White Ravens: Canada

159 books      

Canada (English) - 1993 - 54
Day, Marie (text/illus.)
Dragon in the Rocks. A Story Based on the Childhood of Early Paleontologist Mary Anning
Toronto: Owl/Greey de Pencier, 1992. [32] p.
ISBN 0-920775-76-4
Mary Anning (1799-1847)/biography – Paleontology/England/19th century
This picture book for young readers tell a seemingly simple tale of curiosity and determination within the wider context of an historical geological discovery. Twelve-year-old Mary Anning had always enjoyed collecting fossils with her father, an amateur collector, who before he died, taught her the techniques of chipping and separating fossils from rocks. He also told her of a dragon skeleton he had once seen in a cave near their home in Lyme Regis on the southern coast of England. One day the opportunity arose to visit the cave herself, and subsequently she spent many months chipping, numbering and packing up the fossil pieces of the 26-foot-long ichthyosaur skeleton, which has now been on display at the Natural History Museum in London for nearly 200 years. Although the story ends with the visit of important scientists to her home to see her rebuilt skeleton, children may well be inspired to learn more about the interests and life of this unsung heroine and about paleontology. This approach is a welcome variation to the endless stream of dinosaur books available today. (5-10)

Canada (English) - 1993 - 55
Gay, Marie-Louise (text/illus.)
Mademoiselle Moon
Toronto: Stoddart, 1993. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7737-2653-5
Love - friendship
Mister Sun and Mademoiselle Moon have been best friends from the moment Mister Sun climbed out of his shell. Both of them, however, had a busy work-schedule and for years they could only catch glimpses of each other. But when she loses her job one day, Mister Sun promises to help her. A sudden storm comes up and Mademoiselle Sun takes shelter in a lighthouse where her brightly beaming smile is indeed much needed. This poetic tale about love and friendship has a charming pencil illustrations which convey a sense of playfulness and warmth. (5+)

Canada (English) - 1993 - 56
Reid, Barbara
Two by Two
Richmond Hill: North Winds Press/Scholastic, 1992. [32] p.
ISBN 0-590-73656-6
Noah's ark
Using Plasticine shaped and pressed onto illustration board, Reid has once again developed astoundingly detailed and realistic scenes in an uncommon media. Spread after spread, each time from a different perspective, we see Noah's ark being built, the animals brought on board, the flood and the return to pastoral, peaceful life. The rhymed text is also set to music in an endnote. Young children cannot help but be fascinated by seeing the animals they know are presented here in a medium they are quite familiar with. Thus it is a book which will stimulate their own creative activity and draw them back for many re-readings. (3+)

Canada (French) - 1993 - 102
Carrier, Roch (text)
Tanobe, Miyuki (illus.)
Canada, je t’saime, I love you
Montréal: Livres Toundra, 1991. 72 p.
ISBN 2-88776-253-0
Canada - city - painting - bilingual book
The most important cities of Canada are presented in individual chapters in this lovely bilingual nonfiction picture book. Roch Carrier has traveled all over the country and tells of his experiences - above all personal encounters in the various cities - depicted by Miyuki Tanabe in naive portraits full of colorful delight. An objective representation of Canada? More a subjective, humanly distilled declaration of love by two well- known artists. At the end of the book, there are five pages of objective data about the cities. A cultivated art volume which is a credit to the bi- lingual publishing house. Both children and adults will enjoy the book. (11+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1993 - 103
Duchesne, Christiane
(<Proper name>)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1992. 158 p.
(Roman 37)
ISBN 2-89037-592-7
mental handicap - friendship - protective spirit
The mentally handicapped Victor apparently marches to the beat of his own drummer. He is absolutely convinced that the earth is flat. On the other hand, Mme Belon, the neighbor whom he sometimes visits, is determined to win a trip around the world. Victor is worried about her. When she comes to the end of the world, she will fall off into the abyss. He decides to build a fence to protect her from such disaster. However, the task he has set for himself proves to be unworkable. Victor's nightly appearances, his two inner protective spirits Grigou and Serpente, know what to do and hurry to help. But even the three of them are not up to the task. In the end Victor is able to be convinced that the earth is round. The author has been successful in creating a whimsical account full of empathy for child- like reasoning processes. The dialogues between Victor and his invisible friends are charming. (9+)
(Prix du Gouverneur Général 1992)

Canada (French) - 1993 - 104
Pasquet, Jacques (text)
Daigle, Stéphane (illus.)
L'esprit de la lune
(The Moon's Spirit)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1992. 23 p.
ISBN 2-89037-596-X
folk fairy tale - Inuit Indians
A collection of 14 mostly short fairy tales and narratives based on the oral tradition of the Inuit Indians who today inhabit a still relatively large area of the northeast tip of Québec. One can sense that the author has taken much care in the translation so as to preserve the original spirit of the fairy tales. They tell of animals, people and giants, of magical powers, or explain natural phenomena and have a surprisingly matter-of-fact effect, sometime cruelly realistic. These are unusual fairy tales which dispense with moral doctrines, conveying however a proper portion of life experience since cleverness is needed to extricate oneself out of many muddled situations. For each fairy tale there is a black- and-white illustration which calls totem poles to mind. A book worth reading! (10+)

Canada (French) - 1993 - 105
Rochon, Esther
L'Ombre et le cheval
(The Shadow and the Horse)
Montréal: Paulines, 1992. 121 p.
(Jeunesse-pop 78)
ISBN 2-89-39-538-3
science fiction
In Québec science fiction and fantasy literature are extremely popular and also a special domain of the publishing house Paulines. The author of this book writes science fiction for adults as well as for young people. This one deals with a future in which sunlight has become a deadly danger. The young Ella lives in a artists’ village which earns its living by projecting luminous horses onto the sky at night. After the death of the grandfather Anskad - he died burned down to a shadow in Death Valley - the leadership of the village is incumbent on her. Only Anskad's brother Sim, who was himself burned by the sun and lies wasting away on a hospital bed, knows about his brother's fate. Will the luminous horses in the heavens become public property? The author raises profound questions about self-determination and self-satisfaction, about creativity and solidarity which will appeal to the reader's intelligence. (13+)
(Finaliste du Prix du Gouveneur Général 1992)

