Hat on, Hat off by Theo Heras Illustrated by Renne Benoit (134)

This is another board book for kids that is all about hats. It is super-cute and funny at the same time.

Many kids hate to wear hats. However, after reading this book with their parents, perhaps kids of all ages may think twice before they hate their hats again. They may even start liking them.

I loved this board book.  It is uplifting and cute. The illustrations are just stunning, beaming with colour and life.

The illustrations portray kids in great positions, looking for their hats before they go outside.

This book has captured my interest and the interest of a few kids that I read it to. I am sure that other young readers will also enjoy it.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Illustrator from Montreal, Nonfiction, Picture Book | Leave a comment

Who Can? By Charles Ghigna and Illustrated by Vlasta van Kampen (133)

This is a great board book for kids.  I just loved the title of the book when I saw it on the shelf of my local library and picked it up on the whim. What a wonderful find!

The book asks a series of questions, one for each spread of the book. For instance, the books asks, who can sing, who knows how to build a cozy nest, who stirs the farmer out of bed, or who stirs the wheel in a playground.

There is a positive answer to each of the questions. But when the author asks who reads this riddle book, two answers ensue. One of the answers will leave the reader with a smile on her face.

The illustrations are breathtaking.  I loved the book from start to finish and will recommend it to all the kids at church and in my immediate community.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Picture Book | Leave a comment

A Carnival of Cats by Charles Ghigna and Illustrated by Kristi Bridgeman (132)

This board book for kids is all about cats.  And I just love cat books because I am a cat lover par excellence.

This book illustrated many different cats. Even I had no idea there were so many different kinds! They come in all shapes, colours, and fur types. The last type of cat, the stray cat, that the author talks about, gets to grace a child’s life forever. What a great companion that the child can and what a wonderful loving person the cat can have.

I love that all of Charles Ghigna’s books end with putting a smile on my face. I’m sure it will do the same for all the kids that read this wonderful and entertaining picture book for kids.

This illustrations are also fun and very colourful.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Power of More by Marnie McBean (131)

This is a about how small steps can help you achieve big goals. It is a book about a Canadian woman who has had the courage to win and win big in her life. And she did it one small step at a time.

Marnie McBean was a rower. She excelled in her sport because she was dedicated and committed. But the way she handled her challenge of becoming a good rower we can apply to anything challenge that we have in our life.

Most people don’t consider themselves superheroes. Only the animated superhero character in the Movie Toy Story can say, To Infinity and Beyond. He said it with full intention of getting there.

When faced with a challenging goal, most of us are often too quick to dismiss ourselves. Marnie found that its much easier to achieve big things when they are broken down into little manageable bits of more.

To support a fundraising event for the World Wildlife Fund, she was asked to participate in a race up the stairs to the observation deck of the CN Tower in Toronto.

You can certainly see it from a hundred kilometers away, towering above the rest of the city. She was a bit concerned. Even when she was ready to race at the Olympics, she could still get winded after walking a flight of stairs in her house. How was she going to make it?

Racing up the CN Tower looked like a formidable challenge. It was like looking at a superhero’s goal, not a mortal’s. However, there are only 1,776 steps to get to the top of that tower.  Yes, that is quite a few steps!  But it is doable, with practise and patience. All she had to do is to go one step after the other until she reached the top.

So, on the allotted day, she ran up the stairs, every one of them. She did it!  And the feat wasn’t undoable.

After this, she started understanding the power of more. It became central to how she prepared for her rowing challenges. This idea is not to focus on the more you can get or achieve but rather on the more you can do. It’s not about having more–it’s about being able to do more. She learned that she can always do more than she expected.

She learned that she can always prepare a bit more so that she can succeed. There is more to listen to and more ways to try.

Therefore how you set goals, and your accountability and commitment to them will be decided by how much ambition you choose to apply.

The good news is that we all can achieve the goals that we want. But we have to break them down into small parts–parts that are manageable and doable for us. And then all we have to focus on one step at a time to be our best.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Goal setting | Leave a comment

I Hear She’s a Real Bitch by Jen Agg (130)

This is also a book for the Canadian Book Review mini-challenge March.  Thank you Melanie for setting up this challenge.  It moved me to read books that I never would have.

The title of this book really struck me the wrong way, if you know what I mean.  I don’t usually read a book that has a title like this.  However, as I stood in the stack of my library and read the first few pages of the book, something shifted in me enough for me to take the book out of the library and read it our mini-challenge.

