Five Holiday Books to Capture Your Children’s Imagination

If you’re planning a Toad Hall Cottages holiday and searching for imaginative things to occupy your kids during those ‘down times’, getting them engrossed in a good book could be just the thing.

We asked The Harbour Bookshop of Kingsbridge to offer up its top five book recommendations for children…

Five Captivating Books For Kids

1. Oi Frog by Kes Gray

Genre: Picture Book, Activity Book, Children’s Fiction, Animal Story

‘Jam-packed with the silliest of animals, this bestselling rhyming story will have the youngest of readers in fits of laughter. Cats sit on mats, hares sit on chairs, mules sit on stools and gofers sit on sofas, but Frog does not want to sit on a log!

From the award-winning Kes Gray and the winner of the Roald Dahl Funny Prize, Jim Field, comes a hilarious rhyming tale about a frog who discovers that all animals have their special places to sit!’


‘An absolute Treat.’ – Daily Mail

‘Hilarious illustrations and rhymes which are easy to recite and join in. Everyone will love it.’ – Guardian

Kes was voted by the Independent as one of the TOP TEN children’s authors, and is the author of the award-winning Eat Your Peas, and winner of the Red House Children’s Book Award. Jim’s first picture book, Cats Ahoy!, won the Roald Dahl Funny Prize.

2. Scarlet and Ivy: The Lost Twin by Sophie Cleverly

The first in a mesmerising new series – perfect for fans of Holly Webb and Harry Potter and mysteries that demand to be solved!

Genre: Children’s and Teenage Fiction, Fiction, Fantasy

‘This is the story of how I became my sister…’

A spine-tingling mystery set in a creepily atmospheric boarding school. Ivy must uncover the secrets behind her twin sister Scarlet’s disappearance before it’s too late.

When troublesome Scarlet mysteriously disappears from Rookwood School, terrifying Miss Fox invites her quiet twin sister Ivy to ‘take her place’.

Ivy reluctantly agrees in the hopes of finding out what happened to her missing sister. For only at Rookwood will Ivy be able to unlock the secrets of Scarlet’s disappearance, through a scattered trail of diary pages carefully hidden all over the school.

Can Ivy solve the mystery before Miss Fox suspects? Or before an even greater danger presents itself?


“I loved this book as it is a true page-turning, nail-biting mystery. The author has very cleverly hidden clues in the story and lets us solves the mystery as well. I read it in less than a day. It is gripping and keeps you begging for more.” –, children’s reviews

3. The Knife of Never Letting Go: The Chaos Walking Trilogy by Patrick Ness

Genre: Children’s and Teenage Fiction, Teen and Young Adult, Science Fiction, Fiction

“One of the most admired young adult series of recent times, this collection brings together all three books in Patrick Ness’ shocking, surprising and thrilling Chaos Walking trilogy.”

‘Todd Hewitt is the only boy in a town of men. Ever since the settlers were infected with the Noise germ, Todd can hear everything the men think, and they hear everything he thinks. Todd is just a month away from becoming a man, but in the midst of the cacophony, he knows that the town is hiding something from him – something so awful Todd is forced to flee with only his dog, whose simple, loyal voice he hears too. With hostile men from the town in pursuit, the two stumble upon a strange and eerily silent create: a girl. Who is she? Why wasn’t she killed by the germ like all the females on New World? Propelled by Todd’s gritty narration, readers are in for a white-knuckle journey in which a boy on the cusp of manhood must unlearn everything he knows in order to figure out who he truly is.’


‘I really did love this book’ – The Guardian Online

‘Furiously paced, terrifying, exhilarating and heartbreaking, [it] haunts your imagination.’ – The Sunday Telegraph

‘A stunning debut… As compelling as it is original.’ – The Times

‘Pure inventiveness and excitement.’ – Booklist

4. Adolphus Tips by Michael Morpurgo

Genre: Children’s and Teenage Fiction, Fiction, General Fiction

“Something’s up. Something big too, very big. At school, in the village, whoever you meet, it’s all anyone talks about. It’s like a sudden curse has come down on us all. It makes me wonder if we’ll ever see the sun again.”

It’s 1943, and Lily Tregenze lives on a farm in the idyllic seaside village of Slapton. Apart from her father being away, and the ‘townie; evacuees at school, her life is scarcely touched by the war. Until one day, Lily and her family, along with 3000 villagers are told to move out of their homes – lock, stock and barrel.

Soon, the whole are is out of bounds as the Allied forces practise their landings for D-Day, preparing to invade France. but Tips, Lily’s adored cat, has other ideas – barbed wire and keep-out signs mean nothing to her, nor does the danger of guns and bombs. Frantic to find her, Lily makes friends with two young American soldiers who promise to help her. But will she ever see her cat again? Lily decides to cross the wire into the danger zone and look for Tips herself…

Now, many years later, as Michael is reading his Grandma Lily’s diary, he learns about The Amazing Story of Adolphus Tips – and wonders how one adventurous cat could still affect their lives sixty years later.


“A master storyteller at his best” – The Sunday Times

“From the first sentence of a Michael Morpurgo book, you know you are in the hands of a natural storyteller.” – Guardian

“Classic Morpurgo brilliance” – Publishing News

“…a succinctly engagin tear-jerker, it is also full of happiness and affection and has a joyful ending…It is also about people who care enough to look after each other, offering a lesson in life as well as history.” – Sunday Times, Children’s Book of the Week

“…Michael Morpurgo weaves a touching tale that’s full of surprises. A master storyteller at his best.” – Funday Times

“As always, Morpurgo writes with solid confidence in a voice that’s gentle yet spellbinding.” – Evening Standard

5. The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

Genre: Children’s and Teenage Fiction, Teen and Young Adult, Love Story, Romance

“Playful and intensely imaginative, Erin Mogenstern has created the circus we have always longed for. This is a marvellous book.” – Audrey Niffenegger, author of The Time Traveller’s Wife.

The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. The black sign, painted in white letters that hangs upon the gates, reads: Opens at Nightfall Closes a Dawn. As the sun disappears beyond the horizon, all over the tents small lights begin to flicker, as though the entirety of the circus is covered in particularly bright fireflies. When the tents are all aglow, sparkling against the night sky, the sign appears. Le Cirque des Reves, The Circus of Dreams. Now the circus is open. Now you may enter.


“Lush, evocative, dreamlike…a magival, coming-of-age story” – Sunday Times

“Dark and dreamy; a captivating love story” – Stylist Magazine

“Deliciously inventive…Don’t imagine this is a light, frothy tale. For all her humorous touches, Morgenstern has produced something darker than night” – Scotsman

“Dazzling” – Marie Claire

“The only response to this novel is simply: wow. It is a breathtaking feat of imagination, a flight of fancy that pulls you in and wraps you up in its spell” – The Times

“Charming, magical, mysterious, enthralling” – Daily Mirror

Special thanks to The Harbour Book Shop for its wonderful recommendations.

The Harbour Book Shop in Kingsbridge is a well-stocked independent bookshop holding a wide range of titles for all ages and interests. “Our stock is constantly updated with the latest publications and specially selected with our extremely discerning customers in mind.”