3 4 Friday - Christmas crafting, but not what you think: Minecraft, McGough and Stopmotion Movies

If you are buying for children this Christmas, it’s fair to say that books face a lot of competition on Christmas morning. How can a book possibly compete with exciting toys and the latest gadgets, especially for a child who isn’t a keen reader?

Well, for today's 3-4-Friday #FridayReads here are three suggestions in which the book becomes the starting point of something special and creative – we hope it gives you a few ideas.
If you are a parent, you may already know far too much about Minecraft, but if you don't, it can best be described as part game, part online Lego set. Whether on PC, console or tablet, it’s a word-of-mouth phenomenon which allows kids to craft their own world, literally digging the raw materials out of the ground and shaping them into increasingly complex materials to make buildings and objects.

Egmont have joined forces with Mojang (the people behind Minecraft) to produce three fantastic books. There is a Beginner’s Handbook and a Minecraft Annual. But our pick for more experienced Minecrafters is ‘The Redstone Handbook’. Redstone is the ‘power and wiring’ in Minecraft that allows kids to build electrical circuits, mechanical devices and is jam-packed with gadgets, tips and traps. All three of these books are currently going through a hasty re-print, but we have a few copies of each of these books in the shop, so let us know if we can reserve one for you...

(If you want to know more about Minecraft from a parent's perspective, here's what Mark Ward the BBC's technical correspondent had to say a couple of months ago.)

Do you know a budding film director? Armed with a digital camera, kids can transform themselves into stop-motion movie experts with the brilliant Animation Studio by filmmaker Helen Piercy. She gives you tips and tricks to make stop-motion videos like a professional, including techniques with puppets, clay-modelling, morphing and pixilation. At £12.99, it contains a mini stage-set, props and a 32-page director's handbook.

Finally, books that can be shared with the whole family make particularly special gifts, and we can thoroughly recommend the treasure trove of favourite verse that is Poetry Please. It’s a collection of the most-requested poems taken from the archive of Radio 4's Poetry Please, since its inception in 1979. Curated by presenter Roger McGough, it’s perfect for dipping into and sharing your own favourites with young and old alike.

Mostly Books is open every day from now until 3pm on Christmas Eve (including Sundays from 11am - 2.30pm) – so do come in and ask for our advice and help...

P.S. Want to know what Mostly Books looks like in Minecraft? Take a tour with a young minecrafter...

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