Poetry Friday November 1, 2019

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Tabatha Yeatts: The Opposite of Indifference. If you are interested in a writing retreat for yourself, Tabatha has information for how to accomplish it! Don't forget to check out the links to other participants sharing poetry today.

Last week's post was all about the creepiness of Halloween. I have been working a lot this week and didn't expect to post today. Then I saw this picture of my two grandkids. The poem wrote itself. 

Poetry Friday October 25 2019

Poetry Friday is hosted today by Karen Edmisten. She is sharing an ode to autumn, October by Helen Hunt Jackson. Don't forget to check out the links to other participants sharing poetry today.

Halloween is my favourite holiday. There's no feast to prepare and no gifts to purchase. You just buy candy, get dressed up, and enjoy all the delightful scariness. Plus, it's a fun way to get to know your neighbours and their children.

For many years I taught family groupings of grades 3/4/5 students. Each October I would dig out my copy of Jack Prelutsky's Nightmares: Poems to trouble your sleep. (I wanted to take a photograph to show you how beat up it is, but it's tucked away in a box somewhere.) The collection was originally published in 1976. Throughout my career I never found anything so delightfully macabre that's appropriate for elementary students. In that last week before All Hallows Eve, I would read one or two poems aloud every day. These are not playful verses with happy endings. They terrify. I am not a fan of the horror genre, but can manage  to get through one or two at a time. Prelutsky's rhyming poetry is rich and explicit. Even when students don't really grasp the vocabulary, they understand the ominous tone. Arnold Lobel's sinister illustrations just make it all the more scarier.

The collection is chock full of creepiness, but my favourite is The Ghoul. It is guaranteed to intimidate even the most bold and brash students.


The gruesome ghoul, the grisly ghoul,

without the slightest noise
waits patiently beside the school
to feast on girls and boys.

He lunges fiercely through the air

as they come out to play,
then grabs a couple by the hair
and drags them far away.

He cracks their bones and snaps their backs

and squeezes out their lungs,
he chews their thumbs like candy snacks
and pulls apart their tongues.

He slices their stomachs and bites their hearts

and tears their flesh to shreds,
he swallows their toes like toasted tarts
and gobbles down their heads.

Fingers, elbows, hands and knees

and arms and legs and feet -
he eats them with delight and ease,
for every part's a treat.

And when the gruesome, grisly ghoul

has nothing left to chew,
he hurries to another school
and waits...perhaps for you.

© Jack Prelutsky 1976

I've never found a book quite so perfect for the season. Have you?

I was most likely under Prelutsky's influence when I penned Anthrophobia. I wrote it in response to this month's padlet challenge at Today's Little Ditty, "
write a poem about something a monster is afraid of." Michelle Heidenrich Barnes shared it here. Spiders give me nightmares - especially if I see one before I go to sleep. 
I try hard to get along with them and mostly succeed if they follow the rules and stay outside!  


In my web I hide in silence
Fearful of your awful science

What harm I’ve done I do not know
I wish you did not hate me so

I munch the bugs that harm your plants
I decimate both flies and ants

I venture out at times it’s true
But I don’t mean to startle you

I do my best to help you out
Still you see me and scream and shout

You grab a shoe prepared to swing
I bolt hole from that ghastly thing

Cowering now inside this crack
I wait in fear your next attack

Please not the long and roaring pipe
That suctions web and devours life

Viler still is the noxious spray
From which no beast can get away

#IMWAYR October 21, 2019

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

My partner and I went off for a few days to our home in the Okanagan Valley. On our way we discovered that a cousin of mine had died and his funeral was on the following Saturday. We decided to stick around for that. Besides lazing around, baking, eating and reading, I got all the windows washed and vacuumed and dusted the basement. Then on Saturday we travelled east with another cousin and his wife to the service, a three hour drive from there and another three hours back. Early Sunday we got up, tidied the house, and headed back to Vancouver. We sure are glad to be back with our grandkids!

Today is a big day here in Canada as we are voting to elect a new federal government. Not only to I have to get out early and vote, I have to pick up and prepare food for book club at my place at 1:30. I'm also booked to go and help get out the vote for the candidate of my choice after that. All this means that I will try and read everyone's post later this week. Keep your fingers crossed that we will end up with a progressive government.

