Thursday, November 05, 2009

Review: A visitor for Bear

A visitor for Bear by Bonny Becker, illustrated by Kady MacDonald Denton

Bear is making his breakfast one morning when a mouse knocks at his door. Bear, however, does not like visitors and even has a sign on his door that states, loud and clear, "NO visitors allowed." The mouse is terribly persistent though, and manages to show up in the most unexpected of places until Bear caves and consents to share his tea and a crackling fire. Bear comes to realize how enjoyable a companion the mouse is, and that he has made a new friend.

This is an utterly charming and lovely book, and great to read aloud. The short politeness of mouse's lines just beg to be read in a British accent, and Bear certainly has thunderous tones when he is driven to the edge of sanity by the mouse's constant reappearance. The soft illustrations are evocative and the physicality of the two characters come out in spades: the mouse has excellent posture and you just know that Bear moves slowly. A must read.
Veterans' Week 2009

Remembrance Day is less than a week away, and as always we should take this opportunity to reflect upon what members of previous generations have sacrificed for us to live the lives of freedom that we have today. Below you will find a list of the Remembrance Day books at the PRES library - it's a growing collection!

Remembrance Day books at the library


Prisoners in the Promised Land: The Ukrainian Internment Diary of Anya Soloniuk

My Story: The Battle of Britain: Harry Woods, England 1939-1941

My Story: U-Boat Hunter: Peter Rogers, HMS Arum 1939-1945

My Story: D-Day: Lieutenant Andy Pope, Normandy 1944

Poppy Is to Remember

Snow Treasure

Daniel's Story

The Bombing of Hiroshima: August 6, 1945

Hitler Invades Poland: 1 September 1939

Number the Stars

Brothers Far from Home: The World War 1 Diary of Eliza Bates

Hana's Suitcase: A True Story

The Girls They Left Behind

In Flanders Fields: The Story of the Poem by John McCrae

Where Poppies Grow: A World War I Companion

The Unknown Soldier

Anne Frank: The Diary of a Young Girl

War Boy

Remembrance Day

My Story: The Trenches: Billy Stevens, the Western Front 1914-1918

My Story: Spy Smuggler

Desert Danger

Remember D-Day: Both Sides Tell Their Stories

True Stories of the Blitz: Internet Referenced

On Juno Beach: Canada's D-Day Heroes

At Vimy Ridge: Canada's Greatest World War I Victory

Don't You Know There's a War On?

The Orphans of Normandy : A True Story of World War II Told Through Drawings by Children





PRES's favorite books »

Friday, October 23, 2009

Borrow Anywhere, Return Anywhere

From the Government of Nova Scotia website:

A new library program gives Nova Scotians free access to more than 100 libraries in the province, regardless of where they live.

Under the initiative, a Nova Scotian can visit any public, university or college library in the province and borrow or return library items.

They don't need to be living in the area or attending the university.

This is an incredible program, and you can view the list of participating libraries here. Take advantage of it by getting a free library card from the public library (students will need parental consent if under the age of 14)!

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

New Books!

Picture Books

A visitor for Bear by Bonnie Becker

Louise, the adventures of a chicken by Kate DiCamillo

Picturescape by Elisa Gutierrez

The sound of colors by Jimmy Liao

Wonder Bear by Tao Nyeu

A penguin story by Antoinette Portis

Pssst! by Adam Rex

Dinosaur vs. bedtime by Bob Shea3

The composer is dead by Lemony Snicket

The house in the night by Susan Marie Swanson


The Penderwicks and The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall

Fiendish deeds by P. J. Bracegirdle

Into the wild by Sarah Beth Durst

Fablehaven and first 2 sequels by Brandon Mull

Mokie & Bik
by Wendy Orr

Battle of the Labyrinth
and The Last Olympian (Percy Jackson & the Olympians books 4 & 5) by Rick Riordan

Physik (Septimus Heap book 3) by Angie Sage

Jellaby: monster in the city by Kean Soo

Minn and Jake
by Janet S. Wong


Orangutan Tongs
by Jon Agee

Passion for fashion: careers in style by Jeanne Beker

Easy Origami by Dominic Boursin

See & sew by Tina Davis

Spatulatta Cookbook by Isabella and Olivia Gerasole

Easy Origami by John Montroll

Three cups of tea: young reader’s edition by Greg Mortenson

Horse and pony factfile
by Sandy Ransford

Simply sewing by Judy Ann Sadler

Adventures in cartooning by James Sturm

Z is for Zeus
by Helen L. Wilbur

Children’s quick & easy cookbook by Angela Wilkes


How we work by David Macaulay

Friday, June 26, 2009

End of the year

Report cards are given out and the school year officially ends tomorrow. See you in September!

