On the Bookshelf April 2018

By Jane Muller

Tinkle, Tinkle, Little Star

By Chris Tougas

This potty training themed book gets a gold star. Teaching kids to use the potty is a challenge and there are stacks of books aimed at the trainee. This offbeat, gender-neutral version is funny and features gentle reminders about potty matters. Little Star’s facial expressions are hilarious and the situations are totally relatable for toddlers and parents on the path to potty proficiency. Since it’s based on the nursery rhyme, this story can be sung or read aloud, either way it’s both silly and charming. Ages 1 to 3 – Publisher, Kids Can Press – $10.99 board book

The Ruinous Sweep

By Tim Wynne-Jones

You know within the first few lines of this novel that you are reading quality fiction. That is if you don’t already know that author Tim Wynne-Jones is a terrific writer. The award-winning Canadian author has this time crafted a riveting murder mystery that features a teenage boy who loses his memory but suspects he’s running from something. And run he does and the reader along with him while his girlfriend attempts to piece together what he’s forgotten to clear his name. It’s good until the last page turn but be mindful that it’s for ages 14 and older. Ages 14 and up – Publisher, Candlewick – $21 hard cover

Honk! Splat! Vroom!

By Barry Gott, illustrator

Most parents recognize that the word “vroom” translates to “motor vehicle” in toddler-speak and this book takes that word’s meaning and speeds away with it. This amusing ride of a story features five competing mice as they race along a road filled with challenges, from mud puddles to a hungry cat. You won’t regret taking this book for a spin but expect it to be on the repeat reading list for a while. Ages 2 to 5 – Publisher, Carolrhoda – $17.99 US hard cover

Backyard Fairies

By Phoebe Wahl

Along with the blooming of spring flowers, garden fairies will also be emerging soon. If there’s fairy magic in your child’s world, then this beautifully illustrated book will be a perfect fit. A girl’s explorations help to reveal hidden clues about the secretive world of fairies, sprites and other magical creatures. This book will inspire kids to enjoy the outdoors in new and magical ways. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher, Tundra – $21

My Mom is there

It’s no surprise that this sweet ode to moms is a bit of a sentimental tearjerker. Mom’s role as a supportive, loving caretaker is viewed through the lens of young children and the challenges that they face. Difficult stuff like counting, reading, speaking, hopping and skipping gets easier when mom is around. This is a wonderful book for a new mom or even an old mom like me to share with a young one. Ages 2 to 5 – Publisher, Sky Pony Press – $8.99 US

The Day Dad Joined My Soccer Team

By Maureen Fergus, illustrator Mike Lowery

This book had me laughing out loud thanks to the clever crafting of the role reversal that has a soccer dad take to the field as a player. Everyone, including his son, wishes he hadn’t misunderstood that the coach’s request for help was related to halftime snacks and not playing in the game. The dad exemplifies everything that a player should not do, providing his son with many teachable moments. Soccer families will love this book. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Kids Can Press –$18.99

Dr. Coo and the Pigeon Protest

By Sarah Hampson, illustrator Kass Reich

Award-winning journalist Sarah Hampson provides a bird’s eye view of advocating for social justice, respecting differences and working out disagreements in her debut picture book. A group of activist pigeons take social issues to a child’s level so that young readers can understand how to cultivate cooperation and compromise to promote harmony within a diverse group. Set in New York City, the softly hued illustrations help to tell the tale of how Dr. Coo and his fellow pigeons change the attitude of the people. Ages 3 to 7 – Publisher, Kids Can Press – $18.99 hard cover

Trash Revolution: Breaking the Waste Cycle

By Erica Fyvie, illustrator Bill Slavin

Earth Day is celebrated on April 22 and with the green theme in mind, this title will feed children’s curiosity about Earth’s destiny and their desire to make a difference. Information is presented with the support of lively info-graphics, brief fact sections, sidebars and charts. The playful illustrations help to engage the reader and make accessible the broad subject that covers everything from energy to climate and innovations to sustainability. This go-to resource includes a glossary, resources, bibliography and index. Ages 8 to 12 – Publisher, Kids Can Press – $19.99 hard cover

Bees, Bugs, and Butterflies: A Family Guide to Our Garden Heroes and Helpers

By Ben Raskin

This book is as beautiful as any bountiful garden but it offers much more than amazing illustrations. It provides facts in bite-sized pieces, along with activities that highlight the power of pollination. The learning is aided by engaging projects that include creating bug masks to wear, making a moth trap and playing the board game Pollinator Pursuit. Readers will also be educated about how to help nectar-sipping buddies. Ages 4 to 8 – Publisher, Roost Books – $16.95 hard cover

Rising Seas: Flooding, Climate Change and Our New World

By Keltie Thomas, illustrator

Climate change is a reality that we all face and it’s important that kids know what it’s all about. Again, with Earth Day in mind, this book provides a stunning view of Earth’s rising oceans. Considering that by 2100, the sea could climb as much as 4.3 metres (14 feet) to 9.75 metres (32 feet) we’re in for a huge wave of change. The use of photographs that juxtapose current images with the projected future view of the same area provides a shocking message. Readers will come away with a better understanding of the urgency of the issue and the need for action. Ages 9 to 13 – Publisher, Firefly – $9.95 paperback