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If I Were a Kangaroo

By Mylisa Larsen, illustrator Anna Raff

Bedtime is not just for little humans, animals curl up to sleep each night (or day) too. This is a rhyming tale that uses the sing-song flow of words to its advantage. It’s fun to read-aloud about the imagined bedtime rituals of animals from whales to otters, squirrels to gorillas. It’s a lovely way to end the day with your little love. Age 0 to 3 – Publisher Penguin Young Readers; Viking – $23.99 hardcover


Pass it On

By Sophy Henn

The pages of this book should be beaming with happiness. Since it’s not possible for paper to beam, the uplifting message does the trick. Readers are encouraged to pass it on, the “it” being a laugh or a smile, something wonderful to see, and many other of life’s good things. This joyful book gives readers even more to smile about since it’s created by picture book star Sophy Henn – World Book Day illustrator and shortlisted for the Waterstones Children’s Book Prize. It’s a read on the sunny side that will brighten your day. Ages 2 to 5 – Publisher, Penguin Young Readers; Philomel Books – $22.99 hardcover


Charlotte and the Rock

By Stephen W. Martin, illustrator Samantha Cotterill

A child’s desire to have a pet is a popular picture book theme. The fact is that many children wish that they could have a pet. None would expect to get a rock in response to their wish but that’s what happens to Charlotte. In great chin-up style, she makes the best of it and learns to love her big round rock despite its inability to cuddle or fetch. Then a big surprise happens that rocks Charlotte’s world and makes this book more than just another about a child wanting a pet and getting something unexpected.  Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Penguin Young Readers; Dial – $22.99 hardcover


The Book of Mistakes

By Corinna Luyken

We all make mistakes and this memorable picture book reminds us that mistakes can be part of the creative process. The featured young artist is able to transform those oops moments into things of beauty. Visually pleasing, the illustrations are clean and simple, yet detailed and expressive. They are skilfully employed to tell the story that reminds us that we are all works in progress. Accidental splotches, spots, and misshapen things are incorporated into the art in quirky and unexpected ways. Minimal text is all that’s needed to draw the reader along. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher, Penguin Young Readers – $24.99 hardcover


A Pattern for Pepper

By Julie Kraulis

Textiles are like works of art featuring pattern and colour and texture. The thread of this tale follows Pepper as she, with the expert assistance of Mr. Taylor, chooses the perfect fabric for a custom-made dress. Mr. Taylor introduces her to the world of textiles including hounds tooth, seersucker, argyle and dotted Swiss and provides a brief explanation of their origin. A man in pin-stripe suit, the herringbone pattern on the floor of his shop and Pepper’s argyle socks are among the items that Mr. Taylor uses to inform Pepper’s decision. The illustrator sticks with shades of blue and brown to masterfully turn textiles into picture book art. Ages 5 to 9 – Publisher, Tundra Books – $21.99 hardcover


Where Will I Live?

By Rosemary McCarney

It can be hard for a young child to imagine what it’s like to flee from his or her home to escape terrible danger. Using amazing photographs (taken by UNHCR—the United Nations High Commissioner for Refugees), this book introduces children to the plight of child refugees all over the world and their search for a safe place to live. It also shows that in spite of everything, child refugees can find time to laugh, play, and make friends. And most importantly, they have hope that somewhere, someone will welcome them to a new home. Written by Canada’s Ambassador to the United Nations, “Where Will I Live?” will help children whose lives are not directly affected by this crisis think about the importance of home, and what life is like for a child refugee who does not have a permanent, safe home. Ages 5 to 9 – Publisher, Second Story Press, $19.95 hardcover


Hand Over Hand

By Alma Fullerton, illustrator Renne Benoit

Girls often face obstacles simply because they are girls. This simple story will empower girls to take on a challenge with Nina setting a perfect example. She wants her grandfather to take her fishing but he insists that girls don’t belong on boats. When he finally relents, Nina has to prove that she can catch a fish and be worthy of a place on the fishing boat. Ages 5 to 8 – Publisher Second Story Press – $16.95 hardcover


Strong is the New Pretty

By Kate T. Parker

There is a lot of strength portrayed in the more than 175 memorable photographs featured in this 250-page book of inspiration. This celebration of spirit, in words and written on faces, reveals girls being themselves and proves that authenticity trumps any other perceptions of beauty. The candid and captivating images send a powerful message about what it takes to raise a strong and self confident person as well as what it takes to be one. Age 7 and up – Publisher, Workman Publishing – $26.95 paperback


King of the Bench: No Fear!

By Steve Moore

The nationally syndicated cartoonist of “In the Bleachers” has created the first in a middle-grade series about a kid named Steve, who plays the same position in every sport: bench-warmer. Complete with his funny illustrations on most pages, it’s perfect for fans of “Diary of a Wimpy Kid” and “Timmy Failure”. Kids of all playing abilities will relate to this ode to teammates, underdogs, and bench-warmers everywhere. Oh, and if you’re wondering why Steve would write a book and tell total strangers all about the humiliating phobia that almost ruined his first year on the baseball team? Duh. It’s pretty much a rule that you spill your guts when you write a book about yourself. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher HarperCollins – $17.50 hardcover