https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/issue/feed The Deakin Review of Children's Literature 2020-08-11T15:42:03-06:00 Robert Desmarais robert.desmarais@ualberta.ca Open Journal Systems <p>The <em>Deakin Review of Children’s Literature</em> is an electronic review of contemporary English-language materials of interest to children and young adults.&nbsp; Of particular use to librarians, parents, teachers and anyone working with young people, we also publish news relevant to children’s literacy.</p> https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29494 The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge by MT. Anderson & E. Yelchin 2020-07-03T13:43:41-06:00 Arwen Thysse thysse@ualberta.ca <p>Anderson, M.T. and Eugene Yelchin. <em>The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge. </em>Candlewick Press, 2018.</p> <p><em>The Assassination of Brangwain Spurge </em>throws the reader into a topsy-turvy wonderland with the gripping adventure of two unlikely heroes, Brangwain Spurge and Werfel the Archivist. These two historians find themselves caught in a myriad of misunderstandings as they meet at the crux of a diplomatic mission between their warring nations of elves and goblins. An elfin historian turned diplomat and spy, Spurge must confront his own deeply entrenched prejudices against goblins, while his enthusiastic and well-intentioned goblin host, Werfel, attempts to guide him through an unfamiliar culture. Through a series of entertaining mishaps and cultural misunderstandings, M.T. Anderson and Eugene Yelchin use their vivid characters and narrative style to craft an enjoyable story with underlying messages about cultural conflict and the ways in which prejudice colours our view of others.</p> <p>Most commendable in this book is the authors’ brilliant use of visual and text media to craft a work showing how individuals can understand the same events in wildly different ways. The mixed media drawings not only add a striking visual force to the novel, but they also serve a narrative function by showing the world through the eyes and imagination of Spurge. It becomes clear that Spurge’s understanding of his experiences conflicts with the more objective third-person account of events, illustrating how Spurge’s view of the world has been heavily skewed by his institutionalized prejudices. As Werfel quite wisely says: “Isn’t it so fascinating how in different countries, we have different views of the same events?”</p> <p>This book is appropriate for the intended age group of individuals aged ten to fourteen, but it can also be enjoyed by older teens and adults. With its compelling design and timely messages, this book would be an excellent addition to school and public libraries.&nbsp;</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Arwen Thysse</p> <p>Arwen Thysse is a graduate of the University of Alberta’s Bachelor of Arts program and the University of Toronto’s Master of Medieval Studies program. She is also an avid musician, and enjoys children’s books.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29481 Bone Hollow by K. Ventrella 2020-07-03T13:44:14-06:00 Amanda Daignault adaignau@ualberta.ca <p>Ventrella, Kim. <em>Bone Hollow</em>. Scholastic Press, 2019.</p> <p>Gabe isn’t sure what happens after he falls off a roof during a storm trying to rescue Miss Cleo’s prize chicken. And he isn’t sure why, when he wakes up in Miss Cleo’s room, no one will speak to him and everyone is crying. But it eventually becomes unignorable: Gabe died in that storm. Well, he almost died. Kim Ventrella’s second novel <em>Bone Hollow</em>, aimed at middle-grade readers, follows Gabe and his loyal dog Ollie as Gabe tries to figure out what happened to him, and what he’s supposed to do now that he’s dead.</p> <p>After some meanderings between the woods outside his town and the town itself, Gabe meets Wynne, a mysterious girl who shows him her home, the titular Bone Hollow. At the core of the book, Bone Hollow is a misty but cozy refuge from a world Gabe doesn’t fit into anymore. Gabe is searching for a new place to fit in, and Wynne is urgently searching for someone to take her place.</p> <p><em>Bone Hollow</em> is a novel that takes its time, dwelling on sensory details that are alternately lush (like Miss Cleo’s sweet-and-savory biscuits) and grotesque (like Ollie’s propensity to lick every bit of Gabe he can find, including inside the wound that killed him). It’s not quite an adventure story, as there is no villain to defeat or ally to rescue. It’s not really a meditation on death; that theme is pervasive, but frequently interrupted. It’s not a gross-out or horror story, as plot threads that move in those directions—e.g., a creepy mortuary owner, and a hollow man with a bird inside his mouth—are abandoned as soon as they are begun. It’s a mix of all these things, in a way that defies expectations.</p> <p><em>Bone Hollow </em>suffers somewhat from slow pacing and an unclear plot motivation. The climactic choice that Gabe must eventually make is barely foreshadowed before the halfway mark (although it is spoiled on the book’s dust jacket). Besides this momentous decision, his other movements through the story seem more orchestrated than agential: even after the tornado blows out, Gabe is buffeted around by childhood bullies, scared adults, ghosts, and speeding cars. He reacts to these events with grit, bravery, and no small amount of stubbornness, but he is, predominantly, <em>re</em>acting. Readers who are looking for an atmospheric, creepy, but ultimately reassuring story about loss, change, and finding one’s purpose may appreciate Ventrella’s blend of comforting and unsettling prose. Gabe’s voice is individual, funny, and charmingly Southern—you can tell he’s upset when he starts saying “gosh darn it!”—and his friendships with both his dog and Wynne are carefully traced. Squeamish readers might not appreciate the mild gore—mostly off-screen—and others might simply be put off by the focus on death and dying among humans and animals alike. For those who relish a more morbid take, this book might be a welcome addition.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Amanda Daignault</p> <p>Amanda Daignault is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She studies contemporary children's middle-grade fantasy novels, using methods of book history and bibliography to figure out where all those giant trilogies came from and what they're doing.