books monthly december 2019 Bloomsbury Children's Books
  books monthly christmas issue 2019
  Something (including Harry Potter) for everyone from Bloomsbury 

 



A whole page of perfectly spectacular children's books from children's specialist books publisher Bloomsbury. On this page you'll find books for almost all children's ages, from Harry Potter to lift-the-flap-and-find-the-elves, plus teen angst, younger teen's fantasy etc., in a cornucopia of fantastic books! Let's start with Harry Potter...

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 8th October 2019


Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world has won legions of fans since the first Illustrated Edition of the Harry Potter novels was published in hardback in 2015, becoming a bestseller around the world. This irresistible smaller-format paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets perfectly pairs J.K. Rowling's storytelling genius with the enchantment of Jim Kay's illustrations, bringing the magic of Harry Potter to new readers with full-colour pictures and a handsome poster pull-out at the back of the book. This edition has been beautifully redesigned with selected illustration highlights - the fully illustrated edition is still available in hardback.

Fizzing with magic and brimming with humour, this inspired reimagining will captivate wizards and Muggles alike, as Harry and his friends, now in their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, seek out a legendary chamber and the deadly secret that lies at its heart .



I have seen these books in W H Smiths and marvelled at them, never dreaming that I would one day hold one and get to review it in my Christmas edition, let alone have two volumes sent to me for review by my friends at Bloomsbury! I'm one of those who devoured Harry Potter in his first publishing incarnation, and revelled in the adventures of the misfit child who suddenly came into his own in the world of wizards created by the great J K Rowling. Now Bloomsbury are republishing all of the stories in large format hard- and paperback editions with stunning illustrations by Jim Kay. The books have their text laid out in the manner of one of those brilliant Billy Bunter books, the large format (but not quite as large as these Harry Potters) reprints of Gem and Magnet comics in hardback format, with two columns of text often wrapped around the thrilling illustrations. It's like a rediscovery of the boy magician - the words are the same but they look different because of the layout, and it's that, together with those terrific illustrations, that make you want to reread the books. The ornamentation, that is the decorations on the page make these instant collectors' items, and I'm proud to have them on my shelves. And yes, I'm more than happy to reread the two volumes Bloomsbury have kindly sent me. Hopefully, they'll send me more as time goes on!

J K Rowling: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 22nd August 2019


Jim Kay's dazzling depiction of J.K. Rowling's wizarding world has won legions of fans since the first Illustrated Edition of the Harry Potter novels was published in hardback in 2015, becoming a bestseller around the world. This irresistible smaller-format paperback edition of Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets perfectly pairs J.K. Rowling's storytelling genius with the enchantment of Jim Kay's illustrations, bringing the magic of Harry Potter to new readers with full-colour pictures and a handsome poster pull-out at the back of the book. This edition has been beautifully redesigned with selected illustration highlights - the fully illustrated edition is still available in hardback.

Fizzing with magic and brimming with humour, this inspired reimagining will captivate wizards and Muggles alike, as Harry and his friends, now in their second year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry, seek out a legendary chamber and the deadly secret that lies at its heart .



Anyone that can do an illustration as exquisite as this one of a Ford Anglia (my second car back in the 1960s) is OK by me! Jim Kay illustrates to perfection the Weasleys, Harry, Hermione and the teachers at Hogwarts, and, of course Hogwarts itself. These are works of pure genius. I can't think of another children's illustrator who could have done these books as well as Jim. I cannot recommend these reimaginings of the Harry Potter universe highly enough. You have to make room for them in your Christmas stockings (and, of course, your bookshelves!)

Katherine Rundell: One Christmas Wish

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 10th October 2019


It's Christmas Eve and Theo - left at home with a babysitter - sees an odd-looking star out of his window and decides to make a wish. He wishes that he had some friends to keep him company. Moments later the Christmas decorations begin to disentangle themselves from the tree behind him, ready to wreak a little havoc .

Written with generous helpings of warmth and humour, this is a timeless Christmas story about treasuring the people and values that really matter at this time of year. With breathtaking illustrations by Emily Sutton capturing the magic of the season in stunning detail, this modern classic from master storyteller and bestselling children's author Katherine Rundell makes the perfect Christmas gift.



This charming Christmas fairy tale was first published a few years back, and this paperback version carries a different front cover to the original. The story is simple enough - it's straight out of Enid Blyton territory, the boy Theo makes a wish, little dreaming it will come true, and four characters he has just hung on the  Christmas tree come to life, something they have apparently done before for a previous owner. What makes this story different is the fact that each of the characters has a wish of their own - the rocking horse wants something to eat, all of the time; the tin soldier wants a wife; the robin wants to get his singing voice back, and the angel wants to learn to fly again. It's a heady mix of Enid Blyton and The Wizard of Oz, and it's absolutely charming, with beautiful illustrations that could have come from the last century. A wonderful book.

Brigid Kemmerer: A Curse So Dark and Lonely

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 29th January 2019


Fall in love, break the curse.
Break the curse, save the kingdom.

Prince Rhen, the heir to Emberfall, is cursed. Forced to repeat the autumn of his eighteenth year over and over, he can only be freed by love. But at the end of each autumn he is transformed into a beast hell-bent on destruction, and after so many failed attempts, his kingdom and its people are barely holding on.

