They look terrific, they elicit whoops of appreciation, but will they stand the test of time? To put it another way, will your children still be reading their lovingly chosen Christmas books on Boxing Day morning, when you are nursing a hangover and in need of a lie-in? Here is a small selection of books for children that, at the very worst, should still be giving pleasure in 2009.
For two to three-year-olds:
Wendy the Wide-Mouthed Frog by Sam Lloyd (Templar Publishing, £8.99). A picture book featuring a frog who thinks she's better than the other animals in the forest until she meets Sid the Squid. Wendy doubles as a literary character and a glove puppet, so the book is perfect for reading aloud.
For four to six-year-olds:
For an offbeat seasonal story, beautifully drawn and full of sly humour, The Smelly Sprout by Allan Plenderleith (Ravette, £5.99) is warmly recommended. It is a charming picture book about a neurotic, self-centred sprout that simply can't understand why nobody likes it.
For seven to 9-year-olds:
Booker Prize-winner Roddy Doyle is also a dab hand at children's fiction. Rover Saves Christmas (Scholastic, £4.99), starring a shambolic flying dog, is rich in tongue-in-cheek humour and little tricks that keep the whole family on their toes. It lightly challenges as well as entertains. 8/10
For 10 to 12-year-olds:
The Parliament of Blood by Justin Richards (Faber, £9.99) starts with an Egyptian mummy waking up in the British Museum in 1886 and goes from strength to ghoulish strength. It is a rollicking historical yarn about streetwise boys foiling a dastardly conspiracy
For young teenagers:
Celia Rees writes fast-moving adventure stories that, when not sending a shiver down young spines, manage to be literate and elegant. Sovay (Bloomsbury, £10.99) is about a feisty English highwaywoman who gets caught up in the French Revolution. Intelligent escapism.