Titles with a 🍁indicate this is a Canadian Author.

Clicking on the title of the book will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.


Poetry Friday October 11, 2019


5 stars
The Lion and the Bird by Marianne Dubuc & Claudia Zoe Bedrick (Translator) 🍁

A lion finds a wounded bird. He nurses it back to health. The next spring the bird flies off with the rest of it's flock. The lion, missing the bird, goes on with his life waiting and hoping. While this book is about friendship, it also reminded me about parenting. It's nearly wordless. The illustrations are breathtaking. Dubuc is the queen of how to use empty space. She reveals so much emotion and story in her images. I'm not even sure it needs the sparse text that's there.

5 stars
Bilal Cooks Daal by Aisha Saeed & Anoosha Syed (Illustrator)

This is a delightful story about friendship, cooking, and trying new things. Anoosha Syed's bright art highlights a community very much like the one I live in. On top of that, there is a recipe at the back of the book.
Guess what we are having for dinner tomorrow?

4 stars
I'm Worried (I'm Bored! #3) by Michael Ian Black & Debbie Ridpath Ohi (Illustrator)

While there are some humorous aspects to this book, ultimately it's a serious book about dealing with anxiety. While I doubt anxious children will suddenly recover from their worrying after reading this book, it might help them realize they are not alone. What it does well is provide an opportunity for building empathy and understanding in others.
Debbie Ridpath Ohi is Canadian. 🍁


4 stars
Tree of Dreams by Laura Resau

I appreciated so much about this book. There is a lot going on. It begins with a betrayal between two best friends. Our protagonist, Coco, and her mother own El Corazón, a chocolate shop that is losing money and will soon have to close. She enters a contest to win a trip to the Amazon where she plans to track down a special mother tree and find a treasure. Leo de la Cueva, her former best friend, also enters the contest. It's a tie so both of them, their mothers, and their elderly landlord take off on a journey into Ecuador. They end up to a remote Huaorani village in the heart of the Amazon. There Coco discovers that there are many different kinds of treasures.
Young readers will appreciate this story of redemption and forgiveness while they learn what devastation of the rainforest means to indigenous people. They will also learn a lot about chocolate making and how it makes everything better! I especially loved the magical realism aspects to the story that integrates science and wonder.

5 stars
Are You Ready to Hatch An Unusual Chicken? by Kelly Jones & Katie Kath (illustrator)

The first book in the series made me want to own my own flock of chickens. Living in the city makes that difficult. Upon finishing this one, I’m seriously contemplating moving to the country just so I too can be a poultry farmer.
In this book Sophie learns how to hatch unusual chickens. For the rest of us, it’s a lesson in how to hatch regular ones. It turns out that one of her chicks has truly unusual powers. Will Sophie get to keep it after a visit from the unusual poultry inspector? Read the book and find out!

4 stars
A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong & Xavière Daumarie (Illustrator) 🍁

This is an action packed novel full of monster fighting and narrow escapes. Rowan, queen elect turned monster hunter, doesn't always think things through. This lands her into all kinds of trouble. If she is to take on the mantle of the Royal Monster Hunter, she going to have to kill a gryphon. Luckily she manages to find friends in unlikely places to help her.
I was ok with all the monster chasing, subterfuge and betrayal, but nearly stopped reading when monster spiders entered the story. Why did their have to be spiders? I pretty much skipped that section.
This is the first in a series but comes to a satisfying conclusion none the less.
I couldn't help but make connections to Tamora Pierce's Alanna series, only this one is for a younger crowd.

4 stars
Commonwealth by Ann Patchett & Hope Davis (Narrator)

I was nervous about this adult novel. As soon as I started listening I realized I had started it before. I must have picked it up, started it, and then left it. I'm not sure I would have continued with it this time except I had a lot of work to do and this was the only audiobook I had to listen to.
Somehow, I became fascinated with this dysfunctional family. I couldn't stop listening.
It's the story of a divorce and six step siblings who learn to get along with, and even love one another. There are a lot of characters - some of them seemingly despicable. Yet Ann Patchett fills them all with humanity and tenderness. These are not caricatures. These are people - children and adults dealing with their circumstances and surviving.

