Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/1/2019 (397 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Burlington, Ont., author Rebecca Bender first introduced Giraffe and Bird in her highly acclaimed 2010 picture book of the same name. She brings them together once more in Giraffe and Bird Together Again (Pajama Press, 32 pages, $20, hardcover).
The two are contrasting characters, both in size and personality, but they make a wonderful pair. Giraffe is content to live quietly; Bird likes to explore. And when Bird goes missing, Giraffe knows he has to look for his friend.
Young readers (4-7) will cheer on Giraffe as he conquers clinging vines, rocky slopes and even deadly quicksand to rescue Bird. A lesson in friendship and bravery, Bender’s evocative illustrations give a feeling of endless yellow plains and hot red days. For early book-lovers.
When Rosie the pig sees a boy ride a bicycle in the farmyard, she’s seized with a new passion: to ride a bike.
Her hilarious attempts to ride are chronicled by award-winning Quebec author Pierrette Dubé in The Little Pig, the Bicycle and the Moon (Margaret K. Elderry Books/Simon & Schuster, 40 pages, $24, hardcover).
When she first tries to ride without help, Rosie ends up in the pond. She must learn to balance, to use the brakes and to turn — and finally, with the help of a goat pushing, she is on her way. How far? Perhaps as far as the moon.
At one point, Rosie ends up with a saucepan on her head, a car tire around her waist and a plumbing joint for a snorkel. Originally written in French, the illustrations by Quebec artist Orbie make this a feel-good book for beginning readers.
Colors, by Illinois author Jenna Kurtzweil and with art by Spanish artist David Rodriguez Lorenzo (Flowerpot Press, 32 pages, $24, hardcover) is a gorgeous exploration of all the colours of the rainbow.
Suggesting the Earth was once colourless, the colours all pitch in to make the planet a more exciting place. Lorenzo has pictured delectable honey for gold, a vibrant flamingo for pink and blues for the sky and sea.
Written in rhyming verse — "To yellow went the mighty sun. To orange went the flame. Even little lilac won a flower with its name," for example — it makes a great read-aloud book for youngest book-lovers.
Could you survive an earthquake that destroys your home and your town, devastates your family and turns your place in society upside down?
Edmonton-born (now Australia-based) author Wendy Orr presents this scenario for Leira, a young teen, in the setting of an actual catastrophe that took place in the Mediterranean in 1625 BC.
Orr’s middle-grade novel Swallow’s Dance (Pajama Press, 275 pages, $20, hardcover) takes us to the island of Thera, now known as Santorini, north of Crete, where a flourishing Bronze Age society was almost completely obliterated by an incredible eruption and subsequent tsunami that occurred more than 3,000 years ago. Orr has explored the same time and place in a previous novel, Dragonfly Song, which won honours when it was released in 2017.
Leira’s family are part of a privileged class, and she is destined to become a priestess. But, on the eve of her initiation into womanhood, the island is shaken by the volcanic eruption which turns her life upside down. With her mother seriously injured, her father and brothers absent and only her old nurse, the slave Nunu, to help her, Leira must find inner resources she didn’t know she possessed.
Both a fascinating account of a real but forgotten society, and an exploration of a young woman’s resilience and courage in the face of adversity, this is a highly recommended novel for nine- to 12-year-old readers.
Helen Norrie is a former teacher-librarian who hopes tsunamis and volcanic eruptions do not reach Canada.
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