Publisher Spotlight Review: A House Without Mirrors by Mårten Sandén (Author), Moa Schulman (Illustrator), Karin Altenberg (Translator)

Hardcover, 176 pages Published July 4th 2013 by Pushkin Children’s Books Source: Publisher The days after everyone had left felt unreal. The empty rooms in Henrietta’s house were in constant shadow, in spite of the late summer sun outside the windows. A strange silence rolled through the halls and corridors, …

Publisher Spotlight: Pushkin Press: An Introduction and an Interview of Adam Freudenheim, Publisher and Managing Director

Pushkin Children’s Press: The Official Story Just as we all are, children are fascinated by stories. From the earliest age, we love to hear about monsters and heroes, romance and death, disaster and rescue, from every place and time. In 2013, we created Pushkin Children’s Books to share these tales …

Publisher Spotlight: Bluebird @simplyreadbooks



Review Copy from Simply Read Books, released January 2014. 

Simply Read Books presents first time author/illustrator Lindsey Yankey, a local from British Columbia, telling her tale of the little Bluebird who can’t find it’s friend, the wind.

To tell the tale of the quiet little Bluebird, Yankey combines line drawings, collage, botanical motifs, and plenty of airy space. The story takes place in a park, which has tall trees and a green lawn flanked by classically proportioned buildings. Readers, or viewers if you are in the book for the art (which is phenomenal), follow the bluebird as she visits the places she’s found the wind before. Indeed throughout the book there is a motif of observation, as though the reader is observing the art of the little Bluebird’s flight and search through park. The Bluebird herself stops to observe many different things throughout the story as she notices that the wind is nowhere to be found. Everything is still, she sees model sailboats float motionless in the park pond; a kite lies undisturbed on a bench. Even Grandma Brooks’ wind chimes are silent. The Bluebird is seen perched outside Grandma’s window watching as Grandma watches her Granddaughter sleep.

The wind loved to make music with Grandma

Brooks’ wind chimes. But even here she couldn’t

hear a whisper from her friend.

When the bluebird has almost given up her search, she realizes that she has gotten to the top of the tallest building all on her own. Bluebird realizes that she has been flying all along without the wind’s help. To accompany Bluebird and her newfound self-confidence and skill the wind returns and joins her in her explorations.

This pattern of observation from a distance gives the story a dreamy calm; Yankey’s use of muted colours and creamy pages deepen the tranquillity. Delightful illustrations of city-life are realized with vibrant and muted colour alike, making each page full of interest for eyes young and old. While the story itself has been fashioned with care and is told neatly and poetically, it is the illustration and design that really bring Bluebird to life.

Bluebird is yet another lovely book from Vancouver publisher Simply Read Books’ unusual, and lively, catalogue. Bluebird consists of a soothing, familiar sequence of events as the little bird tries to find the wind which has been her constant companion. Why? Because she can’t fly without it! So, we have problem, action and an eventual solution. This simple story is infused with lovely images and beautiful Picturebook design, as only Simply Read seems to have mastered.

Highly recommended for lovers of beautiful picturebooks and for readalouds to very young children (it’s very soothing with lovely images to look at).


 ***NOTE: I must apologize to Simply Read Books and the lovely Lindsey Yankey for the earlier mix up this week, it seems my review of Bluebird was not firmly saved in WordPress.

Publisher Spotlight: Simply Read Books: Dotty, Not Just Another Princess Story, and The Cardinal & the Crow

 Dotty by Paola Opal Hardcover, 24 pages Published 2010 by Simply Read Books Source: Publisher This new book in the Simply Small series features Dotty, a little fawn. Mommy and Dotty are on their way through the field searching for strawberries. When Mommy leaps across a stream without getting wet, …

Publisher Spotlight Review: Snow White and Rose Red retold by Kallie George and illustrated by Kelly Vivanco

Snow White & Rose Red retold by Kallie George and illustrated by Kelly Vivanco Hardcover, 40 pages Published January 26th 2014 by Simply Read Books Source: Publisher The art in this one is SO BEAUTIFUL, OH MY GOSH. Just feast your eyes for a bit. Okay? Have you recovered? All …

Publisher Spotlight Review: Wild Berries by Julie Flett

Wild Berries/Pikaci-Mīnisa by Julie Flett Hardcover, 32 pages Published October 8th 2013 by Simply Read Books Source: Publisher I love Wild Berries for many reasons so let me attempt to articulate some of them. 1. Wild Berries/ Pikaci-Mīnisa celebrates the Cree language. While the version I read is written in English, there is another version …