That time of the year is coming up again where one needs to start thinking of some good gifts to get for the young ones. Based on my experiences working in a bookstore I would like to offer you a helping hand on what to get for young children - boys and girls - aged five to eight.

 

1. Geronimo Stilton

   Despite being loved by both boys and girls, Geronimo's set of books is much loved by young boys as Geronimo's sister has her own set that appeals more to girls. Geronimo is the main character is this series, and is created as the author of all the books - they are written as though they were small biographies of Geronimo's adventures. Geronimo himself is a talking mouse that lives in New Mouse City as a journalist for The Rodent's Gazette, he's very timid and mild-mannered who enjoys a quiet lifestyle but never seems to get one as he often gets sucked into wild and crazy adventures with his sister Thea, cousin Trap and  his nine-year-old nephew Benjamin - sometimes with the aid of Professor Paws von Volt. Whilst being easy to read these books also contain some fun facts; in Stilton's "The Journey Through Time", Geronimo and his family - with the help of the professor - travel through time starting in the prehistoric era during the time of the dinosaurs, they proceed to travel to Ancient Egypt and then to the Medieval Period, all the while having facts and information documented by Geronimo. On pages you see facts about dinosaurs that used to roam earth millions of years ago, where their skeletons were found and how big they used to be, when visiting Ancient Egypt children will get to learn about life in the time period which includes a drawn map of the area showing the River Nile and the capitals that surround it, and finally when travelling through the Medieval Times we see a map of Great Britain, learn about the first pair of eyeglasses and discover how they lived with no running water, toilets or baths.

   Now this particular book is just one of many books riddled with fun facts. "The Journey Through Time" is just the first book in the "The Journey Through Time" series - which contains 4 books inclusive of the one I just mentioned with one releasing. 

  • The original series of Geronimo Stilton books contains a massive 64 novels - 65 as of January 2017; #65 Bollywood Burglary.
  • There are also 7 Special Editions; #7 The Hunt for the 100th Key, TBR April 2017.
  • 9 "Kingdom of Fantasy" novels.
  • 8 Creepella von Cracklefur novels.
  • 13 "Cavemice" novels; #13 The Smelly Search, TBR March 2017.
  • 10 "Spacemice" novels; #9 Slurp Monster Showdown, TBR February 2017, and #10 Pirate Spacecat Attack, TBR May 2017.
  • 4 "Micekings" novels; #4 Stay Strong Geronimo!, TBR April 2017.
  • 18 Geronimo Stilton Graphic Novels by PapercutZ

With that many Geronimo Stilton novels, you can guarantee that your little one will be absorbed into reading these wild adventures just as you will be too - there's nothing wrong with a child who loves reading!

 

2. Thea Stilton

   As I stated in Geronimo's section, Geronimo has a sister named Thea, who has her own set of novels that have little girls fascinated and as interested in reading as young boys. Thea is very much the opposite of Geronimo; she loves adventure and travelling and often refers to her older brother as a "Fraidy Mouse". Thea is also a part of The Rodent Gazette team with her brother where she is a Special Correspondent. Thea loves writing about her adventures much like her brother, and publishes her novels under her own name. After teaching a journalism class at her old school, Mouseford Academy, she began a new series of the same name based around the five special mouselings she met - Colette, Nicky, Pamela, Paulina, and Violet, who call themselves the "Thea Sisters", after their admiration for Thea. Whilst making numerous appearances in Geronimo's books, Thea also has several of her own.

  • In her original series, Thea has 24 of her own books - with #25 Thea Stilton and the Frozen Fiasco coming out in June 2017.
  • There are also 5 "Thea Stilton" Special Editions.
  • 10 "Thea Stilton: Mouseford Academy" novels
  • 7 Thea Stilton Graphic Novels by PapercutZ; #7 A Song for the Thea Sisters, TBR March 2017

All the Geronimo and Thea Stilton books are written by Italian author, Elisabetta Dami.