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29479 The Case of Windy Lake by M. Hutchinson 2020-07-03T13:50:06-06:00 Kaia MacLeod kwmacleo@ualberta.ca <p>Hutchinson, Michael. <em>The Case of Windy Lake</em>. Second Story Press, 2019.</p> <p>Micheal Hutchinson is a citizen of the Misipawistik Cree Nation in the Treaty 5 territory and is no stranger to the Canadian media. He’s worked as a print reporter for <em>The Calgary Straight</em> and <em>Aboriginal Times </em>and became the host of APTN national news. Somehow in his busy life, he has found time to write two amazing children’s books.</p> <p><em>The Case of the Missing Auntie </em>is Hutchinson’s second Mighty Muskrat Mystery book. It follows the cousins Chickadee, Otter, Samuel, and Atim (the Mighty Muskrats) of the Windy Lake First Nation. It takes place after the first book, but this time the Muskrats are leaving their reserve to spend time with family in the city.</p> <p>By setting the book in the city, the topic of urban Indigenous people arises. Hutchinson depicts a wide range of Indigenous people: nurses, students, musicians, and bullies. He doesn’t romanticize Indigenous people, opting to focus on realism and making the characters lifelike. The book makes sure to mention potential issues with moving/travelling from a reserve to a large city such as not fitting in and racism.</p> <p>The story has the same style as the previous Mighty Muskrat Mystery book with clear goals for the Muskrats to obtain: visit the Exhibition Fair, get Otter a ticket to see the band Wavoka’s Wail, and look for Auntie Charlotte who was taken during the 60’s scoop. One of the best parts is how realistic the story is, not everything goes the Mighty Muskrats way. This isn’t your typical “everything is going to work out just fine” story but that makes it a solid read—they need to come up with a plan B.</p> <p>It opens a dialogue on residential schools, the 60’s scoop, and the Truth and Reconciliation Commission. It felt like a good introduction to those tough topics, explaining what they are without dismissing them as something that happened a long time ago or minimizing their modern impacts. Instead, the story shows the aftermath, and how it affects the younger generation without limiting characters’ identities to only be their relationship to historical trauma. As such, this book could work as a discussion starter between children and adults on these topics and could be used to promote critical discussion around themes like Indigenous identities and experiences.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Kaia MacLeod</p> <p><strong>Reviewers Biography<br></strong><strong>Kaia MacLeod</strong>, a member of the James Smith Cree Nation, is an MLIS candidate at the University of Alberta. Her bachelor’s degree was in Film Studies, which she sometimes likes to call a degree in “movie watching,” she enjoys exploring how folklore is represented on film and in online content.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29492 A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies by M. Pelletier 2020-07-03T13:50:40-06:00 Sandy Campbell sandy.campbell@ualberta.ca <p>Pelletier, Mia. <em>A Children’s Guide to Arctic Butterflies</em>. Iqaluit, NU.: Inhabit Media, 2019.</p> <p>This volume is part field guide and part art book. &nbsp;Like many field guides, it begins with general material about butterflies: distinguishing them from moths, describing their life cycle and how they survive in winter.&nbsp; The remainder of the book is made up of accounts for 12 different species. Each account has a genus species name, a physical description and a habitat description, and explanations of how they fly, what the caterpillar looks like, how they winter and a “fluttering fact.” Accompanying each account are two small images of the upper and lower side of the butterfly and a full-page image of the insect in its habitat.</p> <p>The descriptions are detailed and interesting. For example, Pelletier tells us that, “Arctic butterflies can dry out all of their body tissues and freeze solid, thawing in the spring when the Arctic warms again.” The real joy of this book, however, is Danny Christopher’s illustrations. Christopher will be familiar to Inhabit Media readers as the illustrator of the <em>Legend of the Fog</em> and <a href="https://doi.org/10.20361/G2Q88Z"><em>A Children’s Guide to Arctic Birds</em></a>. Each full page illustration is a larger-than-life picture of a butterfly, rendered in muted tones that are lifelike, and match the environment. Christopher has replicated the natural greens, oranges and blacks of the lichen on rock. A child seeing a butterfly in the North could easily use this book to identify it.</p> <p>This is an excellent contribution to Northern children’s wildlife books. Since some of the butterflies are circumpolar, this book is recommended for all Canadian school and public libraries and for those in other Arctic countries.</p> <p>Highly recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Sandy Campbell&nbsp;</p> <p>Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has&nbsp;written&nbsp;hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.&nbsp;Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29478 Eat This! How Fast-Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and How to Fight Back) by A. Curtis 2020-07-03T13:51:12-06:00 Kaia MacLeod kwmacleo@ualberta.ca <p>Curtis, Andrea. <em>Eat This! How Fast-Food Marketing Gets You to Buy Junk (and How to Fight Back).</em> Illustrated by Peggy Collins. Red Deer Press, 2018.</p> <p>Andrea Curtis’s first children’s book was <em>What’s for Lunch? What school children Eat around the World</em>, and her latest book <em>Eat This!</em>:<em> How fast Food marketing gets you to buy junk (and how to fight back) </em>is written for the modern family. It talks about product placement, ads on the internet,&nbsp; the all-natural myth of orange juice and more. Even though this book is word-heavy (there is a glossary) there are bright colourful pictures, by Peggy Collins, accompanying almost every page. However, they cannot show the advertising of the actual products they want to talk about. So a box of frosted flakes becomes sugar rings with a tiger mascot, and any clown can represent McDonald's.