Dec 31, 2013

Best of 2013 in Picture Books - International Giveaway!!

I don't want to be selfish and keep my favourite picture books of 2013 to myself, so I am having a giveaway!

If you win this giveaway, please choose one of my top ten picture books of 2013, or one of the following that I also loved this year.
This Is Our House by Hyewon Yum

Dream Boats by Dan Bar-El and Kirsti Anne Wakelin
Making Contact by Monica Kulling
The deadline is January 7th. If the winner does not respond in 3 days, I reserve the right to pick a new winner. So don't ignore my emails! :)

There are two ways to enter. One is a mandatory comment on the blog, telling me your favourite book of 2013, for kids or for adults (or dogs, I'm not picky!). The bonus entry is to like Perogies & Gyoza on Facebook.

Please use the Rafflecopter form below and do not enter personal contact information in the comments.

Good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Dec 15, 2013

Top Ten Picture Books of 2013

I can't believe this year is already drawing to a close! That means it's time for the best of lists, and I am not going to be left out!

I didn't read as many picture books in 2013 as I did in 2012, when I broke the 100 mark, but at around 80 I think it's a respectable number! These are the ten picture books my kids and I liked the most this year:


How To
By Julie Morstad
A sweet, simple story that celebrates play. Look for my review soon.

Mrs. Harkness and the Panda
by Alicia Potter and Melissa Sweet
This was the winning book for the Cybils Nonfiction Picture Book for 2012, so it's not strictly a 2013 book but I loved it so much. The story of a western woman in Asia doing things on her own steam really hits home for me.

Mr. Flux
By Kyo Maclear and Matte Stephens
A quirky book that makes you think.

What's for Lunch? How Schoolchildren Eat Around the World
by Andrea Curis and Yvonne Duivenvoorden
This is a little bit outside the picture book age range, but it is so interesting. This is the most-talked about book in my repertoire for schools and libraries. Most of the Japanese kids think the guinea pig looks delicious!

 I dreamt...
by Gabriela Olmos, Elisa Amad, and others
Such a beautiful and moving book about peace. The word play is fantastic.

Red Kite, Blue Kite
by Ji-li Jiang and Greg Ruth
Such a moving story about family bonds in the shade of the Chinese Cultural Revolution

When I Was Eight
by Christy Jordan-Fenton, Margaret Pokiak-Fento, and Gabrielle Grimard
This book about perseverance and the tragedy that was the Canadian residential school system really resonates with everyone I've shared it with.

Kenta and The Big Wave
By Ruth Ohi
This book about boys affected by the 2011 tsunami never fails to make me cry.

Once upon a northern night
by Jean E. Pendziwol and Isabelle Arsenault
This beautiful poem is to me what Canada is all about.

Jane, the fox, and me
by  Fanny Britt and Isabelle Arsenault
This too is a bit too old for the picture book scene but there are pictures and it is a really, really fantastic book.

Anything I left off? What are your favourites of 2013?

Dec 14, 2013

Julie Black Belt

Julie Black Belt: The Kung Fu Chronicles (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by:  Oliver Chin

Illustrated by: Charlene Chua

Published by: Immedium

Published on: September 1, 2008

Ages: 5+

Julie Black Belt: The Belt of Fire (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by:  Oliver Chin

Illustrated by: Charlene Chua

Published by: Immedium

Published on: 5+

Julie Black Belt is an endearing character first seen in The Kung Fu Chronicles in 2008, and now she is back in The Belt of Fire. Julie is a regular girl who loves watching action movies starring her favourite heroine. But she's no couch potato, she also has gumption and loves to practice Kung Fu just like her role model.

Both Julie Black Belt books are great for early elementary school students. Although not billed as an easy reader, my grade 1 son (whose reading needs work!) was able to read through the first book without complaint. All the action helped I think! The second book is a bit harder but that means new vocabulary words.

My daughter was happy to see this as she too is a little ball of energy and there aren't many English books with Asian girl characters like her!

The comic book style fits well with the high energy character and Chua's illustrations are great fun.

We can't wait for the next Julie Black Belt book!

Dec 10, 2013

Merci Mister Dash

Merci Mister Dash (CAN, JP, US, INT)

Written by: Monica Kulling

Illustrated by: Esperança Melo

Published by: Tundra Books

Published on: April 12, 2011

Ages: 3+

Provided by the publisher. All opinions are my own.

This is the amazing disappearing book. Normally when I get a book I want to review, I read it to them and then put it on my to-be-reviewed pile next to my computer. Which is what I did with this book. But then it disappeared...only to appear under my daughter's futon. So I took it back- and it ended up in her bookshelf. I took it back again and...

As you can tell, the little girl and the dog in this book resonate with my little girl and our dog. 

Mister Dash is a wee dog with a big personality, but that personality is challenged by the even bigger personality of Daphne who comes to visit with Madame Croissant. Will they become friends or will Daphne's overbearing ways push Mister Dash over the edge?

This is a great book for talking about friendship and boundaries. As in the sequel, Mister Dash and the Cupcake Calamity, Kulling weaves in French phrases in a very organic way. My daughter now loves to be called "my little cabbage."

Even the canines of this house know a great book when they see it. Both Mister Dash books are firmly in that category.