Books for Christmas Clearout

Still looking for a great Christmas gift? Nothing beats a good book. It’s Christmas Clearout time! I need space so some books must go. HALF THE PRICE AS POSTED ON AMAZON. Plus no shipping costs. Pick it up in Thunder Bay. Get it signed by the author. For more Information on a book, click here to see Amazon blurbs and ratings.

For Adults

Bouquet: Short stories with a Buddhist Twist (Collection previously of published in mainstream magazines.) Reg $8.50, Now $4.25

Inhale: Prize winning short stories. (On the darker side.) Reg $8.50, Now $4.25

Sing the Planets: An I’ll Remember That Book – for teachers Ages 7 and up. (Fun, movement, singing, learning.) $13.08, Now $6.50

That Dam Book (Humorous jokes or game about beavers.) Reg $9.65, Now $5.75

For Teens

Katherine of Aragon – ages 12 and up (Comic style story.) Reg $22.27, Now $5.50

Terror at White Otter Castle – ages 12 and up (Suspense, some violence.) Reg 27.90, Now $12.00

For Kids

The Amida Tree – ages 4 to 9 (Harmony with nature, healthy relationships, beautiful, touching.)

Dirty Pigs Non-fiction fascinating facts. – ages 3 to 7 Reg $11.96, Now $6.00 (Clears up misconceptions.)

Can You Imagine? – ages 3 to 6 Ref $13.10, Now $6.00 (Letting your imagination grow.)

Geta Toss – ages 4 to 7 Reg $14.40, Now $7.00 (Interracial friendship, new kid, jealousy, humor.)

If You See a Dragon – ages 4 to 7 Unavailable online, $5.00 (Kindness to animals.)

No More Red – ages 3 to 6 Re $13.08, Now $6.50 (Funny story about accepting life’s struggles.)

Pirate Smells – Great for the whole family of book lovers Reg $14.08 Now $7.00 (A search and find book like you’ve never seen. What book images can you decipher?)

Rumpelstiltskin’s Child – ages 5 to 8. Reg $15.70, Now $7.50 (Prejudice, kindness, forgiveness)

Sing the Planets: An I’ll Remember That Book – for teachers – Ages 7 and up Fun, movement, singing, learning. $13.08, Now $6.50

Too Quiet, Too Noisy – ages 4 to 7 Reg $13.08, Now$6.50 (Life balance,

For Toddlers

What’s Missing: Clothes -ages 2 to 5 Reg $13.08, Now $6.50

What’s Missing: Faces – ages 1 to 4 Reg $13.08, Now $6.50

Tell Me Where: Animals and Babies – ages 1 to 3 Reg $13.10, Now $6.50

Welcome Back, Maple Mehta-Cohen by Kate McGovern. Book Review.

The premise of this story is that a girl, Maple, is kept back in grade four while all her friends move to grade five, middle school, and shun her. She fails because she can’t read. This has just been discovered by her “excellent” teacher and she is diagnosed with dyslexia.

Before I address the story writing, I must address this issue of failing a child for the teacher’s inadequate assessments. This book is published in Canada so I don’t know what province this would still be happening in. For decades in Ontario, teachers must assess students independent reading at least three times a year using unfamiliar text with no pictures or oral clues. The students are assigned a reading level and this is followed from grade SK to six. Teachers plot the child’s progress from one term to the next and if a child is falling behind, further testing and support is put in place. Everyone involved would be alerted if a child couldn’t read long before they reached the end of grade five. Parents would be livid if a child was suddenly kept back with no indication for years that they were struggling. There would be long discussion of why this child slipped through their fingers and someone would be held accountable.

Setting that aside, the story is an accurate representation of the trauma a child in this situation would suffer. Quite often the friends in their former class forget about including them, especially if they seldom see each other at school. Parents are often unaware that a child is being socially excluded. Maple is hurt but resourceful and brave. She suffers a horrible humiliation and has the compassion to forgive. Unfortunately, today I think the public humiliation of her poor oral reading would not be put on the intercom but would be spread across social media where it would not be forgotten so easily.

The book also touches on how difficult it is for minority children, especially those of mixed race, to find representation in media and history representation.

This is a touching story but it feels a little out of date. This seems as though the social and academic situations pertain more to the time of the author’s childhood than present day.

Buy Link

3 stars

Good Night, Noah by Eric Walter. Illustrated by Eugenie Fernandes. Book Review.

This is a very basic picture book for babies. Noah is saying goodnight to someone on each pages. He p[ats a dog on his bed and says, “Woof. Good night, doggy.” Then his bed appears in a field by a cow. “Moo Good night, cow.” In a field of flowers, he says “Buzzzz Good night, honeybee.” He visits a duck, a lion, a bird, a pig, a monkey, a fish, a kangaroo, an owl, and lastly, his daddy. Each page has a hint of what the next animal will be and at the end they can all be found in the child’s room as toys.