&nbsp;</p> <p>Intermittently, it has real-world examples of people fighting fast-food marketing around the world. For example, the Game Changer campaign in Australia, which focuses on the ads in cricket for junk food, alcohol, and gambling. At the end of the book, there is a list of things to try to challenge fast food and marketing strategies. Their goal is to get the reader engaged with what they have just read, offering examples such as potlucks that celebrate diversity, or observing your favourite show for product placement.</p> <p>There are also multiple facts sprinkled into the book like how part of Philadelphia's soda tax is used for improving parks, or how Peru has banned junk food in schools. Overall the book discusses an important topic that is all too relevant in the age of the internet. Better yet, its goal is getting children to engage with advertising in a critical way. Children will benefit from the book, as it explains how advertisers don’t always have our best interests at heart and can help open a dialogue with adults on the subject.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars</p> <p>Reviewer: Kaia MacLeod</p> <p><strong>Kaia MacLeod</strong>, a member of the James Smith Cree Nation, is an MLIS candidate at the University of Alberta. Her bachelor’s degree was in Film Studies, which she sometimes likes to call a degree in “movie watching,” she enjoys exploring how folklore is represented on film and in online content.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29491 Give Me Back My Bones! by K. Norman 2020-07-03T13:51:43-06:00 Sean Borle scborle@ualberta.ca <p>Norman, Kim. <em>Give Me Back My Bones!</em> Illustrated by Bob Kolar. Candlewick Press, 2019.</p> <p>This book is a blend of fun and education. A pirate skeleton, whose bones have been spread across the ocean floor, wants to reclaim them. He “claim[s] his clavicle” and “hanker[s] for [his] humerus.” The text is a poem filled with surprising and creative descriptions of what the individual bones do: “Who can spot my shoulder blade, / my shrugging jacket-holder blade, / my shiver-when-I’m-colder blade? / Oh, scapula, come back!”</p> <p>The text is printed on Bob Kolar’s simple, bright,&nbsp; two-dimensional illustrations. There are some fun things to find in the illustrations. For example, when the pirate is looking for his hand-bones, we see them in the sand, hidden among hand-shaped corals. A squid returns his arm-bones.&nbsp; In some images fish peer at him suspiciously as he slowly collects his missing parts.&nbsp;</p> <p>As an educational work, this book is excellent. The front end papers show all of the disconnected bones with their names. The back end papers show the whole skeleton together with the bones named. Because it is a jaunty poem and fun to read, children will want to re-read it and will eventually memorize it. As a by-product of fun, they will learn what metacarpals and phalanges are.&nbsp;</p> <p>This book is highly recommended for pediatricians’ offices, as well as public and school libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Sean C. Borle</p> <p>Sean C. Borle is a University of Alberta student in the Faculty of Medicine and Dentistry who is an advocate for child health and safety.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29480 The Gnawer of Rocks by L. Flaherty 2020-07-03T13:59:46-06:00 Kirk MacLeod kgmcleod@ualberta.ca <p>Flaherty, Louise. <em>The Gnawer of Rocks</em>. Illustrated by Jim Nelson. Inhabit Media, 2017.</p> <p><em>The Gnawer of Rocks</em>, written by Louise Flaherty and illustrated by Jim Nelson, is based on the author's memories of a story she heard as a child from an Inuk storyteller, Levi Iqalugjuaq, in Nunavut in the 1970s. The book, which feels like an incredible mix of picture book and graphic novel, focuses on a traditional story about a creature called Mangittatuarjuk and two young women who fall into her clutches.&nbsp;</p> <p>Nelson's artwork follows the layout of a comic book, using word balloons and panel captions, which makes for an immersive reading experience following two girls who discover a trail of beautiful rocks outside of camp which lead them from the bright and colourful world of home into the increasingly dark and frightening world of Mangittatuarjuk. The book mixes Inuktitut terms throughout, but does include a glossary at the end.</p> <p>The story does get both gruesome and horrific in the cave of Mangittatuarjuk, but the story, which would be great for older school children, does include a warning in the author's note. A really great introduction to traditional northern Canadian stories, the book includes an introduction for context and acknowledges the original storyteller as well as the reasons for this type of story and its likely role in the lives of children. An excellent read for children who are already comfortable with scary stories.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Kirk MacLeod</p> <p>Kirk MacLeod is the Open Data Team Lead for the Government of Alberta’s Open Government Portal.&nbsp;&nbsp;A Life-Long reader, he moderates two book clubs and is constantly on the lookout for new great books!</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29485 Hand Over Hand by A. Fullerton 2020-07-03T14:00:13-06:00 Lorisia MacLeod lorisia@ualberta.ca <p>Fullerton, Alma. <em>Hand Over Hand</em>. Illustrated by Renné Benoit. Second Story Press, 2017.</p> <p>Award-winning author of <em>A Good Trade</em> and <em>In a Cloud of Dust</em>, Alma Fullerton returns with another excellent picture book about a young Filipina girl who goes against gender stereotypes to go fishing with her grandfather. In <em>Hand Over Hand</em>, Nina convinces her grandfather, Lolo, to take her out fishing and with her determination and Lolo’s support she manages to catch a large fish. The story is portrayed through simple phrases with occasional onomatopoeia in large contrasting font on Benoit’s soft watercolour images to invoke a quietly empowering story.