Recommended Children's Fantasy Books

Children's fantasy has always been a strength of the genre and today it is fortunate to play host to the world's most gifted storytellers. Classics include The Wind in the Willows, The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, The Hobbit and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. And in recent times Harry Potter, The Edge Chronicles, The Bartimaeus Trilogy and the Spook's series have ensured that children have some wonderful books to fire their imagination.

Recommended Reading

On a dark, silvery moonlit night, Sophie is snatched from her bed by a giant. Luckily it is the Big Friendly Giant, the BFG, who only eats snozzcumbers and glugs frobscottle. But there are other giants in Giant Country. Fifty foot brutes who gallop far and wide every night to find human beans to eat. Can Sophie and her friend the BFG stop them? ...

The Hobbit by JRR Tolkien
The Hobbit cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

First published in 1937, The Hobbit is one of the few real classics of English children's literature. A story to stand beside Alice's Adventures in Wonderland, The Wind in the Willows and Watership Down. And while the book recently voted the most popular of the 20th Century might need no introduction, The Hobbit nevertheless is one to The Lord of the Rings, for that novel is the epic sequel to this, smaller, simpler, but no less enjoyable tale. Here are the first steps where "roads go ever ever on", until one day we come to journey's end, changed forever by JRR Tolkien's enchanted way with words. Really, every child, of every age, should own one.

"A flawless masterpiece ... One of the most influential books of our generation." The Times

"The Hobbit is quite simply a must read, a real delight." Fantasy Book Review

The Edge Chronicles by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
The Edge Chronicles cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell are the creators of the hugely successful Edge Chronicles, which have sold over two million copies and have been translated into over thirty languages worldwide.

"A richly inventive fantasy . . . one of the most exciting collaborations between a writer and illustrator for a long time." The Literary Review

"One of the most original fantasy series available today. So don your crushed funnel hat, comb your neck beard, lick your eyes and prepare yourself for the experience of a lifetime." Fantasy Book Review

Fourteen-year-old Quint Verginix is the only remaining son of famous sky-pirate Wind Jackal. He and his father have journeyed to the city of Sanctaphrax – a great floating rock, bound to the ground below by a chain, its inhabitants living with their heads literally in the clouds. But the city hides a dangerous secret: deep inside the great rock, something horrible lurks. With his father away, Quint may be the only one who can save Sanctaphrax from the dreaded curse of the gloamglozer...

The Last Unicorn by Peter S Beagle
The Last Unicorn cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

This is the story of the last unicorn on earth. She has lived contentedly alone for hundreds of years, and would have continued to do so, believing that there were others of her kind somewhere in the world, had she not heard a huntsman say that she was the last of her kind. Afterwards she could have no peace of mind until she left the safety of the enchanted wood and searched for another unicorn. Once she leaves the wood she is exposed to the covetous gaze of men and there is danger at every turn.

"The plot is a classic quest structure-an impossible goal, a motley company, heroes, villains, monsters, magic, desperate chances, bittersweet success. The last unicorn in the world sets out from her enchanted wood to discover the fate of her kin… In the process she becomes, briefly and agonizingly, human… What makes The Last Unicorn unique is the way Mr. Beagle transcends the ordinary fantasy quest trope with his incomparable storytelling skill. The book is a triumph… The writing is as precise and beautiful as mosaic tiles, as coloured glass backed by gold, sharp and glittering. Part of the wonder is the effortless way Mr. Beagle combines fairy-tale imagery with matter-of-fact modernity. He slides easily from a heroic fantasy to laugh-out-loud funny: a sorcerer confronts an enemy with ‘demons, metamorphoses, paralysing ailments and secret judo holds’; a prince rides home singing in harmony with the severed ogre’s head lashed to his saddle. The story has an intimacy and immediacy that captivates the reader. You don’t read this with the futile wish that such things would happen to you-you read it and believe, at once, that they could.”" The Green Man Review

Heroes of the Valley by Jonathan Stroud
Heroes of the Valley cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Listen then, and I'll tell you again of the Battle of the Rock. But none of your usual wriggling, or I'll stop before I've begun . . .

Halli loves the old stories from when the valley was a wild and dangerous place - when the twelve legendary heroes stood together to defeat the ancient enemy, the bloodthirsty Trows.

Halli longs for adventure but these days the most dangerous thing in the valley is boredom. He tries to liven things up by playing practical jokes. But when one of his jokes goes too far, he reawakens an old blood feud and finds himself on a hero's quest after all. Along the way he meets a ruthless thief, a murderous rival, and a girl who may just be as fearless as he is . . .

