Category Archives: Mostly About Reading

Book Review: Missing Nimama – by Melanie Florence

missing-nimama
Book: Missing Nimâmâ
Author: Melanie Florence
Illustrator: François Thisdale
Publisher: Clockwise Press
Date: October 16, 2015
Genre: picture book; ages 8 & up, gr 3 & up
Pages: 32
Price: $19.95
My rating: Sensitively told story bringing awareness of 
a tragic reality

This book has been written with heart. Missing Nimâmâ by Melanie Florence is a sensitive and beautiful story about a young indigenous girl whose mother went missing. Although her child cannot see her, the mother is always present in spirit, watching as her nimâmâ (Cree for mother) brings up her daughter in her place. The story is told from the voice of the child, often in conversation with her nôhkom (grandmother), and then her mother’s viewpoint – back and forth. That style of writing creates a tenderness and wistfulness that is both touching and enlightening. The illustrations created by award-winning illustrator François Thisdale are soft and realistic, adding dimension and texture to the story.

I think I first learned of this picture book, Missing Nimâmâ, when I heard the author being interviewed on CBC radio. It came up at another time, too, and I knew I had to read it. It gripped me. The topic it addresses is a horrible and shameful one – the disappearance of many indigenous women in Canada, and also in the US. It is alarming the large number – hundreds – of missing, and believed to be murdered, aboriginal girls and women in North America. Far too many are unsolved cases that should never have happened and many could have been prevented, or not ended as tragically had there been timely attention given.

After reading all of that you may wonder, how is this a children’s book? The author, Melanie Florence, has masterfully written a sweet story that is very suitable for children. She introduces the reader to a few of the traditions of a Cree family, and inserts some Cree words, making it interesting on more than one level. The child’s grandmother speaks of her own daughter as being “one of the lost women”, and helps the little girl remember her nimâmâ fondly throughout her growing-up years. The ending brings it to a satisfactory conclusion, and yet, it does not end. It’s quite sad when the reality of it hits you, and yet it’s so compassionately told that you want every child to be given the chance to understand.

Missing Nimâmâ, written by Melanie Florence and illustrated by François Thisdale, won the 2016 TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, was selected for an honorable mention as an OLA Best Bets 2016 Honour Book, and is a 2017 Forest of Reading Golden Oak Award finalist. It’s a very deserving book.

You can find Missing Nimâmâ on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

SPECIAL NOTE: Melanie has agreed to an interview! Come back Thursday, April 27, to enjoy the interview and leave a comment for a giveaway – a copy of Missing Nimâmâ – courtesy of Clockwise Press.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Advertisements

Book Review: Watersong – by Tim McCanna

 

 

 

 


Book: Watersong
Author: Tim McCanna
Illustrator: Richard Smythe
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers
Genre: Children's picture book
Date: January 2017
Pages: 32
My Rating: a pleasant experience of one of nature's songs

Watersong is one of those amazing books in which the marriage of words and illustrations deliver a complete and brilliant story.

In fifty-six words (only two of them repeated once time each), and in rhythmic rhyme, Tim McCanna created a story of what one can experience of nature’s breathtaking power. Through onomatopoeia – in this case rain sounds, such as drip drop plip plop – the reader follows a fox through the forest as rain begins falling, intensifies, increases into a storm from which the fox seeks shelter, then the rain tapers off and turns back to a sunny early summer day. It’s all through scant words on each page and well-suited illustrations.

The illustrator, Richard Smythe, used soft watercolour to create the pleasant hues of summer in the forest, river, and meadow during and after the rain. His illustrations perfectly reveal what the words are saying, while the words precisely describe what the illustrations are showing. It’s beautifully done, truly a water song.

Reading Watersong slowly and thoughtfully, the reader can imagine being there and hearing the rain in its different moods. It’s a lovely book.

You can find Watersong by Tim McCanna on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

Book Review: Heroes of Isle aux Morts – by Alice Walsh

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Heroes of Isle aux Morts
Author: Alice Walsh
Illustrator: Geoff Butler
Publisher: Tundra Books
Date: February 15, 2001
Genre: picture book; age 8 - 12 yrs, gr 3 - 7
Pages: 32, hardcover
Price: $5.50, varies
My rating: a well-told true story with fabulous illustrations

Heroes of Isle aux Morts by Alice Walsh is an amazing true story about a very hazardous rescue that happened in July 1828 off the coast of Newfoundland before it was a province of Canada.

