Kelpies for Christmas

On the hunt for the ideal Kelpie to gift at Christmas this year? The season has well and truly landed here at Kelpies HQ (the tree’s up and everything), and if you’re anything like us you’ve still got more buying to do than you’d like to admit.

Fear not, though – the Kelpies team is here to help! We’ve put together our very own top Christmas picks for 2018 to help ease you through the rest of your shopping and soothe your seasonal stress. You can thank us later!


Top-Secret Grandad and Me: Death by Soup – David MacPhail & Laura Aviñó
Recommended by Leah McDowell – Art & Production Director

If the title of MacPhail’s comedic murder mystery doesn’t intrigue you, then Aviñó’s hilarious illustrations will! This book will have you laughing your noodle off.




An Illustrated Treasury of Scottish Folk and Fairy Tales – Theresa Breslin & Kate Leiper
Recommended by Kirsten Graham – Sales & Marketing Executive

The only thing better than a good fairy tale is a good fairy tale accompanied by Kate Leiper’s stunning artwork. This is a book that will take pride of place on your children’s bookshelves for many years to come!



The Elsewhere Emporium – Ross MacKenzie
Recommended by Jennie Skinner – Assistant Editor

With spectacular dark magic and fantastical twists and turns, this dazzling sequel to The Nowhere Emporium will pull you into a world so full of wonders you won’t ever want to leave. Pure magic!




Wee Granny’s Magic Bag and the Pirates – Elizabeth McKay & Maria Bogade
Recommended by Elaine Reid – Community Marketing Manager

Your granny always seems to have exactly what you need in her bag, but this Wee Granny’s bag is better still; it’s magic! An exciting adventure awaits with pirates and treasure ahead. This story will keep wee ones (and big ones!) entertained to the end.



Three CrawsMelanie Mitchell
Recommended by Karyn McMurray – Editor

Kids will love cuddling up on your knee and singing along to this adorable version of much-loved Scots rhyme Three Craws. With delightful illustrations and lots of flaps to lift, this is a wonderful book to share.



Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Pet Show Show-OffAlan Dapré & Yuliya Somina
Recommended by Suzanne Kennedy – Deputy Sales & Marketing Director

You can never have enough Porridge in your life and given my children’s desire for a pet (not getting) I’m going to plump for Porridge’s latest adventure: Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Pet Show Show-Off. Puns a-plenty mean bedtime snorts and giggles.


Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Vanishing VikingMike Nicholson & Mike Phillips
Recommended by Eleanor Collins – Editorial Director

Everyone loves a good mystery, especially with a Nordic twist, and this one includes jokes and fun activities! Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Vanishing Viking is a fab gift for any 6-to-9-year-old detectives.



Isla and Pickle: The Highland Show – Kate McLelland
Recommended by Ali Begg – Sales & Marketing Assistant

Ideal for younger children (particularly pony fans and mini equestrians) this super-cute story sees Isla and her best friend, Pickle the Shetland pony, try their luck at the Highland Show’s Perfect Pony competition! Full of fun, colourful illustrations and giggles aplenty, it will delight wee ones aged 2 to 5.


The Treasure of the Loch Ness MonsterLari Don & Nataša Ilinčić
Recommended by Chani McBain – Sales & Marketing Director

There’s nothing better than sharing a Scottish legend on a cold winter’s evening. And there is no better Scottish legend than that of the famous Loch Ness Monster. Stunning illustrations of the fabulous beast meld with lyrical words to create a perfect story for sharing.




Rowan the Red Squirrel Lynne Rickards & Jon Mitchell
Recommended by Richard Wainman – Designer

Rowan the red squirrel and his little sister Hazel have left their drey to explore for the very first time. But there are dangers out there in the world – will they be brave enough to find their way home? A charming rhyming tale, beautiful illustrations of the Scottish landscape – and of course two adorable baby squirrels – make this a lovely Christmas gift for younger readers.


