The White Cat and the Monk by Jo Ellen Bogart, Illustrations by Sydney Snith (64)

This is another great picture book for kids.  The illustrations tell most of the story.  But the few words that are part of the picture book are etched as if on the hearts of the monk and white cat.

The story is written in the form of a poem. The monk leads a simple life–he studies his books late into the evening, searching for meaning.

His cat Pangur leads a simple life too chasing his prey in the dark. As night turns to dawn, can each find what he seeks.

This story is unique in that I never quite read a picture book like it. The themes are new as well. It was a great find, again in the inner recesses of my splendid local library!

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Tokyo Digs a Garden by Jon-Erik Lappano and Kellen Hatanaka (64)

This is another wonderful picture book that is as colourful as it is inspiring.  I am SO glad that I picked up this book from my local library.  What a great read!

Tokyo lives in a small house between giant buildings with his family and his cat, Kevin.

For years, highways and skyscrapers have been built up around the family’s home where the wilderness once flourished. It seems that they will never experience nature again.

But one day, an old woman offers Tokyo three seeks, telling him they will grow into whatever he wants.

This is a thoughtful and inspiring story about environmentalism and imagination. I love picture books with such a powerful message for kids of all ages.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Sidewalk Flowers By Jon Arno Lawson and Sydney Smith (63)

This is a picture book like no other than I have ever read. And readers of my blog know that I read and review a LOT of picture books for kids.

This picture book is unique in that the story is portrayed in pictures.  The expressions on people’s faces and the point of the flowers placed along the way on a walk is touching and beautiful!

The story is about a little girl who collects wildflowers while on a walk with her distracted father. Each flower becomes a gift for someone in need, regardless of whether the gift is noticed or ignored. In both cases, the giver and the recipient are transformed by their encounter.

This wordless picture book was conceived by award-winning poet Jon Arno Lawson and beautifully brought to life by illustrator Sydney Smith.

This is a beautiful and graceful book about the importance of small things, small people, and small gestures that make the biggest impact.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Newfoundland, Nonfiction, Picture Book | Leave a comment

Newfoundland: Journey into a lost nation by Michael Crummey and Greg Locke (62)

This is another book by Michael Crummey!  I decided to go on a Crummey binge….LOL.  I just love his writing.  It is so melodic and it could pass for music lyrics.

This book is no different. It is about Newfoundland–a place that I always wanted to visit but haven’t so far.  I think Newfoundland will definitely go on my bucket list of places to visit in my lifetime.

The photographs throughout the book gives the reader a sense of the people and places that make Newfoundland what it is.  They show the reader how wonderful Newfoundland really is and how inviting as well as friendly. And if you love seafood, you are definitely in the right place.

Some of the nature scenes are amazing as well. Their sunrises look so much like our sunsets.

Also, the fishing boats on Petty Harbour are picturesque and wonderful.  One photograph is especially wonderful.

So, if you are interested in Newfoundland, this is the book for you.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

Posted in Author from Newfoundland, Cultural Diversity, Culture in Canada, Educational book | Leave a comment

Hard Light by Michael Crummey (61)

Here is a world of hard toil and cold weather. The stories are written with stoicism, grim humor, patient endurance and love.

The islands seem bare and burnished black. It is hard to believe that the afternoon sun would catch the metallic glint like that. It was a time to remember and a time to celebrate the history and culture of the East Coast.

I love to read books about how life was in the past. Life was simple and more basic but also much slower and much more intense.

Rating: 5 stars

Reviewed by: Irene S. Roth

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Vancouver (60)

This is a wonderful travel guide to travelling in Vancouver.  I have always wanted to go to Vancouver, and not I have a guide for my travels.

The guide is a very concise and conclusive summary of all the greatest places that you should visit in Vancouver to make your trip complete.  I have read quite a few travel guides about Vancouver but this one really is the best done. So, I decided to include it here in case someone else in the Canadian Book Review group wants to visit Vancouver.

What a wonderful place to visit.  It just went on my bucket list!

Will it be on yours too??

Rating: 5 stars


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She Dared: True Stories of Heroines, Scoundrels, and Renegades by Ed Butts (59)

History has often overlooked women.  Browse through any encyclopedia and it is obvious that the biographical sketches are overwhelmingly the stories of men.  It is as though women, with a few outstanding exceptions, have had relatively little to contribute in the various fields of human endeavour–and this is not only absurd but false.   So, I was very excited when Melanie Kindrachuk chose the topic of women’s voices for this month’s book review challenge.

One of the main reasons for this unfortunate situation according to Butts is that for centuries women were overlooked in history. It was not that women did not have the potential to be great artists, politicians, philosophers, or even soldiers.  It was that they were not given the opportunities.

For centuries, it was generally accepted that women were not capable of doing a man’s work. Women were believed to be physically, mentally and emotionally inferior to men. The father was the head of the household. Wives owed obedience to their husbands. Sons were heirs ahead of daughters.

Should we judge our ancestors?  Or should we just look at it as a sign of those earlier days?  Butts discusses these issues in this book, and much more.

So, if you are interested in the topic of women’s voices and rights, I recommend this short but wonderful read. It is a Middle Grade book. But it can certainly be read by all of us.

Rating: 5 stars

Posted in Author from Ontario, Culture in Canada, Early Reader, Educational book, Emancipation, Empowerment, History, Lives of Women | Leave a comment