Back-to-school books
Amazing Visual Math
DK Books,
Open to discover, build to discover, fold to find out, turn to learn, flip to reveal and lift to explore
Editor’s Note: My son and I love this book, as did my son’s friend who came over and built a variety of 3D shapes.

Fantastic Cities, A Colouring Book of Amazing Places Real and Imagined

Steve McDonald
Chronicle Books,
This unique colouring book features immersive aerial views of real cities from around the world alongside gorgeously illustrated, Inception-like architectural mandalas. Artist Steve McDonald’s beautifully rendered and detailed line work offers bird’s-eye perspectives of visually arresting global locales from New York, London and Paris to Istanbul, Tokyo, and Melbourne, Rio, Amsterdam, and many more. Even Toronto is featured. The adult colouring book’s distinctive large square format offers absorbingly complex vistas to colour, the crisp white pages are conducive to a range of artistic applications and a middle margin keeps all the artwork fully colourable.
Editor’s Note: I love colouring. I find it pretty relaxing. It was neat to see places I have been within the book.

First French Picture Dictionary
DK Books,
Learning French is as easy as A,B,C with this new paperback edition of this appealing colour dictionary. With more than 2,000 words and phrases and hundreds of eye-catching full-colour photographs of familiar themes and objects, this is an easy and fun way for elementary school children to get started with French.
Editor’s Note: While this dictionary can’t possibly have all the words we need, it’s a great start and it’s enjoyable enough for my six year old to look through it, finding words he knows and telling me them in French.

Get Ready for School Number Memory Games
DK Books,
In Number Memory Games, cards show numbers one to 10 arranged in set order with everyday objects and number words to help toddlers practice adding and taking away up to 10, sharing, and grouping. The easy-to-understand visual approach focuses on real-life problem-solving activities, such as going shopping and playing sports.
Editor’s Note: This series of books and games has you learning, in this case numbers, with Bip, Bop and Boo. You match the number with the number of real pictures on each card. While my six year old is way too old for this game, and the Colour Match Game, he is excited to play it and not willing to give it up.

Grade 2 Made Easy, Practice Workbook, Canadian Edition
DK Books,
This book provides practice at all the major topics for Grade 2.
Editor’s Note: When this book came in I was excited as my son, who started working in it immediately. It was this book that made me realize I needed Math Dictionary. I am thankful there are answers in the back and that my son is pretty great at math.

How to Play the Recorder, a Step-by-Step Guide
DK Books,
From the very basics of music to more challenging music and playing duets How to Play the Recorder is the perfect companion for anyone learning how to play the recorder. Notes are clearly introduced at appropriate stages with specially selected musical pieces that provide content and a sense of achievement. Lots of hints and tips are scattered throughout for extra guidance and encouragement.
Editor’s Note: This would have been helpful in public school when everyone was forced to buy a recorder, but was never taught how to play it. So now when my son is forced to buy a recorder, he can teach himself how to play.

Math Dictionary, Homework Help for Families

DK Books,
Can’t remember the difference between a prime number and a square number? Forgotten how many sides on a pentagon (five), heptagon (seven), or nonagon (nine)? Then you need DK’s new Math Dictionary! Inside, you’ll find more than 300 entries on the words, phrases and concepts used by grade-school students in their math classes and in their lives outside school.
Editor’s Note: When explaining to a DK Books representative that my six year old son’s math skills were better than mine, he suggested I needed the Math Dictionary, and he was right. This amazing book offers all I need to get through Grade 2 math and beyond.

Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary
DK Books,
This revised and updated dictionary for elementary school children includes more than 93 new entries, from broadband and graphic novel to MP3 and smartphone — for a total of 35,000 words and phrases in all. Each entry is fully explained with its definition, usage, examples and notes on spelling and punctuation. Word senses have also been refreshed to reflect modern usage and maps and country statistics have been updated to include new countries, borders, flags and cities. Throughout this new edition of Merriam-Webster Children’s Dictionary, there is a fresh design with a different color-coded border for each letter of the alphabet, plus updated photographs and illustrations for a lively, accessible look that gives kids lots to look at as they build important research skills.
Editor’s Note: It’s a beautiful picture, but I forgot it would not be Canadian so there are a lot of American facts in it.