"Written out of a deeply felt world, and with a taut, disciplined voice that knows its Sir Gawain and the Green Knight as well as its Harry Potter, Jonathan Stroud's new book is, quite simply, stunning." The Guardian

"It has been quite a long time since I have enjoyed a book this much. Although this may be my first encounter with Stroud'’s work it will certainly not be the last. An enthralling tale told by a master storyteller." Fantasy Book Review

His Dark Materials by Philip Pullman
His Dark Materials cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

"Without this child, we shall all die." Lyra Belacqua and her animal daemon live half-wild and carefree among scholars of Jordan College, Oxford. The destiny that awaits her will take her to the frozen lands of the Arctic, where witch-clans reign and ice-bears fight. Her extraordinary journey will have immeasurable consequnces far beyond her own world...

Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials trilogy is one of the great imaginative works in the English language. It creates a universe so atmospheric and tangible that I am convinced it exists, somewhere. It is a gripping epic, set in a wonderfully intruiging world (or rather worlds). It sets out on a soaring arc of imagination that sustains and pays off in a most masterful way - and yet all the way through it touches on human truths and insight. Oh! And it contains one of the best villains in literature.

"Wonderfully engrossing and so packed full of of explosive plot lines that you'll find it difficult to put down." Fantasy Book Review

Chronicles of Ancient Darkness by Michelle Paver
Chronicles of Ancient Darkness cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

"The best children's novel to be published in 2004" Amanda Craig

"Well researched and beautifully written... a winner with boys and girls alike" Child Education Magazine

"A remarkable novel, but in many ways the story behind it is even more phantasmagoric" The Times

Thousands of years ago the land is one dark forest. Its people are hunter-gatherers. They know every tree and herb and they know how to survive in a time of enchantment and powerful magic. Until an ambitious and malevolent force conjures a demon: a demon so evil that it can be contained only in the body of a ferocious bear that will slay everything it sees, a demon determined to destroy the world. Only one boy can stop it - 12 year old Torak, who has seen his father murdered by the bear. With his dying breath, Torak's father tells his son of the burden that is his. He must lead the bear to the mountain of the World Spirit and beg that spirit's help to overcome it. Torak is an unwilling hero. He is scared and trusts no one. His only companion is a wolf cub only three moons old, whom he seems to understand better than any human. Theirs is a terrifying quest in a world of wolves, tree spirits and Hidden People, a world in which trusting a friend means risking your life.

The Spiderwick Chronicles by Holly Black
The Spiderwick Chronicles cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

"With their evocative gothic-style pencil drawings and color illustrations, rhyming riddles, supernatural lore, and well-drawn characters, these books read like old-fashioned ripping yarns" New York Times Book Review

"Appealing characters, well-measured suspense and an inviting package will lure readers...Youngsters may well find themselves glancing over their shoulders" Publishers Weekly

Follow Jared, Simon and Mallory Grace into a world filled with elves, goblins, trolls in the Spiderwick Chronicles. It all starts when Jared Grace find their great uncle's book, Arthur Spiderwick's Field Guide to the Fantastic World Around You and realises that are not alone in their new house. Now the Grace kids want to tell their story but the faeries will do everything to stop them...

The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L Frank Baum
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Dorothy Gale and her little dog Toto are in for the ride of their lives when a tornado drops them off in the Land of Oz. Can Dorothy and her new friends survive the perils of Oz to reach the Wizard and find a way home?

"The Wonderful Wizard of Oz is as much loved today as it has ever been and the advent of the ebook has led to the book being free to those who able to read them. First published in 1900 when it became an international bestseller it is a relevant today as it was then. Amongst the most-read and most-influential children's books of all time. And you can read it for free." Fantasy Book Review

The Wardstone Chronicles by Joseph Delaney
The Wardstone Chronicles cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Thomas Ward is the seventh son of a seventh son and has been apprenticed to the local Spook. The job is hard, the Spook is distant and many apprentices have failed before Thomas. Somehow Thomas must learn how to exorcise ghosts, contain witches and bind boggarts.

But when he is tricked into freeing Mother Malkin, the most evil witch in the County, the horror begins...

"Chilling, memorable, full of wonderful characters and written in a fluid style that makes the narrative accessible to all ages." Fantasy Book Review

The Chronicles of Narnia by CS Lewis
The Chronicles of Narnia cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

The Chronicles of Narnia, by C.S. Lewis, is one of the very few sets of books that should be read three times: in childhood, early adulthood, and late in life. In brief, four children travel repeatedly to a world in which they are far more than mere children and everything is far more than it seems. Richly told, populated with fascinating characters, perfectly realized in detail of world and pacing of plot, and profoundly allegorical, the story is infused throughout with the timeless issues of good and evil, faith and hope.

