Christmas is coming and the goose is getting fat and all that goes with it. I am asked regularly for titles as gifts…which can be complicated. These though are the books that I have reviewed this year, with one or two that were published and reviewed some time ago, but shouldn’t be missed. I don’t ‘sex’ books – the main protagonists in these are sometimes male, sometimes female, on the whole – but everyone can read them – the age indication, is just that. If you feel that your recipient can, should and would enjoy a book in an older range, that’s up to you. Do be aware though that some are quite dark, though wonderful (otherwise they wouldn’t have got on the list).  Sometimes they might enjoy a book from a younger age group…

I thought this time to give an indication of my favourites, those in bold. These aren’t necessarily my favourite of all time – some of those are on the list, but not in bold, but they are titles I think are special for other reasons…and actually, I can’t say I have a favourite picture book, for example, as I find the Tadpole’s Promise story simply glorious (esp. as it has no sugar, or sugar substitute in it), but the illustrations in The Night Gardener, a new publication for this year are gorgeous

Happy Christmas / 2017


The Night Gardener / Terry & Eric Fan  / Simon & Schuster

Stardust / Jeanne Willis / Anderson Press

Kevin / Rob Biddulph / Harper Collins

Tadpole’s Promise / Jeanne Willis  / Anderson Press

The Story Orchestra The Nutcracker / Jessica Courtney-Tickle / Frances Lincoln

Wild Child / Jeanne Willis / Illus. Lorna Freytag / Walker Books

Olivia Helps with Christmas & Olivia goes to Venice / Ian Falconer / S&S

FOR 5 – 8 YEARS:

Hippo at the End of the Hall / Helen Cooper / David Fickling 

The Creakers / Tom Fletcher / Puffin / Penguin

Amelia Fang and the Barbaric Ball / Ellen Anderson / Egmont

Det. Nosegoode & the Music Box Mystery / Marian Orlon / Pushkin

Bookshop Girl / Sylvia Bishop / Scholastic

Bottersnikes & Gumbles / S.A. Wakefield / Harper Collins

Olga Da Polga / Michael Bond / Harper Collins

Meet at the Ark at Eight / Ulrich Hub / Pushkin

My Naughty Little Sister / Dorothy Edwards / Egmont

The Story of Doctor Dolittle / Hugh Lofting / Red Fox

FOR 9 – 12 YEARS:

Very Good Chance / Sarah Moore Fitzgerald / Orion

Nevermoor / Jessica Townsend / Orion

The Girl Who Drank the Moon  / Kelly Barnhill / Picadilly Press

Wonderling / Mira Bartok / Walker Books

Sky Dancer / Gill Lewis / Oxford University Press

Murderer’s Ape / Jakob Wegelius / Pushkin

Wild Magic Trilogy – Begone the Raggedy Witches / Celine Kiernan / Walker Books

Prisoner of Ice & Snow / Ruth Lauren / Bloomsbury

Pax / Sara Pennypacker / Harper Collins

The Jamie Drake Equation / Christopher Edge / Nosy Crow


Welcome to Nowhere / Elizabeth Laird / Macmillan

Witch Born / Nicholas Bowling / Chicken House

Kick / Mitch Johnson / Usborne

Being Miss Nobody / Tamsin Winter / Usborne Books

Coyote Summer / Mimi Thebo / Oxford University Press

Undrowned Child / Michelle Lovric / Orion

Fish Boy / Chloe Daykin / Faber & Faber

Truth or Dare / Non Pratt / Walker Books

Monster Calls / Patrick Ness / Macmillan

The Huntress – Sea / Sarah Driver / Egmont