Outside your Window: A First Book of Nature


by Nicola Davies

Another book for when you are eager to begin sharing the great world outside with your three year old, but in a more gentle, poetic way. Again, each page spread covers a different topic, but with more whimsical artwork than the Usborne My Very First Our World book. A very thick, full-colour, picture book.

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Ages 2-8

Available from public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen

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Silent Night: The Song and its Story  

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by Margaret Hodges

History comes to life in this picture book with lovely illustrations throughout. The story is well-told and children will learn of how the Austrian priest Father Mohr’s dilemma one Christmas season brought the world this carol.

Ages 4-12

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen



Little Night Cat

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By Sonja Danowski

This author does something amazing with her illustrations, pencilling and painting a warm, wonderful world, with houses overflowing in creative activity.

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Tony gives up his stuffed animals for the animal shelter cause, then misses his animals, but in the end gets a real live cat. A warm simple story, although the animal shelter raffle and prizes does take place on a Sunday.

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Also by Sonja Danowski: The Forever Flowers.   The story-line again is quite simple, although the lesson is not as clear (about letting go), but may open the  door for a discussion.

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Ages 4-8

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

The Private World of Tasha Tudor

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by Tasha Tudor and Richard Brown

Best known for her children’s artwork from half a century ago, this book gives a photographic look and biography into Tasha’s later life as an elderly lady in America who was convinced she should have lived 150 years ago.

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Her story and pictures will inspire adult readers who love the idea of being self-sufficient, working with pioneer-time tools, corgis, or true English-style cottage gardens.

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Ages 16 and up

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

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The Cardboard Box Book: 25 Things to Make and Do with Empty Boxes

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By Danny, Jake, and Niall Walsh

Another great cutting up, gluing, rainy afternoon book. Big projects with lots of boy-appeal, using ordinary supplies: “No expensive equipment required. Absolutely no talent whatsoever required!” says the back cover of the book.  As a parent, I liked the “no frustration” of this book.

Ages 6-12


Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

I Can Make That! Fantastic Crafts for Kids

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By Mary Wallace

Who likes craft books that are complicated, frustrating, and require lots of parental help? Not me! This library book by Wallace gave simple straightforward steps and used common household odds and ends to make costumes, puppets, nature crafts, toys and games. Full colour, and with lots and lots of ideas, your kids are sure to find something they want to make on a rainy day…

Ages 6-10


Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

Houndsley and Catina


by James Howe

The stories about this cat and dog centre around the homes of two friends who work at friendship, for a friendship with two different characters will always have a few kinks. How do you deal with a friend who wants to be a writer but writes horribly? Or who won’t stop talking when you’re trying to enjoy nature on a canoe ride? What about a snowy day lacking in excitement? These books offer gentle solutions that celebrate enjoying the simple things in life. Each book has a few chapters with a satisfying ending to the book.

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The illustrations in this series use a casual-looking watercolour style, but are beautifully done. You can see the thought and planning that went into each picture, and I love how the artist adds to each friend’s character simply by how she depicts their homes and clothing—did you notice Catina’s love for enormous, ornately patterned skirts and dresses? And Houndsley’s distinctive British air?

Other titles in the series:

Houndsley and Catina and the Quiet Time


Houndsley and Catina: Plink and Plunk


Houndsley and Catina and the Birthday Surprise


Not officially Easy Readers, but could be used as such, (probably a Level 3), since they are published in that format with short chapters.

Ages 4-8

Available from public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen



Goodnight Songs: A Celebration of the Seasons

a celebration

By Margaret Wise Brown

Margaret Wise Brown. She is not your typical poet or story writer, and yet there is a gentle rhythm to her writing that makes her books good read-alouds. The world seems to think so too, as her Goodnight Moon is an enduring classic. This collection of poems—found forty years after her death— has just been recently published.

The poems in this picturebook are simple, fun, or sweet, and even if they’re not your favourites, a young child will enjoy sitting on your lap, just looking at the beautiful pictures and hearing the rhythm of your voice.

Twelve poems, twelve pictures—illustrated by twelve different award-winning picture book authors. And that makes this a neat book to talk about. What do you think the artist used to make this illustration? What do you like about it? Do you think it suits the poem? (I think they did a great job matching the illustrators’ styles to the different poems.) Which style of picture would you like to try make? Read about that illustrator in the back of the book, then get out your paper!

The book includes a CD by two music artists who have put the poems into song form in something of a cross between folksongs and country.

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Ages 0-10

Picturebook with CD

Available from: public libraries


Reviewer: Doreen