Jen Agg is a restaurateur in Toronto. She is an outspoken person. She sees the world in quite a hilarious way, and the book made me laugh out loud as I was reading it. But then I wondered if under all of this humour, there wasn’t at least some anger.

She appeared to me as a woman who was trying to fit into a career that intrigued her but that didn’t really move her to be her best. It was a career that made her suspicious of everything and everyone, until she actually found out for herself that such a person was to be trusted.

Her observations of the restaurant industry and the world around her was also hilarious. She tends to view the world with a very different set of glasses from most women that I met. Yet she was intriguing enough for me to keep reading her book until I actually read the whole book. I really didn’t expect to. I guess it was the angst that she portrayed to her world and that she very skillfully put onto each page of the book that compelled me to continue reading.

She had an amazing work ethic, but it was very different again from anyone I ever encountered. You can say she was unique.

The restaurant industry is dominated by men. So, fitting into that industry is difficult. And that Jenn portrays with raw honesty and authenticity.

This book is worth reading. But be careful because you may just be drawn into her angst and suspicion.

Rating: 4 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Ontario, Business Leadership, Courage and strength, Creativity, Cultural Diversity, Culture in Canada, Emancipation, Empowerment, Entrepreneurs, Entrepreneurship, Lives of Women | Leave a comment

Brave: by Rose McGowan (129)

This is a book for this month’s Canadian Book Review Challenge.  It is a book about one woman’s courage in the face of all the inauthenticity of Hollywood’s glam world.  This book is such a testament to how a strong woman should behave under such circumstances.

Rose McGowan was born in one cult and came of age in another more visible cult, the cult in Hollywood. In many ways it is a sad story, but it is mostly a story about empowerment and emancipation.

Rose escaped the Children of God as a child, moved to the US, and then ran away at the age of thirteen. She lived a transient punk lifestyle on and off the streets until she was discovered in LA. Overnight she became one of Hollywood’s most desired actresses.

IN a strange world where she was continually on display, stardom soon became a personal nightmare, as it usually does for all thinking actresses and actors. She was constantly exposed and sexualized.

Rose escaped into the world of her mind, something she had done as a child, and into high-profile relationships. Every detail of her personal life became public, the realities of an inherently sexist industry emerged with each script, role, public appearance and magazine cover. The Hollywood machine packaged her as a sexualized bombshell. She hated this image because it hijacked her image and identity and marketed her for profit.

She finally rebelled when she had enough. She wanted to assert her true identity and voice. She re-emerged unscripted, courageous, victorious, angry, smart, fierce, unapologetic, controversial, and real!  These are all things that Hollywood doesn’t necessarily admire in a woman.

She because a fearless activist, and an unstoppable force for change who was determined to expose the truth about the entertainment industry.

Brave is a raw, honest and poignant memoir about one brave woman’s challenge and ability to overcome all the inauthentic glamour. In its place, she put in authenticity and real-ness. How wonderful!

I loved this book!  I just bought my own copy of ABE.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Cults, Hollywood, Lives of Women, Memoir, Nonfiction, Publisher that has distribution in Canada | Leave a comment

Holly Farb and the Princess of the Galaxy by Gareth Wronski (128)

This is a middle grade novel that was written by a Stratford author.  I just love showcasing authors who are right here in the small southwestern Ontario town that I live in!

The book tells of a story of a titular heroine who is trying to get back home after being mistaken for royalty and kidnapped by space pirates.

His first novel was not picked up by publishers. Though both of his books thus far could be considered sci-fi epics, Wronski says he’s not limiting himself to that particular genre. His next book will be another middle-grade novel. But this time, he will be more of a fantasy novel dealing with magic.

Wronski is a unique writer in that he isn’t stuck on any one viewpoint when it comes to characterization. When asked whether his decision to steer his novel with a female protagonist was part of an effort to get more young girls interested in STEM subjects, Wronski said no. The character of Holly Farb simply came from a writer’s desire to try something new. There have been a lot of lead roles in sci-fi who have been women. So, he thought he would try it in his story too.

I loved the book from start to finish. I plan to read it again this summer.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene Roth


Posted in Author from Southwestern Ontario, Author from Stratford Ontario, Uncategorized | Leave a comment