Wow! Did you know that 2016 marks Owlkids Books‘ 40th year publishing quality children’s magazines and books? Congratulations to this Canadian institution!
I always look forward to checking out Owlkids’ latest catalogue, and I’m thrilled that the Spring 2016 catalogue is now available. Our friends at Owlkids kindly sent us some of these new releases to share with you. Take a look at this season’s most exciting children’s books for kids aged 3-10, four of them with starred Kirkus reviews, then scroll all the way down to enter to win this same collection for your own kiddos!
Click on the titles or cover pictures to see these books on Amazon.
Blanche Hates the Night by Sibylle Delacroix
From the author of Prickly Jenny (see our review here), one of our favourite bedtime stories, comes Blanche who hates the night. I expect most young children and parents can relate to this active little girl who will do anything rather than go to sleep: drumming, singing, jumping on the bed… until she finally tires herself out and falls fast asleep. I have to say that’s one patient mama who keeps popping in to tell Blanche to go to sleep.
My three-year-old loves this simple story for bedtime, and I’m thankful she doesn’t take it as a prescription for her own bedtime routine! A starred Kirkus review.
Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me by Danielle Marcotte
Mom, Dad, Our Books, and Me is an ode to reading. Not just novels and story books, but also recipes, sheet music, a watch, a thermometer, and even the future in tarot cards! My girls are already book lovers, and we love the positive messages encouraging reading and literacy. Yes, reading can make you cry or smile or both, and I love how the little boy in this book views learning to read as his ticket into a larger community of readers.
Maya by Mahak Jain
In this tenderly written tale within a tale, Maya is frightened when the lights go out one evening. Her father has recently died, and she misses him and the stories he used to tell to help her feel safe. To comfort Maya, her mother tells her the tale of how the first banyan tree saved everyone from the flood waters of the first monsoon. When they go to sleep, Maya imagines herself in her mother’s story and becomes afraid of the darkness and dangerous animals living in the great banyan. But then she considers how her mother’s story had a happy ending, and when she remembers her father, her fear fades away.
Elly MacKay’s mixed media “paper theatre” images are stunning. Her mother’s story is told in shadow puppets, and the encompassing story is illustrated in rich, deep colours that capture the beauty of the night.
For my three-year-old, this is simply a story about being brave. For my six-year-old, this is also about remembering her lost grandfather. A starred Kirkus review.
Tee has really taken to this book, showing and explaining to her younger sister what the different sounds in our house mean. Each section follows a similar format. On one page, a little boy hears scary noises and imagines what could be making the noise. “Can you hear that watery noise?” Then on the next page is the real explanation. “…If you hear trickling water, it could be the defroster at work.”
The illustrations of the imagined monsters are friendly enough not to frighten even my three-year-old, and the explanations are simple to follow. This is a nice way to help address kids’ fears of the creaks, noises, and bumps in the night!
Frank and Laverne by Dave Whamond and Jennifer Stokes
This is a fun two sided book journaling the week’s events from the contrasting perspectives of Frank the dog and Laverne the cat. On one side, Frank is busy protecting Laverne and their home from perilous squirrels and Carl, the Great Dane living next door. On the other side, crafty Laverne is plotting to get rid of Frank and get her paws on his stuffed fish toy. Who will win? Both!
It’s entertaining for sure, but it’s also a great way to start a discussion with my kids about how everyone has a different perspective, a basic building block for empathy.
The Artist and Me by Shane Peacock
“In the beautiful countryside in southern France near the town of Arles long ago, I used to do an ugly thing.”
While he was alive, van Gogh was considered crazy and a fool, and he was taunted and ostracized by the townsfolk whom he lived among. This book is a fictionalized first person account written by an old man remembering how he used to make fun of Vincent van Gogh when he was a little boy. Even as a child, the writer had misgivings about his behaviour, but he took his cues from the adults around him. Now an old man, the writer takes his grandson to a museum where he sees some of van Gogh’s art and realizes its value.
Tee and I read this book together and talked about how van Gogh might have felt at being mocked and bullied. We also talked about how hard it can be to do the right thing when others around you are not. A lovely way to start these important discussions. A starred Kirkus review.
Worms for Breakfast: How to Feed a Zoo by Helaine Becker
Tee is very much into reading and learning about animals right now. She received a couple of books at Christmas with animal trivia, so I was pretty sure she’d be interested in this fascinating book packed full of information about how zoos care for and feed different animals. Adding real-life “recipes” is a genius touch. My kids are both engrossed and grossed out (the best combination for little kids!) by the ingredients, and they love to pretend they’re making these recipes for themselves.
No, we will not be making midnight mealworm mush.
The information is presented is short and easily accessible segments that will encourage even reluctant readers, including a match up quiz, “Did You Know?” text boxes, and “Meet a Zoo Nutritionist” interviews. The final section offers useful tips and activites for kids wanting to learn how to help care for animals. A starred Kirkus review.
Win an Owlkids Spring Catalogue Book Package!
One lucky This West Coast Mommy reader will win all seven of the children’s books reviewed in this post, courtesy of Owlkids Books.
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.
While you’re here, check out my other open giveaways on my Giveaway Page!
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.