</p> <p>I would recommend this book for educators and librarians not only because of the non-tokenizing nature of the representation of the Philippines or the theme of gender equality but also because of the way the illustrations and the story blend together to create a perfect storytime book for early readers to share or read alone. The illustrations are rich enough that early level readers will be entertained while the repetitive nature of the phrases and the vocabulary make it an excellent choice to grow a reader’s confidence. It also has the potential to be laddered into an activity where learners create a story of their own and use watercolours to illustrate their story which could appear to higher-level educators looking for an English and/or Art project for their classes.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Lorisia MacLeod</p> <p>Lorisia MacLeod is the Online Reference Centre Coordinator with The Alberta Library (TAL) and a proud member of the James Smith Cree Nation. When not working on indigenization or diversity in librarianship, Lorisia enjoys reading almost any variation of Sherlock Holmes, comics, or travelling.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29486 How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? by V. Bayer 2020-07-03T14:00:42-06:00 Jenn Laskosky jlaskosk@ualberta.ca <p>Bayer, Vanessa. <em>How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear? </em>Illustrated by Rosie Butcher. New York: Macmillan Publishing, 2019.</p> <p>Vanessa Bayer’s <em>How Do You Care for a Very Sick Bear?</em> provides young readers with advice on how to deal with and help their friends who are facing a difficult illness. The book offers suggestions and advice for young children, but also reminds them that even though their friend is sick, they are still their friend. Bayer’s story provides examples of the simple gestures that friends can make when helping each other.</p> <p>The illustrations by Rosie Butcher are bright, colourful, and simple. Butcher illustrates common activities that friends would do together, which makes them relatable to children even though the characters are bears. The illustrations take up most of the page and provide young readers with a lot to explore. The text throughout the book is simple and easy to read.</p> <p>Bayer’s story tackles a difficult topic, but she presents it in a way that is easy for children to understand. Her use of bears as her main characters helps to soften the impact of a difficult topic to approach with children. However, Bayer is also honest with her portrayal of illness, which offers children a realistic view of what to expect.</p> <p>This book can be very useful for children who have a friend facing a difficult illness. Additionally, it can be useful to parents when explaining illnesses to their children. With that in mind, I would recommend it for elementary school and public libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Jenn Laskosky</p> <p>Jenn Laskosky is a masters student at the University of Alberta in the Library and Information Studies program. She has an interest in health sciences librarianship and international librarianship. Her passion for reading has continued to grow throughout her education.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29490 In the Sky at Nighttime by L. Deal 2020-07-03T14:01:13-06:00 Sandy Campbell sandy.campbell@ualberta.ca <p>Deal, Laura.&nbsp; <em>In the Sky at Nighttime</em>. Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2019.</p> <p>This illustrated poem shows what a polar village looks like at night and what is in the night sky. In the Arctic, winter nights are long, and it is dark as people go about their daily lives, so many people are familiar with the night sky. Tamara Campeau’s illustrations, each of which fill two facing pages, are in deep blue and purple hues, with the sky prominent in them. The text is overprinted on the artwork. Campeau’s rendering of the village has accurate details. Some of the houses have heating oil tanks outside. Paths to the doors have snow heaped alongside them. Power lines, attached to wooden power poles with insulators and transformers, loop through the village. The yellow light from electric lighting shines out through the windows of the houses. At the beginning of the book Laura Deal describes observable things in the sky: stars, falling snow, northern lights, ravens. Towards the end she becomes more figurative, introducing a mother’s song and dreams swirling in the sky.</p> <p>The text is a six verse poem, each verse beginning with the phrase “In the sky at night time.” The structure of the poem is reminiscent of Stephen Eaton Hume’s 1992 picture book, <em>Midnight on the Farm</em>, which also uses six verses, each beginning with a repeating phrase, to describe a nighttime world, however the two landscapes are distinct.</p> <p>Because this is an illustrated poem in the form of a picture book, rather than a picture book with text, some of the words are more difficult than one would expect in books for young children. For example, the dreams are “magical and extraordinary.” As a result, this text, simple as it is, will need some explanation. <em>In the Sky at Nighttime</em> is highly recommended for public libraries and elementary school libraries.</p> <p>Highly recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Sandy Campbell</p> <p>Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has&nbsp;written&nbsp;hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.&nbsp;Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.&nbsp; &nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29483 Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me by D. Gutnick 2020-07-03T14:01:41-06:00 Leslie Aitken llymar@shaw.ca <p>Gutnick, David. <em>Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me.</em> &nbsp;Illustrated by Mathilde Cinq-Mar. Toronto: Second Story Press, 2018.</p> <p>In this lovely picture book, David Gutnick explores an episode in the life of Canadian music teacher, Daniel Mergler. The first person narrator of the story is a musically gifted young girl whose family has emigrated from China. Like many immigrant families, hers is struggling financially; there is no money for music lessons. By chance, the girl and her father meet Mr. Mergler during a pleasant outing in a park. The encounter leads to the child’s musical instruction and, as well, her enduring affection for Beethoven. Gutnick concludes his book with end notes: the first leaves no doubt as to the giftedness, kindness, and generosity of Daniel Mergler; the second, a brief biography of Ludwig van Beethoven, will be helpful to young readers unacquainted with classical music.