Outside your Window: A First Book of Nature

Outside

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

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Helen Keller

When checking out nonfiction books on a famous life like this one, there are so many options, that it can be overwhelming. Disappointing, too, if you order books without seeing them, and they turn out to be dull. So here are a variety of books for a variety of ages on Helen Keller.

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Hand in Hand: based on the real-life story of Helen Keller and Martha Washington, by Jean Little

The author develops this historical fiction novel based on the real relationship that Helen had as a girl with Martha, the cook’s daughter, who was her first friend.  Chapter book, ages 7-10.

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Annie and Helen, by Deborah Hopkinson and Raul Colon

A picture book that begins with Helen’s inability to communicate and ends with the joy of her first letter written home by herself. A thorough and clear explanation of Annie’s methods, with large illustrations for children, and real excerpts from Annie Sullivan’s journal at the time. Picture book, ages 5-10.

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Helen Keller and the Big Storm, by Patricia Lakin, easy reader

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Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle, by Holly M. Barry,  picturebook

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Helen’s Big World: The Life of Helen Keller,  by Doreen Rappaport

This picture book is similar in style to Annie and Helen, but covers Helen’s whole life from babyhood to death. The large pictures make it attractive to children, and the text is very clear, interesting and informative. Quotes sprinkled throughout are from Helen’s journal this time, instead of Annie’s. Well-done. Picturebook, ages 5-10.

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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Our Animal Friends at Maple Hill Farm

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By Alice and Martin Provensen

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A funny (autobiographical?), peculiar, book that will convince you that each sheep, dog, chicken, horse, cat, etc. has its own character. The brief animal sketches of every animal friend on the farm will have animal loving kids giggling.

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Ages 5-10

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

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Evangeline

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Evangeline written by Helene Boudreau

Evangeline is a wonderful story based on Henry Wadsworth Longfellow’s fictionalized Evangeline. The story follows the life of Evangeline and Gabriel as they grow up in Acadia. Right after Evangeline and Gabriel’s marriage, the British arrive and the Acadians are forced to abandon their homes and villages.  Gabriel and Evangeline as well as many others are separated from their families. The rest of the book is about Evangeline’s search for Gabriel.

At the back of the book there is a brief history on the Acadians.

Picturebook

Age: 4 and up

Recommended

Reviewed by Meagan

Available from the public libraries

The Night Gardener

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by Terry Fan and Eric Fan

(not to be confused with a book of the same title by Jonathan Auxier)

When William awakes, someone has transformed the shrubs and trees into animal-shaped works of art. One night William follows the night gardener and ends up helping him with his work.

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Beautiful illustrations and a lovely story. Highly recommended.

Ages 3-9

Reviewed by Esther

Available from public libraries

Bunny’s First Spring

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by Sally Lloyd-Jones

A little bunny watches as the seasons change, and gets worried when everything seems to disappear and die in the winter. Continue reading to witness his joy at the return of spring. Great illustrations.

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Recommended

Ages 0-5

Reviewed by Esther

Available from public libraries.

Waiting for High Tide

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By Nikki McClure

You could give your kids or students a lesson on tides and clams, herons and barnacles….or you could read Waiting for High Tide. It was the illustrations and the cover that made me pick this book up. Beautifully done in white, black, and pale blue, the bold illustrations are reminiscent of wood-burning relief illustrations.

A simple story about building a raft with Mom, Dad, and Grandma one summer day, the facts in the book are so real you know the author must have almost lived them…which he did.

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Science

Picturebook

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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