Brilliant adults and kids’ books – for festive and end-of-year gifts, or for great reads

November 13, 2015

I love it when publishers make my shopping and choosing easier with their definitive lists, like Pan Macmillan who have released their gift guides of their adults and kids’ titles.

Pan Macmillan have a stunning range, which is available from leading bookshops, and online stores such as Takealot and Loot. I’m currently reading I Ran For My Life by Kabelo Mabalane and my friend and own sometimes running partner, Nechama Brodie. It’s on Pan Macmillan’s suggested gift guide, and covers Kabelo’s life: his singing, addiction and running (his Comrades Marathon descriptions and stories are my best).


Here’s some of what’s on the hot list for the festive season and beyond, and brief descriptions from the publishers. I’ve included what’s on my reading table, wishlist and recommended list.

For kids:

A Great Big Cuddle

Michael Rosen & Chris Riddell

From world-renowned and award-winning author Michael Rosen and illustrator Chris Riddell, this collection of poetry will delight children with its boisterous rhyme and rhythm and fantastic artwork.


Let’s Pretend: Animal Rescue

Pre-schoolers will love to visit the Animal Rescue Centre where the vets are helping sick animals. Each set includes a big board book which has busy scenes full of things to look for and find, and fifteen card play and puzzle pieces.

Animal Rescue

What the Ladybird Heard Next

Julia Donaldson & Lydia Monks

The ladybird and her farm animal friends have a clever new plan in this highly anticipated sequel to the bestselling picture book.


How to Hug with Hugless Douglas

David Melling

Stretch, smile and squeeeeeeze, and join Hugless Douglas and his friends for a fun-filled hugging competition. What prize will Douglas win? With a soft and strokeable touch-and-feel cover, this gorgeous gift book is bound to endear Douglas to yet more young fans.


Guess How Much I Love You

Sam McBratney & Anita Jeram

A special anniversary gift edition of Guess How Much I Love You, now in paperback, with a gold cover and a unique note from the award-winning creators inside.

GHMILY 20th Edition

Let’s Pretend: Firefighter

Rush off to an emergency with the firefighters in this Let’s Pretend play set.

Included are fifteen sturdy card play and puzzle pieces, which can either be matched to the spaces on the board book’s pages, or used for independent play.



Aaron Becker

Aaron Becker, creator of Journey, presents the next chapter in his stunning wordless fantasy. Journey lovers will be thrilled to follow its characters on a new adventure threaded with familiar elements, while new fans will be swept into a visually captivating story that is even richer and more exhilarating than the first.


Chocolate Me!

Taye Diggs & Shane W. Evans

A book for anyone who has ever felt different, who has wished to be someone else, here is a celebration of how sweet and lovely you are.


The Gruffalo’s Child: BIG Activity Book

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

With 48 pages stuffed full of things to make, do, and colour in, games to play and puzzles to solve, plus over 200 reusable stickers, there’s plenty to keep children busy for hours in this bumper activity book. It’s perfect for rainy days, holidays, or any day at all!


Buckle & Squash and the Land of Giants

Sarah Courtauld

The sequel to Buckle and Squash and the Monstrous Moat-Dragon by Sarah Courtauld, winner of the 2014 Sainsbury’s Children’s Book Award. A funny quest adventure featuring two very different sisters, a magical snail, a depressed goat and a giant who loves to play with dolls’ houses…


The 39-Storey Treehouse

Andy Griffiths & Terry Denton

Andy and Terry’s amazing treehouse has t13 new levels! The 39-Storey Treehouse is the third book in Andy Griffith’s and Terry Denton’s wacky treehouse adventures, where the laugh-out-loud story is told through a combination of text and fantastic cartoon-style illustrations.


My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish 06: Jurassic Carp

Mo O Hara

Book six in the outstanding My Big Fat Zombie Goldfish series, contains two funny (fishy) tales with laugh-out-loud cartoon illustrations! Frankie was a completely normal pet goldfish . . . until Tom’s evil-scientist big brother, Mark, tried to murder him with toxic gunge! Luckily Tom and his best friend Pradeep shocked Frankie back to life with a battery, and he’s been their zombie-fishy friend ever since.


Draw It! Colour It! Creatures

Various Illustrators

Draw and colour creatures with more than 40 top artists and illustrators from across the world in this exciting artistic collaboration. A brilliant book for children who love to draw, made by people who love to draw.


Goth Girl and the Wuthering Fright

Chris Riddell

More punny fun with Ada and her friends at Ghastly Gorm Hall. The third book in the award winning Goth Girl series, sequel to Goth Girl and the Ghost of a Mouse and Goth Girl and the Fete Worse than Death.


Timmy Failure: Sanitised for your Protection

Steven Pastis

Everyone’s favourite kid detective is back in award-winning author Stephan Pastis’s fourth book in the Timmy Failure series: Sanitized for your Protection, perfect for fans of Wimpy Kid and Barry Loser.

Timmy Failure 1

The Princess Diaries

Meg Cabot

A fresh new cover look to celebrate The Princess Diaries series’ fifteenth anniversary of these hilarious, bestselling books by Meg Cabot. Follow Mia as she transforms from a gawky teen to a poised and self-actualised heir to the Genovian crown.


For adults

Humans of New York: Stories

Brandon Stanton

The follow up to Humans of New York that loyal followers have been waiting for. Stanton’s dialogue with people on the streets of NY has increasingly become as in-depth, intriguing and moving as the photos themselves. Stories presents a whole new group of humans, complete with stories that delve deeper and surprise with greater candour.

Humans of New York - Stories - 9781447295556

More Mindfulness Colouring

Emma Farrarons

Working with your hands is one of the best ways to soothe anxiety and eliminate stress. This second pocket-sized colouring book from Emma Farrarons offers a practical exercise in mindfulness that draws upon your creativity and hones your focus.

More Mindfulness Colouring - 9780752265735

The Little Book of Mindfulness Colouring

Holly Macdonald

With 45 original illustrations to colour in yourself, accompanied by a brand new selection of inspirational quotes, this creative colouring book is the perfect companion to the best-selling The Little Book of Mindfulness.

The little book of mindfulness colouring

The Complete Alice

Lewis Carroll

The Complete Alice, including both Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking-Glass and What Alice Found There, is the ultimate edition of Lewis Carroll’s much-loved classic, from the original publisher, Macmillan. With the iconic Alice illustrations by Sir John Tenniel, and in a beautiful gift binding.


The Spiritual Child

Lisa Miller

In The Spiritual Child, psychologist Lisa Miller presents the next big idea in psychology: the science and the power of spirituality. She explains the clear, scientific link between spirituality and health and shows that children who have a positive, active relationship to spirituality thrive better.

The Spiritual Child - 9781509812127

Furiously Happy

Jenny Lawson

Jenny Lawson – aka The Bloggess – returns with the follow-up to her bestselling memoir Let’s Pretend This Never Happened, recounting stories from everyday family life in her inimitably frank, hilarious, bizarre and endearing way.


To find out more about these and books, email here. The title are available from leading bookstores and online stores such as Takealot and Loot.

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  • Heather

    Really nice ones! I saw that Graffalo work book at the Popcorn clearance bookstore at the brightwater commons this morning.

    November 13, 2015 at 11:40 am Reply
  • Mrs FF

    Thank you for this great list. Time
    To go hunting

    November 17, 2015 at 5:37 am Reply
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