Toppsta - Childrens Books – Reviews

View all Blogs
Featured Book
The Good Turn
The Good Turn

BOOK OF THE MONTH - Our young readers loved this sharp, funny middle grade adventure with themes of real-life activism and how to help others from award winning author Sharna Jackson.

View book
Featured Books

Best books by age

Our Favourite Chapter Books

Test

As children get older and become more confident readers, they start wanting longer and more complex stories. It’s time for them to enter the world of chapter books!

Chapter books are simply, as their name suggests, stories that are long enough to be broken into short chapters. They are still illustrated but, unlike picture books, the words tell the story. There are chapter books available for every interest – adventure, fantasy, humour, mystery and more.

Chapter books are ideal for children starting to read independently, but it is also important for them to be read aloud to build young readers' vocabulary and confidence.

Many children start having the stamina for longer reads, alongside picture books, in Year 1 or Year 2 but it is important to remember that every child moves on at their own pace. Once they do start reading alone, a whole new world is suddenly at their fingertips, one that will hopefully ignite a lifelong love of reading.

We have chosen some of our favourites below with the chance for you to win and review copies this month. Exciting stories paired with brilliant illustrations will keep any child's interest, so give them a go!

Toppsta
2022-02-10
Our Favourite Chapter Books
Book pages Placeholder Book

Ambrose Follows His Nose

'Sparkling humour and wonderful characters are Dick King-Smith's trademarks' - Books for Your Children

An exciting new publication in celebration of the centenary of his birth, a recently discovered funny and poignant animal story by Dick King-Smith, completed by his great granddaughter, Josie Rogers.

Ambrose may seem like an ordinary rabbit but he has the most extraordinary sense of smell. He can detect any aroma from sweets to kittens - and even niffy foxes!

He lives with his family in a hutch and is visited every day by Biddy, who is desperate to take him home to be her pet - if only her mum and dad would let her. Biddy trains Ambrose to become a tracker rabbit - which comes in very handy when Ambrose's little sister Roly goes missing. But when Biddy's family find themselves in real danger, can Ambrose's sensitive nose save the day?

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Genie and Teeny: Wishful Thinking

Meet Grant the genie, and his best friend - the puppy, Teeny!

The second in a series of magical adventures from the renowned illustrator, Steven Lenton, winner of Waterstones Picture Book of the Month and the Times Children's Book of the Week.

Grant the Genie is happy living in the real world in a teapot with his best friend, the dog ,Teeny.

But keeping a genie a secret on Earth is harder than they'd both thought - especially when Grant wants to go to school with Teeny's owner, Tilly.

Then Grant accidentally gives three wishes to the school's bully and a whole heap of trouble ensues. Will they be able to make everyting right again? Or is that just wishful thinking?

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Rabbit and Bear: A Bad King is a Sad Thing: Book 5

Gorgeously illustrated and with a classic feel, this is a brilliantly funny story of a rabbit and a bear ... and how to defeat an icebear who wants to be king. Ideal for readers moving on from picture books.

'A perfect animal double-act.' The Times , Book of the Week

Icebear has arrived in Rabbit and Bear's valley, and he wants to be king. He's big and scary, and the more kind and understanding the animals are, the meaner he becomes.

Rabbit is confused: Bear has always been able to fix their problems in the past - but maybe this time he needs to ask for help from someone else. Does Wolf have the answer to the bad king's demands ... or will Rabbit and the other animals find the solution within themselves?

From novelist and playwright Julian Gough, and the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Jim Field, this is a story of friends, enemies, and how to avoid being pooped on by an icebear.

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

News Hounds: The Dinosaur Discovery

Bob is the stationmaster's dog at Puddle Train Station and a reporter for the Daily Bark, Puddle's best (and only) newspaper for dogs. It's up to Bob to make sure the trains are on time every day. He has everything under control until the day he digs up the SCOOP of a lifetime in the park - a DINOSAUR skeleton! Suddenly Bob's life isn't running like clockwork, it's running WILD, as he and the other News Hounds catch the scent of a dastardly dinosaur THIEF. Can Bob pull off a daring dinosaur rescue, or is he on the express train to DISASTER? This young fiction series by the author of Captain Pug is perfect for fans of The Secret Life of Pets and Toto the Ninja Cat.

