Book reviews: Get ready for Christmas with Little Tiger Press

The Storm Leopards

The Storm Leopards

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The big day is coming and it’s time to enjoy the countdown with a colourful collection of Christmas crackers from vibrant children’s publisher Little Tiger Press.

With four imprints under one roof – each with its own unique style and distinctive voice – Little Tiger Press is an energetic and busy independent publisher which prides itself on seeking out the best new talent in writing and illustration.

And this year’s festive feast of gorgeous, glittering books for the youngest members of the family blends fun, adventure and the warm spirit of Christmas in suitably exuberant style.

Age 6-8:

The Snow Leopards by Holly Webb

Meet the magical snow leopards of Mongolia in a winter-time adventure from best-selling author Holly Webb who has joined the mission to save this elegant but endangered animal.

The Storm Leopards is an enchanting tale, beautifully packaged and full of vibrant illustrations. Ideal for bedtime reading and with a story that will resonate with both parents and children, this is the perfect Christmas gift.

Christmas just doesn’t feel Christmassy this year for Isabelle. She has had to leave behind all her friends because her mum and dad have moved north to a new home. One of the good things about the move is that the zoo is not far away and today the family are enjoying a day out there.

As her parents and younger sister Tilly watch the penguins, Isabelle moves off alone to peer into a nearby enclosure and is the only one to catch a glimpse of a snow leopard, with its beautiful spotted silver-grey coat and long fluffy tail. Fascinated by these rare and endangered creatures, Isabelle tries to find out what she can do to help protect them. Little does she know that she is about to be whisked into her very own magical snow leopard adventure, where a mother and her cubs are in danger…

Holly Webb, who has just seen her 100th book published, brings all her experience, warmth and wisdom to this caring and colourful story which entertains and informs in perfect Christmas harmony.

(Stripes, hardback, £8.99)

Age 5 plus:

On a Snowy Night: Animal Anthologies

When it comes to Christmas, working with children and animals is always a winner!

And this magical anthology of animal tales (and their adventurous human friends!) is the perfect way to herald the Christmas countdown.

All the stories have a wild and wonderful winter theme and are written by some familiar names in children’s books, including Holly Webb, Anna Wilson, Jeanne Willis, Tracey Corderoy and Linda Chapman.

As the snow starts to fall on a winter’s night, we meet a young Arctic fox called Kaya who is heading out to find food for her little brother, a stone hare is brought to life by moonlight magic, a brave zebra saves Santa’s sleigh ride just in time for Christmas and there is a rude awakening for sleepy tortoise Harold.

These gentle, sweet and snowy stories, charmingly illustrated by Alison Edgson, are perfect for snuggle-up, bedtime reading as the big day approaches.

(Stripes, paperback, £5.99)

Age 3-6:

The Magical Snow Garden by Tracey Corderoy and Jane Chapman

The magic of Christmas comes perfectly ‘wrapped’ in this deliciously sweet picture story about an imaginative penguin.

Far away, where snowflakes twinkle like stars, Wellington the penguin dreams of growing a colourful garden full of flowers. His friends tell him it’s impossible and that you can’t grow a garden in the wind and snow.

Wellington, however, is determined to create something truly magical, declaring that he won’t grow a garden, he’ll make one. And after days of folding, twirling, flittering, gluing, digging and planting empty sweet wrappers, his dream takes shape… until an icy blast makes mincemeat of his efforts. But Wellington never gives up…

This inspirational winter-time story has all the essential ingredients to provide a heartwarming ‘snuggle up and share’ bedtime read. Wellington’s struggles prove the rewards of refusing to give up on our dreams and the glitter-spangled cover adds a special Christmas glow.

With words by the inimitable Tracey Corderoy and Jane Chapman’s distinctive, characterful illustrations, The Magical Snow Garden is a festive winner.

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3-6:

One Snowy Rescue by M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton

Reach out and touch the red magic of Christmas as Little Hedgehog returns with another snow-filled adventure.

