The Reading Corner: Winter

Wonderful winter adventures to snuggle up with

Bad Dad by David Walliams, HB £12.99, published by Harper Collins Children’s Books, AGE 9+

Walliams’ award-winning books have become an eagerly anticipated part of every family’s festive season and his latest novel, Bad Dad, illustrated by the amazing Tony Ross, delivers all the hallmarks of a Walliams classic and will no doubt be at the top of everyone’s Christmas wish list. When Frank’s dad is thrown into prison for driving the getaway car in a bank robbery, Frank hatches a daring plan to break him out for the night so they can put the stolen money back. A fast and furious, hear-warming, rags-to-riches story that will have readers on the edge of their seats, roaring with laughter and holding back the tears.

The Calm Buddha at Bedtime by Dharmachari Nagarja, £12.99, published by Watkins Publishing, AGE 4+

A charming, fun and beautifully illustrated collection of 18 bedtime stories. Growing up in the modern world, our children have to cope with an ever-increasing amount of stress, which can feel worrying to both them and us. The ancient wisdom of Buddhism, with its emphasis on peace, mindfulness and compassion, is the ideal basis for helping any child face these challenges with inner confidence and calm. The compelling narratives help to focus and calm the mind, providing a soothing transition into sleep. And the selection of gentle mindfulness meditations provide an can be used at any time to help enhance a sense of calm and contentment.

Father Christmas’s Fake Beard by Terry Pratchett, HB £12.99, published by Penguin Random House, AGE 9+

A collection of Christmas stories from the fantastically funny Terry Pratchett, with wonderful illustrations from Mark Beech. Have you ever wanted Christmas to be different? Turkey and carols, presents and crackers – they all start to feel a bit… samey. How about a huge exploding mince pie, a pet abominable snowman, or a very helpful partridge in a pear tree? What if Father Christmas went to work at a zoo, or caused chaos in a toy store, or was even arrested for burglary? Dive into a fantastically funny world for a festive treat like no other. These ten stories will have you laughing, gasping and crying (with laughter) – you’ll never see Christmas in the same way again.

The Little Book of Ocean Animal Sounds, £12.99, published by Fine Feather Press,AGE 3+

Did you know an Emperor Penguin sounds like a Formula 1 racing car or that an Atlantic Puffin makes the notice like a disgruntled chainsaw? Featuring beautiful photography and fascinating facts, the solid board book gives a double-page spread to each of the twelve animals. Designed to be held by even the smallest hands together with a sound bar enabling the reader to identify the call of each species, the interactive book brings to life sounds of ocean mammals and birds that will delight children and adults of all ages.

Ask An Astronaut: Tim Peake’s Definitive Guide To Life In Space, HB £20, published by Penguin Random House, AGE 8+

“Does space smell?” This question, submitted by Sally (age 8), and many others submitted by members of the public are answered by European Space Agency astronaut Tim as he shares his thoughts on every aspect of his mission. Tim’s answer to Sally’s question? “I found it a pleasant smell and it reminded me a little of a summer barbeque, burning sausages on a charcoal grill…” From training to launch, from his historic spacewalk to re-entry, Tim reveals for readers of all ages the cutting-edge science behind his groundbreaking experiments and the wonders of day-to-day life on board the International Space Station. As with his previous book, Tim is donating his royalties to The Prince’s Trust.

The Creakers by Tom Fletcher, HB £12.99, published by Puffin, AGE 9+

What silently waits in the shadows at night? What’s under your bed, keeping just out of sight? Do you ever hear strange, creaking noises at night? Ever wonder what makes those noises? Lucy Dungston always did. One morning, Lucy discovers that all the grown-ups have disappeared – as if into thin air. Chaos descends as the children in Lucy’s town run riot. It’s mayhem. It’s madness. To most kids, it’s amazing! But Lucy wants to find out the truth. Lucy lost her dad not long ago and she’s determined not to lose her mum too. She’s going to get her back – and nothing is going to stop her…except maybe…The Creakers.

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