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The Top 12 Children’s Books

The very best stories of 2017 to inspire young minds, as chosen by iWarwick Books and Banbury's Book & Ink.

Thank you once again to the lovely guys at indie bookshops Warwick Books in Warwick and Banbury’s Book & Ink  for their suggestions for the best children’s books for Christmas. They really know their stuff and their passion for what they do really comes through. I hope this gives you some inspiration.


The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane and illustrations by Jackie Morris

This show-stopping book has captivated hearts and minds, young and old, since it was published in October. For a start, its size makes it unmissable – it’s a behemoth of a book. It’s a book of words and pictures – yet it’s impossible to separate the two; the words and illustrations each form two halves of a whole; something that becomes clearer when you start to read the book yourself. Back in 2007 the words in the book all disappeared from a junior dictionary commonly used in primary schools; hence the Lost Words…. words such as Otter and Kingfisher; Ivy, Raven, Bluebell, Blackberry and Adder. Between them Robert and Jackie have created spells (or poems) to return the language of the natural world to children’s vocabulary. This is a book to share and enjoy with children of all ages, then take them out, go for walks, explore, read the poems out loud to conjure up the natural world and share the magic of nature. If you’re out and about, there’s an exhibition of the book currently on show at Compton Verney in Warwickshire until Sun Dec 17, before moving to London. Jackie has been tirelessly touring independent bookshops recently, so for an extra special signed copy try your local indie bookshop.

The Christmasaurus by Tom Fletcher

Out now in paperback, this is the perfect stocking filler for young readers. We love that it’s full of fun, magic, silliness and redemption. The story is about young dinosaur-mad William Trundle and a North Pole dinosaur, who secretly wants to be a reindeer. Oh yes, it sounds bonkers – and it is! William and the Christmasaurus share an amazing adventure and have great fun along the way. Recommended for all ages.

Little Hazelnut by Anne-Florence Lemasson and illustrated by Dominique Ehrhard

A beautiful, collectable, pop-up with a simple and charming text, illustrating the passing of the seasons in a garden as the Squirrel’s precious hazelnut is lost under the snowfall. I have a real love for pop-up books and this one must be one of the most beautiful in recent years.


One Christmas Wish by Katherine Rundell

The award-winning and bestselling author of Rooftoppers and The Wolf Wilder, brings the magic of Christmas Eve to life in a modern classic Christmas story, illustrated in stunning detail by renowned artist and printmaker Emily Sutton. This book is the epitome of a Christmas book, beautiful and filled with hope. If you order directly from us we will either wrap it for you in its special gift paper or include it with every purchase.

Singing In The Rain by Tim Hopgood, Arthur Freed & Nacio Herb Brown 

Based on the classic song, this beautifully illustrated picture book with CD celebrates rain and all its fun. Jump in puddles, raise umbrellas, and dance with joy through the pages of this gorgeous story. Sweet and positive in its message, with bright, eye-catching art, this book is an uplifting celebration of rain which if we’re honest plays a large part in our year in the UK.


A Dot in the Snow by Corrinne Averiss,  2+

This is the story of a curious polar bear, a little girl lost in the snow, and the precious friendship they discover together. It’s both simply told and affecting. The gorgeous snowscapes, full of real atmosphere, are created with printmaking techniques by debut illustrator Fiona Woodcock.

The Adventures of Egg Box Dragon by Richard Adams Illustrated by Alex T Smith 3+

From the author of Watership Down, Richard Adams, comes an enchanting picture book about the adventures of a mischievous homemade dragon. Illustrated by local illustrator Alex T. Smith, creator of Claude, the bestselling beret-clad canine hero, who graduated from Coventry University with a 1st Class Hons degree in Illustration. This book is charming and creative.


Supersaur 1: Raptors of Paradise by Jay Jay Burridge

Imagine a world where dinosaurs have survived and evolved as Spersaurs. This is the world that Bea Kingsley lives in, a world where humans live side by side with Supersaurs, sometimes in peace but often in conflict. This is the first book of a planned six book series that combines an app that brings the illustrations alive. It is an exciting glimpse at the way books and technology can combine to make something magical. It will appeal to those that like a good adventure story and it will make a perfect Christmas gift.

Pax by Sara Pennypacker 9+

The moving story of the extraordinary friendship between a boy and his fox and their epic journey to be reunited. Beautifully illustrated by multi-award winner Jon Klassen.


The Wizards of Once by Cressida Cowell

How do you follow the brilliant How to Train Your Dragon series? Well, with this exciting start to a new fantasy series starring wizard boy Xar and warrior girl, Wish. Set in ancient Britain; a land of dark and menacing forests where two opposing realms live in hatred of each other – the Warriors (opposing magic), and the Wizards (pro-magic) – but both fearing a common enemy, Witches. Recommended for ages 8+ (and another one to borrow from the kids when they’ve finished with it!).

Sky Dancer by Gill Lewis

Gill Lewis doesn’t pull any punches with her children’s novels, frequently tackling difficult themes about the world in which we live. Sky Dancer is the story of 11-year-old Joe who has grown up in a traditional game-keeping family and whose loyalties are tested when a baby hen harrier needs his help… but hen harriers are the traditional enemy of the grouse game-keepers. It’s a powerful and thought-provoking story about our wildlife and environment but what really stands out are the human relationships – it’s a great story about loss and family, friendship and ultimately about having the courage to stand up for what you believe in. The perfect gift for children who love animals and nature, ages 9+.


Wonderling by Mira Bartok Age 10+

In this extraordinary debut novel, Mira Bartok tells the story of the Wonderling – an innocent, fox like grounding – whose unexpected courage leads him on an incredible adventure down the path of his true destiny.

Warwick Book, 24 Market Place, Warwick, CV34 4SL, Tel: 01926 499939, warwickbooks; Books & Ink Bookshop, 4 White Lion Walk, Banbury OX16 5UD; 01295 709769;

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1 comment on “The Top 12 Children’s Books”

  • Tigs December 18, 2017

    Pax deserves a bigger write up than that. I tried reading a bit out loud to my son, second page in I was a blubbering mess. Later that week my ten yr old son was so moved by it he rang me up In tears. This is a beautiful book, beautiful in so many ways. You truly feel for the young boy and his love for his fox.


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