Canada (English) - 1994 - 60
Bruchac, Joseph (text)
Morin, Paul (illus.)
Fox Song
Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1993. [32] p.
ISBN 0-19-541000-9
Indians/Canada - Nature - Death - Fox - Grandmother
Although it is time to get up, Jamie lies in her bed and remembers Grama Bowman and the times they spent together. She remembers walking up Fox Hill, learning how to peel birch bark to make baskets, how to hunt for the winter tracks of a fox. She remembers how her Grama told her stories and taught her welcome song of her Abenaki people. Then she goes to Grama's favorite place on Fox Hill, sings that song and is visited briefly by the red fox, Grama's best friend, and Jamie finally understands that she would never be alone. The author draws on his Native American background and personal family experiences to describe in this story the importance of spiritual balance. The narrative is given an appropriate accent by the full-paged paintings by the award-winning illustrator whose naturalistic technique captures grandmother and child experiencing nature together. (5+)

Canada (English) - 1994 - 61
Gilman, Phoebe (text/illus.)
Something for Nothing. Adapted from a Jewish Folktale.
Richmond Hill: North Winds Press/Scholastic Canada, 1992. [32] p.
ISBN 0-590- 73802-X
Folktale - Blanket - Tailor - Growing Up - Storytelling
Joseph's mother keeps telling him to throw his blanket away - the special one his grand- father made him at birth from blue star- strewn fabric - because it is frazzled, worn and unsightly. But Joseph is confident that Grandpa can fix it, and indeed he does many times over. He makes Joseph a jacket, then a vest, a sabbath tie, a handkerchief, and finally a button. But when the button is lost. even is Grandfather does not know what more to do. Then Joseph himself decides there is just enough to make something after all. This delightfully told story of old-world shtetl life and a grain of wisdom is complemented by a subplot that can only be seen in the illustrations: At the time of Joseph's birth, a mouse couple takes up quarters under the floorboards of the house and gradually furnish their growing household and mouse-children with the scrap remnants of Joseph's blanket, while their daily activities parallel those in the human world. The two picture narratives, painted in egg tempera in warm, natural colors, extend the simple text perfectly.
(Ruth Schwartz Award 1993)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1994 - 62
Yashinsky, Dan (text)
Pitt, Nancy Cairine (illus.)
The Storyteller at Fault
Charlonetown: Ragweed Press, 1992. 63 p.
ISBN 0-921556-29-2
Storytelling - Folk literature (Adaptation)
A mighty ruler who loves stories so much that he would condemn the forgetful storyteller to death after saving the 1000 tales he has told (in the files of a memory machine), A young child who hates the fairy tales his father tells because they always end happily- ever-after - and are thus not true, since death after all is life's real end. A tale which cannot be separated from its teller. In addition to his retelling of ten tales from the oral traditions of Japan, Uganda, Portugal, Great Britain, Scandinavia,orway, Israel, France and ancient Persia in such a way as to make a rich narrative tapestry, the author-father frames his bed-time storytelling ritual with philosophical reflections which remind the adult readers of the magic and significance involved in passing along stories to the next generation in a most compelling manner - by the power of the stories themselves.

Canada (English) - 1994 - 63
Thornhill, Jan (reteller/illus.)
Crow and Fox and Other Animal Legends
Toronto: OWL/Greey de Pencier Books, 1993. [32] p.
ISBN 1-895688-11-6
Folktales - Fables
These nine animal folktales, which the author carefully chose as a way of taking an amazing journey over each continent and subcontinent of the world, are linked at one level like a chain by the reappearance of an animal protagonist in each following tale. Thus the author retells in two pages the Indian story of the elephant and the hare, followed by the West African story of the hare and tortoise, and so on, through to the South American story of the mouse and tapir. And at another level the similar tone and hue of the brilliant colors in the full- page illustrations by Thornhill link together landscapes which are nonetheless quite diverse.

Canada (French) - 1994 - 138
Côté, Denis (text)
Poulin, Stéphane (illus.)
Le pare aux sortiléges
(The Bewitched Amusement Park)
Montréal: La coune échelle, 1994. 91 p.
(Roman jeunesse 46)
ISBN 2-89021-210-6
Québec - Amusement Park - Magic - Science Fiction
Maxime describes his visit to Luna Park with his parents and two friends, the delicate Jo and the sturdy Pounce. When the three friends step back out of the Halls of Mirrors, nothing is the same as it was - parents and mirrors have disappeared. The amusement park has grown unending, a horde of pleasure seekers jam all the aisles. Searching for the exit, Maxime, Jo and Pounce encounter strange figures. A green mask seems to have some significance. Suddenly Maxime realizes what is expected of them. They must say "yes" and each must agree to embark on a life-threatening adventure. After surviving the three-fold test of courage, they stand again close to where they began. The candy seller explains the deeper meaning of this "cosmic game" to them. The authors knows how to create suspense. From funny-grotesque to spooky encounters pave the way to deliverance. (9+)

