Our 2020 Christmas Gift Guide: The hard-to-buy-for kids edition

Over the next few weeks, we’ll be compiling a host of gift guides to help you with your Christmas shopping.

Here is a list of suggestions for the tricky children in your life.


  • Pirate Stew by Neil Gaiman and Chris Riddell – It rhymes, it’s silly, it has pirates, and I defy anyone not to take joy in Chris Riddell’s energetic illustrations. The wriggliest toddler will love reading this with you. For ages 3 and up.

  • The Odds by Matt Stanton – When characters from her favourite comics, picture books, TV shows and video games – and her nightmares too – show up in real life, Kip is inspired to think differently about herself. This action-packed junior graphic novel will please reluctant readers. For ages 7 and up.

  • Landing With Wings by Trace Balla – This lovely graphic novel follows a daughter and mum as they move to a new home in country Victoria, and discover the landscape and community around them. It’s also full of facts and visual details about the natural world. For ages 7 and up.

  • The 130-Storey Treehouse by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton – Andy and Terry and their ubiquitous treehouse barely need an introduction. The next 13 levels are sure to bring lots of jokes, cartoons, petty rivalries, the most inventive surprises and, for the first time, a bookshop. For ages 8 and up.

  • Slime by David Walliams – Mr Walliams has been responsible for converting a lot of non-readers into very keen readers, and Slime is full of all the right ingredients: horrible adults, plucky youngsters, revenge plans and a slimy new best friend. For ages 8 and up.

  • The Human Body Survival Guide by George Ivanoff – We loved last year’s The Australia Survival Guide and now we’ve been invited to travel inside the amazing, complex, gross and weird human body. This book’s busy and engaging layout is crammed with facts and illustrations, making it really enticing and easy to dip into. For ages 8 and up.


  • Catvinkle and the Missing Tulips by Elliot Perlman – The second Catvinkle adventure from acclaimed Australian author Elliot Perlman, this story is set in Amsterdam and comes in beautifully illustrated hardcover. Catvinkle the cat, her best friend Ula the Dalmatian, and a wide cast of animals work together to clear the names of two sheep accused of eating all the tulips. For ages 7 and up.

  • The Silver Arrow by Lev Grossman – Adult fantasy author Lev Grossman’s first children’s book is a rich and exciting adventure in which two kids take charge of a steam train carrying some very special talking animal passengers. Full of magic and travel, this book is also an inspiring call-to-arms to protect the world’s precious wildlife. For ages 8 and up.

  • Shoestring, the Boy Who Walks on Air by Julie Hunt and Dale Newman – The creators of the award-winning illustrated novel, Kidglovz, have reunited for this new companion novel. Twelve-year-old thief and tightrope walker Shoestring starts afresh with the Troupe of Marvels, not realising the cursed white gloves are back. A unique tale of ambition, friendship and sorcery. For ages 8 and up.

  • We Are Wolves by Katrina Nannestad – Award-winning Australian author Katrina Nannestad has crafted a moving account of three siblings surviving in the wilderness after Russia invades Germany at the end of WWII. This book is inspired by the real life stories of wolfskinder – the name for German street children that existed in East Prussia during this period in history. For ages 10 and up.

  • The Stolen Prince of Cloudburst by Jaclyn Moriarty – Jaclyn Moriarty’s books are chunky, whimsical romps with magic and witticisms and children with excellent personalities. In this standalone story, ‘ordinary’ Esther must figure out all sorts of mysteries involving stolen princes and shadow mages, and of course, save the day. For ages 10 and up.

  • Have they read the entire six-book Readings Children’s Book Prize shortlist? These books come highly recommended by our prize judges, including the ultimate winner, The Girl, The Cat and The Navigator by Matilda Woods.


  • Who Do You Go For? by Heath McKenzie – This is a colourful and fun picture book about how to make the very important decision: Who to barrack for? For ages 3 and up.

  • This year’s crop of Little People, Big Dreams picture book biographies has included several amazing sportspeople, including Pele, Jesse Owens, Billie Jean King, Evonne Goolagong and Ayrton Senna. For ages 4 and up.

  • Ozzy Rules! by Nicole Hayes and Adrian Beck – The perfect read for any pint-sized AFL fan, this action-packed and very approachable story follows twins Oz and Ellie, and their cousin Sanjay as they play for the Fresca Bay Falcons. For ages 6 and up.

  • As Fast As I Can by Penny Tangey – Ten-year-old Vivian is determined to compete at the Olympic Games – she’s just struggling to find the right sport. When Viv discovers long-distance running, it seems she’s finally on her way, until the world throws her a curve ball. For ages 8 and up.

  • On Your Marks, Get Set, Gold! by Scott Allen and Antoine Corbineau – We don’t know when the next Olympic Games will happen, but you can get your fix in this hilarious, irreverent and absorbing guide to every single Olympic and Paralympic sport. Find out just what it takes to become an Olympic and Paralympic star. For ages 9 and up.


  • The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals by Sami Bayly – This beautifully illustrated encyclopaedia by talented Australian illustrator Sami Bayly gives us a close-up look at more than 60 of the most deadly and dangerous animals from across the world. A fascinating pick for any animal – or danger! – lover. For ages 7 and up.

  • The Mysteries of the Universe by Will Gater – This vividly illustrated book captures the solar system and universe in detail: planets, asteroids, black holes, galaxies and more. Facts, myths, trivia, and key discoveries are covered in bite-size approachable grabs of text, making it perfect for mini astronomers. For ages 7 and up.

  • Australia’s Wild Weird Wonderful Weather by Stephanie Owen Reeder and Tania Mccartney – Learn everything you ever needed to know about Australia’s climate and weather patterns, from dust storms to snow to floods to global warming. Illustrated by award-winning illustrator Tania McCartney, this is a treasure trove of stories, facts, maps, and a great present for a child interested in the environment and nature. For ages 8 and up.

  • Infographic Guide to the Globe Lonely Planet Kids by Gwen Keraval – Who doesn’t love a good infographic? Facts and great illustrations are a satisfying mix, and this book has oodles of visuals about countries, people, animals, the planets, religions and more – fact-lovers will have a field day. For ages 8 and up.


  • This Small Blue Dot by Zeno Sworder – This quirky and philosophical picture book shows a young girl attempting to explain everything she knows about the world to a new baby. Celebrating play, humour, the senses, wisdom from elders and cultural differences, and illustrated colourfully with chalk and pencil, This Small Blue Dot is a fantastic choice for pint-sized big thinkers. For ages 3 and up.

  • Pierre’s Not There by Ursula Dubosarsky and Christopher Nielsen – A girl who transforms into a dog, an enchanted puppet show with the power to change lives, and a story about the mysteries of the imagination… Ursula Dubosarsky, the current Australian Children’s Laureate, writes surprising and imaginative tales, using beautiful language, and Pierre’s Not There is no exception. For ages 8 and up.

  • The Dragon Ark Curatoria Draconis by Tomislav Tomic – Step aboard the Dragon Ark and enter into an apprenticeship with the formidable Curatoria Draconis, the world’s leading dragon conservationist. This luxurious large-format book is structured as a race-against-time journey around the world to find a mysterious and rare dragon. For ages 8 and up.

  • The Grandest Bookshop in the World by Amelia Mellor – If you know a child with a passion for history, books, or the occult, then this fantasy adventure set in Melbourne’s Coles Book Arcade in 1893 will delight. The plucky, talented Cole siblings have to face off with a very villainous villain in order to save their beloved father. For ages 9 and up.


  • Catch Me If I Fall by Barry Jonsberg – Sheltered thirteen-year-old twins twins Ashleigh and Aiden promise to always look out for each other. But after Aiden suffers a terrible injury, he isn’t the same brother Ash always relied on. Something has changed, and it will lead to a discovery that will turn their whole world upside down.

  • The Year the Maps Changed by Danielle Binks – This heartfelt and sophisticated coming-of-age story set in the late 1990s follows eleven-year-old Fred as she encounters great changes in her family life, and becomes aware of the plight of Kosovar refugees who have recently been housed nearby.

  • When Rain Turns to Snow by Jane Godwin – Lissa doesn’t know what to do when a boy named Reed shows up on her doorstep after school one day with a five-month-old baby and some surprising questions about Lissa’s mother. With themes of family secrets, difficult friendships and harmful online behaviour, this warm and uplifting novel touches on many concerns from the cusp of adolescence.

  • My Place (Younger Readers edition) by Sally Morgan – Sally Morgan’s classic work was first published in the late 1980s and was one of the first books of memoir and family history by an Aboriginal author to reach a wide audience. This abridged edition for younger readers retains all the charm and power of the original work; giving voice to three generations of Morgan’s family, Baligu people from the Pilbara region.

  • Spotlight by Solli Raphael – Solli Raphael is an winning slam poet, author and activist, all while still in his mid-teens. His second book combines original poetry, with non-fiction chapters containing advice, tips and activities. Raphael’s passion for speaking out about bullying, climate change and sustainability comes across clearly, and will resonate strongly with tweens.


  • You can’t possibly go wrong with anything Bluey this year. We’ve got board books, picture books, activity books, games and DVDs on offer – find them all here. For ages 3 and up.

  • You Matter by Christian Robinson – This colourful and affirming picture book shows many different perspectives from close-up to way-out: from a pair of bird-watchers to the pigeons they’re feeding, from the hugest dinosaur to the tiniest fly. Different points of view and experiences are explored, always with the affirmation that ‘you matter’ and that you’re seen. For ages 3 and up.

  • It is statistically impossible that any child would not love to receive the Real Pigeons Fight Crime Book and Puzzle Set! This set holds a 256-piece puzzle and the first book in the awesome Real Pigeons series. Or if you have a certified Pigeons fan on your hand, the sixth and latest book, Real Pigeons Get Bready, has just come out. For ages 6 and up.

  • Fly On the Wall by Remy Lai – This charming top-secret confessional notebook (full of diary entries, poems, recipes and comics) details Henry Khoo’s break from his overprotected life at home to visit his father in Singapore – fleeing friendship problems and fallout from his anonymous gossip cartoon. At once sweet and touching, funny and action-packed, Fly On the Wall has appeal for all kinds of readers. For ages 9 and up.

  • Amazing World Atlas by Alexa Ward – A good illustrated atlas is a beautiful gift for any child, and this one is highly engaging, covering festivals, wildlife, history, indigenous culture and more. It has 240 pages of illustrated maps, engaging infographics, mind-blowing photography and a large dose of humour. For ages 9 and up.

Still stumped? We also sell gift vouchers which can be used in-store and online.

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals

The Illustrated Encyclopaedia of Dangerous Animals

Sami Bayly

$32.99Buy now

Finding stock availability...