Your guide to the best children’s books available in Norwich this summer
Traditionally, there's often a 'summer holiday dip' in the number of books read by children. Give your children the gift of a really fantastic book this summer and give them a love for literature which will stand them in good stead for life. STACIA BRIGGS finds 10 great books for children this summer.
Reading habits that last a lifetime can be formed in the summer holidays when children have enough leisure time to enjoy a book and adults have time to read aloud.
If you have reluctant readers at home, think about ways to enthuse them about books – one way is to dedicate a whole day to a book: my children used to love making 'stories in a bag', craft projects which followed a theme and which led up to the reading of the book itself.
We once made a dozen tiny mattresses, a Fimo pea and a felt princess to tell the story of The Princess and the Pea, and baked Cat in the Hat cookies before reading Dr Seuss.
The following list is an assortment of portable paperbacks, books to curl up indoors with on a rainy day and beautiful gift books.
There's also the opportunity to win a voucher from Waterstone's to spend on the books of your choice and to win a set of fantastic DK Lego Brickmaster books. The top 10 summer reads for children are:
1) Lego Mini figure Ultimate Sticker Collection, DK Publishing, �7.99. What child doesn't love Lego mini figures? This incredible super-sized sticker book is packed with colourful images and easy-peel stickers. This bumper collection features more than 1,000 stickers from the Lego mini figure toys, including all kinds of accessories, vehicles and more. From the cowboy to the caveman and Harry Potter to Star Wars, they're all here!
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2) Where's Wally? The Totally Essential Travel Collection, Walker Books, �9.99. All the wondrous Wally worlds in one…seven sensational classic Where's Wally? books packed into a handy, travel-sized edition. Wherever you're going, however you're travelling, join the spectacular search for Wally!
3) Splish, Splash, Splat, Rob Scotton, HarperCollins Children's Books, �6.99. Splat the Cat makes waves at the pool in this hilarious new picture book, which is perfect for children learning to swim. Splat doesn't want to have a play date with Spike, who he thinks will break his toys and eat all his fish-shaped sweets. And he doesn't want to learn how to swim – water is horrible, scary and wet! He's sure that this is going to be the worst day ever. But when the rest of their classmates rush straight into the pool, Splat and Spike find they may have even more in common than they thought.
4) Hello Gruffalo! Buggy Book, Julia Donaldson and Axel Scheffler, Macmillan Children's Book, �4.99. Say hello to the Gruffalo and take him with you wherever you go with this brilliantly portable buggy book. Part of the new My First Gruffalo series, this title is suitable for babies and toddlers and features all your favourite characters from the Deep Dark Wood. The nation's favourite bedtime story made perfect for small paws.
5) Supercharged! Cartoon Kid, Jeremy Strong, Puffin Books, �5.99. Meet Casper – by day he's a regular school kid, but by…later on in the day, he's Cartoon Kid! Casper is a superhero, but keep it quiet, because it's a secret. Casper, Big Feet Pete and Sara Sitterbout are in for a shock when a monstrous new teacher arrives. Cartoon kid to the rescue! This is just one adventure in this laugh-out loud book for five to eight-year-olds.
6) The Twinkling Tutu, Gwyneth Rees, Macmillan Children's Books, �4.99. What could be better than a magic dress shop, where each gorgeous outfit takes you on an adventure through time and imagination? In this second book in the series, Ava puts on a beautiful twinkling tutu and finds herself magically whisked away to Victorian times, where she has an important part to play in an extravagant ballet show. Like Mr Benn for girls aged five to eight.
7) Billionaire Boy, David Walliams, HarperCollins Children's Books, �6.99. A hilarious, touching and extraordinary new fable from the author of The Boy in the Dress and Mr Stink (which my 10-year-old son loves). Joe has a lot of reasons to be happy – about a billion of them, in fact. Joe is really, really rich. He has his own bowling alley, his own cinema and even an orang-utan butler. He's the wealthiest 12-year-old in the land and has everything he could possibly want –apart from a friend. Perfect for nine to 12-year-olds.
8) Sky Hawk, Gill Lewis, Oxford University Press, �8.99. When Callum and his friends find Iona on Callum's farm, they try to chase her back into the village. But Iona runs from them up into the hills, where it's late, dark and snow lies in the mountain gullies. Worried for Iona's safety, Callum follows to find her shivering with cold, but refusing to leave. She is guarding a secret hidden in the forest above the dark waters of the loch, so they make a deal: Iona shares the secret and in return Callum allows her back on to the farm.
They form a deep bond of friendship and make a promise to keep their secret safe from harm. It's a promise that will change Callum's world forever.
9) Only the Good Spy Young, Ally Carter, Orchard Books, �5.99. She thought that she was prepared for most scary situations having been almost-kidnapped twice, fake-kidnapped once and targeted by one terrorist organisation and two very cute boys. But now Cammie 'The Chameleon' knows that she can't hide from danger.
When she discovers that one of her most trusted allies is a rogue double agent, Cammie questions her trust in her classmates, her teachers and her own heart. a great book for teenage readers.
10) Scorpia Rising, Anthony Horowitz, Walker Books, �6.99. This gripping final mission brings together Alex Rider's old enemies to frame the teenage superspy in an unstoppable plot of revenge, from which he can never return.
Pursued from Europe to North Africa and Cairo's city of the dead, this is the most twisty, deadly plot of any Alex Rider mission yet and will reveal Smithers' ultimate gadget and see the shock death of a major character. Perfect for older readers.
All of these books are available from Waterstone's Castle Street and Royal Arcade, Norwich, and online at waterstones.com.