Brilliant children’s books to give this Christmas

Like you I’m a huge fan of encouraging kids to read at every possible opportunity. Books make fabulous presents for kids – the kind of gifts they’ll want to go back to again and again – and this year John Lewis have put together a fabulous Top 10, featuring a mix of old and new, books for your little ones to treasure. I asked Karin from Café Bébé, mum to Little Miss (age two and a half), to cast her expert eye over them. Here’s her verdict:

Peppa Pig Library (£3.49). This collection is ideal for little hands and to take on the go whether by plane, train or automobile. The books are durable, wipable and easy to read. Plus they come in a handy storage box which keeps them neat and tidy (if you can train your little one to put them away when done). Peppa Pig is always entertaining and is a big hit in our house.      The Very Hungry Caterpillar gift set (£8.79). A timeless classic and a book that your child will enjoy reciting along with you. The holes in the pages, where the caterpillar has eaten through, are a magnet for tiny fingers and they’ll be amazed at the outcome from the caterpillar’s feeding frenzy! To keep the attention of the littlest fan, this gift set comes with a souvenir Very Hungry Caterpillar which is sure to see action in the reading of this wonderful tale from Eric Carle. The Wheels on the Bus, by David Ellwand (£6.99). The song could drive many a parent to distraction but this book is really quite delightful and not at all irritating. My two-and-a-half-year-old daughter adores it and the illustrations, with classic bears and toy double-decker buses are gorgeous. The final page finds the various passengers saying goodbye to the driver in all manner of greeting which Little Miss particularly loves. There is a button to push which chimes the tune for “The Wheels on the Bus” but my daughter is very disciplined to only press the button once per page.     The Gruffalo Sound Book, by Julia Donaldson (£7.75). The classic story of The Gruffalo is brought to life with specific sound buttons that accompany various parts of the story. My daughter has quickly sussed out which buttons she doesn’t want pressed however, as some of the sounds are a bit scary for the younger child. The story itself is beautifully illustrated and as long as your child isn’t frightened of growling sounds, their attention should be well and truly fixed. Father Christmas Needs a Wee, by Nicholas Allan (£6.99). This story is sure to be a favourite with most young children. The idea that Father Christmas would need a wee is quite amusing. This is a wonderful counting book and allows children to fantasize about Christmas Eve and what Father Christmas might be bringing for them. This book is accompanied by a CD version of the tale which is quite entertaining for children and adults alike!      A Very Naughty Rabbit box set (£14.99). This selection is a glorious, collectable set which comes in its own case. The Beatrix Potter illustrations are gorgeous and this book now holds pride of place on my daughter’s book shelf. My Fairy Magic School by Louise Comfort, (£11.99). This book was on display for a few weeks in our lounge and was a great source of entertainment for my daughter. You see, the book folds out to become a giant paper fairy school with 3 sides to the “castle” and is accompanied by paper dolls and accessories. Little Miss jumped right in and placed the paper dolls in their beds for the night. The story is a bit advanced for a 2.5 year old but will be of interest to her in the future. I was surprised with how sturdy this “fairy castle” was. Even the exuberant play of a toddler couldn’t bring it down!       Star Wars Visual Dictionary (£11.09). The ideal gift for a school age boy.The book also includes an exclusive mini Lego figurine nestled in the cover of the book. Roald Dahl box set (£34). A collection any child (or adult, for that matter), would be thrilled to receive. Including Dahl classics like “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory”, “Matilda”, “The Twits” and “The BFG”, there’s sure to be something for everyone in the family. Housed in a decorative box these soft-backed books are immensely entertaining and instantly transport you to a fantasy world. I look forward to sharing these with my daughter when she gets a little bit older.     Drawing, Doodling and Colouring for Christmas (£7.99) My daughter is a passionate doodler. Her nickname is Doodles and she carries it well. She's not so much a fan of colouring books as she prefers to draw her own pictures and create her own scenes so this book is perfect for her. Who knows? Maybe we'll end up with an artist on our hands.

written by Liz Jarvis