Apr 15, 2014



Written by: Mike Mullin

Published by: Tanglewood Press

Published on: April 15, 2014

Ages: Young Adult

Provided by the publisher through NetGalley. All opinions are my own. 

The third, concluding book in the apocalyptic Ashfall series is Sunrise. The title is happier than either of the first two books, Ashfall and Ashen Winter. It alludes to hope, the theme of this book.

Mullin is a master at writing action scenes. There are plenty of those in this book, but also a lot of interaction between the characters we have grown to love in the trilogy. It's the perfect mesh.

In other post-apocalyptic books, we usually get a government gone wrong and people pushing back against them (ala Hunger Games). But I am always most interested in how people get that government. What are the choices that lead them that way?

Alex and Darla have experienced the government's hospitality after the Yellowstone super volcano blew, as well as that of the government's subcontractors. They realize that they are on their own- and they make steps toward being self-sufficient. Alex is able to lead while still being true to Darla and his own young self.

Sunrise is my favourite in this trilogy, which is saying a lot as I really enjoyed Ashfall. The only bad thing is saying goodbye to a trio of books I have enjoyed so much.

Apr 12, 2014

101 Things To Do With Baby

101 Things To Do With Baby

Written and Illustrated by: Jan Ormerod

Published by: Groundwood Books

Published on: April 15, 2014

Ages: 1+

How fun can a pre-verbal baby be to a big sister or brother? Not even old enough to fight with!

In this updated version of the classic 101 Things to Do with Baby from late Australian author Jan Ormerod, we go through a whole day of fun with a new sibling. Both ankle-biting and head-banging are included.

It's easy to see why this is a classic. It's so simple and rings true for me and for many others who have had babies in their lives I'm sure. The couch with everything thrown haphazardly (and half-drunk tea!) on it while you ignore it and read with your older child is like a picture of my own house!

The nice thing about the updated book is that it has updated safety info - the baby is in a rear-facing carseat. But the adorable noses and a big sister who obviously loves her brother to distraction are still there. This great 30th anniversary edition of the book would make an ideal gift for a new parent or new older sibling.

Apr 6, 2014

The Most Magnificent Thing

The Most Magnificent Thing

Written and Illustrated by: Ashley Spires

Published by: Kids Can Press

Published on: April 1, 2014

Ages: 4+

There are some picture book authors that seem to have a knack for writing books with which people of all ages can identify. Dr. Seuss, Robert Munsch, and Ashley Spires are all authors loved by kids and adults alike.

Spires' book Larf was a great book for capturing how I feel as an adult- as a foreigner in Japan. Small Saul was on a similar vein, with a great message about being true to yourself. Now this book is another that will be perfect on my work desk.

An ordinary girl and her canine assistant get to work making the most magnificent thing. But things don't go as planned and she starts to get frustrated.

"Her hands feel too BIG to work, and her brain is too full of all the not-right things."

I feel like that at work all the time.

She and her assistant have a great message for the reader about perseverance and taking a breather when it all becomes too much.

But this isn't just for adults. My kids loved this little girl and her wise, furry sidekick. Her expressions  are adorable and all the things she makes are cool.

Maybe this will inspire other people to make their own magnificent things. I hope it means Spires is inspired to make more magnificent books.