Christmas-inspired reads for your seasonal shopping list

Trying to decide what the “something to read” item of your children’s want, need, wear and read Christmas list should be this year?  Gill Hart from Lincoln independent book shop Lindum Books suggests a few of her favourites…

a-boy-called-christmasA Boy Called Christmas – Matt Haig (Canongate, £6.99 paperback, 9781782118268)

A magical Christmas story for children of all ages from Matt Haig, best known for his adult fiction and as the author of Reasons to Stay Alive, his recent best-selling memoir about anxiety and depression. This is the story of a little boy called Nikolas who grows up to be Father Christmas. The jacket tells us; “You are about to read the true story of Father Christmas. If you are one of those people who believe that some things are impossible, you should put this book down right away. (Because this book is FULL of impossible things.) Are you still reading? Good. Then let us begin…” The illustrations by Chris Mould bring Nikolas and his friends to life perfectly. It’s an evergreen story that will be enjoyed by grownups as well as children and is likely to become part of family tradition to be read every Christmas

the-girl-who-saved-christmasThe Girl who Saved Christmas – Matt Haig (Canongate, £12.99 hardback, 9781782118572)

Following the story of A Boy Called Christmas, Matt Haig brings us the story of Victorian chimney sweep, Amelia. When Amelia wants a wish to come true she knows just the man to ask – Father Christmas. But the magic she wants to believe in is starting to fade and Father Christmas has more than impossible wishes to worry about. Upset elves, reindeer dropping out of the sky, angry trolls and the chance that Christmas might be cancelled. But Amelia isn’t just any ordinary girl, as Father Christmas is going to find out. If Christmas is going to be saved, he might not be able to do it alone.

little-grey-rabbits-christmasLittle Grey Rabbit’s Christmas –Alison Uttley (Templar publishing, £5.99 hardback, 9781783706723)

If you are looking for something more traditional, this is a beautiful little gift book to keep for many Christmases to come. Since publication of the first Little Grey Rabbit book in 1929, the series has become a classic of children’s literature, capturing the hearts of many. The popularity of Alison Uttley’s magical stories and Margaret Tempest’s lively illustrations meant that generations of children grew up with Grey Rabbit, Squirrel, Hare, Moldy Warp and little Fuzzypeg. These lovely versions of four favourite original titles will bring the world of Little Grey Rabbit to a new generation.

squishy-mcfluff-secret-santaSquishy McFluff: Secret Santa – Pip Jones (Faber, £5.99 paperback, 9780571302567)

A lovely little Christmas story about Ava and her cat Squishy.  Pip Jones continues to give her quirky twist to everyday experiences in this warm and humorous series. The jaunty rhyming text is perfect for reading aloud and Ella Okstad’s gorgeous, distinctive illustrations will help more confident readers learn to read by themselves for the first time.

Call Lindum Books in Lincoln’s Bailgate on 01522 262374 for further information.

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Need a new book? Create your own!

booktrustlogoToday is the final day of BookTrust’s Children’s Book Week (October 31st to November 4th, 2016).

The Mini Malpi have looked at their own spooky recommendations, heard about some new releases from Lindum Books’s Gill Hart, taken a look at some picture books with Waterstone’s Deborah Holland and found even more reasons to celebrate with the Mr Men’s 45th anniversary.

But if you’ve already read through all of them and simply need a new tale of adventure to spark your mini one’s imagination then why not help them create their own?

One of Luke’s favourite activities in recent weeks has been creating books with daddy.  As a preschooler, it’s all about the use of stickers, stamping and felt tip pen and crayon illustrations and they’re not the most sophisticated, bound by use of hole punch and wool, but they’ve provided much entertainment in their initial creation as well as through the imaginative tales that have been conjured up when daddy and mummy have been asked to read them back to Luke.

What have you been reading this #ChildrensBookWeek?

45th anniversary another reason to celebrate #ChildrensBookWeek

booktrustlogoToday is day four of BookTrust’s Children’s Book Week (October 31st to November 4th, 2016).

The week aims to celebrate books and reading for pleasure and a few children’s characters that are certain to join in with such celebrations are Roger Hargreaves’s Mr Men because they’re also celebrating their own special year – their 45th anniversary!

mrtickleThe first six Mr Men books were published in the UK in 1971.  Mr Tickle was the first character created when Roger Hargreaves’s son Adam asked him what a tickle looked like.  Since his father’s death, Adam has continued to write and illustrate new titles in the series.

Mr Tickle and his friends were also some of the first children’s characters that Luke was introduced to as they were the books that daddy read to him whilst he was still in the womb and they both still enjoy them together today!

Stamps featuring the Mr Men and Little Miss characters have been released to mark the books’ 45th anniversary and e-books of three new characters created by Adam – Mr Marvellous, Little Miss Fabulous and Little Miss Sparkle – have also been released.

Visit their website at www.mrmen.com

What are you reading this #ChildrensBookWeek?

Picture perfect for #ChildrensBookWeek

booktrustlogoFor day three of BookTrust’s Children’s Book Week (October 31st to November 4th, 2016), Deborah Holland, Lincoln Waterstones Children’s Bookseller, highlights a few of her favourite picture books which “don’t get as much focus and I think they are an essential start for kids’ imagination”…

Are your mini ones a Child of Books?

booktrustlogoFor day two of BookTrust’s Children’s Book Week (October 31st to November 4th, 2016), Gill Hart from Lincoln independent book shop Lindum Books picks a few of her recently-released favourites…

“There are lots of fabulous new books newly published for children at the moment.

achildofbooks“My favourite by far is an exceptional new picture book by author/illustrator Oliver Jeffers called I am a Child of Books by Walker Books (9781406358315, HB £12.99).

