Tag Archives: Picture book

Book Review: Little Red Gliding Hood – by Tara Lazar

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Little Red Gliding Hood
Author: Tara Lazar
Illustrator: Troy Cummings
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Date: October 27, 2015
Genre: Children's picture book; 2 - 10 yrs;  Preschool - 4
Pages: 40; hardcover
Price: $16.99
My rating: a skating contest like no other; funny

Little Red Gliding Hood is a fractured fairy tale written by Tara Lazar. It begins with the introduction before the title page, and we’re taken immediately into the story by Troy Cummings‘ clever illustrations.

A fractured fairy tale is a mix-up of nursery rhymes and fairy tales, bringing in characters from different ones to fit in the new story. Tara has the sense of humour to pull this off easily.

Little Red Gliding Hood loved to skate and she was very good at it. She would skate to her grandmother’s every Sunday for a visit. The problem was that her old skates were in bad shape and getting to be too snug a fit. She soon wouldn’t be able to skate to Grandma’s.

Conveniently, a pairs skating competition was announced with the prize being a pair of new skates! Little Red Gliding Hood had to win! Inconveniently, she didn’t have a skating partner. Little Red’s grandmother suggested asking the Gingerbread Man. Little Red said he’s too fast and she can’t catch him. Grandma suggested Baby Bear would be a good partner, but Little Red said Goldilocks thought so first. When Little Red went to ask the Three Little Pigs, the Big Bad Wolf showed up. Little Red skated away, frightened, with Wolf skating after her.

The day of the competition Little Red showed up to skate. When the Big Bad Wolf showed up, too, he scared Little Miss Muffet away and Humpty Dumpty had a great fall. It was chaos. The illustrations by Troy Cummings are funny and enjoyable.

The end of the story of Little Red Gliding Hood is fun and very cleverly done, making it a book that’s delightful to read over and over.

You can find Little Red Gliding Hood by Tara Lazar on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and on Chapters.Indigo if available there.

Please encourage an author and illustrator by leaving a comment. Thank you.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

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Book Review: Gertrude at the Beach – by Starr Dobson

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Gertrude at the Beach
Author: Starr Dobson
Illustrator: Dayle Dodwell
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing Ltd
Date: February 1, 2015
Genre: children's picture book; age: 4-8
Pages: 32
Price: $19.95; hardcover
My rating: an entertaining, beautifully illustrated story 

 

Here is another book I purchased at the children’s book fair I enjoyed a year ago.  Gertrude at the Beach is the second picture book written by Starr Dobson. The illustrator is Dayle Dodwell who also illustrated the first book.

In the first book, My Goat Gertrude (read my review of it here) – told by Starr from her perspective when she was a child, we meet Gertrude the goat who was brought into the family by Starr’s dad. Gertrude is immediately loved by the three little girls and is soon found to be a handful of mischief. In this story, Gertrude at the Beach, nothing much has changed in that regard. Gertrude still gets into trouble.

It’s summer vacation and the family packs up to go to their cottage on the beach. As it’s Gertrude’s first time to the ocean, everyone is excited to see how she will react. When they arrive the first thing Gertrude does after sniffing the salt air is to stick her head way in under an overturned rowboat that had been left there. She seems to be fascinated with boats because later they find the boat moving and discover it’s because Gertrude got herself completely under it.

Gertrude is an entertaining animal. A dried up jellyfish has to be taken away from her to stop her from trying to eat it, and Gertrude mopes when sent to her towel under the beach umbrella. Then disaster strikes. Gertrude disappears and finally Starr sees her splashing in fear in the ocean, apparently heading toward to an anchored boat. For some reason she isn’t trying to come back to shore. Somebody has to do something!

The fact that Gertrude at the Beach was written about things that actually happened in Starr Dobson‘s childhood makes it even more interesting for children to enjoy. Dayle Dodwell‘s beautiful illustrations round out the story well.

A portion of the sales of this book are being donated to the Mental Health Foundation of Nova Scotia.

You can find My Goat Gertrude by Starr Dobson on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Please encourage an author and illustrator by leaving a comment. Thank you.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

Book Review: Eagle of the Sea – by Kristin Bieber Domm

 

 

 

 


Book: Eagle of the Sea
Author: Kristin Bieber Domm
Illustrator: Jeffrey C. Domm
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Date: March 1, 2011
Genre: Children's picture book; age 4 - 8; Preschool - 3 
Pages: 32
Price: $9.95
My rating: An informative story about the bald eagle

On a weekend away with my husband last autumn I purchased this little book in a gift shop. Just look at the sharp eye of the eagle on the cover of Eagle of the Sea written by Kristin Bieber Domm. Her husband, Jeffrey C. Domm is an accomplished illustrator, and his illustrations in this book are fabulous.

Eagle of the Sea is written in first person so the reader is told the eagle’s story from its own experience. The eagle tells what it looks like and how those features are of benefit, where it lives, how it hunts and brings up its young with its mate. Included are many fascinating facts about eagles, such as why it’s called the bald eagle. Many people don’t realize that “bald” is the word for “marked with white.”

