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Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Children's Author Spotlight: Barbara Reid

We discovered Barbara Reid, award-winning author and illustrator, through the book The Subway Mouse, a gift from Cookie's Aunt and Cookie's cousin's favourite book as a child. Barbara's plasticine art is awe-inspiring. In The Subway Mouse she creates a stunning underground world, and tells the story of a single courageous mouse who dares to believe and follows his feet to Tunnel's End.

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The Subway Mouse
Written & illustrated by Barbara Reid

Nib lives deep beneath the city, in a subway station the mice call Sweetfall. By day the trains thunder past. At night, the old mice tell stories of the mythical land known as Tunnel's End, where the air is sweet and the nests soft, but where scary, mouse-eating monsters roam.

One day, Nib sets out on a quest to find Tunnel's End. Along the way he faces danger, finds a friend... and discovers a place more wonderful than he ever dreamed.

Book description from barbarareid.ca.

• Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children's Book Award 2003
• IBBY Outstanding Book for Young People With Disabilities 2004
• Globe & Mail Top Ten Children's Books 2003
• Children's Choices Selection 2006

Shortlisted for:
• Finalist The Governor General's Award for Illustration
• Ontario Library Association Blue Spruce Award 2004
• Honour Book CLA Amelia Francis Howard Gibbon Award For Illustration
• Starred Recommendation, Canadian Children's Book Centre "Our Choice" Catalogue

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Barbara also wrote and illustrated Perfect Snow, combining her amazing plasticine figurines with watercolour images.

Perfect Snow
Written & IIlustrated by Barbara Reid 

It came in the night. "Perfect!" said Scott. "Snow!" said Jim.
At recess the schoolyard is full of happy kids. Scott is making snowmen, Jim is working on the world's greatest snow fort. At lunchtime they join forces to create a perfect snow surprise!  

Book description from barbarareid.ca.

• The Amelia Francis Howard Gibbon Award for Illustration 2010
• The Toronto Public Library First and Best list 2009
• Quill and Quire 15 Books that Mattered 2009
• The Canadian Children's Book Centre Best Books for Kids & Teens, starred selection
• The 2011 Blue Spruce Award
• The 2010 Ruth and Sylvia Schwartz Picture Book Award
• The Canadian Booksellers Association Libris Children's Picture Book of the Year

View the Perfect Snow book trailer:

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Saturday, May 14, 2011

Children's Author Spotlight: Oliver Jeffers

One of Jack's favourite authors is Oliver Jeffers. According to the lovely woman who works in the children's book section of my local Indigo store, when she reads Jeffer's Once There Was a Boy books, the boys sit very still and listen very intently. Imagine! Boys sitting still! These books are categorized as preschool to grade 2, though we have enjoyed them since Jack was a toddler.

Our favourite is still Lost and Found, the first one we purchased. This first story in the series is about a boy who finds a penguin at his front door. He then sets out on a mission to find out where the penguin belongs. It's an endearing story of friendship.

We next bought The Way Back Home, and have loved it as well. The boy finds an airplane in his closet and takes it for a ride, but he soon runs out of fuel and has to land on the moon. Then a spaceship also crashes on the moon. The boy and the martian work together to fix their equipment and in the process they each find a new friend.

In How to Catch a Star the boy, Oliver, tries all sorts of things to catch a star. In the end, when all of his ideas fail, he settles for a starfish found on the beach. This is a cute story that represents just what sort of plan a young boy would dream up in order to catch a star.

The first three books in the Once There Was a Boy series can be purchased in a small format boxed set. I gave this set of beautiful books to a friend with a new baby boy. To me, this collection is the perfect way to welcome a new boy into the world.

In Up and Down the boy and the penguin are together again. They play games like telephone and Parcheesi, they accompany each other on tuba and guitar, and then the penguin decides that he must learn to fly.

Oliver Jeffers has written many other children's books. Look for them on his website or visit his Amazon.com author page.

Knowing how much boys love these books, and how important it is to instill a love of reading in our children, I feel really good about recommending these books to you today.

Sunday, May 8, 2011

More Great Deals for Mother's Day!

Today I came across some unbelievably good deals and I had to share them with you! I just picked these books up for myself. Well, why not? It is MY day! Happy Mother's Day!

NOTE: Please check prices before purchasing as prices are subject to change at any time.

Fixing Freddie
Free!! As in $0.00!

