Book reviews: Get busy with Usborne's magical Christmas activity books

Abracadabra! Usborne Children's Books have the magic of Christmas all wrapped up and ready to go with a truly sparkling selection of Santa specials.

Monday, 27th November 2017, 12:17 pm
Updated Wednesday, 6th December 2017, 12:57 pm
The Usborne Little Childrens Christmas Activity Book by James Maclaine and Lucy Bowman
The Usborne Little Childrens Christmas Activity Book by James Maclaine and Lucy Bowman

Usborne is now the largest and most successful independent children’s book publisher in the UK and these Christmas cracker activity books are ideal as gifts or as an exciting warm-up act for the big day.

From ‘magic’ painting your own Christmas cards and making rub-down transfer pictures to dressing dollies and solving puzzles, there are pages of fun and games to kick-start the season of giving.

Age 4 plus:

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The Usborne Little Children’s Christmas Activity Book by James Maclaine and Lucy Bowman

Grab your pens, put on your thinking caps and take a thrilling journey through a winter wonderland of fantastic games and puzzles.

This bright and colourful activity book for little ones is packed full of things to do, from building snowmen with stickers and matching hats and gloves, to spotting the differences in a Christmas scene and finding the naughty elf taking a nap in Santa’s workshop.

Solve the puzzles, enjoy doodling and colouring and use the dozens of festive stickers to bring every scene to life. Children will love decorating a Christmas tree with sticker baubles, spotting the penguins as they ice skate on the lake and guessing what the presents are in some colourful wrapping paper.

Hours of fun for busy little hands!

(Usborne, paperback, £6.99)

Age 6 plus:

Christmas Puzzles Pad by Simon Tudhope

And there won’t be time for boredom as the big day approaches with this bumper, 140-page Christmas pad stuffed with super puzzles.

From snowmen and reindeer to mistletoe and angels, this exciting activity book contains over 100 entertaining puzzles to keep children busy – and out of mischief – during the run-up to Christmas.

The puzzles include a wonderful Christmas present word search, an ice palace maze, a festive quiz and spot-the-difference pictures allowing children to test both their knowledge and their mind skills.

Enjoy working on a grid, help Santa to find the right route to deliver his presents, discover the hidden shape in a flurry of snowflakes, join the elves on a gift hunt and find the only star in the night sky with six points.

There is fun all the way with these brilliant puzzles and for those struggling to get their Christmas brains in gear, all the answers are provided at the back of the book!

(Usborne, paperback, £6.99)

Age 6 plus:

Telling the Time Activity Book by Lara Bryan and Luana Rinaldo

Learning to tell the time doesn’t have to make the hours drag with this fun-filled, round-the-clock activity book.

Let your little ones get hands-on with the hands on the clock and learn all about telling the time, calendars and timetables as they enjoy a big colourful book crammed full of puzzles and activities and pitch perfect for early years children.

Children can get to grips with concepts of lengths of time, including days, weeks and months, digital clocks, and start and end times. Learn about hours, minutes and seconds, the way AM and PM works, and then cut out and make a practice clock and try the challenging puzzles.

There are four pages of stickers to help reinforce the clever learning activities and all the answers are at the back of the book.

Time flies when you’re having fun!

(Usborne, paperback, £6.99)

Age 5 plus:

Magic Painting Christmas Cards by Fiona Watt and Zuzanna Bukala

The magic of Usborne continues in this super pack of Christmas cards which bring festive scenes to life with the sweep of a brush.

All you need for these gorgeous Magic Painting Christmas Cards is the paint brush provided and a jar of water and hey presto, youngsters can transform black and white illustrations into pictures bursting with colour.

There are ten cards, ten red envelopes and two different designs – a beautifully decorated Christmas tree and Santa flying over a village in his sleigh – all guaranteed to delight friends and family alike.

Instructions are provided making this ingenious cards pack child’s play for your budding designers!

(Usborne, cards, £7.99)

Age 5 plus:

Christmas: Rub-Down Transfer Book by Felicity Brooks and Bethan Janine

Everyone will be rubbing along together this Christmas with an ingenious transfer book that lets youngsters use their imagination to create fantastic Christmas scenes.

All you need are some crayons and the pick of six sheets of gorgeous easy-to-use, rub-down transfers and hey presto, the magic of Christmas springs to life before your eyes!

Each double page has a delicate line drawing by illustrator Bethan Janine to colour in and a Christmas-themed picture to fill with the rub-down transfers. The six sheets of transfers come in a handy pocket at the front of the book for storage and use.

The perfect activity book to help calm and relax excited youngsters, and ideal for getting all the family in the festive mood.

(Usborne, hardback, £9.99)

Age 4 plus:

Christmas: Little Sticker Dolly Dressing by Fiona Watt

So what DOES a dolly wear at Christmas time? Usborne has the answer all stitched up in this enchanting little sticker book!

Little children won’t be stuck for something to do with this beautiful festive activity book full of dolls to dress and Christmas scenes to decorate. Dress Holly and her dolly friends for a Christmas market, ice skating, decorating the tree, building a snowman, party time and lots more.

With over 200 reusable stickers of colourful outfits and fabulous Christmas decorations, and a fold-out back cover so that you can store the spare stickers while dressing the dolls, this is a festive show no young fashionistas will want to miss!

(Usborne, paperback, £5.99)

Age 3 plus:

The Snow Queen Series: An Usborne jigsaw with a picture book by Zanna Davidson and Elena Selivanova

Little ones will be eager to grab a ‘piece’ of the action when they get their hands on this stunning 30-piece jigsaw and a beautiful picture book of The Snow Queen.

Both illustrated by Elena Selivanova, the book and jigsaw come in a sturdy, colourful box which makes a stunning gift and provides a delightful double way for children to enjoy this classic winter fairy tale.

The thrilling story is a wonderful winter warmer and the large jigsaw pieces are ideal for little hands with the completed puzzle measuring 35x35cm.

A box of delights for your own little snow princesses!

(Usborne, jigsaw box, £9.99)

Age 3 plus:

Pop-up Christmas by Fiona Watt and Alessandra Psacharopulo

There’s a super surprise in store for the youngest members of the family when they open the pages of this amazing pop-up extravaganza!

Watch little faces light up with the joy of Christmas as the pages of this pop-up book magically burst into life. Each page has a colourful festive scene, including a snowman outside Santa’s workshop, busy elves wrapping Christmas, Santa and his reindeer flying across the starlit sky and a giant Christmas tree complete with star on the top.

With simple words to enhance the visual story, this bright, busy and colourful book, with stunning paper engineering by Jenny Hilborne, is a gift to enjoy and treasure.

(Usborne, board book, £9.99)