Welcome to February. January ended with a variety of books read for a variety of readers.
If I had to pick my favourites, I would choose The Hare by Melanie Finn for adults and Please Don’t Change my Diaper! by Sarabeth Holden for children.
Feb. 17 is #IReadCanadian Day where people are encouraged to read works by amazing Canadian authors. This list includes three Canadian books. Stay tuned for more.
The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim
The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim by Cobourg author Shane Peacock, is the first book in a gothic trilogy set in the past in U.K. and Scotland. Edgar is a boy who is terrorized at night by dreams brought on by his horror-novel-loving father, who dies suddenly. Edgar is sent to an all-boys school on the Scottish moors, where, when he is 16, he becomes involved in a society that believes the monsters in literature are real and he and his friends set “about on a dark mission.”
My 12-year-old son loved this book so much that he asked me to order the next two books. This book has everything he loves, action, adventure, whodunnit and some cool weapons – and monsters. This book referenced a number of classics I haven’t read and all of which my son hasn’t read. We look forward to Book 2 and 3, although be warned: don’t read the synopsis of Book 2 before finishing Book 1.
The Dark Missions of Edgar Brim is from Tundra Books.
The Hare by Melanie Finn is “considered a literary thriller” and asks readers to consider a “woman’s inherent sense of obligation – sexual and emotional – to the male hierarchy.” The book doesn’t bash men, but it certainly shows the power the men in Rosie Monroe’s life have over her – at least in the beginning. Rosie grew up in a loveless home, her parents killed in a car crash and her grandmother who is raising her, is just trying to survive.about:blank
Rosie eventually gets a full scholarship to an art school, only to be snatched from that career path by a man who understands her loneliness and uses it to his advantage. Bennett is an awful character, who is deceitful, selfish and controlling. Despite warnings from his friends, Rosie eventually gets pregnant, drops out of school and moves with Bennett, who continues his ways until he disappears.
Rosie has to make tough choices throughout her life in order to ensure both she and her daughter Miranda survive. The Hare was a fast read with a number of awful situations. I don’t envy Rosie and the many woman out there who have had to make similar choices.
The Hare is from PGC Books.Oh My Gods!
Oh My Gods! Is a middle-grade graphic novel written by Toronto author Stephanie Cooke and her friend Insha Fitzpatrick. The pair are Greek mythology fans and the idea came about when they were offering what if scenarios to make each other laugh, Cooke tells me in my Q&A with the author for Book Time. And that scenario led to this graphic novel about Karen, who leaves New Jersey to go live with her dad, Zed, in Greece. Turns out her life is nothing like she thought and middle school just got more difficult as her new classmates are gods and goddess, who are wondering if Karen herself is turning people to stone.
It’s comical to watch these Greek mythology characters to come to life as middle graders. Karen’s dad is portrayed as a some-what bumbling person, which is funny considering who he turns out to be. I love the illustrations.
Oh My Gods! Is from Raincoast Books.
You can read my Q&A with Stephanie here: https://booktime584.wordpress.com/2021/01/31/stephaniecookeinterview/
Please Don’t Change My Diaper
Please Don’t Change My Diaper is an adorable picture book from Toronto’s Sarabeth Holden and illustrated by Toronto’s Emma Pedersen. This book is published by Inhabit Media (www.inhabitmedia.com), the first Inuit-owned, independent publishing company in the Canadian arctic.
In this book, a little boy and his puppy are reading to go outside and enjoy the snow and sunshine. But there is a certain smell coming from him, and the little boy scampers away. His mom is quick, scooping him up for the dreaded diaper change. The little boy is devastated. His world is ending and he begs his mom to not change his diaper. Holden nails the devastation children seem to feel when a diaper change looms. I absolutely love the illustrations in this book. Those big eyes. Adorable. I will be interviewing Holden for Book Time: https://booktime584.wordpress.com
My Friend! is a picture book by Taye Diggs about two friends who do everything together. Then one day, his friend is mean, sticking his leg out and tripping a kid on purpose. The friend stands up for the other boy and calls out his friend for being mean. The duo becomes a trio.
While I don’t like how the story was written, the message is lovely. The illustrations by Shane W. Evans are unique. I like the bios. Diggs and Evans “consider themselves family and have been ‘kickin’ it since high school, where they began their creative and artistic journey as cousins, artists and friends.”
My Friend! Is from Raincoast Books.
Shy Willow lives in an abandoned mailbox where she would rather hang out then be outside with everything that is going on. But one day she gets a letter. A little boy is asking the moon to shine brightly for his mom’s birthday. Willow doesn’t know what to do. On one hand, she is scared to go outside, but on the other, there will be a little boy and his mom who would be disappointed if she didn’t deliver the letter. So, Willow gathers up all her courage to ensure the moon receives this letter. It’s a cute message and the illustrations are nice as well.
Shy Willow is by Cat Min and Raincoast Books.
What Ollie Saw
This is a book about Ollie, not his grizzling, older sister who complains about everything. What his sister sees and feels – a boring car trip and slow-moving sailboat – Ollie sees differently. But one day, Ollie’s teacher asks him to see what is on the blackboard and everyone realizes the same thing – Ollie needs glasses.
Ollie may need glasses, but he decides he only needs them some of the time because he is OK with seeing things a little differently. The message is nice, but I think the kids themselves, especially those who need glasses, may think it’s OK to not wear them. The better message would have been, even with glasses Ollie continued to see the world a little differently.
What Ollie Saw is by Joukje Akveld and Raincoast Books.
Learn more about I Read Canadian Day.