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.
Book 1 Collector's Edition | The first in an epic trilogy, Shadow and Bone follows Alina, as she attempts to discover who she really is and what her powers are, in the hope of rescuing Ravka from the flesh-eating monsters tearing her country apart. Irresistible. Epic. This is glorious sweeping fantasy.
Enter the world of the Grishaverse and Shadow and Bone, soon to be a Netflix original series! Dive into the epic world of international bestselling author Leigh Bardugo with this beautifully illustrated replica of The Lives of Saints, the Istorii Sankt'ya, featuring tales of saints drawn from the beloved novels and beyond. Out of the pages of the Shadow and Bone trilogy, from the hands of Alina Starkov to yours, the Istorii Sankt'ya is a magical keepsake from the Grishaverse. These tales include miracles and martyrdoms from familiar saints like Sankta Lizabeta of the Roses and Sankt Ilya in Chains, to the strange and obscure stories of Sankta Ursula, Sankta Maradi, and the Starless Saint. This beautiful collection includes stunning full-colour illustrations of each story.
George and his family are not coping at all well with the death of his mother – and this year will be the third Christmas since she has gone. George’s dad is completely immersed in his work and has given up on celebrating Christmas – in fact he forbids George and his Nana Flo from any form of celebration at all. Nana Flo is a bit subversive and sneaks George to the Christmas Fair at Hyde Park – where he finds Marley’s Curiosity Shop in the little temporary stalls and huts in the park. George buys a gorgeous snow globe there which has a strangely familiar Snowman inside it. The snow globe proves to be the magical portal to the traditional three Christmases – as in the original. To some extent Dad Hugo almost proves to be even more Scrooge-like than the original - but the mad adventures and the reminders of what life used to be slowly start to thaw Hugo’s self-imposed misery. This is a beautiful, magical adventure. Written with the style and panache we have come to expect from Catherine Doyle. The characters are beautifully drawn – and the purple reindeer is a genius invention! A wonderful introduction to Dickens story reimagined for the younger reader. A delight!
I'd encourage readers to start with the Clockwork Crow, the first in this trilogy, as the story does launch straight in and it is difficult at first to establish who is who. However, once sorted, the reader is quickly able to empathise with Seren, Tomas and the Crow. It is a very visual book, imaginative and with a touch of humour. The images are very strong and play on all the senses, whether it is the visual description of the box, or the atmosphere of the fair. There is a touch of Harry Potter in some of the chapters, the dark street leading off the fair has a touch of Diagon alley and certain other magical touches thread their way through the story. I think this link will certainly appeal to the many lovers of J K Rowling. The story flows so beautifully. The little poetic lines at the start of each chapter and the smattering of stars adding to the atmosphere and air of mystery. There are some solid messages running through the book, loyalty, overcoming adversity, friendship and hope. Good overcomes evil, is a popular theme, but what was particularly memorable was the fact that even the baddies had a heart. The black swan, for example, once happy and content in herself, became softer and kinder. These are all good themes to discuss with children or messages to remember from reading the book. A beautifully told tale and a trilogy of books that should definitely be on every bookshelf.
If ever there was a picture book to be enjoyed in the long winter nights, when there’s a crackle of frost in the air, it’s this one. Snow Ghost comes shimmering out of the air, she soars over hills and woods, darkening as evening draws in, searching for somewhere to settle. Nowhere seems to offer a welcome and she’s lonely and getting tired when on top of a hill she spots a small farm with two happy children in the garden. They all play together in the snow until night falls completely and as the children go in, Snow Ghost settles on the roof, home at last. Snow Ghost is a magical creation in Diana Mayo’s illustrations, floating across the pages almost not there, yet a tangible presence, and we look down with her on the valleys, fields and quiet little town below. The sense of stillness – then joy and hope – is perfectly captured in Tony Mitton’s text which is as graceful and airy as Snow Ghost herself. A perfect story for this time of year, a celebration of hope and belonging. You can find more wintry & festive stories in our Best Books for Kids this Christmas collection!
Interest Age 8+ Reading Age 8 | Blue Peter Book Award winner Vashti Hardy joins the excellent Barrington Stoke list with this new book and concisely delivers an exciting sci-fi adventure in just 100 pages. 13-year-old Grace is frustrated that as the youngest member of her family she’s not allowed to run solo missions for their magical warden operation, which protects the people of Moreland. So when the alarm bell rings and she’s the only one in the office, she answers the call anyway, jumping into their transporter with her companion, clockwork raven Watson, and climbing out into what turns out to be some treacherous goings on. Will Grace need rescuing by her family, or will it be the other way round? It’s a great bit of adventure, with recognisable characters and family relationships and a vividly drawn other-world. More please!
