TODAY ONLY! 75% off this blog post!
… and I still didn’t manage to get it posted on time.
I’m not sure how long Black Friday has been a ‘thing’ in the UK, or when it became a week, but it seems quite ubiquitous now. I am guilty of browsing through the Amazon deals, memorising times for things that look interesting, seeing if maybe we’ll get a ‘bargain’…
But is it really a bargain to pay £100 instead of £200 for something that you could get much cheaper without a particular label attached, and you (or gift recipient) didn’t really want or need it anyway…
So here is the 2014 Child-Led Chaos Christmas Gift Ideas List, the book edition:
Fairy Tales, Fables and Traditional Tales
It would be entirely possible for me to fill an entire website with fairy tales, fables, and traditional tales, as they are probably the Chaos household’s favourite genres. It’s almost impossible to pick just a few. But before we get to the twists-on-a-tale that we like, it’s essential to let children be aware of the traditional tales. The Ladybird Tales boxset is an excellent introduction, and the sturdy hardbacks withstand a lot of love.
Little Red Riding Hood – This is probably my five year old’s favourite story so we have a lot of versions. For young children you can’t go wrong with Child’s Play’s Flip-Up Fairy Tales (this goes for all their flip-up tales.) Alison Jay’s Little Red Riding Hood (Templar Books, 2013) is mostly traditional with lots to see and talk about in the illustrations. The Deep Dark Wood is a variation on the theme, with a little girl who can take care of herself and a wolf in for a very big surprise and Heapy & Heap’s Very Little Red Riding Hood will be very familiar to parents of toddlers. Moving up from the toddler/pre-schooler age-range, David Roberts’ Little Red turns Red into a little boy and Templar’s Pocket Fairytales gives a beautiful pop-up concertina book to love.
Cinderella – We love Alex T. Smith’s Ella, with a ladybird Ella and wasp sisters, beautifully illustrated and great for any bug fans (there is a lot of pink, but put colour prejudices aside for this one. Danger Girl (5) is a huge fan of The Fairytale Hairdresser so I couldn’t leave it out. Full of sparkles and royalty with jobs, these stories give sensible role models for young children. Moving on from toddler/pre-school, again we have the excellent David Roberts, this time with an art deco Cinderella. Shirley Hughes’ artwork in Ella’s Big Chance is also stunning.
Goldilocks – There is so much fun to be had with the theme of Goldilocks. Leigh Hodgkinson’s Goldilocks and Just the One Bear turns the tale on its head with the bear finding himself intruding, with an excellent denouement. Mo Willem’s humour is on top form in Goldilocks and the Three Dinosaurs, with layers to enjoy at all sorts of ages. Finally the Ahlberg family still produce innovative and delicious books to enjoy over an over.
Princesses – I can but hope that the success of Frozen will remove the pink from princess books, princesses do love a variety of colours – DG(5)’s favourite colour is now blue because of Frozen. She still utterly loves Ten Little Princesses, with their various escapades, one for empowering princesses everywhere. Princesses Are Not Just Pretty does what it says in the title. The three princesses do seem overly interested in looks, but when it comes to it they’ll happily help others no matter what. For lovely father-daughter relationships, Caryl Hart and Sarah Warburton’s Princess books are delicious and huge favourites in the Chaos household. Finally, many parents will find the escapades of the princess in Princess Sleepyhead and the Night-Night Bear very familiar, and I just love that it promotes reading stories.
Dragons – Debi Gliori’s heartbreakingly beautiful tale of adoption, Dragon Loves Penguin, can be enjoyed on so many levels and Marmaduke’s differences show children that they don’t have to be like everyone else. I’d put those two books in any home (or school) library. Huge fun for pre-schoolers, Albie’s adventures have gone through Dinosaurs, Aliens, Pirates, and Caryl Hart & Ed Eaves are still on top form as Albie faces several fears, and promotes libraries in this latest adventure. Finally, for slightly older children, Cressida Cowell’s Incomplete Book of Dragons is stunning and makes a perfect gift for dragon lovers.
Fairies – This section is particularly pink, but don’t let that put you off. For pre-schoolers, Twinkle is an irritating fairy of the Mary-Sue variety, but I totally forgive the stories (and the pink) because of the gorgeous illustrations, including delicious endpapers to scour for hours – and glitter for children who love all things sparkly. For young readers, the ubiquitous Rainbow Magic. These books get a bad rap but the first seven tales with colour illustrations is the first book my (then) six year old read completely on her own. With two adventurous, problem solving female leads (who do not live in pink dresses) the Rainbow Fairies collection is an excellent gift, and paired with My Big Book of Fairies can ignite imaginations to create characters of their own.
More Fairy Tales – Oh, there’s just too many to choose from! Danger Girl has a soft spot for Jack and the Beanstalk, so I can’t leave out Jack and the Jelly Bean Stalk (Rachel Mortimer and Liz Pichon have a series of fairy tales with a twist that we also love) or Shhh! the classic lift-the-flap toddler book where you sneak through the giant’s castle. Childs Play’s Secret Scrapbook Diaries cover all sorts of fairy tales. We have, and love, The Three Little Pigs, but I ought to add them all. The Lamb Who Came For Dinner isn’t a traditional tale, but it has all the elements and is a modern classic that we love. Finally, Christmas wouldn’t be complete without The Jolly Postman and his trips through fairyland.
These are just a selection of our favourites to give you some ideas of wonderful books to share with any children you know this Christmas, or any time of year.
To follow, probably, and eventually…
Monsters and Magic; Winter and Christmas; Animals and Pets; Friendship and People; Feelings and Situations; Around the World; Interactive and Learning
Disclosure: Affiliate links. Books chosen include ones received for review from publishers, as well as own copies, ones borrowed from libraries, and a couple browsed in bookshop and on our wishlist.