Yash Recommends: Medicine Walk by Richard Wagamese

Franklin Starlight is called to visit his father, Eldon. He’s sixteen years old and has had the most fleeting of relationships with the man. The rare moments they’ve shared haunt and trouble Frank, but he answers the call, a son’s duty to a father. He finds Eldon decimated after years …

Janet Recommends: The Blackthorn Key by @kevinsandsbooks

“Tell no one what I’ve given you.” Until he got that cryptic warning, Christopher Rowe was happy, learning how to solve complex codes and puzzles and creating powerful medicines, potions, and weapons as an apprentice to Master Benedict Blackthorn—with maybe an explosion or two along the way. But when a …

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.

That Fatal Night: A Dear Canada Book, Guest Post by Laura MacDonald

When I found out the theme for this month was Canadian Children’s Literature, my initial reaction was “Oh well, maybe I can write something next month…” I have never thought of myself as someone who reads a lot of Canadian Literature, let alone Canadian Children’s Literature – it just never seems to …

Canadian Apocalypses

Maybe it’s the cold Canadian climate, the tension between being an industrialized nation with a population concentrated in cities and being a source for primary goods (wood, ores, fish, furs,grain, etc) which, historically, was kind of the whole point of  Canada, or some combination of the peculiar historical-geographical nature of …

Interview with Judith Saltman

This month, Canadian literature month, we thought we’d interview the chair of our Master’s in Children’s Literature program and favourite lecturer, Professor Judith Saltman (known to us as Judi). Judi specializes in Canadian children’s literature and is the founder the Canadian Children’s Illustrated Books (English) website/archive  which is a wonderful resource …