Harry’s hiccups by Jean Little

February 9, 2018

harryshiccupsHarry’s Hiccups by Jean Little;

illustrated by  Joe Weissmann

Published by Orca Book Publishers

[ARC] to be released April 2018



Something that almost everyone has experienced at onetime or another. In this new tale by author Jean Little, ‘Harry’s hiccups’, the main character, Harry, is desperate to have this reflexive sound stop! Many of the so-called solutions will make any reader smile, then giggle out loud, as they follow along with Harry as he tries one remedy after another.

The expressively vibrant and colourful illustrations by Joe Weissmann, perfectly capture the zaniness of each proposed solution and culminate in the last page with an unexpected laugh out loud surprise for the reader!

Student tested! Student approved with….

Highly recommended ages 4-8     A story of complete fun, smiles & giggles!

Journey to Atlantis by Philip Roy

June 9, 2010

 Philip Roy’s newest adventure ” Journey to Alantis” once again stars that intrepid trio that I fell in love with in his debut novel “Submarine Outlaw”.  Alfred (captain of the submarine), first mate Seaweed the Seagull, and canine companion extraordinare Hollie, sail into another fantastic adventure on his improved homemade submarine,  this time attempting an Atlantic crossing inorder to locate the fabled city of Atlantis!  Along the way, Al dispays  courage, determination and humour as he encounters  the Coast Guard, pirates in the Meditterean, old World War Two sea mines, and a camel in the Sahara of North Africa.

I was not disappointed in this rollicking high-sea adventure. Roy has skillfully blended the mythology and legends of ancient civilizations with geographical accuracy so that a reader could actually plot out Albert’s voyage on a map! Highly recommend it  even for  the reluctant reader!

River Odyssey, the third in the Submarine Outlaw series, coming fall 2010! ( by Ronsdale Press)

  • August 2009
  • ISBN: 978-1-55380-076-7  ; 224 pp
  • Reading ability : Grade 5 to 8

    Who would like this book?  Anyone who dares to dream and follow their imagination and loves to explore the world!

    Teacher/Curriculum Connections: ” Journey to Atlantis would be useful in the classroom, especially when read along with a geography or social studies unit on modern ocean travel, the Mediterranean area, or ancient Minoan society.”  by Karen Taylor, CM . . . . Volume XVI Number 7. . . .October 16, 2009

    Submarine Outlaw by Philip Roy

    June 8, 2010

    Fountas and Pinnell Reading Level:   Z      Grade Level:   5-7  

    Genre:  Fantasy/Adventure

      Literature Circle set ( 6 copies) available  at  Classroom Support Centre

    Red Maple Nominee 2010 , 251 pp.


    “Fourteen year old Al changes his destiny by following his dream to become an explorer. Al’s journey begins off the rugged coast of Newfoundland in his handmade submarine. As he travels through east coast waters he rescues a family of four, finds a lost treasure, eludes the coast guard and the navy, befriends a seagull and an abandoned dog, meets a “queen” of the sea, and saves a lost boy. Al’s nautical adventures make him a celebrity but his ability to evade the police makes him an outlaw.”


    Review by Karen:

    Meet Alfred — a fourteen year old boy who steadfastly refuses to follow in the family tradition of going to sea as a fisherman. However a chance glance through a hole in the local junkyard fence sparks Albert’s imagination and lights the flame of adventure and exploration.  Unexpected friendships, responsibilities and self discovery  all become a part of Alfred’s own journey “out to sea”. 

    Highly recommended !!

    Theme:  Self-discovery; Adventure; Friendship

    Teacher / Curriculum Connections: Canadian Geography /History (Eastern Maritime History) 

    Author link:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xmmb3UO6TwA&feature=related

    Dreamdark: Blackbringer by Laini Taylor

    April 6, 2010

    Publisher: Firebird (Penguin) c.2007.  437 p.

    It was the fantastic art on the cover of this book that kept me coming back to this book.  A faerie on a crow…..the illustration struck a cord…and conjured up all sorts of images in my own mind!   I was hooked!

    Devils are on the loose! Devils are hungry for faeries and Magpie Windwitch, grand-daughter of the West Wind, is the champion warrior faerie!  She is a  feisty, young “hundred-year-old sprout” of a faerie who has made it her mission to capture and destroy the ‘snags’ and devils that have been released into the world!

    This heroine … Magpie Windwitch is like no faerie I have ever encountered and her world of faerie folk is  far from being the conventional  ‘fairy-fantasy’.  A remarkable cast of rich, vibrant magical characters that make of the realm of Dreamdark and marvelous pen and ink illustrations sprinkled throughout the  story will capture any reader’s imagination! One minute, readers will find themselves holding their breath, then racing full speed along with Mags, as she zips across her world trying to catch a recently released ‘snag’ that leaves no blood as a trail. Frustrated, Magpie ‘s search for this ‘new devil’ compels her to return to her birthplace….Dreamdark….where answers about this new formidable and frightening devil reveal his name to be “Blackbringer”.   The name alone conjures fear and shudders to all in Dreamdark….similiar to our stories of the bogeyman!  A vengeful, bitter antagonist that certainly had me hoping that Mags would succeed in her mission of capturing and containing him, thus keeping the Tapestry of the world whole!