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
Alice\'s Adventures in Wonderland cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Alice in Wonderland was Lewis Carroll’s first novel and its fantasy plot, humorous rhymes and brilliant use of nonsense was revolutionary. Nineteenth-century children’s writing usually served moral or educational purpose, but Alice was written firmly and purely for the amusement of children. Critical response was lukewarm, but the book was still a great success, and remains a hugely influential classic of children’s literature.

"Alice appeals to adults as well as children and over the years readers and critics have found within it all manner of riddles, puzzles, mathematical concepts and references to Carroll’s famous and not-so-famous friends." Fantasy Book Review

The Feathered Man by Jeremy de Quidt
The Feathered Man cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

In a German town, long ago, lives a tooth-puller’s boy called Klaus. It isn’t Klaus’s fault that he sees his master steal a diamond from the mouth of a dead man in Frau Drecht’s lodging house, or that Frau Drecht and her murderous son want it for themselves. He has nothing to do with the Jesuit priest and his Aztec companion who turn up out of the blue looking for it, or the Professor of Anatomy who takes such a strange interest in it. No, Klaus doesn’t want any trouble. But when he finds himself with the diamond in his pocket, things really can’t get much worse – that is, until the feathered man appears. Then they become a matter of life… and death.

"The story is both terrifying and tender, it looks and the very best and worst of human nature and shows another plane of reality that is so frightening. There is so much plot crammed into this book and yet is flows so wonderfully that you don’t at anytime feel overloaded or like you’re being left behind, it just all works so beautifully. As for the characters, well there just isn’t a weak one amongst them. You look at the book in your hand, not a tome by any stretch of the imagination, just a nice hand sized book and think “how on earth does all that fit in there?” but it does and perfectly so." Fantasy Book Review

Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley
Tales of Terror from the Tunnel\'s Mouth cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

A boy is put on a train by his stepmother to make his first journey on his own. But soon that journey turns out to be more of a challenge than anyone could have imagined as the train stalls at the mouth of a tunnel and a mysterious woman in white helps the boy while away the hours by telling him stories - stories with a difference.

"Tales of Terror from the Tunnel’s Mouth will chill and thrill in equal measure and is the perfect kind of scary for children in that it will make the hairs on the back of their necks rise and send shivers down their spine but will not give them nightmares. Delectably dark, and with a beautiful gothic style (perfectly captured by David Robert’s illustrations), this is a book that will appeal to all ages." Fantasy Book Review

The Dragonsdome Chronicles by Lucinda Hare
The Dragonsdome Chronicles cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Quenelda has always had a magical bond with dragons, and her greatest wish is to fly one and fight alongside her father in the war against the hobgoblins. Root, on the other hand, wishes only to avoid the fearsome creatures, so the role of Quenelda's esquire is the last thing he needs.

"Regardless of gender, readers will root for the underdog (a young gnome named Root) and wish they had their very own dragon. Verdict? A battle-dragon of a book!" Fantasy Book Review

Floodland by Marcus Sedgwick
Floodland cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Imagine that a few years from now England is covered by water, and Norwich is an island. Zoe, left behind in the confusion when her parents escaped, survives there as best she can. Alone and desperate among marauding gangs, she manages to dig a derelict boat out of the mud and gets away to Eels Island. But Eels Island, whose raggle-taggle inhabitants are dominated by the strange boy Dooby, is full of danger too.

"Floodland is a challenging novel for older readers who will be captivated by a vision of the future that is not so unbelievable." Fantasy Book Review

The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt
The Toymaker cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

What good is a toy that will wind down? What if you could put a heart in one? A real heart. One that beat and beat and didn't stop. What couldn't you do if you could make a toy like that? From the moment Mathias becomes the owner of a mysterious piece of paper, he is in terrible danger. Entangled in devious plots and pursued by the sinister Doctor Leiter and his devilish toys, Mathias finds himself on a quest to uncover a deadly secret.

"The Toymaker is an excellent book, one of very few that I wish were longer, and the book’s ending is as chilling as it is unexpected. A superb debut in which everything fits together like a jigsaw." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Ninja: Death Touch by Chris Bradford
Ninja: Death Touch cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Ninja: Death Touch is a fun, dangerous adventure where Lord Oda could be victorious in battle if Taka and his friends can't fend off his ruthless army. I liked the death touch aspects of the story at the beginning that the Grandmaster of the ninja clan teaches them. The story is short, but sweet and full of excitement that runs all the way through. Chris Bradford writes books that can grip readers worldwide. He has won several awards such as the Northern Ireland Book Award, enjoys Martial Arts and has trained in samurai swordsmanship, earning a black belt in Kyo Shin Tai-Jutsu, the art of the ninja. Chris knows that his passion for fighting keeps his writing sharp and thrilling, and his art can be seen on the Ninja: Death Touch photo-shoot.