Whispers of the Gods Book 2 | This second novel in Steve Feasey’s epic Whispers of the Gods series - sequel to Dark Blade - throngs with magic, monsters, and the passion of vengeful protagonists. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo and Taran Matharu, this also comes recommended for readers of adventure fiction who’ve yet to get into fantasy - the series makes an excellent portal into the genre. As holder of the Dreadblade (“It is not easy to be its bearer, and at times it feels little more than a curse”), Lann is a monster hunter, but he’s far more preoccupied with tracking down Kelewulf, killer of his aunt Fleya, than monsters. Though Fleya’s spirit counsels that “revenge is an ugly thing. It eats away at a soul”, Lann will not be moved. He still blames himself for what happened. Meanwhile, Kelewulf has embarked on his own mission of revenge, and he’s enlisted High Priestess Elafir to teach him her powerful majik, with a covert ambition to achieve something that would bring eternal darkness. Feasey is as gifted in the art of visual storytelling as he is at creating tension and writing edge-of-your-seat action scenes. How’s this for a gripping graphic description of an impending attack? - “Pale and thin, the creature appeared to have no eyes, just two huge pointed ears that almost met above its head, and it made no sound as it ran straight for Sigrun.” When Lann and Kelewulf’s paths cross - as Fleya predicted - the action intensifies to an emotional, pulsating crescendo.
A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Swirling magic, cascading invention and a welter of invented folklore traditions propel this headlong fairy tale story from its opening moments. Brought up in huge castle that was once home to her Royal relatives, and much influenced by her grandmother who is a great believer in old magic, Olia has always known that she also has the gift of believing in magic and so making it work. When the old palace is under threat from a violent force, it is Olia who must find the magical doorway that will take her into another land. Olia needs courage, imagination and the power of her love for her family and everything in their world to embark on her roller coaster adventure. Full of surprises and fuelled by love this is an exciting and heart-warming story.
The duo that produced the cultural phenomenon that took the publishing world by storm in 2017, winning awards and sparking dozens of fundraising campaigns to get The Lost Words into every primary school, have now produced a book very different in form, but absolutely kindred in spirit and every bit as essential a purchase. This is a pocket-sized treasure containing twenty-one new ‘spells’- poems inspired by the natural world around us. These animals, birds, trees and flowers may be relatively common but are often underappreciated and ignored. Whereas The Lost Words had a formal triptych structure to its spells, this collection is freer and ranges from celebratory to elegiac and sorrowful. As the introduction says “Loss is the tune of our age, hard to miss and hard to bear.... But there has always been singing in dark times—and wonder is needed now more than ever.” Acrostic poems with the letters picked out in gold, feature most in this collection, as does the poet’s amazing facility with kennings and descriptive word play shown to great comic effect in Woodpecker “Chisel-gouger, head-banger, bark-stripper, nerve-shredder” Structured as a dialogue with badger one can see how much this lends itself to reading and performing aloud as indeed is the author’s intention with all the collection. The lyrical consonant tones or staccato beats of these beautiful spells is absolutely matched by the harmonious fluidity of the watercolour images that grace each page. From the challenging gaze of the red fox to the eyelike whorls of silver birch bark to the balletic wings of the swift wrapping around the words, the images fix the words indelibly into your mind. Lockdown saw a widespread recognition of the necessity for contact with the natural world to maintain health and well-being. This book is the perfect walking companion with a glossary identifying each species depicted, allowing this small but powerful book to do double-duty as an artful field guide. As Macfarlane writes In Goldfinch, apparently composed while sitting at his grandmother’s deathbed, "God knows the world needs all the good it can get right now“.
October 2020 Debut of the Month | A gobble-it-up fiery and intense yet thoughtful debut novel about family, betrayal, and witchcraft. Opening the pathway to a fabulous historical fantasy series this calls out as a must-read for young adults. Set during the civil war in 17th century England, 15 year old Evey has to flee with her little sister Dill when her mother is murdered. As with all good young adult novels, it is perfectly easy to slide into and really enjoy as an adult too, particularly with the wonderful cover drawing you in. Touching history, it flies into fantasy, as author Finbar Hawkins examines the meaning of witch. Evey is a complex character and as she tells her own story she has the ability of self-reflection, even if she doesn’t always like what she sees. Witch is a read that fair on crackles with energy, it also encourages thoughts to both consider and soar and deservedly sits as one of our LoveReading debuts of the month.
October 2020 Debut of the Month | A Julia Eccleshare Pick of the Month October 2020 | Imogen’s life at home is not all perfect so it’s no surprise that she follows the strange silver moth that arrives from nowhere – even when it leads her through a door in a tree! And there’s no stopping her little sister Marie from following…Like any magic opening, the door leads the two girls into an extraordinary world where almost anything can – and will – happen! As in the best traditions of children’s stories, Imogen and Marie meet a wealth of larger-than-life characters including a spoiled prince and a dancing bear as they journey through a richly-imagined world of possibilities. Chris Riddell’s illustrations bring the magic to life perfectly.