Maudie Powell-Tuck and Hoang Giang’s Christmas Department Store (Little Tiger, £ 11.99)
Money is tight and Benji’s family is a little sad – but when Benji visits the enchanted Christmas department store, he finds the perfect gifts, full of laughter and fun. A warm and golden picture book on how to treasure the joyful feelings and the people closest to you.
Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandøy Christmas Pine (Alison Green, £ 12.99)
A simple and sweetly festive story from picture book legend Donaldson and Norwegian illustrator Sandøy, celebrating the pine tree sent from Oslo to London each year and following its journey from seed to splendor.
The Fire Fox by Alexandra Page and Stef Murphy (Two Hoots, £ 12.99)
Mum and Freya stay in a cozy little cabin – but Freya feels empty now that Dad is no longer with them. When she finds a white fox in the snow, however, she follows her new friend into a magical world … Inspired by the Finnish Sami legend of the “fox fires” that form the Northern Lights, this moving and luminous tale is spellbinding to read. .
We all celebrate! by Chitra Soundar and Jenny Bloomfield (Tiny Owl, £ 12.99)
For five and more, a superb, colorful guide to celebrations around the world, from Hogmanay and Lunar New Year to Day of the Dead, Hanukkah and Christmas. The delicious details of the food, candy, and costume are interwoven with thoughtful historical observations – and the dancers holding hands on the cover pages are especially fabulous.
Clarice Bean: Think like a Lauren Child elf (HarperCollins, £ 14.99)
The beloved heroine returns on an odyssey of Christmas mishaps to delight more than six readers, in which the spirit of the season is repeatedly strayed – and found. A hilarious, warm, and childish take on the pre-Christmas time, with typically gorgeous pasted artwork.
Black and british: An Illustrated History by David Olusoga, illustrated by Jake Alexander and Melleny Taylor (Macmillan, £ 16.99)
Olusoga’s famous title is now available in a beautiful and captivating illustrated format that invites readers ages seven and up to peruse its pages. Maps and portrait galleries effortlessly tell how black and British history has been woven together since the Roman invasion.
The Very Merry Murder Club, edited by Serena Patel and Robin Stevens, illustrated by Harry Woodgate (Farshore, £ 12.99)
For more than eight readers, a seasonal collection of light murder mysteries from authors such as Patrice Lawrence, Maisie Chan, Elle McNicoll, Sharna Jackson and Benjamin Dean, with black and white illustrations by Woodgate.
Peanut Jones and the Illustrated City by Rob Biddulph (Macmillan, £ 12.99)
Peanut Jones’ father is gone and everyone seems to have given up on the search – but when Peanut finds a very special pencil, she is drawn (literally) into a parallel world, where the imagination is threatened. Can Peanut, her little sister, and her scientific-minded friend keep Chroma’s creativity from being erased – and reunite with her father, too? Rob Biddulph’s first book for ages nine and up is an immersive, vividly illustrated adventure that will leave readers desperate for the next episode.
Young by Lucy Hope (Nosy Crow, £ 7.99)
In a strange house in the Bavarian mountains, a curious creature crashes into Cassie’s room, a creature that appears to be a cherub. Cassie can’t expect much from her egocentric opera singer mother, or her taxidermy-obsessed father, but will her best friend Raphael help protect the creature from the sinister forces within her? hunt? An original and adventurous fantasy first film with a beautiful setting and a numinous hint of David Almond’s Skellig.
You will be the death of me by Karen McManus (Penguin, £ 7.99)
For ages 14 and up, the teenage thriller queen returns with a high octane version of Ferris Bueller’s Day Off. Ivy, Cal, and Mateo cut school together on a day neither of them can face. But when they discover the body of Ivy’s rival for the post of class president, they are embroiled in a desperate search for answers – and a drug theft with a long tail of terrifying consequences. A treat to swallow in one go.
Stay Another Day by Juno Dawson (Quercus, £ 7.99)
In their family home in Edinburgh, three siblings prepare for an idyllic traditional Christmas… or maybe not. Fern wants everything to be perfect for her new boyfriend, but Rowan just wants to hang out on the spot, while the prospect of Christmas indulgence terrifies Willow. Hilarious, biting, moving and rude, a Christmas delight from the author of Meat Market.
Garth Nix’s Terciel and Elinor (hotkey, £ 16.99)
After a long wait, Nix returns to the land of the Abhorsen in this superb prequel. Unconventional and gifted Elinor leads a secluded life – until the forces of the dead attack her quiet home and mingle her fate with that of Terciel the Abhorsen-in-Waiting, skilled in Charter magic and in the fight against the dead. Exhilarating, fast-paced, fierce and funny, it features the parents of Nix’s future heroine, Sabriel, in a standalone that will appeal to both newcomers and devoted fans alike.