Return to the Hundred Acre Wood by David Benedictus
Return to the Hundred Acre Wood cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

The rumours are true – Christopher Robin is back in the Hundred Acre Wood. From the excitement of Christopher Robin’s return to the curious business of learning to play cricket, Return to the Hundred Acre Wood allows readers to spend a few more treasured hours with the Best Bear in All the World.

"I think that David Benedictus has done a sterling job in taking on such a difficult task and has created a book that will be as much a companion of today’s generation as its predecessor was for those who are now parents and grandparents. Mark Burgess’s decorations, in the style of E.H. Shepard, are the ideal accompaniment to this charming and delightfully entertaining book. Highly recommended." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

For the first time in a decade, Willy Wonka, the reclusive and eccentric chocolate maker, is opening his doors to the public--well, five members of the public, actually. The lucky five who find a Golden Ticket in their Wonka bars will receive a private tour of the factory, given by Mr Wonka himself. For young Charlie Bucket, this a dream come true. So when he finds a dollar bill in the street, he can't help but buy two Wonka's Whipple-Scrumptious Fudgemallow Delights--even though his impoverished family could certainly use the extra dollar for food. But as Charlie unwraps the second chocolate bar, he sees the glimmer of gold just under the wrapper. The very next day, Charlie, along with his unworthy fellow winners Mike Teavee, Veruca Salt, Violet Beauregarde and Augustus Gloop, steps through the factory gates to discover whether or not the rumours surrounding the Chocolate Factory and its mysterious owner are true. What they find is that the gossip can't compare to the extraordinary truth, and for Charlie, life will never be the same again.

"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory has had a lot of attention over the years, and has at turns been called imperialistic, racist, patronising and disturbing. There have been countless merchandising deals (a shame the rights were bought by such a rotten chocolate maker as Nestlé), two film adaptations, various computer games, rides, and a Broadway musical. Behind all of that however is a very amazing book that was written fifty years ago, which is still just as fantastic and delightful today as it was back in the sixties. Great ideas, well crafted prose, and an understatement of its morality make Charlie and the Chocolate Factory a modern fairy tale that will likely be popular for years to come, among children and any adults who aren't entirely devoid of any sense of magic."

The Ghost of Shadow Vale by Jonathan Stroud
The Ghost of Shadow Vale cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Glam killed the monster of Shadow Vale-but he also died in the fight. Now Glam's ghost has come back and he's worse than the monster ever was... Barrington Stoke specialise in books for reluctant, struggling and dyslexic readers.

"With a scary cover image from artist Siku, showing ghostly Glam ready to fight the monster, there are interior illustrations in ink drawn by the same artist in a shonen manga style. Jonathan Stroud's The Ghost of Shadow Vale is the perfect read near a roaring fire with a slice of cake and a hot drink. All Barrington Stoke novels are designed to be dyslexia friendly and other titles are; The Goblin of Tara by Oisin McGann, Young Merlin by Tony Bradman, Thor and the Master of Magic by Kevin Crossley-Holland and Samurai by Ian Beck."

Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator‏ by Roald Dahl
Charlie and the Great Glass Elevator‏ cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Charlie Bucket has won Willy Wonka's chocolate factory and is on his way to take possession of it - in none other than a great glass elevator! But when the elevator makes a fearful whooshing noise, Charlie and his family find themselves in splendid orbit around the Earth. A daring adventure has begun, with the one and only Mr Willy Wonka leading the way.

"To do all this peppered with jokes, rhymes and puns and the trademark Dahl humour, as well as tinges of horror and satire. Well, I'm always amazed how little this book is remembered, and I really hope it enjoys the reputation it deserves in the future."

Shadow Forest series by Matt Haig
Shadow Forest series cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Samuel Blink is the hero of this story, but he doesn't know it yet. Right now, he and his sister Martha are in the back of his parents car. He has no idea a giant log is about to fall from the sky and change his life forever. He doesn't know that he and Martha will be forced to move to Norway and eat their Aunt Eda's smelly brown cheese. He hasn't the slightest clue Martha will disappear into Shadow Forest. A forest full of one-eyed trolls, the sinister huldre-folk, deadly Truth Pixies and a witch who steals shadows. A forest ruled by the evil Changemaker. A forest so dangerous that people who enter never return. No. Samuel Blink doesn't know any of this. So don't tell him. It might ruin the book.

"A definite for any child who enjoys being fully immersed in a world of myth and magic." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Through the Looking-Glass cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Through the Looking-Glass was published in 1971, and is the famous sequel to Alice in Wonderland. Like the first Alice book, Looking-Glass is a brilliantly plotted, wonderfully inventive nonsense story, full of humour, riddles and rhymes. The two books were revolutionary: while most children’s novels had been written to educate and instruct, Carroll’s two book were produced firmly to amuse.