5 stars
The Storied Life of A.J. Fikry by Gabrielle Zevin & Scott Brick (Narrator)

This is another adult novel. It celebrates the treasures and pleasures of being a reader. It’s loaded with romance, mystery, and even parenting tips. It highlights that we are made up of stories. It’s about love in all its many facets.
“There is only one word that matters.... We are what we love.. We are that we love.”
My eyes leaked a bit.


4 stars
After Life: Ways We Think about Death by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox 🍁

This is an appropriate middle grade resource for learning about death. It's certainly an interesting read. It provides a broad spectrum of information about many aspects of dying, death and grief. I like the multicultural nature of the book. I liked the layout. You could read it cover to cover, or just browse through it reading a section that interests you. It includes ample captioned photographs, diagrams, side bars, and fact boxes. The headings are highlighted in different colours. A life expectancy map shows where people have the longest life span. A chart shows what happens to a body after death. The back matter contains a resources list, a glossary and an index.
My only quibble is not so much that the font is small, although for my eyes it is, but that often text on photographs blends in making it challenging to read.
I would definitely purchase this one for my elementary or middle school library.

4 stars
Undocumented: A Worker's Fight by Duncan Tonatiuh

This is a book that needs to be shared again and again with people of all ages. It tells the story of one undocumented worker in the United States and introduces readers to others. The author's note at the end provides additional information.
I worry about the accordion fold format of the book. Published in the ancient Mixtec codex that represents this worker's background, I fear for it's durability in a school library. I also found some of the font difficult to read against the background.


I've just started listening to Unseen Academicals by Terry Pratchett. I'm in the middle of The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills. I've barely finished What the Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn, a Netgalley title, and will be writing a blog post about it this week. I made no progress on The Creativity Project by Colby Sharp or The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago because I left them in Vancouver. Sigh...


I'm trying to decide between Wherever She Goes by Kelley Armstrong, and Wicked Fox by Kat Cho. Laurie Hnatiuk has recommended I read the scary novel, Button Hill, by Canadian author, Michael Bradford. I did check out a digital copy from my library, but I'm still trying to dig up enough courage to start it. 


#MustReadIn2018 23/25
#MustReadNFIn2018 11/12 - one in progress
25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 22/25 - two in progress
25 books by Canadian Authors 74/25 
Big Book Reading Challenge 10/4
Goodreads Reading Challenge 338/333

Poetry Friday October 18, 2019

Poetry Friday is hosted today Jama at Jama's Alphabet Soup. Jama is an "author, blogger, foodie, alphabet lover, picture book nerd, soup maker, bear collector, diehard anglophile and secret wife of Colin Firth." (That's taken from her blog.) I am lucky to be Jama's facebook friend. Each day my feed is filled with gorgeous illustrations from modern and classic picture books. Today Jama is sharing snippets of poetry from Charles Ghigna’s new book,  Dear Poet: Notes to a Young Writer. Go on over and take note of the stunning illustrations created by his son. Don't forget to check out the links to other participants sharing poetry today.

I had a post ready to go last Friday with Catherine Flynn at Reading to the Core, except for needing a final check and to add details about her post. I woke and went looking for my laptop to do just that. It wasn't where I usually leave it. I searched all over our living room for it. It wasn't under any of our furniture. It wasn't snugly tucked into our book shelves. I even checked the grandchildren's toy shelves. No laptop. I ransacked the rest of the house. No laptop. Being more than halfway convinced that it had been stolen, I phoned Apple and they helped me lock it so all my stuff was safe.

As we were planning on leaving town, I gave up and started to pack. My favourite sweatshirt wasn't in the closet so I went to the hamper of folded laundry that I still hadn't put away. There in the middle of the basket under folded clothes was my laptop. By then I had run out of time, so I'm sharing last week's post today. A friend of mine suggested my computer had gone searching for missing socks. Another that maybe the hard drive wanted cleaning. Catherine focused on gratitude last week. I'm very grateful to have found my laptop.

A couple of weeks ago Catherine and her Swagger friends showed off their zenos. She explained, "invented by J. Patrick Lewis, a zeno is a ten line form with a 8-4-2-1-4-2-1-4-2-1 syllable sequence an abcdefdghd rhyme scheme." Having a penchant for patterns in mathematics, I couldn't resist having a go. I played around with this format off and on. It is much harder than I expected! At first I ended up having too many 4-2-1 sequences. I gave up and figured I'd use them all because I couldn't decide which one to abandon. The good thing about missing posting last Friday is that when I looked at it this week, the words just came together to make the whole poem work.

