Lac Du Bonnet author Andreas Oertel scored with juvenile readers (8-12) with his Shenanigans series featuring adventures of early teens Cody, Eric and Rachel. In his fifth book of the series, In Too Deep (Heritage House, 192 pages, $10, paperback) these amateur sleuths discover a missing Indigenous artifact while snorkelling for golf balls in the golf-course pool.
As usual, Cody is thoughtful, Eric is spontaneous (and always hungry) and Rachel is practical and efficient. Their discovery leads to many questions. Who is behind the threatening phone calls they receive? Is their discovery evidence of a long-buried crime? Can they outwit the renegade constable who sabotages their efforts?
Oertel’s trio provides plenty of humour, suspense and intrigue. His new book should rate highly with mid-level readers.
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If you or your young reader is a fan (and who isn’t?) of mouth-watering sticky cinnamon buns, you’ll enjoy Where Do Sticky Buns Come From? by Winnipeg baker and owner of Jonnies Sticky Buns, Jon McPhail (Friesens, 40 pages, $20, paperback).
Lots of outrageous answers are suggested to the little boy who asks the titular question. Do they grow in the ground? Fall from the sky? Appear by magic? Are invented by accident? No, they are baked from ingredients that are listed in this paperback, along with directions so that the future chef can make them.
Colourful illustrations by local artist Jonathan Dyck help make this a fun read for early book lovers, and helped the pair win the Manuela Dias book design and illustration award (children’s illustration category) at the Manitoba Book Awards in June.
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Local author Maureen Fergus has charmed youngest readers (ages 4-7) previously with her picture books about Buddy, the slightly-dozy dog, and Earl, the intrepid hedgehog.
In her latest release Buddy and Earl Meet the Neighbours (Groundwood, 32 pages, $17, hardcover), they team up again for fun and adventure.
When a new dog and cat move in next door, Buddy and Earl set out to impress them, but it takes a near calamity to make them friends. Toronto artist Carey Sookocheff, the traditional illustrator of the Buddy and Earl books, adds humour and colour to the new volume.
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Marie-Louise Gay of Montreal has been enchanting children for years with her quirky artwork and endearing characters (such as her books featuring Stella and Sam and Short Stories for Little Monsters), and her books (over 60 in all) have won numerous awards.
In Mustafa (Groundwood, 40 pages, $20, hardcover), she reflects the new immigrants that have enlivened Canada as she introduces a different character, Mustafa, who has left conflict and danger behind to find peace and new friends in his adopted country.
As always, Gay’s artwork is full of fun and colour. Here, a little red-haired girl who looks suspiciously like Stella helps Mustafa feel at home. Good for early readers (4-8).
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What could be more enchanting in the middle of summer than to explore a book that introduces all the wonders of the undersea world? Deep Underwater, written by Toronto author and artist Irene Luxbacher (Groundwood, 32 pages, $19, hardcover), takes a little girl into the depths of a marvellous ocean.
"I know where dragons live and where floating forests grow," Sophia said. "I’ve seen clowns and angels and four-eyed butterflies..."
As she drifts down, we also see beds of coral, waving fields of greenery, schools of fish and innumerable sea creatures bathed in blues and greens that shine with an underwater glow.
Luxbacher uses a variety of materials — from watercolour paints, soft-toned pencils and graphite to collage and digital imagery — to achieve her beautiful full-page artwork. She has received numerous awards for her illustrations; both early readers and their parents will enjoy this picture book.
Helen Norrie has taught children’s literature at the University of Manitoba. She enjoys the variety and excitement of books for children.