Tag Archives: picture books

Books for Children from Newfoundland & Labrador 2019 (Part Two): Running the Goat Books and Broadsides

Running the Goat Books & Broadsides is a micro-press specializing in letterpress-printed and fine trade books, chapbooks and broadsides by some of Newfoundland and Labrador’s finest writers, and I’ve put off writing about them long enough. For the past few months, the kind folks at Running the Goat have been sending me the most astounding books for children and young people. As with most (if not all) books for children, it is difficult to review them other than commenting on the quality, the illustrations and so on. So, I’m just going to say that the samples they have sent me are quite out-of-the-ordinary. There is a definite “Newfoundland” feel about them, which might limit their interest to that particular province, nevertheless, I found them very interesting, particularly the novel To See the Stars by Jan Andrews and the large picture book Seasons Before the War by novelist Bernice Morgan.

Here is the edited synopsis of each book, reprinted from the Running the Goats website. For more information on each title, please visit their site.

Seasons Before the War by Bernice Morgan

Bernice Morgan’s Seasons Before the War is a delightful, unsentimental remembrance of growing up in St. John’s, Newfoundland just before the city, and the world, changed irrevocably with the advent of WWII. Artwork by acclaimed UK-based illustrator Brita Granström beautifully captures the sweet nostalgia of Morgan’s words and the joys of childhood.


To See The Stars by Jan Andrews

In her deeply affecting final novel, acclaimed children’s writer and storyteller Jan Andrews gives us Edie Murphy, an indomitable and engaging heroine on the cusp of womanhood. The novel moves from Edie’s remote Newfoundland outport to St. John’s, and finally to New York City’s Lower East Side.








Dancing With Daisy by Jan L. Coates

When he finds a photograph of his grandfather as a young man, Liam is full of questions. But that’s just fine, because Grampy has a story to spin with every answer. Acclaimed author Jan L. Coates and award-winning illustrator Josée Bisaillon join forces in this charming picture book to craft a tale both touching and amusing about ageing and the bond between a grandfather and his grandson.





Paint the Town Pink by Lori Doody

Inspired by the story of two flamingos that were sighted in Newfoundland years ago, Lori Doody has crafted a charming and gentle tale about being a stranger in a new place, needing to belong, and ultimately being welcomed in the warmest of ways.







Peg Bearskin: A traditional Newfoundland tale (revised edition)

Peg’s big, ugly, and hairy, yes, but she’s also smart enough and brave enough to outsmart a witch, help a king, and find husbands for her two beautiful sisters and for herself. This brilliant re-take on a classic folktale from Placentia Bay, Newfoundland will have readers of all ages cheering for Peg. And falling for her too!







Again, I’ve only chosen some select text from the Running the Goats website to describe each book. I encourage you to have a look at all their entire catalogue and check out “The Press & Printshop” page, too.

This article has been Digiproved © 2019 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

Books for Children from Newfoundland & Labrador 2019 (Part One)

Occasionally I get children’s books sent to me and I tend to put them aside until I get several of them, for how does one review a book consisting of pictures with a little text, or a child’s first chapbook? All the books that follow are from two of Newfoundland & Labrador’s independent publishers: Breakwater Books and Flanker Press. (I’ll post a separate article soon on books I’ve received from Running the Goat Books.) All are colourful, well-illustrated and of exceptional quality.

Breakwater Books

Flying Ace: Errol’s Gander Adventure by Sheila Lukins, Illustrated by Laurel Keating

Sheilah Lukins’ first children’s book, Full Speed Ahead: Errol’s Bell Island Adventure, won the 2018 Bruneau Family Children’s/Young-Adult Award, and now Errol finds himself a pilot of a small replica of a Hudson Bomber in WWII. This is one mouse that leads an adventurous life! It is a chapbook with a nice balance of text and illustrations.

Flanker Press

Commander Gander goes to Come From Away, Written and Illustrated by Dawn Baker

Another Gander adventure, this time with a goose going to New York City to see the hit Broadway musical “Come From Away.” A children’s picture book, its illustrations of flying on a plane, and visiting sites in NYC are fascinating.

One Brave Boy and His Cat by Dr. Andrew Peacock, Illustrated by Angie Green

This children’s picture book is different for it deals with the untimely death of Susie, seven-year-old Nick’s pet cat. It handles death in a mature way, and in a direction I didn’t expect. The illustrations are bold and uncluttered.