The First Encyclopedia
DK Books,
The First Encyclopedia is an ideal first reference book for young minds eager to learn about the world around them, and an engaging way to encourage exploration and self-guided learning. With captivating full-color photographs and easy-to-read text, the book covers topics including history, geography, animals, plants, people, science, and space — and makes the perfect springboard for further investigation.
Editor’s Note: We like going through these books and looking at the pictures and learning about the world.

The Incredible Math Games Book
DK Books,
Roll the dice, move the counters, lift-the-flaps and learn with this fun-filled, extra-cool math game book for children six to nine. The amazing interactive paper engineering in The Incredible Math Games Book will capture and hold your child’s attention, making practicing math and play one and the same. With games like Zip to Zero, Shape Stepper, Math Maze, Times Tables Tug-of-War and more, kids will learn key math concepts while having a blast. Everybody wins!
Editor’s Note: What a great book. Using the provided dice and pieces, there are a variety of math games in this book using a variety of math skills. My six-year-old son and I started playing the games as soon as we got home, through dinner and as our bedtime activity. When the problems were too hard for him, multiplication or division for example, I made up my own questions. We added and subtracted, did fractions and found various shapes. Snakes and ladders with math problems is also fun.

Ready, Set Kindergarten
Paula Ayer
Annick Press,
Preparing for kindergarten is a huge step for young children. This encouraging tale of a child’s experience touches on the many milestones toward this big goal.
The little girl narrator counts out plates when she helps Dad set the table. She calls out letters when she walks down the street with Mom. She even helps her stuffies say sorry after they fight. And with a little help from Mom, Dad, her cat, and faithful stuffed mouse, she’s now ready for her new adventure … kindergarten!
Editor’s Note: It was a cute book, perfect to help kids starting school in a couple of weeks, feel better about going.

The Way to School
Rosemary McCarney with Plan International
Second Story Press,
Minimal text and stunning photographs from around the world describe the remarkable and often dangerous, journeys children make every day on their way to and from school. No simple school bus picks them up each day, but rather children travel through disaster zones, cross rapids, climb mountains and maneuver on ziplines to get to the classroom. Some of them even carry their desks. In this beautiful picture book for young readers, every image and spread speaks to the desire for an education and the physical commitment the children make each day as they journey to school.
Editor’s Note: The text was so simple I thought my son should read it himself, but he didn’t want to. So instead I read it and realized what a powerful book it was. I read it to my son and explained some children would do anything – including climbing a ladder straight up – to go to school. For a children’s story with few words, it’s one of the most powerful books I have read in a while.

Other school books
School Days Around the World

Margriet Ruurs
Kids Can Press,
“What is a school? Is it a building with classrooms? Or can it be any place where children learn?” The fascinating stories that follow will expand how young readers think of school, as they learn about the experiences of real children in thirteen different countries around the world.

True or False
DK Books,
Do we only use 10 per cent of our brains. Does lightning never strike twice. Was penicillin invented by mistake. True or False?
Look inside DK’s True or False? encyclopedia and find out whether these common sayings are true or false! Packed with amazing fun facts for kids, unbelievable statistics and common sayings True or False? reveals the truth!

Bad Kitty Does Not Like Candy (Yes, I Do!)

Nick Bruel
Square Fish,
Kitty wants to eat all of the candy. Every single piece. Nothing can get in his way, or can it? Find out what will stop Kitty from eating all the candy in the world in this hilarious story – complete with a full page of stickers in a bite-sized paperback!
Editor’s Note: I understand Kitty. He doesn’t want fish or beef or walrus. He wants candy because it looks good. Oh Bad Kitty, you make us laugh. And I don’t think you are bad – just determined.