Canada (French) - 1994 - 139
Gagnon, Cécile (text)
Poupart, Roger (text)
Soulières, Robert (text)
Poulin, Stéphane (illus.)
Liberté surveillée
(Freedom under Surveillance)
Montréal: Paulines, 1993. 141 p.
(Lectures VIP II)
ISBN 2-89420-183-4
Canada - zoo/Hemmingford <Canada> - Freedom
Three well-known children's and youth book authors are responsible for this "six-handed" novel, alternately writing its ten chapters. A school class makes their annual field trip to the Safari Zoo near Hemmingford. Gabriel, whose father sits wrongly in prison, cannot stand to see animals, especially ponies, in captivity. Other animals, too, benefit then from his secret night-time liberation act. Will he be sent to prison for his deed? A dying goat kid makes him aware of his helplessness. He meets Nancy, who had helps him to hide the whole menagerie in her parent's barn. When Gabriel tries to return the animals to the zoo, he is caught, but thanks to the aid of his mother and his friends, is soon released again. The zoo director promises to build larger enclosures for the animals. The precipitous events will undoubtedly correspond to the secret wishes of young readers. (9+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1994 - 140
Demers, Dominique (text)
Les grand sapins ne meurent jamais
(The Evergreens Will Never Die)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique, 1993. 154 p.
(Titan Jeunesse 17)
ISBN 2-89037-627-3
Death - Mother - Daughter - First Love - Pregnancy
The first volume of this planned trilogy already received unanimous applause from the critics. It told the story of the cancer death of the protagonist's mother. In the second volume we follow the mourning period of 15-year old Marie-Lune and how she finds comfort and support from her friend Antoine. One day she discovers that she is pregnant. Should she have the baby? Antoine, who is actually too inexperienced to be of permanent help, sees no problems to a future life together. Should she give up her child for adoption? She finds no adoptive parents who please her and decides lo keep her son. The novel ends with a description of the birth, which we follow through Marie- Lune's feelings and impressions. The interesting feature of this moving and gentle novel is the psychological maturing process of the figures and their ability to go new ways. The author brings closer the confusion of conflicting feelings and Marie-Lune's sensibilities with both tact and humor. (13+)
(Governor General’s Prize 1993)

Canada (French) - 1994 - 141
Mativat, Marie-Andrée (text)
Mativat, Geneviéve (text)
Bienvenue, Diane (illus.)
Montréal: Tisseyre, 1993. 95 p.
ISBN 2-89051-502-8
Alaska/History 1907-1927 - Sledding - Sleddog - Diphteria - Icebound
Two authentic, but completely independent events inspired the authors to write this interesting adventure novel. In 1907 the girls and boys of Nome, Alaska, organized the first dog sled race for Whites. In 1925 Léonhard Seppala braved the 1,000 km stretch of Alaska's icy desert with his sleddogs in order to bring the life-saving serum to the children of Nome who where dying of diphteria. "Togo" is the story of Seppala's legendary lead dog, who gives us a lesson of courage and endurance. (8+)

Canada (French) - 1994 - 142
Sernine, Daniel (text)
La couleur nouvelle
(The Unknown Color)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique Jeunesse, 1993. 154 p.
(Clip 9)
ISBN 2-89037-629-X
Fantasy - Horror Story
This collection of nine stories by the productive and creative master of fantastic literature who writes for adults, youth and children. These stories, with one exception, are shortened or re-written versions of fairy tales from "Les contes de l'ombre" (Tales From the Shadows") from 1979. The author is skilled at creating a spooky, mysterious, even creepy mood and has no difficulty with precise descriptions of the gruesome, as evidenced in the story "Derrière le miroir". "L'étemelle vieillesse" deals with an immobile group of very old people who perform the same activities day for day, decade for decade. The young intruder who, as an observer, hopes to discover their secret, has just enough strength left on the third day to realize that he, too, is now a captive of this eternal sequence. In this new edition Daniel Sernine has avoided his predilection for wordy descriptions, thereby increasing the suspense. (12+)

Canada (English) - 1995 - 42
Lewis, Arnanda (text)
Wynne-Jones, Tim (text)
Slavin, Bill (illus.)
Rosie backstage
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1994. 95 p.
ISBN 1-55074-148-9
Theater - Shakespeare, William
The many aspects of a theater production are presented here not in a direct, nonfictional format, but embedded in a story about a young girl who gets to know real people working in a real repertory theater. And at the fantasy level she has repeated encounters with (an otherwise invisible) Will Shakespeare. In between each of the nine chapters, terms and concepts of the various departments of a theater are explained in a readable style which avoids a definitional tone. The book is attractively colorful and uniformly illustrated with realistic but expressive scenes on each page, which are designed to illuminate the text and ideas in a natural manner. It is well-suited to motivating young readers to get involved with some aspect of theater themselves. (8-12)

Canada (French) - 1995 - 97
Lavigne, Guy (text)
Mourir sur fond blanc
(Dying on a white background)
Montréal: La courts échelle, 1994. 150 p.
(Roman + 30)
ISBN 2-89021-209-2
Detective story - Murder - Art - Video film
Those looking for and lively entertainment can unhesitatingly pick up this smoothly written detective story. The author offers yet another episode in the successful career of the private eye Joseph E. This time there are two mysterious murders, a suspicious policeman, an attractive woman painter, and a missing video cassette. Was it blackmail? Except for several funny made-up words, the text is easy to follow. (12+) ☼

Canada (French) - 1995 - 98
Lienhardt, Jean-Michel (text)
Chat de gouttière
(Roaming cat)
Montréal: Paulines, 1993. 141 p.
(Jeunesse-pop 90)
ISBN 2-89420-204-0
Single-parent family - Father/Son - First love - Runaway
Every since his mother died, Nicholas has lived alone with his father, who often comes home drunk. Nicholas is frequently left to fend for himself and he is not always well-behaved. He is taken in by his petty- minded aunt Rita, but soon runs away and finds shelter in the vacation home of the parents of his girlfriend, Aurélie. Finally his greatest wish can be fulfilled: he is allowed to live with his father again. The main theme of this book is the father-son relationship. The reader can readily sympa- thize with Nicholas's deeds and misdeeds. Numerous dialogues enliven the text, which is both entertaining and suspenseful. (11+)

