Fur, Feather, Fin—All of Us Are Kin by Diane Lang, Stephanie Laberis (Illustrations)

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a GORGEOUS children’s book!  The story takes us on a journey though the animal kingdom from mammals all the way down to millipedes, teaching with beautiful illustrations about how all creatures are connected!

I loved how the story had a rhyming direction as you follow along and look at all of the creatures with fur, feathers and fins and how they are all connect in some way.  There is so much diversity in the animal kingdom and I feel this book explores and demonstrates this in a fun way with the pictures that are eye catching and colorful.  I highly recommend adding this book to your collections, no matter your age!

Find me on Instagram to see a video of the embossed cover art @asimpletasteforreading, it’s amazing!

 

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Tess of the Road (Tess of the Road #1) by Rachel Hartman

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was written by the author of the popular story “Seraphina”, which I have not read yet but after reading this book I think I’d like to!

I might say that if I had read “Seraphina” before this, I probably would of had a better grasp behind Seraphina’s character although I really, really, really liked her step sister Tess!  This story is set in the medieval times in a Kingdom where ladies are meant to be ladies and men are the strong protectors….but when you throw dragon’s into the mix, well….they can do whatever they please.

Main character Tess is a strong willed gal who can also be a bit of a troublemaker.  Tess also has another sister, who is about to be married while her family wants to send Tess to a nunnery.  She knows that if she doesn’t leave while the tide is low, she’s never going to be truly ‘free’.  The only thing Tess can think of is to set out on her own….alone and pretending to be a boy.

Tess isn’t really sure where she plans to go, so when she runs into an old friend, luck seems to be on her side.  Her friend is a quigutl, which you will learn a little bit about – its a subspecies of dragon – who gives her protection and company while she’s on the road.  Little does her friend know, Tess is hiding a secret, one to her past that she’s tried years to forget is now threatening to expose her.

The story was a little hard to get into right at the start, but once it got rolling it was good!  I think that I would have been able to understand the terminology a little bit better if I had read the “Seraphina” books prior to this, but it’s not necessary I would say.  The cover art is amazing, story line was well written and I really enjoyed the characters. I look forward to reading more from this author, especially her popular series “Seraphina”.

Rhyme Crime by Jon Burgerman

35733528Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

Rhyme Crime is a fun new children’s book that will have everyone laughing!  The key to the story is the rhyming wordplay along with the bright colored creatures who are the victims of a rhyming criminal on the loose!

The thief is stealing things and replacing them with a rhyming object such as Marlow’s happy smile is replaced with a…..crocodile!  I read this book to my story time kids at the library where I volunteer.  The kids were getting so good at guessing what the thief was going to do next!  By the end of the book they were all coming up with other words that rhymed together.

A very fun interactive book, will you be able to guess the thief’s next move?  Grab this book for a rhyming twist of laughter and silliness especially when the thief tries to steal an orange…what rhymes with orange?!

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The True Adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig by Steve Jenkins

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

About a year ago, I stumbled upon an Instagram account featuring a full grown pig that was dressed up in an outfit.  Then I discovered the story behind Esther and the fabulous life that she lives!  This is a children’s story about the TRUE adventures of Esther the Wonder Pig!

Esther’s dads Steve and Derek had adopted a mini pig, although they had no idea that she would turn out to be a full size of the sort.  Despite her size, her new family saw just how wonderful she truly was and she has changed their lives for the better.

The story tells about Esther from when she was first brought home, to her present life.  Following her though her many growing spurts with many different sizes of beds, to actually getting her own bedroom!  One day, Esther disappears…but found in a neighbors backyard eating some goodies!

Esther and her family outgrew their small apartment as she also has some dog and cat siblings.  So the whole family moves to a farm where everyone has more space to have adventures.  This farm has since become the Happily Esther After animal sanctuary, home to rescued animals of all kinds!

I read this book to my story time kids at the library where I volunteer.  They all loved the story, especially the real photos that were added at the end.  All of them kept saying….”SHE’S REAL? SHE LIVES IN A HOUSE?” it was lots of fun!

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Beautiful Joe by Marshall Saunders

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This book was my ‘Book a Blind Date’ at our local library and how excited I was to read it being an animal, especially dog, lover!  “Beautiful Joe” is a juvenile fiction story although I think that everyone, EVERYONE needs to get a copy of this and read this amazing story.

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Beautiful Joe was a real dog and this story is based on true events of his life, from being rescued from the hands of a very cruel man who actually removes his ears and tail in a fit of anger.  With all the brutality, comes a new life that Beautiful Joe only dreamed of when the Morris family comes to his aid and carefully nurses him back to health, giving him the name Beautiful Joe.

The story is told through Beautiful Joe’s eyes, who finds that he is in the company of many other animals that the Morris’s have rescued from harm.  The Morris’s believe that every creature has the right to a full and happy life.  Beautiful Joe falls in love with his entire adopted family and becomes the most loyal and trustworthy companion.

