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Top 10 Picture Books for Xmas

The cutest, loveliest, gotta-read-em books to inspire little ones to ditch Uncle iPad for old school print.

Looking for inspiration for Christmas pressies? Nothing beats a good book and Muddy’s teamed up with our local indie bookshops to help you through the maze of best reads. Our Top Ten books for Christmas guides kick off with Rachel from The Woodstock Bookshop who has selected her Top 10 Picture Books (serious cuteness alert!).

Mouse House by John Burningham (Jonathan Cape, £11.99)

This is my top book. It’s the tale of a family of mice who are discovered and then saved by the children of the house – who make them a miniature playground in the garden. Beautifully illustrated in Burningham’s distinctive style, it’s a tale of great compassion and humanity.
Katinka’s Tail by Judith Kerr (Harper Collins, £12.99)
A new Judith Kerr! The pictures are classic, Katinka like a white Mog – apart from her tail, which is surprising. There’s a dream, and a touch of magic, and those wonderful pictures…
A World Full of Animal Stories – 50 Folktales and legends. Written by Angela McAllister, illustrated by Aitch, (Frances Lincoln, £12.99)
When I was young my grandmother used to give me a book each Christmas – very often a classic, or a big book of stories. This reminds me of those presents. Animal stories from all round the world, with lovely illustrations to look at while the stories are being read.
Today by Julie Morstad (Simply Read Books, £13.99)
Another lovely large book, based on all the things a child might do during a day – like You Choose, there’s plenty to look at and discuss and I can imagine it becoming a favourite.
One Christmas Wish, Katherine Rundell, illustrated by Emily Sutton, (Bloomsbury, £14.99)
Katherine Rundell is probably the best author writing for 7-12 year olds at the moment (her latest novel, The Explorer, has just come out and is not to be missed), and this is her first picture book for younger children. Liberally sprinkled with pictures, it’s a book about wishes and dreams.
The Lost Words by Robert Macfarlane & Jackie Morris (Hamish Hamilton, £20)
Another huge picture book which conjures words like ‘bluebell’, ‘acorn’, ‘adder’ and ‘newt’ back into children’s lives. It’s a gloriously illustrated book that will delight anyone from toddlers to the elderly. Jackie Morris’s pictures are outstanding.
I Really Want the Cake by Simon Philip & Lucia Gaggiotti (Templar, £6.99)
Excellent rhymes, a good story, slightly retro-fifties style pictures and a good cake recipe at the end!
The Twelve Days of Christmas, illustrated by Anna Wright (Faber, £9.99)
This book is just what you might expect – an illustrated version of the carol. But look closely and you realise there is a twist – the eight maids are milking are pigs, the ladies are butterflies and the lords are grasshoppers – lots to look at and the repetitive carol is always a good memory test!
The Story of the Car by Giles Chapman (Wren & Rook, £12.99)
Perfect if you’ve a child who’s a car enthusiast. This book gives plenty of information and never talks down – the illustrations are really good and the text will grow with the child.
The Variety of Life by Nicola Davies & Lorna Scobie (Hodder, £14.99)
This is a vast, brightly illustrated book depicting wildlife of all sorts from ducks to mushrooms, with a very good glossary at the back. Sure to fascinate nature lovers.

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