Canada (French) - 1995 - 99
Plante, Raymond (text)
L'étoile a pleuré rouge
(The star cried red tears)
Montréal: Boréal, 1994. 160 p.
(Boréal Inter 28)
ISBN 2-89052-613-5
Youth/Gang - Violence/Gang - Murder - Love - Friendship - Prostitution
Violence on the streets, violence for violence's sake among youth people is the theme running through this story. The author depicts 55 hours in the life of Guts, Yannick, Man, Big, their girlfriend Lori and the real hero of the story, Esther. The story begins with the preparations for a nighttime attack in a city park, to which Esther is by chance a witness, and ends with the murder of a member of the group. Reading like a slow-motion thriller, this novel is in reality a refined, masterful literary description of a state of being - without delving into the psychological background: for these youth there is no way out. The author succeeds with his picturesque sentences in creating an atmosphere of intensity. (13+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1995 - 100
Simard, Rémy (text)
Pratt, Pierre (illus.)
Mon chien est un éléphant
(My dog is an elephant)
Willowdale: Annick Press, 1994. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-979-8 (French ed.) 1-55037-977-1 (English ed.)
Boy - Elephant - Friendship - Disguise Hide-and-Seek - Family Conflict
Hector takes in an elephant which has esca- ped from the zoo and hides it in his room. To protect his mother from any further sur- prise encounters with the giant animal - she faints each time - Hector tries out different disguises for his charge. But all his efforts prove to be unsuitable. In this series of slap- stick style surprises which climax in the mother's fainting spell the reader can even image hearing the thump of her fall. Such grotesque inventiveness is great fun! (5+) ☼
(1994 Canadian Governor General's Award for Illustration)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 54
Aura, Alejandro (text)
Gukova, Julia (illus.)
Langer, Shirley (transl. from Spanish)
Sefami, Sally Stokes (transl. from Spanish)
The Other Side
Toronto: Annick Press, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-405-2
Curiosity - Opposites - Reversal - Eternity
One day the king sent all the children in his kingdom out to discover what the world was like on the other side. Made curious by their reports that everything was just the same, except »sdrawkcab« he decided to see it all for himself. The surprising result is left open-ended in this playful, mindboggling tale. The author, a prize-winning poet and philosopher, is a major figure in contemporary Mexican literature. The composition of this story follows the axioms of storytelling by awakening the curiosity and imagination of the young reader with thought-provoking ideas. The illustrator, who lives in Moscow, has already illustrated many children's books and won the Third Prize at the BIB. She has expanded the text with Alice-in-Wonderland-like imagery in a surrealistic style where colors play an important role. (7+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 55
Gilmore, Rachna (text)
Priestley, Alice (illus.)
Lights for Gita
Toronto: Second Story Press, 1994. [24] p.
ISBN 0-929005-63-5
Festival - Homesickness - Friendship
A young Indian girl whose family recently moved to the chilly northern climate of Canada excitedly looks forward to celebrating Divali, the Hindi celebration of lights in honor of Lakshmi, the Goddess of Wealth who brings good fortune and prosperity to all throughout the year. Though the day turns out much differently than she expected, she makes another step toward accepting her new surroundings. (6+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1996 - 56
Gugler, Laurel Dee (text)
Willms, Russ (illus.)
Little Wynne's Giggly Thing
Toronto: Annick Press, 1995. [24] p.
ISBN 1-55037-407-9
Family - Usefulness
Little Wynne would like to contribute to the running of the household, but all the important things in home and garden are taken care of by the adults. So she turns to making gadgets and sculptures whose only function is to stimulate laughter and enjoyment. Not successful at first, she is persistent and finally gets the others to see the usefulness of her own playful creations. The caricaturist full-page and double-spread illustrations support the zany thesis of the book. (6+)

Canada (French) - 1996 - 172
Brousseau, Linda (text)
Maigné, Claire (illus.)
Ce n'est pas de ma faute !
(It's Not My Fault)
Québec: Editions Pierre Tisseyre, 1994. 102 p.
ISBN 2-89051-556-7
Childhood - Traumatic experience - Guilt feeling
Luc feels the death of his mother is his fault and enjoys playing the role of the failure. In order to clearly portray this dangerous mental burden, the narrator invents a mysterious shrinking illness which causes Luc to lose on size every day. The love of his younger sister and an act of consciously willed liberation finally help to loosen his mental block. A gripping read which sensitizes the reader to mental problems. (9+)

Canada (French) - 1996 - 173
Dubé, Pierrette (text)
Yayo (illus.)
Au lit, princesse Emilie!
(Off to Bed, Princess Emily!)
St-Hubert (Qc): Raton Laveur, 1995. 24 p.
ISBN 2-920660-36-5
Princess - Castle - Race - Bedtime
The night for night battle to get the recalcitrant child to go to bed may be easier to deal with after reading this picture book together. Emily mobilizes the vast staff of the castle for the hopeless task of putting her to bed. From the dungeon to the highest tower rooms, the runaway princess has them all hot on her heels. The droll caricaturist illustrations and rhythmic text with refrain will soon make this book an essential part of the going-to-bed ritual of the youngest readers. (8+) ☼

