The Enemy: A Picturebook About Humanity, War and Peace

    The Enemy by Swedish author Davide Cali and published in Australia by @wilkinsfarago is a unique picturebook that I stumbled across while processing the special orders @KKBOttawa this past week. When I unpacked The Enemy from the box I was at first completely mesmerized. What was this strange book? …

@Inhabit_Media: The Culture of the North, an unofficial Publisher Spotlight

Since I started working at the local children’s bookstore, Kaleidoscope Kids Books, here in Ottawa, I have had the pleasure of discovering and uncovering fabulous local authors and Canada only publishers. Inhabit Media was one of my finds. Since this month is “getting real” or “realistic stories,” (however you’d like …

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.

On Tricksters: Ananse and Kanchil

A trickster is just what a storymaker needs: a character who makes things happen. – “Author’s Note”, Ananse’s Feast: An Ashanti Tale, retold by Tololwa M. Mollel and illustrated by Andrew Glass. The line separating folklore and fairytales is blurry at best, with most people understanding fairytales as a kind of “subgenre” …