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December 2022’s Most Wanted

Updated: Jan 4, 2023

To start off our Ring in the New Reads series of book recommendations, let's look back to the books most frequently bought in the shop during December 2022.

Many of these beautiful books were bought as Christmas gifts. Why not treat yourself to a New Year read with one of these highly rated choices?

*All book descriptions have been taken from the blurb as displayed on pages. Book reviews by Pickering Book Tree may follow in the future, and will be linked to each section as available.

Book 1 of 5: The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse: The Animated Story by Charlie Mackesy

Charlie Mackesy's beloved The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse has been adapted into an animated short film, coming to BBC One and iPlayer this Christmas.

This beautifully made hardback celebrates the work of over 100 animators across two years of production - with Charlie's distinctive illustrations brought to life in full colour with hand-drawn traditional animation and accompanying hand-written script.

"I made a film with some friends about a boy, a mole, a fox and a horse - their journey together and the boy's search for home. I hope this book gives you courage and makes you feel loved." Love Charlie x

Book 2 of 5: The Yard: How A Horse Healed My Heart by Grace Olson

​The comical tales of a new mum on her journey from post-natal depression to the dawning of her self-worth as she discovers adventure, friendship and the healing power of horses.

Join Grace as she battles her negative thought patterns and fears amongst a backdrop of eccentric characters, pampered farm animals and the glorious Yorkshire countryside.

Wisdom comes from unexpected sources leading Grace to a psychological and spiritual awakening of the true meaning of motherhood. While an elderly, opinionated pony teaches her how to love her daughter, a scary young sports horse teaches her how to relax and enjoy life again. Just watch out for the goats...

For fans of James Herriot and Ruby Ferguson's Jill books, The Yard is a hilarious and heart-warming feel-good read.

Book 3 of 5: The Wonderful World of James Herriot: A charming collection of classic stories by James Herriot

The perfect gift for fans of All Creatures Great and Small, this is a charming collection of classic stories from James Herriot's much-loved books, with insights into his life and work from his children Rosie and Jim.

With astute observations and boundless humour, country vet Herriot captures the spirit of the Yorkshire Dales and of rural communities on the cusp of change, before tractors and machines had taken over and modern medicines and antibiotics transformed veterinary work.

Along the way a beloved cast of characters emerges, from the squabbling brothers Tristan and Siegfried to Herriot's hapless courtship and eventual family life with Helen Anderson. But it's the animals which are at the heart of Herriot's stories. Whether he's dodging a raging bull on a risky artificial insemination assignment, becoming pen pals with Tricki Woo the spoilt Pikingese, or the inevitable trials and tribulations of lambing season, there's never a dull moment in Herriot's company.

At times moving and often laugh-out-loud funny, The Wonderful World of James Herriot will delight fans old and new.

Book 4 of 5: Dawnlands by Philippa Gregory

The new historical novel from Philippa Gregory, the Number One bestselling author of Tidelands and Dark Tides. In a divided country, power and loyalty conquer all...

It is 1685 and England is on the brink of a renewed civil war against the Stuart kings with many families bitterly divided. Alinor, now a successful businesswoman, has been coaxed by the manipulative Livia to save Queen Mary from the coming siege. The rewards are life-changing: the family could return to their beloved Tidelands, and Alinor could rule where she was once lower than a servant.

Inspired by news of a rebellion against the Stuart kings, Ned Ferryman returns from America with his Pokanoket servant to join the uprising against roman catholic King James. As Ned swears loyalty to the charismatic Duke of Monmouth, he discovers a new and unexpected love. Meanwhile, Queen Mary summons her friend Livia to a terrified court. Her survival, and that of the Stuart kings, is in the balance, and only a clever and dangerous gamble can save them...

Book 5 of 5: The Lost Spells by Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris

​Kindred in spirit to The Lost Words but fresh in its form, The Lost Spells introduces a beautiful new set of natural spell-poems and artwork by beloved creative duo Robert Macfarlane and Jackie Morris.

Each "spell" conjures an animal, bird, tree or flower — from Barn Owl to Red Fox, Grey Seal to Silver Birch, Jay to Jackdaw — with which we share our lives and landscapes. Moving, joyful and funny, The Lost Spells above all celebrates a sense of wonder, bearing witness to nature's power to amaze, console and bring joy.

Written to be read aloud, painted in brushstrokes that call to the forest, field, riverbank and also to the heart, The Lost Spells summons back what is often lost from sight and care, teaching the names of everyday species, and inspiring its readers to attention, love and care.

Bonus Book: Gloomy Baboony by Lizzie Simpson

This is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book which is not currently available on Bookshop, and so cannot be included in the full list below. Gloomy Baboony is available in the shop and on Lizzie's website.

An illustrated poem about accepting other people's sadness, love, and being there for each other. This little rhyming book is a perfect conversation starter about mental wellbeing.

The Full List

You can find the full list of books which didn't quite make the top five, but were still big hits in December, on our shelf below. There's a wide range of brilliant reads here for all ages and tastes.

We hope you enjoyed today's list of books, as chosen by our customers!

Coming up tomorrow: our favourite reads of 2022.


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