Artie Conan Doyle and the Vanishing Dragon ­– Robert J. Harris 
Recommended by Jenny Skivington– Junior Designer

All the mystery and adventure of Sherlock Holmes – but for kids! Follow a young Arthur Conan Doyle (and his friend Ham) on their adventures through 19th century Edinburgh. Ideal for readers aged 18 – 12.




The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle – Victoria Williamson
Recommended by Sally Polson – Editorial Director

Book-loving readers of 10+ will be swept up by the uplifting, moving story of Caylin, a bully on a Glasgow council estate, and Reema, a Syrian refugee. This extraordinary debut from Victoria Williamson launches a talented new voice in children’s fiction.



Need more ideas?

Which Norse Deity are You?

With the latest adventure from the Museum Mystery Squad published this week, we’ve been getting excited about all things Vikings!

The Vikings worshipped lots of gods and goddesses, known as deities, who each had their own special qualities. The deities played a big part in everyday life – the Vikings even named some days of the week after them! Take our fun quiz to find out if you’re more of a troublesome trickster like Loki, or a wise leader like Odin!


Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Vanishing Viking


The discovery of new Viking treasure brings the museum its biggest exhibit yet – a giant longboat. With such a huge attraction on show there’s plenty of room to hide a secret, or two.

In the Case of the Vanishing Viking, the Squad investigate legendary longboats, rare runes and hidden hoards to try to solve their latest mystery.

Shop the series


Features for Teachers: Norse Code

Viking alphabet

The Museum Mystery Squad are on the hunt for a vanishing Viking in their latest case, and they’ve found a mysterious note written in strange runes…

The Runic Alphabet

The Vikings had a language called Norse, which used their own alphabet. The Norse alphabet was called futhark after the first six runic character sounds. Each symbol, or rune, has its own name and sound. Viking runes were more than just letters, they had meanings too! For example, the first rune in the alphabet can stand for an ‘F’ sound, and can also mean ‘wealth’.

“Sounds like Norse Code!” said Gus. “Get it? Norse Code… like Morse Code?… But Norse was the language of the Vikings!”

Vikings often used runes to carve scary names on their weapons, because they believed it made them more powerful in battle. Can you use the key above to help Nabster decode runic weapon names?

Now try to make up your own Viking weapon name and write it in runes. Careful though, our alphabet has some letters the runic alphabet doesn’t!

Click the button below to download a pdf version of this activity – perfect for use in the classroom! And don’t forget to check out our other Features for Teachers.

Download your Rune Decoding activity sheet (pdf)

Features for Teachers

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Vanishing Viking

The discovery of new Viking treasure brings the museum its biggest exhibit yet – a giant longboat. With such a huge attraction on show there’s plenty of room to hide a secret, or two.

In the Case of the Vanishing Viking, the Squad investigate legendary longboats, rare runes and hidden hoards to try to solve their latest mystery.

Shop the series


Catch a Kelpie at Edinburgh International Book Festival!

The sun is shining here in beautiful Edinburgh, and already the streets are beginning to look busier and more vibrant as visitors from all over the world arrive to experience the city in festival season. Of course we’re a little biased, but here at Kelpies HQ it’s all about the Edinburgh International Book Festival. Set in a tented village in the beautiful Charlotte Square gardens, it’s a place where readers and writers come together once a year for inspiration and entertainment. There are events for every age and interest, and whether you’re an avid reader or just dipping your toe into the literary waters, you’ll still be spoilt for choice.

Many of our Kelpies authors are EIBF regulars, and we’ve put together this handy guide to help you catch a Kelpie this August!