The Galaxy Boys and The Sphere by Andrew Steele
The Galaxy Boys and The Sphere cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

On Earth, unaware of life outside, dumped by their outrageous aunt in an orphanage in Brooklyn, the four Roar brothers have lost hope they will ever see their parents again. But then they receive a mysterious message telling them to get home fast. Before they know what has befallen them, the boys are catapulted into a galactic reality before unimagined, a reality that threatens to send the galaxy s many inhabited worlds spiralling into chaos. Racing from the east coast to the west, with the help of their father s friend and his two robots, plus two tenacious girls, the Roar brothers then leave Earth behind completely and enter a fast paced galactic game of hopscotch. Bouncing from one far flung world to the next, they race across the heavens, the guardians of a mysterious white sphere a fantastic repository of all galactic knowledge. The evil Boargen and their leader Admiral Slatter give chase, prepared to stop at nothing to possess the brilliant orb and to rule the galaxy. Amongst all the chaos, the Roar brothers hope to find their parents. But then their new friend Katia and her robot Keb are captured, and so is the sphere, making all seem hopelessly lost. In a final desperate dash of rescue and discovery, the Roar brothers flee for their lives, right out from underneath Admiral Slatter s nose, back to Earth s solar system, the relentless Boargen following close behind. There, the boys must continue the fight for their lives, a fearful struggle between good and evil, the freedom of the galaxy hanging in the balance. Battling to exhaustion, with the help of the two Earth girls, the Roar brothers make a dramatic final escape, sending the Boargen scattering in defeat for now. In the end, safely back in the Brooklyn orphanage, the boys make one more discovery: that the sphere has had more to do with their adventure than not.

"The Galaxy Boys had no idea they were boys of the galaxy, living in an orphanage in Brooklyn as they were. They also had no perception of events outside planet Earth - now racing towards them across the heavens - events that would change their understanding of reality, then their lives respectively." Fantasy Book Review

Return To Allapatria by Shelley E Parker
Return To Allapatria cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Daniel's school holidays are interrupted when, via a ley-line that passes through the goldfish tank in his bedroom, he is transported to a parallel world - in which he has been chosen to fight a battle on behalf of Good against the forces of Evil! Reluctant isn't the word...

"Return To Allapatria tells the story of Daniel, an ordinary 12 year old at the start of his school holidays. With his father away on business, as usual, and his mum’s attention fully on the local gardening competition, Daniel has nothing but good weather and his computer game to look forward to filling his days; just the way he likes it. His neighbour is a boy of the same age called Barnaby who seems a little ‘odd’ as far as Daniel is concerned and as such Daniel tries to ignore him as much as possible. Daniel’s plans for a relaxed six weeks is shattered when strange things start to happen with his fish tank, he gets dragged along on a day out he doesn’t want to go on and a rather strange creature appears in his bedroom!" Fantasy Book Review

The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper
The Golden Acorn cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Jack Brenin's life changes the moment he finds a golden acorn lying in the grass. He gets caught up in an extraordinary magical adventure and enters a world he believed only existed in legend. He's sure he has been mistaken for someone else. He's neither brave nor strong so how could he possible be 'The One' an ancient prophecy speaks about? He has no idea why he's expected to help and is unsure if he wants to, or even if he can.

"The Golden Acorn by Catherine Cooper was recipient of the Brit Writers' Award Unpublished 2010, an award that attracted 21,000 entries across its 8 categories and offered the largest prize ever for unpublished writers, £10,000. After reading it, we here at Fantasy Book Review found it to be a charming and magical book that fully deserves the accolades that it is currently receiving."

Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis by Ethan Russell Erway
Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Michael Belmont and the Tomb of Anubis proved to be a lively and very enjoyable story I would definitely recommend it for children aged 8 and upwards. I hope that Erway can keep this up in his upcoming novels and I will certainly add his second book to my to-read list.

Into the Wild by Erin Hunter
Into the Wild cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

FOUR CLANS, ONE DESTINY. Into the Wild is the first book in the popular Warrior Cars series. The four. Clans have shared the forest for generations but ThunderClan’s territory is in danger as the sinister and mysterious ShadowClan grows stronger each day. Enter Rusty, a domestic house cat who may turn out to be the greatest warrior of them all.

"Any young adult that loves reading and loves cats will love this book, a fast-paced adventure starring the feline Harry Potter." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

King of the Cloud Forests by Michael Morpurgo
King of the Cloud Forests cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

When Japan invades China, Ashley and Uncle Sung are forced to flee. It is a perilous journey across the Himalayas, and they struggle to survive. Then Ashley is captured. Who are these strange creatures that revere him as their king?

