By Clement C. Moore and Illustrated by Roger Duvoisin

As expectation mounts on Christmas Eve, a boy hears sleigh bells ringing and looks out of the window in time to see Santa arrive. Santa comes down the chimney (this is a fun picture as the book is tall and thin) and delivers the presents while pretending he does not notice the boy watching. Off he rides with all his favourite reindeer, and it’s time for Christmas to begin! Told in verse that’s perfect to recite aloud with all the family gathered around, this poem has stood the test of time since it was first written almost 200 years ago.

A beautiful edition in a traditional style, for the newest family member to cherish.

The Night Before Christmas is available in hardback for £12.99.

By Rob Eastaway

A great, engaging, book, both for those with an interest in mathematics and also for readers who would like to feel a bit more confident with numbers. It contains lots of thought-provoking content, including how most of the numbers that quoted to us in the news are, in fact, estimates. The content is also great for sparking an interest in mathematics and debate with secondary school aged children.

How many cats are there in the world? What’s the chance of winning the lottery twice? And just how long does it take to count to a million? Learn how to tackle tricky maths problems with nothing but the back of an envelope, a pencil and some good old-fashioned brain power.

Join Rob Eastaway as he takes an entertaining look at how to figure without a calculator. Packed with amusing anecdotes, quizzes, and handy calculation tips for every situation, Maths on the Back of an Envelope is an invaluable introduction to the art of estimation, and a welcome reminder that sometimes our own brain is the best tool we have to deal with numbers.

Maths on the back of an envelope is available in hardback for £9.99.

By Stacey Halls

I could not put this book down – a brilliantly engaging read and one of the best books I’ve read in a long while. I’m looking forward to her next book, The Foundling, coming out in February 2020. Stacey will be one of the authors attending our Pudding, Read, Love event on Thursday 13th February at the Guildhall, Abingdon.

In a time of suspicion and accusation, to be a woman is the greatest risk of all . . .

Fleetwood Shuttleworth is 17 years old, married, and pregnant for the fourth time. But as the mistress at Gawthorpe Hall, she still has no living child, and her husband Richard is anxious for an heir. When Fleetwood finds a letter she isn’t supposed to read from the doctor who delivered her third stillbirth, she is dealt the crushing blow that she will not survive another pregnancy.

Then she crosses paths by chance with Alice Gray, a young midwife. Alice promises to help her give birth to a healthy baby, and to prove the physician wrong. As Alice is drawn into the witchcraft accusations that are sweeping the north-west, Fleetwood risks everything by trying to help her.

But is there more to Alice than meets the eye? Soon the two women’s lives will become inextricably bound together as the legendary trial at Lancaster approaches, and Fleetwood’s stomach continues to grow. Time is running out, and both their lives are at stake. Only they know the truth.

Only they can save each other.

The Familiars is available in paperback for £8.99.

By Holly Bourne

This is a clever and intelligent book dealing with a very difficult subject matter. I would recommend it to adult readers as well as YA. There are some explicit details in the book which some parents may prefer younger YA readers to stay away from.

It looked like love. It felt like love. But this isn’t a love story.

Amelie fell hard for Reese. And she thought he loved her too. But she’s starting to realise that real love isn’t supposed to hurt like this.

So now she’s retracing their story, revisiting all the places he made her cry. Because if she works out what went wrong, perhaps she can finally learn how to get over him.

The Places I’ve Cried in Public is available in paperback for £7.99.

By Max Pemberton

A great introduction into the human body; written in a very accessible way for young readers who are asking questions on how the body actually works using the correct terminology to label parts of the body and its many processes. Beautifully illustrated and not just for children – I’ve learnt something new by reading it!

Join Doctor Max Pemberton as he takes you on a marvellous adventure around the human body! Shrink yourself down as small as you can go. No – much smaller than that! You’ll need to be small enough to crawl up nostrils, peer inside eyeballs and float through the bloodstream, because we’re about to embark on an amazing trip through your awesome anatomy. On our travels we’ll discover startling facts about how our bodies work and why they’re so extraordinarily special.

And that’s not all – Dr Max will be on hand to help you feel your best with his expert body boosting tips on living and eating well. So grab your magnifying glass and stethoscope, and let’s set off on our marvellous adventure of being human!

The Marvellous Adventure of Being Human is available in hardback for £14.99.

By Alex T. Smith

This is a beautifully written story book which will make a lovely addition to the Christmas countdown. I have been reading this to my 4 year-old and every day she is excited to find out what happens next on Winston’s Christmas adventure. I can see she will be enjoying this for many years, long after she has become a confident independent reader herself and it will become a much-loved family tradition. At the end of each chapter are lovely ideas of festive activities – the Christmas rocky road recipe was delicious!

