Best new books to buy for 5-8 year-olds this Christmas

Searching for the perfect present for a little book lover - or simply a gift kids can enjoy for months, rather than minutes? Here's some top suggestions for young readers

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Stories to treasure

Iron Man by Ted Hughes

When a little boy first sees The Iron Man's headlamp eyes in a head that rises higher than the trees, he runs home, terrified. But is The Iron Man a fearful creature? And will he be able to help when a dragon comes from space to threaten the world? Faber Classics has given Ted Hughes' moving tale a beautiful new edition.

The Wishing Chair

The Wishing Chair by Enid Blyton

The new hardback illustrated edition of Enid Blyton's classic is the perfect introduction to this magical trilogy. If you've forgotten what happens: two children find a chair that grants wishes and adventures unfold in all sorts of unexpected places. Much like The Faraway Tree, this is a loveable and delightful series bursting with magic and imagination. 

For inventors and explorers
Lego Awesome Ideas

Lego Awesome Ideas by DK Books

Crammed with ideas to inspire and delight anyone who aspires to be a master builder, this book is a Lego-fan's dream. There are five worlds to explore, each come with photos and easy-to-follow instructions, our favourites are Wild West and Modern Metropolis. Perfect for kidults too...

Children’s Animal Atlas

Animal Atlas by  Barbara Taylor and Katrin Wiehle 

Packed full of fun facts and colourful double page spreads, this atlas provides loads of information about the animals of the world while remaining accessible and easy to understand. Plus it comes with a folder of stickers, postcards and a fold out map for curious minds.

Mad cap adventures

Grandpa's Great Escape by David Walliams 

The highly anticipated new hardback from bestselling author and much-loved comedian David Walliams. Grandpa is desperate to escape the old folk's home Twilight Towers and so, with the help of his Grandson Jack, he draws on his World War II aeronautic skills to outwit the wicked owner of the home, Matron Swine. The combination of this thrilling adventure with Walliams' comedic brilliance will have children absorbed throughout the Christmas holidays.

Explosive Adventures

Explosive Adventures by Alexander McCall Smith

From fighting pirates with popcorn to battling beasts with bubblegum, these two tales will sweep readers up in the action, taking you deep into the seas and the trees, on a rollercoaster of a ride! Excellent for little adventurers exploring their first chapter books.

Old favourites
Asterix and the Missing Scroll

Asterix and the Missing Scroll by Jean-Yves Ferri and Didier Conrad

Asterix is back! This time Caesar's up to no good, trying to pretend that he conquered Gaul by strategically leaving out an important chapter in his book. It's up to Asterix and Obelix to fight for the truth.

Return to the Secret Garden by Holly Webb

A sweet sequel to The Secret Garden. In her own inimitable style, Holly Web tells the story of orphan Emmy who is sent to Misselthwaite Hall during World War II. As she wanders the passages of the house she begins to uncover its secrets: a boy crying at night, a diary written by a girl named Mary and a secret garden that is waiting to be discovered.

Animal stories
Clare and Her Captain

Clare and her Captain by Michael Morpurgo and Catherine Rayner

Clare is dreading another long, lonely summer holiday in the country. But everything changes when she befriends an old horse, Captain, and his reclusive owner. This poignant story of friendship is brought to life by Catherine Rayner's wonderful illustrations and the short chapters make this a perfect book for young readers.

The Mumsnet Book of Animal Stories

Mumsnet Book of Animal Stories by various authors

We asked Mumsnetters and Gransnetters to get their creative hats on and write an animal story for our new children's anthology. The result features ten original tales selected by a panel chaired by former Children's Laureate Anthony Brown, and each beautifully illustrated by an up-and-coming artist. Now in paperback, this captivating book is perfect for bedtime reading.

More children's book recommendations from 2015 

For fans of Judy Moody

Daisy and the Trouble with Piggy Banks by Kes Grey

Daisy - a favourite among MNers and their children - is back for a new adventure. This time she's set her heart on a truly amazing microscooter. The only problem is, her piggy bank is empty…

The Royal Bake-Off by Clementine Beauvais and Becka Moor

Things are heating up in the royal kitchen as Holly, Anna and Peppino compete in a death-defying baking competition to win the intergalactic holiday of their dreams. Fast-paced and funny, this wacky tale is perfect for young GBBO fans and aspiring star bakers. 

For junior detectives

Fox investigates: A Brush with Danger by Adam Frost

Detective Wily Fox is called in to find a painting stolen from a Parisian art gallery - but when a cheese bomb explosion threatens his life, he realises this is no ordinary investigation. This action packed mystery will leave young readers begging for more. 

Scout wants nothing more than to become a police dog like her parents, and Puppy Academy is the perfect place to learn. But when a series of unfortunate events threatens her place at the academy, Scout must do all she can to prove that she has what it takes. 

For hands-on readers

Where the Bugaboo Lives by Sean Taylor and Neal Layton

The Bugaboo: not just the pram of choice for Mumsnetters, but a terrifying monster that lives at the edge of Floyd and Ruby's garden. This brilliantly scary book allows the reader to choose from multiple dark and dangerous paths, meaning each reading will be different.

The Wonder Garden by Kristjana S Williams and Jenny Broom
As wonderful to look at as it is to read, this wonderful book, which walks readers through the  world's most dazzling habitats, is guaranteed to keep wildlife enthusiasts of all ages entertained.

For fans of the classics

Mister Cleghorn's Seal by Judith Kerr

Kerr's first novel in 30 years is based on her father's own experience. Mister Cleghorn's Seal tells the story of a lost seal, and a brave boy who takes a risk to save his life. 

Little Bear by Else Holmelund Minarik and Maurice Sendak

With charming, fairy-tale illustrations by Maurice Sendak, Else Homelund Minarik's sweet tale of a little bear and his mum is perfect for small children who are beginning to read out loud.

For cape-wearing thrillseekers

The Princess in Black by Shannon Hale and Dean Hale 
Ordinary princesses wouldn't be seen dead in black and would be horrified at the prospect of confrontation with giant blue monsters - but not Magnolia! Monsters beware: this girl is a force to be reckoned with.

Bunny vs Monkey: Book Two by Jamie Smart

A hilarious comic book-style adventure detailing the heroic and fantastic battles of (you guessed it) a bunny and a monkey. Fans of superheroes will love this book, which includes robotic worms, Trojan moose and lemony doomsday devices.

Liked this? Try these:

Best new books for Christmas: Teens


Best new books for Christmas: Picture books

New books for 9-12's

Best new books for Christmas: 9-12 year olds



Last updated: over 2 years ago