Early one morning Anne Harvey woke to the sound of a ferocious storm and above the wind a distress signal. Then she saw a flare light up the sky, meaning there was a ship in trouble and without help its passengers would surely drown. Many ships had been driven onto the rocks in storms, and Anne and her father knew there wasn’t much time for a rescue. The island where the family lived was called Isle aux Morts, meaning island of the dead, because of so many people losing their lives off their coast.

Anne, her father, her younger brother, and their large Newfoundland dog, Hairy Man, loaded into a dory and launched into the waves. Newfoundland dogs are known for their brave deeds, and what the family did to save those people made them, and especially Hairy Man, heroes. It’s an unbelievable story, and yet it’s true. History notes how King George IV, king of England, recognized the family as heroes for saving the lives of one hundred and sixty-three passengers, one by one, in treacherous conditions.

Heroes of Isle aux Morts is a must-read story of the ship the Despatch, the Harvey family, a Newfoundland dog, and a historical rescue at sea. Alice Walsh, formerly from Newfoundland, wrote a breath-taking story of drama and bravery. The illustrations by Geoff Butler are fantastic, showing how rugged and dangerous the rescue was that dark, stormy day.

You can find Heroes of Isle aux Morts by Alice Walsh on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Lorenzo the Pizza-Loving Lobster – by Claire Lordon

 

 

 

 


Book: Lorenzo the Pizza-Loving Lobster
Author/illustrator: Claire Lordon
Publisher: Little Bee Books
Date: May 3, 2016
Genre: children's picture book; ages 4-8; pre-school-3
Pages: 32
Price: $16.99 ($21.99 CD)
My rating: a funny story children will love for its 
simplicity in the familiar 

 

Lorenzo the Pizza-Loving Lobster was written and illustrated by Claire Lordon. 

Lorenzo the lobster loved adventure and exploring. He also loved trying new foods he found. One day he met a seagull eating something that smelled amazing. It was called pizza, the seagull told him. Lorenzo sampled it and loved it!

How many lobsters do you know of that love pizza? You now know of Lorenzo the lobster who was so excited about pizza that he hurried home to tell his friends about it. It was when he told Kalena the sea turtle, and she suggested they make one, that Lorenzo realized he didn’t remember what is in a pizza. He only remembered it was delicious.

This story is funny for young readers who do know the ingredients in a pizza. Even if they don’t know for sure, they will know that seaweed is not one of the things they eat on their pizza, nor is jellyfish jelly.

Lorenzo and Kalena’s attempts don’t turn out to be very tasty. Disappointed, and on her way home, Kalena discovers someone’s pizza shop. Then she has a great idea.

Lorenzo, the Pizza-Loving Lobster is a story children will enjoy and find to be quite funny. Claire Lordon’s illustrations are bright and fun, with a friendly warm appeal.

You can find Lorenzo the Pizza-Loving Lobster by Claire Lordon on my BUY THE BOOK page.

I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Fire Pie Trout – by Melanie Mosher

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Fire Pie Trout
Author: Melanie Mosher
Illustrator: Renné Benoit
Publisher: Fifth House Publishers
Date: May 20, 2014
Genre: picture book; gr 1-2; age 6-7
Pages: 32
Price: $19.95
My rating: an believable true-to-life story

 

Fire Pie Trout by Melanie Mosher is a wonderful maritime story, another book I purchased at the children’s book fair in 2016.

It’s early morning before the fog is all burned off and little Grace and her grandfather are going fishing. Grace packed their favourite lunch for them – pizza, which her grampie calls fire pie.

This is a realistic story that shows Grace trying to keep up with her grandfather’s long strides. The grass is slippery and wet in the fog, and Grace ends up slipping and falling, so she just rolls down the hill and waits for her grampie.

Gramps shows Grace how to fish, then sits on the bank and lowers his own line into the water. Grace doesn’t want to bait her hook with a worm, so she releases the worm into the grass when her grampie isn’t looking. She begins to worry to her grandfather that maybe she is too young to fish. She’s thinking about it’s being dark, that she’s not allowed to watch scary movies or stay home all alone, so … maybe she is too young to fish, too. Then she secretly releases another worm instead of baiting her hook with it.

