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Children’s Book Reviews: The Swan Riders

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As this is the second book in a series, the following review contains spoilers. In Swan Riders, the follow up to Erin Bow’s award-winning The Scorpion Rules, Greta faces the very real danger of skinning, meaning her mind could lose her humanity and sanity in the process of adjusting to her new AI existence. While… Read more »

Children’s’ Book Reviews: Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol

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Following the success of A Porcupine in a Pine Tree (Scholastic 2014) and its sequel, Dashing Through the Snow (Scholastic 2015), the animal friends return once more to decorate for the holidays. In Deck the Halls: A Canadian Christmas Carol by author Helaine Becker and illustrator Werner Zimmerman, the animals transform a house into a… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Trolled (Sports Stories series)

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Steven Sandor’s latest novel, Trolled, is an intense, fast-paced story about the less attractive aspects of jock culture and how they can play out on social media. Ranked first in Ontario for the 100-metre freestyle, swimmer Andy Kovacs is willing to sacrifice almost anything to qualify for a chance to compete at nationals, even though… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Closing Down Heaven

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In Lesley Choyce’s Closing Down Heaven, Hunter Callaghan has to die before he learns to live. Hunter never meant to die. At sixteen, he finally discovered mountain biking – an activity that ignited his “spark” – and in a fleeting moment on a dangerous trail, his life ended. But Hunter’s afterlife is unlike any he… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: The Wish Tree

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In Governor General’s Literary Award nominee Kyo Maclear’s latest picture book, The Wish Tree, dreams come true for a kind-hearted little boy. Charles is on a mission to find a “wish tree.”  His naysaying siblings do not dampen his spirits, and the child and his trusty sled, Boggan, optimistically journey into the snowy woods.  Along… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive) in the Real World?

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In her latest non-fiction book, Monster Science: Could Monsters Survive (and Thrive) in the Real World?, Helaine Becker examines the actual science behind six legendary creatures. Frankenstein’s monster, vampires, Bigfoot, zombies, werewolves and sea monsters each take their turn in the spotlight, as Becker presents their creepy origin stories and then discusses their most well-known… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: All the Dirt: A History of Getting Clean

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All the Dirt:  A History of Getting Clean by Toronto writer Katherine Ashenburg  is a revised, children’s edition of her adult book, The Dirt on Clean:  An Unsanitized History.  Compulsively readable chapters chart the changing public attitudes towards cleanliness throughout the ages.  Starting with “Ancient Grime,” this down and dirty expose explores lavish Roman public… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Mittens to Share

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In Mittens to Share by author Emil Sher and illustrator Irene Luxbacher, a young girl and her father head out for some winter fun. Several snow angels and a snowman later, she loses her mitten, and returns home to find another pair. But where did that mitten go? Mittens to Share is Torontonian Emil Sher’s… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: Once, in a Town Called Moth

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Trilby Kent, award-winning author of Stones for my Father, explores how family secrets shape our lives in her most recent novel, Once, in a Town Called Moth. Dragged on an intercontinental journey by her father in search of her mother, fourteen-year-old Anneli’s sudden immersion in Canadian culture requires more than a simple name change. Coming… Read more »

Children’s Book Reviews: The Hunt of the Dragon

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Two years have passed since Elayne discovered a portal to the alternate realm of Goloth, in C.C. Humphreys’ The Hunt of the Unicorn. There, mythical beasts roamed a medieval world, and Elayne and her unicorn fought hard to unseat the tyrannical King Leo. In Humphreys’ sequel, The Hunt of the Dragon, Elayne is eighteen years… Read more »