Escapism: Our Top 10 Books to Get Lost In

January is never a popular month but this year it feels particularly dreary. Not only does it mean the end of what was a rather strange, but hopefully enjoyable, Christmas season, it also means that we’re back in lockdown. Some of us may be isolating with friends or family while others may be alone, but one thing we can probably all relate to is wanting to be somewhere else from time to time.

This is where the magic of reading comes in. Books have the power to take us on adventures, to transport us to other worlds. We’ve pulled together some of our favourite books that we think you’ll enjoy escaping into this month.

 

Everybody's Welcome by Patricia Hegarty, illustrated by Greg Abbott

During lockdown, it can be frustrating being stuck inside and not being able to see our friends. Patricia Hegarty and Greg Abbott's Everybody's Welcome serves as a nice reminder that one day we’ll be able to open our doors again.

When poor Frog’s pond dries up and he has nowhere to live he decides to team up with Mouse to build a new house. As they set to work on their dream home they meet more and more animals who need somewhere to live. As all these different animals join together to build a big, beautiful home it shows how important it is to open your arms and extend a hand to those in need, so that they too can feel safe, warm and welcome.

With its clever peek-through holes and wide panoramic pages, this lovely little book literally welcomes you in. Its board-book form makes this perfect for very young readers, around 3 years old, and the timely, comforting story will encourage conversations about sharing and kindness to others.

 

Seasons by Sam Usher

Although lockdown does not make the best start to a year it’s still exciting to think of all that is still to come: the changing seasons, the longer days and warmer weather. Sam Usher’s Seasons is a wonderful box-set of books that explore the wonders of all different kinds of weather.

Come rain or shine, this little boy and his grandfather always find a way to enjoy themselves. In Rain they set sail across perilous puddles, while in Sun they brave the blistering heat on their quest to find the perfect picnic spot.

This is a charming set of books which prove that any day can be an adventure, whatever the weather. With bright illustrations and engaging text this set of books is great for children ages three and up.

 

What Do People Do All Day? by Richard Scarry

If you’re longing for a bit of normality, for bustling streets and your usual daily routine, What Do People Do All Day? is a wonderful book to flick through with your little ones. In a panoramic tour of Busytown, Richard Scarry shows us all the things the animals get up to and highlights the joy of the everyday.

Unsurprisingly, everyone in Busytown is busy. From the mothers and their babies to the train drivers at the station, there is always something going on. This makes this a great book to look through with little ones. On every page there is something that will grab their attention or spark their interest. Whether they want to know more about construction workers on a building sight, or farmers tending their crops, What Do People Do All Day? is bound to keep readers age four and up busy… for a while at least.

 

The Man Made of Stars by M.H. Clark, illustrated by Lisa Evans 

Next up is this beautiful book by M.H. Clark. The Man Made of Stars tells the enchanting story of a curious little boy who sets out to uncover the mystery of the ethereal lights coming from the woods and to meet the man made of stars.

Lisa Evans’ stunning illustrations bring this book to life and her use of light makes each image seem to glow from within. The message of this book is similarly illuminating. When the little boy finally meets the man made of stars, he discovers that the glowing lights in the woods and in the stars come from acts of kindness.

This dreamy book makes an ideal bedtime story for children ages four and up, while children from around seven and up could read it themselves. This is a lovely book to escape into and its overall message, that kindness can be a bright light in the dark, feels particularly poignant this month.

 

 

The Sun Egg by Elsa Beskow

After Christmas is over the greys of winter can seem particularly bleak, but this next book will allow you to escape into the lush greens of a fairy tale forest.

Suitable for ages five and up, The Sun Egg tells the tale of a curious elf who finds a strange orange thing in the middle of the wood and decides it must be an egg from the sun. Join the elf and her friends on their quest to find out what it really is  and enjoy Elsa Beskow’s beautifully charming illustrations along the way.

 

Hortense and the Shadow by Natalia O'Hara, illustrated by Lauren O'Hara

Hortense and the Shadow is an original fairy tale which draws on old fables and stories in a way that makes it feel both classic and contemporary.

Although Hortense is kind and brave she is not happy, and this is because she hates her shadow. No matter how hard she tries to get rid of it, it still follows her everywhere. Until one day, it vanishes. It is not until Hortense is alone one night in the cold dark woods that she realises her shadow is the thing she needs most.

In this wonderful modern fairy tale, the O’Hara sisters combine beautifully intricate illustrations and a haunting atmosphere with a very important message. In these strange and difficult times we can all get into a bit of a dark mood. This book, suitable for ages 5 and up, teaches you not to hate that part of yourself but to be kind to it and to embrace who you are.

  

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll, illustrated by Anna Bond

If you plan on escaping anywhere this January, make it Wonderland. In this beautiful new edition, Anna Bond adds a modern twist to this classic with her whimsical style and bright pops of colour.

Lewis Carroll’s beloved story has been entertaining readers for well over a century and can be enjoyed by children aged eight and up or read allowed to younger children around five years old. In Wonderland you’ll find the perfect combination of magic, humour and madness. 

Being in lockdown can leave anyone feeling a little loopy, so it seems only natural that we all take a journey down the rabbit hole. After all… they’re all mad there.

 

Snow and Rose by Emily Winfield Martin

For those of you looking for the slightly more conventional fairy tales, Snow and Rose is the book for you.

In this enchanting retelling of the classic fairy tale Snow White and Rose Red, Emily Winfield Martin creates a magical world that is grounded in human emotions and relatable characters. Snow and Rose are two sisters, who live happily in a splendid house with their parents, but when their father disappears into the woods it’s up to them to uncover the truth. As the sisters set out to break a set of terrible spells Martin weaves an unusual and compelling story that you’ll come back to again and again.

Featuring Emily Winfield Martin’s beautifully detailed illustrations, this book is suitable for readers aged 9 and up. It's the perfect book to curl up with on a cold, dreary day.

 

The Unwinding and other dreamings by Jackie Morris

Christmas is often very stressful and Christmas 2020 was even more so than usual, so we think we all deserve a little time to unwind. What better way to relax than reading Jack Morris’ dreamy The Unwinding and other dreamings.

This is not a text heavy book, it is not even the kind of book you’re meant to read from cover to cover. It's a collection of short, lyrical poems and stories that you can dip into when the pressures of the world get a bit much for you. Suitable for young adults and adults, every page features Morris’ rich and beautiful artwork, spanning wintery landscapes and dreamy ocean voyages, to take you away from the stress of it all.

If you get the chance, we highly recommend taking a quiet moment to flip through this stunning book.

 

The Land of Stone Flowers: A Fairy Guide to the Mythical Human Beings by Sveta Dorosheva

If you’d like to completely abandon normality and go straight to the weird and wonderful, we’ve got just the thing. 

The Land of Stone Flowers is a strange and whimsical book suitable for young adults and adults. In this book fairy tales are flipped on their heads as elves, pixies and gnomes do their best to understand the strange, unfathomable world of humans. The fairies cover a huge range of topics including anatomy, architecture, common turns of phrase, and get most of it phenomenally, and hilariously, wrong.

On top of all the satire and silliness, this book is truly beautiful. The illustrations take inspiration from famous artists such as Harry Clarke, Kay Nielsen and Arthur Rackham, but each of them has their own unique and strange style. The combination of these unusual images with the amusing accounts of the human world make it a real joy to flip through the book, at a leisurely pace.

Our gorgeous shop may be closed for the month but we are still taking online orders as normal.