Margaret Marshall Saunders –The Storyteller and a Woman ahead of her time…

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This is Saunders most famous novel, which was originally published under a pseudonym Marshall Saunders….her real name is Margaret Marshall Saunders.  In 1892 while she was visiting her brother in Meaford, Ontario, she heard the story of a dog that was rescued by Mr. Walter Moore (the father of her sister-in-law, Louise Moore). This event inspired her to write the story of Beautiful Joe, a canine autobiography of a Meaford area dog, rescued from a brutal owner who had chopped off his ears and tail. She decided to enter the story in a literary contest sponsored by the American Humane Education Society. In her book the Moore family became the Morris Family, and she relocated the story to a small town in Maine, USA as per the contest rules. Also, because female authors were not popular at the time, she disguised her sex by not using her first name Margaret, instead using her middle name Marshall. Beautiful Joe written by Marshall Saunders was finally submitted… and won!

The book was first published in 1893 and quickly became the first Canadian book to sell more than a million copies. By 1900, over 800,000 copies had sold in the U.S., 40,000 in Canada and 100,000 in the United Kingdom. And by the 1930’s worldwide sales were over 7 million copies.

Beautiful Joe was chosen as one of the 10 best children’s books in Canada, and for more than a century Margaret Marshall has been one of Canada’s best known writers of children’s stories. In fact, the book has been distributed to children in many cities throughout North America with the hope that children will show the same compassion towards one another as they would towards animals. The book was also the first Canadian novel to be published in the universal language of Esperanto and later translated into 14 languages which include: French, English, Spanish, Dutch, Japanese and Chinese. Beautiful Joe’s story has been part of the curriculum at notable Canadian universities such as Toronto, Guelph and Simon Fraser University.

Margaret was indeed a trailblazer who championed the rights of women and animals. She helped co-found the Maritime Branch of the Canadian Women’s Press Club with Lucy Maude Montgomery, and continued to speak out on many other social problems as well. As a result in 1911, she received an Honorary M.A. from Arcadia University. All the while preaching kindness to animals, and working tirelessly with the many humane societies she belonged to.

Keeping Beautiful Joe’s Memory Alive…

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In the hometown of Beautiful Joe, there has been formed the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society.  This society preserves and promotes the historical legacies of both ‘Beautiful Joe’ and Margaret Marshall Saunders and celebrates the natural bond between animals and humans.  The society created a park in memory of him as well, which is where Beautiful Joe is laid to rest.

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“Beautiful Joe Park is a peaceful and serene 8.5 acre parcel of Parkland on the banks of the picturesque Big Head River in Meaford, Ontario. The Park is named after me “Beautiful Joe”. I’m the hero in Margaret Marshall Saunders bestselling novel of the same name. I am laid to rest in the Park grounds and you can see my monument.

At the entrance to my Park, you will find a bronze  sculpture of me, Beautiful Joe that was created by local Meaford resident, Gunter Neumann. My Park is also home to a 9/11 Monument honouring a brave dog named Sirius, who was K-9 partner to Officer David Lim. There is a K-9 Monument as well as a Service Dogs Monument. The Park is also home to Paradise Islands, a place where people can have a plaque respectfully placed honoring their beloved companions. We like it when you remember us like that! By retelling my story, my friends at the Society are able to keep my hopeful and rehabilitative message alive.” – Beautiful Joe

To find out more about the Beautiful Joe Heritage Society, click on their logo below:

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Winterhouse (Winterhouse #1) by Ben Guterson

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

This is a must read for children, full of mystery that will keep them entertained though the whole story!

Elizabeth Somer lives with her aunt and uncle because her parents passed away.  They are by no means a wealthy family and Elizabeth has a feeling that her aunt and uncle really don’t like her.  Until one day out of the blue, her aunt and uncle receive money and instructions to take a vacation by themselves while sending Elizabeth off to a hotel called Winterhouse over Christmas break.  Elizabeth has no idea who sent them the money, which is where her mysterious journey to Winterhouse begins…..

Upon her arrival, Elizabeth is mesmerized at the charms Winterhouse seems to offer, which I won’t delve into because you must read the story to find out all of it’s magical amenities!  She meets a boy her age, whose parents also sent him to Winterhouse for Christmas and they quickly become friends.

Elizabeth loves to read and to her excitement, there is a vast library at Winterhouse several stories tall.  While browsing one day she happens upon a magical book of puzzles that unlocks a mystery involving the Hotel’s owner and his family’s secrets.  Elizabeth quickly realizes that something is happening to her and somehow she is connected Winterhouse, but how?Elizabeth is the only one who can solve the mystery of the strange things that begin to unravel during her stay at Winterhouse……

This story is full of mystery and adventure, a great book for young readers with beautiful writing combined with illustrations that make you feel like you are right next to Elizabeth solving the mystery!

Published January 2nd 2018 by Henry Holt and Co.

 

The Worm and the Bird by Coralie Bickford-Smith

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Rating: ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥ ♥

A new, beautifully illustrated picture book from the bestselling author of The Fox and the Star, winner of Waterstones Book of the Year 2015.

Via Goodreads

Deep below the earth, Worm dreams of having more space. There’s not much room down there.

Above, Bird waits, through sun and rain and wind.

As the day goes on, will they both find what they are looking for?

From the author of The Fox and the Star, this is a book about searching and hoping, and how the smallest moment can be beautiful.

Absolutely beautiful cover, and gorgeous illustrations. A somewhat dark tale about the importance of devoting time to the things that really matter.  It’s a bit about mindfulness and the desire for solitude too I think.  I may even be seeing the story though adult eyes and it will mean something completely different to a child!  Poignant and layered and a little bittersweet (at least if you are an adult), it’s added to by the use of metallic ink both on the cover and inside.  It is  just so beautiful!