Thanks go to Breakwater Books and Flanker Press for sending me these review copies. All of the books can be found in stores or online at Amazon.ca and other retailers.

This article has been Digiproved © 2019 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

What-Cha Doing? by Kim Renton, Illus. by Tamara Thiebaux Heikalo

Just in time for maple syrup season, this read-aloud picture book makes the perfect introduction to maple syrup, where it comes from and how it is made. From the Chocolate River Publishing press release:

“Grampa’s tapping trees in the sugar bush; Dad’s boiling sap in the evaporator house; Gramma’s making maple butter in the sugar camp; Mom’s wrapping maple cream in the kitchen, and the girls are whacking-packing maple candy in the storage room. Five-year-old Ben is hoping for a sweet treat, but everyone tells him to wait because they aren’t finished yet. Finally, the maple syrup is ready for tasting, but no one can find Ben. Where could he possibly be?”

Author Kim Renton was inspired to write this book by the many questions children ask when they visit her southeastern New Brunswick sugar camp in the spring. With illustrations by Tamara Thiebaux Heikalo. You can see more of Tamara’s portfolio at these sites:

*Please note if you choose to purchase this book through Amazon using the link below I will receive a small commission at no extra cost to you. If you cannot see the Amazon ad below (if you are using an ad blocker, for instance) here is the link: https://amzn.to/2HPRzG0 Thanks!

This article has been Digiproved © 2019 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

New Children’s Picture Books – Spring 2017

It’s always fun getting children’s picture books sent to the Miramichi Reader for consideration. Recently, three colourful and whimsical picture books came across our desk and I’ll let them speak for themselves. The text below is taken from the publisher’s websites. The first two books are published by Creative Book Publishers, the third by Breakwater Books.

Prepare for adventure on the high seas! Elliot wants to catch the biggest fish that anyone has ever seen. After making a wish, he finds himself on the ocean with a chance to catch the big one. On his journey, different animals try to teach him to fish like they do. Even when things seem impossible, Elliot never gives up.Rebecca North is the author of A Picnic at the Lighthouse. Rebecca grew up in Halifax, Nova Scotia and now lives in Kingston, Ontario. She is the mother of a young child and spends many hours reading and re-reading picture books. You can find her online at www.rebeccanorth.ca. Pre-order at Amazon.ca

Until he found a park pavilion, Moose had never thought about a roof. His friends Beaver, Bear and Squirrel all seem to be roof experts. With their help, Moose decides to put his antlers to good use and soon, he has a roof of his own. But Moose finds that carrying a roof day and night makes him very tired and very cranky.His friends don’t understand, so their advice is no help at all. Can Moose learn to be himself again?  Jennifer Maruno began her publishing career at the ripe age of eight, creating captions for baby pictures in her local town newspaper.Her short stories for children have appeared in a variety of children’s magazines in Great Britain, the United States and Canada. Laurel Keating is an award-winning artist whose illustrations are familiar to Newfoundlanders.  She also illustrated Elliot and the Impossible Fish and Full Speed Ahead: Errol’s Bell Island Adventure. She lives in scenic Portugal Cove, which she has called home all her life. Order Moose’s Roof at Amazon.ca

A visually stunning, often humorous book of verse, All Around the Circle celebrates the United States and spirit of outport Newfoundland. How did Aunt Maud’s cat manage to sail across the tickle? Why is Heloise the chicken so worried? With a colourful cast of characters, tall tales, and vibrant artwork, Cara Kansala, artist of the wildly popular Grumpy Goat Gallery, offers a tongue-twisting playful read that will delight kids from five to ninety-five. Order at Amazon.ca


Jack and the Magnificent Ugly Stick by Jack Goudie

How much fun can you have with just one rubber boot? When one of his Grandmother’s pink rubber boots goes missing, Jack and his grandmother are forced to cancel their fishing trip. A disappointed Jack soon finds a tall piece of driftwood and with the help of a few of Newfoundland and Labrador’s most celebrated musicians (The Once, The Fortunate Ones and Matthew Hornell), it turns out that everyone gets to have a lot of fun!  Jack and his new friends set out to put a smile back on his grandmother’s face all to the delight of everyone in town. Jack and the Magnificent Ugly Stick by Joshua Goudie will be enjoyed by anyone who ever held an instrument in their hands or a song in their heart! This book is the follow-up to Jack and the Hurricane, (which was also published by Tuckamore Books) in 2014. The illustrations are the work of Craig Goudie, who is Joshua’s father.