Kelpies Events

Mary, Queen of Scots: Escape from Lochleven Castle Sat 11 2pm   Historic Women with Theresa Breslin and Holly Webb
A Secret Diary of the First World War Mon 13 10.30am The Boy Who Went to War with Gill Arbuthnott and Darren Gate
The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster Tue 14 10.30am The Legend of Loch Ness with Lari Don
The Spellchasers series Sat 18 12.15pm Freedom to Read, Freedom to Write with Lari Don, Candy Courlay and Elizabeth Wein
It's Only the End of the World Thu 23 5.30pm Unusual Thrillers with J. A. Henderson and Alex Bell
Museum Mystery Squad Fri 24 5pm Mysterious Museums with Mike Nicholson
This Bonny Baby Mon 27 10am Pick up a Pencil with Kasia Matyjaszek
Rowan the Red Squirrel Mon 27 11.45am Rowan the Red Squirrel with Lynne Rickards

Events for Schools

Some of our authors are also participating in the Baillie Gifford Schools Programme. For more information, including how to book tickets for a school group, visit the Edinburgh International Book Festival Learning website.

Features for Teachers: Roman Riddles

Looking for a fun way to introduce the Romans to your class? Mike Nicholson and the Museum Mystery Squad are here to help with a Roman Riddle!

In Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Roman Riddle, the Squad investigate ancient treasure, mystery mosaics and suspicious centurions to try to solve a spooky problem. Could there really be a ghost in the museum? Packed full of fun facts, red herrings, and zany illustrations by Mike Phillips, The Case of the Roman Riddle makes a great introduction to the topic as a class reader.

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Roman Riddle

We’ve created some free class activity sheets based on the book. Click the buttons below to download!

Download your free Roman numerals activity sheet

Help Kennedy figure out some important dates from history using Roman numerals.

Download your free Roman inventions quiz

Nabster can’t believe how many Roman inventions are still used today. See how well your class does in our Roman inventions quiz!

Download your free Looking for Latin wordsearch

There are lots of words we still use today that came from Roman times. Help the squad find some common Latin words in our wordsearch!

Download the Roman Riddle Answer sheet

Download your complete Roman Riddle classroom activity pack

More about Museum Mystery Squad

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Roman Riddle by Mike Nicholson is available now! Other books in Mike Nicholson’s Museum Mystery Squad series include the Case of the Moving Mammoth, the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics and the Case of the Curious Coins.

We can offer special deals on class sets. If you’d like more information, please get in touch.

Find out the latest Museum Mystery Squad news – follow DiscoverKelpies on Twitter!

Would you like a Learning Resource Pack for another Kelpies book? Do you have a resource pack you’d like to share? Please let us know! We’d love to hear from you.

New Kelpies galore join us in 2018!

2018 will be the 15th birthday of the Floris Books Kelpies list. So, we thought it was only fitting to celebrate in style! We’ve got ALL these new Kelpies joining us in the new year.

We’ll be starting the year off on a high, by marking another important date. Judith Kerr’s classic Tiger Who Came to Tea has certainly earned his stripes – he’s reached his 50th birthday. The Teeger That Cam For His Tea translates everyone’s favourite muckle, strippit guest into Scots for the first time. Keep an eye on our social media for our teeger tea pairty plans!

On to another classic creature… The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster is the latest edition to our Traditional Scottish Tales series. In true Lari Don style, she’s created the first ever Nessie story based on REAL Loch Ness folklore. And we’ve already fallen tail over humps for Natasa Ilincic’s illustrations.

New Kelpies - The Teeger that Cam for his Tea  New Kelpies - The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle  New Kelpies - The Treasure of the Loch Ness Monster  New Kelpies - A Super Scotland Activity Book

The Fox Girl and the White Gazelle races on to the scene in April. Inspired by Victoria Williamson’s experience working with young asylum seekers, Reema and Caylin’s story is one of displacement and discovery. This powerful debut novel will speak to anyone who has ever asked ‘where do I belong?’

We launched some spectacular new Kelpies series in 2017, and we’re on tenterhooks to find out where the stories lead. Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Pet Show Show-Off is the grand finale to the terrific, tongue-twisting, tartan series. Colin the Hamster and co. try to solve a remarkable Roman Riddle in the latest Museum Mystery Squad adventure. And Artie Conan Doyle has his own mystery to solve in the vexing case of the Vanishing Dragon.