M's Quilt

here stitched with love is Marguerite's quilt
patterns dance in
white and
spinning centre
gracing now an 

I made this quilt for my mother in law who died a number of years ago. My partner and I inherited the house and contents so the quilt has come back to me.

#IMWAYR October 14, 2019

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!  I'm writing this on Sunday from Oliver, B.C., where we are happily looking forward to having dinner with friends this evening. I just have to prepare and bring some stuffed mushrooms as an appetizer. I tested the recipe yesterday on company we had over. They were delicious!

By the way, this coming October 19th, is #IReadCanadian day. Of course some of us read Canadian all the time, but it's nice to have a special day to acknowledge how much talent our country has. I hope all of you, even if you are not Canadian, will take time to read something from one of our authors next Saturday.

Titles with a 🍁indicate this is a Canadian Author.
Clicking on the title of the book will take you to the Goodreads page of the book.


The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el & Kelly Pousette (Illustrator) 🍁

Beverly, Right Here (Three Rancheros #3) by Kate DiCamillo


5 stars
A Carnival of Cats by Charles Ghigna & Kristi Bridgeman (Illustrator)

We have read this board book a gazillion times I think. My two year old granddaughter can now name the different kinds of 'kitties.' Much thanks to Charles Ghigna for another kid pleasing board book.

5 stars
You Made Me a Dad by Laurenne Sala & Mike Malbrough (Illustrations)

Heartwarming, tender and poignant are words to describe this book. It fills my heart up to overflowing. I love this father's perspective of what it means to be a parent. Alas, my library does not have, You Made me a Mother, by the same author.

5 stars
A Normal Pig by K-Fai Steele

Oh wow! Pip, the pig considers herself normal until a bully moves in and makes her aware of her differences. When her parents find out they take her to the city. There Pip is exposed to many languages and all kinds of different looking people. Upon her return home, Pip has regained her confidence in being herself.
I'm a person with one foot in a small, predominantly white, town, and another in a vibrant multicultural city. This book seems to showcase both of these realities.
This book has so much potential for profound classroom conversations. I'm itching to share it with a group of students!

3.5 stars
Turtle Pond by James Gladstone & Karen Reczuch (Illustrator) 🍁

Karen Reczuch's illustrations are drop dead gorgeous. I enjoyed the repetition in James Gladstone's poetry. Readers visit a pond across a year and discover interesting details about turtles. I appreciated the author's note in the back matter that provides additional information.

3 stars
The Little Guys by Vera Brosgol

I admire a lot about this book. Brosgol's art is gorgeous. I nearly swooned at the first page that begins,
"You are looking at the strongest guys in the whole forest.
Down here.
On this island."
These words take us from the top of the page, to the middle, and finally to the bottom where what we see looks like a deserted island.
I'm not sure if making a connection between these little creatures and the Wee Free Men of Terry Pratchett's novels is a good or bad thing. I loved Pratchett's creatures but these Little Guys here aren't nearly so endearing.

5 stars
Birdsong by Julie Flett 🍁

This book is so wonderful. In the spring a young girl and her mother leave their home by the ocean and move to the country. Agnes, an elderly artist is their neighbour. Across the year the girl connects with Agnes.
This book made me shiver. As an aging person myself, I’m coming more and more to understand the importance of cross generation friendships.

4 stars
A Piglet Named Mercy by Kate DiCamillo & Chris Van Dusen (Illustrator)

Mercy’s origin story is just as awesome as I could have imagined!


4 stars
The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el & Kelly Pousette (Illustrator) 🍁

If you are looking for a story that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling of contentment, and a deeper understanding of how friendship works, look no further. It's sure to appeal to fans of Frog and Toad, Winnie the Pooh and Wind in the Willows. You can read my full review here.

5 stars
Beverly, Right Here (Three Rancheros #3) by Kate DiCamillo

Kate DiCamillo creates characters that crawl inside your heart and fill up empty places inside you that you didn't even know you had. You can read my full reviehere.