This would be a super fun book to read with a toddler making all the sounds with you. The pictures are simple and realistic, colorful but not garish. The text is clear and large. I was given a paperback reviewer’s copy so  can’t assess the quality of the board book.  

A great way to introduce babies to bedtime books and develop a bedtime routine of saying goodnight to special toys.

Be aware though that the only parent shown is daddy. I wonder if they could print a version with a mommy at the end.

We Are the Brennans by Tracey Lange: Book Review

This is the story of an Irish family reuniting after a well-kept secret drove them apart.  The devotyed daughter, Sunday, fled to New York for a mysterious reason. Her three brothers and her boyfriend do not understand why she has cut herself off from the family. When she’s involved in a serious car accident, while driving drunk, her older brother it’s called by the hospital staff as next of kin. He brings her back to thier hometown where event unfold.  Two of the brothers are opening a second bar and one is keeping secrets from the other which could cause financial ruin. Her boyfriend has married and has a child but still feels the same about her. Sunday slowly unravels the secrets and motives, including her own.

 It has the flavour of Heartland or Virgin River. When the whole story comes out, everything makes sense. It is a story of loyalty, love, family,  deceit, and forgiveness. Tracy Lange portrays the characters in such a way ice to make the reader feel they know them. They’re the kind of people you would like to have in your own family. The writing style is simple and straightforward, linear, and told from an omniscient viewpoint focussing on Sunny.

It doesn’t seem possible to have a happy ending after everything that’s happened but Tracy Lane brings it all to a satisfying conclusion.

4 stars

Be Patient, Little Chick – Little Animal Adventures – by Patricia Jensen – Book Review

This charming picture book tells us about the hatching of an independent-minded and curious little chick. He  boldly sets out to explore the world without his mother. He wants to fly like the robin, swim like the duck, eat bones like the dog,  and face down the big scary rooster. In the end mother hen has to drive off the rooster and the little chick finally excepts her wisdom that growing up takes patience.

The illustrations are realistic but lack any originality or pizzazz. It could have been more humorous.

The story ends with two pages of facts about baby chicks and hens.

This is a good book to teach a child that chickens are more than just meat and egg producers. They are living beings with relationships and personalities. As well, most children can relate to the little chicks impatience at not being able to do everything the grown ups do. It’s suitable for ages 4 to 7.

 This is a good book to stimulate discussion about animals and about maturing at a safe and reasonable  pace.

Buy link


Chick toy purchase link

Isle of You by David LaRochelle. Illustrated by Jaime Kim. Book Review.


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This unique picture book isn’t really a story. It is  a book of reassurance similar to Robert Munch’s Love You Forever or Billy Crystal’s I Already Know I Love You but it takes a different approach. It is the kind of book you read to a child and they later refer to on their own whenever they are feeling down.

It begins, “Was today a hard day? Are you feeling sad? Lonely? Maybe even a little angry? I’m sorry. Come with me. I know the perfect place to go.”

From that point on the author and illustrator take the reader on a fantastical journey into a paradise island specifically designed for the child. The idea is to remind oneself to be calm, live in the moment, and use one’s imagination to reassure oneself. The title is a clever twist of words, Isle of You. Say it quickly and it sounds like I love you.

This could become a game for the parent and child to play, or the child to do alone when needed. Imagine oneself in a beautiful place.  It doesn’t have to be the way the book portrays the island. The child can eventually build his or her own island with whatever appeals to them.

The illustrations by Jaime Kim are bright and colorful but yet gentle and dreamlike. They glow with happiness.

This is a wonderful book for any child but especially for one who has difficulty with intense emotions. It may help the child develop a strategy that could be of benefit for life.


Tear Me Apart by J.T. Ellison. Book Review.


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This is a typical suspense novel about a 18 year old in desperate need of a bone marrow transplant. Because of this, it comes to light that neither her mother or father are her biological parents. This leads into a kidnapping and murder mystery that connects to correspondence between two teenage girls in a mental hospital.

Unfortunately the writing style is rather flat and, although this can be quite common in this kind of novel, the characters are two dimensional and the dialogue is a bit awkward. I found myself skimming quickly through the book in order to finish it and being reluctant to pick it up.

The premise is intriguing but halfway through the book you have pretty much  figured out everything. In a good mystery suspense the reader is  often lulled into thinking they have solved the plot and then comes the twist. It can be a variation on what the reader has surmised or it can come completely out of left field. This book went with the first  style but it  was a bit weak on surprise and punch. I found quite predictable.

It’s an easy beach read with an interesting basic plot if you’re  just looking for something relaxing.


How to Help a Child Remember an Address


The best tool I’ve ever used for helping a child memorise is rhyme and rhythm. My little granddaughter had difficulty learning her address so I made a response rhyme. You’ll have to go to the video to hear the tune.

Adult: What’s the number on your door?

Child: The number is blank blank four.

Adult: What’s the street where you’re alive?

Child: The street is called blank blank Drive.

Use a familiar tune or one you make up. If you can’t make a rhyme, leave a comment and I’ll do my best to help you out.