Sloth at the Zoom by Helaine Becker (56)

As some of you would have noticed, I have been enthralled in Helaine Becker books lately. She is not only a great writer, but her stories make me laught out loud.  How great is that!

Sloth is looking forward to a slow, sleepy stay at the Zzzzzoo, but a delivery mix up sends her to the Zoom instead.

She tries to make friends, but the other animals are always in a hurry!  The monkeys climb so fast they forget to stop at the treetops. The zebras run so fast that they leave their stripes in the dust.

When Sloth finally finds someone who’s more her speed, everyone stops to notice.

I just loved this book.  It is so cute. And there are so many important lessons contained in it too. Here are a few takeaways that I found:

  1.  If you are always in a hurry, you may miss experiences and friendships that you never thought possible.

2.  Going slowly isn’t always a bad thing, especially if you try and enjoy your life in the process.

3.  If you run as fast as Zebras, you will leave an important of yourself behind, and you may even have accidents that you never would have if you just slowed down.

4.  Since our culture is telling kids (and all of us) that faster is better, we should at least read the messages between the lines in this picture book. We should stop, slow down, and see what’s in front of us. Then and only then will we be able to see all that the world has to offer.

What a great book, with a great lesson!


Posted in Author from Toronto, Helaine Becker | Leave a comment

You can Read by Helaine Becker (55)

This is a book about reading and developing the love for reading. It is a book that is as cute as it is meaningful.

Given our technological culture, and the fact that kids are on their gadgets from a continuously earlier age, it is great to read a book about the love the reading real, physical books. I think this is one of the most important that parents can do–and that is to make sure that our kids read real, physical books, not only books online.

This book showcases all the places that you can read.

You can read in Tuktoyaktuk, South of France, and many other places. You can read in your party clothes or in your underpants.

In this funny celebration of literacy, kids of all ages will discover that the act of reading is a daring adventure that will take you anywhere. You don’t have to leave the comforts of your home either.

This books sings this message home to kids loud and proud. Books are awesome. And so are the people who read them.

So, may this book inspire readers of all ages to pick up a book and get lost in it. What a world and treat that will be!

I loved this book and will definitely be recommending it to all the parents that I know with younger kids.

What a great book!


Posted in Author from Ontario, Love of reading | Leave a comment

Treasure by Mireille Messier and Irene Luxbacher (54)

I just love this picture book for kids. The illustrations are absolutely stunning. Every page spread could easily be a painting. And the vivid colours really bring the nuances of the story home for kids of all ages.

When two siblings go on a treasure hung, they aren’t sure exactly what kind of treasure they are looking for. What they do know, however, is that all good treasures are shiny, mysterious and precious.  They also know that all the best treasures are hard to find.

As they explore the forest together, the pair learns that they most special treasures are not always something we can pick up in our hands.

The implication in this story is that we are all treasures, in our own right. We are precious beyond words, and we shouldn’t be compared to each other because we are unique in every way. That is the best message for kids of all ages to hear and read about.

This is because the culture tells them that they are less and that there is always something missing to their lives. They may be too short, too chubby or too tall. They may not be as smart as their friends or as fast.

However, one thing is for sure. Regardless of how different we are from each other, we are also unique and great in our own ways. And that is something to treasure beyond all measure.

I just loved this new picture book!

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Triceratops Stomp by Karen Patkau (53)

This is an endearing book about how a Mom keeps her little ones safe from the harshness of the elements in the world. The illustrations are amazing, and they bring the meaning of the book home for the reader.

Nestled in the ferns is a big clutch of eggs. But what could be inside? With picks, pokes, pops, and wriggles, Triceratops babies hatch!

They are quick to scamper, scramble, and romp around, making as much noise as they please!  But could danger lurk nearby? With mother’s watchful eye and fierce protection to keep them safe, the little dinosaurs can expect to play for another day.

This book is full of onomatopoeic texts that will delight young listeners and readers alike. It is a frolicking story from lauded visual artist and author Karen Patkau. It is a story that abounds in fun and will put smiles on all the children’s faces who read the book.

I just love picture books like this!


Posted in Picture Book, Author from Toronto, Protection, Babies | Leave a comment

Beyond the Trees by Adam Shoalts (52)

This is a book about how one person took a lone journey across Canada’s coldest area–the Arctic!