4 stars
Doll Bones by Holly Black & Eliza Wheeler (Illustrator)

I finally finished this book! I tried at least three times before, but was determined this time not to let it freak me out.
I read it while paying close attention to how Holly Black incites frissons of fear that cumulate and heighten the readers tension. I came away with even more appreciation for her brilliance.
Imagine a porcelain doll created from the bones of the maker’s daughter. Imagine he used her golden yellow ringlets for the doll's hair. Imagine her ashes are stored within the torso. Imagine this doll is haunting and threatening three 12 year old friends.
Yes it’s terrifying, but ultimately this is a coming of age tale. In the end, the biggest fear is that their friendship won’t survive their growing up.

4 stars
Tournament Trouble (Cross Ups #1) by Sylv Chiang 🍁

Jaden‘s mother has forbade him from playing video games because she thinks they will make him violent. Unbeknownst to her, he has been playing them for years and has become an expert in one specific game. When he receives an invitation to a tournament he hast to figure out how to make it happen.
I appreciated the authentic characters here. With the exception of the two bullies, they are all people you might meet. Jaden has solid parents. His mother has reasonable grounds for worrying when her background is revealed. He’s got two mostly supportive older siblings. I liked his relationship with Cali, the girl next door.

Gaming is integral to the plot and some game play is fairly detailed. This will intrigue some readers into opening up the book. Once into it, they will find themselves in the middle of a solid story with characters who learn and grow and become better human beings.

4 stars
Last of the Name by Rosanne Parry

I went searching for more of Parry's work after reading and falling in love with A Wolf Called Wander. I'm so glad to have discovered her work.
Daniel and his older sister, Kathleen, immigrate to New York during the time of the civil war. The destitute pair manage to find work in a fine house, but Daniel has to be disguised as a girl. In a bargain with one of their neighbours, he gets to be himself for a few hours a week doing her shopping while she takes on his laundry duties. While he is out he discovers his singing and dancing can earn him some money. Then he is noticed by someone planning on setting up a family theatre. He wishes he could take the man up on his offer, but knows Kathleen will have nothing to do with it. Everything changes when the New York City draft riots erupt.

4 stars
An Absolutely Remarkable Thing by Hank Green & Kristen Sieh (Narrator)

I went into this with no idea what it was about other than the author is brother to the other YA author with the same last name.
At first I wasn't sure if it was going to work, and then, Wham! I was hooked. While I wasn't infatuated with April, the narrator, at first. I did come to care about her and her connection to the Carls. While the situation with the Carls might be somewhat farfetched, April herself is an authentic character with all kinds of believable flaws.


I'm still enjoying The Creativity Project by Colby Sharp when I am work and The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago when I'm at home.  I kind of forgot about After Life; Ways We Think About Death by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox, but will get back to it. I'm listening to The Tree of Dreams by Laura Resau. I've just started reading a Netgalley title, What the Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn.


I'm hoping to read Are You Ready to Hatch An Unusual Chicken? by Kelly Jones; A Royal Guide to Monster Slaying by Kelley Armstrong; and The Ghost Collector by Allison Mills.


#MustReadIn2018 23/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 11/12 - one in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 22/25 - one in progress

25 books by Canadian Authors 70/25 - two in progress

Big Book Reading Challenge 10/4

Goodreads Reading Challenge 327/333

The Very, Very Far North by Dan Bar-el & Kelly Pousette (Illustrator)

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It was published September 3rd 2019, by Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Simon & Schuster Canada.

If you are looking for a story that leaves you with a warm fuzzy feeling of contentment, and a deeper understanding of how friendship works, look no further.

The book blurb begins: "An inquisitive polar bear named Duane befriends an array of animals as he discovers where he belongs in this charming classic-in-the making that’s reminiscent of Winnie the Pooh." It does indeed remind this reader of Winnie the Pooh, and many other animal based stories like Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. However briefly, it even reminded me of The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame.

The Very, Very Far North is primarily a book about friendship. Duane, the polar bear likes nothing more than sleeping, eating, exploring and making friends. He is especially talented at picking just the right name for his pals. These include CC, the owl; Handsome, the muskox; Major Puff, the puffin; Twitch the hare; Magic, the arctic fox; Boo the caribou; Sun Girl and her wolf pack; and Squint, the painter. The most important thing you need to know about them is that Duane accepts all of them for who they are, even though sometimes, they can be very annoying.

