#ReviewCrew Niamh’s 24 Best Books of 2023

One of our lovely team of kid book reviewers, 11 year old Niamh, has gathered together her top 24 books of the year in a wonderful Review Crew Advent Calendar!

There is a great range of books, suitable for ages 5 through to teen. So enjoy Niamh’s wonderful reviews and illustrations, and if you like what you read, they’re all available to buy on this page (worldwide shipping available).

Enjoy the first nine entries below….

The Wishkeeper’s Apprentice and Honey’s Hive, reviewed by Caitlin (8)

The Wishkeeper’s Apprentice by Rachel Chivers Khoo

Can Felix Jones, along with the Wishkeeper, save Whittlestone?

An amazing story, filled to the brim with magic and adventure. I think it would be best for kids aged 6 to 9. 

Watch out for the evil wish snatcher. He is nasty.

Honey’s Hive by Mo O’Hara

A really fun story. 👍👍

It’s about a bee who doesn’t fit in. There are lots of fun facts about bees. And a few about wasps actually. 

Honey, along with her best friends Beanie and Hex, has to save the hive. Can she do it? ❤️❤️❤️

Villains Academy by Ryan Hammond, reviewed by Evie M. (10)

Dear Readers,

Read this book if you want to learn how to be a true villain! This story is about a bunch of mischievous misfits who dream of being a villainous villain!

My favourite character is…

Mona and Sheila, as they were both favourable characters; Sheila plays pranks and jokes on people and Mona wants to be the leader of the pack although in the end she becomes the truest friend.

My favourite part is when…

They all become besets of friends and Bram feels that he has a place there.

The illustrations were awesome!

Who will get villain of the week?

Hotel of the Gods by Tom Easton, reviewed by Caitlin (7)

Great book. You should totally try it. Atlas and his family go and run an amazing hotel with gods as guests.

I’ll give this book hen out of ten!

Caitlin (7)

Quite funny and my favourite character is Maui (watch out though he is a trickster).

Atlas is a bit of a chicken – he is extremely chicken, hen out of ten. 

I’ll give this book hen out of ten too. 


The Shop of Impossible Ice Creams by Shane Hegarty, reviewed by Rosa

This book is amazing. It’s like a perfect parcel of mystery, fun and friendship all in one. The ending all wraps up very neatly and, unlike some books, I felt satisfied by it. The storyline of it is flawless and I, for one loved it. 

Liam/limpet has arrived at his new house in the quiet village of Splottpool where his mum has decided to set up an ice cream shop. Reluctantly going to make new friends, a flamboyant ice cream truck rolls up at the curb. A crimson haired, grumpy man sells some ice creams, and a small disaster happens…

I motored through this book, and I hope you will love it from cover to cover like I did. 


But not to worry. A few days later Liam/limpet’s mum does a grand opening of her shop, and the other ice cream shop is giving out free ice creams! Luckily Liam/limpet foils Mr fluffy’s devious plan. Happily, ever after. The end. 

The illustrations go perfectly with the text and really pop out the page. Every concept of this book is amazing. Some parts really make you think. I motored through this book, and I hope you will love it from cover to cover like I did.  

My favourite character was Curtis the chicken and Norman, her owner. 

Unipiggle by Hannah Shaw, reviewed by Evie and Katy

This is a story about a unicorn pig you’ll Never Forget!

Read this book! It’ll make you want chocolate! – Evie

Unipiggle is very funny . My age group for it is Year 2- Year 4. They say that you have to be perfect but that is wrong. You can be who you want to be. I liked it because it is funny and I loved the illustrations.  My mummy also enjoyed it too! – Katy

Einstein the Penguin by Iona Rangeley and David Tazzyman, reviewed by Katy

My Mummy has a copy of this book with all the pictures (this was a proof copy-Mum) , which is good as the pictures were my favourite bit. The penguin is so cute, and I really liked the pictures of him. The penguin called Einstein comes to stay with some children and they have to find out where he has come from and why he is there. I am going to try and draw some penguins like the ones in the pictures because I like them so much.  

We think Katy did an amazing job with her penguin! Well done, Katy!

