On the bookshelf

The_midnight_gang

Train: A Journey Through  the Pages Book

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By Mike Vago, illustrator Matthew Rockefeller

A 2016 National Parenting Product Awards (NAPPA) winner, this thick board book is also a train track that takes the reader on a journey across the North American landscape. A little model train engine makes the journey all the more fun as it loops up and down and across each double-page spread, traveling on an interior track from front to back without leaving the pages. The panoramic landscapes are filled with details for readers to discover and the simple rhyming text keeps the story chugging happily along. Ages 3 to 6 – Publisher, Workman Publishing – $32.95 hardcover

 

Whisper 

By Joe Fitzpatrick, illustrator Marco Furlotti

Bedtime is not the best time for a book that promotes boisterous behaviour. Bedtime stories don’t have to be as placid as this one but if you love to snuggle in close for a peaceful end to the day then this is the picture book for you and your little sleepy head. As the title suggests, it’s a book with text that is whispered. The words are wonderfully crafted and the images are beautiful. It’s a story that’s ideal for bedtime but special enough to become a favourite that can be read any time a cuddle is warranted. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher, Flowerpot Press – $19.57 hardcover

 

Little Blue Chair 

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By Cary Fagan, illustrator Madeline Kloepper

It was not until after I’d thoroughly enjoyed reading this stellar picture book that I realized it was written by Cary Fagan and then I thoroughly understood the reason it was so enjoyable. He knows how to weave a beautiful story and this one follows the path of a traveling chair that begins as a seat for a small child who loves to sit and read. The chair winds its way through many owners and uses and then back to the now grown child, who passes it onto his little daughter. Charming and whimsical, this is a highly recommended read-aloud with perfectly matched illustrations. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Tundra Books – $22.99 hardcover

 

Almost a Full Moon

By Hawksley Workman, illustrator Jensine Eckwall

Based on the lyrics of Hawksley Workman’s song from his holiday album “Almost a Full Moon”, this book contrasts winter’s cold and cozy side. Crisp night air, snow sparkling in the moon light outside and inside the warm glow of candles, a gathering of family and friends and a shared meal as a boy and his grandmother host a gathering in their small cabin in the middle of winter. The minimal text is beautifully enriched with the illustrations of Jensine Eckwall, a new talent to Tundra. Listen to the song while leafing through the pages for another wonderful winter experience. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Tundra Books – $21.99 hardcover

 

Wolfie & Fly 

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By Cary Fagan, illustrator Zoe Si

Fans of Ivy & Bean, Judy Moody or Nate the Great will appreciate this classic story of imagination, friendship and adventure told by a master (see review above). Budding readers are treated to an early chapter book that keeps the text simple but the story intriguing. Kids will enjoy the story line that has the heroine, Renata Wolfman (Wolfie) striking up an unlikely friendship with the wordy boy next store, Livingston Flott (Fly). What could go wrong as they speed through the ocean in a submarine made from a cardboard box? Wolfie the loner discovers friends aren’t so bad after all. Ages 7 to 10 – Publisher, Random House – $19.99 hardcover

 

5 Giraffes

By Anne Innis Dagg

The latest in the 5 Animals series, this edition profiles five unique giraffes from both captivity and the wild and uses their stories to show why these creatures must be protected. Written by Anne Innis Dagg, an animal rights advocate, scientist and teacher, it provides information and fun facts about their diet, social life and some of the more unusual attributes of this unique and iconic part of the African landscape. Readers will also discover how they can become a Giraffe Guardian. Ages 9 and up – Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $24.95 hardcover

 

The Midnight Gang 

By David Williams, illustrator Tony Ross

All you could ask of a book for this age group, it’s a pleasure to read. This seasoned author has created an incredibly funny, original and thought-provoking tale about five children on a hospital ward and their quest for adventure. There are also heart-warming elements to this story of friendship and magic and of making dreams come true. The author was hailed as “the new Roald Dahl” by a review in the Evening Standard and readers are likely to agree. Ages 9 to 12 – Publisher, Harper Collins – $21.99 hardcover

 

Beautiful Minecraft 

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By James Delaney

This amazing visual buffet immerses Minecraft fans in a world of astonishing Minecraft creations like floating steampunk cities, massive alien worlds, detailed classical sculptures, fantastical landscapes, and architectural marvels. The sculptures and scenes throughout the book are built from thousands to millions of Minecraft blocks and represent months and even years of design work on the part of their creators. The author said he “wanted to show how a video game can become a true artistic medium...how players can become artists”. All Ages – Publisher, No Starch Press – $19.95 USD hardcover

 

Elon Musk and the 

Quest for a Fantastic Future

By Ashlee Vance

This is the young readers edition of the well-received adult biography of Elon Musk, one of the world’s most important entrepreneurs. This adaptation makes this in-depth exploration of his extraordinary life accessible to younger readers and features black-and-white photographs throughout. Written with exclusive access to Elon, his family, and his friends, this book traces Elon’s journey from a kid in South Africa to a young man in the United States and his incredible contribution as the founder of companies such as SpaceX, Tesla Motors, SolarCity, and PayPal. The author makes the riveting story easy to follow and ideal for younger readers to get a picture of this brilliant and driven man. Ages 10 to 14 – Publisher, Harper Collins – $21  hardcover


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