Bad Pirate
Kari-Lynn Winters
Pajama Press,
Barnacle Garrick is bold and saucy and selfish. And for a pirate captain, that’s good, very good. And his crew are all scurvy sea dogs – selfish down to the last fleabitten scuttle-butt. And that’s good, too. But Augusta Garrick is shy, polite and selfless. For a pirate, that’s bad, very bad. Despite her father’s horrible example, the sea pup can’t stop helping out. It just might take one terrible storm, a ripped sail, a missing peg leg and a panicked crew before Augusta can prove that being selfless is a bold and saucy move after all. And that’s good, very good indeed.
Editor’s Note: It’s a cute book with great illustrations. Pirate talk is hard to read.

Chick ‘n’ Pug, The Love Pug
Jennifer Sattler
Bloomsbury Children’s Books,
Chick and Pug are back-this time in a more romantic backyard adventure perfect for Valentine’s Day and all year round! When a new neighbour visits, Chick can hardly believe his eyes. Her name is Daisy and she’s beautiful. She would be a perfect match for his best buddy, Pug. Daisy is instantly smitten, even if Pug doesn’t seem to notice. She’ll need to get creative to win his affection, but when Pug finds himself in a pickle, Daisy’s quick thinking saves the day and proves that even the most stubborn pugs are capable of true love.
Editor’s Note: Ugh, a girl dog, Daisy, who fawns all over a boy, Pug, who doesn’t seem to be interested in her in the least. I hated reading this book to my son, nor did I want to read it to my niece. While I liked the heroic part at the end, I didn’t like that Daisy was still trying to save her ‘hero’. Yuck.

Diving Dolphin, Readers 1
DK Books,‎
A young dolphin’s life is full of adventure. He wants to explore, but danger lurks. Can he escape the killer whale?
Editor’s Note: My son wasn’t interested in dolphins, but I went back and read it myself.

The Amazon
DK Books
Applying the award-winning Eyewitness formula to the subject of the largest and most bio-diverse tract of tropical rainforest in the world, Eyewitness: The Amazon profiles this incredible habitat – including the birds, animals, and insects that live there to the nine South American countries it extends across.
Editor’s Note: Like other books in this series, this book is full of information in easily to digest parts. My heart breaks about the anteater, which is facing extinction because it moves too slow and dies in forest fires. How awful. There are chapters on the creatures that call the Amazon home, those facing extinction and the destruction of this part of the word.

Forest Adventure
Tony Mitten
Young children will love lacing up their hiking boots and joining Bird, Mouse and Rabbit as they take a walk through a North American evergreen forest to meet some truly amazing animals. From a black bear in search of a snack to a stinky skunk with a smelly spray, there’s a different animal on every spread, plus many additional creatures to spot along the way.
Editor’s Note: It was a fun book. Easy to read with lots of information about the animals the book highlights, as well the encouragement to find others not mentioned.

Hamster Princess: Harriet the Invincible
Ursula Vernon
Penguin Books,
Harriet Hamsterbone is not your typical princess. She may be quite stunning in the rodent realm (you’ll have to trust her on this one), but she is not so great at trailing around the palace looking ethereal or sighing a lot. She finds the royal life rather dull. One day, though, Harriet’s parents tell her of the curse that a rat placed on her at birth, dooming her to prick her finger on a hamster wheel when she’s 12 and fall into a deep sleep. For Harriet, this is most wonderful news: It means she’s invincible until she’s 12! After all, no good curse goes to waste. And so begins a grand life of adventure with her trusty riding quail, Mumfrey…until her 12th birthday arrives and the curse manifests in a most unexpected way.
Editor’s Note: My six year old asked me to stop reading the book a few pages in. I think the humour was too old for him, but I found it funny. I like that it is a mix of chapter books and graphic novel. The graphic novel format doesn’t work for my son yet either.