</p> <p>Because the author claims to be only “inspired by” a true story, we must assume that at least some of the specific details of the plot are fictionalized. Still, the book is based on a CBC documentary, “Beethoven’s Bust,” which Gutnick prepared for broadcast (it was aired as a segment of the CBC radio program, “The Sunday Edition” in 2014). However fictionalized, the story seems real.</p> <p>Interestingly, the child narrator is never named—perhaps because she is a composite figure, perhaps because Gutnick wishes to protect the privacy of his “sources.” Nonetheless, through the delicate drawings of Mathilde Cinq-Mar, we, the readers, come to <em>know </em>this child: we feel her sense of bliss as she flies through the air on a swing in the park; we admire her determination and certainty as she carols “Oh Susanna…” in her “audition” for Mr. Megler; we understand her rapt delight as she begins to master the piano keyboard, producing sounds that “…make everything else disappear.” An inspired touch is Cinq-Mar’s use of musical staves to create curved and sweeping pathways into the illustrated pages. The technique results in a perfect marriage of artwork and text. In sum, <em>Mr. Mergler, Beethoven, and Me </em>&nbsp;is a well-crafted, captivating, and heart-warming book that would be very suitable for independent readers in the upper primary and elementary grades.</p> <p>Reviewer: Leslie Aitken<br>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars</p> <p>Leslie Aitken’s long career in librarianship included selection of children’s literature for school, special and academic libraries. She is a former Curriculum Librarian of the University of Alberta.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29482 My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich by I. Zoboi 2020-07-03T14:08:46-06:00 Amanda Daignault adaignau@ualberta.ca <p>Zoboi, Ibi. <em>My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich</em>. Penguin Random House, 2019.</p> <p><em>My Life as an Ice Cream Sandwich</em> is Ibi Zoboi’s middle-grade debut, following her YA novels <em>Pride</em> and the National Book Award finalist <em>American Street</em>. Some of Zoboi’s concerns in her YA fiction are revisited here: Black community and communities, complexities of family relationships, and the difficulties and joys of discovering new places. Here Zoboi adds to the mix a quirky, sci-fi loving protagonist, and a historical setting: Harlem in the summer of 1984.</p> <p>Ebony-Grace Norfleet Freeman (aka E-Grace Starfleet in her galactic "imagination location," aka Ice Cream Sandwich to the Nine Flavas crew of MCs and B-girls) is a seventh-grader from Huntsville who is sent to live with her father in New York City for the summer. She’s full of science fiction knowledge and enthusiasm, abetted by her Granddaddy, who worked for NASA and occupies a large role in her internal narrative as Captain Fleet.</p> <p>Ebony-Grace is a somewhat frustrating protagonist, making a number of seeming unforced errors due to her commitment to her spacefaring alter ego, but she is authentic and compelling, too. Her insistence on being E-Grace Starfleet can be endearing, though she’s clearly using her imagination to avoid dealing with, or understanding, what’s happening around her. She describes her surroundings in terms of her space adventure: that Captain Fleet has been taken captive by the Sonic King on Planet Boom Box, and that the Sonic Boom threatens to overtake everything. Her new friends initially have little time for this kind of play; they’re busy developing their crew’s double-dutch, rapping and breakdancing skills in preparation for a competition that might get them into the big leagues. The culture-shock contrast, in other words, isn’t just between Huntsville and Harlem, but also between one kind of play and (although the Nine Flavas crew don’t see it like this) another; between childhood and adolescence.</p> <p>A caution for readers who appreciate concreteness: one subplot seems ambiguous to the point of opacity. Ebony-Grace has been sent to New York because of some trouble her Granddaddy has gotten into, or possibly a health crisis he is having. There are allusions from adult characters to sins Ebony-Grace’s grandfather has committed, consequences for bad decisions, lawyers, and journalists. His death near the end of the novel leaves both Ebony-Grace and the reader with questions but little closure; veiled references imply a sex-and-drugs aspect to his troubles, or a connection to the AIDS crisis, but this is never clarified.<br><br>The narrative here is more atmospheric than propulsive, but that atmosphere is alive with culture and history. Character voices are lively, funny, and down to earth; their moment is depicted lovingly and specifically but without preciousness or nostalgia. This love letter to 1980s New York has mountains of appeal for any reader interested in science fiction or hip hop culture, and is a must for any collection looking to continue prioritizing diversity and representation in its holdings.</p> <p>Highly recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Amanda Daignault&nbsp;</p> <p>Amanda Daignault is a PhD Candidate in the Department of English and Film Studies at the University of Alberta. She studies contemporary children's middle-grade fantasy novels, using methods of book history and bibliography to figure out where all those giant trilogies came from and what they're doing.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29489 The Owl and the Two Rabbits by N. Sammurtok 2020-07-03T14:09:16-06:00 Sandy Campbell sandy.campbell@ualberta.ca <p>Sammurtok, Nadia. <em>The Owl and the Two Rabbits</em>. Iqaluit, NU: Inhabit Media, 2019.</p> <p>Nadia Sammurtok, author of several children’s books including <em>Caterpillar Woman</em> and <em>Siuluk: The Last Tuniq, </em>has written stories of tundra animals. Like many Inuit children’s stories, this one is cautionary, teaching children not to play in dangerous places. In this story two small rabbits, who have been told to “remain hidden when they played outside,” get carried away jumping and attract the attention of an owl who wants to eat them. They escape by outwitting the owl and working together, two common survival themes in Inuit children’s stories.