On the bookshelf

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Teeny, Tiny Toady 

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By Jill Esbaum, illustrator Keika Yamaguchi

I have an affection for baby toads, having caught hundreds as a kid and encouraged my sons to do the same. They are cute and Teeny Tiny Toady is even cuter and turns out to be a hero in this tale that has the big mother toad caught in a bucket. The tiny toad enlists her big brothers to orchestrate a rescue but in the end it’s the little sister who saves the day. The lilting rhyming verse takes readers through this story that boosts girl power with humour and emotion. Ages 4 to 7 – Publisher Sterling Children’s Books – $16.95 hardcover

 

Salamander Dance 

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By David FitzSimmons, illustrator Michael DiGiorgio

The stunning illustrations in this salute to the spotted salamander lend much to the description of its life cycle and the ecology and biodiversity of vernal pools where they live. With spring unfolding all around us this month and Earth Day celebrated on April 22, this book perfect for introducing kids to this fascinating species that survives in the forests and wetlands all around us. Ages 2 to 8 – Publisher Wild Iris Publishing – $19.99 hardcover

 

Dragonfly Kites

By Thomson Highway, illustrator by Julie Glett 

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The author shares his cultural heritage subtly in a simple story of two young Cree brothers, Joe and Cody, who spend the summer along with their parents and little dog on the shores of a northern Manitoba lake. In this splendidly painted portrait of childhood, the boys spend their time exploring the land, its creatures and their imaginations. Like the first book in Thomson Highway’s “Songs of the North Wind” trilogy it also features bilingual text, written in English and Cree. Ages 4 to 7 – Publisher Fifth House Publishers – $19.95 hardcover

 

Mighty Truck

By Chris Baron, illustrator Troy Cummings 

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Little boys are especially attracted to construction sites and the mighty machines that do the heavy lifting. In this tale that mashes truck and super hero themes, the fun loving, dedicatedly dirty Clarence becomes Mighty Truck during a rare trip through a truck wash. The previously ordinary pick-up truck uses his new super truck powers to heroic advantage. With super strength, super speed and super bounce he manages to save the day. The bright and lively illustrations add even more impact to this action-packed picture book. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher Harper Collins – $21.99 hardcover

 

Edward Built a Rocketship

By Michael Rack, illustrator Graham Ross 

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The idea of blasting off into space has fueled the imagination of generations. The author strings the tale along using words that rhyme, and Edward builds a rocket ship in record-breaking time. This is a fun read supported by equally entertaining illustrations by Graham Ross, who studied at Sheridan College in Oakville. Edward will be an inspiration to kids whose imagination is stuck in neutral. Ages 3 to 8 – Publisher Hutton Grove – $19.99 US

 

I Want A Monster!

By Elise Gravel 

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Sure baby monsters are cute and funny but like all babies, they are a lot of work as Winnie is about to discover. Her friends all have monsters and after some pestering, her dad helps her choose the perfect one from the Monsterium. As little baby Gus, a bright red Oogly-Wump grows, Winnie learns to deal with his monster-oriented behaviours and discovers there’s one thing he really needs. Extend the fun with the “Would You Like to Adopt a Monster?” activity at the back of the book. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher Harper Collins – $21.99 hardcover

 

 

The Typewriter

By Bill Thomson 

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Thanks Bill Thomson for resurrecting the typewriter and stirring nostalgia in this reader but mostly, thanks for creating such an incredible series of drawings that lay out this imaginative adventure. The award-winning creator of this journey uses just nine words, typed words, to propel the story. Three children are launched into a fantasy by the words they type, beginning with “beach”. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher Two Lions – $17.99 US hardcover

 

Just My Luck

By Cammie McGovern 

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The reader can’t help but like Benny Barrows. He’s a nice kid who is experiencing a string of bad luck. Grade 4 isn’t going as well as he’d hoped, his best friend has moved away and worst of all, he thinks he is responsible for his dad’s brain injury. Benny’s challenges and his determination to focus on helping others and take things one step at a time as his mom suggests, make for a heartwarming read that will have a powerful and positive effect on young readers. The award-winning author also manages to make readers laugh. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher Harper Collins Children’s – $21 hardcover

 

 

Sea Change

By Frank Viva 

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A summer spent in a fishing village in a remote part of Nova Scotia is the setting for this coming-of-age story by critically acclaimed author Frank Viva. By the end of the summer, Elliot might not want to leave this place where he didn’t want to be, thanks to a mysterious girl and a secret library. Dealing with bullies and grumpy old men is part of Elliot’s warm and funny story told in the pages of this innovatively designed book that breaks up the pages of copy with drawings and clever positioning of text. This unique approach makes for an accessible and enjoyable read even for the reluctant reader. Ages 10 and up – Publisher Penguin Random House – $21.99 hardcover


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