Thursday, 15 December 2016

ReadItDaddy's last Chapter Book Roundup of 2016. Here's December's fun-packed book bag of win!

As the snow gently falls outside, and Santa is making his final preparations for "The Big Drop" as he likes to call it, we're delving into our book sack for one last final Chapter Book Roundup for 2016.

We're pulling out all the stops - all of them - to bring you book-sized brilliance and with a few days left of Christmas Shopping still left to do, we're pretty sure you'll find room for some of these in your stockings! Admittedly they might not all be festive christmas crackers but they're sure to win your kids over (and give them something that'll last beyond Boxing Day - which is more than you can say for that weird self-hatching egg thing you bought for them off Ebay for the price of a medium range sports car!)

So let's kick off with a couple of classic Christmas books from Scholastic!

First off, the man who pretty much invented Christmas as we know it. Charles Dickens' timeless classic "A Christmas Carol" is given a fantastic new cover as part of the Scholastic Classics range.

The tale of Ebeneezer Scrooge is well known and well loved, as the miserly old man battens down the hatches for Christmas - and is visited by the ghosts of Christmas Past, Christmas Present and Christmas Future.

Dipping into this one again for the purpose of the review, it's amazing how atmospheric and brilliant it still feels even after so many readings (I think I lost count of how many times this book was covered in school). It was a delight to introduce it to Charlotte (who actually found quite a lot of it spooky and scary).

It's a brilliant new version as plump as a christmas pud, and ready for a special yuletide reading.

"A Christmas Carol" by Charles Dickens is out now, published by Scholastic. 

Sticking with Scholastic and classic stories, there's also this festively coloured compilation of all the best Christmassy bits of many well-loved novels.

"Christmas Stories" gathers together tantalising snippets from tales such as Pickwick Papers, Little Women, The Gift and many many others.

Bound together in a glorious red and snowy cover, it's a delight to polish off one or two of these before hot cocoa and bedtime. We really enjoyed delving into this one and I'm pretty sure we'll manage to read a few more bits before the big day arrives.

Scholastic has a huge range of Christmas books but this is definitely one of our favourites, a really great idea though I think there's room for a more up-to-date version with bits of all our favourite modern christmas stories compiled in a similar way.

"Christmas Stories" from Scholastic is also out now. 

Next up, a kid detective with street smarts? How can you resist!

Meet "Howard Wallace P.I", a thrilling novel by Casey Lyall.

Twelve-year-old Howard Wallace lives by his list of rules of private investigation. He knows more than anyone how to work with what he s got: a bathrobe for a trench coat, a makeshift office behind the school equipment shed, and not much else least of all, friends.

So when a hot case of blackmail lands on his desk, he's ready to take it on himself...until the new kid, Ivy Mason, convinces him to take her on as a junior partner.

As they banter through stakeouts and narrow down their list of suspects, Howard starts to wonder if having Ivy as a sidekick and a friend is such a bad thing after all.

Perfect for kids who love a good mystery, and we actually think Ivy is a bit of a scene-stealer in this one so maybe she'll get her own detective series one day.

"Howard Wallace, PI" is out now from Sterling Publishing. 

Next on our Christmas list, a new Jaqueline Wilson book you say? Oh my, that's a cause for celebration...!

"Clover Moon" by Jaqueline Wilson (with illustrations by Nick Sharratt) could've almost been written exclusively for Charlotte as it contains two of her favourite things. One, a superb new girl character (Clover Moon herself) and Two, a Victorian London setting. Two things guaranteed to make her sit up and take notice.

So Clover's story begins in poverty and tragedy. Clover feels that there has to be more outside the life she's been dealt, but it could take making a huge sacrifice - and leaving her family behind - for Clover to realise her ambition and allow her imagination to be truly set free.

This is a big thick weighty tome that is perfect for first-time Wilson readers, or even better for long term fans of her brilliant books.

"Clover Moon" by Jaqueline Wilson and Nick Sharratt is out now in Hardback, published by Doubleday.

Another firm favourite is also back for more chaotic antics...

Jeff Kinney's zillion-selling series about an inept book hero is back in "Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down".

Greg Heffley is a kid under pressure. His mom thinks video games are turning his brain to mush (What??!?!! We can't have that!) so she wants her son to put down the controller and explore his 'creative side'. Horror of horrors!

As if that's not scary enough, Halloween's just around the corner and the frights are coming at Greg from every angle.

When Greg discovers a bag of gummy worms, it sparks an idea. Can he get his mom off his back by making a movie . . . and will he become rich and famous in the process? Or will doubling down on this plan just double Greg's troubles? Jeff's trademark humour machine-guns its way into your heart as once again Greg struggles to do just what any wimpy kid would do under such circumstances. Curl up under the duvet and hope the world just goes away!

"Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Double Down" by Jeff Kinney is out now, published by Puffin Books. 

More, more, we want more so let's delve deep into the book sack and pull out...

"The Arabian Nights" -a glorious gold-embellished luxury edition of the classic tales, translated by Sir Richard F. Burton. This illustrated edition of the stories would make an amazing christmas gift that would last a young reader well and truly into 2017.

Children may be familiar with Aladdin and his Magic Lamp, Sinbad the Sailor and Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves but those are just three of the tales wrapped up in this gorgeous edition.

Over 20 stories in total are packed between these luxurious covers with monochrome and full colour illustrations by Renata Fucikova and Jindra Capek.

Rarely do you get to see a book that's so action-packed and full of adventure and eastern promise so tuck into a big box of Turkish Delight while delving into this fantastic collection.

"The Arabian Nights" by Sir Richard F. Burton is out now, published by Barnes and Noble. 

Have some tissues ready for the next one, it's a bit of an emotional roller coaster...!

Lisa Thompson's awesome "The Goldfish Boy" gets a shiny new cover and a paperback release in January 2017 so start saving your pennies, this one's very special indeed.

It's the story of a 12 year old boy named Matthew who spends his days trapped in his bedroom. Matthew suffers from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder and most of the time he can be found staring out of his window as the inhabitants of Chestnut Close go about their daily business.

Matthew soon gets to know all their comings and goings, and daily routines and largely they pass by without noticing him at all.

Until the day he is the last person to see his next door neighbour's toddler, Teddy, before he goes missing!

Matthew must turn detective and unravel the mystery of Teddy's disappearance - with the help of a brilliant richly hewn cast of supporting characters.

Press releases for this book compare it favourably to Mark Haddon's sublime "The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-Time" and it is definitely very similar in tone (perhaps a little more child friendly). But it's almost impossible to read without welling up (and you already know what big softies we are).

"The Goldfish Boy" by Lisa Thompson is released in paperback on 5th January 2017, published by Scholastic.