Harper's life has never been easy, but she's learned to be tough enough to survive. She won't let anything hold her back, not her cerebral palsy or her mother's deteriorating health. But when she is sucked into Rhen's world, nothing is as it seems. Powerful forces are standing against Emberfalll ... and it will take more than a broken curse to save it from utter ruin.



I had an advance copy of this brilliant young adult fantasy at the back end of last year, and I rated it then as the very best teen and YA fantasy I had ever read, equally as good as any adult fantasy I've ever read. The changing narrator perspective worked particularly well and was easy to  follow and extremely effective, the characters were terrific, and the story wholly and mesmerisingly original - a true page turner if ever I read one! I believe this may be the first in a series - if so, I can't wait to read the next one. Absolutely brilliant!

T C Shelley: The Monster Who Wasn't

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 8th August 2019


A brilliantly rich and strange fantasy adventure that will make us all believe in monsters - be they good, bad or somewhere in between.

It is a well-known fact that fairies are born from a baby's first laugh. What is not as well documented is how monsters come into being .

This is the story of a creature who is both strange and unique. When he hatches down in the vast underground lair where monsters dwell, he looks just like a human boy - much to the disgust of everyone watching. Even the grumpy gargoyles who adopt him and nickname him 'Imp' only want him to steal chocolate for them from the nearby shops. He's a child with feet in both worlds, and he doesn't know where he fits.

But little does Imp realise that Thunderguts, king of the ogres, has a great and dangerous destiny in mind for him, and he'll stop at nothing to see it come to pass .

I love it when authors of great children's fantasy make sweeping statements that such and such is the case; it's as though they don't then have to set out and convince you that the story they're going to tell you is fantasy, but absolutely true. This wonderful tale by Australian authoress T C Shelley is reminiscent of the work of the great Diana Wynne Jones, and has everything you want from a fantasy: plot, characters and superlative dialogue. It's another brilliant page turner from Bloomsbury, a genuine stocking filler that will keep bookworms quiet for a few hours.

Martha Mumford: We're All Going On An Elf Chase

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 18th October 2018


We're going on an elf chase.
Come and join the fun.
Can we catch them all?
YES!
Run, run, run!


Four bunnies set off on a jolly Christmas lift-the-flap adventure to find ten little elves hidden under the flaps. You'll have to run, run, run if you're going to catch them all! And there are lots of obstacles along the way, from clippy-cloppy reindeer to roaring polar bears and flippy-flappy penguins. Stuffed with festive frolics, this is the perfect Christmas gift.

From the bestselling Laura Hughes, illustrator of We're Going on an Egg Hunt and The Birthday Invitation

Lift the flap books have been around for quite a while now, but Martha's Elf Chase is particularly apposite because elves are now a major part of our Christmas celebrations as the Elf on a Shelf is back in most toy and gift stores, even more so this  year than previous years. Even major supermarkets like Tesco have racks of accessories for toy elves, like clothing, bedding etc., and We're All Going On An Elf Chase contains several elves that are hidden. It's up to your little ones to find them all by lifting the various flaps. It's great fun and little people will love it!

Kate Pankhurst: Great Women Who Worked Wonders

Published by Bloomsbury Children's Books 7th February 2019


Kate Pankhurst, descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst, is back with a brand new wildly brilliant and accessible book about incredible women in the world of work.

What do you want to be when you grow up? It's a BIG question that everyone is asked from an early age. Discover eye-opening facts about a collection of go-getting women who have pioneered careers in a kaleidoscope of different industries. Join scientists, doctors, athletes, hot-air balloonists and more, journey back in time with these brave, bold and brilliant women and discover that anything is possible when you make the most of YOUR talents.

Prepare yourself for a celebration of women who opened doors and made it possible for more women to achieve amazing things today. Overflowing with beautiful illustrations and astounding facts, Fantastically Great Women Who Worked Wonders is the perfect introduction to just a few of the most incredible women who helped shaped the world we live in.

List of women featured: Junko Tabei, Sophie Blanchard, Maria Merian, Elizabeth Magie, the London Matchgirls, Rosa May Billinghurst, Katherine Johnson, Annette Kellerman, Katia Krafft, Rosalind Franklin, James Barry, Madam C.J. Walker, Lotte Reiniger.

Writer and illustrator Kate Pankhurst is a descendant of Emmeline Pankhurst (who isn't featured in the book) and demonstrates here her prize-winning artistic talents to absolute perfection. Many of the women featured in this beautiful book I've never heard of, and it's a matter of complete joy to discover these heroines and read about what they're famous for. The layout of the contents, the bubbles of facts and the sheer brilliance of the many, many illustrations make this a book from which learning is what it should be for younger children - fun.



The small print: Books Monthly, now well into its 22nd year on the web, is published on or slightly before the first day of each month by Paul Norman. You can contact me here. If you wish to submit something for publication in the magazine, let me remind you there is no payment as I don't make any money from this publication. If you want to send me something to review, contact me via email at paulenorman1@gmail.com and I'll let you know where to send it.




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Check out the Children's Books page and the Alma Classics page for more great children's titles this month...


The books below will make perfect Christmas gifts!