In case you are wondering if anything exciting happens in this book. It surely does - many times. There is a terrifying blizzard, a dangerous toboggan ride, misunderstandings and many more dramatic events to look forward to.

I was charmed by the bits of philosophy integrated into the stories.  Days can have different kinds of possibilities. Thursdays are the day all good stories start. Tuesdays are the day when stories with unexpected situations take place. Perhaps the most important thing Duane and readers have to learn about days is that ultimately, "You can have hopes and you can have goals, but a day will take you where a day wants to go." I especially appreciated when, during one of Duane's interactions with Squint, the painter, we are introduced to the reality of different ways of seeing the world.

The character who most fascinated me as I read the book, was the narrator. It makes brilliant mentor text for writers exploring this aspect of the craft. The narrator provides a third-person omniscient point of view who stops regularly to directly address the reader. I adored this voice near the end of the book when we read, "There has been some discussion among the characters. The question came up of how to bring this book to a proper ending." Then we learn each of their ideas, and finally understand that what comes next is the group's decision. We discover at the end of the book who this narrator is, but that is something you will have to find out by reading it yourself.

Interspersed with the text are Kelly Pousette's delightful black and white illustrations. They add to the humour and sweetness of the narrative.

The book is suggested as appropriate for readers aged 8 to 12. I believe it would make a brilliant read aloud for younger children - one that their parents will enjoy as well.

I do hope Dan Bar-el writes another novel sharing more stories from this quirky collection of friends. Readers of all ages will look forward to it.

Beverly, Right Here (Three Rancheros #3) by Kate DiCamillo

Thanks to NetGalley for the opportunity to read and review this book. It will be published September 24th 2019 by Candlewick Press.

I read this twice because I lost the notes I made the first time. It was not a hardship. In fact, I think I enjoyed it more the second time. I suspect that if I read it again, I might appreciate it even more. I did not expect this. 

In August 1979, Beverly's dog, Buddy, dies. Fourteen year old Beverly Tapinsky, overwhelmed by the empty feeling inside her, leaves home. 

She's lucky. 

She catches a ride with her cousin to Tamaray Beach. Right away, thanks to the waitress, Freddie, she lands a job bussing tables at Mr C's, an ocean side fish and chip joint. Doris and Charles, who work in the kitchen, make sure that she is treated well by Freddie and Mr Denby.

Next, in the Seahorse Trailer Court, she is befriended by an elderly lady. Iola Jenkins. Iola provides a place for her to stay. In exchange for a home, Beverly just has to drive Iola where she wants to go. 

At the corner store, Beverly connects with Elmer. After an inauspicious first encounter, the two become friends and romance blossoms. 

Bit by bit that empty feeling inside our tough heroine is filled up with all the people she meets.  

Kate DiCamillo creates characters that crawl inside your heart and fill up empty places inside you that you don't even know you have. Probably because I am a senior myself, I especially appreciate the relationship between Iola and Beverly. Both of them are vulnerable and at risk in their own way. Middle grade readers will most likely find her connection with Elmer most satisfying. The honesty between the two of them is what I would wish for them in their own relationships. 

As I'm writing this review, I'm tempted to leave it and go back and devour the book again.  I want to return to the honesty and tenderness of the Tamaray Beach community one more time. I'm confident I will uncover more riches if I do. Actually, I think I'll just go back and reread all the books in the Three Rancheros series again. I suspect a lot of readers will feel like this after reading Beverly Tapinsky's story. 

#IMWAYR September 30th & October 7th, 2019

#IMWAYR time again, when readers share what they have been reading and find out what others have been up to in the past week. Kathryn hosts the adult version of this meme at Book Date. Jen at Teach Mentor Texts and Kellee and Ricki at Unleashing Readers host the kidlit rendition. Whatever you are looking forward to in your next great read, these are fabulous places to start your search.

Well, I've had two busy weeks and the next one doesn't look to be any less so. I've been working a couple of days a week and then looking after a two year old part of the time for the rest of the week. Whoosh is that exhausting!

I hosted Poetry Friday for the first time and was very nervous. I wrote about one of my favourite local children's poets, Robert Heidbreder. I repeated some of the information about his work here. If you read that post, just skip over them here. 

Titles with a 🍁indicate this is a Canadian Author.
Clicking on the title of the book will take you to the Goodreads page of the book. 