Canada (French) - 1996 - 174
Galouchko, Annouchka Gravel (text/illus.)
Shô et les Dragons d'Eau
(Shô and the Demons of the Deep)
Toronto: Annick, 1995. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-399-4 (fr); 1-55037-398-6 (engl.)
(Also published in Engl.)
Japan/Folktale - Kite - Nightmare - Sea monster - Spirituality
This poetic tale about the invention of the Japanese kite is visually rendered here in bright colors with rich ornamentation. Using the style of naive painting the illustrator creates a fairy-tale transformation of the motifs of classical Japanese woodcuts. Children who of course cannot yet appreciate the artistic and folkloristic allusions will be fascinated by the many small anecdotal details of these fullpaged pictures. (6+)
(Prix du Gouverneur Général pour les illustrations, 1995)

Canada (French) - 1996 - 175
Gervais, Jean (text)
D 'Amour, Henri-Julien (illus.)
La Décision de Cathou
(Cathou Makes a Decision)
Montréal: Boréal, 1995. 46 p.
(Collection Dominique)
ISBN 2-89052-677-1
Alcoholism - Mother/Daughter - Advice
As an child psychologist the author is wellacquainted with the sufferings of children who have problems with themselves and their surroundings. His books are the result of extensive research and discussions with nine- to twelve-year-olds. They offer practical guidance through short stories based on real situations that show paths of self-help. In the appendix parents and educators will find precise and sound advice. This is a new genre of youth literature which corresponds to the real needs of modern-day children and youth. (9-12)

Canada (French) - 1996 - 176
Lemieux, Jean
Le trésor de Brion
(The Treasure of Brion)
Montréal: Québec/Amérique Jeunesse, 1995. 388 p.
ISBN 2-89037-686-9
Treasure hunt - First love - Puberty - Friendship - Self-discovery
This is a superb young adult novel that goes far beyond adventure and treasure hunting. The protagonist, a young boy, goes through a painful process of breaking away from his parents, experiences happiness and insecurity in his first romance, finds his own sense of responsibility in lonely reflections on sexuality and faithfulness, and sets his own life's goals. This wealth of complex topics is woven into a breezy narrative which moreover includes high-sea sailing in the Atlantic, coastal landscape and climate, village life and historical reminiscences. (13+)
(Prix 12/17 Brive-Montréal 1995 (Youth novel))

Canada (French) - 1996 - 177
Olscamp, Marcel (ed.)
Merola, Caroline (illus.)
Crinière au vent. Poésies du Canada francophone.
(Manes in the Wind. Poems of French-speaking Canada)
Ville LaSalle (Qc): Hurtubise, 1995. 88 p.
ISBN 2-89428-088-2
Fifty authors from the French-speaking population of Canada who are represented here with recent poems come from different backgrounds - Indians, immigrants and residents of different provinces. The particular charm of this collection lays in the diversity of the poetic voices. The short, lively texts are easily understandable and ideally suited to encouraging young adults to make their own ventures into the world of lyric and visual expression. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 178
Sarfati, Sonia
Comme une peau de chagrin
(Like Shagreen)
Montréal : La Courte Echelle, 1995. 154 p.
ISBN 2-89021-242-4
Anorexia - Friendship
Gabriele begins to notice strange changes in the behavior of her girlfriend Fréderique. Suddenly she comes to the realization that Fréderique has anorexia nervosa. With increasing uneasiness she observes the progress of the illness and discovers the psychological causes which lead to this drive toward self-destruction. The trusted face of her friend breaks to reveal a different merciless person who is driven by a revengeful obsession with power. This moving novel offers a sound exposé of the disease which is symptomatic of our times. It also shows that true friendship only reveals itself when put to the test. (13+)
(Governor General's Literary Award 1995)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 179
Sernine, Daniel
La traversée de l'apprenti sorcier
(The Journey of the Magician's Apprentice)
Montréal: Médiaspaul, 1995. 176 p.
(Neubourg et Granverger)
ISBN 2-89420-282-2
Sea travel/1595 - Bretagne/New World - Myth - Occult
This fantasy novel completes a 10-volume cycle of historical tableaus spread over four centuries with which the author has held his readers in suspense for serveral years. The scenario on which the plot is based is historically sound, solid and tightly developed. The figure of the master who has the powers of a shaman brings in mythical ideas from a prehistoric age. On the journey to the so-called New World he teaches his pupil to read world's phenomena to find traces of submerged ages and to trust the magical powers which influence human fate. (13+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 180
Vachon, Hélène (text)
Yayo (illus.)
Le sixième arrêt
(The Sixth Bus Stop)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Héritage, 1995. 40 p.
ISBN 2-7625-7916-3
Bus - Fantasy - Adventure
»Step aboard, get your ticket, get off at the sixth stop,« Papa tells his son Somerset when he is about to take his first busride. But Somerset set off for the ride like a knight sets off on a mission. The bus is a dangerous opponent, the driver the master of the dungeons, the passangers his prisoners. Already by the first busstop unbelievable things have occurred as seen from the perspective of an imaginative child. The interaction of text and illustration is perfect even in this small paperback format with its narrow pages and large print, interspersed with plenty of colorful pictures full of »action«. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1996 - 181
Villeneuve, Michel (text)
Sylvestre, Louise (illus.)
Le castor
(The Beaver)
Waterloo: Michel Quintin, 1994. 24 p.
ISBN 2-920438-34-4
Beaver - Natural science
The distinguishing feature of this picture book series is the successful connection of information in the text and clever illustrations which combine realistic and anthropomorphic portrayals of the animals, in this case the beaver. In this manner the young viewer can empathize and have pleasure with the animal kingdom while subtly acquiring a precise lesson in natural history. (5+) ☼

