No catches, no fine print just unconditional book loving for your children with their favourites saved to their own digital bookshelf.
New members get entered into our monthly draw to win £100 to spend in your local bookshop plus lots lots more...Find out more
Find the latest books for fans of fantasy stories and magical tales! We have extracts to download for most of our books plus expert reviews.
December 2020 Book of the Month | The arrival of a new baby always turns things upside down even if, like this family, you are robots. Cathode can’t wait to meet her new baby brother but assembling little Flange proves trickier than anyone expected. Her mum and dad have a go before calling Uncle Manifold – Cathode notes he doesn’t follow the instructions or install the updates – and even as more relatives arrive, Flange is still malfunctioning. The chaos grows until Cathode and the family’s dog Sprocket find a way to distract the grown-ups long enough for Cathode to calmly get to work with her toolbox. The story is wonderfully funny and the robot family warm and loving, for all their metal bodies and rivets. As they finally settle down for the night, there’s one last surprise in baby Flange’s box too. Super!
December 2020 Book of the Month | Holly Black writes amazing fantasy set in the land of Faerie. She has thrilled us with The Folk of the Air Trilogy – but this delightful novella takes a deeper look at the early life of the cruel King Cardan from the trilogy – offering some insights as to why he becomes the adult he is and how his early influences contributed. For such a short book (only 173 pages) it is filled with high romance, terrifying danger and touches of humour that will appeal to both established fans and new readers alike. Starting in Cardan’s childhood - where he is a faerie child with a heart of stone and an eye for wicked mischief - the story takes us through his various meetings with the Troll Aslog of the West and the variations on the “boy with the stone heart” story and how these contribute to his eventual character. Pair this with Rovina Cai’s amazing illustrations and this is a jewel of a book. Using a wonderfully earthy, shadowy palette Cai creates a marvellous picture of the world of Faerie. The generous number of illustrations, with detail and depth to them, draws the reader further and further into the story. Definitely a book not to be missed!
Profiles of each broom feature stunning new photography of the original props; statistics; insights from the cast and crew; and other film-making secrets from the Warner Bros. archive. In addition to individual photographic profiles of each broom, this book also includes blueprints and concept art as well as entries on the high-flying game of Quidditch and related props. Delve deep into what makes flying brooms the beloved mode of transportation for witches and wizards everywhere! Destined to be a must-have collectable for fans of Harry Potter, this book also includes a 6-page fold-out.
This book is a treat for anyone who dreams of spending a Christmas at Hogwarts. Using images and scenes from the films, it reminds us of all the magical things that are part of a Hogwarts Christmas – the decorations, the special presents, the ghosts, the gorgeous snowy scenes and, of course, the Yule Ball. There are all sorts of unexpected extras too including stickers, bookmarks and pull-outs, not to mention fascinating insights into the making of the films (I love the fact that the costume department kept a dedicated knitter busy producing Molly Weasley’s jumpers and scarves). It’s just the thing to transport you into Harry’s world at the most magical time of year, no matter what real life has to offer.
December 2020 Book of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month November 2020 | In the best traditions of mythology, The Three Wishes is a tough but ultimately lyrical version of the story that explains how Father Christmas can visit so many children in one night and why he has a red coat. Set long ago in a country that is far off in the frozen north where there is a strong community of families who live by hunting and foraging while their children look after the reindeer, it tells how a young boy, lost in deep snow in the forest, is saved from death by finding a mysterious cave full of magic and wonder from another world. Once a year the boy returns to his own world, checking on his family and taking them presents. One year, he arrives on a magical flying sleigh and his family give him a beautiful red outfit all lined with fun. From that day on, on one night of the year he rides around the world taking gifts to children everywhere. Evocative, timeless illustrations bring this imaginative story vividly to life. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
December 2020 Book of the Month | Congratulations to Konnie Huq and co-author James Kay who with illustrator Rikin Parekh have taken the best-loved fairy tales, shaken them up, and brought them uproariously into the 21st century. All your favourites are here, recognisable, but turned into something fresh, new and very funny (often with a pointed message or moral). Thus Sleeping Beauty is now Sleeping Brainy, a maths-mad princess who grows up to be the most successful Chancellor of the Exchequer in history, while simultaneously inventing the computer, the internet and Wikipedia (‘all in a good nine thousand six hundred and eighteen days’ work’ she concludes, happily). Pity the three bears who here have to put up with Mouldysocks, a boy too busy playing computer games to tidy up or wash, but cheer for The Pickled Mermaid, who puts her blog out on Plaicebook, Finstagram and Snapperchat, thereby reaching millions of readers and effecting real change on pollution in the oceans. Then there’s Robin Hoodlum and his boss, the Baron of Bottybum; Spinocchio, a TV news anchor; and a surprisingly familiar looking, bad-tempered little orange man called Trumplestiltskin … The stories are told with real dash and energy and will have children and parents alike roaring with laughter.