Summer reading

Summertime is always one of my favourite times for reading (not much beats laying on the beach with a good book). There are many reading lists for kids floating around the internet and I've listed some of them below. Lots of books to choose from!

American Library Association "Notable Children's Books 2009" - an excellent list. Don't forget to check similar lists for every year since 1996.

Caldecott Medal and Honor Books - an annual prize for picture books, lists all winners and Caldecott Honor books since 1938.

Good Comics for Kids summer 2009 reading list - from School Library Journal.

Newbery Medal and Honor Books - an annual prize for children's novels, lists all winners and Newbery Honor books since 1922.

Parkway Summer Reading Lists - great suggested reading lists for grades Primary through 6 from a U.S. school district.

Recommended reading lists from

School Library Journal's Best Books 2008 - a list of very good books published in 2008.

And don't forget that the Cumberland Regional Library is open all summer and hosts activities!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Dreamdark: Silksinger

Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor

~This review is based on an advanced reader's copy (ARC) that I received from Putnam, the book's publisher. As a result, the page numbers I cite may not be correct in the final version, to be published in September 2009.~

Only a few weeks after being declared the Magruwen's champion*, Magpie Windwitch and her friends are on the hunt for the remaining Djinn to prevent evil forces from taking over the faerie world. Meanwhile, young Whisper Silksinger is the last member of a tribe which was thought to be extinct and she is secretly trying to get a sleeping Djinn in her care to his rightful throne. On her quest she encounters Hirik, who has a secret of his own, and together they voyage to the city of Nazneen where danger awaits.

Thank goodness I'm not in the business of writing book blurbs, because the last paragraph doesn't cover half of what happens in Silksinger. (And how hokey is "...where danger awaits?" Honestly. But it does! And in the form of a giant spidery warlord and his army of devils! Ack!)

My summary also doesn't reveal the glorious language that is used throughout the book. As with Blackbringer, the faeries and crows have their own slang, including "neh" for no and the highly amusing curse "Jacksmoke," which rolls off the tongue so nicely that I have decided to use myself. The names of people and places are lovely, and I especially enjoyed the outpost names such as Iceshimmer and Lost Eyelash. Taylor also uses wonderfully evocative phrases that just reach out and wallop you, such as this beauty from page 31:
...he heard Vesrisath give a sigh that was nearly a sob, and the sound was one of such despair that Slomby felt his heart twist inside like a wrung rag. He knew that twist well. It was misery.

Oof. Taylor certainly knows how to depict emotions ranging from grief to fear to affection in ways that are potent and yet entirely appropriate for children.

It was a joy to return to Laini Taylor's faerie world, and especially to realize that there will be more books on the way (one for each Djinn, perhaps?). Whisper and Hirik are wonderful new characters that I look forward to seeing more of, and Magpie and Talon and the crows are just as endearing as they were in Blackbringer, if not more so. The talents of the different faerie tribes are fascinating and I cannot wait to find out what other wonders will emerge in future books in the series.

5 stars out of 5 for Dreamdark: Silksinger by Laini Taylor.

*That whole exciting adventure can be read in Dreamdark: Blackbringer, which I highly recommend and reviewed here.

I'm not the only one who loved this book.

Laini Taylor's website.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

And the #1 picture book is...

Where the wild things are by Maurice Sendak was chosen by readers of A Fuse #8 blog as the #1 picture book of all time. The blog post also links to the entirety of the Top 100 Picture Books Poll countdown that started about 6 weeks ago. What a fantastic list!

Tuesday, May 05, 2009

Hugh Brewster author visit tomorrow

Thanks to cooperation with the Cumberland Regional Library, Canadian author Hugh Brewster will be visiting Parrsboro Elementary on the morning of Wednesday, May 6th. Students in grades 4-6 will enjoy an hour-long presentation from Mr. Brewster, who has written books such as On Juno Beach: Canada’s D-Day heroes and 882 ½ Amazing Answers to your questions about the Titanic. His book At Vimy Ridge: Canada’s greatest World War I victory was nominated for a 2009 Hackmatack Reader’s Choice Award and his visit to Parrsboro is in conjunction with the Hackmatack awards ceremony in Halifax on May 8th.

As someone who works with the students here and sees their enthusiasm for anything to do with the world wars, and as someone who has studied military history herself, I am very excited about this visit. Can't wait!

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Where the wild things are trailer

A trailer for a movie version of Maurice Sendak's classic picture book Where the wild things are was released a few weeks ago. It looks wonderful.

Bring on the wild rumpus!

(If you are unfamiliar with the story, you can always watch President Obama read it to the crowd at the White House Easter celebration.)