Book­ing them in for the hol­i­days ‘S

From a brand new and cud­dly ‘touchy-feely’ books for tod­dlers, to a range of hot-off-the-shelves lo­cal books and grip­ping new ad­ven­ture sto­ries – in­clud­ing a sim­mer­ing new thriller from An­thony Horowitz. Th­ese are just some of the books that will be on of

Weekend Argus (Saturday Edition) - - LIFE -

O PLEASE oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, go throw your TV set away. And in its place you can in­stall, a lovely book shelf on the wall.”

So said world-renowned chil­dren’s au­thor Roald Dahl in his fa­mous clas­sic Char­lie and the Choco­late Fac­tory.

No doubt, Dahl be­lieved that if chil­dren are not read­ing, then they should be, and how bet­ter to in­spire a child than with a great book for Christ­mas to read dur­ing the long, hol­i­days?

And, when it comes to choos­ing books for Christ­mas, who bet­ter to ask than the peo­ple who work with books and chil­dren?

“It feels there are more and more great reads ev­ery year, as if au­thors and il­lus­tra­tors are pulling their best rab­bits out of hats and sur­pris­ing and wow­ing us. For this, read­ers of all ages can be grate­ful,” says Ver­uscha Louw, man­ager of chil­dren’s books at The Book Lounge.

Tracey Muir, chil­dren’s li­brar­ian at the Cen­tral Li­brary for the City of Cape Town, and Jac­qui Rodgers, li­brar­ian at Tam­boer­skloof Pri­mary School, both agree; there’s no bet­ter gift to give than a book.

Louw, Muir and Rodgers have shared some of the books they be­lieve are “must-haves” for chil­dren of dif­fer­ent ages. ● Muir’s rec­om­men­da­tions: For tod­dlers younger than two: Muir says: Rain­bow Fish by Mar­cus Pfis­ter, Happy Christ­mas Spot by Eric Hill, and that old favourite The Hun­gry Cater­pil­lar by Eric Carle.

“Rain­bow Fish is an award­win­ning book that will tug at the hearts of lit­tle ones. It is an ex­cel­lent

“If chil­dren are not read­ing, then they should be, and how bet­ter to in­spire a child than with a great book to read for Christ­mas?”

book that deals with shar­ing and friend­ship,” she says.

On Happy Christ­mas Spot: “I don’t know what it is about Spot but chil­dren ab­so­lutely adore this lov­able char­ac­ter. As soon as I take the book out, the chil­dren clap and cheer.”

The Hun­gry Cater­pil­lar “is a time­less clas­sic that has won a num­ber of lit­er­a­ture as well as graphic de­sign awards. Tod­dlers will en­joy stick­ing their fin­gers through the tiny hole where the cater­pil­lar has munched his way through the dif­fer­ent fruits.” For pre-school­ers of 3-6 ages: Bed­time for Mon­sters by Ed Vere, The Odd Egg by Emily Gravett, and Croc and Bird by Alexis Dea­con.

On Bed­time for Mon­sters, she says: “I sim­ply love us­ing this book for sto­ry­telling be­cause you are able to let the chil­dren use their imag­i­na­tion.”

The Odd Egg is her son’s ab­so­lute favourite book.

“This book has won the Kate Greenaway Medal for its witty text, and the pen­cil and wa­ter­colour il­lus­tra­tions are ab­so­lutely won­der­ful.”

Croc and Bird “is such a sweet book”.

“This story is beau­ti­fully il­lus­trated and deals with im­por­tant themes such as ac­cep­tance, dif­fer­ences and lov­ing each other de­spite th­ese dif­fer­ences,” Muir says. For Pre-Teens (8-12 years): Di­ary of a Wimpy Kid – Hard Luck (Book 8) by Jeff Kin­ney (re­leased last month).

“The Di­ary of a Wimpy Kid is def­i­nitely a hit at Cen­tral Li­brary. The se­ries is en­joyed by both girls and boys alike. Chil­dren can iden­tify with the char­ac­ter Greg Hef­fley and the daily tri­als and tribu­la­tions that he faces,” says Muir.

Teens will also be sure to read the fol­low­ing books from be­gin­ning to end: Hostage (Book 1 in Body­guard Se­ries) by Chris Brad­ford, and Suzanne Collins’ Hunger Games. ● Rodgers’ rec­om­men­da­tions: For younger read­ers, aged six to eight:

The Name of the Tree is Bo­jabi, by lo­cal au­thor Dianne Hofmeyer and il­lus­trated by Piet Grob­ler, a beau­ti­ful book which came out ear­lier this year. The Boy who Cried Ninja, by Alex La­timer, and Goldilocks and Just the One Bear, by Leigh Hodgkin­son.