From Alex T. Smith, bestselling author of the Claude series, comes How Winston Delivered Christmas – the irresistible story of the brave little mouse who sets out on an adventure on Christmas Eve. Featuring beautiful colour artwork and Christmassy activities to make-and-do throughout, this gorgeous book is sure to become a festive family tradition that will be enjoyed year after year.

Winston the mouse is on a Very Important Mission. On Christmas Eve, he finds a letter to Father Christmas that did not make it to the post box – so, with no time to lose, he sets out to deliver it himself in time for Christmas Day! He has a lot of Very Exciting Adventures on his Very Important Mission and makes some wonderful friends along the way.

Each chapter includes its very own festive activity for all the family to enjoy together – including writing a letter to Father Christmas, making mince pies, designing your very own Christmas cards, making presents, creating decorations, and so much more! This flapped paperback features a festively foiled cover and artwork on beautiful paper, making it the perfect Christmas gift.

How Winston Delivered Christmas is available in paperback for £9.99.

By Caroline Crowe

Having two small children at home I read a lot of picture books and this one was a real treat! A unique, feel-good and clever Christmas story which I’m sure will help keep the magic alive for some children just a bit longer.

The big red suit was ironed and ready. The elves had stuffed the final teddy, when from the bathroom came a yelp, ‘Ho Ho, oh no! Quick, someone HELP!’. When Santa accidentally shaves off his famous beard, the elves all rally round to help. Can they glue it back on? Maybe the answer is whipped cream or candyfloss.

Or perhaps it’s mashed potato . . .

Will they be able to sort him out before Christmas Eve? Things are not looking too good until the littlest elf has a bright idea! Festive and fun, this is destined to become a seasonal favourite.

Santa’s New Beard is available in paperback for £6.99.

By Randall Munroe

Bestselling author and cartoonist Randall Munroe explains how to predict the weather by analyzing the pixels of your Facebook photos. He teaches you how to tell if you’re a baby boomer or a millennial by measuring the radioactivity of your teeth. He offers tips for taking a selfie with a telescope, crossing a river by boiling it, and getting to your appointments on time by destroying the moon.

And if you want to get rid of this book once you’re done with it, he walks you through your options for proper disposal, including dissolving it in the ocean, converting it to a vapour, using tectonic plates to subduct it into the Earth’s mantle, or launching it into the sun. By exploring the most complicated ways to do simple tasks, Munroe doesn’t just make things difficult for himself and his readers. As he did so brilliantly in What If?, he invites us to explore the most absurd reaches of the possible.

Full of clever infographics and amusing illustrations, How To is a delightfully mind-bending way to better understand the science and technology underlying the things we do every day.

How To is available in hardback for £16.99.

by Neal Shusterman

Imogen says: “YA is always my hardest pick – I read so much of it and love so many (and honorary mention to Maggie Stiefvater’s Call Down the Hawk which I read only a day after finishing the Scythe series and ALMOST got this years pick) but the Arc of a Scythe really blew me away.

It’s unlike anything I’ve ever read – instead of a dystopian, government controlling world, Scythe is set in a perfect utopia. Illness has been cured, there is world peace – all watched over by the all-knowing Thunderhead, a Super AI that cares for the world and all its people. And nope – before you start thinking ‘oh, no, evil computer AI controlling everything!’ it really really doesn’t go there.

Instead, with illness being non-existent (and war and crime…), death too has been irradicated. The Thunderhead can bring the dead back to life – but to stop the world being overcrowded, the most moral people in the world are tasked with being Scythes – hired to kill randomly to keep the population down.

Citra and Rowan are teenagers who have been selected to be scythes’ apprentices, and despite wanting nothing to do with the vocation, they must learn the art of killing and understand the necessity of what they do. Only one of them will be chosen as a scythe’s apprentice and as Citra and Rowan come up against a terrifyingly corrupt Scythedom, it becomes clear that the winning apprentice’s first task will be to glean the loser.

The first book is awesome, the second even better, and the third takes you to heights even I wasn’t expecting. It is a brilliant series – and the box set cover art is pretty cool too!”

The Arc of Sythe Boxed Set is available for £23.97.

By Dougal Dixon

I love a good pop-up book. I half think every book should have pop up sections – so this book is brilliant, because not only does it pop out at you, different parts are flaps so you can dive deeper below the inner workings of this dinosaur!

The complete body of a Tyrannosaurus rex has recently been uncovered, its remains mysteriously preserved. It is the discovery of a lifetime! In this detailed report, a team of scientists prepare to dissect the body – and you are lucky enough to be helping them. Grab your scalpel and prepare to get stuck in.

Tyrannosaurus Rex is available in hardback for £25.