On the bookshelf

By Jane Muller

Sharon, Lois & Bram’s Skinnamarink
With Randi Hampson, illustrator Qin Leng
There is no doubt that Skinnamarink is timeless. The anthem and signature tune of the iconic trio Sharon, Lois and Bram plays through the pages of this sing-aloud picture book. The lively illustrations give the lyrics context, featuring scenes like camping under the moon, celebrating a birthday and cycling in the springtime. In 2018, Sharon and Bram celebrated their 40th anniversary as entertainers and this book is a wonderful expression of what they’ve shared with their fans. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Tundra Books – $21.99 hardcover

You Are My Friend The Story of Mister Rogers and His Neighborhood
By Aimee Reid
The life of little Freddie Rogers as depicted in this heart-warming picture book provides insight into who this little boy became and why. He was a sensitive boy who was often ill, had trouble making friends, expressed himself through music and was supported and encouraged by his mother and his grandfather. This gentle homage to the man who brought us “Mister Rogers’ Neighborhood”, shows how his simple message still resonates with us today: “There’s no person in the world like you and I like you just the way you are.” Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Abrams Books – $17.99 US hardcover

Fairy Science
By Ashley Spires
Fairies are generally depicted as fanciful creatures with magical skills. This fun story features a more serious fairy, one whose beliefs are rooted in science. As Esther explains her theories to her fairy friends she informs them and her readers about scientific discovery and how to act like a scientist. Meanwhile she solves the mystery of a tree that has lost its leaves. At the end of the story Esther provides step-by-step instructions for her “sun-bean” experiment. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Tundrea Books – $21.99 hardcover

Unicorns 101
By Cale Atkinson
Much more magical than scientific, this book tackles the mysteries of the unicorn and answers many of the questions pondered by its fans. This comprehensive guide, put together by top professors and unicorn masterminds including Dr. Gittler Pants and Dr. Sprinkle Steed, delves into topics like the unicorn diet, unicorn homes and unicorn physiology. An official unicorn scientist diploma is included. There is a test of unicorn knowledge but readers are sure to become unicorn experts. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Tundra Books – $21.99 hardcover

Always with You
By Eric Walters, illustrator Carloe Liu
Read this story to yourself before sharing it so you are prepared for the pull of the heartstrings and the emotions that are bound to surface. It’s good to share a tearjerker with your child whether or not he or she has yet to experience the loss of a loved one. In this heartfelt story of love and loss, a series of letters left by Emily’s grandfather offer advice at pivotal times in her life and remind her that he is always with her. The author offers encouragement as Emily finds that those we love never truly leave us. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Nimbus Publishing – $24.95 hardcover

Gumboot Kids Nature Mysteries
By Eric Hogan and Tara Hungerford
Adapted from the award-winning Vancouver-based TV show “The Gumboot Kids” this new series of nature mystery books celebrate the joy and wonder of mindfully exploring the natural world. The stories feature two adorable mice, Scout and Daisy, who work through a series of clues in order to crack the case. In each mystery Scout and Daisy affirm their findings with a trip to the library where they verify the evidence they’ve gathered in nature and solve the mystery before taking some time to reflect on their journey. The amazing depictions are full of life-like detail. Each book concludes with two pages of field notes on the mystery subject, as well as a nature craft inspired by the mystery, for kids to try at home. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher Firefly Books – $6.99 paperback

The Imperfect Garden
By Melissa Assaly,
illustrator April dela Noche Milne
Fruits and vegetables sold in grocery stores would have us believe that they are all perfectly formed. Gardeners know that cucumbers can be shaped like the letter ‘j’ and carrots can have two legs. This tale of twisted vegetables reminds us that misshapen produce is just as good to eat as the grocery store variety. The author includes a garden how-to for kids and even though it’s later in the season, cool season crops like lettuces and spinach will have time to grow before the frost sets in. Ages 5 to 8 – Publisher Fitzhenry & Whiteside – $19.95 US hardcover

The Collected Works of Gretchen Oyster
By Cary Fagan
Nearing the end of middle school, Hartley Staples is grappling with the fact that his older brother has run away from home when he finds a handmade postcard that fascinates him. Despite his losing interest in pretty much everything since Jackson ran away, Hartley finds himself searching for cards, signed with the initials G.O, at every opportunity. This poignant novel is easy to read and skilfully written by an award-winning author. Ages 10 to 14 – Publisher, Tundra Books – $19.99 hardcover

Like Lana
By Danielle Leonard
Full disclosure here, I know the author and that fact concerned me as I promised to read her book and consider a review. There was no need to worry as this teen novel is definitely review worthy. It features Lana, a former cool kid whose reputation is in tatters. While attempting to reinvent herself she struggles with former friends who endlessly shame her, a cheating boyfriend, issues at home and shockingly, the death of her number one hater. When her ex-boyfriend also dies, Lana is a prime suspect. The suspense is gripping enough that this should be a one-session read. You can’t help but like Lana. Ages 12 and up – Publisher, Mosaic Press – $14.99 paperback