"King of the Cloud Forests is a beautifully told story featuring unforgettable characters. Humour and strong characterisation blend with a sparkling narrative to create a moving, yet often humorous fairy-tale." Floresiensis, Fantasy Book Review

Magyk by Angie Sage
Magyk cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

A baby girl is rescued from a snowy path in the woods. A baby boy is stillborn. A young Queen is taken ill. An ExtraOrdinary Wizard mysteriously resigns from his post. And all on the same night. A string of events, seemingly unconnected, begins to converge ten years later, when the Heap family receive a knock at the door. The evil Necromancer DomDaniel is plotting his comeback and a Major Obstacle resides in the Heap family. Life as they know is about to change, and the most fantastically fast-paced adventure of confused identities, magyk and mayhem, begin.

"Those looking for a Harry Potter replacement; you may have found just what you are looking for. Magyk and its sequels will spellbind young readers and this is a journey that definitely should not be missed."

The Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi
The Adventures of Pinocchio cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

In an Italian village, Geppetto, an old woodcarver, receives a piece of wood which looks perfect for his next project, a puppet. But when he sets to work something magical happens – the piece of wood begins to talk. When Geppetto is finished, the puppet turns out to be cheeky, naughty, and can walk, run and eat with as hearty an appetite as any young boy.

"Like many children’s novels, its theme is that of a naughty child who must learn to be good, not just for his own sake but for the sake of others around him too. First published in serial form, early versions of Pinocchio were very different from the story we have come to know today – in one draft, the unruly puppet comes to a particularly gruesome end. With alterations suggested by Collodi’s editor, the book finally became a true children’s classic, hugely successful in Italy, but Collodi did not find fame internationally until the first English translation was published in 1892, two years after his death."

The Twits by Roald Dahl
The Twits cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

The Twits are a couple that nobody would like to know. They are hairy, dirty, smelly and generally unpleasant. Roald Dahl's characters are possibly the most horrid people you will ever read about. Mr and Mrs Twit spend their days inventing new ways to be be nasty to each other. Each time Mrs Twit does something bad to Mr Twit, he just invents something worse to do to her. The Twits are not only unpleasant towards each other but they also hate animals. It is because of the Twits' attitude towards animals that we see their really awful side: Mr Twit keeps a family of monkeys that have to spend their days upside down and Mrs Twit likes to make pies with freshly caught birds.

"This is not to say The Twits is a bad book, just a little thinner than most of Dahl's, and if you love to hate some truly nasty villains you will love, and indeed hate The Twits."

Revolting Rhymes by Roald Dahl
Revolting Rhymes cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Do you think Cinderella married the prince and lived happily ever after, and that the three little pigs outsmarted the wolf? Think again! Premier storyteller Roald Dahl twists the fate of six favorite fairy tales, in this picture book edition with vibrant new cover art by Quentin Blake. Fairy tales have never been more revolting!

"Revolting Rhymes is a book all children (and adults) should appreciate, and one which perhaps no other author could've gotten away with so completely, or so effortlessly. If you love Dahl's rhyming and surreal humour, or if you’re sick of the fluffiness and general predictability of the usual brand of Fairy tales, Dahl’s' Revolting Rhymes is absolutely a must read."

Dirty Beasts by Roald Dahl
Dirty Beasts cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Roald Dahl's inimitable style and humor shine in this collection of poems about mischievous and mysterious animals. From Stingaling the scorpion to Crocky-Wock the crocodile, Dahl's animals are nothing short of ridiculous. A clever pig with an unmentionable plan to save his own bacon and an anteater with an unusually large appetite are among the characters created by Dahl in these timeless rhymes. This new, larger edition is perfect for reading aloud and makes Quentin Blake's celebrated illustrations even more enjoyable.

"Dirty Beasts is a far more diverse book than revolting Rhymes and one which definitely shows Dahl's calibre as an author, while possibly not as appealing for its relationship to traditional childhood stories, it's still a lot of fun, being in parts disturbing, funny wondrous and ironic, and highly worth the attention of any Roald Dahl fan young or old."

Faycalibur by Liam Perrin
Faycalibur cover image

Galaxy Trotters by Marie C Lukic
Galaxy Trotters cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Galaxy Trotters is a humorous science fiction fantasy quest about two inquisitive children who adventure in a space craft to a number of bedazzling planets. They learn about space travel, greening planets, deception and betrayal. It all begins one evening. Nikki and Peter are doing homework when they are disturbed by a crash. They investigate to find Sowelu - a flying piglet and member of the Astro Piglet Guild - has landed in their yard in a distressed state. The children help her and in return Sowelu grants them their wish and tries to take them to Mars in her galaxy hopper space craft to find her lost pig love, Romeo. The galaxy hopper travels in Superquicktime and the children use their intergalactic-gosmos- antimatter-divetmakers to enter wormholes and visit antimatter planets. They also encounter Archie Kinestra's finest inventions, his hybrid flying pigs. The galaxy hopper develops mechanical problems and the children are sucked into a wormhole where they meet the evil traitor, Dr Carr Bunkel.

