Síne Quinn highlights some of her top children’s books this Christmas!
Eggcorns from Bumbum bees to Jellicopters, by Chris Judge, The O’Brien Press, €9.99 | Age: 2+
This hilarious collection of mispronunciations will have everyone in stitches. With amusing colourful illustrations and a simple striking design, this book is ideal for small hands to hold while they giggle. It’s hard to pick a favourite, but ‘doggles’ accompanied by a fetching dog with eye-catching goggles gets my thumbs up. A wonderful, timeless idea. I look forward to seeing the next collection.
Go to Sleep, Hoglet! The Adventures of an Irish Hedgehog, by Bex Sheridan, The O’Brien Press, €12.99 | Age: 2-5
Animal lovers will fall head over heels with Hoglet. While all the other hedgehogs are preparing to hibernate, a small and very independent hedgehog has other ideas. Itching for adventure, despite the short, dark days, Hoglet sets off on an interesting journey. Bex Sheridan is a natural storyteller. Go to Sleep, Hoglet! is acharming combination of adorable illustrations and gentle text.
The Dead Zoo by Peter Donnelly, Gill Books, €14.99 | Age: 2-5
The talented Mr Donnelly has quite a following, everyone from the president to his cat. The Natural History Museum is a fantastic location for any story, but this one will really make you jump, or that could be because one of the creatures is on the move! Enter the world of Mr Gray’s museum of stuffed animals, just don’t look down. Add this wonderful story to your growing collection of Donnelly gems.
The One with the Waggly Tail by Sarah Webb, illustrated by Steve McCarthy, The O’Brien Press, €16.99. | Age: 2-5
This gorgeous book will have you all singing along. It will bring you right back to your yonder years. Sarah Webb’s impressive collection of songs, nursery rhymes and well-known and rare verses is one for everyone to enjoy. Steve McCarthy’s eye-catching illustrations leap out of every colourful and stylish page. The One with the Waggly Tail is sure to be another classic from this dynamic duo.
To The Island by Patricia Forde, illustrated by Nicola Bernadelli, Little Island, €17.00 | Age: 4+
Nicola Bernadardelli’s gorgeous art will draw you into The Island by talented storyteller award-winning writer Patricia Forde. Inspired by the Irish legend of Hy Brasil, follow Fia as she leaves her bed, tiptoes downstairs and sets off to discover a mysterious island shrouded in mist that is said to appear every seven years off the west coast of Ireland. A magical story full of wonder and awe. An Irish Language edition is also available.
The Great Irish Farm Book by Darragh McCullagh, illustrated by Sally Caulwell, Gill Books, €24.99 | Age: 6+.
Winner of Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Junior, The Great Irish Farm Book is a fantastic book. Animal and farm lovers of all ages will cherish this massive colourful book, which is jam-packed with fascinating facts on life on a farm. Find out facts about farm animals from pigs (2,000,000 in Ireland) to sheep (who have rectangular pupils), Irish crops, machinery and technology. Read about the progression from farming in ancient Ireland to the present day. Sally Caulwell’s joyful and vibrant illustrations are the perfect complement to Darragh McCullagh’s interesting text.
The Haunted Lake by P.J. Lynch, Walker, €14.99 | Age: 6-9
Add this beautiful and haunting book to your list or put it under your tree – just don’t read it too close to bed time! The Haunted Lake is a surreal, sublime and spooky tale. P.J. Lynch’s captivating text and mesmeric art will transport you to an other world filled with mystery, ghosts and lost love, echoing ancient stories. Another incredible tale from award-winning storyteller.
Mythical Irish Wonders by Mark Joyce, Currach Press, €22.99, ISBN 9781782189220 | Age: 9+
Mythical Irish Wonders is a gift to be treasured by all the family. This collection of Irish legends, tales and myths will captivate readers, prepare to get drawn in… A winning combination of well-researched facts, engaging and enchanting text and dramatic illustrations exploding with colour on every page. Ensure to pick up a copy of Mythical Irish Beasts while you are at it. Mark Joyce is an entertaining storyteller and a talented artist.
Gender swapped fairy tales, by Karrie Fransman and Jonathan Plackett, Faber. £20. | Age: 9+
A winning concept that challenges all of us to check our unconscious bias. With captivating illustrations, old world design, and amusing and compelling text, this book is such a good idea that it’s interesting it hasn’t been done before. It’s hard to select a favourite, as all the stories are deserving of attention, but Handsome and the Beast really stands out.
Break the Mould by Sinéad Burke, illustrated by Natalie Byrne, Hachette Ireland, €10.99. | Age: 9-13
Winner of Specsavers Children’s Book of the Year – Senior, Break the Mould: How to Take Your Place in the World is a remarkable book which deserves a place on every bookshelf, both in schools and homes across the country. Up against tough competition in the awards this year, this book really struck a chord. Natalie Byrne’s wonderful illustrations add another engaging layer to this inspirational and life-affirming story.
For more recommendations, pick up a copy of Books Make Things Better available in libraries and bookshops or available to download on our website. For more, please visit our website: https://childrensbooksireland.ie/
Síne Quinn, M.Phil Children’s Literature, is the managing editor at Cubicle 7 Entertainment. A Children’s Books Ireland book doctor and creative writing teacher with the Bookmarks programme at TCD, she also provides editorial and writing support to publishers. Holy Shocking Saints: The Extraordinary Lives of Twelve Irish Saints by Síne Quinn and Margaret Anne Suggs is available in book shops and online: www.veritas.ie.