&nbsp;</p> <p>Marcus Cutler’s artwork is bright and fun. Often northern scenes are portrayed as muted or dark, but Cutler’s skies are orange, red or purple, and the grasses are vivid greens and yellows. Small children will be able to enjoy the pictures on their own, but the text will require an older reader. While this book is not meant to be realistic—the animals speak and small rabbits are able to push a huge rock—Sammurtok does include some real animal behaviour from which children can learn. For example, “the rabbits' brown coats blended in with the tundra” and they freeze when threatened.</p> <p>Overall this is an enjoyable volume which would be a good addition to public libraries and elementary school libraries.</p> <p>Highly recommended:&nbsp; 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer:&nbsp; Sandy Campbell</p> <p>Sandy is a Health Sciences Librarian at the University of Alberta, who has&nbsp;written&nbsp;hundreds of book reviews across many disciplines.&nbsp;Sandy thinks that sharing books with children is one of the greatest gifts anyone can give.&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29484 Smiley: A Journey of Love by J. George 2020-07-03T14:09:40-06:00 Lorisia MacLeod lorisia@ualberta.ca <p>George, Joanne. <em>Smiley: A Journey of Love</em>. Fitzhenry &amp; Whiteside, 2017.</p> <p><em>Smiley: A Journey of Love </em>is the heartwarming story of a blind dog who becomes a St. John Ambulance Therapy Dog. While the story contains some complex topics that early readers might struggle with such as Alzheimer's or puppy mills, the colourful photography that accompanies the text make it an excellent book to be read with an adult. The photographs of Smiley will help very early readers to invest in Smiley’s story though the text is larger and double spaced so that moderate level readers could use this book to build their reading skills. Given the length and amount of text, this book would be longer than could be covered in one storytime but is broken down by chapters so it could be used for a week of storytimes.</p> <p>Librarians and educators may find this book useful for starting a discussion around blindness or different ability needs. This book frames Smiley’s blindness and dwarfism simply as things that make Smiley himself and while they might change the way he interacts with the world, this book discusses his abilities in a positive way. There is also a part that discusses Smiley’s friendship with Pearl and Pippi which could be used to teach about being respectful of friends' needs. Overall, this book contains high-level vocabulary and concepts but if read with an adult's support can be the start of some very educational discussions.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Lorisia MacLeod</p> <p>Lorisia MacLeod is the Online Reference Centre Coordinator with The Alberta Library (TAL) and a proud member of the James Smith Cree Nation. When not working on indigenization or diversity in librarianship, Lorisia enjoys reading almost any variation of Sherlock Holmes, comics, or travelling.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29488 Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue by R.H. Vickers & R. Budd 2020-07-03T14:10:06-06:00 Stephanie Borle sgil@ualberta.ca <p>Vickers, Roy Henry, and Robert Budd. <em>Sockeye Silver, Saltchuck Blue</em>. Illustrated by Roy Henry Vickers. Harbour Publishing Co. Ltd., 2019.</p> <p>This picture book by Indigenous artist Roy Henry Vickers and author Robert Budd, is designed to teach young children about elements of nature found on the Canadian west coast. Roy Henry Vicker’s beautiful illustrations draw the reader’s attention to the main theme of each page (e.g., whales, sea stars, sunsets, mountains, snow, the northern lights). Each page has its own colour theme and a specific colour is always mentioned (e.g., “yellow salmonberries", “purple sea stars”, “sunset red”). There are textured images allowing children to touch and feel something on every page. The book is printed on thick board pages, making it resistant to wear and tear and easier for young readers to flip through on their own. The colours and illustrations are vivid and are engaging for both children and adults. Most of the vocabulary is appropriate for younger readers, while the more difficult words serve as an opportunity to learn the names of west coast plants and animals, the names of different colours and the use of adjectives.&nbsp; In addition, the book has an abundance of words that start with the letter “s” which makes it a valuable resource for children who need practice producing the “s” sound. This book is recommended for teaching children, as young as two, about nature, and it should be available in school and public libraries.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Stephanie Borle</p> <p>Stephanie Borle is a University of Alberta graduate student of Speech-Language Pathology who enjoys working with adults and children. She is particularly interested in working with bilingual children and new immigrants in the area of developmental and acquired language disorders.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29493 Studio: A Place for Art to Start by E. Arrow 2020-07-03T14:10:34-06:00 Matilda Roche matilda.roche@ualberta.ca <p>Arrow, Emily. <em>Studio: A Place for Art to Start</em>. Illustrated by The Little Friends of Printmaking. Tundra, 2020.</p> <p>With its saturated colour palate and complex, pop-y imagery, <em>Studio</em> exudes cover appeal and an abundance of cool charm. <em>Studio</em> is a first-time venture into creating a children’s book by both writer, Emily Arrow, and the illustrators, husband-and-wife team, The Little Friends of Printmaking. Both contributors bring a huge amount of talent, experience and enthusiasm to this collaboration.</p> <p>Emily Arrow is a bona fide children’s lit social media celeb and, as Arrow’s wider oeuvre of literacy focused YouTube videos illustrates, she understands the pacing and tempo well-suited to an engaging children’s book.