Hope for Wildlife, True Stories of Animal Rescue
Ray MacLeod
Nimbus Publishing Ltd.
One day, a couple who had run over a skunk with their car brought it to the Dartmouth Veterinary Hospital. When the veterinarians couldn’t look after it, Hope Swinimer decided to take the helpless animal into her care, and that was the start of it all. Now, through her rehabilitation centre called Hope for Wildlife, Hope’s name is synonymous with wildlife rescue in Nova Scotia.
Editor’s Note: What a great book and a great read. There was so much additional information about each species they save. My six year old has a book called Hoot Owl in Disguise (Candlewick Press) and I learned the hoot owl is actually another name for a barred owl; I thought they made it up. I liked that Hope for Wildlife had lots of pictures, lots of personal stories for each animal they attempted to rescue and mainly happy endings. I am still upset about the solution for Prissy. While I would love to work in animal rescue, I think the job would have a lot of heartbreak.  Congrats to Hope Swinimer for the things she and her volunteers do.

I love You Daddy Grizzle
Mark Sperring
Today is a very special day – if only Little Pip could remember why! With Daddy Grizzle’s gentle help, Little Pip works out exactly why today is a day to be celebrated – it’s Father’s Day – and they spend a glorious day doing all their favourite things. And the best thing? Spending time together.
Editor’s Note: What a cute book. There are actually few daddy and child stories; usually it’s mommies doing things with their children so it was nice to read something different. I liked that the book was celebrating dad’s special day, but like all special days for parents, it’s really only about spending quality time with your children. The story did make me a little teary eyed.

Land Shark
Beth Ferry
Chronicle books,
The only thing Bobby wants for his birthday is a pet shark. So you can imagine his disappointment when his parents get him…a puppy. Everyone knows shark lovers can never become dog lovers. Or can they? Full of humor and heart, this book explores the idea that sometimes, getting exactly what you don’t want turns out to be exactly what you need.
Editor’s Note: What a fun book. I could see it happening.

Llama Llama Gram and Grandpa
Anna Dewdney
Penguin Books
Editor’s Note: This is the first llama book we have read, although I have seen them before. It would be a good book to read before your child goes away for the first time, with or without their favourite stuffies. This book shows why going to grandma and grandpa’s (or nana and papa’s) house is fun.

Loula and Mister The Monster
Anne Villeneuve
Kids Can Press,
Everywhere Loula goes, her beloved dog, Mister, follows. Unfortunately, Mister does not follow her good manners. When she hears her mother say she can no longer live with that MONSTER, Loula decides it’s time to teach an old dog polite tricks. Can Mister learn to behave? Or will Mama throw him and his monstrous manners out?
Editor’s Note: I haven’t actually read this one, but I have read Loula and the Sister Recipe and it was pretty amazing. I like Loula.

Mr. Postmouse’s Rounds
Marianne Dubuc
Kids Can Press,
In this bustling picture book, Mr. Postmouse carefully loads up his wagon and sets off to make the day’s mail deliveries to all the animals on his route. Via cross-section drawings, readers get to peer inside each home Mr. Postmouse stops at, and every one is different, depending on the animals who live there. For example, there’s a hole in the middle of the kitchen floor of the Rabbits’ home that leads underground to where they sleep and eat. Mr. Snake’s superlong home has heat lamps throughout its length. The Birds live in a tree house, and Mrs. Octopus in a sunken shipwreck. Mr. Bear’s house has a beehive on the roof with an attached pipe that brings honey straight into the kitchen. Furnishings in Mrs. Fly’s home are stuck to the ceiling.
Editor’s Note: What a great book. There is so much to look at and watch out for. We love it.