"When I asked to review Galaxy Trotters I had a good feeling that it was going to be a funny book and an enjoyable read. And now, after reading it, I can safely say that my assumption was correct - Galaxy Trotters is a great children’s book." Jasper de Joode, Fantasy Book Review

The Tales of Beedle the Bard by JK Rowling
The Tales of Beedle the Bard cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

The Tales of Beedle the Bard, a Wizarding classic, first came to Muggle readers’ attention in the book known as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows. Now, thanks to Hermione Granger’s new translation from the ancient runes, we present this stunning edition with an introduction, notes, and illustrations by J. K. Rowling, and extensive commentary by Albus Dumbledore.

"The long awaited book of (magical) children’s fairy tales as mentioned in the Harry Potter books is finally here but was it worth the wait…….oh come on, of course it was!!"

Southcrop Forest by Lorne Rothman
Southcrop Forest cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

The trees of Southcrop have made a striking discovery-one that could change the world for all their kind. But they are trapped in a forest fragment and face destruction from human sprawl. They cannot spread their new-found gift across the land. Then Auja, a young oak, finds little Fur amongst her branches. Fur is a legendary creature not seen for a thousand years, a single intelligent being emerged from a colony of caterpillars. Fur is small and meek and slow, but can travel through the forest and talk with trees. Auja persuades the reluctant Fur to help. Fur embarks on a desperate quest to find the source of all tree power-the mysterious Riverside Farm. Here he must gather the trees' great treasure and carry it across Oak River to the forests of Deep Sky. Fur's long trek is fraught with peril as he races to reach Riverside Farm before it is destroyed. Ghoulish enemies hunt him while machines wreak their deadly havoc. Yet Fur's journey is one of enlightenment as he learns about the ecology of his world, the threat of the human species, and finally, the secret of his existence.

"A simple young teen book that is quite a well rounded story in itself, but to me seems like it could be a great stepping stone to the “World Out There” for the inquisitive young mind." George Roesch, Fantasy Book Review

The Mountain's Blood by Lari Don
The Mountain\'s Blood cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Retelling of Sumerian myth about the goddess Inanna and her fight with a mountain.

"The Mountain’s Blood is an epic movie style story based on an ancient Sumerian myth, and can be read by children of all ages and even older teens who might be interested in it."

The Avatar's Return by Irene Kilpatrick
The Avatar\'s Return cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

A hundred years has passed and the Avatar has not been sighted. The Fire Nation has made a fierce onslaught against the other villages around them they want to conquer, and as the people thought they would never prevent the evil spreading further, the Avatar returns as Aang, a young boy known as the Airbender - and only he can save them.

"Based on M. Night Shyamalan's movie, this is a book created especially for children as it has still pictures and text from the movie. It is short enough for young children who are first learning to read, and it is also great for parents who want to read to them at night. I will say that the story will be a hot topic in the playgrounds of schools across the country."

Joshua of Gaia: The Lost Elderzamia by MG Russell
Joshua of Gaia: The Lost Elderzamia cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Could you leave your world behind to save another? A fading world, an ancient evil and an impossible task for one boy. When Joshua is faced with the choice to fight or hide, what will he choose?

"I greatly enjoyed the time I spent within the book's pages, both within the real and fantasy worlds. Numerous fantastical people, locations and objects are uncovered and older children and young teenagers will find themselves able to easily relate to the lead characters. I would recommend that readers from the age of nine upwards give this book a try, particularly if they have read and enjoyed the Harry Potter novels previously."

The Map To Everywhere by Carrie Ryan and John Parke Davis
The Map To Everywhere cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

To master thief Fin, an orphan from the murky pirate world of the Khaznot Quay, the Map is the key to finding his mother. To suburban schoolgirl Marrill, it’s her only way home after getting stranded on the Pirate Stream, the magical waterway that connects every world in creation. With the help of a bumbling wizard and his crew, they must scour the many worlds of the Pirate Stream to gather the pieces of the Map to Everywhere — but they aren’t the only ones looking. A sinister figure is hot on their tail, and if Fin and Marrill can’t beat his ghostly ship to find the Map, it could mean the destruction of everything they hold dear!