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

The Smidgens

Gafferty Sprout is a Smidgen. A Smidgen looks like a human, sounds like a human, and loves chips with curry sauce like a human - if humans were three inches tall. If you took a human and shrunk it in the washing machine on a very hot spin cycle, you might get something like a Smidgen. Generations ago there were lots of them, living in a maze of tunnels beneath the human village of Dundoodle. But then something happened and they just ... disappeared. Now Gafferty, her parents and her little brothers Gobkin and Grub are the only ones left, and the tunnels are forbidden territory. And then Gafferty finds an old map. A map that shows a place deep within the maze where Smidgen tribes can go to meet. Smidgen tribes! Gafferty knows that she has to try to find them. But the tunnels are dangerous. And soon Gafferty discovers she's not the only one looking for the lost tribes, and that three inches of Smidgen hold more power than she ever imagined. The first book in a funny, magical adventures series for 7+ readers who love Terry Pratchett, Max and the Millions and The Borrowers.

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Agent Zaiba Investigates: The Smuggler's Secret

Determined to be the world's greatest detective, Zaiba is always on the lookout for a crime to solve!
Zaiba is excited to visit an historical shipwreck and attend the reveal of its mystery cargo! But the big event is ruined when the priceless artefact goes missing. With stories of smuggling rooted in the seaside town's past, Zaiba's investigative instincts are buzzing. Will she and her team be able to uncover the coast's secrets and find the treasure before it's lost again forever?
The fourth book in a fun, fresh and exciting new detective series, for readers not quite ready for Robin Stevens, Katherine Woodfine, HIGH RISE MYSTERY and NANCY DREW.

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Magnificent Mabel and the Very Bad Birthday Party

The sixth book in the hilarious Magnificent Mabel series, highly illustrated throughout and with three short stories - perfect for newly-confident readers. Meet Mabel - she's MAGNIFICENT. Sometimes life isn't fair for Mabel Chase. Like for instance she has to invite EVERYONE in her class to her birthday party or she won't get any presents. And her school pack lunches are AWFUL. And when she goes on holiday she doesn't get a MINUTE to relax. But none of that matters in the end ... because Mabel is still MAGNIFICENT. With highly-relatable themes, brilliantly funny writing and wonderful artwork throughout, this is perfect for 5-7 year olds. Look out for: Magnificent Mabel and the Rabbit Riot Magnificent Mabel and the Christmas Elf Magnificent Mabel and the Egg and Spoon Race Magnificent Mabel and the Magic Caterpillar Magnificent Mabel and the Very Important Witch

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Indigo Wilde and the Creatures at Jellybean Crescent: Book 1

Enter the colourful world of Indigo Wilde and the magical creatures who live at Jellybean Crescent. When a highly dangerous new arrival goes missing, the race is on to catch it before disaster strikes ... A wonderfully wild new series for readers of 7+ and fans of Pippi Longstocking and Amelia Fang.

'Vibrant and spectacular' The Sunday Times

Discovered in the Unknown Wilderness when she was just a baby, Indigo Wilde was adopted by World-Famous Explorers, Philomena and Bertram, who are always off adventuring.

Home for Indigo and her little brother, Quigley, is 47 Jellybean Crescent, a crazy and colourful house full of magical creatures that her parents have taken in over the years. There's Fishkins, a purrmaid - half-cat, half-fish, and ALWAYS grumpy; Graham, a llama-corn with a particular taste for tinsel; Olli and Umpf - bright pink and blue yetis who can't blend in to the snow, and that's to name just a few of the creatures.

And now Indigo's parents have sent another Monster Mail delivery to Indigo and Quigley. But this time, the box is empty, and the escaped creature is running rampage around the house. The race is on to catch the creature before it's too late ...

First in a new series by Pippa Curnick, this is gorgeously illustrated in full colour throughout.

