Pandas on the Eastside

Prendergast, G. (2016). Pandas on the Eastside. Victoria: Orca Book Publishers.

A little book with a fun design on the cover caught my eye, and it was so easy to delve in and imagine East Vancouver during 1972, I had finished the story of Journey Song before29275024 I knew it. Part historical fiction, part alternate reality, it’s the story of a wilful and cheeky girl, Journey, and a wide cast of characters who live in Vancouver’s downtown Eastside when two giant pandas were gifted to the American people from the Chinese government. In reality, the transportation of the pandas went smoothly and didn’t stop in Canada, but Prendergast imagines a world where the United States and China have a spat and the pandas are delayed indefinitely in a warehouse in Vancouver; a stop in the trip that never actually happened.

Journey becomes concerned about the pandas’ living conditions in the warehouse Continue reading

The Ruins of Gorlan

Flanagan, J. (2005). The Ruins of Gorlan. New York: Philomel Books.91yg6kzecwl

“An ordinary archer practices until he gets it right. A Ranger practices until he never gets it wrong.” -Halt, The Ruins of Gorlan.

The Ruins of Gorlan is the first in a witty and humorous series called Ranger’s Apprentice that takes place in the medieval times. The story follows a young orphan named Will and carries us through his apprenticeship to a grim Ranger named Halt during a very dangerous time. Rangers are an elite intelligence force that operates for the King in a country called Araluen. Their uncanny skill in archery, and their ability to become unseen whenever they want makes them a revered force among the country. If a criminal hears the words “King’s Ranger!” Continue reading

Eco Warrior

Roy, P. (2015). Eco Warrior. Vancouver: Ronsdale Press.

Eco Warrior by Phillip Roy is a wonderful tale about a sixteen year old boy named Alfred that pulls you in right away and keeps you reading from page one to the end. Alfred is traveling to Australia 28413939in a homemade submarine with his pet seagull and dog to learn how to be an environmentalist and save the oceans. On the way Alfred learns many life lessons and meets new friends for life. After Alfred arrives in Australia he’s mistakenly accused of sabotaging a tanker and has to make a daring escape with the help of a friend. Because of that Alfred makes his way over to Tasmania to see if he can help the Sea Shepherd Society battle tankers that supply Japanese whale hunters with fuel for their ships.

Eco Warrior is short book that outlines the dangers that our oceans are in and shows that it’s still possible for us to make a change. You do not need to read the previous six books in Continue reading

Hercufleas

Gayton, S. (2015). Hercufleas. London: Andersen Press Ltd.28114444

Hercufleas is an original and touching fable of hope, courage, size, and much more. When Greta needs an ally to fight a giant, she recruits Hercufleas, a large flea. After being separated from his fleamily, this unexpected hero-to-be joins forces with Greta, together embarking on a journey to save the girl’s hometown of Tumber. Many adventures challenge them, but Hercufleas and Greta show that Continue reading

Herman and Rosie

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Gordon, G. (2013). Herman and Rosie. New York: Roaring Book Press.

A surreal and blatant love letter to New York City, the reader is plunged into the worlds of Herman and Rosie, who live close to each other but have yet to serendipidously meet. They both love the City with its cacophony of musical sounds, but they also both feel lonely in the midst of so many. It is postmodernist, as the characters make reference to each other before they meet. Furthermore, there are smaller separate stories told within the pictures, discovered with closer examination.  Continue reading

The Story of Ferdinand

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Leaf, M. (1936). The Story of Ferdinand. New York: The Viking Press.

Awards: Indies Choice Book Award for Picture Book Hall of Fame (2010)

Gandhi’s favourite book, Ferdinand tells the story of a young Spanish bull who prefers smelling flowers to running, jumping, skipping and butting heads with the other little bulls. We quickly learn that Ferdinand is different, and that he is comfortable with this. We ingest a lot through discovering Ferdinand – the effectiveness of peaceful demonstration, the wonderfulness of quiet confidence, and the respect for individual variations. For this particular bull would like to just Continue reading

Caramba

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Gay, M. (2005). Caramba. Toronto: Groundwood Books.

Marilyn Baillie Picture Book Award (2006)

Cats can fly?! Well yes, surely everybody knows that! And we are once again thrust into the wild world of Marie-Louise Gay as she presents Caramba, the cat who sadly could not fly. The reader is then privy to a story of being different and the challenges which accompany being unique. Caramba finds Continue reading

One Morning in Maine

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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

Mr. Gumpy’s Outing

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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

Wild Berries

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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