"Putting that to one side, this a series of imaginative escapades with a pervading sense of friendship at its heart. Although this story has a definite end, there is a kind of epilogue that lets you know there’s more to come. Those who love sailing the magical waters along with Fin and Marrill will be itching to read the next instalment."

Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls by Paul Stewart and Chris Riddell
Free Lance and the Lake of Skulls cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+

Free Lance has no master - he journeys from village to village and castle to castle, competing in tournaments and working for his keep. When his horse throws a shoe and he must seek shelter overnight in Lord Big Nose's village, he accepts his most dangerous mission yet - retrieving an enchanted crown from the Lake of Skulls. Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant and dyslexic readers aged 8+

"In a story that reminded me of the old D&D books from the 80s, you tend to feel sorry for Free Lance's journey through hell and back, though there's a fair bit of laughing to do first."

 

The Knights and the Best Quest by Kaye Umansky
The Knights and the Best Quest cover image Amazon.co.uk logo Amazon.com logo

What's the point of a daring quest without a little competition? The Knights of the Drop- Leaf Table don't think there is one, so it's time to draw up the rules, find a suitable prize, hit the road on their less-than-trusty steeds and prove who's best! Can they return laden with magic amulets, damsels in distress and dragon's heads? Or is the draw of one of Mrs Spunge's delectable sandwiches far too tempting... Particularly suitable for struggling, reluctant or dyslexic readers aged 8+

"Kaye's story and comedic situations based on what was thought to be based on fantastic events, including a girl character make it funnier. As far as the quest goes, not everyone is doing so well, Sir Prancelot is going for the big one, a maximum of 10 points to slay the dragon, while others go for the damsels in distress, Sir Angela needs something more interesting. Nothing is what it seems in this story, the characters are different enough to get the laughs and I liked the humour, puns and general feel of the novel, but the horses names surprised me the most."

Latest reviews

Recommended reads by sub-genre

Select a sub-genre below to see which books we highly recommend.

High fantasy books
High fantasy

Fantasy set in an alternative, fictional world
Epic fantasy books
Epic fantasy

Fantasy with epic characters, themes, and plot
Heroic / Sword and Sorcery fantasy books
Heroic / Sword and Sorcery

Fantasy with heroic adventures
Contemporary / Urban fantasy books
Urban fantasy

Fantasy narrative with an urban setting
Historical fiction / Alternate history books
Historical fantasy / fiction

Historical fiction with fantasy elements
Parallel worlds.
Parallel universe

Fantasy set in parallel worlds
Science fantasy / Speculative fiction books
Science / Speculative

Draws elements from both science fiction and fantasy
Children's fantasy books
Children's Fantasy

Fantasy for ages up to 12
Young adult fantasy books
Young Adult

Fantasy for ages 12+
Adult fantasy books
Adult Fantasy

Fantasy for ages 18+
Dystopian fiction
Dystopian / Post-Apocalyptic

Fiction set in dark, nightmarish worlds
Image derived from Mark Lawrence's Emperor of Thorns book cover
Monarchy / Empire

Fantasy books with empires at their core
Gothic fiction books
Gothic Fiction

Fiction with elements of fear, horror, death, gloom and romance
Vampire fiction
Vampire Fiction

Fiction with vampiric characters
Werewolf fiction
Werewolf Fiction

Fiction with werewolf characters
Steampunk books
Steampunk

Fiction with steam-powered machinery rather than advanced technology
Dragon fiction
Dragon Fiction

Fiction with the legendary, scaled, fire-breathing creatures
Fantasy books featuring dragons
Wizards / Magicians

Fantasy with wizards, witches, magicians, sorceresses...
Lore, Legend and Mythology
Lore, Legend and Mythology

Inspired by ancient folklore and mythology
Fantasy books featuring dragons
Military Fantasy

Fantasy books focusing on mailtary life
Praetorian cover image
Roman historical fiction

Explore the ancient Roman Empire
An image of Darth Bane, taken from the cover of a Star Wars book
Star Wars

Books exploring the galaxy of the ever-popular franchise
An image taken from the front cover of The Wind in the Willows
Animal fantasy books

Fantasy with sentient animals
An image taken from the front cover of Giant Thief.
The Thief / Assassin

Fantasy books starring the thief or the assassin
An image taken from the front of hush, hush.
Supernatural

Fiction exploring beyond the laws of nature
An image portraying manga art.
Manga

Japanese comic books and graphic novels
House of Small Shadows
Horror

Liked to be scared? These books will do that...
An image portraying comic fantasy.
Comic Fantasy

For the reader who loves to laugh
An image of J. R. R. Tolkien
Inspired by Tolkien

Love Lord of the Rings? Now try these...
The Time Traveller's Almanac
Anthologies

The best science fiction and fantasy anthlogies