On the Bookshelf

By Jane Muller

Happy Birthday from The Very Hungry Caterpillar
From the World of Eric Carle
More than a birthday card, this lovely little gift book features Eric Carle’s bright, colourful artwork of birthday surprises along with The Very Hungry Caterpillar. It’s a gift/card for all ages. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Penguin Randomhouse – $11.99 hardcover

Count on Me
By Miguel Tanco
It’s important to provide kids with a variety of experiences. Music, dance and karate lessons, skating and art classes enrich their lives but they can spark a passion. For some, the spark is ignited by all things mathematical. A love of math is not usually celebrated, making this story both unique and eye opening. It’s a gentle tale of a little girl who sees math in beautiful things, like the concentric circles a stone creates in a lake. At the end of this beautifully illustrated story are some artfully presented simple math concept.  Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Tundra – $21.99 hardcover

The Brain Storm
By Linda Ragsdale, illustrator Claudio Molina
There are no words in this storybook that addresses how a child can bring peace into his world. The illustrations show a dark mass of squiggly lines following a young boy through his day, rubbing off on those around him, as a bad mood can do. At the end of his frustrating day he manages to work through his feelings and emotions. The unique illustrations give “readers” a chance to interpret his feelings and identify with his struggle and eventual solution. It’s a great exercise for all ages. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Thomas Allen & Son – $21.99 hardcover

Everything is Connected
By Jason Gruhl, illustrator Ignasi Font
Some big thinking about social consciousness and environmental awareness is creatively expressed at a child’s level in this magical story about a powerful idea. It explains how everything is connected, and we are part of that connection: “…to pharaohs, Ben Franklin, T. Rex, ancient Greece, to love and to poverty, hunger and peace.” Simple illustrations, creative typography and lyrical flow make this an enlightening read. Ages 4 to 8 years – Publisher, Penguin Random House – 22.95 hardcover

A Friend Like Iggy
By Kathryn Cole, photography, Ian Richards
The candid photos that capture the essence of Iggy the service dog really tell the story of how he works his magic with the kids he supports. This true story explores the role of a special dog that helps abused kids navigate a challenging and difficult time in their life. As a facilitator dog, his job is to make each child he meets comfortable with the job they have to do during police interviews, preparing for court, counselling sessions and testifying in court. He’s so much more than a good dog. Ages 6 to 8 – Publisher Second Story Press – $18.95 hardcover

Dear Professor Whale
By Megumi Iwasa, illustrator Jun Takabatake
When this book was delivered it brought back good memories of reading “Yours Sincerely Giraffe” This follow up did not disappoint as it continues the story of friendships that develop and flourish through letter writing. It features some of the sweet and quirky animal characters that were introduced in the first book and features some new ones as the crew work to resurrect the Whale Point Olympics. This is a wonderful little chapter book with fun black and white drawings throughout. Ages 5 to 9 – Publisher, Gecko Press – $16.99 US hardcover

Riding Lessons: An Ellen and Ned Book
By Jane Smiley
Girls and horses are a natural pairing and this book is perfect for young horse lovers. They’ll relate to 11-year-old Ellen’s experience as a riding student who is introduced to jumping, dressage techniques and more magically to Ned, a horse like no other. I love that she has read “Misty of Chincoteague” four times. It’s a book that I enjoyed as a child who shared Ellen’s affection for horses. Readers will be able to ride along with Ellen again as this is the first of a trilogy. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Random House Children’s Books – $22.99 hardcover

Matilda at 30
By Roald Dahl, illustrator Quentin Blake
Stand-up comedian, astrophysicist or author: what would Roald Dahl’s book-loving psychic have become? Children’s authors imagine her future, alongside new illustrations by Quentin Blake in the 30th anniversary of the novel that features a brave little girl who loves books and hates bullies. Blake was only asked by Matilda’s current publishers to create one sketch, showing what she would be up to as a 30-year-old. Instead, the 85-year-old created eight, three of which appear on the covers of the 30th anniversary editions. Ages 8 to 12 –Publisher, Penguin Random House – $26.95 hardcover

The Mozart Girl
By Barbara Nickel
This novel blends fact and fiction to bring the eighteenth century world of the talented young Mozart siblings to life. The quality of writing, the compelling tale and the well-developed character of Nannerl and her little brother Wolfgang, make this an engaging read that shows how girls were repressed, even those bursting with talent. Considered a brilliant musician, Nannerl’s passion for music pushes her to reach for more. Ages 9 to 12 – Publisher, Second Story Press – $10.99 paperback