Three Atlantic Canadian Children’s Picture Books

Big Rory of Market Square, written by Laurie-Stanley Blackwell and illustrated by Karen Megronigle, is an entertaining tale of an admirable, somewhat-mysterious, local storytelling kitty. The wise cat, Big Rory, has a wealth of knowledge and enjoys sharing his stories and past experiences with the other cats in town each night. The stories shared throughout the book, narrated through the perspective of Big Rory, are ones that are based on relevant, historical tales set in Nova Scotia. Included is a story based on the largely-known Ship Hector, with references to some locally known individuals as well. The story offers young audiences an amusing take on some of the popular historical tales of Nova Scotia, and the detailed, descriptive imagery pairs perfectly with the illustrations throughout.

Dr. Laurie Stanley-Blackwell resides in Pictou, Nova Scotia. A former history professor at St. Francis Xavier University, she has a lifelong love for the history of Maritime Canada. Her most recent publication is the Gaelic-English children’s book, The Pets That Came to Palmerston Street / Na Peataichean a thàinig gu Sràid Phalmerston.

Karen Megronigle lives in Cape George, Nova Scotia, with her husband, Stephen. Her studio overlooks the ocean and a field with her two pet donkeys. As a gifted artist, she delights in her natural surroundings. Karen operates the Garden Studio, where she sells her creations, which range from artwork to jewellery in many difference mediums.

Publisher: The Pictou Bee Press (August 21 2023)
Softcover 8.5″ x 8.5″ | 24 pages
Ages 3-5
ISBN: 978-0-920297-04-9

A Newfoundland Alphabet: 25th Anniversary Edition, written and illustrated by Dawn Baker is a must have for little ones! Each letter of the alphabet is paired with a word or place relevant to Newfoundland, and the illustrations that accompany them are truly delightful. Young readers and listeners alike are taken through the alphabet, while learning a bit about Newfoundland along the way. Included at the end is a glossary of some of the terms used throughout, that might be less familiar to those not familiar with the words and their meaning. There are references in the glossary as well to some of the illustrations, which help readers to visually distinguish the different things shown. This is a fun addition to even the littlest of littles book collections.

Dawn Baker has been a visual artist and children’s writer since 1992. A graduate of Memorial University with a Bachelor of Education and a certificate in library studies, she served on the board of directors of The Rooms from 2006 until 2019. In 2015, Dawn served as a juror for the Governor General’s Literary Awards and toured Ontario as part of TD Canadian Children’s Book Week. In 2021–2022, she served as a junior visual art adjudicator for the 2022 Newfoundland and Labrador Arts and Letters Awards. A Baby Whale Ventures North is the thirteenth book that Dawn has illustrated and/or written with Flanker Press.

Publisher: Flanker Press (March 17, 2023)
Paperback 8″ x 8″ | 32 pages
Ages 3-5
ISBN: 978-1-77457-203-0

Poppa and His Drum, written by Judith M. Doucette, and illustrated by Rebecca Reid, is an uplifting story of an Indigenous child and their grandfather, who learn to comfortably share and be proud of their culture. While they are playing their drums and singing songs, the child asks the grandfather to come to his school to share the songs with his classmates. Immediately, the grandfather expresses his hesitation and fear associated with sharing their culture with others, based on his experiences as a child. The child is able to reassure the grandfather that they will be welcomed and accepted, and they reluctantly agree to come. After stepping outside of his comfort zone and sharing, the grandfather experiences a sense of relief and pride, making for a heartwarming ending.
Providing examples of hope, healing, and encouragement, Poppa and His Drum helps to teach lessons and open discussions to a young audience of the value of sharing cultures and embracing differences. This story would make a great addition to any child’s book collection, and would be a particularly great example of one to open the door to early conversations of truth and reconciliation, at an age appropriate level for children to understand.

Judith M. Doucette (Judy Falle) was born and raised in St. George’s, a little town on the west coast of Newfoundland and Labrador. She graduated high school in 1980 and from a medical office administration program in 1995.

Rebecca Reid is a Mi’kmaw student currently living in St. John’s, Newfoundland. She was born and raised in Stephenville, Newfoundland, where she found a love for sports and art.

Publisher: Flanker Press (May 12, 2023)
Paperback 9″ x 9″ | 32 pages
Ages 5-12
ISBN: 9781774571262

Children's Picture Book Reviewer

Melanie is the Children's Book reviewer at The Miramichi Reader. She is a mother to two young children Adeline (5 years) and Harlow (3 years). She has a Bachelor of Health Science from Dalhousie University and previously worked as a Radiological Technologist before deciding to pursue a career in health insurance administration. She enjoys sewing, crafting, and going on adventures with her family. Having lived in all three maritime provinces, Melanie now raises her daughters with her husband in Moncton, NB.

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