The Boy Who Cried Ninja is about a lit­tle boy who cried wolf and no­body be­lieved him.

“Goldilocks and Just the One Bear is a story about a grown-up Goldilocks who now has a fam­ily of her own and finds a bear in her own apart­ment. This is a book that will cap­ti­vate them too.”

For chil­dren aged 8-10:

Boys love Zac Power, by HI Larry, the se­ries called Di­nosaur Cove by Rex Stone (es­pe­cially for boys), and the Rain­bow Magic se­ries by Daisy Mead­ows (for girls).

“In my ex­pe­ri­ence, girls also love Judy Moody by Me­gan McDon­ald, about a girl who is al­ways in a bad mood, Mr Gum by Andy Stan­ton, and a new se­ries which girls are lov­ing is So­phie and the Shadow Woods, by Linda Chap­man and Lee Weatherly, about a girl who keeps shadow crea­tures from the world.” For chil­dren aged 10-12: Rodgers sug­gests the Big Nate se­ries, by Lin­coln Pearce.

“I can’t keep them on the shelves.”

Both boys and girls also love The Dork Diaries, by Rachel Re­nee Rus­sell.

“And, in our li­brary, you sim­ply can­not have enough As­terix and Where’s Wally books, as th­ese are very pop­u­lar,” she says.

Rodgers also rec­om­mends the Donut Diaries se­ries, by Der­mot Mil­li­gan, as a “clever and funny” se­ries.

“Girls can’t get enough of books by Cathy Cas­sidy, who deals with sub­jects with which girls iden­tify.

“And I rec­om­mend An­thony Horowitz, par­tic­u­larly his Power of Five se­ries, for ev­ery­one in this age group, as well as Dar­ren Shan’s Cirque de Freak se­ries, and Rick Rior­dan’s Percy Jack­son books.”

Rodgers also rec­om­mends two books which have been nom­i­nated for awards this year: Lion vs Rab­bit by Alex La­timer for the lit­tle ones, and The Great Un­ex­pected by Sharon Creech for older read­ers. ● Louw’s rec­om­men­da­tions: She’s cur­rently in love with a book called Maps, by Alek­san­dra Mizielin­ska and Daniel Mizielin­ska.

“It is like trav­el­ling with­out leav­ing your room.” For the lit­tle ones: “I am lov­ing the lat­est from Emily Gravett, Lit­tle Mouse’s Big Book of Beasts. She is a pa­per ge­nius and in this of­fer­ing she shows Mouse’s scrap­book, with bits of pa­per and paint­ing over all the pages.”

Louw also rec­om­mends the Newish on the Block au­thor, David Mack­in­tosh.

“Stand­ing in for Lin­coln Green, his third book, is awe­some. Lin­coln looks in the mir­ror and dis­cov­ers some­one who looks just like him, a stand-in so to speak.”

For fans of Ot­to­line, Chris Rid­dell has pub­lished a beau­ti­ful read called Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse.

“This lit­tle book is a keep­sake to ‘ooh’ and ‘aah’ over, for goth girls of all ages.” For the slightly older reader: Louw rec­om­mends Tim Lott’s How to Be In­vis­i­ble, and Matt Haig’s To Be a Cat.

“Ev­ery­one is lov­ing John Green this year. He has writ­ten amaz­ing books, with Fault In Our Stars a favourite.

“I want to in­tro­duce you to a friend of his, David Le­vithan. If you love the hon­est writ­ing of John Green, you are go­ing to fall hard for Mr Le­vithan. In his lat­est book, Ev­ery Day, ‘A’ wakes up in a dif­fer­ent body ev­ery day.”

Louw adds that Julie May­hew wrote “the most beau­ti­ful book of the year”, Red Ink, which cap­tures the angst and anger of a teenager.

PIC­TURE: LEON MULLER

MUST-READ: Ai­dan Mur­ray, 11, from Prim­rose Park with The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins, now a ma­jor mo­tion pic­ture se­ries.

BEST PICKS: There are more and more great reads ev­ery year, says Ver­uscha Louw at The Book Lounge.

TOP TI­TLES: There is a raft of ti­tles that teenagers will be keen to read.

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