9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Ghost Stories, Middle Grade Fiction, Suspense, Thriller

The Ghouls of Howlfair by Nick Tomlinson

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a last minute Tales Before Bedtime recommended bookish gift.

The Ghouls of Howlfair

By Nick Tomlinson

Molly Thompson has lots of questions. Questions like, is her Aunt Carol an undead fiend who drinks the blood of the living? Is she secretly lurking in the attic? And is Molly’s friend Lowry a descendant of a long line of Kroglin werewolves?

Serious young historian Molly suspects that the creepy legends about her tourist town of Howlfair are starting to come true. But when her mother bans her from doing any further research, bookworm Molly and her friends – scatty Lowry and guardian-cat Gabriel – become covert monster-hunters to keep Howlfair safe. It seems that someone is secretly trying to summon Howlfair’s mythical monsters, and with the election of a new town mayor looming, everything – and everyone – is becoming increasingly suspicious…

I read The Ghouls of Howlfair a wee while ago now as the lovely people at Walker Books kindly sent me a copy and I’ve been waiting for the perfect opportunity to feature it on Tales.  It is such a delightful tale with the most wonderfully, loveable protaganist that I simply loved every moment.  It’s everything you want for a young reader who loves a good adeventure story and loves ( or at least doesn’t mind) a little spine-tingling wonderful scaryness.

I adored Molly.  I loved her curiosity and her spark.  There is so much in her that young people can relate to and she shows that we don’t always get it right but we can do our best and that’s what counts.  There is a great deal about trust, friendship and courage within the pages of this story.  All this along with monsters, peril and a great (and very brave) cat called Gabriel make this is a super story and will be a perfect gift under the Christmas tree.


About the author

Nick Tomlinson is a former English, Drama and Special Needs teacher, academic learning mentor, singing waiter and admin clerk. He has performed in a sell-out show at the Edinburgh Fringe, accidentally camped on a military target range in West Africa and managed to pass his karate black belt grading despite choking on his gum shield. A lifelong bookworm, Nick has been writing stories since he was five. His adult novel, Saint Valentine, was published by Transworld. Nick lives with his wife, Jayne, on the Welsh/English border, near Hay-on-Wye.

12+, 14+, Adventure, Christmas 2019, KS3, KS4, Science Fiction, STEM Fiction, Teen, YA, Young Adult, Young Adult Fiction

Jinxed by Amy McCulloch

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a Tales Before Bedtime recommended bookish gift.


by Amy McCulloch

Perfect for KS3 & KS4



Then BAK-UP are state-of-the-art robotic animals that funtion as a smartphone but make the perfect pet too.  Visit your nearest Moncha Store to upgrade your life today.

Lacey Chu has big dreams of working for MONCHA – the tech firm behind the baku phenomenon – but first she needs to get into the exclusive Profectus Academy and there’s no way she can afford to do that.

Jinx opens up a world that Lucey never knew existed, including entry to the hallowed halls of Profectus.  But what is he really?  His abilities far surpass those of any other baku.  He seems to be so much more than just a robotic pet.  He seems…real.

The ELECTRIC new series from the author of The Potion Diaries. 

You can follow Amy on twitter at @amymcculloch

Jinxed and the second novel in the series, Unleashed are published by Simon & Schuster


5+, 7+, Adventure, Chapter Books, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2019, KS1, KS2

Kitty and the Tiger Treasure & Kitty and the Moonlight Rescue

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a Tales Before Bedtime recommended book gift.

Perfect for KS1 & KS2

Kity and the Moonlight Rescue

by Paula Harrison and illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

Girl by day.

Cat by night.

Ready for adventure.

A magical adventure by the light of the moon.

Kitty’s family is extra special – Mum is a superhero and Kitty knows that one day she’ll use her special powers to be a hero too.  That day comes sooner than expected when Figero the cat comes to her bedroom window to ask for help.  But the world at night is a scary place – is Kitty brave enough to step out into the darkness for a

thrilling moonlight adventure.

Kitty and the Tigers Treasure

by Paula Harrison and illustrated by Jenny Lovlie

A magical adventure by the light of the moon.

Kitty can’t wait to visit the museum and see the priceless GOLDEN TIGER STATUE with her own eyes.  Legend tells that those in possession of the statue can make their greatest wish come true…

Kitty takes a moonlight trip to show Pumpkin the statue while there’s no one else around, but disaster strikes when the statue is stolen and Kitty is accused of the crime.  Will Kitty clear her name, find the culprit, and return the precious statue before sunrise?

You can follow Paula on Twitter at @P_Harrison99

You can follow Jenny on Twitter at @JennyLovlie

Kitty is published by Oxford University Press.


5+, 7+, 9+, Christmas 2019, KS1, KS2

Oxford Roald Dahl Thesaurus

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a Tales Before Bedtime recommended bookish gift.

Oxford Roald Dahl Thesaurus

illustrated by Quentin Blake

Perfect for KS1 & KS2


This is a spliffing thesaurus for all chiddlers and even some adult human beans

Cleverly organised by theme, it features hundreds of words used and created by the world’s best storyteller, Roald Dahl, together with synonyms, related words and phrases, idioms and word origins.

With phizz-whizzing topics ranging from human beans and vegitibbles to giants and outer space, it is easy to find new or interesting words while you are writing.  Be inspired by the special WRITING HUT pages to craft your own brain-boggling creatured and characters, just like Roald Dahl.

Watch your vocabulary come alive with this magical and mischievous thesaurus.  Whether you are telling curdbloodling stories or imagining nonsense and bugswallop, you will soon be using the Oxford Roald Dahl Thesaurus as your golden ticket to dream!

Oxford Roald Dahl Thesaurus is published by Oxford University Press



11+, 12+, 9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2019, Historical Fiction, KS2, KS3

The Somerset Tsunami by Emma Carroll

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a Tales Before Bedtime recommended bookish gift.

The Somerset Tsunami

by Emma Carroll

Perfect for KS2 & KS3


A sinking boat…

A girl in disguise…

A disappearing sea…

When Fortune Sharpe carves a boat from a tree with her beloved brother, Jem, she’s only having a bit of fun.  But now is not the time for a girl to be drawing attention to herself and she is sent away to find work dressed as a boy.  Luckily a rich manor house is hiring.

Yet Barrow Hall’s inhabitants harbour dangerous secrets of their own, the suspicious owner is hunting witches, and the house itself is a little too close to the sea… 

I would absolutely recommend ANYTHING written by Emma Carroll but this is her latest and it is just wonderful.

You can follow Emma on twitter at @emmac2603

The Somerset Tsunami is published by Faber Childrens


11+, 12+, 9+, Adventure, Children's Fiction, Christmas 2019, Historical Fiction, KS2, KS3, Middle Grade Fiction

The Lost Magician by Piers Torday

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a Tales Before Bedtime recommended bookish gift.

The Lost Magician

by Piers Torday

Perfect for KS2 & KS3




It is 1945.  

They have survived the Blitz, but when Simon, Patricia, Evelyn and Larry step through a mysterious library door, it is the beginning of their most dangerous adventure yet.

They discover a magical world, where the stories of the library are locked in an eternal war.  The children’s only hope is to search for the magician who created them – who has been lost for centuries.


I’ve fallen in love with Piers and his stories this year.  He writes beautifully and creates the most moving, exciting adventures.



His latest novel, The Frozen Sea, has also recently been published and is firmly on my wishlist.

You can follow Piers on twitter at @PiersTorday

The Lost Magician and The Frozen Sea are published by Quercus Children’s Books




11+, 9+, Adventure, Dystopian, Environment, Fiction, KS2, KS3, Middle Grade Fiction, Our World, Tales Before Bedtime Juniors

The Dog Runner by Bren MacDibble

Looking for the perfect Christmas gift? Here’s a Tales Before Bedtime recommended bookish gift.

The Dog Runner

by Bren MacDibble

Perfect for KS2 & KS3

‘We’re gonna starve if we stay here, Emery said. ‘If we’re gonna go, best go now.’  

And he said it like going was something easy.  Like all we have to do is walk away.

Ella and her brother, Emery, are alone in a city that’s starving to death.  If they are going to survive, they must get away, up-country, to find Emerey’s mum.  But how can two kids travel such big distances across a dry, barren and dangerous landscape?

From the author of ‘How to Bee’, an intense and thrilling adventure with an important environmental message, set in an all-too-possible dystopian future Australia.

Bren MacDibble has an incredible skill in writing stories that are not only full of adventure but also shine a light on the environmental issues we face in our world today.

You can follow Bren on twitter at @MacDibble

The Dog Runner is published in the UK by Old Barn Books