&nbsp;<em>Studio</em> has a fresh idea to convey to its younger readers and the decision to tackle representing these&nbsp;ideas in verse deserves legitimate praise. The cadence of the verse does stumble occasionally, but as it’s in pursuit of the complex, conceptual topic of the book, that can be forgiven.The characters' faces and the detail in their depiction is appealingly reminiscent of children’s author and illustrator Richard Scarry, while the excellent use of black for framing and detail in contrast with a supersaturated palate is an assertive, design-influenced aesthetic. These elements give <em>Studio</em> a fresh but endearingly retro equilibrium.&nbsp;</p> <p><em>Studio</em> offers a visually rich introduction and warm homage to the concept of the multidisciplinary studio. The premise of <em>Studio</em> is a challenging one to negotiate and represent. A careful reading reveals “for rent” signs on the available studio spaces depicted in the book, so this is not focused on the sort of urban, community arts studios that children might already be familiar with.&nbsp;The adult caregiver accompanying the child on the tour of <em>Studio</em> is the one shopping for a studio space and is revealed at the end of the book as the primary user of the studio. The caregiver is sharing their experience of finding a studio with the child at the centre of the narrative.&nbsp;This is slightly problematic in a children’s book as this scenario doesn’t provide the child with agency in motivation, selection, or even autonomous use of the creative space being lauded. <em>Studio</em> is bringing an interesting concept and opportunity to a young audience in a very attractive way but, realistically, it’s one that probably won’t be accessible to a child until they are older.&nbsp;</p> <p>This tension would function similarly if the child and caregiver in the book were exploring any workplace. While the child might be permitted to indulge in a sense of ownership, this isn’t a child’s space. It’s a space where children would be entirely guided, carefully supervised or absent. So, what is a creative child to do in this circumstance? Happily, <em>Studio</em> doesn’t overlook this dilemma and resolves the problem of agency with the book’s conclusion. The child, having been inspired by their tour of the studio and their caregiver’s newly found studio space, has set up an art space in their own home.&nbsp;</p> <p>In this way, <em>Studio</em> functions as a creative call to action, offering children the aspirational goal of pursuing creative work. With its dynamic details and artful page design, <em>Studio</em> absolutely succeeds in conveying the appeal and functionality of a studio space and encourages creative children to understand it as an exciting and achievable goal.</p> <p>Highly Recommended: 4 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Matilda Roche</p> <p>Matilda Roche holds a BA in English, with a minor in Fine Art. She worked as a Library Technician at the University of Alberta for a number of years before leaving to assist in the operation of a family dental practice. She has published literature reviews and non-fiction, and now writes adult fiction when she’s not learning karate, grocery shopping and watching xianxia rom-com&nbsp;with her two lovely children and patient spouse.</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29487 You're in Good Paws by M. Fergus 2020-07-03T14:11:01-06:00 Jenn Laskosky jlaskosk@ualberta.ca <p>Fergus, Maureen. <em>You're in Good Paws</em>. Illustrated by Kathryn Durst. Tundra-Random House Canada, 2019.</p> <p>Maureen Fergus’s <em>You’re in Good Paws </em>is about a young boy named Leo, whose parents accidently take him to an animal hospital to get his tonsils out. Leo is unsure about being at an animal hospital, but the animals do their best to make him feel comfortable and safe. Leo even ends up making friends with other animal patients.</p> <p>The illustrations, by Kathryn Durst, are bright and take up most of the space on the pages. The illustrations give children a lot to look at and explore. There are some hidden jokes throughout the book, which can be as entertaining for the adults as they are for the children. The text is very simple for children to follow and more difficult words, such as anesthesiologist, are explained in plain terms making it easy for children to understand.</p> <p>While the story of a young boy’s parents taking him to an animal hospital may seem silly, it puts a positive spin on going to the hospital. Leo’s adventure makes a hospital visit seem less scary and even puts a fun spin on having to get surgery. This book can be very useful for children who are unfamiliar with hospitals and have to have surgery or even just go in for a check-up.</p> <p>With that in mind, I would recommend it for elementary school and public libraries.</p> <p>Recommended: 3 out of 4 stars<br>Reviewer: Jenn Laskosky</p> <p>Jenn Laskosky is a graduate student at the University of Alberta in the Library and Information Studies program. She has an interest in health sciences librarianship and international librarianship. Her passion for reading has continued to grow throughout her education.</p> <p>&nbsp;</p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29497 Our Last Issue 2020-08-11T14:14:46-06:00 Robert Desmarais robert.desmarais@ualberta.ca <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Dear Readers,</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">After publishing our beloved journal for nearly ten years, the time has come for us to publish a final issue of the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deakin Review</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;"> in its current form. We hope it will enjoy a second life at a later date under the auspices of another group at the University of Alberta. On behalf of the editorial team, I would like to thank all of our book reviewers for their hard work and dedication. Your reviews were always a joy to read and were it not for your invaluable contributions, the journal would not have been a success for so many years. It’s amazing to think that our large team of reviewers included people united not only by their keen interest in children’s books but also by family bonds. Indeed, we regularly received reviews from people who are related to each other, like Kirk MacLeod and his daughters Lorisia and Kaia MacLeod, who all share a wonderfully infectious enthusiasm for children’s literature and