Children & young adult

1070 Standing up for Bennie

The Jigsaw Puzzle King Toronto: Dundurn, 2020 $12.95 / 9781459746060 by Gina McMurchy-Barber Reviewed by Valerie Green * The Jigsaw Puzzle King by Gina McMurchy-Barber is a beautiful little book with a compelling message of hope for young adult readers. Eleven year-old Warren thinks he has two major problems in his life. The first is…
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1068 The hazards of home school

Deadman’s Castle by Iain Lawrence Toronto: Penguin Random House (Margaret Ferguson Books), 2021 $17.99 /  9780823446551 Reviewed by Phyllis Reeve * “My memories were like the tombstones in the cemetery, chipped and broken, so jumbled around that they didn’t make sense. Maybe I was trying to connect things that couldn’t be connected.” By the time…
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1063 Garage magic and memory

Saturday at the Garage by Nancy Hundal (text) and Angela Pan (illustrations) Vancouver: Midtown Press, 2020 $21.95 / 9781988242323 Reviewed by Caileigh Broatch * The Saturday morning sun rises to greet a father and daughter on the way to the garage. While there’s no school to attend, there are chores that must be done: floors…
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1053 An Adderson quartet

Paul & Pierre: Dragon! by Caroline Adderson, with illustrations by Alice Carter Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2021 $18.95 / 9781771473286 * Pierre & Paul: Avalanche! by Caroline Adderson, illustrations by Alice Carter Toronto: Owlkids Books, 2020 $18.95 / 9781771473279 * It Happened on Sweet Street by Caroline Adderson, illustrations by Stéphane Jorisch Toronto: Penguin Random House…
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1050 Return of the crocodiles

Crocs in a Box: Three Little Books by Robert Heidbreder, illustrated by Rae Maté Vancouver: Tradewind Books, 2020 $24.95 / 9781926890067 Consisting of Crocodiles Say (2006), Crocodiles Play (2008), and Crocs at Work (2015) Reviewed by Irene N. Watts * Well-loved books sometimes languish on the backlist, or go out of print. Happily Tradewind Books…
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1048 Covid in the classroom

Don’t Stand So Close to Me by Eric Walters Victoria: Orca Books, 2020 $10.95 / 9781459827875 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Eric Walters book Don’t Stand So Close to Me is very pertinent in today’s world and will help children better understand the new realty of a world-wide COVID-19 pandemic. The children in this story…
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1029 Redemption in Beijing

My Summer of Love and Misfortune by Lindsay Wong Toronto: Simon and Schuster, 2020 $17.99 / 9781534480704 Reviewed by Jessica Poon * My Summer of Love and Misfortune is an aptly titled comic YA novel with a propensity for food-centric similes, “super” as the omnipresent intensifier of choice, no shortage of hyphens, and featuring Iris…
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1026 A bevy of Beethovens

The Fifth Beethoven by Melanie Jackson Vancouver: Crwth Press, 2020 $10.95 / 9781989724057 Reviewed by Ginny Ratsoy * Scottish-born Vancouverite Melanie Jackson is a veteran writer of mysteries for young people, and it shows: she hits the right notes with this mystery for tweens and early teens. Not only does the mystery thread keep you…
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1024 A city kid goes rural

The Ride Home by Gail Anderson-Dargatz Victoria: Orca Books, 2020 $9.95 / 9781459821422 Reviewed by Valerie Green * Gail Anderson-Dargatz has produced a delightfully poignant young adult book with The Ride Home, published by Orca Book Publishers as one of their Orca Currents series. From the very first page with descriptive passages like “the bus…
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1011 No tea left unstirred

Teatime Around the World by Denyse Waissbluth, illustrated by Chelsea O’Byrne Vancouver: Greystone Books, 2020 $22.95 / 9781771646017 Reviewed by Caileigh Broatch * Teatime Around the World invites readers to afternoon tea with an English duchess, to drink green mint tea in Morocco, and buy masala chai from chai wallah vendors in India. Within the…
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1010 A trans tale of triumph

Blood Sport by Tash McAdam Victoria: Orca Books, 2020 $10.95  /  9781459824362 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw * Vancouver author Tash McAdams has written a little gem in Blood Sport. Part of the Orca Soundings series — short, high-interest novels targeted at teen readers — this novel is a fast-paced and exciting read. It is…
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#960 West Kootenay baby boomer buba

Tuesdays with Jack: A Grandmother’s Love and a Little Boy’s Brilliance by Pauline Daniel Vancouver: Granville Island Publishing, 2018 $18.95 / 9781926991825 Reviewed by Rose Morrison * Author Pauline Daniel, who likes to be known as the “how to follow your heart” coach, is the owner of Coaching Connections, a coaching service for women. She…
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#959 The anvil of female power

Fight Like a Girl by Sheena Kamal Toronto: Penguin Random House, 2020 $21.00 / 9780735265554 Reviewed by Natalie Lang * What do any of us really know about one another? The reality of someone’s life is likely to be filled with multiple layers of who they’ve been and what they’ve done. Someone living in our…
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#945 When horse sense is required

Coming Back by K.L. Denman Victoria: Orca Books, 2019 $9.95 / 9781459822665 Reviewed by Carol Anne Shaw * Coming Back, by K.L. Denman, is part of the Orca Books’ Rapid Reads series. These short novels and non-fiction books are high-interest, quick reads, primarily targeted at readers who struggle with literacy. Denman introduces us to Julie,…
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