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Newstalk

14.58 19 Dec 2014


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We might find on occasion that children can turn their noses up when they find a book in their Christmas stocking but in reality, books can make the most wonderful gifts.

However, it can be very difficult to buy a book for a child at Christmas. So how should we go about choosing a good book and what are the top picks for Christmas this year?

David O'Callaghan joined Sean Moncrieff to talk about the best books for the season:

AGE 0-4

Picture books are always a great gift for Christmas and this year's group are, as expected, a pretty awesome and hilarious group:

THE BOOK WITH NO PICTURES by BJ Novak €14.99

Without doubt my favourite book for the little ones out there. It does what it says on the tin : No Pictures … just insane and zany text that is super perfect for reading out loud and making the adult reading seem bonkers. A genuine treat. Hilariously funny. Already a massive phenomenon in the States. This is a must have for Xmas and beyond.
(Have attached a Youtube clip of author / actor reading it)

TIN by Chris Judge €14.99

I love this man's work and this year's offering is a beautiful tale of brothers, baby sisters, robots and a babysitting chore gone horribly awry. Stunning colours, intense detail and a great read aloud experience.
MONSTERS LOVE UNDERPANTS by Claire Freedman & Ben Cort €12.99
We've had Aliens, Pirates & Dinosaurs …. Surely we've also had Monsters. Well, we do now. The next in the bestselling Loving Underpants series, this picturebook is as funny,colourful, zany and as brilliant as all the previous offerings. Maybe it's my love of monsters, but this is possibly my favourite in the series yet.

AGE 5-8

Newly independent readers often find solace in a variety of characters which often lean towards the madcap and familiar. The big brands are always there:

Horrid Henry's new collection of stories HORRID HENRY'S TRICK TRICKS (€15.99) and DIRTY BERTIE's new book HORROR (€5.99) are perennial bestsellers for Boys. Rainbow Magic's LUNA THE LOOM BAND FAIRY (€7.99) has also been hugely popular this Christmas.

But my top choice which is proving extremely popular is :

CAPTAIN UNDERPANTS 11 : THE TYRANNICAL RETALIATION OF THE TURBO TOILET 2000 by Dav Pilkey €11.99
What can I say - I adore Captain Underpants and his extra loony tales. Growing in popularity every year, he is now easily one of the top selling series in this age group and long may it continue. Boys, especially, seem to love him. I wonder why?

AGE 9-12

Confident readers of all ages are swarming to this category and it has grown into one of the most successful and booming children's section. The Gargantuans / Monsters / Box Office books in this age group are Jeff Kinneys' WIMPY KID 9 : THE LONG HAUL and David Walliams "AWFUL AUNTIE". These are without doubt the leaders in this market, if not the whole of all books. However, instead of looking at these I'd like to highlight a few titles of a similar nature that I feel simply : ROCK ! If DORK DIARIES is Wimpy for Girls then this first title can now safely be dubbed the "IRISH WIMPY KID" :

MOONE BOY by Chris O' Dowd & Nick V. Murphy €10.99

Based on the hit TV show and aged down to fit into an "Irish Wimpy Kid" mould …. This is a fantastic addition to this genre. Not simply a TV tie in though, this tale of imaginary friends and growing pains and superbly realised and illustrated throughout. Love it..

TIMMY FAILURE : WE MEET AGAIN by Stephan Pastis €8.99

One of my favourite new series of the last couple of years - Timmy and my new favourite mantra "Failure is an Option" is a simply brilliant story. In his latest tale "We Meet Again" Timmy, as ever, meets life's curve balls head on with his, let's say, confident demeanour. And with his trusty Polar Bear, Total, by his side : what could possibly go wrong ? Lots actually !

OPAL PLUMSTEAD by Jacquel Wilson

This was Jacqueline Wilson's 100th book. It was also undoubtably one of her best, it's cleverly written with lots of description and links to real issues that happened in 1913-1914 (when the book is set), mostly the suffragettes and the First World War. Opal is the key character , she is 14 years old and one of Jacqueline's strongest female characters yet.

MINECRAFT - BLOCK-O-PEDIA €32.99

The ONLY new Minecraft published this Autumn … and it's a thing of beauty that any Minecraft Obsessive MUST own. Every block is described within this stunningly presented book and slipcase. A Must Have for Crafters everywhere.

TEENAGE / YOUNG ADULT

One of the biggest growth areas in Children's books in the past 5 years (along with 9+), the Teenage / Young Adult market has had a stellar year with the likes of JOHN GREEN (The Fault In Our Stars), VERONICA ROTH (Divergent) exploding out of the blocks (the fact that both had movies of their books released definitely didn't hurt either).

THE MAZE RUNNER Series by James Dashner €9.99

Proving that Dystopia is still hot as a sub genre and again due to a really strong, well made movie - The Maze Runner series has been a massive hit among teenagers and beyond. People have immediately come out of the first movie (which ends on a cliffhanger) and run to get some books.
Love this series. Page Turner extraordinaire

WE WERE LIARS by E. Lockhart €9.99

One of my fave books of the year, this novel set in a world of entitlement in the Hamptons is a brilliantly clever, dark and murky novel dealing with the aftermath of something that has occurred among a group of rich elite teens and which the reader must try figure out and put the pieces of the puzzle together. Absolutely gobsmackingly stunning and a must read.

ONLY EVER YOURS by Louise O'Neill

Set in a future society where obsession with women's beauty & their place has reached new levels of absurdity - this brilliant debut novel (Winner of Newcomer of the Year at Irish Book Awards) is a fascinating, engrossing and harrowing novel from a young writer at the top of her game. A world where young women are taught to be either a Companion (submissive wife),a Concubine (slave) or a Chastity (train future girls). Absolutely loved this book also.

GIRL ONLINE by Zoe Sugg €15.99 / THE POINTLESS BOOK by Alfie Deyes €10.99

The "Youth-Tubers" as they are known have officially become a publishing Phenomenon in the past 3 months. Zoella for her book (fiction) had the biggest ever debut author opening week sales (outselling Harry Potter & Dan Brown). These are youtube celebrities who have 2/3 millions followers as they talk about every day life, fashion and have a laugh. 2015 will see a massive influx of more ready made author celebrities as all publishers attempt to get into this winning formula.


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