5 fantastic, fun and inspirational picture books for Christmas

Christmas is coming, in case you weren’t aware, and there’s no better gift than a book, especially for the very little ones. Here’s my pick of the best picture books from the last twelve months to amuse and inspire younger readers and keep the adults entertained too!

Barford's pick of 2016 - Picture books

Ada Twist, Scientist - by Andrea Beaty and David Roberts

Image copyright: Abrams Books
Image copyright: Abrams Books

The third in a series of picture books about ambitious kids (Rosie Revere, Engineer and Iggy Peck, Architect being the other two), 'Ada Twist, Scientist’ is a well-written and fun adventure. It follows the insatiably curious Ada, who is always seeking the causes of things, as she conducts experiments to find the source of the strange smell that has invaded her home.

Pass it on - by Sophy Henn

Image copyright: Penguin Books
Image copyright: Penguin Books

A beautifully illustrated story about finding happiness in the smallest things and least likely places. And, as the title suggests, it’s also about sharing that joy with others. Great for pre-schoolers. Uplifting for the 'bigger kids' who may be reading it to them.

Dave’s Cave - by Frann Preston Gannon

Image copyright: Nosy Crow
Image copyright: Nosy Crow

Caveman Dave has a pretty comfy cave, but he has that nagging feeling that there may be better out there. Dave’s simplistic caveman speak and the illustrations are very amusing in itself, but the book has soul and a message too. Under-fours will particularly love listening to the caveman speak!

Christmas for Greta and Gracie - by Yasmeen Ismail

Image copyright: Nosy Crow
Image copyright: Nosy Crow

Not strictly a book of 2016 (it came out in October 2015) but perfect for this time of year and great for younger siblings too. In this story, younger sister Gracie finally silences her bigger, bossier sister, Greta, when she discovers a Christmas surprise all on her own. As I say, younger siblings with rather over-confident bigger siblings will relate to this one very well.

Du iz tak - by Carson Ellis

Image copyright: Walker Books
Image copyright: Walker Books

This is one of the more unconventional picture books you will see this year. ‘Du Iz Tak’ is not written in a foreign language, but rather a made-up language, and half the fun is in deciphering it. ‘Du Iz Tak’ (which seems to mean ‘What is that?’) takes us into the inner life of a back garden where we meet the plants and bugs that live just outside our windows and follow them over the course of a year. The story itself may be better for children 4-plus, but the beautiful artwork will mesmerise younger children too.

Have you read any of the books above? What did you think? Or do you think I’ve missed off a truly fantastic book that came out this year? Let me know in the comments below.

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