From the Introduction:
We didn’t need a dog. We had a perfectly nice dog named Shakespeare, a big, loveable, huggable shaggy black mutt from the pound. And a cat, a beautiful tabby named Isis. We were a family—me and the dog and the cat and Mikey, my youngest child and the only one left at home. His siblings were grown and gone. His father was just gone. When I finally scraped up the money to buy a little house, Mikey reminded me that it was time for the puppy.

“What puppy?” I didn’t do puppies.
“‘When we get a home of our own,’ you said. You promised,” insisted Mikey.
You promised—the two words in the English language most likely to bring a single mother to her knees.

We didn’t need a dog. We certainly didn’t need a beagle. And we most certainly didn’t need Freddie.
There are bad dogs--and then there are bad beagles.

In this hilarious and heartwarming memoir, single mother Paula Munier takes on the world's worst beagle--and loses every time. She tries everything to fix Freddie--but nothing really works. As her youngest son grows up and prepares to leave her soon-to-be empty nest, Paula's worst fear is that after more than thirty years of raising kids, she'll be left all alone--with Freddie.

The Perfect Storm: A True Story of Men Against the Sea

From Inside the Flap:

It was the storm of the century -- a tempest created by so rare a combination of factors that meteorologist deemed it "the perfect storm." When it struck in October, 1991, there was virtually no warning. "She's comin' on, boys, and she's comin' on strong," radioed Captain Billy Tyne of the Andrea Gail from off the coast of Nova Scotia. Soon afterward, the boat and its crew of six disappeared without a trace.

Sebastian Junger takes us on a real-life thriller, deep into the heart of the storm. He recreates the last moments of the Andrea Gail crew and the heroic acts of the National Guard rescue team; he weaves together the history of the New England fishing industry, the science of storms, and candid accounts of the people whose lives the storm touched.

Ten Degrees of Reckoning

Amazon.com Product Description:
An international bestseller. A remarkable true story of one woman's courage. In 1993, Judith and Michael Sleavin and their two children set out to sail around the world. Three years into their incredible journey, a nearby freighter altered its course by a mere ten degrees-and everything changed...

After forty-four hours in the icy water clinging to an overturned dinghy, her back broken and paralyzed below the waist, Judith miraculously survived, winding up in a small community on the New Zealand coast. Gripping, unbelievable yet true, Judith's story of courage, survival, and retribution is alternately heartrending and uplifting. It's also a story of unbreakable bonds, of shattering loss, and of one woman reborn through the strength of friendship and the profound love of strangers who became family.

Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige

Amazon.com Product Description:
The best advice for the mother of the groom? Keep your mouth shut and wear beige!

“It’s bad enough when two mothers plan an event as fraught as a wedding, but what happens when the ex-husband’s new girlfriend elbows her way in? Keep Your Mouth Shut and Wear Beige adds the mother of the groom to literature’s rich collection of long-suffering women. When Seidel’s heroine refuses to suffer in silence, the results are both poignant and hilarious.”
---Debra Galant, author of Rattled and Fear and Yoga in New Jersey

Trojan Horse

Amazon.com Product Description:
Daniel Youngblood is a world-weary oil and gas investment banker who’s ready to hit the beach, when he’s hired by a Saudi Prince for an OPEC deal where he can net himself $25 million as a swan song. At the same time, he meets and falls in love with Lydia, an exotic European fashion photographer, who he later discovers is really CIA-trained spy with a shocking past with the Saudi Prince. She convinces Daniel to enlist in what becomes a race for the lovers to stop a Muslim terrorist internet plot to bring down the Saudi royal family and cripple the world’s oil capacity, all before they wind up dead.

Always Looking Up: The Adventures of an Incurable Optimist

Amazon.com Product Description:
There are many words to describe Michael J. Fox: Actor. Husband. Father. Activist. But readers of Always Looking Up will soon add another to the list: Optimist. Michael writes about the hard-won perspective that helped him see challenges as opportunities. Instead of building walls around himself, he developed a personal policy of engagement and discovery: an emotional, psychological, intellectual, and spiritual outlook that has served him throughout his struggle with Parkinson's disease. Michael's exit from a very demanding, very public arena offered him the time-and the inspiration-to open up new doors leading to unexpected places. One door even led him to the center of his own family, the greatest destination of all.

