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Christmas 2019 – Children’s Book Round-Up

It’s that time of year again and today we are featuring our favourite new Christmas books for 2019 – we ho-ho-hope you enjoy them as much as we did!


See also: Christmas Gift Guides (Printable)


1. The Tree That’s Meant to Be

Yuval Zommer

Available here

Fans of Yuval Zommer’s The Feet Beneath My Street or The Big Book of the Blue will be pleased to see his charming illustrative style filling the pages of a new Christmas story this year. Formatting as a large hardback with a glittery dust jacket, this book cries out to be given as a gift but also has the feel of a classic that will be enjoyed time and time again.

The story is about a little fir tree who is too small and too imperfect’ to be chosen as to be decorated at Christmas time. He is different from the other trees around him and ever since being a sapling he knew it was “plain to see that I was never, ever going to be a perfect, grown-up tree.”

As the other trees are chosen by families as Christmas trees, the little fir tree is left alone in the forest. Before long, the forest animals gather around the lonely little tree to offer festive cheer and encouragement that the creatures great and small appreciate him just as he is. The story ends with a happy springtime scene with the tree providing a home for forest animals and a shelter for two children reading their books, alongside the tree’s warm assertion that he is ‘the tree that’s meant to be.’ At every stage, Zommer’s beautiful illustrations are charming and filled with details and patterns that tell of the joys of looking closely at nature.

This is a hope-filled book with the natural world at its heart, cutting through the commercialism of the festive season to offer a gentle and encouraging message about celebrating difference and finding one’s place in the world.


Publisher: OUP

Publication date: 3rd October 2019

Order The Tree That’s Meant to Be online here.

2. The Crayons’ Christmas

Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers

Available here

The Day the Crayons Quit meets The Jolly Postman in this beautifully interactive book from Drew Daywalt & Oliver Jeffers, delighting fans of the much-loved crayon stories by adding a festive twist.

The crayons are back and this time they have mail. Open the envelopes, boxes and packets to find out what the postman has been delivering to each colour! Peach Crayon receives a dressing-up package from his mum, Beige receives a Christmas cookie recipe (gluten-free due to an allergy arising from colouring in so much wheat) and Chunky Toddler Crayon gets a Christmas board game to press out and play. Crayon-owner Duncan begins to feel left out, until the crayons give him a brilliant festive surprise of their own.

There are activities to press out, assemble and play with inside the various packets and envelopes. While there are nods to the previous stories, it could also work as a fun standalone story about the joy of giving and receiving gifts. This is a real feel-good book that caters well to different age groups, offering the wit and charm of the other crayon stories with the added interactive elements to surprise and delight.

Publisher: Harper Collins

Publication date: 17th October 2019

Order The Crayons’ Christmas here.


3. There’s an Elf in Your Book

Tom Fletcher & Greg Abbot

Available here

True to form, this latest creation from popular duo Tom Fletcher and Greg Abbott makes for an interactive storytime that is oodles of fun and a little bit cheeky.

There’s an elf in this picture book and he wants to give you a test to find out if you belong on the naughty or nice list. After a series of tests and a few tricks along the way (from blowing Christmas kisses to performing stinky sprout burps), he’s ready to share the results…but does following the instructions of a very mischevious elf make you naughty or nice after all?

Likely to appeal to younger children who love to giggle over a bit of subversive humour, this is a bright and bubbly picture book that will deliver a dollop festive cheer to children in EYFS and KS1 faster than you can say ‘I’m a bauble-bottom sprout face’.

Publisher: Puffin

Publication date: 17th October 2019

Order There’s an Elf in Your Book here.

4. Meerkat Christmas

Emily Gravett

Available here

This is a fun, warm-hearted tale of desert-dwelling meerkat called Sunny (fondly familiar to readers of Emily Gravett’s original story Meerkat Mail), who travels the world in search of the perfect Christmas.

It is pretty obvious to Sunny that the perfect Christmas needs all the right ingredients; snow, a tastefully decorated tree, a pile of presents, a festive dinner (with sprouts, of course) and the sound of Christmas carols playing in the background. Much as he loves his family home in the Kalahari Desert, Sunny realises that his family’s Christmas preparations are sadly lacking most of the important things. Sunny puts on his Christmas hat and sets off to visit friends around the world, finding that not even having everything Christmassy in one place can replace the importance of family. Lucky for Sunny, Santa is on hand to put things right.