Poetry Friday September 27, 2019

Poetry Friday October 4, 2019


5 stars
Drumheller Dinosaur Dance by Robert Heidbreder & Bill Slavin (Illustrator) & Esperanca Melo (Illustrator) 🍁

This is one of my go to books when I am substitute teaching in primary grades. I've never had a group of students who didn't love it.

Told in rhyming, rollicking poetry full of onomatopoeia, it shares the shenanigans of dinosaurs late at night in a special spot near Drumheller Alberta. The typography dances and sings all over the page in unison with Bill Slavin's and Esperanca Melo's raucous artwork! Every student I've introduced this too has loved to shout out the chorus of, BOOMITY-BOOM RATTELY-CLACK THUMPITY-THUMP WACKETY-WACK.
I really need to get my own copy just in case I am ever in a library that doesn't have one.

5 stars
Song for a Summer Night by Robert Heidbreder & Qin Leng (Illustrations) 🍁

Between the art by Qin Leng and Bob's glorious poetry, this book is a jewel. I adore the rhythm, the rhyming, and the repeating refrain. The poem builds up to a crescendo and then eases back to calm.

5 stars
The Girls by Lauren Ace & Jenny Lvlie (Illustrations)

This book gave me shivers! It tells the story of four girls from diverse backgrounds who are best of friends. As they grow older, no matter what happens, they continue to hold each other up

5 stars
Seb and the Sun by Jami Gigot 🍁

Ok, I finished this and said to myself, what the heck?! I read it a couple of times and loved it more each time. The art is brilliant! Seb lives in his far north community where the sun disappears in the winter. Tired of the dark, Seb and his walrus friend set out in a rowboat to bring some sun back home.

These days with Greta Thunberg inspiring the planet to do better, Seb’s story of accomplishing the impossible feels just right.

5 stars
Where Are You From? by Yamile Saied Méndez & Jamie Kim (Illustrator)

Oh this book is so beautiful! Both the words and images are breathtaking! There are layers of meaning in it. I would love to use this book as mentor text!


3.5 stars
The Squatchicorns (Big Foot and Little Foot #3) by Ellen Potter & Felicita Sala (Illustrator)

Hugo and his new friend, Nogg, head off to Boone's birthday party. The few cultural misunderstandings are hilarious. Boone is crowned king for the day and commands his Sasquatch friends to return to Nogg's cavern. Nogg and his community were forced to leave it because it was haunted. Together they find out what was causing the strange occurrences. I enjoyed this sequel, but not as much as the earlier books. For starters, it didn't leave me salivating for Sasquatch treats.


4 stars
Coyote Tales by Thomas King & Byron Eggenschwiler (Illustrations) 🍁

Thomas King‘s rendition of these classic tales contains his trademark humour with modern touches. He makes them more appealing and relevant for today’s readers. I read the first one, Coyote Sings to the Moon, to a group of Grades three and four students. They were silently enthralled as I read it aloud and laughed in all the right places. They wanted me to read another, but we had run out of time. I read the second, Coyotes New Suit, to myself and while it was good, I think the first one was best.

5 stars
The Next Great Paulie Fink by Ali Benjamin & Cassandra Morris, Zach Villa, Cameron Bowen, & Adam McArthur (Narrators)

This book snuck up on me. I went in not expecting much and was gobsmacked by how profound it is. I love these characters!

5 stars
The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street (The Vanderbeekers #1) Karina Yan Glaser & Robin Miles (Narrator)

I loved this take on Dickens’ Christmas Carol. Set in Harlem, the charming Vanderbeeker family are being evicted from their brownstone and have to be out by December 31st. Their only hope is to win over “the Beaderman” their landlord, who lives two floors above them.

5 stars
Strangers (The Reckoner #1) by David Alexander Robertson 🍁

How can you not love the cover of this book? Believe it or not, the inside is even better. I’m stumped trying to come up with words to describe this novel. It blends science-fiction and indigenous mythology into a riveting mystery. The characters, all of them, including the supernatural, are convincing. The dialogue is brilliant. It’s full of heartbreak and humour.

Cole Harper returns to his hometown of Wounded Sky after being away for ten years. Shortly after he arrives, people are being murdered and a deadly virus starts killing people off. It’s up to Cole and his remaining friends to figure out what’s going on.