The layout of the area looks breathtaking from my study as I was reading this book. But I could just imagine how difficult it would be to traverse such a rugged landscape!  Wow!

It would be all too easy to twist an ankle or just fall and really badly hurt yourself. So, Adam was very careful. But this kind of care always required an unrequited agility that is rarely found in normal people who simply exercise once in a while.

The sky and shoreline seemed to touch in some of the photos that Adam Shoalts posted in his book. It really is the land of the beyond!

In the spring of 2017, Adam Shoalts set off on an unprecedented journey across North America’s greatest wilderness–the Arctic.

It is a place where, in our increasingly interconnected, digital world, it’s still possible to wander for months without crossing a single road, or even seeing another human being. The peace and solitude must be something else.

Between his starting point in Eagle Plains, Yukon Territory and his destination in Baker Lane, Nunavut, lies a maze of obstacles: shifting ice floes, swollen rivers, fog-bound lakes, and gale-force storms. Shoalts must time his departure by the breakup of the spring ice, then sprint across nearly 4,000 kilometers of rugged, punishing terrain to arrive before winter closes in.

He travels alone up raging waters that only the most expert white-water canoeists dare travel even downstream. He must portage across fields of jagged rocks that stretch to the horizon, and navigate labyrinths of swamps, tormented by clouds of blackflies every step of the way. And the race against the calendar means that he cannot afford the luxuries of rest, or of making mistakes. It could cost him his life.

Shoalts trek tirelessly, well into the endless arctic summer nights, at times not even pausing to eat. But his rewards are beyond anything anyone could imagine. The crystalline arctic water that allows him to see far into the depths of pristine lakes, the company of curious wolves loping alongside his route, and the astonishing diversity of the arctic ecosystems, from the ancient mountains to lust wetlands to the dunes of a northern desert.

This book is heart-stopping, wonder-filled and attentive to the majesty of the natural world. And we have so much of it in Canada. Shoalts had a need for adventure that he filled through this trip.

A GREAT book and a wonderful read!

Posted in Author from Ontario, Nunuvut | Leave a comment

Coal Dust Kisses by Will Ferguson (51)

Coal Dust Kisses: A Christmas Memoir
By: Will Ferguson

This is a wonderfully entertaining book about one person’s journey through continents and Christmas times. Will is a wonderful storyteller, and he is so funny. He makes the reader laugh out loud many times throughout the book.

Will is a funny, poignant and heartfelt storyteller. The reader will feel transported to take this trip through time and continents with Will. Will traces a single story of coal dust and Christmas from his grandfather’s childhood in Scotland through to his own life as a father.

This book is a must read for individuals, given the upcoming Christmas season. The reader will treated to the real meaning of Christmas, which has nothing to do with large presents and consumerism. Instead, the kids and people had another special gift that they looked forward to on Christmas morning. I will leave it to the reader to find out for him/herself about this wonderful gift. The book is like a breath of fresh air.

5 stars

Reviewed by Irene S. Roth

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The Last Hockey Player by Bretton Loney (50)

I won this book last year with the Canadian Book Review Challenge. I received a book signed by the author with a wonderful note!  I will cherish it forever!  I just love receiving notes from authors like this. It makes writing a review of the book that much sweeter!

This is a story about survival and courage. As a modern society and as a culture, many epidemics have killed people, forcing people to flee cities and live off the land.  Some of the people who flee are great, as was one of them who became a hockey player. He travels across the wreckage of North America to find his mother and sister. In the process, he stumbles into a small Nova Scotia village of survivors.

As we hear in a lot of these stories, he finds family in the most unexpected places. These people resonate with him. Many of these people are also survivors, people who had to undergo a lot to be where they are.

This book explores what remains when society collapses and is burned away and what defines Canadians no matter what happens.

Nothing defines being a Canadian more than hockey.  It is a sport that is not only celebrated but I dare say worshipped by all. So many little towns have arenas, including my town, and Friday is nights are hockey nights. People go out for dinner and then head to the arena. After they gather for drinks and they cheer their team, whether or not they won.

This book is very well written. It contains vignettes from several individuals who are interesting in their own right. One would love to meet each and every one of them because they are so unique.

A great read!  It is a book I will not soon forget.

Thank you for writing such a wonderful book Bretton!

Irene S. Roth


Posted in Author from Nova Scotia | Leave a comment