Out of the Woods, A True Story of an Unforgettable Event
Rebecca Bond
Farrar, Straus and Giroux,‎
Antonio Willie Giroux lived in a hotel his mother ran on the edge of a lake. He loved to explore the woods and look for animals, but they always remained hidden away. One hot, dry summer, when Antonio was almost five, disaster struck: a fire rushed through the forest. Everyone ran to the lake – the only safe place in town – and stood knee-deep in water as they watched the fire. Then, slowly, animals emerged from their forest home and joined the people in the water. Miraculously, the hotel did not burn down, and the animals rebuilt their homes in the forest, but Antonio never forgot the time when he watched the distance between people and animals disappear.
Editor’s Note: Amazing book. The illustrations are simple with little colour, but a great story. And the fact it’s suppose to be true story is fantastic.

So Many Babies
Lorna Crozier
Orca Books,
Perfect for babies and toddlers, this adorable board book features a wide variety of baby animals and explores all of the places they live, from bays to burrows and beyond. With colourful, easy-to-turn pages, this book is an essential addition to any little one’s library.
Editor’s Note: This would have been a fun book to read to my guy when he was little – cute illustrations, easy to read and one that you could read over and over again.

Penguin’s Big Adventure
Salina Yoon
Bloomsbury Children’s Books,
Penguin embarks on his next journey – becoming the first penguin to explore the North Pole. Along the way, he says hello to all of his old friends. But when he finally reaches his destination, he realizes he’s all alone in a strange, foreign place. How will Penguin overcome his fears of the unknown and enjoy this new adventure?
Editor’s Note: I love penguin. I love that he decides to go on adventure and meets new friends who look scary, but turn out to be fine. I love the illustrations.

Smithsonian Ocean, a visual Encyclopedia
DK Books,
From the Arctic to the Caribbean, tiny plankton to giant whales, sandy beaches to the deepest depths, this stunning visual encyclopedia brings our oceans to life with astonishing images and expertly researched text. Packed with animal pictures and amazing facts on every aspect of ocean life, this visual reference has been designed to delight and entertain as much as educate.
Editor’s Note: Beautiful. How else can you describe a book about a visual guide to the ocean. Stunning photos, great information and wonders I hope to see (except maybe a Japanese spider crab, which can grow up to 13 feet. Yuck.)

Stanley At School
Linda Bailey
Kids Can Press,
Every day, Stanley the dog watched all the children in his neighbourhood walk down his street and into their school, where they stayed until the afternoon. And every day he got more and more curious. “What did the kids do in that school all day?” His dog friends at the park didn’t know any more than he did. So they decided to find out, and together they made their way to the bottom of the stairs in front of the school. “And that’s when Stanley got an idea. A big idea. A bold idea! An idea so daring, it made his fur stand up. ‘Why don’t we go inside?’ he said.” What could be more fun than four dogs running loose in an elementary school? Not much. Until they get caught, that is!
Editor’s Note: We love Stanley. We have been reading Stanley’s Party since my six year old was born (one of the first books he received). This one is funny as well and all the usual crew are in it. We have read it multiple times, but personally, the Party is still my favourite.

Super Shark Encyclopedia and Other Creatures of the Deep

DK Books,
Super shark takes you deep beneath the waves to meet some the most amazing and usual creatures on the planet.
Editor’s Note: I first noticed the anglerfish in Disney’s Finding Nemo and learned more about it at a museum in Ottawa. There is a two-page spread about this cool fish in this book including its skeleton with various parts pointed out. There is an at-a-glance-section and stats and facts. Each creature, from the pygmy seahorse (cute) to the Sloane’s viperfish (creepy), offers a two-page spread. Here’s an interesting fact: “Tiger sharks eat more humans than great white sharks.” Something to think about next time you are in the ocean.

