Christmas 2020 - Picture Book 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.


See also: Christmas Gift Guides (Printable)

Funny books with a dose of ho-ho-ho


Santa is the long-suffering but ever-jolly subject of a handful of funny new stories this year. This year, Father Christmas has endured an unfortunate underwear mis-hap in the hilarious search-and-find story Can You Find Santa's Pants? (Little Tiger) by Becky Davies and Alex Willmore. Young readers who love to giggle at anything bottom-related will love Santa's predicament as they search through mountains of presents to find the pants in time.

'There are no pants anywhere,' declares Santa - but readers know better as they spot underwear-shaped reindeer troughs, tea-pot cosies and present gift tags among the chaotic scenes of Santa's workshop. There are plenty of other amusing details to spot too in Alex Willmore's delightful illustrations.


Another new twist on the Santa Claus theme arrives in the whimsical picture book Santa Jaws (Bloomsbury) by Mark Sperring and Sophie Corrigan, in which Santa arrives in the form of a well-meaning shark in an underwater grotto. Sea-puns abound ('Merry Fishmas!') in this romping rhyming tale that small children will enjoy and it makes an entertaining change to see Santa's barnacle-encrusted sleigh whoosing through the deep blue sea being pulled by weedy sea-reindeer and jolly jellyfish. Penny Dale's Dinosaur Christmas (Nosy Crow) is another good choice for little ones keen on a Santa-twist on their favourite topic - in this case, dinosaurs that rescue Santa and save Christmas day. Another bright and jolly offering is Merry Christmas, Baked Potato (Egmont) by Matt Lucas and Scott Coello, which sees Lucas's viral spud on a mission to deliver Christmas presents in this flamboyant romp that takes rhyming to new extremes (how many words can you think of that rhyme with grotto?) and will likely be a hit with Baked Potato's existing fan base.


Another we loved was Santa Post (Walker) by Emma Yarlett, which is guaranteed to keep little hands busy, with letters to open and flaps to unfold. This festive tale is a real gem, with themes of gratitude and helpfulness as well as a gentle storyline that builds up to a wonderful ‘penny drop’ moment just before the end.

Head to our Bookshop page to purchase these titles online.



New stories about the magic of snow


There's no feeling quite like cosying up in the warmth with a good story while the snow falls outside. Snow is the key feature in a handful of this year's new festive books and one of our favourites of all is The Snowflake (Harper Collins) by Benji Davies, which is gentle and charming in equal measure and tenderly demonstrates that it's not mountainous piles of presents or commercial festivities that make Christmas magical. High in the sky, a tiny snowflake is born and it begins to tumble down, wondering where it is destined to land. Meanwhile, a little girl called Noelle is getting ready for Christmas, decorating her tree and looking for Christmas wonder in everyday activities. The pair come together in a beautiful moment tied up with warmth, hope and the wonder of the little things that make Christmas time magical.

Another picture book exploring of the gentle magic of snow is Yuval Zommer's A Thing Called Snow (OUP). Young readers who may have only experienced real snow once or twice - or perhaps never - will relate to spring-born friends Fox and Hare, who hear rumours of a thing called snow coming as winter arrives, but need to know what exactly snow is. Their search takes them on a journey through Zommer's beautifully illustrated forest scenes to ask a host of animal friends about snow until, at last they experience the 'whitest, coldest, fluffiest, sparkliest snow' for themselves.


Snow seekers may also love the lyrical picture book Snow Ghost (Bloomsbury) by Tony Mitton and Diana Mayo. The Snow Ghost swirls high above, looking for a place to rest where she might be welcomed. She lands with a pair of children, who welcome her gladly and share a tender moment as the pair laugh with joy at the chance to catch snowflakes, make snow angels and throw snowballs. From the gorgeous endpapers to the winter-hued landscapes, this is a beautifully illustrated tale with themes of enjoying the gifts of nature and what it means for a stranger to be truly welcomed. Two more sweet stories for the gentlest souls are A House for Christmas Mouse (Nosy Crow) by Rebecca Harry, in which an adorable mouse searches through the snow for a home in time for Christmas, and Katherine McEwan's Who's Hiding in the Snow? (Nosy Crow), a lift-the-flap non-fiction book for nature lovers to peep into the secret lives of animal friends living in the snowiest climates.


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 debut author Corrina Campell's picture book The Girl Who Stole the Stars (Little Door Books). Trusting Santa to provide her heart's desire, a young girl asks for a magical ladder that she can use to reach the stars. Santa delivers and the girl is able to climb into the night sky and collect a glowing star to call her own. Before long, she comes back for more and, overcome with the desire for more, has soon collected all of the stars in the sky and the moon as well. It soon becomes clear that the stars can't thrive outside of their own environment, and when a certain festive fellow needs the lights to find his way across the sky, he calls on the girl for help. With crayon-and-ink illustrations and a gentle message about considering the consequences of our actions, this is a delightful story that could easily become a favourite at bedtime. The author, a primary teacher, has made downloadable resources for children available on her website, too.


Cosy cuddles abound in 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 refocuses our attention on what's important among the business of the Christmas season.


For a slightly longer read, A Dancer's Dream (Simon and Schuster) by Katherine Woodfine and Lizzy Stewart is a gorgeous gift book reimagining the story of the first performance of The Nutcracker ballet and one that will appeal to young dancers and those who dream to be on stage. Stana, a young student at the Imperial Ballet School in St Petersburg, is chosen to play the important role of Clara on the very first performance of The Nutcracker. Stana needs to find a way to overcome her own worries and nerves to dance the performance of a lifetime. The excitement of putting on a stage production and the themes of family and love make for an enjoyingly dreamy story filled with hope.

Head to our Bookshop page to purchase these titles online.


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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 new fiction texts 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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