A Picnic at the Lighthouse by Rebecca North

With illustrations by Nancy Keating, A Picnic at the Lighthouse (2016, Creative Book Publishing) is a touching story of a boy (Patrick) and his father who spend a busy day together at a lighthouse. The book is about the special moments they share and the depth of a parent’s love. The illustrations are large and cheerful; the story a simple one, but one that will appeal to pre-school and lower-grade children, particularly where they may live in a home without a resident father due to a separation or divorce. Clearly, the father loves the child and has the time and the desire to spend an entire day with him, packing a simple picnic lunch and exploring the lighthouse and the area around it.

The author, Rebecca North, is a Canadian children’s author. Originally from Halifax, Nova Scotia, she now lives in St. John’s, Newfoundland.

The book’s illustrator, Nancy Keating loves creating picture books that appeal specifically to Newfoundland children. She has illustrated several children’s books. Nancy lives in Portugal Cove-St. Philips, Newfoundland.

This article has been Digiproved © 2016 James FisherSome Rights Reserved  

Children’s Picture Books – Spring 2016

Spring 2016 has arrived with a bumper crop of beautiful and intelligent children’s picture books, so I am going to try to do them all justice in this one post. When it comes to authors, a major problem that most aspiring ones face during their initial stages is finding the best publisher to publish their book. However, that is not the end of their problems. Many publishing houses insist on maintaining a diverse roster of professionals to ensure authors of all walks of life are able to get in touch with people who can help. For instance, those looking for children’s book illustrators for hire might want only the best ones in order to connect the emotion they feel towards their intended audience. In that vein, there is only one exception when it comes to this particular post. The books below are all from New Brunswick authors and illustrators. Here they are, in no particular order:

Sea Glass Summer

This 32-page page hardcover is published by Nimbus Publishing and is the creation of Quispamsis author and illustrator Heidi Jardine Stoddart. The Nimbus press release states: “A gentle, lyrical story with vibrant paper-collage illustrations, Sea Glass Summer explores the powerful lure of the ocean, and the meaningful treasures within.”

My Two Grandmothers (Nannie and Mémère)

Also from Nimbus comes this 32-page softcover book by Memramcook author Diane Carmel Léger that celebrates Scottish and Acadian grandmothers. From the Nimbus press release: “Acadian Mémère and Scottish Nannie seem to have nothing in common but their grandchildren, but in this endearing picture book from bestselling author Diane Carmel Léger and noted illustrator Jean-Luc Trudel, difference is celebrated. A co-publication with New Brunswick’s award-winning Bouton d’or Acadie and simultaneously published in French, Nannie and Mémère is a whimsically illustrated, heartwarming tale of the special relationship between grandparents and grandchildren, and a celebration of family, of all shapes and sizes”.

Double Trouble at The Rooms

From Newfoundland’s Creative Book Publishing comes this 32-page softcover picture book. From the Creative website: “There’s no room for Nat’s polar bear in her house. It seems there’s no space for him anywhere. On a class trip to The Rooms in St. John’s, Newfoundland, Nat wonders if they’ll let Bear in. But the museum has room for all sorts of fun and maybe even a bear-or two!”

Author: Lisa Dalrymple is the author of A Moose Goes A-Mummering and many other books for children. Illustrator: Elizabeth Pratt is a Visual Artist from St. John’s Newfoundland. She attended the New Brunswick College of Craft & Design in Fredericton.

Logan’s Many Hats and Logan’s Little Bug

These two large and colourful books are the products of Miramichi author and artist Rita Russell. She uses all sorts of things to create the illustrations in her two books which use her grandson Logan as the subject.

In Logan’s Many Hats, Logan tips his hat in different directions to see which one is going to suit him best.

In Logan’s Little Bug, Logan is fascinated by the world around him and when a little bug enters his world, they go exploring it together.


Follow the Goose Butt, Camelia Airheart!

This book is actually an early chapter book designed to appeal to grade 2 and up. Camelia Airheart is a lovable Canada Goose with a faulty GPS or Goose Positioning System. She also has trouble paying attention and quickly gets separated from her flock. When she gets lost, she starts on a journey around New Brunswick. By co-authors Colleen Landry and Beth Weatherbee and Odette Barr (who also provided the whimsical illustrations). All are residents of New Brunswick and this book is the first children’s book published by Chocolate River Publishing.

This article has been Digiproved © 2016 James FisherSome Rights Reserved