The Company of Animals, Stories of Extraordinary Encounters

Edited by Pam Chamberlain
Nimbus Publishing,
In this collection, 37 writers from across Canada tell thought-provoking stories of extraordinary encounters with a variety of animals – from rats and salamanders to wolves and bears.
Editor’s Note: I took this book on vacation with me and laughed out in a number of parts. My six year old wanted to know what was so funny, so I read about Renny the rabbit who was in love with one of his owner’s feet and was jealous of the other foot. Actually Renny, with his attitude, was one of my favourite stories in this book. Each story was short so it was easy to read when distracted by three children who wanted to play. Many were sad – animals always die after all. All the stories were enjoyable and showed people’s love of animals and vice versa.

The Tea Party In The Woods
Akiko Miyakoshi
Kids Can Press,
When a young girl named Kikko realizes her father has forgotten the pie he was supposed to bring to Grandma’s house, she offers to try and catch him as he makes his way through the woods. She hurriedly follows her father’s footprints in the snow and happens upon a large house she has never seen before. Curious, Kikko peers through the window, when she is startled by a small lamb wearing a coat and carrying a purse. Even more surprising, the lamb speaks, asking her in a kind voice, “Are you here for the tea party?” Suddenly, Kikko realizes her trip through the woods has turned into something magical.
Editor’s Note: Beautiful book. I want to join this tea party in the woods.

The Highway Rat
Julia Donaldson
Quick! Hide all your goodies! The Highway Rat’s coming, and he’s going to steal your snacks…
He takes clover from a rabbit, nuts from a squirrel — he even steals his own horse’s hay! Can no one stop him?
Editor’s Note: I saw another blogger mention The Highway Rat and I recognized the work of Axel Scheffler right away. The style behind The Graffalo and Superworm is very recognizable. It wasn’t until I ordered my own copy, did I realize it is not new. However, we love it. I can picture Meagan Follows as Anne of Green Gables reciting this version of the Highway Man (or Rat). Catchy words, fun illustrations and this time, it’s the rat who gets tricked.

The Pout-Pout Fish in The Big-Big Dark
Deborah Diesen
Farrar Strawus Giroux,
Mr. Fish wants to help his friend Ms. Clam when she loses her pearl, but though he’s fast as a sailfish, as smart as dolphin and as strong as a shark, Mr. Fish has a secret: he’s scared of the dark. Children will swim along with Mr. Fish as he journeys deep into the ocean to new and mysterious places. They will discover, as Mr. Fish does, the power of friendship to light the way through the big-big dark.
Editor’s Note: What a cute book. I love that anglerfish makes another appearance. They may be my new favourite type of fish.

The Princess and the Pony
Kate Beaton
Princess Pinecone knows exactly what she wants for her birthday this year: a horse! A big horse, a strong horse, a horse fit for a warrior princess! But when the day arrives, she doesn’t quite get the horse of her dreams. For anyone who’s ever been saddled with a truly terrible present, The Princess and the Pony is a laugh-out-loud story of overcoming first impressions and falling in love with one unforgettable roly-poly pony.
Editor’s Note: I didn’t like this book. I didn’t like the illustrations and a couple of the parts don’t work well with my weak stomach. My son, on the other hand, loved this book and requests to read it all the time. So now I edit what I read and we are both happy. Bloor West Villager reporter Lisa Rainford did story about Beaton. Read it here –

The Turnip
Jan Brett
In a rollicking, cumulative tale, a badger family and their friends-Hedgie, Mr. Ram and Vanya, the horse-struggle to pull up a giant turnip. A cocky rooster steps in and pulls, sending him into the air, holding onto the turnip. No one knows that a mother bear in her underground den has kicked the turnip up through the soil to give the family room to sleep through the winter.
Editor’s Note: There is so much to see within these pages, pictures within pictures. It’s a beautiful book. I like how the animals use what makes them unique to help try to get the turnip out and it’s a surprise who finally does it.

The Unbelievable Secret Diary of Pig

Emer Stamp
Scholastic Press,
Hello. I is Pig. This is my diary. It’s super top secret, but duck and me agrees you need to read it so you can help us because we is in a bit of a pickle. Well, that is not true, we is in a lot of a pickle. I hopes you will be believing what I has written because Duck says it’s unbelievable. But it isn’t. It’s my life.
Editor’s Note: I read this to my six year old who laughed out loud and unfortunately talked about farts and poo for days later. My husband asked what we were reading, and I said The Unbelievable Secret Diary of Pig, which wasn’t what he was asking, but we thought it was funny and my guy kept staying up later and later asking for one more chapter.

The Skunk
Marc Barnett
A skunk appears on a man’s doorstep. The man leaves his house. The skunk pursues him. What does the skunk want? Where can the man hide? Where will it all lead?
Editor’s Note: The illustrations seem old-fashioned and are very minimalist. Despite that, we both really liked the book and have read it a number of times. The ending makes us laugh.

Walk on the Wild Side

Nicholas Oldland
Kids Can Press,
One day, a bear, a moose and a beaver go for a walk in the mountains. To make the hike more exciting, they decide to race to the top. But soon the friends fall into deep trouble. Who will give up their chance for glory to save the day?
Editor’s Note: The illustrations remind me of Hatley clothing and whether the book is or not, it feels like these Canadian animals (bear, moose and beaver) are going on a Canadian adventure.

What This Story Needs is A Pig In A Wig
Emma J. Virjan
What this story needs
is a pig
in a wig
on a boat
with some friends
having fun
in the sun—
So come on board! Join Pig on an exciting boat ride where she discovers that life is a lot more fun with more friends.
Editor’s Note: What a fun book. Simple rhyme and while I saw where it was headed, it kept my six year old’s attention. It was also fun the read.


Bernard Friot
Kids Can Press,
A small boy is SO bored at a dinner with the executives from his father’s company, he thinks he might just die of boredom! So he’s happy to help when his father asks him to bring in the salads from the kitchen. However, when the boy looks at the beautifully prepared shrimp salads laid out to be served to the guests, he gets a strange idea. “I’m not sure why, but looking at the salads, I suddenly thought of worms,” he explains. “The worms I use for fishing bait that I keep in the fridge, way at the back, behind the yogurt.” And just like that, the boy has found a way to turn the boring dinner party into anything but!
Editor’s Note: Gross. I am hopeful I would notice a worm in my salad, although I am not sure I would have the diplomacy as some of the guests.

Other animal books
Dogs & Underdogs, Finding Happiness at Both Ends of the Leash

Elizabeth Abbott
Penguin Canada,
Happiness and redemption can be found at both ends of the leash, in all kinds of places. Elizabeth Abbott had always been an animal lover, sharing her life with all kinds of dogs in need. But when worlds collided and her beloved dog Tommy was left behind in Haiti, a new journey began – one that would take her to some very surprising places and ultimately teach her some essential truths about the power of hope and redemption.

Duck’s Vacation

Gilad Soffer
Feiwel & Friends,‎
Duck is finally going on vacation. He has a beach chair, a book, and peace and quiet – until readers turn the pages. With each turn, readers bring more calamity to Duck’s vacation – crowds, noisy kids and even a pooping seagull. Finally, Duck thinks he’s gotten rid of us (readers), and then realizes he really, really needs us when a crew of pirates comes ashore. Now who’s turning the pages of this book?

Bradley Somer
St. Martin’s Press
A goldfish named Ian is falling from the 27th-floor balcony on which his fishbowl sits. He’s longed for adventure, so when the opportunity arises, he escapes from his bowl, clears the balcony railing and finds himself airborne. Plummeting toward the street below, Ian witnesses the lives of the Seville on Roxy residents.

I Can Roar!
Frank Asch
Kids Can Press,
Each page introduces a different animal with a suggestion for how a child can imitate that animal, such as “I can roar like a lion” and “I can snap like a turtle.” In place of the animal’s face on each brightly illustrated page is a four-inch circular cut-out, allowing the child to insert his or her own face and pretend to be the animal by acting out what the text instructs.

Mad Dogs
I.B. Gumnut,
Mad Dogs tells the colorful story of two sheepdogs, Red and Blue, who take a motorbike out for a spin after a long day of herding sheep in the Australian Outback. The inspiration for Mad Dogs came from Gumnut’s pet dog, Lady, who often enjoyed riding on the front of his motorbike with him. The third book in a series of “Stories from Down Under,” Mad Dogs relays the importance of keeping things adventurous and fun, as well as finding a new “leash” on life.

Moomin and the Martians
Tove Jansson
Drawn & Quarterly,
Moominmamma wakes up one morning and finds that a flying saucer has crash-landed in her cabbage patch. There’s a strange machine dangling out of it that seems like it could be used to fix their broken radio, but when Moominpappa starts fiddling with it, he turns himself and Moomin invisible. Each knob on the machine causes strange and unlikely events to transpire, until the Martian finally recovers possession of its property.

Skydiver, Saving the Fastest Bird in the World
Celia Godkin
Pajama Press,
High in the sky, a peregrine falcon joins her mate for some swooping and diving before returning to her nest to guard her eggs. The couple doesn’t know it yet, but they will lose most of these eggs. Told against the backdrop of scientists’ efforts to understand the raptors’ decline in the wild, this illustrated non-fiction book tells the story of several generations of falcons as they’re taken to a sanctuary, reintegrated into the wild and ultimately relocated.

The Dog Master A Novel of the First Dog
W. Bruce Cameron
Forge Books,‎
Thirty thousand years ago, ice was storming the planet. Among the species forced out of the trees and onto the steppes by the advancing cold was modern man, who was both predator and prey.
Mankind stood on the cold brink of extinction but they had a unique advantage over other species, a new technology – domesticated wolves.
Only a set of extraordinary circumstances could have transformed one of these fierce creatures into a hunting companion, a bodyguard, a solider and a friend.

The Elephant Journey
Rob Laidlaw
Pajama Press,
In Elephant Journey, leading activist and award-winning author Rob Laidlaw unfolds the journey of how the Toronto Zoo elephants moved from the city to their new home.

The Perfect Place for Toodles
Barbara A. Pierce
Of the six to eight million animals entering shelters across the country each year, an estimated 1.8 million are family pets being surrendered. In “The Perfect Place for Toodles,” Pierce tells the story of stray kitten Toodles and his journey through adoption, growth and ultimate independence. The inspiration for Toodles’ story resulted from Pierce’s visit to the Jersey Shore, where she found a large commune of stray cats living under the boardwalk.

Unspoken Messages: Spiritual Lessons I Learned from Horses and Other Earthbound Souls
Richard D. Rowland
Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Balboa Press
In “Unspoken Messages: Spiritual Lessons I Learned from Horses and Other Earthbound Souls,” retired Kentucky State police sergeant and Vietnam War veteran Richard Rowland details his journey from shock and sadness, to hopefulness and positivity after being diagnosed with terminal multiple myeloma.
In his book, Rowland, now an owner of an equine boarding facility, shares his deep connection with animals and the serendipitous occurrences that have taken place in their presence since his initial cancer diagnosis, and the ultimate life lessons he learned from those experiences.

Wilma’s World, Good Advice from a Good Dog
Rae Dunn
Chronicle Books,‎
Welcome to Wilma’s World , where life is full of joy and adventure lies around every corner. This charming book of photographs celebrates the wise insights of a special dog whose musings remind us to slow down and see the beauty in simple things. Wilma’s handmade style and playful personality will inspire adventurous spirits everywhere.

Wolf, Legend, Enemy, Icon
Rebecca L. Grambo
Firefly Books,
A passionate look at one of the most fascinating animals in the world. Throughout history, wolves have fascinated, inspired and terrified people around the world. Fierce, loyal, tribal and intelligent, these animals are the subject of this intimate portrait.

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