Kids Can Press sent me some beautiful picture books this month, with Paws + Edward; Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden; and Teddy being my favourites.

Paws + Edward

I knew where Paws + Edward by Espen Dekko ($18.99) was heading and still I cried. Paws is an old dog who just wants to chase rabbits in his sleep. He doesn’t want to go for a walk; he has done his walking, yet knows Edward needs fresh air so they walk slowly together where Edward throws sticks and fetches them (Ha!). Paws likes it best when he is lying down with Edward reading beside him. One day, Paws isn’t there anymore and Edward is surrounded by a world that seems lonely and quiet.

I am still crying remembering my own dog. Paws + Edward is a beautiful book and I love how we learn about growing old from a dog’s perspective. Beautiful.

Black and white illustration of a boy throwing a mud ball over the neglected fence with graffiti as a boy and a black cat look on.
Andrew Larsen writes Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden.

Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden

I like author Andrew Larson’s work.

In Me, Toma and the Concrete Garden ($18.99), Vincent is staying at his aunt Mimi’s city apartment for the summer and he is already missing nature and his friends. His aunt encourages him to play with Toma, a neighbourhood boy, and they toss mud balls into a vacant lot, play toss, read comic books and eat ice cream. The summer starts looking up for the boys in an unexpected way.

I love how the story unfolded and the illustrations in this book. I also liked how the story showed you first impressions aren’t often correct and how beauty can be found in most places.

Illustration of a teddy bear head on a blue background.
Teddy is based on the true story of how the first teddy bear was created.

Teddy The Remarkable Tale of a President, A Cartoonist, A Toymaker and a Bear

“Teddy blends fact with fiction to tell the story of the creation of the first teddy bear,” writes James Sage in his author’s note at the back of book ($18.99).

The book tells the story of how the president goes on a bear hunt and discovers a cub, which he refuses to kill. A cartoonist picks up the story and draws a cartoon, which is reprinted in newspapers across the U.S. In New York, a couple who owns a little shop sees the cartoon and the woman, Mrs. Michtom creates a teddy bear in honour – and with permission – of the president.

The cartoon is true as is the fact the Michtoms created the bear that is loved the world over.

The illustrations aren’t my favourite – they look old, which is likely intentional – but the story is a nice one. Who doesn’t love a teddy bear?

Nighttime view of a training coming up to a lonely house surrounded by fields.
A story about growing up and exploring the world.

A Little House in a Big Place

A little girl lives in a house in the middle of fields. Every day a train passes her window and she waives at the conductor, who waves back as he passes by. One day, on the conductor’s last trip, he throws something out the window and the little girl searches for it.

“The girl is curious. About where the engineer came from and where he goes. And if she might go away, too, someday.”

A Little House in a Big Place by Alison Acheson ($18.99) is a cute story about growing up and exploring the world.

Illustration of a green lion standing at a red light holding an umbrella.
A day always makes sense at the end.

Red Light, Green Lion

Sometimes I don’t get the point of a story unless I read the synopsis.

“Some days, the most amazing things can happen while you’re waiting for the light to change.”

Green Lion discovers some days don’t make sense at the beginning, but makes sense by the end.

Red Light, Green Lion is by Candace Ryan ($18.99). I like the illustrations by Jennifer Yerkes – simple pencil drawings in green and red with a few colours thrown in. I particularly liked the lightening page.

Paper art of a hawk and a dove.
“If a hawk can become a dove, can war become peace?”

The Hawk and Dove

“If a hawk can become a dove, can war become peace,” asks the book synopsis of The Hawk and Dove by Paul Kor ($17.99). Apparently, the hawk is a symbol of war, which I didn’t know. According to information at the back of the book, Kor started working on the book during the Six-Day War between Israel and neighbouring countries. He also a child in France during the Second World War.

“For the Hawk and Dove, Paul also wanted to create a miracle – by changing a hawk…into a dove, the symbol of peace.”

It’s a neat concept and was created in paper art, with each page turning the war object into a object that is peaceful.

A copy of these books was provided by Kids Can Press for an honest review.
The opinions are my own.