libraries. We also benefited from the support of prolific reviewers like Leslie Aitken and Sandy Campbell. Remarkably, since our very first issue, Sandy introduced many new librarians, family members, and others who have a love of childrens' books to review for the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deakin Review</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. </span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Fortunately, our journal always benefited from the support of a highly capable team of editors. Accordingly, I would like to thank my fellow editors, Kim Frail, Debbie Feisst, Janice Kung, and Denis Lacroix, for volunteering their services so generously. They always carried out their work with tremendous enthusiasm and collegiality. I am also grateful to all of our former editors, including David Sulz, Hanne Pearce, Allison Sivak, and Cam Laforest, for their help and encouragement. Over the years, I had opportunities to interview some fascinating authors who shared wonderful insights about their work for the enjoyment of our readership. Our journal also benefited greatly from the contributions of colleagues like Lynne Wiltse and Joanne de Groot who gave their students opportunities to write reviews of contemporary children’s books and have them published in the </span><em><span style="font-weight: 400;">Deakin Review</span></em><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Other UofA colleagues wrote guest editorials and reviews for special issues. In </span><a href="https://doi.org/10.20361/G2RW3K"><span style="font-weight: 400;">one of our special issues</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">, we were proud to partner with teachers from Ben Calf Robe - St. Clare Elementary/Junior High School who asked their students to submit book reviews for a class assignment during READ IN Week. Thanks are due as well to our namesake, Dr Andrea Deakin, who has been an inspiration to us all for her lifelong enthusiasm for children’s stories. I am grateful to Margaret Law for introducing me to Andrea so many years ago.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I reserve special thanks for you, our devoted readers, for taking a lively interest in our journal and the books we reviewed. I sincerely hope that your passion for children’s books continues to flourish and grow. Please take good care of yourselves, especially during these trying times, and may you always draw comfort from good books, family, and friendships.</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">All the best,</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert Desmarais, </span><span style="font-weight: 400;">Managing Editor</span></p> <p> </p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature https://journals.library.ualberta.ca/deakinreview/index.php/deakinreview/article/view/29496 Awards & Upcoming Events 2020-08-04T12:44:56-06:00 Robert Desmarais robert.desmarais@ualberta.ca <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Greetings!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Summer is an ideal time to share news about annual children’s book awards because many of them were announced in the spring. </span><a href="https://www.infosoup.info/kids"><span style="font-weight: 400;">InfoSoup</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> provides a comprehensive </span><a href="https://www.infosoup.info/kids/awards-home"><span style="font-weight: 400;">list of awards</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> presented each year by the American Library Association and other organizations. At this time of year I always like to have a look at the Canadian Children’s Book Centre website to remind myself of all the </span><a href="https://bookcentre.ca/resources/canadian-childrens-award-index"><span style="font-weight: 400;">award competitions for Canadian children’s books</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Here in Edmonton, the Book Publishers Association of Alberta announced a </span><a href="http://bookpublishers.ab.ca/programs/awards/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">short list</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> of three books in the Children’s &amp; Young Adult category that all look very compelling.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><strong>A Sampling of Upcoming Events&nbsp;</strong></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">October 3, 2020</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;"><a href="https://picturebooksummit.com/">Picture Book Summit</a> is an online conference for illustrators and writers of picture books, but of course <em>everyone</em> is welcome. <a href="https://picturebooksummit.com/2020-registration/">Registration</a> is now open.&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">October 3/4, 2020</span></p> <p><a href="https://thefoldcanada.org/festival-events/fold-kids-bookfest/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">FOLD Kids Bookfest</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is a festival for authors and illustrators who create books for young people. This virtual event is designed for young people, but it will also include content for adult writers of children’s books. Registration opens on September 21, 2020.</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">October 24, 2020</span></p> <p><a href="https://www.canscaip.org/event-3814843"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Packaging Your Imagination</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;"> is a conference presented by </span><a href="https://www.canscaip.org/"><span style="font-weight: 400;">Canada’s Conference for Children’s Authors, Illustrators &amp; Performers</span></a><span style="font-weight: 400;">. Registration will be open in August 2020 and the event will be available via livestream (it will also be recorded).&nbsp;</span></p> <p>&nbsp;</p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">I hope you all find the time to discover some wonderful children's books this summer. Enjoy the adventure!</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Best wishes,</span></p> <p><span style="font-weight: 400;">Robert</span></p> 2020-08-11T00:00:00-06:00 Copyright (c) 2020 The Deakin Review of Children's Literature