Tuesday, June 19, 2018

Thelma the Unicorn by Aaron Blabey

Thelma is an ordinary pony with dreams of being a unicorn. When a chance comes her way to live her dream, she grabs it and runs with it, only to discover that being a unicorn in today’s world might not be exactly what she wants.

Thelma the Unicorn is a great read-aloud book, romping along in hilarious rhyme as Thelma lives her dream. Aaron has a knack for goofy and entertaining illustrations and for a memorable story with modern touches that stands up well to repeated readings.

Tuesday, June 12, 2018

The Three Big Questions For A Frantic Family by Patrick Lencioni

When business consultant Jude Cousins said to his wife Theresa “If my clients ran their companies the way we run this family, they’d be out of business,” he got a reaction he wasn’t expecting. After Theresa got over her initial fury, she started looking seriously at management principles to see if they could actually apply, and worked out three questions that can help any family go from floundering to focused.

The three big questions for a frantic family is a “leadership fable” - Jude and Theresa Cousins’ story is the frame for explaining the leadership principles, adapted from business, which can help families to find their focus and live the lives they want. Patrick writes a workmanlike story and lays out the principles clearly and the ideas sound like they could apply to any family, and improve the way a family works. 

Tuesday, June 5, 2018

The Nowhere Man by Gregg Hurwitz

Evan Smoak is The Nowhere Man, Orphan X. Whatever you call him, he is the man in the shadows, running from his past and atoning for it, using elite black-ops skills learned in an even blacker-ops program to rescue the helpless. But now he’s the helpless one, trapped by one ruthless man and with other enemies closing in, but if he doesn’t escape, more innocents will suffer and die.

The nowhere man is a high-octane book. The storyline is intense, not just in personal danger but in emotional content, and there are a lot of high-stakes confrontations. The characters are well-drawn and intriguing, and Hurwitz has an impeccable sense of pacing, always with rising suspense. The Nowhere Man was excellent, and the cliff-hanger ending means the reader is going to be on top of the sequel as soon as it comes out.

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

When We Were Alone by David A Robertson

Nosisim, a young girl, is helping her kokom (grandmother) in the flower garden, and like all children this age, asks her kokom questions. The questions are “why” questions, like: “Nokom,  why do you wear so many colours?” The answer is similar to all the questions – “When I was your age, at the school I went to, far away from home, they gave us different clothes to wear because they wanted us to look like everybody else.” Komo is asked why she doesn’t cut her hair, why she speaks Cree, and why she spends so much time with her brother.  The answer is always the same – because we weren’t allowed.

David Robertson does an excellent job of opening the discussion with young children about residential schools and their dark history by handling this delicate task very well. In When We Were Alone, Robertson has managed to present the story of First Nation children without overwhelming young readers. He has presented the realities of the situation in a general way and paired it with hope and perseverance.

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

A Noble Radiance by Donna Leon

A simple bit of land clearing for a garden in rural Italy turns up some bones, and among the bones is a signet ring of the Lorenzonis. That signet means that a long-lost heir has been found, and it is up to Commissario Brunetti to tease out what actually happened to the heir of the Lorenzonis, and why.

Donna Leon is an excellent writer; her characters are complicated and her plotting is intricate. There were several times when the reader thought they knew what had happened, only to have the plot take a sharp turn. Another lovely aspect of the series is the way Leon writes about Italy, the atmosphere of the city and the people. A noble radiance is available in e-book format, from eLibraries Manitoba.