This story is based on a bedtime story Rowling told to her own children over many bedtimes. When the first coronavirus lockdown started it was decided to publish this a chapter at a time online - so that families and young readers had something to look forward to in the difficult weeks that followed. The story has now been published in a generous format hardback with illustrations provided by children from all over the world, all winners in the Ickabog artwork competition. This is very definitely a fairy-tale in the traditional manner. The good land of Cornucopia gets slowly taken over by two devious Lords – gloriously named as Spittleworth and Flappoon – after a tragic accident whilst the King is on a hunt for the terrifying monster – the Ickabog. There follow awful machinations resulting in parents being thrown into the deep dark dungeons and their children being placed in a truly awful orphanage. But, as with all good fairy-tales, the ingenious captives, both young and old, manage to slowly outwit the bad guys – and is the monster really as awful as he or she has been painted? A delightful story that will appeal to many many children and families. The great joy of the book is the huge variety and creativity this book has stimulated in children all around the globe in their illustrations. A fun read!
Now Available on Amazon. If I’m honest I was instantly charmed by Prince Zaaki and the Royal Sword of Luella, I love a story that starts with ‘Once upon a time’ and I think really endeared me to this fantastical tale. The descriptions of the castle and the land immediately pull you into the world of Luella while also cleverly providing context and backstory. As I think is suggested by the opening Prince Zaaki has the feel of a classical adventure to it, and we meet our prince as he first appears listless, the sets off on his adventures, with actions and peril along the way. This classical feel is continued in, perhaps as a nod to Snow White, the King’s personal assistant’s name - Helpy. I personally would have perhaps considered another name. I liked the imaginative animals that the author has populated Luella with and this imagination extends to the magic used throughout the novel and life at the TransM School. I also really liked the illustrations in the book. This is a book filled with adventure, and along the way Prince Zaaki might also find someone who “understands him” as he wishes. I think that this book would be good for 13 year-olds readers and it is all set up ready for the next book in the series.
Very hard to believe that this is the 25th anniversary of Philip Pullman’s ground-breaking fantasy, now getting legions of new fans through the BBC adaptation. Northern Lights not only won the Carnegie medal, but in 2007 was voted by the public as the Carnegie of Carnegies to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the medals. Then The Amber Spyglass, part three of His Dark Materials trilogy, of which Northern Lights is of course the first part, became the first ever children’s book to win, what was then, the Whitbread book of the year and so this series has become firmly established in the canon of children’s literature and a new edition like this is indeed a publishing event. Chris Wormell illustrated the covers of the two Book of Dust titles which extend the trilogy and also a recent rejacketing of His Dark Materials and so is a natural choice to undertake this huge challenge. His distinctive style of wood engraving and lino cut and the dark, yet vivid colour palette he employs are perfectly suited to this familiar, yet fantastical world created by Pullman – who has said how much he admires the work. Ranging from decorative chapter headings to full colour and monochrome vignettes to full page bleeds to double page spreads, the breath-taking images add great characterisation and drama to the story, making the reading journey even more immersive. A shared reading with a generation approaching the story for the first time will be an unforgettable reading event in a classroom or family context. I sincerely hope the partnership will extend to the next books in the trilogy- what a collection that would be!
Translated by the award winning Laura Watkinson | Available for the first time in the UK, this new translation is a real treat for fans of the breakout sensation Letters For the King, which brought the multimillion bestselling Dutch author Tonke Dragt to the attention of a UK audience for the first time and which then went on to win Children’s Book of the Year. Since then translator Laura Watkinson has continued her mission to bring us more of the award-winning author’s books. Written as twelve tales, the story of identical twins Laurenzo and Joacomo is perfectly suited to reading and sharing over the twelve days of Christmas! Each tale is a complete and satisfying adventure set in the wonderful fictional medieval world created so vividly in the Dragt books. The boys may be so identical that they can take turns to go to school, but they have very different talents and temperaments. Hard-working Laurenzo wants to make beautiful things and becomes a goldsmith; Jiacomo loves travel and adventure and in one tale is tempted to use his wiles to become an excellent thief. Although he gives up the immoral life, his skills come in very useful as from a case of mistaken identity involving the Knight of the Red Rose to the pursuit of the precious silver cups of Talamura, the brothers find themselves caught up in wild adventures that require all of their combined wisdom and cunning. A highly satisfying and totally absorbing read with prose that would be a joy to read aloud in class too.
December 2020 Audio Book of the Month | Like its hero, the story Peter Pan will never grow old and retains all its power to enchant, tempt and enthral readers; how wonderful that this new audiobook version should be available for Christmas, as it is magical family listening. A host of stars take turns to narrate but it’s a particular passion project for Joanna Lumley, who is directly involved in the recent transformation of author J.M. Barrie’s childhood home, Moat Brae, into a new national centre for children’s literature and storytelling. She reads the opening chapters and therefore sets the tone beautifully for the story that follows. Young listeners will be captivated by the joyful sense of freedom and rebellion, while adults will hear the strains of melancholy and loss of innocence beneath. A story to resonate with everyone, whatever their age, and especially when it is told as well as it is here. Listen to an extract, the opening chapter from Peter Pan, read by Joanna Lumley.
Check out the latest activities in our KidsZone.