In the meantime her grampie has caught two big trout while encouraging her to keep trying. The fog is gone, the sun has warmed them up, and then – after setting free a third worm – Grace has an idea! It involves pizza and Grace realizes she is NOT too young to fish after all.

This is a nicely told true-to-life story with an amusing ending that young readers will enjoy. Some will see themselves in Grace who is a bit nervous, but then discovers how clever she can be.

Fire Pie Trout by Melanie Mosher is a lovely story of a special outing for a grandchild with a loved grandparent. It has beautiful illustrations by Renné Benoit who very effectively captured the look of fog over the water, and the joys of fishing in it.

You can find Fire Pie Trout by Melanie Mosher on my BUY THE BOOK page.

I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Chapters.Indigo, and Goodreads.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

 

 

Book Review: When a DRAGON Moves in AGAIN – by Jodi Moore

 

 

 

 


Book: When a DRAGON Moves in AGAIN
Author: Jodi Moore
Illustrator: Howard McWilliam
Publisher: Flashlight Press
Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: children's picture book; K-2; age 5-7
Pages: 32
Price: $17.95
My rating: a delightfully fun story of a boy, his dragon, 
and somebody new 

 

Because I haven’t yet had opportunity to read When a Dragon Moves In by Jodi Moore, I am starting with her second book, When a DRAGON Moves in AGAIN. It is completely enjoyable without having to read the first book.

Let’s begin with the end pages which used to be simply plain, but that has changed for many books. These are gorgeous, so family focused. Take a peek.

Isn’t that delightful? Family photos are posted on a  bulletin board, including ones capturing the mischievous little boy making faces at the camera. The end pages at the back are different photos.

 

 

 

 

 

As we begin reading When a DRAGON Moves in AGAIN, and having not read the first book, we naturally assume the little boy has already fully developed his imaginary dragon friend. In this story, the boy and his dragon enter a new situation together.

One day the dad builds what his young son believes to be a castle. Of course, if you have a castle you have a place for your dragon. They bounce and play in it until  … the mom says that’s for the baby. Baby? His sister is hoping for a girl, she obviously feels she has enough brothers. 

For a young child, welcoming a new baby into the family is not always an easy transition. When the baby arrives, his big brother is okay with it until Baby cries a lot. He has to be entertained, but Dragon breaks things and makes a mess in the attempt. When Baby is sleeping Dragon wakes him up. It’s then that Dad decides they’ve had enough of dragons, but Big Brother wants Baby sent back. Dragon is not so sure about that.

The illustrations in When a DRAGON Moves in AGAIN are fabulous. Howard McWilliam has captured the emotions and expressions so accurately, with a humorous touch, it’s easy to feel what everyone in the story feels. This is a wonderful story for the whole family.

You can find When a DRAGON moves in AGAIN by Jodi Moore on my BUY THE BOOK page.

I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Chapters.Indigo, and Goodreads.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The Power of Harmony, a novel – by Jan Coates

 

 

 

 






Book: The Power of Harmony
Author: Jan L. Coates
Publisher: Red Deer Press
Date: May 13, 2013
Genre: MG; gr 4-6; age 9-11
Pages: 260
Price: $12.95
My rating: An enjoyable and relatable read for young people. 

This is a novel I purchased from its author at the children’s book fair I attended in 2016.

The Power of Harmony by Jan L. Coates is a fictional story based in the late 1960’s in Nova Scotia, Canada. This novel was an Atlantic Book Awards finalist, and for good reason, I might add. In Spring of 2017 the Nova Scotia Board of Education purchased copies for every school in the province!

The main character, Jennifer, loves to sing, but she is very afraid to sing in public. She prepares for a competition anyway, with not-so-good results, and has to deal with being ridiculed later. With her best friend having moved away, shy Jenn is now faced with being bullied by some mean girls at her school with no close friend there for her.

Recently a First Nations girl, Melody, moved into the neighbourhood. The other kids pick on her, too, because of who she is without even knowing her. Jennifer discovers Melody likes music and books, same as she does, and they become friends. There are also some strange things going on, and Melody seems to have a secret. 

This is such a meaningful story of friendship, bullying, adolescent struggles and fears, acceptance, and even grief through the death of a loved one. It’s a very realistic and moving story, and a pleasure to read.

You can find my reviews of other books by Jan here and here and here.

You can find The Power of Harmony by Jan L. Coates on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also will post it on Amazon.ca, Amazon.com, Chapters.Indigo, and Goodreads.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