Christmas is synonymous with stories. From the tale of the nativity itself to classics like A Christmas Carol, there plenty of magical tales that have been shared over generations.
But there’s always room for a new one and these recently published books contain plenty of seasonal spirit, lots of laughs and make perfect presents…
1 Pick A Pine Tree by Patricia Toht, illustrated by Jarvis. £11.99 (hardback), Walker
The ritual of taking a plain pine and transforming it into a beautiful Christmas tree is the simple premise of this gorgeous picture book. Writer Patricia Toht and award-winning illustrator Jarvis (of Alan’s Big Scary Teeth fame) manage to capture the true spirit of the season as a family carefully select their spruce and lovingly adorn it with their favourite tinsel and trinkets.
The slow-paced rhyme and retro feel of the artwork make this new book feel as familiar and comforting as a pair of old socks. A future family classic that you’ll want to reread every year.
2 All I Want For Christmas by Rachel Bright. £6.99 (paperback), Orchard
With a storyline inspired by the Mariah Carey song of the same name, this feelgood tale follows two penguins in their Christmas preparations. The excitement builds as the pair shop for gifts, get crafting with glitter glue and peel spuds for the roast.
But while Little Penguin wishes to find a sleigh under the tree, all Big Penguin longs for is right there already… Boasting gentle rhyming text and the sweetest of illustrations, even Scrooge would struggle not to feel the love for this book.
Read our interview with award-winning author Rachel Bright
3 Morris Wants More by Joshua Siegel, illustrated by Amelie Faliere. £9.99 (hardback), Flying Eye Books
If you thought Veruca Salt was spoilt and demanding, meet Morris. This rotten apple of his parents’ eye is used to getting everything he wants – and now! His Christmas present has to be the biggest and best, but no matter what they buy their little prince, he isn’t happy.
This witty and anarchic retelling of the 12 days of Christmas is a superb alternative to sugary seasonal stories. Kids will delight in seeing greedy Morris get his comeuppance while parents might notice he bears a resemblance to a certain blonde-haired, orange-tanned president…
4 Angel’s Great Escape: A Christmas Story by Kirstie Rowson, illustrated by Kristyna Litten. £6.99 (paperback), And So We Begin.
Girl power saves the day in this tale that channels Toy Story, with a group of decorations coming to life to escape a miserable festive fate. Led by the determined Angel, the runaways have to overcome stairs, snow and a cat in hot pursuit to make it to the bare tree of the Good family before sunrise.
Just as Snowman and Teddy start to lose hope, a saviour in the shape of Santa arrives to make it a Christmas to remember. A charming debut by author Kirstie Rowson.
5 Three Little Owls by Emanuele Luzzati, translated by John Yeoman and illustrated by Quentin Blake. £12.99 (hardback), Tate
This poem by the late Italian artist Luzzati was translated and illustrated by Yeoman and Blake in 2013, but has been transformed into a beautiful clothbound gift edition for this Christmas. The funny ditty follows three boisterous birds who travel round the world with “a bop and a bip” from one Christmas Day to the next, dancing, fishing and not behaving.
Three Little Owls is one of the books that BookTrust is hoping to gift to 9,700 children in care this Christmas. Find out how you can donate
6 Red & Lulu by Matt Tavares. £11.99 (hardback), Walker.
The power of love is at the heart of this epic tale about two birds separated when the proud pine they call home is chosen to be the Rockefeller Centre Christmas Tree. Lulu is asleep in the branches when the men come to take the tree away, leaving her mate bereft.
Red’s journey to New York and search across the city, to be reunited with Lulu thanks to the song ‘O Christmas Tree’, is beautifully illustrated and reminiscent of a classic festive film. We have a massive soft spot for both New York and birds so this is one of our favourites.
7 The Twelve Dogs of Christmas by Alison Ritchie & Marisa Morea. £6.99 (paperback), Simon & Schuster.
The traditional seasonal song gets turned on its head with this riotous tale about a little puppy getting ready for his first ever Christmas. Your child will laugh to see two dachshunds delivering cards, four bulldogs picking a tree and five comical golden retrievers drooling at the sight of ‘rings’ in the bakery window.
It’s hugely entertaining and the illustrations by Marisa Morea are full of energy and humour. Who doesn’t love a puppy in a Santa hat, after all?!
8 The Christmas Eve Tree by Delia Huddy, illustrated by Emily Sutton. £7.99 (mini hardback), Walker
A triumphant tale about the runt of the Christmas tree litter who sees all the other pines find happy homes while he is left alone in the shop. But then a homeless boy comes along and his love allows the tree to become part of a impromptu Christmas Eve celebration to remember.
While this is not a new story (the first edition was published in 2015), this is a special new version with a delightful pop-up scene in the middle that your child will love.
9 Last Stop On The Reindeer Express by Maudie Powell-Tuck, illustrated by Karl James Mountford. £12.99 (hardback), Little Tiger Press.
Being apart from a loved one at Christmas is at the subject of this striking story, where heroine Mia boards a mysterious reindeer and travels across snowy mountains and beautiful cities to deliver her card to Daddy.
The folksy festive artwork and clever lift-the-flaps peep-through-pages add to the charm of this really touching book that teaches how you can still feel someone’s love without being together.
10 Make & Play Nativity by Joey Chou. £7.99 (board book), Nosy Crow.
Bring the nativity story to life with this activity board book, featuring 20 colourful play figures and animals that can be pressed out and assembled in different scenes from the story. There’s even a 3D manger!
It includes this most famous story, Christmas songs to sing and even crafts to keep them busy. The pieces can be pressed back into the book for easy storage or leave them on display during the festive season. Genius!
11 Supertato: Evil Pea Rules by Sue Hendra & Paul Linnet. £6.99 (paperback), Simon & Schuster
The hilarious Supertato is back with a festive adventure as he battles to stop Evil Pea turning the supermarket into an icy kingdom where he will rule. Can the superhero spud with eyes everywhere save the pineapples from peril?
With puns a plenty and some help from a team of hot chillis, this fourth book in the bestselling series is a riotous ride for young readers. Loads of fun.
12 Getting Ready For Christmas: A Sticker Storybook by Tara Tilly. £5.99 (paperback), Nosy Crow
It’s a certainty of parenting that all children love stickers. This stylishly illustrated sticker booked, produced in collaboration with the National Trust, features 120 of the blighters and 11 seasonal scenes with gently nostalgic artwork.
There’s also rhyming text that follows the family in their festive preparation plus a checklist of things to spot for extra entertainment.
13 The Hundred and One Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, adapted by Peter Bently and illustrated by Steven Lenton. £6.99 (paperback), Egmont
She’s one of the best villains in children’s literature. Now younger children can enjoy the drama of Cruella de Vil’s stealing Pongo and Missi’s puppies to make a fur coat with this first ever picture book version of the classic tale.
The 1920s illustrations are just charming and we love the happy Christmassy ending when the precious pups and their new pals return home to the Dearlys.