At each destination, Sunny sends a Christmas card back home, charting his progress and adding quirky notes, jokes and doodles. Readers will enjoy the flaps to open and the pleasing surprise at the end of the story. A really enjoyable festive picturebook guaranteed to raise a smile with its warm humour and family values at heart.

Publisher: Two Hoots

Publication date: 17th October 2019

Order Meerkat Christmas here.

5. Leah’s Star

Margaret Bateson-Hill & Karin Littlewood

Available here

A tender retelling of the Nativity story through the eyes of Leah, the innkeeper’s daughter.

The streets of Bethlehem are bustling with people and Leah’s family are rushed off their feet housing travellers at her father’s inn. When a woman arrives who is just about to have her baby, Leah’s father finds them a place to rest in his stable. Wide-eyed with wonder, Leah witnesses a series of very special events including some rather unusual visitors from afar. All the while, a splendid star shines down on the scene from above.

The story is full of humanity and at its heart it depicts a young girl’s personal encounter with the very special baby at the centre of the nativity story. As Leah talks with Mary, she realises that the new arrival is no ordinary baby and that her own part in the story matters very much. Their exchange is compassionate and tender, and the spirit of warmth and openness shown by Mary as she involves Leah in the events leaves young readers with the message that the nativity is a story for everyone who wishes to engage and that no-one is excluded from its wonder.

Illustrated with Karin Littlewood’s watercolour scenes, this beautiful picture book brings a familiar Christmas story to life through a fresh pair of eyes and is a worthy addition to your collection of nativity story books.

Publisher: Alanna Max

Publication date: 5th October 2019

Order Leah’s Star here.

6. Little Robin Red Vest

Jan Fearnley

Available here

This is a new paperback gift edition of Jan Fearnley’s classic Christmas story first published over 20 years ago. It is a charming picture book about the joy of giving that has the feel of a gentle Just-So story with a festive twist.

It is the week before Christmas and it’s getting chilly outside. Little Robin washes and irons seven warm vests to keep him cosy in the frosty evenings leading up to Christmas. As each day goes by, Robin encounters a different shivering animal and, full of compassion, he generously offers each animal one of his own vests to wear.

Robin’s kindness may have prevented his animal friends from getting colder, but when Christmas eve arrives he finds himself with nothing warm left to wear. Fortunately, a festive visitor in a red suit and a soft, white beard spots Robin and finds a joyous way to reward him for his kindness to others.

The tale is likely to inspire children to tap into the spirit of giving that Robin demonstrates so unreservedly. Jan Fearnley’s illustrations are just as charming as the story itself, and despite the frosted trees and snowy scenes, this is a picture book that will leave readers with the warmest of feelings.

Publisher: Nosy Crow

Publication date: 3rd October 2019

Order Little Robin Red Vest here.


7. The Snow Dragon

Abi Elphinstone & Fiona Woodcock

Available here

The Snow Dragon is a beautifully illustrated picture book edition of the abridged short story by Abi Elphinstone included in the Winter Magic collection (available here). The story has a fairy-tale feel with a dark thread that is overcome by hope, joy, a sprinkling of magic and a happy resolution. 

The dream-like story is one about the power of imagination and hope in dark times. Phoebe is the only remaining child left in an unhappy orphanage run by the gloomy Griselda Bone and her dog Slobber. In her vow to remove all childishness from the country, Trunchball-like Griselda has banned daydreaming, skipping and hide-and-seek and – worse still – has cancelled Christmas. When she is cruelly punished for exercising her imagination too much in a grammar exercise, things look grimmer than ever for Pheobe and she finds herself sleeping outside in the snow, banished to the kennels with her dog Herb. As the snow falls, magic fills the air and an ordinary-looking snowman morphs into a beautiful snow dragon who takes Pheobe on an enchanting adventure through the air and rekindles the hope inside her.

Nods towards the Snowman, Matilda and Annie are present but the story itself is entirely unique, with illustrations that perfectly capture the magic and frostiness of the snowy setting as well as the whimsical, fantasy mood of the story. The longer narrative and scary antagonist renders The Snow Dragon suitable for a slightly more mature reader than many of the other festive picture books available, making it a Christmas story that would likely be relished by children in KS2.

Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children’s UK

Publication date: 31st October 2019

Order The Snow Dragon here.



See also: Christmas Gift Guides (Printable)

Thank you to the publishers of these titles for kindly sending us copies to review.

Looking for more newly published books? Check out our top 7 fiction texts or our new non-fiction round-up from this term, too!

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