Reading Around the Christmas Tree – Books for Readers 0-8

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We have brilliant, Christmassy reading recommendations for the whole family to snuggle up with and enjoy together. Channel the Christmas spirit with these vibrant stories, featuring familiar character favourites and some fresh faces too. We hope that these books will help you and your families bring the Christmas magic to life this year. Be sure to also check out our reading list for fluent and independent readers.

Beginning readers (Ages 0-5)

Elmer’s Christmas by David McKee, published by Andersen Press

It’s two days before Christmas Eve and the young elephants are very excited. They choose a tree to decorate and prepare the presents. But this year Elmer has a special treat in store for the young elephants – if they stay out of sight, they might get to see someone very special fly in!

Celebrate 10 years of Elmer’s Christmas with Elmer’s Colourful Christmas Activity Pack, free to download here.

Poppy and Sam’s Christmas by Sam Taplin, illustrated by Simon Taylor-Kielty, published by Usborne

It’s Christmas Eve on Apple Tree Farm, and Poppy and Sam are excited – is that Santa they can see? Join them and their animal friends as they wander the farm peeping through holes in the pages and trying to find the elusive Santa in this warm and cosy festive treat for little children.

The Night After Christmas by Kes Gray, illustrated Claire Powell published by Hodder Children’s Books

Phew! Now that the presents are all delivered, Santa and his elves can enjoy their own festive fun! With crackers and presents, dance-offs and light shows, Santa’s Boxing-night party is the North Pole’s biggest event of the year!

A hilarious follow-up to the bestselling The Night Before the Night Before Christmas. This rhyming picture book is perfect for anyone who has ever wondered what Santa gets up to once all the present are delivered.

Trouble on Planet Christmas by Kate Saunders, illustrated by Neal Layton, published by Faber

There’s trouble on the planet of Yule-1, the real home of Father Christmas…

Once again, the Trubshaw family are transported from Earth to a place where elves and reindeer are their friends. Everyone is getting ready for Christmas, the best holiday of the year.

Costa Award-winning Kate Saunders returns to her young fiction roots in this quirky comedy sequel to The Great Reindeer Disaster. Hysterically funny and wonderfully bonkers, this is Christmas like you’ve never seen before.

Santa Jaws by Mark Sperring & Sophie Corrigan, published by Bloomsbury

Deep beneath the shimmering blue sea, it’s almost Christmas Eve, and Shelly the shark is VERY excited. She puts on her Santa suit and turns her cave into a festive Christmas grotto. Then she waits for all the little fishes to come in. They seem strangely reluctant . . . But Sid the squid thinks all his Christmases have come at once! Will Sid get taken in by Shark’s Santa disguise – or will he be in for a big surprise? A hilarious underwater Christmas romp from the creators of Mince Spies.

Meerkat Christmas by Emily Gravett, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

Sunny wants a white Christmas, with a decorated tree, carols and sprouts for dinner . . . none of which he can see at home in the Kalahari desert. So off he heads to find the perfect Christmas elsewhere, before realizing that maybe Christmas isn’t all about the trimmings.

Emily Gravett’s witty and heartwarming celebration of festive fun and family love shows that Christmas can be whatever you want it to be.

The Night the Reindeer Saved Christmas, by Raj Kaur Khaira, illustrated by Kasia Nowowiejsk, published by Studio Press

It’s almost Christmas Eve and the rockets on Mr Claus’s sleigh have exploded! With just hours to go, Mr Claus sets out to find a creature that can help him deliver Christmas gifts across the world.

The polar bears are strong, but they’re too sleepy. The narwhals are fast, but the presents get too wet. The reindeer might just be the perfect creature to help… especially when Mr Claus discovers that the females have a secret… they can fly!

A Thing Called Snow, written and illustrated by Yuval Zommer, published by Oxford University Press

Fox and Hare were born in the spring, grew up in the summer, and were best of friends by autumn. When winter comes, they can’t wait to be able to jump, leap, and bounce in this thing called snow. But what exactly is snow?

Join Fox and Hare on an Arctic journey as they ask all their friends to help them find out.

Ketchup on Your Reindeer by Nick Sharrat, published by Scholastic 

Do you like ketchup on your Christmas tree? Or a Santa hat on your Christmas pud? Discover all these bonkers combinations and more in Ketchup on Your Reindeer?, the fabulous festive follow-up to Nick Sharratt’s classic bestseller, Ketchup on your Cornflakes? Flip the colourful split pages, and find out just how crazy Christmas can be! 

Early Readers (Ages 5-8)

Peter Rabbit: Christmas is Coming, by Beatrix Potter, published by Puffin Books

Help Peter Rabbit count down to Christmas with a story and activity for each day of advent!

Peter Rabbit is very excited – it’s nearly time for Christmas! He can’t wait to eat mince pies, decorate a tree and open all his presents. Join Peter and all his friends every day in December as they count down to Christmas and have lots of fun adventures along the way.

Featuring 24 brand new stories and an activity to enjoy every day of Advent, this beautiful book makes the perfect Christmas gift and will become a festive tradition for Peter Rabbit fans young and old.

The Polar Express, by Chris Van Allsburg, published by Andersen Press

This magical Christmas classic is the perfect festive story to share with the whole family.

Late on Christmas Eve, after the town has gone to sleep, a boy boards a mysterious train that waits for him: the Polar Express bound for the North Pole. When he arrives there, Santa offers him any gift he desires. The boy modestly asks for one bell from the reindeer’s harness. It turns out to be a very special gift, for only believers in Santa can hear it ring.

A Dancer’s Dream by Katherine Woodfine, illustrated by Lizzy Stewart, published by Simon & Schuster Children’s Books

In snowy St Petersburg, Stana’s dreams have come true when she is chosen to play the role of Clara in Tchaikovsky’s new ballet, The Nutcracker. But with all eyes looking at her, can Stana overcome her nerves and dance like she’s never danced before?

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Alex T. Smith, published by Macmillan Children’s Books

On the first day of Christmas my Grandma sent to me . . .

Grandma’s presents may start off sensible – a partridge is easy enough to take care of – but her generosity soon gets wildly out of hand . . .

The Twelve Days of Christmas: Or Grandma is Overly Generous is a witty new take on the festive classic The Twelve Days of Christmas, accompanied by beautiful full-colour illustrations, this is the perfect Christmas present for any child.

Robin and the Fir Tree by Jason Jameson, published by Templar Publishing

The Fir Tree grows in a forest far away from the bustle of the town. It is a beautiful place, but he dreams of the excitement of the outside world. His friend the Robin tells him stories of the places she has seen, and the forest animals dress him up with berries and leaves, but he is still not happy. One day he is cut down and taken away to be a beautiful Christmas tree in the middle of town. He thinks his dreams have come true, but what will happen when his decorations are put away?

Santa Post written and illustrated by Emma Yarlett, published by Walker Books

Santa receives letters of Christmas wishes from children all over the world. But this year there’s one that just doesn’t make sense. What does this child want for Christmas? Santa is determined to find out!

An irresistible festive follow-up to the internationally bestselling Dragon Post and Beast Feast. This joyous novelty book sparkles with Emma Yarlett’s vibrant illustrations and quirky humour, and is full of lots more hilarious letters to open.

Chitty Chitty Bang Bang by Peter Bently & Ian Fleming, published by Hodder Children’s Books

Join Jeremy and Jemima Potts on a madcap adventure in the world’s most famous magical, flying car – Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.

A stunningly illustrated picture-book retelling of Ian Fleming’s timeless classic –  a must for every child’s bookshelf! Stunning illustrations throughout  bring this classic tale to life for the youngest of fans.

Retold by the much-loved children’s author Peter Bently and beautifully illustrated by picture book star Steve Antony, the creator of Mr Panda.