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Children’s Book Reviews: The Darkest Dark

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Darkest Dark.  Young Chris spends all day inside a cardboard rocket ship, bravely saving the planet from aliens, and boldly blasting off to Mars.  However, when evening rolls around, he fears the menacing dark shadows that fill his room, and he seeks shelter in his parents’ bed.  After many sleepless nights, Chris has an epiphany… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Notes from the Life of a Total Genius

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Notes from the Life of a Total Genius is Stacey Matson’s third and latest novel about aspiring writer Arthur A. Bean. Now in his final year of junior high, Arthur is co-editor of his school newspaper and even has his own column, something he has worked towards since starting Grade Seven. However, with his best… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Optimists Die First

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Grieving over the accidental death of her little sister Maxine, Petula (Tula) faces anxiety daily. A crafter at heart, being in Youth Art Therapy (YART) is supposed to help Tula get back to her old self, but trying to keep things together at home and concentrating on preventing more accidents from happening takes all her… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Bear’s Winter Party

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In Bear’s Winter Party, by Vancouver writer Deborah Hodge, a lonely animal yearns for a friend.  Bear enjoys his life full of wild berries, fresh air and mountain views, but it is a solitary existence.  With his furry physique, long claws and sharp teeth, Bear cuts an imposing figure, and the other forest dwellers give… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Keeper of the Light

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Keeper of the Light, Janet Barkhouse’s newest picture book, tells the story of eleven-year-old Sara Wolfe, who works for a lighthouse keeper on an island off the coast of Nova Scotia. Since her father’s death at sea, Sara’s family needs the money she makes from cleaning, cooking, and doing farm chores for the Moshers, the… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Another Me

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In 1349, rumours about who is to blame for the bubonic plague are spreading as fast as the disease. Without a sewage system and long before people knew that germs cause disease, the townspeople of Strasbourg blame the Jewish people. Having fallen in love with a Christian girl named Elena, seventeen-year-old Natan overhears a plot… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Cure for Wereduck

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Thirteen-year-old Kate and her family have a secret: during the full moon, Kate’s family become werewolves, and she becomes a wereduck. After an overzealous reporter almost exposes their transformations to the world, Kate and her family, along with another young werewolf, John, escape to her Aunt Bea’s cottage in southern Ontario. Exploring her new home,… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: The Pain Eater

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Gang raped on her way home from a high school play, Maddy tells no one. With no witnesses, no pregnancy and the appalling knowledge that others in her position who reported it have been treated badly, she returns to school in the fall with heightened anxiety. Finding herself in an English class with one of… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: We Found a Hat

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Caldecott award-winning author and illustrator, Jon Klassen, completes his acclaimed hat trilogy with We Found a Hat.  To recap, I Want My Hat Back (2011) stars a wronged bear who loses his favourite pointy red chapeau, and This is Not My Hat (2012) features a duplicitous little fish who snitches a big fish’s blue bowler. … Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Bad Girls of Fashion

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Jennifer Croll’s Bad Girls of Fashion offers a fascinating exposé on style rebels throughout history.  As Croll posits, clothing is much more than just frivolous frippery, it has the ability to be a “powerful tool for shaping opinions and for challenging the status quo.”  This provocative argument is smartly explored in 43 profiles of female… Read more »