The Book Chook’s Top Book Gifts for Kids, 2014


Susan Stephenson (of Book Chook fame) has created a list of (mostly) recently-published books that would make fine gifts for the young readers. Below is an excerpt from her list that covers books for babies through to young adults, puzzle books, chapter books, classics, award-winners, funny books, graphic picture books, Christmas-themed books – the whole gamut of reading material!
Axel Scheffler’s Flip Flap Safari: Children who aren’t developmentally or temperamentally ready to read story books can be tricky to buy for. This is where puzzle and toy books come into their own. They help kids associate books with enjoyment, and may well be a step along their pathway to reading. Flip Flap Safari is a sturdy hardback created by Axel Scheffler, and published by Nosy Crow (Allen and Unwin in Australia.) It encourages kids to create. By turning the flaps, children visually create all sorts of weird and wonderful creatures, and they can then listen to someone read the resulting rhyming verses and see the creature’s vocalisation too. NB Nosy Crow also have an app to match! This may well inspire your youngsters to go on and create their own lift-the-flap books!
Counting Aussie Animals in my Backyard
by Bronwyn Houston, published by Magabala, 2014. Counting books are wonderful for the very young. I love that this is a book with Aussie animals to count, but I ADORE that Counting Aussie Animals in my Backyard is so sumptuously and vibrantly illustrated! Houston uses pattern and jewel-like colours to make stunning digital collages where, for example, “Seven dragonflies dart across the garden.” If you’d like your children to be able to connect with the sorts of animals they might see in their own backyards, then this one is for them.
counting-aussie-animals-in-my-backyardThe Fantastic Flying Books of Mr Morris Lessmore by W.E.Joyce and Joe Bluhm, and published by Simon and Schuster, 2012. Here’s one for a child who is bookish or simply loves to read and let her imagination soar. It also makes a great gift for an adult who understands the power of books and literature to change lives, especially a librarian. It’s an important book, one everyone should read. It’s also an app and an Academy Award-winning short film. The illustrations use both a sombre palette and a colourful one to highlight different parts of the story. My favourite quote: ‘“Everyone’s story matters,” said Morris’. Indeed!
 Friday Barnes, Girl Detective by R.A.Spratt, published by Random House Australia. I reviewed Friday Barnes, Girl Detective earlier this month, and have no hesitation in suggesting this first chapter book in a series as a gift for children 10+. From my review: “Friday is an unusual eleven-year-old. Her fierce intelligence is evident in her mature vocabulary, outstanding observation skills, and logic. She lacks common social skills and fashion sense. From the first pages where we see that Friday mostly raises herself, and that her friends are the books she reads, we’re firmly in her camp and hoping that she will make some friends. Boarding school does bring friends, but also a line-up of quirky characters who embroil Friday in hilarious situations. Spratt is a master at bringing characters to life, and knowing just what older primary and early high school kids want  to read. Young readers will enjoy trying to solve the mysteries, and perhaps go on to read more books with puzzles or problems to solve.”
To access the full article go to the Book Chook’s website
Article & reviews by Susan Stephenson,
To see if our library has any of the titles mentioned in the Book Chook’s article visit

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