Thursday, 21 December 2017

Carson Crosses Canada

Carson Crosses Canada
Carson Crosses Canada
By Linda Bailey, illustrated by Kass Reich

Annie and her dog Carson live in Tofino, on the west coast of Vancouver Island.  When Annie decides to take a road trip to visit her sister in Newfoundland, Carson doesn’t realize how long it will take.

The cross Canada adventure takes Annie and Carson through Cathedral Grove on Vancouver Island, over the Rockies, across the prairies, to Niagara Falls and beyond.  The pair dances to Acadian music in their campground, swims in Lake Winnipeg, visits the home of Anne of Green Gables and finally meets Annie’s sister on her east coast island.

Kass Reich’s colourful paintings bring the landscapes and landmarks of Canada to life.

Carson Crosses Canada is a picture book that will appeal to children from 4-8 years old.

Highly recommended!

Greenglass House

Greenglass House
Greenglass House
By Kate Milford

As Christmas approaches, twelve-year-old Milo Pine can’t wait for his vacation.  But plans to spend the holidays alone with his parents are thwarted as a series of unexpected guests arrives at Greenglass House, which doubles as a hotel.

Each guest is unusual in his or her own way.  Georgie has blue hair and carries The Raconteur’s Commonplace Book which contains folklore about the local area.  Clem runs all the way up the Grouse Grind-like staircase that leads to the house and always moves in complete silence.  Mr. Vinge wears polka dotted, argyle or other fancy socks at all times.  

These are only some of the houseguests and all of them have secrets.  When items start to go missing from the guestrooms, Milo and his new friend Meddy devise a scheme to find the thief.

The two children explore the house and begin to learn about its past; they discover that each of the guests has some kind of link to the house.  The mystery deepens as the stolen items are found.  Maps, codes, watermarks, a keychain and the house’s green stained glass all become pieces of a puzzle that Milo and Meddy must solve.

As the snow outside turns into a full-blown storm, the power goes out at Greenglass House.  The guests are effectively trapped in the remote hotel with a thief among them.  Can Milo and Meddy solve the mystery and keep all the guests (and Milo’s parents) safe? 

If you love puzzles and codes and solving mysteries, this book is for you.  Get cozy on your winter holidays and read Greenglass House!

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Red River Raging

Red River Raging
Red River Raging
By Penny Draper

Thirteen-year-old Finn Armstrong is a world traveler.  With a home base in Vancouver, Finn accompanies his parents on their international research trips.  This year he was supposed to go to Egypt, but instead he’s been sent to St. Agathe, Manitoba to stay with his grandmother and great-grandfather, known simply as Armstrong.

Finn is not too thrilled about moving to a town where nothing happens, but he starts to feel better when he begins making friends.  Finn soon learns the ways of prairie life: he goes skating at the Forks, a trail system on the frozen Red River, plays Cribbage with Armstrong and even tries ice fishing. 

Finn also learns that the Red River floods every year, but that a dyke system has been built to protect the towns and cities along its banks, including Winnipeg.  But when all the signs start pointing toward a major flood, Finn decides that he will step up to help save the prairie residents and their homes.

Sandbagging, building dykes, working in standing water and wearing gumboots all become second nature to Finn.  In fact, he and his friends start a Flood Club and recruit their classmates to travel wherever they are needed to help out.  It’s actually a lot of fun.

But when the river really starts flooding, everyone in town watches with baited breath as the flood moves north along the river.  Each day it passes through a new town, starting in the United States and continuing up into Canada.  In some towns, the dykes hold and the town is safe.  In others, homes and businesses end up under water, families must be saved from rooftops, and people’s lives are turned upside down.

Based on true events, Red River Raging is the story of the Red River flood of 1997.  Penny Draper’s Disaster Strikes series deals with real Canadian disasters.  If you like historical fiction or a good disaster story, this series is for you!

Monday, 6 November 2017

The Poet's Dog

The Poet's Dog
The Poet's Dog

By Patricia MacLachlan

Siblings Flora and Nickel are lost in a snowstorm.  As the blizzard envelops them, someone comes to the rescue.  But Teddy is not your usual someone – he is a dog.

Teddy takes the two children to his cabin.  The poet who used to take care of Teddy is gone, and Teddy is all alone.  Until now.  

Although Teddy has words and understands English, most people cannot hear dogs when they talk.  But because they are children, Flora and Nickel can hear Teddy and they are thrilled to meet him.  They spend 5 days in his cabin, cooking meals and sleeping by the fire while the wind and snow rage outside.

The poet’s story slowly unfolds during the children’s visit.  Where did he go?  And why has Teddy been left all alone?

The Poet’s Dog is a lovely story about friendship and understanding between humans and animals.  The lyrical writing feels like a long poem.  Although both children and dog are stranded in a forest cabin, they never feel lonely, because they have each other.  But sooner or later, Flora and Nickel will have to return home to their parents.

Will anyone ever come to find them?  And what will become of Teddy, a dog on his own?

Highly recommended, especially for kids who love animals!

Monday, 23 October 2017

Constable & Toop

Constable & Toop
Constable & Toop
By Gareth P. Jones

Sam Toop is just a kid, but he’s the son of an undertaker and has been around death all his life.  Sam can also see ghosts, and London in the mid-1800s is filled with them.  Sam’s a Talker, and ghosts come to him for help with their unfinished business.

Sam doesn’t like being a Talker although he knows that most ghosts are harmless.  But when resident ghosts start to go missing in London, Sam knows something terrible is happening.  Not only that, but living people are being murdered too.  Now there’s a killer on the loose, and somehow he’s linked to the missing ghosts.

Not for the faint of heart, Constable & Toop doesn’t shy away from gruesome scenes, and the grim atmosphere of Victorian London permeates the book.  But if you like ghost stories and mysteries (and don’t mind being a little freaked out), you will love Constable & Toop.