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Read me: The Top 10 Chapter Books for kids

Did you realise it was Children’s Book Day on Saturday? I was too busy giving my youngest mudlet a garguantuan birthday sugar rush to really clock it – though thinking back, he did read about 6 pages of a an intricate waffle and crepe menu, does that count? Fortunately the lovely, cultured Amber at Muddy Surrey was on it like a rat up a rope and created this Top 10 Chapter Book list for kids with the help of the staff from her local indie bookshop – some classics, some newbies, and a whole lot of page turning.


The Dreamsnatcher by Abi Elphinstone


This book has a bit of a spooky beginning – Molly is lured to the middle of a forest in the dead of night by the scary Dreamsnatcher. Along with her wildcat Gryff, Moll must go on an adventure filled with secret and magic, in order to fight the Dreamsnatcher’s dark magic!  Abi Elphinstone is a true story teller: she gave a talk in our shop – I’ve never seen children so engaged. She believes in properly researching her books, and recently spent time in Mongolia learning how to hunt with eagles in preparation for her new book, The Shadow Keeper. Her enthusiasm and passion come across in her writing, leaving you feeling totally inspired.

Simon & Schuster £6.99

Flying Fergus by Chris Hoy

A new release by cycling hero Chris Hoy. Fergus is given a rusty old bike for his birthday and, after cleaning it up, he is transported to a magical world where he has an amazing adventure – bunny-hopping on his bike over the Swamp of Certain Death, arriving back in the real world in time to compete in the trials to join his local cycling team! There aren’t many children’s books about cycling and this one very much fills the void. With Chris Hoy’s brilliantly funny writing and cycling becoming more and more popular, I expect this series to be a huge success.

Templar Publishing £4.99

Harry Potter and the Philosopher’s Stone, by JK Rowling


No list of children’s books is complete without Harry Potter. J.K. Rowling has created such an incredible detailed world that it’s impossible not be drawn in to Hogwarts and tales of magic and friendship. With brilliant, believable characters like Harry, Ron and Hermione, everybody can find something to relate to.

Bloomsbury Publishing £6.99

Billionaire Boy by David Walliams


All of David Walliams books have been hugely popular; he is always our bestselling children’s author at Christmas, so it was hard to narrow it down to just one title. In the end I consulted the experts, my niece and nephew, who are his biggest fans. They think that Billionaire Boy is the best because ‘it’s hilarious and has a very meaningful story’, and also makes you aware that ‘new toilet rolls can make your bottom purple’! The story is about Joe, the wealthiest twelve-year-old in the land. Joe has absolutely everything he could possibly want. But there’s just one thing he really needs: a friend…

HarperCollins Children’s Books £6.99

Murder Most UnladyLike by Robin Stevens


When Daisy Wells and Hazel Wong set up their very own secret detective agency at Deepdean School for Girls, they struggle to find any truly exciting mysteries to investigate. Then Hazel discovers the Science Mistress, Miss Bell, lying dead in the gym. She assumes it was a terrible accident – but when she and Daisy return five minutes later, the body has disappeared. A brilliant murder mystery set in boarding school, with two clever, strong female protagonists. Robin Stevens is very vocal on Twitter about the importance of her books being read by both girls AND boys.

Penguin Books Ltd £6.99

When Hitler Stole Pink Rabbit by Judith Kerr


Last year we ran a competition to find Haslemere’s favourite book – this was my choice. I have read and  re-read this book so many times and each time I get something new from it. When Hitler stole Pink Rabbit is the semi-autobiographical account of a family’s escape from Nazi Germany. Told through the eyes of nine-year-old Anna, the story has a beautiful innocence, and the family’s travels through Europe are seen as quite an adventure and there are some wonderful humorous moments.

HarperCollins Children’s Books £6.99

Northern Lights by Philip Pullman


Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford, during their adventuring they stumble upon an attempted murder. They find themselves in frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Lyra’s extraordinary journey will have huge consequences, far beyond her own world. My colleague, Helena, loves the series and says that it has an emotional intensity which never leaves you and the best world-building this side of Harry Potter.

Scholastic £7.99

Goth Girl by Chris Riddell


Ada Goth is the only child of Lord Goth. The two live together in the enormous Ghastly-Gorm Hall. One day William and Emily Cabbage come to stay at the house and, together with a ghostly mouse called Ishmael, they and Ada begin to unravel a dastardly plot that Maltravers, the mysterious indoor gamekeeper, is hatching. Ada and her friends must work together to foil Maltravers before it’s too late! Chris Riddell is the current Children’s Laureate and is keen to put the emphasis on illustration as well as writing. All of Riddell’s books are filled with his stunning drawings, and he illustrates for many other authors too.

Pan Macmillan £10.99

The BFG by Roald Dahl


Phew – this was a tricky one! All of Roald Dahl’s book are so wonderful it was hard to pick just one (though I always found The Witches to be completely terrifying, so that ruled that one out). So, with the film coming out this summer, it had to be The BFG. One night Sophie is snatched from her bed by a giant; luckily it is the Big Friendly Giant and he only eats snozzcumbers, not little girls. The BGF and Sophie must work together to stop the evil giants who really do eat ‘human beans’. I think this is my favourite Roald Dahl story because, as a child, it truly amazed me and the images it conjured up are still vivid in my mind.

Penguin Books Ltd £6.99

Comet in Moominland by Tove Janson


First published in the 1940s, the Moomins have gone on to reach almost cult status among some. I agree with Philip Pullman when he says that the Moomin series ‘seem to grow in wisdom and delight’ every time he reads them. Comet in Moominland sees a ‘star with a tail’ in the skies above Moomin Valley: unsure of what it might be, the family hide in a cave, found by Snufkin, and wait for the worst. I completely adore all the Moomin books – they have a quirky humour and are wonderfully philosophical.

Penguin Books Ltd £6.99


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1 comment on “Read me: The Top 10 Chapter Books for kids”

  • griselda heppel April 8, 2016

    A super list. I FORGIVE the compiler for not including either Ante’s Inferno or The Tragickall History of Henry Fowst in such stiff competition. Perhaps I could sneak one of them in at Number 11…


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