I can hardly wait to get to the next in the series.

4 stars
44 Hours or Strike! by Anne Dublin 🍁

This is an historical novel based on true events. It’s the story of two Jewish sisters involved in the Toronto garment strike of 1931 that lasted two months. Strikers walked the picket line during worst snowfall in 55 years.

During an altercation with strike breakers, Rose is arrested and sent to jail where she is traumatized by the abuse she experiences.
On May Day, when the strike is finally over, Emma Goldman, famous labour organizer who fought for the rights of women garment makers, speaks to the crowd. Both the girls are inspired by her.
The integration of historical photographs provide context for modern readers.
The back matter contains author notes where Dublin explains that while the strike might not have ended up making a difference in working conditions for people like Sophie and Rose, the union learned much from the experience and was able to use this knowledge to make difference later on.
It also includes short biographies of many real people mentioned in the novel.
I appreciate the historical introduction that puts the story in context. While the specifics might change, it’s a story of injustice and fear of difference retold across time.

5 stars
Don't Tell The Enemy by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch 🍁

I've never read anything by Marsha Skrypuch that wasn't riveting. She writes such authentic characters that it's a shock to finish a book and realize they are not real.

This novel is based on the true story of a Ukrainian mother and her two daughters, and their experiences during WW2. At first their community celebrated the retreat of the Russians and welcomed the arrival of the Germans. But then bit by bit, things changed and got worse and worse. I appreciate how this story of resistance and heroism introduced me to aspects of war I didn't know about. Skrypuch's attention to the details of ordinary life make it real. I especially appreciate that this is a story of how ordinary women not only survive, but become extraordinary in these kinds of circumstances.
The back matter contains information about the real Keteryna Sikorska and her daughter Krystia.

4.5 stars
Rogue Protocol (The Murderbot Diaries #3) by Martha Wells

I am addicted to this series! What a brilliant character! As a general rule, I’m not a huge science fiction fan, but I’m devouring the Murderbot Diaries. This is the third in the series. Murderbot is a lethal AI with faulty programming that allows it to think for itself. It dreads the f words like friends and feelings. The books are sweetly funny in spite of being thrillers chock full of violence and mayhem. If you aren't a fan, you must go and read the first in the series. Odds are you'll be joining the rest of us addicts.


5 stars
Rooster Summer by Robert Heidbreder & Madeline Kloepper (Illustrator) 🍁

Anything by Robert Heidbreder fills your body with rhythm and makes you want to dance. This poetry memoir tells us of his summer holidays with his grandparents on their farm. It's full of magic - the kind that can only be experienced by children in a place full of wonderful animals and doting adults. There is Rexter, the talking rooster; Seed-Sack, the mule who thinks he's a horse; Ginger Tea, the dog, and Tuftin, the cat. Some of Robert's descriptions, like this one here, "inside is a bundle of purrs" made me want to swoon. Rooster Summer is a book that will make you nostalgic for a time and summer the likes of which you might never have experienced.

Madeline Kloepper's vintage style art is the perfect accompaniment to the poems in the book.


4 stars
Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw

If I was still in charge of a library, I would grab up a copy of this book in a heartbeat. Maybe even two. It educates readers about many aspects and species of bats. It highlights young bat activists who work in many different ways to ensure the survival of bats. I like the layout of the pages, with plenty of captioned photographs, large titles and headings, maps, and inserts with bat facts. The back matter includes a page of information for how to help bats and another on organizations that help them. It also has a glossary and index.


I'm enjoying The Creativity Project by Colby Sharp when I am work. I'm also reading The Dinner Party by Judy Chicago and have just started After Life; Ways We Think About Death by Merrie-Ellen Wilcox. I also have Last of the Name by Rosanne Parry on the go. I'm listening to 


This time I really do plan to get my Netgalley titles under control! I'm hoping to read The Very Very Far North by Dan Bar-el, What the Eagle Sees by Eldon Yellowhorn. Maybe I'll even have time to get to all the picture books!


#MustReadIn2018 23/25

#MustReadNFIn2018 11/12 - one in progress

25 Books by Canadian Indigenous Authors 21/25 

25 books by Canadian Authors 66/25

Big Book Reading Challenge 10/4

Goodreads Reading Challenge 314/333