Eight great book ideas for kids
The wonderful Octavia from Cirencester’s pretty, purple-fronted Octavia’s Bookshop, the friendliest children’s bookshop you’re ever likely to come across, has, and I’m not kidding, read practically every book in her cute, little shop. And she’s very kindly given her recommendations for good reads for all ages, from toddlers to teens, which will keep your kids’ noses in a book all week long (or at least a day). Which is great, because she’s got a few corkers for adults tucked away in the shop too. I’m liking the sound of this half-term – just listen to that silence! NB: Be prepared to be seduced by a Moomin while you’re there. Octavia has dozens of them from little (£25) to large (£40) all dressed in adorable outfits and multi-coloured wings made by her mother.
Best for gigglers and new readers, aged 0-6
Three Monkeys is my favourite picture book for little ones of late. It is a beautifully illustrated and brilliantly written story of a poor lady who adopts three very naughty monkeys. Quentin Blake and illustrator Emma Chichester Clark make for a winning team.
‘Three Little Monkeys’ by Quentin Blake and Emma Chichester Clark (hardback, £12.99)
Best for political agitators, aged 5-8
This hilarious story about a boy who stands up to England’s reviled prime minister after he threatens to close down his local park, sees the young hero running for office on a ticket promising banana-shaped buses, cats in hats and fancy dress Thursdays. A real laugh-out-loud read.
‘The Accidental Prime Minister’ by Tom McLaughlin (paperback, £6.99)
Best for modern-day Alices, aged 5-8
An action-packed tale about a girl who is desperate to be tall enough to ride on the scariest rollercoaster in the land, but suddenly finds herself shrinking to the size of a fish finger. Irritated at first, she soon finds there are advantages to her newfound tininess.
‘Shrinking Violet’ by Lou Kuenzler (paperback, £5.99)
Best for young adventurers, aged 9-12
This is a stunning book for young book lovers. Here a young girl called Idie is sent on an amazing adventure to a faraway island, where incredible characters, both human and animal, weave a web of mystery.
‘House on Hummingbird Island’ by Sam Angus (paperback, £6.99)
Best for pony-lovers, aged 12-14
A modern-day National Velvet, this compelling story follows the life of heroine Tessa whose world is turned upside down when she’s separated from the love of her life, a blind brood mare. The plot sees her getting expelled from eight schools, battling a vicious stepfather, enduring a stint in a juvenile reformatory and finally being reunited with her precious horse.
‘Blind Beauty’ by KM Peyton (paperback, £6.99)
Best for budding environmentalists, aged 12 upwards
The Penguin Lessons is the remarkable true story of a young man and one very special penguin. Whilst traveling around South America, Tom saves a penguin covered in oil lying dying on a beach. Juan Salvador, as he is known, then goes on to be his companion, a school mascot and a great friend to everyone lucky enough to meet him.
‘The Penguin Lessons’ by Tom Michell (paperback, £7.99)
Best for teens who love a film teaser, aged 12 upwards
A startling good debut novel by American writer Ransom Riggs, this dark tale about a boy who becomes involved in a mystery involving an abandoned children’s home on a Welsh island, is also a film directed by the master of fantastical imagination Tim Burton and starring Eva Green and Samuel L. Jackson.
‘Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children’ by Ransom Riggs (paperback, £8.99)
Best for aspiring David Attenboroughs, all ages
The Illuminature needs to be seen to be believed. A beautiful reference book, this truly is a book for the whole family to explore in wonder. The 3D images, enhanced by stunning colour, and the astonishing observations of the animal world are really something!
‘Illuminature’ by Carnovsky and Rachel Williams (hardback, £20)
Octavia’s Bookshop, 24 Black Jack Street, Cirencester GL7 2AA. Tel: 01285 650677. octaviasbookshop.co.uk