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FABULOUS FIVE: a Christmas special by Tamara Macfarlane

Posted on Dec 12, 2011

In my wildest dreams, I own a children’s bookshop and it looks a lot like the wonderful Tales on Moon Lane. Not that I have ever entered its magical realms, but I have admired it from afar, via its lovely website . The Tales on Moon Lane was founded by Tamara Macfarlane, and here is she is presenting the bookshop to us in this short film:

Tamara is also the author of the gorgeous Amazing Esme, which I reviewed here.

I asked Tamara if she would be kind enough to take part in Fabulous Five with her bookseller hat on, and choose five books that she would recommend as fabulous Christmas presents in Tales on Moon Lane.
Here is her selection:



Five Fabulous Books to give at Christmas
by Tamara Mcfarlane
I Want My Hat Back
John Klassen
(Walker Books)

I adore this brilliant book. It is a wonderfully simple, beautifully illustrated picture book in the truest sense. Few words are needed to portray any action as the illustrations deliver so much. ‘I Want My Hat Back’ has a timeless appeal and as with all great picture books, it is utterly charming and delightfully subversive. Perfect for all 2- 5 year olds and most adults…



The Christmas Truce
Carol Ann Duffy /David Roberts


Based on the true story of the truce called in the Trenches of World War I on Christmas Day, this story of human kindness and unity in the midst of the most inhumane of circumstances is one that needs to be retold again and again and passed down from generation to generation. Carol Ann Duffy’s elegant text is perfectly matched with David Robert’s hauntingly sensitive pictures and I would urge every parent to find a space on their bookshelves for this small book with a hugely important message.



The Bumper Book of Bob
Simon Bartram

We have been huge ‘Man on the Moon’ fans since day one. The original book plays on the subtle contradiction between the text and the pictures in a way that instantly engages children in reading. The Bumper book is an enormous annual style collection of stickers, stories, puzzles, games and fascinating facts all in Simon Bartram’s vibrant style. Best suited to 5-8 year olds – it is a deliciously illustrated bumper book of fun.



Puffin Children’s Classics
Various authors/titles

I am cheating here slightly with a series but it is worth it for these impeccable cloth bound books are this year’s essential Christmas present and the best example of the beauty of the book as a physical object. It is becoming all about the production values as the real book takes on the ebook. The content of each of these titles is available in many versions but you couldn’t find children’s classics delivered in a more desirable form. Perfect for decorating rooms when the children have finished with them, these editions look good enough to eat and will be hard to beat as a collection so collect them while you can.


Hansel and Gretel
Sybille Schenker
(Michael Neugebauer Edition)

Fairy tales always feel wintery to me and this new version of Hansel and Gretel has a particularly wonderful chill about it. Evoking the true darkness of this eerie fairy tale, Sybille Schenker’s stunning combination of textures and silhouette combine to create a rare sophisticated beauty. This has to be the contemporary book lover’s definitive edition. Most suitable for 7+ to adult.





Thank you so much to Tamara for this truly fantastic selection.

I bought The Christmas Truce as present for my husband when it was released  (he is a history teacher and was just returning from a school trip to the Trenches) and the illustrations alone bring a tear to you eye.
Hansel and Gretel has been a great discovery for me. Schenker’s artwork is so evocative (see my review here).
As for the Puffin classics, I could not agree more! They are absolutely beautiful objects (I should know, I was stroking them just this morning in my local Waterstone’s!) and I am much looking forward to the release of A Little Princess in this format in April.

I am adamant I will be visiting Tales on Moon Lane soon, and I highly recommend that you do too, if you get the chance. They have the most amazing window displays, and for a little extra Christmas spirit, here is their fabulous window display at the moment:



  1. Wonderful post and great recommendations! (I feel very lucky that I’ve had the chance to visit Tales on Moon Lane – and to have met Tamara!)

  2. Can we visit together for breakfast in January perhaps?

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