Tuesday, December 3, 2013

The Twelve Days of Christmas by Susan Jeffers



It’s a real treat when a Children’s book illustrator takes an old text and puts a new spin on it.  Such is the case with Susan Jeffers in her new book, The Twelve Days of Christmas.

Jeffers puts a delightful new twist on this traditional Christmas carol.  A little girl finds her Christmas present early – a snow globe containing a partridge in a pear tree.  Unfortunately she drops it.  Upset, she falls asleep  and dreams of a magical journey to the north pole with Santa.  On the way they meet all the characters from the song and sometimes those collide with hilarious consequences: when the seven swans  a'swimming meet the eight maids a’milking, it leaves a bit of a mess.  Once in Santa’s workshop she hands him her broken toy.  When she awakes on Christmas morning, and opens her gift, it is once again whole.  Has it all been a dream?

A reviewer for Kirkus Reviews calls this “A whimsical, magical interpretation of a holiday classic.”  Much of this story is told without words, in the illustrations alone.  That makes it the perfect book for sharing with a little one.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Antique Trader: Antiques & Collectibles



Many of us are fans of Antiques Roadshow, American Pickers, Canadian Pickers, or the numerous other such shows that TV offers.  It can be a lot of fun wandering through a thrift store or flee market.  While we’re all looking for treasure, very few of us would know it if we fell over it.  The new book, Antique Trader, Antiques & Collectibles is a great resource, for everything from advertising memorabilia to watches.

Each section is informative and teeming with examples.  It begins with a short history of the product, trends, and where to find them.  Examples range from the very best  of a product to the more common.  In some cases, examples of the marks that the collector looks for to identify certain makes are also included.  In all cases the value of the piece is given.

Although it is only through years of work and diligent research that one can immediately identify a treasure, it doesn’t hurt to be somewhat informed before setting out on a treasure hunt.

Travel Books



Anyone out there thinking of traveling this winter or next spring?  Is an all-inclusive in some hot Caribbean country not what you’re looking for?  A trip to the library’s travel section may be just what you need to inspire you to research an out of the way, or out of the ordinary travel experience.  The library has all kinds of travel resources to help.  

 The library offers many different brands of travel guidebooks and each traveller will find a format that appeals to them.  Some of the most popular are:   Fodor’s and Frommer’s which many find easy to use;  Rough Guides offer more cultural information than some of the others; Eyewitness Travel Guides are illustrated and great for planning a trip;  Rick Steve’s Guides have gained in popularity but are more costly, so not necessarily as plentiful.  Of course the most common is Lonely Planet guides which are aimed at the budget traveller.  

The Lonely Planet book I have in front of me is Croatia.  (A destination that a friend recommends highly).  It is full of maps, activities, and lists of places to eat and stay.

The library also has travel magazines, (like Outpost, National Geographic and more), and DVDs, so drop in if you have the travel bug.

Even Little Kids get Diabetes by Connie White Pirner



November is Diabetes Awareness Month.  Many of us have elderly family members who have been diagnosed in recent years with Diabetes, but few of us have had the experience of having a child diagnosed with the disease.  Connie White Pirner has authored a new book, Even Little Kids Get Diabetes.

This book is aimed at helping children and their families deal with the many aspects of the disease.  It begins with the sentence, “I’m only a kid, but I’ve got diabetes.”  The narrator, a little girl, takes the reader through the symptoms that led to a diagnosis; her hospital stay to get the disease under control; and the aftermath.  She is totally honest about crying when her finger is poked many times, her fear, and the measures she must take each day, like daily insulin injections and never, never, eating sweets.  She tells of her parent’s feelings, and her sibling’s reactions.   

I found the underlying positive message in a few key sentences like, “If you don’t do these things, you will get real sick.  But you’re a regular kid”, and the most optimistic sentence that ends the book where she talks about the love of her family, “We do all this stuff so I can stay healthy until they find a cure”.

The Road to Afghanistan by Linda Granfield



The Road to Afghanistan by Linda Granfield, and illustrated by Brian Deines is a good book for bringing the experience of war home and making it personal for younger readers. 

Through the eyes of a Canadian soldier from Alberta we explore the feelings and memories of going to fight a war in Afghanistan. This same soldier also reflects on past generations back to a great grandfather that was wounded in World War I. Parallels are drawn between these different wars fought by Canadian soldiers in each generation and how we remember them on November 11th.  Memories of those lost lives, and also those whose lives are changed and who live with the physical and psychological scars are mingled, so that past becomes present.  The story is illustrated with full page paintings; soft lines and warm colors give a sense of the Afghanistan heat, the foggy sadness of the cemetery and the Highway of Heroes, and the nostalgic glow of the past life on an Alberta farm. 

 A perfect book to read aloud to school children, with an interesting story told in a clear and easy manner.  This would be a good way to start the discussion about what those poppies mean.