Happy New Year and welcome to Part II of our favourite books published in 2016 (part I being here)! If you want to declaim digitally, don’t forget to consult our guide to giving eBooks as gifts (updated for 2016!).
Nutshell by Ian McEwan
A classic thriller plot, with an ingenious choice for the narrating voice: a talking foetus whose (physically) limited point of view is balanced by his articulated eloquence and deep insight into parent and son relationships. A great present not only for Ian McEwan fans but for any mystery lover!
Warning: Do not make my mum’s mistake – this is not a good gift for your relative who is expecting.
Amina Antoniazzi, Quality Controller
Jessica Bell’s The Crooked Sixpence tells the fantastical story of Ivy and Seb, siblings who discover a very uncommon hidden underground world while trying to get to the bottom of a family secret. Complemented by beautiful illustrations – crisply displayed in the ebook – this magical adventure is the perfect gift for fantasy-loving middle-grade heroines and heroes.
Daniela Helming, Quality Controller
Running around like a headless chicken on a wild goose chase for the last minute perfect Christmas gift because you chickened out of going to the shops? All delivery times too late to get it by Christmas?
Not to worry – ebooks will get you out of the frying pan: one click and your gift is sorted. Let’s get cracking!
The charming Chicken Nugget is perfect for kids aged 2-5. The colourful illustrations are sure to capture attention and the story centres around the idea that even though Nugget is small, it can save the day. Not to mention that it is quite amusing for the adult reader to learn about Nugget’s assorted family: Burger, Fillet and Drumstick and insidious Franz.
The only caveat might be that the Christmas turkey is likely to inspire some concerned questions.
Leah Stolzenburg, Quality Control Manager
It was an oddly mild December Sunday, and two of my housemates were very hungover. Spirits were low, as was the temperature; why even my housemates’ heads fell below the sofa-line. Not a soul moved, nor wanted to. And yet these weary adolescents needed sustenance beyond Lucozade and reheated Chinese takeaway. As such, I played them Snow Day, read by Bill Nighy in a voice that sounds like a pile of leaves coming to life, and, for whole minutes, the pain of the previous night’s choices abated. Was a quiet, possibly-still-drunk tear shed at the book’s close, when there’ll be no more snow for another year? Who am I to ask such questions after Christmas? Written by Richard Curtis, illustrated by Rebecca Cobb, Snow Day is good for children both young and not-so-young; it warms the heart without smothering it in schmaltz, and charms the eye with its rough and affectionate sketches. Try the enhanced ebook edition for Bill Nighy’s autumnal readalong narration.
So that’s us for 2016, but wait, there’s more? It seems Jess really was taken up by the spirit of recommendation, as she’s here again with a book to look forward to in 2017:
I Can Only Draw Worms by Will Mabbitt (January 2017)
Whether in paper or as an ebook, this is not your typical children’s counting book. Will Mabbitt’s newest comedic masterpiece will keep you on the edge of your seat for all 34 pages with intrigue, tragedy, mistaken identity, artistic prowess and humour. Crack open the book to find out: Where has Worm Nine gone? What fate has befallen Worm Eight? Will Worm Six and Seven survive their epic space adventure? And will the author EVER attempt to draw anything other than worms? (See the title for a hint). Prepare to share the laughs with your kids!