New Kelpies - Porridge the Tartan Cat and the Pet Show Show-Off New Kelpies - Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Roman Riddle New Kelpies - Artie Conan Doyle and the Vanishing Dragon 

From new additions to Kelpies Classics, we hope Kathleen Fiddler’s Haki the Shetland Pony and Flash the Sheep Dog will be loved by a whole new generation of readers. Our gorgeous new editions will be available from April.

Not forgetting the wee ones… In February, you’ll be able to get your hands on our first EVER moving parts book! Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny lets you do just that, as you sing along to the cheeky Scottish rhyme… PUSH PUSH!

New Kelpies - Rowan the Red Squirrel New Kelpies - Skye the Puffling New Kelpies - Wee Granny's Magic Bag and the Pirates  

Scotland’s own Mary Poppins sets (or should that be ‘sails’) off on another adventure in May. What will Wee Granny find in her Magic Bag when she meets the Pirates?

There’s nothing we love more than adorable Scottish animals. Created by the team behind Skye the Puffling, Rowan the Red Squirrel (and his sister Hazel) more than fit the bill. Plus, Skye will appear in her very own Wee Puffin Board Book in April – perfect for your own wee pufflings!

Last, but definitely not least, is our stupendous, sensational Super Scotland Activity Book. Inspired by all the things that make Scotland special (from Nessie to the North Coast 500), it’s bursting with colouring, mazes, dot-to-dots, stickers and more. Take a look inside here!

…and that’s only the first half of the year. Phew! 2018 is going to be a busy one!

How to get your hands on our new Kelpies

The Teeger That Cam For His Tea, Rowan the Red Squirrel, Skye the Puffling: A Wee Puffin Board Book and Ye Cannae Shove Yer Granny Off A Bus are all available to preorder now.

Have any of our other new Kelpies caught your eye? Remember you can click the ‘Add to wishlist’ button to save them for later!

You can keep up with the news of new Kelpies, and our latest events and competitions on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram!

Books to Bring History Alive!

History is fascinating and visiting a museum or historical location is a great way to fill up a rainy day over the school holidays. Combining a trip with a great story can really help to get kids excited about the history around them!

Max and Zap at the Museum (for 3-6 year olds)

Max and Zap at the MuseumIn our new picture book, Max and Zap at the Museum, a family trip to the museum turns into an exciting treasure hunt adventure when the museum exhibits come to life. Why not create your own treasure hunt challenge to accompany a museum visit? You could include tasks such as finding the oldest thing in the museum, the biggest thing in the museum, or perhaps the weirdest exhibit in the museum!

Speed Bonnie Boat (for 5-8 year olds)

Speed Bonnie Boat tells the story of Bonnie Prince Charlie’s famous escape to the Isle of Skye after his defeat at the Battle of Culloden. Alfredo Belli’s stunning illustrations bring the beautiful landscapes and seascapes of Scotland’s west coast to life. This is the perfect story to share with children on a trip to Skye, the Glenfinnan Monument or perhaps the Bonnie Prince Charlie and the Jacobites exhibition at the National Museum of Scotland.

Listen to the song (sung by Catherine Tinney) over on our YouTube channel.


Museum Mystery Squad (for 6-8 year olds)

If your children think that museums are boring places full of glass cases, dust and stuff no-one cares about, Museum Mystery Squad will prove them wrong! In a hidden headquarters the gang are waiting, ready to handle dangerous, spooky or just plain weird problems. From a mysterious moving mammoth, to ancient egyptian riddles and even some futuristic robots, the series is perfect for super sleuths and amateur detectives. You could encourage children to invent their own mysteries based on some of the exhibits in your local museum.