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Monster Max and the Marmalade Ghost

Max is an ordinary boy, except that he can turn into a monster when he burps... Max and Peregrine are volunteering at an old people's home when strange things start to happen. One resident is walking on the ceiling, another is riding their wheelchair through walls, and Reggie says his marmalade is haunted (no one listens). Can Max and his friends work out what's happening and protect his family and the local community? Things aren't looking good: the Marmalade Ghost is turning into a sticky Godzilla, Max falls out with his (joint) best friend, and then just when it can't get any worse, someone kidnaps his cat, Frankenstein... Time to 'Protect and Do Good Stuff!'

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Sunshine Stables: Jess and the Jumpy Pony

At Sunshine Stables, dreams become adventures! Young pony fans will love this fantastic pony club series from Olivia Tuffin. Jess is thrilled to ride beautiful iron grey Bandit at pony camp. He is so sweet and they have a natural connection. But when Bandit unexpectedly throws Jess, his future at the stables is put in doubt. Jess is sure he's a safe pony and he must have bucked for a reason - and she sets out to prove it. Packed with adventure and full of heart, Olivia's huge knowledge and passion for ponies shines on every page. Beautifully illustrated throughout by Jo Goodberry, this is a perfect pony story for readers aged 7+. Don't miss the other Sunshine Stables stories! Poppy and the Perfect Pony Sophie and the Spooky Pony Gracie and the Grumpy Pony

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Flyntlock Bones: The Ghost of Scarletbeard

In the third title of this pirate investigator trilogy, the Countess of Bohemia's jewels have been stolen by a ghost. Not just any old ghost, but the ghost of Captain Scarletbeard, the scariest pirate who ever lived! Flynn and the crew of the Black Hound descend the murky depths to Davy Jones's Locker, where they uncover a ghoulish plot that threatens the survival of the Seven Seas... Larger than life characters, and a story with lots of twists and turns, are lavishly illustrated with hilarious black and white drawings sure to entice new readers. Age range 7+

View Book COMPARE PRICES
Book pages Placeholder Book

Mudpuddle Farm: Six Animal Adventures

A charming series of adventures for younger readers, featuring a family of all sorts of animals that live in the farmyard behind the tumble-down barn on Mudpuddle Farm...

Six fantastic stories in one volume!

Mossop's Last Chance:
"There's mice in my barley sacks, there's rats in my roof and now there's mice in the corn bin. This time I've had enough. If you aren't up to the job, you will have to go."

Mossop the old farm cat likes to sleep - and not much else! So when Farmer Rafferty tells him to catch twenty-six mice by sunset, all the animals have to pull together to give Mossop one last chance...

Albertine, Goose Queen:
A fox is on the loose, and all the animals except Albertine the goose have hidden themselves inside. Albertine is safe on her island in the pond - at least so she thinks, until the fox starts swimming towards her...

Jigger's Day Off:
Jigger the sheepdog has just one day off a year. Just one day to chase all those little animals hiding in the corn. But even the best made plans can go wrong...

Pigs Might Fly!:
It's a long hot summer, and Pintsize the piglet wonders if it might be cooler in the sky. But when he tries to fly, he annoys just about everyone. It's time he learned his lesson...

Martians at Mudpuddle Farm:
Have Martians landed on Mudpuddle Farm? Farmer Rafferty seems to think so. Now it's up to Albertine, Goose Queen, to work it out. Luckily she's the cleverest goose in the whole world, so if anyone knows what to do, she will...

Mum's the Word:
Something strange is going on at Mudpuddle Farm. Egbert the goat is not himself at all. Instead of grumbling, he's singing and dancing! And he's even greedier than usual...

View Book COMPARE PRICES

more to explore

Toppsta
2022-02-10
Our Favourite Chapter Books

10th February 2022

Share this read with others...

Tweet Email
Featured Book
The Good Turn
The Good Turn

BOOK OF THE MONTH - Our young readers loved this sharp, funny middle grade adventure with themes of real-life activism and how to help others from award winning author Sharna Jackson.

View book
Featured Books