“This is an inspiring, lyrical tale about the rewards of reading and sharing stories in which Jeffers’s illustrations are accompanied by amazing typographical landscapes by artist Sam Winston shaped from excerpts from children’s classics.

“It is beautiful and will be loved by both small people and grownups I’m sure. (There is going to be one winging it’s way to a certain mini-Malpi for her forthcoming birthday)!

the-milly-molly-mandy-storybook“I have many fond memories of children’s books from my childhood that are still popular today.  Milly Molly Mandy has recently been reissued by Pan Macmillan as The Milly Molly Mandy Storybook (9781447273066, HB £9.99).

“I really wanted that bedroom with jam pots on the window sill!

littlewomenLittle Women was a favourite when I was a little older, I still reread it on occasion and always cry when Beth dies!

“There is a nice Vintage paperback edition at present at £5.99 (980099572961).

swordinthestone“In a less girly mode I became fascinated by all things Arthurian on reading The Sword in the Stone by T H White, there is a current Harper Collins paperback at £6.99 (9780007263493).”

Lindum Books holds monthly storytimes for children in its Bailgate shop.  Call 01522 262374 for further information.

Chilling tales to kickstart Children’s Book Week

cbw2016

Happy Children’s Book Week!

booktrustlogoRunning from October 31st to November 4th, 2016, the week is being promoted by BookTrust and aims to celebrate books and reading for pleasure.

“Studies show that children who enjoy and feel confident in reading are better learners – and not just in English. Reading gives them a firm grasp on all subjects. Whether they are ecstatic about their e-reader, crazy about comics, or bury themselves in a book, it’s something worth celebrating.”

Find out how your family can get involved here.

Given the week’s spooky starting date, I thought I’d pick a few of our favourites that, whilst year-round bedtime reading for us, are particularly seasonally appropriate too.

funnybonesFunnybones by Janet and Allan Ahlberg

“On a dark, dark hill, there was a dark, dark town.
In the dark, dark town, there was a dark, dark street…”

The opening lines to this simple tale of a big skeleton, a little skeleton and a dog skeleton’s night out are ones I remember from my own childhood.

An eventful trip to the park and through the zoo find the boney characters more interested in scaring each other than the reader who’s simply left wanting to join in their adventures and wondering if they’d find any fun friends underneath their floorboards.

Piece together your own skeletons courtesy of Puffin books here.

wherethewildthingsareWhere the Wild Things Are by Maurice Sendak

Another favourite from my own childhood, Where the Wild Things Are follows mischievous Max in his wolf suit as he sails “off through night and day and in and out of weeks and almost over a year to where the wild things are” and was the first book I wanted to take Luke with me to buy after he was born.

Max tames the wild things leading them in a wild rumpus but, reassuringly for all parents of wild things, comes to realise he would much rather be “where someone loved him best of all”.

roomonthebroomRoom on the Broom by Julia Donaldson 

A more recent title from the author of The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom is however already 15 years old proving its enduring popularity too.

My favourite of the consummate rhyming writer’s cannon, I used to be able to do a relatively faithful recital of the tale of an eventful flight and the importance of friendship.

One of these days I’ll find a purple skirt I can fit into to go with my black cape and invite my children on to my broomstick for an in-flight 3D retelling of the story that has won six book awards!

megandmogMeg and Mog by Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski

Helen Nicoll and Jan Pienkowski’s Meg and Mog is another book that takes me back to when I was a young reader myself and I remember still picking up the various titles in the series and reading through them in the library even when I was getting a bit too old to take out picture books as part of my 12 book allocation.

Fortunately I’m now old enough to be allowed to enjoy them again and regularly share in their adventures in Meg’s Castle, Meg’s Mummy, Meg’s Eggs, Meg’s Veg and Meg on the Moon which also often serve to remind me I’ve always meant to invest in a proper cauldron…

thespookyoldtreeThe Berenstain Bears and the Spooky Old Tree by Stan and Jan Berenstain 

Another oldie but goodie, the three intrepid Berenstain bears head out on an nighttime escapade into, up, through, down and out of The Spooky Old Tree, one with a light, one with a stick and one with a rope.

“Do they dare go” on as one by one the items the explorers armed themselves with are replaced by the shivers?

Don’t worry, there’s always the promise of “Home again.  Safe at last” for re-readers of a nervous disposition.

What will your mini ones be reading this Children’s Book Week?

Storytime invites listeners to Come Fly With Me

roomonthebroomjdRoom on the Broom, Julia Donaldson’s tale of helpful friends, has long been my favourite of The Gruffalo author’s excellent rhyming canon – I could even do a fairly accurate rendition at one point.

So, when Willow and I arrived for October’s storytime at Lindum Books in Lincoln’s Bailgate, I was delighted to discover that the witch and her cat were to be the focus of the morning’s event.

Led by Rhubarb Theatre’s Kirsty Mead, this brand of storytelling uses the original text as a launchpad for its own dramatic interpretation with the emphasis heavily on interaction.

With a musical introduction to the session including doing the Hocus Pocus (think “Hokey Cokey” with a magical twist), Kirsty had her young audience searching pumpkin clues, trying on a range of hats (Willow donned gnome/Santa headgear), playing with scarves and practicing their wand skills before inviting them to “Come Fly With Me” as she zoomed around the shop on her broom (much to all the following children’s delight including Willow) making full use of the book shop’s limited floor space.

After everyone banded together to help scare away the dragon we headed up the store’s stairs to take part in a craft activity that included using a glue stick – currently one of Willow’s favourite activities.

Hopefully we’ll be able to fly up the hill again soon to share another tale brought to life in such an entertaining fashion.

Storytime at Lindum Books takes place monthly and the next event is on Tuesday, November 8th.  Booking is essential.  Call 01522 262374.