One Morning in Maine

McCloskey, R. (1952). One Morning in Maine. New York: Viking Penguin Inc.

Awards: Caldecott Honor (1953)

Sal has discovered a loose tooth on the day she is planning to go with her father and younger sister, Jane, across to Buck’s Harbour in their little boat. Her mother explains that she can make a wish on her tooth once it comes out, but she mustn’t tell anyone or the wish won’t come true. Sal tries to make sense of her experience by wondering if various island animals even have teeth, and if so, do they lose them? The themes of a young girl having her first loose tooth, enjoying nature, and resilience in the face of disappointment Continue reading

The Way Back Home

Jeffers, O. (2007). The Way Back Home. London: Harper Collins Children’s Books.

The third in Jeffers’ boy series.

The story kicks off with an intertextual nod to the second of the series, Lost and Found, as the boy pulls a boat into his house to store. He finds an aeroplane in the closet and not remembering that he put it there, he reasons it’s a good idea to go for a trip to the moon. After running out of gas on the moon, he surprisingly meets someone else who is likewise, in a predicament. Continue reading

Flora and the Penguin

Idle, M. (2014). Flora and the Penguin. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books LLC.

This time around, Flora is the one responsible for causing the trouble in the  companion to the 2014 Caldecott Honor book, Flora and the Flamingo. The unlikely friendship between Flora and her new ice skating pal is explored as they glide, spin and dance together in this wordless picture book with unique Continue reading

The Big Orange Splot

Pinkwater, D. (1977). The Big Orange Splot. New York: Scholastic Inc.

Through unexpected humour, the themes of taking risks, diversity, following one’s own dreams, and being unique are illuminated. After a seagull carrying a bucket of paint (“no one knows why”) spills it on Mr. Plumbean’s house, Mr. Plumbean paints his house to look like a rainbow, a jungle, an explosion. When he breaks away from the stifling conformity of his neighbourhood, he sets in motion an  Continue reading

Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth!

Gay, M. (2010). Roslyn Rutabaga and the Biggest Hole on Earth! Toronto: Groundwood Books.

Roslyn wakes up one morning knowing full well what is on her agenda for the day. Dig a hole to China, of course! Or perhaps the South Pole so she can finally meet a penguin. Enthusiastically she bounds down the stairs and recounts the plan to her father at the breakfast table, to which he simply inquires, “Will you be home in time Continue reading

At the Same Moment Around the World

Perrin, C. (2014). At the Same Moment Around the World. San Francisco, California: Chronicle Books, LLC.

Originally published in France as Au même instant, sur la Terre (2011)

This jam-packed, delightful concept book takes the reader around the world, exploring what different children are doing at the same moment, whether it be night or day where they live. Different cultures are examined as Benedict drinks hot chocolate, Ravshan and Yuliya return from the market on a donkey, and Pablo has magical dreams. But are they more different or more similar to one Continue reading

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing

Burningham, J. (1970). Mr. Gumpy’s Outing. New York: Henry Holt and Company.

Awards: The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (1972 )
Kate Greenway Medal (1970)
Parent’s Choice Paperback Award
A New York Times Best Illustrated Children’s Book
An ALA Notable Children’s Book

Mr. Gumpy kindly permits anyone who promises to behave onto his boat for a ride. It is a lovely day and at first all the children and animals mind their manners. Until they all end up doing exactly what Mr. Gumpy asked them not to do. And all at once! The children squabble, the rabbit hops, the chickens flap, and so on until Continue reading

Peggy: a brave chicken on a big adventure

Walker, A. (2012). Peggy: a brave chicken on a big adventure. New York: Clarion Books.

A simple story of a chicken named Peggy who enjoys playing on the trampoline in her yard everyday until one big gust of wind takes her on an unexpected journey to the city. She eats spaghetti, chats with people, and with the help of some pigeons, finds her way home again. Although there was not an overdose of adventure, there were touches of sophisticated humour, best shown when Peggy notices herself on Continue reading

Stella, Princess of the Sky


Gay, M. (2004). Stella, Princess of the Sky. Toronto: Groundwood Books.

With a multitude of themes to investigate, this book starts with a conversation. Younger brother Sam pelts his older and wiser sister about the sunset, how the sky changes over the course of the day, and where the sun sleeps. The two stay out that night, camping under the stars. They observe the sky above and the animals around them. It evolves into more than Continue reading

Wild Berries

Flett, J. (2013). Wild Berries. Vancouver, British Columbia: Simply Read Books.

Awards: First Nation Communities READ (2014-2015)

Author Illustrator Julie Flett delivers a picture book set in both English and Cree. There are actually two editions: a bilingual English-Cree dialect version and one in a Cree dialect. In the English-Cree version, one Cree vocabulary word is highlighted on each page. A pronunciation guide follows at the end of the story.

Clarence and his grandmother have always gone blueberry picking together. Here they are, on a typical trip to the woods, picking both sweet and sour blueberries Continue reading