On the Book Shelf January 2018

Crinkle Crinkle Little Star
By Justin Krasner, illustrator Emma Yarlett
The wonderful habit of bedtime stories should begin early in a child’s life and this tactile board book is perfect for settling babies and toddlers into bed. Sung to the tune of “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star,” the revised lyrics introduce little ones to the creatures that twinkle in the night sky as they use their fingers to trace the shapes of Leo, Orion, Cygnus, and more. The star shapes are enhanced with overlays of beautiful animal illustrations amid the warm, deep colour of the sky. Shiny crinkled material is sandwiched within the front and back covers to give the book an added tactile interest. Ages 0 to 3 – Publisher, Workman – $18.95 board book

Maud Lewis 1 2 3
By Carol McDougall and Shanda LaRamee-Jones, art by Maud Lewis
The art of the Canadian artist, the late Maud Lewis is the highlight of this book and the creators of the text are to be congratulated for finding her works that work with the numbers 1 through 10. The fact that the art wasn’t designed to teach numbers, makes it a little more challenging than other counting books but definitely worth sharing with pre-readers. The joyfulness, brightness and simplicity of the Nova Scotia folk artist’s painting are ideally suited for a glossy board book. Once the counting is done, there is much more to be explored in the pictures. Ages 0 to 3 – Publisher Nimbus – $12.95 board book

Yesterday I Found an A
By Maggie Blossom, illustrator Marco Furlotti
Alphabet books are abundant but this one definitely gets an “A” for its playful rhymes, funny characters and exceptional and engaging art. Not simply a collection of words related to each letter, the text presents silly scenarios as the letters march through a little boy’s room, like “What if the J just jumped in with a jelly bean game, and then a jack-in-the-box ate them all when he came?” Ages 3 to 5 – Publisher, Flowerpot Press – $16.99 US hardcover


I Love Sharks, Too!
By Leanne Shirtliffe, illustrator Lorenzo Montatore
Books about sea life were among my sons’ favourites when they were young. Most were non fiction but this one cleverly incorporates shark facts into the story that plays on a little boy’s extreme affection for these often misunderstood creatures. In response to everything his mom asks him, Stevie has an excellent shark fact in response. “Brush your teeth, Stevie.” “Mom, Mako sharks don’t have to brush their teeth because they are covered in fluoride.” The book is filled with fun facts, and also information about different shark breeds all presented with the aid of boisterous and bright illustrations. Ages 3 to 6 – Publisher, Sky Pony Press – $16 US hardcover

Wade’s Wiggly Antlers
By Louise Bradford, illustrator Christine Battuz
If this story reminds you of children losing their first tooth, you’ve made the connection with little Wade the moose and his loose antlers. This playful allegory is told with sympathy as well as humour, and also works in an early life science lesson on how animals such as moose and deer lose and grow antlers and why. Other more subtle lessons provided by Wade’s experience include how to take a positive, inspiring approach to self-discovery, self-acceptance and dealing with developmental changes. The entertaining illustrations in this great read-aloud are true to the light-hearted nature of the story. Ages 4 to 7 – Publisher, Kids Can Press – $17.95 hardcover

Mr. Crum’s Potato Predicament
By Anne Renaud, illustrator Felicita Sala
If you’ve ever wondered who to blame for inventing the irresistible potato chip, this book offers one of the most accepted theories. This fictional picture book tale is based on a real man named George Crum, a cook in Saratoga Springs, New York, in the 1850s, who is purported to have created the first potato chip in response to a demanding customer. Crum was famous for the food he served and was surprised when a customer was not happy with his scrumptious potato wedges. The customer wanted them to be thinner and returned several orders until Crum sliced them as thin as possible and fried them to a crisp. The result was delicious, as we all know. It’s a story that’s both wonderfully illustrated and told and includes some non-fiction context on the final pages. Ages 5 to 7 – Publisher Kids Can Press – $18.99 hardcover

The X-Files: Earth Children Are Weird
Based on characters created by Chris Carter, illustrator Kim Smith
One of the most beloved TV shows of all time is now a sweet, silly, sci-fi bedtime story. In the child-friendly version, best pals Dana (Scully) and Fox (Mulder) have pitched a tent in the backyard for a sleepover. Much like most kids, they discover the night is full of strange sounds that keep them awake and on alert. Despite the presence of extraterrestrials, this humorous tale is not scary at all and will introduce the cult TV show to an entire new generation of fans. Ages 5 to 7 – Publisher Penguin, Random House – $19.99 hardcover

Inside Hudson Pickle
By Yolanda Ridge
A combination of humour, action and mystery propel the story about the likeable Hudson Pickle as he navigates his way through middle school and life in general. After being cut from AAA hockey he sets his sights on basketball and struggles at the tryouts. Is it his asthma or does he suffer from the same genetic illness that has affected his Uncle Vic. This is just one of the mysteries in this inspirational novel that explores school, friendship and family dynamics along with this seventh grader. Ages 9 to 12 – Publisher, Kids Can Press – $18.99 hardcover


By Lindsey Summers
Playing on teenagers’ obsession with their phones, the storyline is based on two high school seniors who accidentally end up with each other’s phone. Keeley realizes she has grabbed a phone belonging to that obnoxious, self-centered Talon who has just left town for a football camp. The pair agree to forward messages for a week. As their relationship grows, a surprising twist is revealed in this page-turning, funny romance. It’s a device-centred story with a series of subplots and snappy dialogue. Age 14 and up – Publisher, Kids Can Press – $18.95 hardcover