Canada (English) - 1997 - 56
Andrews, Jan
(<Proper name>)
Toronto: Groundwood Books/Douglas & McIntyre, 1996. 94 p.
ISBN 0-88899-240-8
Newfoundland - Whale - Mother/Daughter - Brother/Sister - Change
Keri and her mother have been at odds with each other often ever since Keri's father had to sell his boat and take a job on a fishing ship. Keri finds it very difficult to accept this and other changes taking place in her village in the wake of Newfoundland's changing economic situation. When she and her brother find a whale stranded near their home she spontaneously insists they stay with it all night in hopes of saving it. When their mother finally comes searching for them, the pent up frustrations on both sides are finally vented. The author succeeds in depicting realistically a motherdaughter conflict and an adolescent's growing awareness of her world. The story rings true with the use of idiomatic speech. (10+)
(Governor-General's Literary Awards [Children's Literature-text] Shortlist 1996)

Canada (English) - 1997 - 57
Granfield, Linda (text)
Wilson, Janet (illus.)
In Flanders fields. The story of the poem by John McCrae
Toronto: Stoddart, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7737-2991-7
(First printed in 1995 by Lester Publishing)
First World War/France/Belgium - War
This very attractively designed information book documents many aspects of the First World War in France and Belgium using as a visual and textual canvas the famous anti-war poem which begins with the line »In Flanders fields the poppies blow«, written by a young Canadian doctor and poet in 1915. Wilson's beautiful, atmospheric paintings illustrate each line of the poem, while photos and black-and-white sketches round out the story of the pain and tragedy involved in the »war to end all wars.« (8+)

Canada (English) - 1997 - 58
Lawson, Julie (text)
Zimmermann, Werner (illus.)
Whatever you do, don't go near that canoe!
Richmond Hill: North Winds/Scholastic Canada, 1996. 30 p.
ISBN 0-590-24429-9
Curiosity - Adventure - Island - Pirate
Two adventurous children in the Canadian wilderness are warned by their friend Captain Kelsey McKee not to go near »that canoe«. What child could resist this challenge? After a long journey, they do indeed meet a horde of wild pirates on an island who invite them to a campfire meal before sending them on their way again with pockets full of gold coins. This cryptic, rhyming picture book is written in verse in the first person.The wildly colorful double-spread illustrations reflect the light-hearted approach to this imaginative journey into the unknown. (8+)
(Governor General's Literary Awards [Children's literature - Illustration] 1996 shortlist)

Canada (English) - 1997 - 59
Little, Jean (text)
Wales, Johnny (illus.)
Gruntle Piggle takes off
Toronto: Viking/Penguin Books Canada, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 0-670-86340-8
Grandfather/Granddaughter - City/Land - Differences
A young city-dwelling piglet whose parents pursue academic professions in the big city has an urging to discover her roots, in particular to meet her estranged, country grandfather. Full of adventure she sets off one day for the barnyard at Swine Corners and soon discovers that rural life is not as idyllic as she had imagined. But she realizes something about her grandfather that no one else had suspected, and sets out to rectify it. On the one level an entertaining animal tale, at another level a story of accepting differences not as barriers but as mutual enrichment. The captivating pastel watercolor illustrations extend the text with many witty details. (6+)

Canada (English) - 1997 - 60
McKibbon, Hugh William (text)
Cameron, Scott (illus.)
The token gift
Toronto: Annick, 1996. [30] p.
ISBN 1-55037-499-0
India/Legend - Chess - Honor
A clever and supposedly wise old man becomes wealthy from the sale of a 64-square board game of strategy he called Chaturanga. When the king summons him to court and offers a reward to the game's inventor, he uses his cleverness and mathematical knowledge to outwit the king and force him to abdicate in favor of the old man. After one day the new king realizes the emptiness of his wish for greatness, and restores the true king to the throne. In this way, both men give witness to the meaning of good and honorable behavior. Today this board game is known the world over as chess. The full-page oil-painting illustrations of each element of the narrative enable this story about human values to come alive. (6+)