Where I live I can see at least one eagle almost every day, often more. In fact, while writing this post I stopped to take my little dog outside for a few minutes. Instead of letting her run loose behind our house as I occasionally do, I felt this time I should keep her on leash. I’m glad I did! While Meyya was snuffling around in the grass, an eagle soared overhead, coming in closer and closer. I’m sure she had an eye on all eight pounds of little Meyya. To the eagle she would be the equivalent of a good-sized rabbit!

In Eagle of the Sea there is information about eagle watches here in Nova Scotia where this amazing bird is protected so that we now have a thriving population of them. They are an awe-inspiring bird, and easily recognized by their call, size, flight habits, and more. Kristin Bieber Domm has included all a young reader will want to know about eagles, and the illustrations by Jeffrey C. Domm are amazingly life-like.

You can find Eagle of the Sea by Kristin Bieber Domm on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Please encourage an author – leave a comment.

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: Normal Norman – by Tara Lazar

 

 

 

 

 

Book: Normal Norman
Author: Tara Lazar
Illustrator: S.britt
Publisher: Sterling Children's Books
Genre: children's picture book; age 4 & up; Preschool & up 
Date: March 1, 2016
Pages: 40
Price: $14.95
My rating: Funny with lots of encouragement to love 
your differences 

Normal Norman by Tara Lazar is a book about defining the word normal, and in a very funny way.

The narrator of this story is a junior scientist who is narrating for the first time. She wants it to go well, so she introduces Norman. Norman is an orangutan, an average, ordinary, common creature – or so she thinks.

The junior scientist measures him and finds he is normal in size. Then she discovers Norman eating a snack, but he doesn’t eat bananas, he’s eating pizza. When she peels a banana for him he freaks out! He thinks it’s cruel! It gets more and more abnormal from there.

This is a funny story. Children will love that Norman is a purple orangutan who wears eyeglasses, which should have been the first clues to the narrator that Norman is far from being a normal orangutan. Norman also doesn’t want to sleep in a pile of leaves and branches like orangutans do, and he has a favourite stuffed toy.

The junior scientist narrator is distraught. Nothing is going as planned. Then Norman has an idea.

Children will love Tara Lazar‘s ending for Normal Norman. It’s funny and unexpected. The illustrations by S. Britt are fun and fabulous, making Norman a memorable character.

You can find Normal Norman by Tara Lazar on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Would you like to leave a comment for me, or for the author and/or illustrator?

Thanks for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

Book Review: The King of Keji – by Jan L. Coates

 

 

 

 


Book: The King of Keji
Author: Jan L. Coates
Illustrator: Patsy MacKinnon
Publisher: Nimbus Publishing Ltd.
Date: September 1, 2015
Genre: children's picture book; age 5 - 8;  K - 3
Pages: 32
Price: $12.95
My rating: lovely story of discovering treasures hidden 
in plain sight

The King of Keji by Jan L. Coates is another book I purchased at the children’s book fair in 2016. Personal note: When Nova Scotia’s Kejimkujik National Park was in its early development stage my dad was one of the skilled workers on site making that happen. I was a young girl then and one weekend my mother, sister, and I went along and stayed overnight with Dad in one of the cabins a short but safe distance from the construction.

In The King of Keji we meet Jacob, a young boy who is tired of being second to his older brother. His brother is always king of the castle which makes Jacob the dirty rascal – a nursery rhyme game – so his grandfather teaches Jacob about being a king in nature. Gramps takes Jacob to Kejimkujik National Part for a weekend of camping, hiking, and searching for hidden treasure. Hidden treasure is different from buried treasure, so Jacob learns to look for the things hidden in plain sight, things he would otherwise easily overlook.

They discuss what treasures a king would have and thought of a sceptre,  antiques, turquoise, diamonds, jade, emeralds, and several more. Jacob finds a long piece of driftwood that works well as a sceptre and they set out. While hiking, Gramps takes pictures of the things they find. Some of the treasures were the emerald-green leaves of an ancient hemlock tree, the diamond sparkle of the lake, the jade colour of frogs sitting on moss-covered rocks, and the gold and ruby colours of the sunset that night. Jacob feels like a king with all that treasure – even though they took nothing away with them except pictures – and learns how to be more observant and respectful of his surroundings.

The King of Keji is a story very well told, full of description and the allurement of a nature hike in one of Nova Scotia’s beautiful provincial parks. The illustrations by Patsy MacKinnon are full of nature’s colours. The reader gets to appreciate the variety found in Keji park from the huge trees along the hiking trails, to the animals that live there and in the salt marsh, to the glorious sky as the sun is setting.

The King of Keji by Jan L. Coates encourages readers to be more aware of what’s around them in nature, and to appreciate the treasures already provided for us.

You can find The King of Keji by Jan L. Coates on my BUY THE BOOK page. I also post my reviews on Amazon.com, Amazon.ca, Goodreads, and sometimes Chapters.Indigo.

Thank you for reading, and … Creative Musings!  🙂

 

 

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!  🙂

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!  🙂