    I found this debut novel by Taylor to an extraordinarily refreshing YA fantasy novel. Highly recommend it and I hope that the author with continue the adventures of Magpie, the seven cigar-smoking  crows and Talon in another book!…….ahhhhh…just discovered that book 2 is entitled “Silksinger“…….I will have to see about getting that one soon!

    Reading Ability: Grade 6,7, 8 ( strong junior readers  & intermediate)

    Genre: Fantasy; Adventure

    Theme: Identity; loyalty; Magic; Courage; Friendship

    Who would like this book?  This will would appeal to readers who love to read about dragons, magic, myths and legends.

    Similar ReadsWicked Lovely by M. Marr; Wondrous Strange by L. Livingston

    The Dragon in the driveway by Kate Klimo

    March 3, 2010

    The fast paced action adventure  are what drew me to the first book and this installment in the series did not disappoint! The adventure into the realms of magic, courage and wonder  continue in the second book in Kate Klimo’s Dragon Keepers series! Jesse and cousin Daisy are on a quest to keep their dragon Emmy from the clutches of Dr. St. George.  In order to do this Jesse and Daisy need to keep track of his where abouts and what he is up to!  What they do discover leads them try and foil the disguised dragonslayer’s evil plan of enslaving the mythical creatures around and under Goldmine City and keeping Emmy safe!

    This  series is certainly a great introduction for juniors who would like to step into the world of magic, dragons and fantasy!  I eagerly look forward to the next book!

    Highly Recommended!           Series:  Dragon Keepers

    Book 1 :  The Dragon in the Sock drawer  (April 2009 : 192p)                      Book 3:  The Dragon in the Library (May 2010: 224p.)


    Reading Ability: Grade 4 and 5

    Genre: Fantasy; Adventure and action

    Theme:  Dragons; Hobgoblins; Mythical creatures; Good vs Evil; Friendship

    Similar BooksJeremy Thatcher, dragon hatcher by Bruce Coville;  Hatching Magic by Ann Downer

    Related Links:     Author Spotlight from Random House Inc:


    Violet Raines almost got struck by lightning by Danette Haworth

    February 24, 2010

    Violet Raines is an energetic, animated and sometimes saucy young girl who is confronted at a critical moment of adolescence with change,  in the guise of a ‘newcomer’ named Melissa,   to her sleepy Florida town of Mitchell Hammock. She is unsure what to really make of this ‘big city girl from Detroit’ and what is could spell for her friendship with Lottie. As everything that Violet knows begins to change, she struggles with an entire range of emotions, from jealously, humour, stubbornness, anger and loyalty.  I smiled at Violet’s penchant for collecting words and keeping them in a shoebox and then combining her skill words with passion and honesty as she helps Lottie and her family with their financial difficulties.

    This  truly sweet coming of age story  by Haworth reminded me of a book I read called : My One Hundred Adventure by Polly Horvath (Canadian Author)

    Reading Ability: Junior  (grade 4, 5, 6)

    Genre: Friendship; Tweens; Best friends; Jealousy; Coming of Age; Humour; Florida

    Theme: Summer; Realistic fiction; Adolescence; Growing up; Childhood

    Who would like this book?  Young girls ages 9 to 12

    Teacher on-line resources:  Reading guide


    Word Nerd

    February 3, 2010

    Word Nerd
    This is a book that is in both the Forest of Reading under the Red Maple section and in the intermediate  Battle of the Books.  It’s the story of a grade eight boy who learns several important lessons about the power of words. 

    The book has a great beginning, the first line starts “The day I almost died..” which hooks the reader and makes you want to know more about how this “almost” happened.  Ambrose, the main character, has moved around a lot with his mom, his father died before he was born. He has a very over protective mother who is over-cautious with her son and often treats him as if he is unable to make decisions for himself.  Ambrose has a severe peanut allergy and his mother limits his contact with the world because of this.  Ambrose uses words to build a world of make-believe, initially lying to try to make friends and protect himself and later lying to his mother to help protect friends he has made. 

    There are many interesting characters that are well portrayed, the Three Stooges are grade eight students who torment Ambrose at school, Ambrose’s mother is a desperate woman who will do anything to protect her son, and finally there is Cosmos who is everything that Ambrose’s mother is afraid of.  The interactions of these characters keeps the reader hooked.
    The setting of the book in Vancouver, BC and it’s great to read and recognize the places that Ambrose is talking about.  His description of Granville Island is realistic and really helps you revisit the “Island” if you are familiar with it. 

    The language is authentic to a fourteen year old, it is certainly a book for intermediate students.  The author Susan Neilson was a screen writer for Degrassi High as well as Robson Arms.  She’s done a great job looking into the life of a teen ager who is desperate to find his place and put down roots.

    Reading Ability: Intermediate level themes and language

    Genre: Realistic Fiction

    Themes:  Growing Up, Determination, Bullying

    Who would love this book?  This book was a hit with grade eight boys.  They appreciated the humour, language and underlying themes within the book.  It is definitely a book that adolescents enjoy.