This is the ninth festive outing for everyone’s favourite hedgehog whose crowning glory is his velvety, touch-and-feel red woollen hat and which always seems to save the day!

It’s winter and Little Hedgehog is snowed in. ‘Oh no,’ he cries. ‘I hope Mouse isn’t snowed in too! I must check on her.’ With a wriggle, he pulls himself out of his window and splat into a big snowdrift. He has never seen snow so deep. And so begins a very snowy rescue with all his woodland friends lending a helping hand along the icy way to Mouse and her babies.

Little Hedgehog creators M Christina Butler and Tina Macnaughton capture all the warmth and gentle reassurance of shared friendship in this beautifully illustrated Christmas extravaganza. And little ones will love getting their hands on that fun and fuzzy hat!

Hats off to a happy hedgehog Christmas…

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3-6:

Waiting for Santa by Steve Metzger and Alison Edgson

There’s a touch of gold for this beautiful Christmas story about having the courage of your convictions and enjoying the reassuring warmth of friendship.

The foiled cover of author Steve Metzger’s captivating tale of a group of woodland animals hoping that Santa won’t forget to deliver their Christmas presents is just one of the highlights of a picture book box of delights.

It’s Christmas Eve in the forest. ‘Will Santa bring us presents?’ squeaks Mouse. ‘Of course not!’ huffs Badger. But clever Bear has a plan. He sets his friends to work making reindeer snacks and decorating a huge tree to attract Santa’s attention. ‘We just have to believe!’ Bear tells them. But will Santa really come?

Metzger puts belief, and plenty of surprises, into his Christmas celebration which springs to colourful life through the gorgeous woodland characters created by talented illustrator Alison Edgson.

Christmas can’t come soon enough in this sweet and charming story…

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age 3-6

The Night Before Christmas Written by Clement C. Moore and illustrated by Mark Marshall

There’s nothing like a traditional rhyme to evoke all the magic and nostalgia of Christmas.

In 1822, American scholar and poet Clement C. Moore wrote a poem for his children called A Visit from St Nicholas, later to become known as The Night Before Christmas. A friend submitted it to a local newspaper, The Troy Sentinel, where it was published on December 23, 1823, and is now a much-loved classic.

From the celebrated opening lines, ‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house Not a creature was stirring, not even a mouse,’ to Santa’s final ‘good night’ wish, illustrator Mark Marshall takes us on an enchanting picture book reimagining of Christmas past and present.

It’s Christmas Eve and the whole house is sleeping… all except one little boy, woken up by the jingle of bells and the clatter of reindeer hooves on the roof. As he tiptoes downstairs, who will he find?

Mark Marshall’s playful, bold and colourful illustrations, including a gorgeous glitter cover, bring to life Moore’s bewitching verse about a visit from Santa Claus and his eight famous, flying reindeer as just one child, representing youngsters all over the world, discovers the magic of Christmas Eve.

The perfect gift and a true classic to treasure year after year…

(Little Tiger, paperback, £6.99)

Age one plus:

Is it Christmas Yet? by Jane Chapman

Whoever said that anticipation is better (well, almost better!) than realisation certainly got it right when it comes to the run-up to Christmas.

So here’s a beautiful, heartwarming picture book story to share with the youngest members of the family as the big day draws ever nearer and the excitement mounts.

Christmas is coming and little bear Ted is so excited that he is just about ready to pop! ‘Is it Christmas yet?’ he cries. ‘It is it Christmas yet?’ Poor Ted, will it ever be Christmas… there are presents to wrap and a Christmas tree to find. Big Bear has his work cut out to keep little bear busy all day…

This exquisitely produced, chunky, padded board book edition of award-winning Jane Chapman’s favourite Christmas story is full of the fun and spirit of loving and giving that is the hallmark of the Christian festival.

The sturdy pages are easy for little hands to turn and the endearing illustrations and comical words and antics make this an advent treat for little ones and their parents.

(Little Tiger, board book, £6.99)