Canada (English) - 1997 - 61
Yee, Paul (text)
Chan, Harvey (illus.)
Ghost train
Toronto: Groundwood Books, 1996. [32] p.
ISBN 0-8899-257-2
North America/Chinese - Father/Daughter - Dream - Railway - Death
A young Chinese girl, Choon-Yi, who possesses nothing but a talent to paint, follows her father to North America, where he works on laying the railway, only to learn that he was recently killed in an accident. In a dream he asks her »to paint the train that runs on the road I built.« He takes her on the ghost train and shows her the restless spirits of the many dead Chinese workers who long to return to their homes. Now her painting becomes filled with their faces in the train windows and she is ready to take them back to China.The exquisite paintings on these over-sized pages are done in sombe hues of brown which reflect the sorrowful, ghostly atmosphere of the story. The text conveys with feeling this part of the Chinese experience and the magical realism of the bond between the living and the dead. (8+) ☆
(Governor-General's Literary Awards [Children's literature - text] 1996)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 180
Desrosiers, Sylvie
Le long silence
(The long silence)
Montréal: La courte échelle, 1996. 146 p.
ISBN 2-89021-256
Suicide - Bereavement - Friendship - Puberty
Alice is dead. The beautiful, talented and popular young girl committed suicide. Matthew stands at her coffin, angry and confused, just one hour before cremation. He calls to mind all the things he did together with Alice: in kindergarten they were playmates and then inseparable friends at school, daring and full of life. For him, a shy young boy, their friendship had turned, unawares, into love. But Alice had pulled back. Her friend only comes to realize what dangers and sensitivity hovered behind her self-assured facade, after she took that final step. Through his grief, Matthew is certain at last, that Alice will remain a part of his life. This hour of leave-taking becomes for him a rite of initiation. He knows now, that to love does not mean to possess. The psychological insight of the author into her protagonists state of mind give the novel its credibility. Especially convincing from a literary perspective are the monologues which shift between the past and the present. The narrative voice reflects the hero's manner of thought. By being honest with himself he gains the reader's empathy. (13+)
(Prix Brive-Montréal 12/17, 1996)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 181
Lamontagne, Michel
L'arbre noir
(The black tree)
Montréal: Médiaspaul, 1996. 163 p.
ISBN 2-89420-329-2
Planet/Lizard - Immigrants - Assimilation -
Cultural conflict - Adventure - Science Fiction This first novel is set in extraterrestial fields and uses all the tricks of science fiction with humor and intelligence. Twelve-year-old Jean has emigrated with his parents to the lizard planet of Tiäne, where he is now a guest and forced to adapt to the different life-style and disgusting eating habits of the »natives.« Jean's commentaries on these very funny collisions of two different cultures give young readers, indirectly, some insights into problems of integration and cultural conflicts. (11+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 182
Noël, Michel
(<Proper name>)
Waterloo: Ed. Michel Quintin, 1996. 195 p.
ISBN 2-89435-084-8
Northern Canada/1950s - Childhood memories
These are well-written memories of a childhood in the northern region of Canada which read like a historical novel. How long past the 1950s seem today, when a youth grows up in the northern region of Canada where the Indians still live as nomads in the forests and the Whites almost like colonialists. Such a life has its hard but fascinating side, but the modern-day technological advances are unstoppable and bring radical changes with them. The individual protagonists are well-drawn character portraits and still untouched nature is experienced as a wonderful mystery. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1997 - 183
Tibo, Gilles
Noémie, le secret de Madame Lubago
(Noémie, Madame Lubago's secret)
Boucherville: Québec/Amérique Jeunesse, 1996. 164 p.
ISBN 2-89037-698-2
Child/Old Woman - Friendship - Tenderness - Play - Learning - Wordly wisdom
Young Noémie, lively and full of antics, is absolutely convinced that her neighbor, the kindhearted Madame Lumbago, has a hidden treasure in her apartment. Noémie tries out every possible trick, but her ultimate finding of the treasure is only secondary to the storyline. More important is the tender friendship between the two of them, which unfolds in so many ways - in rollicking nonsense at play, gazing at the wonders of the world together or being with each other without need for words when Monsieur Lumbago dies suddenly. (8+)
(Prix du Gouverneur Général catégorie littérature de jeunesse [texte], 1996)

Canada (English) - 1998 - 52
Fitch, Sheree (text)
Labrosse, Darcia (illus.)
If you could wear my sneakers
Toronto: Doubleday, 1997. 32 p.
ISBN 0-3-85-25597-7
Children's Rights - Poetry
In fifteen witty, lively poems and full page backdrop illustrations, Fitch and Labrosse draw connections to the content and spirit of some of the United Nations' Convention on the Rights of the Child. One of Canada's leading poets, Fitch writes in a melodic, rhythmic way with a humor that embodies the wonderfully childlike - and surely Fitch's own - perspective on life. Not in the least pedagogical, the poems have animal protagonists and behave in a way that corresponds to a basic principle of the convention. At the close of the book the reader is invited to match the poem with the appropriate »right«. (6+) ☼

Canada (English) - 1998 - 53
Funston, Sylvia (text)
Stevens, Pat (illus.)
Animal smarts. The secret life of animals
Toronto: Owl Books/Greey de Pencier, 1997. 48 p.
ISBN 1-895688-66-3
Animal - Intelligence - Scientific research
This information book offers a wealth of information which describes to what extent animals actively use their brains, i.e. learn, rather than rely on inborn instinct. Each double-page spread discusses an aspect of the topic and gives three to five examples and explanations of phenomena that scientists have observed and drawn conclusions from. Since it is repeatedly made clear that our knowledge is still preliminary, young readers with an inclination toward science will be fascinated by still the open questions. The very attractive layout with different typography and styles of illustration make the book highly appealing. (12+)

Canada (English) - 1998 - 54
Hughes, Monica
The seven magpies
Toronto: HarperCollins, 1996. 148 p.
ISBN 0-00-224549-3
Scotland/World War II - Boarding school - Ostracism - Soldier - Deserter - Celtic mythology
As a newcomer in a girls' boarding school in Scotland in 1939, 14-year old Maureen is at first ostracised and becomes interested in Celtic legends. But once she is admitted to a secret club she must learn how to assert herself and also find her place in the group. When she accidentally discovers the hiding place of her neighbor's son, an army deserter, she faces a real dilemma. In both cases she gains maturity by wrestling with problems of social and moral conduct. The credible narrative is rich in characterization and background. (12+)
(Shortlisted for 1997 Geoffrey Bilson Award For Historical Fiction For Young People)

Canada (English) - 1998 - 55
Zeman, Ludmila (text/illus.)
The first red maple leaf
Toronto: Tundra Books, 1997. [24] p.
ISBN 0-88776-372-3
Canada - Winter - Wind - Seasons - Tree leaf - Modern folktale
The well-known emblem of Canada, the red maple leaf, is finally given a history by this recent immigrant artist. She draws upon motifs of ancient folklore - talking animals, animals and trees helping mankind, merciless natural forces - to create a memorable story about the protective function of the leaves and the coming of summer to Canada. Using somber, wintry colors that convey the mood of a northern climate, Zeman divides some full-page spreads into smaller frames to capture the dramatic events of the tale. (5+)

Canada (English) - 1998 - 56
Zhang, Song Nan (text/illus.)
Cowboy on the steppes
Toronto: Tundra Books, 1997. [32] p.
ISBN 0-88776-410-X
Mongolia - China/History 1968-1969 - Herdsman
As a part of China's re-education program during the Cultural Revolution, the author's brother, a student in Beijing, was sent to Inner Mongolia. The diary of his year within a commune of nomadic herdsmen is the basis for this illustrated children's book. The diary entries describe Yi Nan Zhang's gradual assimilation into the clan, his learning how to care for livestock, and the hard way of life on Mongolia's steppes. They also reveal something of the growth of a young man (now a journalist in Beijing) taken far away from his own world. The stunning color pencil drawings enhance the appeal of his unusual experiences. (8+) ☆

