Fergus’s lovable duo make friends with wee one


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Winnipeg author Maureen Fergus has another potential bestseller in her new picture book, Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby (Groundwood, 32 pages, $17, hardcover).

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 20/08/2016 (2351 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Winnipeg author Maureen Fergus has another potential bestseller in her new picture book, Buddy and Earl and the Great Big Baby (Groundwood, 32 pages, $17, hardcover).

The fourth book in Fergus’s popular series about Buddy the dog and Earl the hedgehog, this one will make youngest book lovers chuckle aloud.

Buddy assures Earl babies are small, adorable, like to eat off the floor and smell interesting.

“Who would have thought that babies and hedgehogs had so much in common?” asks Earl.

But this baby is a toddler and makes a path of destruction through the house. Yet, the ending is most satisfying as Buddy remarks, “Babies and dogs have something in common, too… They both make the world a happier place.”

Sure to be a read-aloud favourite, Toronto artist Cary Sookocheff’s illustrations are simple and appropriate.

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The Arctic has always been a place of mystery — vanished ships, strange animals, hunters or explorers who disappeared. Neil Christopher, a teacher from the south who moved to Resolute Bay, Nunavut, adds strange mythological creatures in Those That Cause Fear (Inhabit Media, 40 pages, $17, hardcover).

Tales of these weird and fearsome beings were used by Inuit parents to prevent their children taking unnecessary risks or to warn them of possible dangers — like the “bogeyman” evoked in southern households.

The Qallupilluk wait underwater for children who venture too far onto sea ice in spring, while the Kajjait or “cursed wolves” are forever hungry and looking for a meal. Some of these creatures are half-human and half-animal, while others are giants so large they eat beluga whales as snacks.

Christopher, who has spent years studying Inuit legends, introduces 20 mythical beings in this little book, which is ably illustrated with full-page artwork by Yellowknife artist Germaine Arnaktauyok. While possibly frightening for young readers, it will be welcomed by anyone fascinated by Arctic culture.

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Does your pre-schooler love dinosaurs? Love to dance? Then One More Dino on the Floor by Pennsylvania author Kelly Starling Lyons (Albert Whitman and Co., 32 pages, $17, hardcover) is the book for them.

Progressing as a counting book from one to 10, the dinos wiggle and boogie, rock and dip, spin and stomp until they end up in a pool to cool off. Colorado artist Luke Flowers’ pictures are almost psychedelic in their riotous colour and intensity.

Early readers will want to mimic the energetic actions of the dancing dinosaurs.

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Pittsburgh author Siobhan Vivian’s title, The Last Boy and Girl in the World (Simon and Schuster, 419 pages, $24, hardcover), is misleading. Keeley and Levi are really just the last boy and girl left in Aberdeen, a small town that has been completely flooded by a nearby river.

But is it Levi who was the last boy or was it Jesse, who insisted on a last dance in the flooded school gym?

Inspired by a town in Pennsylvania that disappeared under water, Vivian weaves a suspenseful tale of broken friendships, family loyalty and betrayal, high school romance and heartbreak set against a town disappearing beneath the encroaching river.

Keeley is the class clown, hiding insecurities under a quick tongue and a brazen attitude; her retorts are often rude and sometimes crude.

But as Keeley pursues Jesse, her behaviour antagonizes her best friends, Morgan and Elise, and even loyal Levi. She finds herself friendless, homeless and lost.

What is left after everything you know and love is gone?

Vivian, author of the YA novel The List, does resolve Keeley’s problems, if somewhat unconvincingly. Aimed at more mature teens.

Helen Norrie is a former teacher-librarian whose column appears on the third Saturday of the month.

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