About the book

‘An outstanding debut. Funny and surprising’ The Times Best Books for Children 2021 ‘This debut novel is a delight . .. A joy to read aloud’ Sunday Times Children’s Book of the Week

Perfect for all readers from 7 to 70, Einstein the Penguin introduces an unforgettable new character in a future-classic and fantastically funny debut for all the family to enjoy. Get ready to welcome the most extraordinary penguin into your own home…

When the Stewarts spend a sunny, frosty December day at London Zoo, they’re enchanted by one small penguin. At the delight of young Imogen and Arthur, Mrs Stewart insists the penguin “must come and stay with them whenever he likes.” But not one Stewart expects the penguin to turn up at their door that evening, rucksack labelled “Einstein” on his back… The family’s new feathered friend helps Arthur to come out of his shell and makes massive demands on Imogen’s amateur sleuthing.

But together they must find out why Einstein came to them and they must keep away from the mysterious white-coat man. And Einstein can’t stay forever, can he…? From stunning new writing talent Iona Rangeley, and illustrated with wit and brio by the award-winning David Tazzyman, this is a book that will be treasured for years to come.

Niamh’s 12 Days of Christmas; Top books of 2021

1. Rainbow Grey by Laura Ellen Anderson

Amazing new book series from the creator of the brilliant Amelia Fang. This was my favourite book of the year. Here’s my review for Book Nook.

2. Genie and Teeny by Steven Lenton

Absolutely hilarious from start to finish! I gave it a 5-star review! I can’t wait to read the new sequel!

3. The Summer I Robbed a Bank by David O’Doherty & Chris Judge

Heart-warming, funny adventure from the comedian behind the Danger is Everywhere series.

4. Kay’s Marvellous Medicine by Adam Kay & illustrated by Henry Paker

I love dipping into this book every single day. Both funny and interesting. I’ve recommended it to my teacher so all my class can enjoy it. You can buy a signed copy from Book Nook here:

5. Mickey and the Trouble with Moles by Anne Miller & illustrated by Becka Moor

I love figuring out the codes in this book and solving mysteries with the COBRA gang!

6. The Last Bear by Hannah Gold & illustrated by Levi Pinfold

Beautiful, classic that should belong on everyone’s book shelf. You can get a copy at Book Nook. Here’s a review from fellow Book Nook Review Crew member Aysha

7. Pizazz vs Perfecto by Sophy Henn

Best Pizazz book yet! The bits about The Cheese Squares were hilarious! Here’s my previous preview of Pizazz vs The New Kid

8. The Exploding Life of Scarlett Fife by Maz Evans & illustrated by Chris Jevons

Laugh-out-loud action! I also loved how representative this book was. Buy here from Book Nook:

9. Edie and the Box of Flits by Kate Wilkinson & illustrated by Joe Berger

Magical, mysterious adventure, following in the steps of The Borrowers. You can read my full review here.

10. The Great Food Bank Heist by Onjali Q. Rauf & Illustrated by Elisa Paganelli

As always, an amazing story by Onjali that helps you understand real issues through a funny, adventurous plot.

11. Megamonster by David Walliams & Illustrated by Tony Ross

My favourite David Walliams book since The Demon Dentist. Very dark! You can pick up a signed copy of David Walliams’ books from Book Nook just now:

12. Kitty Quest by Phil Corbett

Hilarious, comic-style cat themed adventure! Buy a copy here:

Clara Claus Saves Christmas by Bonnie Bridgman and Louise Forshaw, reviewed by Evie

5 out of 5 Joy-O-Meter rating! This book is jingles all the way!

This book is about a girl called Clara Claus and Nick Claus and the both want to save Christmas because the joy-o-metre goes down to 0!

Read this book to find out out how they save or try to save Christmas.

Why you should read this book – because it’s so intresting it will put you on the edge of your seat. Your perfect Christmas countdown!

About the book:

First the reindeer got sick. Then Santa got sick. Now it’s up to Clara Claus and her slightly annoying brother Nick to save Christmas. But with toys to make, elves to manage, lists to sort and flying reindeer to train, can they summon enough Christmas spirit to deliver the perfect Christmas?

Clara Claus Saves Christmas is an exciting festive adventure filled with fun and Christmas spirit from the author/illustrator team that created the hugely popular Catch that Cough.

Filled with friendship, family, heart and trust, as well as beautiful illustrations, Clara Claus is the perfect book to bring home this Christmas.

Dog Man review by Emily

Emily really enjoys the Dogman books and thinks you should read them too!