Episode 18: Christmas Special with Tom Bonnick, Non Pratt and Nadia Shireen

Broadcast 15 December, 2015

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In an hour-long festive bonanza, the gang are joined in the studio by Down the Rabbit Hole alumni Tom Bonnick, Non Pratt and Nadia Shireen. Featuring favourite books to read at Christmas, an interview with author Brian Selznick about The Marvels, a reading of a very special new picture book, Refuge by Anne Booth and Sam Usher, and DTRH’s best books of 2015.

Our guests

Tom Bonnick

Non Pratt

Nadia Shireen



The Marvels by Brian Selznick

Refuge by Anne Booth and Sam Usher

Christmas favourites


The Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The Harry Potter series by JK Rowling (Bloomsbury)

The Lion The Witch And The Wardrobe by CS Lewis

Little Women by Louisa May Alcott


The Final Reckoning by Robin Jarvis


101 Dalmatians by Dodie Smith, illustrated by Alex T Smith (Egmont)


Dash And Lily’s Book Of Dares by Rachel Cohn and David Levithan (Mira INK)


‘Vicky And The Christmas Angel’ from The Christmas Star by Eva Ibbotson (Macmillan)

Christmas With The Savages by Mary Clive (Puffin)


Books Of The Year: Picture Books


The Christmas Tree Story by Della Huddy and Emily Sutton (Walker)

Special Mention:

Oi Frog by Kes Gray and Jim Field (Hodder)

Blown Away by Rob Biddulph (HarperCollins)


The Princess And The Pony by Kate Beaton (Walker)


Imelda And The Goblin King by Briony May Smith (Flying Eye)

Special mention:

Dinosaur Rocket by Penny Dale (Nosy Crow)


Super Happy Magic Forest by Matty Long (OUP)

Books Of The Year: Middle Grade


The Mystery Of The Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine (Egmont)


The Wolf Wilder by Katherine Rundell (Bloomsbury)

Special Mention:

The Mystery of the Clockwork Sparrow by Katherine Woodfine (Egmont)

Arsenic for Tea by Robin Stevens (PRH)

My Brother is a Superhero by David Solomons (Nosy Crow)


An Island Of Our Own by Sally Nicholls (Scholastic)


Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (Andersen)

Books of the Year: Young Adult


Goodbye Stranger by Rebecca Stead (Andersen)

Special mention:

Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (PRH)


Am I Normal Yet? by Holly Bourne (Usborne)


Simon Vs The Homo Sapiens Agenda by Becky Albertalli (Puffin)

Seed by Lisa Heathfield (Egmont)


PS I Still Love You by Jenny Han (Scholastic)

Books of the Year: Non-Fiction


The 50 States by Gabrielle Balkan and Sol Linero (Wide-Eyed)

Special Mention:

All of Wide-Eyed’s list


The Story Of Money by Martin Jenkins illustrated by Satoshi Kitamura (Walker)


Swan: The Life And Dance of Anna Pavlova by Laurel Snyder illustrated by Julie Morstad (Chronicle)

Also mentioned

Maresi by Maria Turtschaninoff (Pushkin)

To All The Boys I’ve Loved Before by Jenny Han (Scholastic)

How Hard Can Love Be? by Holly Bourne (Usborne)

In Your Light by AJ Grainger (S&S)

The Dark Light by Julia Bell (Macmillan)

Asking For It by Louise O’Neill (Quercus)


Christmas Book Quandaries

Rudolph Fitzgerald @writingruth: Suggestions please for books for 11 yr old who loves Zoella & Geek Girl and a 15 yr old who loves @oneilllo & @holly_bourneYA

11 year old:

Model Undercover series by Carina Axelsson (Usborne)

The It Girl by Katy Birchall (Egmont)

Flirty Dancing by Jenny McLachlan (Bloomsbury)

Love, Lies And Lemon Pies by Katy Cannon (Stripes)

Cathy Cassidy’s Chocolate Box series

Waiting For Callback by Honor and Perdita Cargill (S&S)

15 year old:

Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson

All The Rage by Courtney Summers

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers

Tanya Byrne

Non Pratt

The Art Of Being Normal by Lisa Williamson (DFB)

All Of The Above by James Dawson (Hot Key Books)

The Disreputable History of Frankie Banks by E Lockhart (Hot Key Books)

The Big Lie by Julie Mayhew (Hot Key Books)


Laura @272BookFaith: Any recommendations for Faith (11) would be fab!

Terry Pratchett – Truckers series or Dodger

Betsy-Tacy series – Maud Hart Lovelace (US import)

Louie Stowell @louiestowell: A mate was asking the other day for non-bestseller pic books for his 2 year old, as he felt he only heard about the famous ones.

Kirstie Meehan - What about contemporary picture books for small children that you think might become classics, and are worth getting to build up a child’s library? I’m thinking of books like the Oliver Jeffers books, which are so beautifully illustrated.

Kevin Waldron – Mr Peek And The Misunderstanding At The Zoo (Templar), Tiny Little Fly (Walker), The Owl And The Pussycat (Simon & Schuster)

Marta Altés – I Am An Artist; Draw With Marta Altés: You Are An Artist (Macmillan)

Louise Yates – Dog Loves Books, Dog Loves Numbers, Dog Loves Drawing (Random House)

Beatrice Alemagna – A Lion In Paris (Tate), The Marvellous Fluffy Squishy Itty Bitty (Thames & Hudson)

Andrea Beaty and David Roberts - Happy Birthday Mme Chapeau (Little, Brown)

Rebecca Cobb – Aunt Amelia, The Paper Dolls (Macmillan)

Emma Chichester Clark

Julia Donaldson & Axel Scheffler

Axel Scheffler - Pip And Posy (Nosy Crow)

Catherine Rayner

Jon Klassen

Chris Haughton

Shaun Tan - Rules Of Summer


Judith Evans - Brainy and lovely 4 year old, into vehicles, singing, dinosaurs and Frozen. Loved “You Choose” when he was a bit younger. Any book suggestions much appreciated!

Daisy Knox Calvo - 5 year old - into dinosaurs, dancing, machines, jokes, facts; hates peril/sad bits; looking for books he can read himself (very competent reader)

Penny Dale’s Dinosaur Digs! Series (Nosy Crow)

The Claude Books – Alex T Smith (Hodder)

Dixie O’Day series – Shirley Hughes & Clara Vuillamy (Random House)

Mango and Bambang series – Polly Faber & Clara Vuillamy (Walker)


Bronwyn Graves - Yay! I love this. Ok, so the girl is 13 now and continues to be a tremendous bookworm. The last few books that she got really into were To Kill a Mockingbird, Never Let Me Go, 1984, Jonathan Strange and Mr. Norrell, and The Night Circus. She loves anything by Connie Willis. She doesn’t like Austen (sob) but she liked Jane Eyre and Great Expectations.

Margaret Atwood – Alias Grace (Virago)

Laini Taylor – Daughter Of Smoke & Bone (Hodder)

Leigh Bardugo

Lev Grossman - The Magicians by Lev Grossman (Arrow)

Frances Hardinge – The Lie Tree (Macmillan)

Emily St John Mandel – Station Eleven (Macmillan)

The Shadow Of The Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon (W&N)