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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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

Recommended

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

Recommended

Available from public libraries

Reviewer: Doreen

One Was Johnny: A Counting Book

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By Maurice Sendak

For those kids struggling to read but bored with the careful Reading Level books…

This simple, grade 1-ish level, counting book adds some adventure to the predictable Clifford and Biscuit books, by way of humorous pictures and events. Definite boy-appeal, although my daughter laughed at it too.

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Available from public libraries

Ages 4-7

Reviewer: Doreen

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Helen Keller’s Dog Belle

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Helen Keller’s Best Friend Belle by Holly M Barry

This was a unique story about Helen Keller and her love for dogs. It tells the life story of Helen in a picturebook style, but focuses on how her dogs helped her feel loved and encouraged during her struggles. Although the title makes Belle sound like a main character, the story is mostly about Helen’s life. There is a page at the back of the book that tells you all the different kinds of dogs she owned during her lifetime. It is quite the list!

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Picturebook

Ages: 2 and up

Recommended

Available at the public libraries

Reviewed by Meagan

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.

Houndsley and Catina

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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

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Houndsley and Catina: Plink and Plunk

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Houndsley and Catina and the Birthday Surprise

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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

Recommended

Reviewer: Doreen