You can never go wrong with books for Christmas! Owlkids Books has been publishing quality children’s magazines and books for 40 years now – they’re a Canadian institution! We’ve chosen a selection of new releases from their latest catalogue perfect for gifting to any child from toddler to preteen. Take a look at this season’s most exciting children’s books for kids aged 3-10, then scroll all the way down to enter to win the same collection for your own kiddos!
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
Moose Goose, Animals on the Loose!: A Canadian Wildlife ABC by Geraldo Valério
“Here they come… Canadian animals running, jumping, swimming, and roaring your way!”
Moose, Goose, Animals on the Loose introduces an entire alphabet’s worth of Canadian wildlife starting with Arctic fox, bison, and caribou. Large, simple paper collage images are paired with short alliterative phrases about each animal like, “Frog feasting on flies,” and “Narwhal native of the North.” Some of the letters are harder than others though, so X is muskoX and lynX, and Z is griZZly bears. It’s hard to be too critical though, I certainly can’t think of any local fauna starting with the letter X!
There’s an index at the end of the book with a little bit of information about each animal. Kay finds these really interesting, and I like that it gives the book a little more educational oomph to its focus on Canadian animals.
Maxwell the Monkey Barber by Cale Atkinson
Maxwell the Monkey Barber is one of the most enthusiastic hairstylists I’ve ever seen! He trims poor overgrown Baboon and Lion, and even clips Bear’s beard. But what’s a monkey to do when Elephant arrives and he has no hair at all? This colourful picture book is a cute story about friendly jungle animals and an adorable, problem-solving simian.
I am Josephine (And I Am a Living Thing) by Jan Thornhill
To my 4-year-old’s delight, I Am Josephine has been transformed into I Am Kay when reading before bed. Whatever her name, this energetic little girl lets the reader know she is Josephine (or Kay), who is also a human, and a mammal, and an animal, and a living thing. Josephine uses concrete examples to make the concept of these broadening categories easier to understand. “I am a living thing, and so is my brother, Felix, and so is a butterfly, and so is a tree, and so is a penguin.” The final pages outline the defining characteristics of each category for extended learning.
I believe it’s important to teach my children that they are part of and connected to the natural world around them. When you have things in common with another, you can’t help but feel more empathy, and right now our planet sure could use more kids with empathy for all living things and the natural world.
Dojo Surprise by Chris Tougas
Dojo Surprise is the third book in the Dojo series (see our review of Dojo Daytrip here). In this volume, Master is taking a nap in the dojo when he’s woken up by strange noises. What’s going on? Master bumbles along as usual, scared of the strange happenings going on around him. But it turns out it’s just the students planning a surprise party! Told in rhyming couplets with comic book sound effects and exaggerated expressions, Dojo Daycare is great for reading out loud to my rowdy kids.
Margo Thinks Twice by Monica Arnaldo
Kay really likes this one. She’s a little more cautious than her big sister, and I think she can relate to Margo’s fears and anxieties. Margo has an overactive imagination, and she tends to imagine the worst. If she jumps off the swing will she be blown up to the roof? Or will she get lost forever inside the round clothing rack the way her hamster got lost that other time? At the end of the story, Margo makes a special friend who helps distract her from her worries.
Kay has asked for this story before bed several times. We talk about how likely it is for these worst case scenarios to happen which helps her see the ridiculousness of them. I think this would be a good book for kids who worry.
Abigail the Whale by Davide Cali
Now that Tee’s in Grade One, issues like bullying and exclusion are starting to show up on the radar for us. I picked this book as another way to introduce the concepts of self-confidence and mindfulness. When the other children make fun of Abigail for her weight, her swimming teacher suggests to her, “We are what we think.” She’s skeptical, but she tries his advice and imagines herself to be what she wants to be. When she feels small and afraid walking home in the dark, she visualizes herself as a giant instead. Imagining herself as a kangaroo helps her jump higher!
In my other life, I’m a social worker who helps youngsters with mental health concerns, and I love that Abigail learns to use the same techniques that I teach kids in my own professional work.
While this book can definitely be used to start a discussion around bullying, the story focuses on how Abigail changes the way she feels about herself rather than addressing the children’s bullying behaviour directly. I don’t see this as a weakness though, because while we may hope that bullies and mean girls learn their lesson and stop behaving badly, in the real world we can only control our own thoughts and behaviours. The strategies that Abigail uses are how we work to “bullyproof” kids.
West Meadows Detectives: The Case of Maker Mischief by Liam O’Donnell
Tee is an accomplished reader now, and she’s graduated to chapter books like these. She picked this one out of the big box of books and spent the rest of the afternoon with her nose buried in it.
Third-graders Myron and Hajrah are self-proclaimed detectives at West Meadows Elementary, and they’re on the case – the case of the stolen robot! What’s unique about these two protagonists is they are both appealing and likable characters with atypical neurodevelopment. Myron has autism and Hajrah is engagingly hyperactive. They and their classmates are a diverse bunch who use their strengths to work toward a common goal. Using his powers of observation and deduction, Myron identifies suspects, collects clues, and eventually breaks the case. This is a fun book to introduce my daughter to the mystery genre in a way that also encourages inclusiveness without making it the focus of the story.
Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers by Anna Humphrey
Another excellent read for Tee, Clara Humble and the Not-So-Super Powers follows Clara, a spunky nine-year-old who aspires to be a cartoonist (her cartoons appear in the book too). At the start of the book, Clara is facing disaster on two fronts: a fierce school rivalry and the news that a beloved older neighbour will be moving away. Clara thinks she might have superpowers and she and her best friend Bradley planto use them to fix things.
I like that in the end, it’s not Clara’s alleged superpowers that save the day, but rather her character and love for her family and friends that make the real difference. That’s a fine message for Tee to learn.
Sea Otter Rescue by Suzi Eszterhas
Whenever we visit the Vancouver Aquarium, Tee’s favourite place to visit is the veterinary play area where she can pretend to be an aquatic vet. She likes to take pretend x-rays, weigh the animals, bandage them up, and give them medicine.
Everybody loves otters, and Tee is no exception. Sea Otter Rescue is a behind the scenes look at the wonderful work the Alaska SeaLife Center’s Wildlife Rescue Team does for orphaned sea otter pups. It’s packed full of information about otters and otter development, not to mention dozens of cute, fluffy otter babies!
Tee find this book fascinating! She loves learning what otter pups eat, how they play and rest, how the staff groom them, and how they determine which otters can be released back into the wild.
Give the gift of books this Christmas – adventure and knowledge await! Owlkids Books are available at Amazon or wherever children’s books are sold.
Win an Owlkids Book Package!
One lucky This West Coast Mommy reader will win all nine of the children’s books reviewed in this post, courtesy of Owlkids Books. What a wonderful Christmas present any of these would make!
Enter to win in the giveaway widget below. This giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada, 18+. All entries will be verified. Prize delivery is not guaranteed by Christmas, so please plan accordingly.
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Disclosure: I received sample items for review. All opinions expressed are completely honest and my own, based on my personal experience. Your experience may differ. This post contains affiliate links. This West Coast Mommy is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to Amazon.com. I will receive a small commission if you purchase through my link, at no additional cost to you. This income helps pay for the operating costs of my website – thank you for your support!