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Older children's books: fascinating facts and fiction for Christmas 2013

Children old enough to enjoy reading on their own will love getting a really good book to get stuck into over Christmas. Ideal gifts for Boxing Day and beyond, once the flurry of flashier presents has faded.


Queenie by Jaqueline Wilsonqueenie 

This tale is set in the children's ward of a 1950s hospital, and has a gorgeous, shiny gold cover. Find out more and discover some downloadable activities by clicking these links.


Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Hard Luck by Jeff Kinney
wimpy kid

With Jeff Kinney producing new books for the past six years, Wimpy Kid has become the must-have Christmas book for all fans. In the latest diary, Greg loses his best friend Rowley to a girlfriend and is desperate to find a new friend. He even tries his luck with the uncoolest kid in school, Fregley. Will Greg ever find a new friend or will he spend the rest of his school days alone?



Does My Goldfish Know Who I Am? by Gemma Elwin Harrisgoldfish

Do spiders speak? How does the woman in the satnav know where to go? This book takes real children's questions gathered from primary schools across the UK and puts them to assorted adult experts, who give short and accessible answers. Sir David Attenborough discusses whether monkeys could ever turn into men and Miranda Hart ponders why it's funny when someone farts.


Tom Gates Extra Special Treats by Liz Pichontom gate

This is the eagerly awaited sixth Tom Gates book, from a series that is becoming a household name for primary school kids. Great stories that are brilliantly presented with Liz Pichon's wacky doodles make these perfect for reluctant readers and those who find traditional book formats daunting.



Bugsy Malone Graphic Novel by Alan Parkerbugsy book

A re-issue of this fantastic full-colour graphic novel, which tells the story behind the beloved film, Bugsy Malone. The book transports readers back to prohibition-era New York, dodging splurge guns and ordering a 'Sarsaparilla on the rocks' at Fat Sam's speakeasy. Out on 5 December so pre-order now.


The Story of Gulliver by Jonathon Coe

This is a contemporary retelling of Gulliver's Travels by author Jonathan Coe. Part of an inspiring new series called Save the Story by Pushkin Children's Books, it sets out to re-tell immortal stories for young readers. Beautifully illustrated - a treasure of a gift.



The Kids Book of ChessThe Kid's Book of Chess by Harvey Kidder and Kimberly Bucklen Root

Originally published in 1970 and now renamed, updated, newly illustrated and presented with a custom-designed chess board and full set of chess pieces. Fantasy art captures the energy and excitement of chess's origins - the medieval battlefield -while a lively text explains the historical origins of the game and its pieces. Wannabe grand masters are led through the fundamentals, and shown winning strategies for offence and defence.


Demon Dentist by David Walliams
demon dentist

Another fabulous read from Mr Walliams, who has been hailed as the new Roald Dahl. Demon Dentist is not one for the fainthearted but a wonderful children's story with a heartfelt message that will make readers laugh and cry in equal measures. Fans will be delighted to hear that Raj is back, with plenty of new stock in his newsagents shop.


Easy Mind and Body Tricks by Stephanie Turnbull

This is part of a great series introducing children to the fascinating world of magic tricks. Simple handbooks give young magicians a variety of tricks to perform. Mini-magicians won't require any equipment and can baffle the rellies after your Christmas feast.


The Good Little Devil by Pierre Gripari
good little devil book

We recently ran a giveaway for this book and the overwhelming response from MNers was 'What a great gift', so we felt we had to include it in our Christmas round-up. Recently translated for the first time from Pushkin Press, these charmingly eccentric French fairytales by Pierre Gripari are guaranteed to win the hearts of English children - and are perfect for those with a wicked sense of humour.


Guinness World Records 2014book

A Christmas favourite past and present. This year's edition brings together thousands of the planet's most awe-inspiring people, pets and products, including a skateboarding goat, a 15m-long robot dragon, the world's furriest cat and a king-size drumkit that needs five people to play it. For the first time ever, readers can download a free app enabling them to view some of the pics In 3D.


Fortunately, the Milk... by Neil Gaimanfortunately the moon

Fortunately, the Milk... is the spectacularly silly adventure from genius storyteller Neil Gaiman. Prepare to be swept along on an adventure that will have children of all ages (and lots of childish grown-ups) laughing with glee as Dad tries to get the milk home... and possibly save the universe along the way. The mind-bendingly clever story and gorgeous illustrations by award-winning illustrator Chris Riddell make this a perfect gift.


Pop Bottle Science by Lynn Brunellepop bottle book

An ingenious book kit packaged in a bottle, including all the equipment necessary to conduct 79 experiments. Children can design a volcano and watch it erupt, create a tornado-maker and see how twisters work, make quicksand, observe photosynthesis in action, simulate Jupiter's giant red spot, investigate buoyancy, demonstrate inertia, and discover the Bernoulli principle, which allows planes to fly. Good, huh?


Last updated: over 3 years ago