The Last Child

From Booklist:
Not that we needed any further proof, after the superb King of Lies (2008) and Down River (2007), but Hart once again demonstrates that he is a remarkable storyteller. Somebody has abducted Johnny Merrimon’s twin sister, Alyssa. Thirteen-year-old Johnny hasn’t been able to let her go, and even now, a year later, he is still scouring his North Carolina town, looking in every dark place, in the belief that his sister may still be alive and close by. Keeping an eye on Johnny, while fighting his own personal demons, is Clyde Hunt, the police detective who’s spent the last year working the case, even as his marriage and career have crumbled around him. When they discover the truth, they find that it’s something darker and more frightening than either of them could have imagined. Hart once again produces a novel that is elegant, haunting, and memorable. His characters are given an emotional depth that genre characters seldom have, and the graceful, evocative prose lifts his stories right out of their genre and into the realm of capital-L literature. A must-read for every variety of fiction reader.

Click here to search Amazon.com for books priced at $0.99 or less.

Friday, May 6, 2011

Great deals to celebrate mom!

This Sunday May 8th is Mother's Day. Celebrate mom by giving her something wonderful to read. Heck, at these prices, you can load up her Kindle for the year! (Don't forget to give her the precious gift of time too, so that she'll be able to enjoy her favourite book.)

NOTE: Please check prices before purchasing as prices are subject to change at any time.

Classic, Stunning and Free

Pride and Prejudice

"It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single man in possession of a good fortune must be in want of a wife." -- Jane Austen, Pride and Prejudice

Amazon.com Product Description:
When Elizabeth Bennet first meets eligible bachelor Fitzwilliam Darcy, she thinks him arrogant and conceited; he is indifferent to her good looks and lively mind. When she later discovers that Darcy has involved himself in the troubled relationship between his friend Bingley and her beloved sister Jane, she is determined to dislike him more than ever. In the sparkling comedy of manners that follows, Jane Austen shows the folly of judging by first impressions and superbly evokes the friendships, gossip and snobberies of provincial middle-class life.

Also free from Jane Austen through Amazon (for US Customers only) are Persuasion, Sense and Sensibility and Emma. Canadian customers, check Project Gutenberg for free public domain titles.

Treat mom to a highly rated book at a fantastic price... and while you're at it, treat yourself too!

Product Details

Blue by Lou Aronica - Kindle eBook
4.3 out of 5 stars   (61)

Product DetailsThe Journey Home by Michael Baron - Kindle eBook
4.7 out of 5 stars   (15)

Product Details

A Sister's Promise by Karen Lenfestey - Kindle eBook
4.6 out of 5 stars   (11)
Product Details

This Matter Of Marriage by Debbie Macomber - Kindle eBook
4.6 out of 5 stars   (37)

Product Details

Borrowed Stilettos by Rebecca J. Clark - Kindle eBook
4.7 out of 5 stars   (9)
Product Details

When You Went Away by Michael Baron - Kindle eBook
4.3 out of 5 stars   (51)

Product DetailsA Wife for a Westmoreland by Brenda Jackson - Kindle eBook
4.2 out of 5 stars   (16)


Product DetailsMy One and Only by Kristan Higgins - Kindle eBook
4.5 out of 5 stars   (60)

Product Details

Harvest Moon by Robyn Carr - Kindle eBook
4.8 out of 5 stars   (24)
Product Details

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein - Kindle eBook
4.6 out of 5 stars   (1,379)

Product DetailsSomething Blue by Emily Giffin - Kindle eBook
4.5 out of 5 stars   (328)

Product DetailsThe Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot - Kindle eBook
4.6 out of 5 stars   (617)

Product DetailsThe Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer - Kindle eBook
4.4 out of 5 stars   (131)

Especially for the Sex and the City fan:

Product DetailsSummer and the City: A Carrie Diaries Novel by Candace Bushnell - Kindle eBook
4.7 out of 5 stars   (6)

Action, Mystery, Intrigue and more.

Product Details Containment by Christian Cantrell - Kindle eBook
3.9 out of 5 stars   (184)

Product Details

The Gravy Train by David Lender - Kindle eBook
5.0 out of 5 stars   (16)

Product Details
Dead to Writes by Cathy Wiley - Kindle eBook
4.4 out of 5 stars   (25)


Product Details
Born to Run by Christopher McDougall - Kindle eBook
4.7 out of 5 stars   (706)

Still looking for more deals? See my previous lists. NOTE: Please check prices before purchasing as prices are subject to change at any time.

March 8, 2011: It's Read an E-Book Week! Pick up a great book for just $0.99! 

March 13 2011: More than fifty bargain books - Just $0.99 each!

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