Martin Moone, a boy in a family of girls who has an imaginary friend called Sean ‘Caution’ Murphy is funny on telly and just as funny as a book. Really. Also the cover boasts plenty of knitted pom-pom hats so you know this is perfect as a Christmas gift (and much easier to wrap than a plush penguin). Macmillan, £10.99