 

3. Enid Blyton

   To make a move towards an Enid Blyton novel is probably going to be one of the best moves you'll ever make. Despite her novels being criticised as being elitist, sexist, racist and xenophobic, since her death in 1968, her novels still remain bestsellers and on recommendation lists for young readers. Her "The Faraway Tree" series of 4 and her "Famous Five" series of 21 still remain at the top of the Classic Fiction for children. All of them riddled with tales of thrills and adventures.

   The "Famous Five" series is set around a group of children - Julian, Dick, Anne and Georgina (George) and their dog Timmy - who return from their respective boarding schools in the school holidays, and every time they meet they get caught up in adventures that more often revolve around criminals or lost treasure.

   Despite the problems experienced with floating timelines and repetitive writing, the books portray these children in a world where they can just get up and do their own thing without adult supervision, which can be good in triggering a child's imagination.

   Much like the "dystopian" theme in a novel that is so attractive to Young Adult, a series like "Famous Five" would provide a world of fun to a young reader. The timeline makes no hint towards any form of technology, mobile phones or televisions which could allow these books to be placed in any year the reader wishes.

   Of course to an older reader, it would be easy to see the obvious blunders in the series - Enid herself could write one of the novels in a week and be on to the next. So naturally there are problems but all so looked over by Youth who are in it for the adventures!

   "The Faraway Tree" series is a set of novels which premise around an Enchanted Forest where a magical tree grows, so named the Faraway Tree because the tree is so enormous that it's highest branches reach into the clouds and trunk wide enough that it has small houses have been carved into it. All of this being uncovered by three children - Jo, Bessie and Fanny - who have moved into a house nearby. The series then expands on how these children adventure to the very top of the tree.

   As what happens with the progression of the English language, over time the characters have gone through some slight name changes to accommodate for today's modern terms. Fanny and Dick, who's names now carry unfortunate connotations, have had their names changed to Frannie and Rick. Jo had his name altered to "Joe" for the more common spelling of the male name and Bessie was changed to Beth.

   These novels are still classics and are seen as being a necessity to any child growing up in a world of books. Despite old school terms and use of the English language, they will still provide hours of entertainment and imagination to creative young readers.

 

4. Roald Dahl

   Roald Dahl still remains the King of my childhood with iconic books of "The Twits", "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory", "Matilda" and "Revolting Rhymes" ringing the clearest bells in my memory. If anything, I remember reading "The Twits" over and over again, to the point where even now as an adult I can still very clearly see some of the illustrations in my head without opening the book - which yes I do still own. Funny and silly but brilliant put together with clear messages, a child's book collection is not complete without at least one - if not all - of Dahl's works.

   Sir Quentin Blake's work is more than ideal for this series of novels. Dahl's words and Blake's illustrations makes this world of novels burst to life in your head in the most enjoyable way possible. 

 

5. Dr Seuss

   Last but not least we have the wonderful Theodore Seuss Geisel, otherwise know as Dr Seuss - the gentleman who bought you such great books as "The Lorax", "Green Eggs and Ham" and of course, "The Cat in the Hat" - which I can quote most of due to over reading as a child.

   Dr Seuss books are very conveniently colour coordinated, making it easy for a parent to pick a book for their child based on their reading level.

  • Blue Back Books are good for parents and children to read together. This allows for quality parent-child time and allows assistance for children in understanding the written language.
  • Green Back Books allow for budding young readers to tackle the world of books on their own and challenge themselves and strengthen their reading level.
  • Yellow Back Books are ideal for older children with a more fluent understanding and reading ability. Developing them into stronger readers.

 

   Picking a book can sometimes be a very tedious task and can prove to be extremely difficult. Putting together my gained knowledge of recommending to parents in my 3 years working in a bookstore, I hope that this has helped you put together some ideas as gifts for young readers aged five to eight this Christmas.

 

Until next time, happy shopping!

xx Phoenix