Thorfinn the Nicest Viking (for 6-8 year olds)

Prepare yourself (and your children) for the wrath of the Norsemen! That is, if you don’t mind and it’s not too inconvenient… Vikings get a bad reputation. (It must be something to do with all the pillaging and plundering…) But Thorfinn the Nicest Viking is no ordinary Viking! He is always polite and happily offers to wash the dirty dishes. Too bad his dad is Harald the Skull-Splitter, Village Chief and the roughest and toughest Viking of them all. Kids will love collecting the trading cards that come with each book, as well as the fun games and activities. Try out the Viking name generator (you’ll find it in Thorfinn and the Awful Invasion) on your way to the Vikingar! exhibition in Largs.

Check out our full range of books with historical themes.







Design Your Own Robot with the Museum Mystery Squad

Some people think that museums are boring places full of glass cases, dust and stuff no one cares about: wrong! In a hidden headquarters below the exhibits there’s a gang ready to handle dangerous, spooky or just plain weird problems: the Museum Mystery Squad.

In their latest adventure, Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Curious Coins, the squad are trying to find out why coins from the donation box have been found scattered all over the floor. Luckily, there’s a new futuristic robot exhibition at the museum so they enlist some robotic friends to help!

Class Discussion Points

  1. 1. What special features might a robot have that could help the Museum Mystery Squad’s investigation?
  2. 2. Can you think of any ways robots are used in real life?
  3. 3. What are some things that robots can do that humans can’t?

Activity: Design Your Own Dream Robot!

Could you be a Robot Technician like Zoe in Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Curious Coins? What would your ideal robot look like? Use our printable worksheet to design and draw your ideal robot! Zoe has left some spare parts in her workshop to give you some ideas:

X-Ray Eyes Robot

X-Ray Eyes

Gunge soaker robot arm

Gunge Soaker Arm

Indestructible armour robot

Indestructible Armour

Extendable legs robot

Extendable Legs

Curriculum for Excellence

This activity can contribute towards the following learning outcomes and experiences under the Curriculum for Excellence:

Literacy: Listening and Talking, Reading, Writing

Expressive Arts: Art and Design

Social Studies: People, past events and societies

Find out how robots help solve the case in the latest Museum Mystery Squad book by Mike Nicholson.









Hidden Hieroglyphics Puzzle Time!

Egyptian hieroglyphics don’t have an alphabet like ours. Hieroglyphics can be symbols, or pictures of animals, people or objects. Some are easy to figure out, some confusing and some impossible!

Nabster has been making up his own picture and symbol messages for the rest of the Museum Mystery Squad. Can you figure out what they mean? (Scroll down for answers!)

Hieroglyphics activity

Class activities

Hieroglyphics are a great way to get students excited about the ancient Egyptians. Why not get your class to write their own coded messages using pictograms like in the examples above?

You can also download our printable activity sheet (pdf) which includes the hieroglyphics puzzle above and a wordsearch.


  1. 1. I love cats
  2. 2. Hamsters eat carrots
  3. 3. Laurie sleeps all the time
  4. 4. Kennedy writes a diary
  5. 5. Nabster thinks gadgets are cool
  6. 6. Dead pharaohs are found in pyramids

These activities are based on Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics by Mike Nicholson and Mike Phillips.

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics jacket cover



What’s your ideal dinosaur pet?

Dinosaurs are great, right? They’d make much better pets than a boring hamster (though I suspect Colin would disagree with you on that one…) But which dinosaur is right for you? It’s a big decision – there are just so many potential dinosaur pets out there – so the Museum Mystery Squad have put together this excellent quiz to solve your dino dilemma. Join us on Twitter or Facebook to let us know about your new pet dinosaur! (But remember, dinosaurs are for life, not just for Christmas. If you’re looking for an excellent gift, try a book instead!)DinoPetQuizMuseum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Moving Mammoth and Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics are available now!

Museum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Moving Mammoth jacket coverMuseum Mystery Squad and the Case of the Hidden Hieroglyphics jacket cover