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Christmas 2021 – Picturebook Round-Up


With the festive season fast approaching, now is a great time to check out some brand new Christmas books for this year. We’ve hand-picked some of our favourite new titles this year that will bring a sackful of Christmas cheer and also make lovely gifts for children.


Click on the links to purchase from Amazon or find the books in our BookShop.Org store.


See also: Christmas Gift Guides (Printable)

Super-fun Books with a Dose of Ho-Ho-Ho


Santa and his friends are the ever-jolly subjects of a handful of funny new stories this year. Have you ever wondered what Santa was like in his toddler years? Jon Agee’s wry humour fleshes out Father Christmas’s backstory in Little Santa (Scallywag Press), as a mini Santa in a red onesie finds his own path and shows his miserable North Pole family a glimmer of what Christmas cheer looks like. We love this quirky twist on a familiar festive narrative.


The youngest readers will also love to delve into There’s No Such Thing as Elves (Scholastic) by Lucy Rowland and Katy Halford. When a little boy is told there’s no such thing as elves, he doesn’t believe it for a second. Surely elves exist? After all, they’re always in Christmas books and films. But if he has any chance of proving that elves are real, the little boy needs evidence – and so begins the familiar search-and-find formula that will provide plenty of fun for eager-eyed readers hoping to give the little boy assurance of the festive magic he is searching for.

Another new twist on the Santa Claus theme arrives in the whimsical picture book Monster Christmas (Hachette) by Giles Andreae & Nikki Dyson, in which Santa takes a much-needed break and passes the mantle to a kindhearted monster who accidentally frightens everyone who sees him. A gentle message of valuing kindness and not judging by outward appearances weaves through this fun rhyming tale that feels like a festive take on Shrek. Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan’s Jingle Smells (Bloomsbury) is another good choice for little ones keen on a mischevious giggle – in this case, a rather stinky subject is the centre of the fun as Jingle the Skunk is called upon to save Christmas when robbers threaten to steal all of Santa’s presents.

A further fun-filled jolly offering is Greg the Sausage Roll: Santa’s Little Helper (Puffin) by LadBaby duo Mark and Roxanne Hoyle and illustrated by Gareth Conway, which sees a loveable sausage roll in peril after being left out for a Santa snack. Before he knows it, Greg the Sausage roll finds himself pastry-deep in a mad-cap Christmas caper with Santa himself.


Another we loved for the smallest of readers was Nibbles Christmas (Little Tiger) by Emma Yarlett, which is guaranteed to keep little hands busy, with flaps to open and holes to explore. This festive tale is oodles of fun, with a loveable main character causing chaos as he counts down to the big day. Look out for the fun twist at the end, too!

Head to our Bookshop page to purchase these titles online.


Tales of hope, kindness and friendship


There’s no feeling quite like cosying up with the next instalment of a much loved story – and Alex T. Smith’s Winston books offer an almost month-long delight of a festive tale. A cross between a Christmas story and an advent calendar, the Winston books are charming full-colour hardbacks structured into 24½ chapters – one for each day of advent. Each day’s offering includes the next chapter of the story and easy-to-follow instructions for an accompanying craft to make or activity to try. New this year, How Winston Came Home for Christmas (Macmillan) is the second Winston story and follows Winston the mouse on a quest to find a long lost friend. Themes of kindness, connecting with loved ones, recovering what is lost and valuing friendships abide – all perfect for Christmas time – and the daily activities range from art and baking to giving gifts to others and finding out about festive traditions from different cultures.


Another picture book exploring magic of festive friendship is One Wild Christmas (Pikku) by Nicholas Oldland. This standalone adventure is part of a wider series of Canadian picturebooks called Life in the Wild, following the lives of bear, moose and beaver.

The series promotes a love of the great outdoors, conservation and teamwork. In this festive episode, the friends are busy making preparations for Christmas – but when they realise they have forgotten a tree, things unravel quickly as earth-loving bear refuses to let his pals cut one down. The friends navigate a perhaps familiar scenario of a last-minute Christmas rush and differences of opinions when it comes to traditions. What triumphs in the end is compromise, togetherness and focusing on what really matters at times of celebration.


Readers looking for gentle stories of kindness may also love the latest offering from Rob Biddulph, An Odd Dog Christmas (Harper Collins). Odd Dog is back and this time she is running out of time in her search to find the perfect present for a special friend. Feeling confounded, Odd Dog steps into a Christmas wonderland, in which a surprise encounter with a man in a red suit leads to the realisation that ‘caring, sharing, friendship and fun’ are more important than fancy gifts.

Two more sweet stories for the gentlest souls are Tom Fletcher and Shane Devries’ new rhyming picturebook version of The Christmasaurus (Puffin) and Usborne’s Twinkly. Twinkly Nativity by Sam Taplin and Róisín Hahessy. The first sees a determined festive dino and a young boy harness the power of belief to embark upon a festive adventure reminiscent of a cross between Zog and the Snowman. The second is a boardbook nativity story that brings out the wow-factor behind the Christmas message by incorporating real lights into every page.


Head to our Bookshop page to purchase these titles online.


Dreamy Books for December Bedtimes


For starry nights with the blackest skies, comfort and warmth will be readily found in Yuval Zommer’s Northern Lights inspired picture book The Lights that Dance in the Night (Oxford University Press). Completing Yuval’s ‘winter trilogy’, this is a lyrical celebration of the Northern Lights. From tiny specs of dust to gleaming rays in the dark, the Northern Lights travel across the Arctic, uniting every creature in a celebration that reverberates through land and sea. Illustrated in Yuval’s compelling style, this is a dreamy and gentle story poem that is perfect for bedtime with little ones.

Cosy cuddles abound in the new paperback edition of I Love You More than Christmas (Little Tiger) by Ellie Hattie and Tim Warnes. Little Bear is full of festive cheer, enthusiastically enjoying cards, ice-skating, tree decorating, carol singers and Christmas baking. But as Bear snuggles down at bedtime, there’s finally time to make himself heard and express that the most wonderful thing about Christmas is sharing it together with loved ones. A lovely read-aloud that prompts readers to reflect upon what really matters among the busyness of the Christmas festivities.


A gentle tale of a famous seasonal traditional is offered in The Christmas Pine (Scholastic) by Julia Donaldson and Victoria Sandøy. The words were originally commissioned by The Poetry Society for their annual poetic welcome to Norway’s gifted Christmas tree in Trafalgar Square, and have since been beautifully illustrated by Norwegian artist Victoria Sandøy and presented in hardback. The gentle rhyming verse tells the journey of the Christmas tree itself, from its origins in a deep and snowy wood to its final destination in Trafalgar Square. Coupled with pictures that accentuate the joy of children and animals at each stage of the tree’s journey, this makes for a comforting bedtime story that refocuses attention on the aspects of Christmas that become treasured in our hearts long after the season is over.

Head to our Bookshop page to purchase these titles online.




See also: Christmas Gift Guides (Printable)


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


Looking for more newly published books? Check out our Books of the Month or our new non-fiction recommendations from this term, too!


Where next?

> Visit our Reading for Pleasure Hub

> Browse our Topic Booklists

> View our Printable year group booklists.

> See our Books of the Month.

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