Canada (French) - 1998 - 173
Demers, Dominique
La mystérieuse bibliothécaire
(The mysterious librarian)
Montréal: Québec Amérique Jeunesse, 1997. 123 p.
ISBN 2-89037-829-2
Library - Reading - Passion - Literature - Illusion - Reality - Eccentricity
Books warm the heart and prickle the mind. That is the motto of Miss Charlotte, the new librarian. With bizarre new ideas she turns the musty old library in the attic of the city hall into a paradise for children and readers. The stories in the books become real for the impassioned reader. The children experience how Charlotte falls in love forever with the beast from the tale „Beauty and the Beast". Once the most notorious despisers of books have become bookworms, Charlotte's mission is completed. She disappears again as mysteriously as she came. (8+)

Canada (French) - 1998 - 174
Dubé, Jasmine (text)
Daigle, Sylvie (illus.)
Tu n'es plus seul, Nazaire!
(You're not alone any more, Nazaire)
Montréal: Courte Échelle, 1997. 61 p.
(Premier roman; 57)
ISBN 2-89021-286-6
Family - Tenderness - Pregnancy - Siblings
This young author has already received prizes for her life's work, which also includes theater plays for children. Her main area of interest is the relationship between parents and children, which she depicts with considerable diversity and subtlety. Seven-year old Nazaire is the hero of this popular series of beginning readers, which glows with the warmth of a happy family nest. This adroit and yet sensitive story tells about the mother's pregnancy, the birth of the new baby and the moments of tender intimacy with father and grandfather as seen through the eyes of a child. (5+) ☼

Canada (French) - 1998 - 175
Guérette, Charlotte (text)
Que le diable l'emporte!
(May the devil take him!)
Montréal: Éditions Hurtubise HMH, 1997. 139 p.
ISBN 2-89428-203-6
Canada/Folktale - Devil
These tales of the devil are taken from the oral tradition of French-speaking Canada. They stem from different sources and show the devil as a master of disguise and transformations. The enlightened young readers will be immune to the thrill of such frightful superstition. They can impartially enjoy the creative inventiveness of these stories and try to imagine themselves returned to the world of their forefathers. (12+)

Canada (French) - 1998 - 176
Pelletier, Francine
Damien mort ou vif
(Damien, dead or alive)
Montréal: Médiaspaul, 1997. 155 p.
ISBN 2-89420-084-6
Ghost - Satanic cult - Sadism - Family - Friendship
As is usually the case in fantasy novels, the feelings of friendship which the young girl Maxine harbours for the ghost of Monsieur Culdéric, who has been dead for 150 years, have no rational explanation. But an explanation is needed after all when another ghost appears. And Maxine will have to find it. The trail leads to the mother of the neighbor children who was married once to the leader of a satanic cult. He had sadistically held her and the twin boys in his power. The author, a master of storytelling and of psychology, develops a very plausible plot to show that the abysses of the human soul put a false bottom under our reality - even without ghosts. (11+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1998 - 177
Simard, Benjamin
(<Proper name>)
Waterloo: Éditions Michel Quintin, 1997. 144 p.
ISBN 2-89435-100-3
Veterinarian - Nature park - Animal preservation - Adventure
Simard and his team work toward wildlife protection and the nature conservation in the forests and on the large lakes of Canada, where they have close contact with bears, wolves, and reindeer. The prerequisite for their adventurous lives is a minute knowledge of nature and a rich store of experience in the wilderness. The narration of such episodes in the lives of the conservationists is thoroughly absorbing. Simard avoids any theorizing and moves entirely within the realm of real events. These give him vast opportunity to inform, to casually instruct and to show nature in her role as the great teacher of mankind. Nature satisfies man's curiosity, grants us fascination and mobilizes our mental, practical and social abilities to reach the level of perfection that marks a mature individual. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1998 - 178
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Poulin, Stéphane (illus.)
Choupette et son petit papa
(Choupette and her little papa)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Héritage, 1997. 43 p.
ISBN 2-7625-8465-5
Play - Mother - Authority - Growing up
Papa's standard phrase that he was always tied to his mother's skirts is taken quite literally by his young daughter, who pictures him in absurd, droll situations, smothered in the folds of the imposing skirt of a matronly mother. Having had such a sheltered childhood, Papa now has a lot to catch up on. And he does so to excess, while his daughter stands by and watches, slightly unnerved, but with understanding and affection. The author and illustrator, both renown for their past accomplishments, outbid one another in inventiveness and let Papa enjoy rollicking childlike capers. (6+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 54
Bell, William
Toronto: Doubleday Canada, 1998. 165 p.
ISBN 0-385-25711-2
Interracial marriage - Search for identity - Grandfather - Prejudice - African slavery
Zack's adolescent discontent with life in his last year at school is compounded by a move from the middle of an exciting big city to a remote rural area. It is gradually assuaged when he takes on a school project that leads to historical detective work involving African freed-slave settlers and also gets romantically involved with a girl. His identity as the son of a black blues singer and a white Jewish historian was never an issue, but his new knowledge about the treatment of the former slaves leads him on a secret odyssey to meet his mother's estranged father in Mississippi. In a taut and plausible plot, the first-person narrator makes decisions that help him to gain maturity and a better understanding of other people. While the family rift is left open in the end, Zack is now ready to face adulthood and pursue academic studies. Much ground is covered in this well-constructed novel, made especially readable by the witty, perceptive narrative tone. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 55
O'Brien, Lisa (text)
MacEachern, Stephen (illus.)
Lights, Camera, Action. