The best books for keeping the kids busy during the holidays

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

If you need the kids to entertain themselves for a few hours, here are our best suggestions for books that will keep them absorbed and (we hope) quiet.



  • Listen to the Music from Around the World – There are six cutely illustrated scenes, six buttons and six instruments from around the world to listen to in this adorable board book. This book is part of the excellent noise-making (but not annoying) Listen To… series, which covers birds and animals and music and exotic locations. For ages 0 and up.

  • Alphabet Street – This colourful and sturdy lift-the-flap book with a concertina format takes little readers along a street to peek inside shops and learn their alphabet on the sly. For ages 1 and up.

  • Miffy: A First Lift-the-Flap Book – Meet Miffy’s friends and family, and enjoy Dick Bruna’s timeless bold artwork in this simple and interactive introduction to everyone’s favourite, and most stylish, bunny. For ages 1 and up.

  • Cookies!: An Interactive Recipe Book – Make your very own cookies with this clever interactive book that allows littlies to act out their baking dreams without going near a hot oven. For ages 2 and up.

  • ZOOM - An Epic Journey Through Squares, ZOOM - An Epic Journey Through Circles and ZOOM - An Epic Journey Through Triangles – Zoom out of bright geometric scenes and watch the picture get bigger and bigger using these gorgeously designed board books with die-cut windows for readers to peek through. For ages 3 and up.



  • Little People, Big Dreams: Marie Curie Paper Doll – Read the hardcover picture book biography Marie Curie, and then create a model of her laboratory, complete with a press-out paper doll and periodic table. Also available are the Little People, Big Dreams: Emmeline Pankhurst Paper Doll gift set and the Little People, Big Dreams: Matching Game. For ages 5 and up.

  • Honeydukes: A Scratch and Sniff Adventure - This delightful scratch-and-sniff picture book is a great introduction to the Harry Potter world for younger readers who can wander through renowned sweet shop Honeydukes perusing all the delicious and smelly treats on display. For ages 5 and up.

  • Egypt Magnified – Pore over these meticulously detailed scenes of Ancient Egypt using the provided magnifying glass, and you’ll find teeny-tiny pharaohs, embalmers, scribes and slaves going about their daily business in temple, market and home. Plus, you’ll learn plenty of quirky facts along the way. For ages 6 and up.

  • How Airports Work – Detailed cross-section illustrations, lift-the-flaps and numerous facts illuminate absolutely everything about how an airport functions, from luggage handling to in-flight meals to plane maintenance and flight control towers. For ages 7 and up.

  • Where’s the Unicorn Now?: A Magical Search-and-Find Book – Unicorn lovers rejoice… Prance your way through these outrageously detailed spreads looking for hidden unicorns around the world, and also learn about the very factual past, present and future of these amazing definitely-real animals. For ages 7 and up.



  • The World of David Walliams: Book of Stuff – This colourful activity book is chock-full of quizzes, facts, games, drawing activities and familiar characters, all laced through with Walliams' eccentric sense of humour and illustrations by Quentin Blake and Tony Ross. Hours of madcap fun. For ages 8 and up.

  • Ada Twist’s Big Project Book for Stellar Scientists – Curious young minds will love this inventive book that contains 40+ practical experiments and projects, and introduces scientific methods. Some activities can be done in one afternoon (like experimenting with baking soda and vinegar) and others take weeks (such as tracking the moon). For ages 8 and up.

  • Unicorn Crafts – Popular YouTuber and blogger Isabel Urbina Gallego has produced a truly user-friendly book of unicorn-themed projects (plant pots! headbands! noticeboards! handbags!), complete with appealing photos, easy step-by-step instructions and readily-available materials. For ages 9 and up.

  • Build the T. Rex – Lift your model-making skills to the next level with this awesome book-and-model set that results in an impressive detailed 76cm-long dinosaur model. The accompanying book explores the different parts of the T-Rex’s body, with fascinating information about the lives of these famous carnivorous beasts. For ages 9 and up.

  • Harry Potter: Houses of Hogwarts Creativity Journal – This guided journal provides hours of entertainment for Harry Potter obsessives, exploring the four Hogwarts houses with quizzes, lists, writing and drawing prompts and exhaustive trivia. For ages 9 and up.

You’ll find even more ideas for getting a little peace and quiet over the holiday season by browsing the collections below.

Egypt Magnified

Egypt Magnified

David Long, Harry Bloom

$27.99Buy now

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