Many: The Diversity of Life on Earth

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by Nicola Davies

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A tall picturebook with lots of things to look at, this book “Many” celebrates the incredible diversity of life on earth and also reminds us to care for the creatures on it! Well-researched and charmingly illustrated, kids will love to see the latest species that have been discovered, as well as the species that are now extinct. They will learn a little about the difficulty in identifying species as well as how plant and animal species rely on one another. Although the book doesn’t say it, every page shouts, “Truly, we have a great Creator!” (Not too long to read in one sitting.)

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Picturebook

Available from public libraries

Ages 4-10

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Just Ducks

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by Nicola Davies

A story-like picturebook on mallard ducks. Get a closer look at these common birds! Kids will enjoy the casual, chatty narrative as a girl tells about her neighbourhood ducks and comments on what the ducks are up to throughout the day. The additional information on each page is easily read along with the main story. A fun, informative book.

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Picturebook

Available from public libraries

Ages 3-8

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Perfect

Perfect

by Nicola Davies

The mix of real-life and abstract artwork in this emotionally-charged book closely echoes the feelings of a boy who is excited to have a new sibling, but finds out she will never run and chase him as he had hoped. His rejection of her is beautifully changed when he helps a small bird and sees that his sister might just need a little help too. It’s a short picture book with a warm ending as the big brother, full of love, carries his little sister out into the garden and tells her how it’s going to be, the two of them, together.

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Picturebook

Available from public libraries

Ages 4-10

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

The Seven Silly Eaters

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by Mary Ann Hoberman

We were given this book as a baby gift with our seventh baby—very fitting! A picture book to make the kids laugh (and maybe see a little of themselves if they have picky eating habits?), but also a book to make the parents laugh as the mom goes from patient and good-humoured to discouraged and throwing in the towel. Things turn around, however, when the kids make a haphazard attempt to help out…

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The pictures are half the appeal of this rhyming story, as the family grows and tumbles about the farmhouse by the sea, with books and staircases lining the little house where an attic serves as a jumbled bedroom for all the kids. Heart-warming and fun!

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Picturebook

Ages 3-8

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

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Bunny the Brave War Horse: Based on a True Story

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by Elizabeth MacLeod

A look at history through a picturebook, this books tells of the little-known role of several million horses used during WWI. The real-life police horse from Toronto, Ontario, helps keep the kids interest as the story covers quite a bit of ground. And, although the book touches on some heavy topics such as the death of a main character, poison gas, and heavy gunfire, the simple, childish pictures manage to convey the scene without showing guns, bombers, or the dying.

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Picturebook with more detailed information on the last pages.

Ages 3-12

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Splash, Anna Hibiscus

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by Atinuke and Lauren Tobia

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A fun book about having no one to play with. When Anna sets out to play by herself, she has so much fun that the others join her, after all. And for kids who think Africa remains an undeveloped continent, this book is a great eye-opener, especially when read with the “Double Trouble for Anna Hibiscus,” a fun look at what happens when Anna’s mom has twins.

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Two books which open the doors to an African family home on the coast, in the city.

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Ages 2-5

Picture book

Recommended

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

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Katie and the Big Snow

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by Virginia Lee Burton

A perfect book for when you are snowed in! In the style of Burton’s other books (Mike Mulligan and his Steamshovel; The Little House; Mabel the Cable Car) this picture book tells the story of how Katy the red crawler tractor plows out her town after a big snowstorm. A story of determination, perseverance, and heroism, this book will also be enjoyed for its classic Burton story-telling style and vintage illustrations.

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Picture book

Ages 3-7

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Fierce Convictions: The Extraordinary Life of Hannah More—Poet, Reformer, Abolitionist

 

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by Karen Prior

You know John Newton and William Wilberforce, but did you know that they were part of the Clapham group? And that each member had a key role to play in the religious awakening and political reform of their day? Meet Hannah More, the prolific writer who in William Wilberforce’s words had a great impact on society: “Individuals who are not in parliament seldom have an opportunity of doing good to considerable numbers. Even while I was writing the sentence I became conscious of the falsehood of the position; witness Mrs. Hannah More, and all those who labour with the pen.”

Here is a book for those who love biographies, are pursuing a writing career, or who want a fuller picture of the anti-slavery work that was going on in England at that time. Well-written!

Nonfiction

Ages 16-adult

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen

Julie of the Wolves

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by Jean Craighead George

I don’t know about the unabridged version of the chapter book “Julie of the Wolves,” but this one hour audio version gave a brief but eye-opening look into the changing lifestyle of the Inuit in North America. It also gives you a close look at wolf behaviour, the northern landscape, and traditional Inuit ways of living off the land. Listening with an adult would be helpful as children would benefit from a discussion of why Julie doesn’t stay with her long-lost father, in the end.

Ages 8-14

Fiction

Natural History

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer:  Doreen

Into the Woods: John James Audubon Lives His Dream

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by Robert Burleigh

A poetic look at the work of John Audubon. If you know nothing of him, it would be better to start with the brief autobiographical note at the end of the story. Told in rhyme as a letter to his father, the book highlights his love for birds and nature. True (but brief ) excerpts from his journal are what make the book worth reading. Illustrations are well done.

Ages 6-12

Picture book

Available from public libraries

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen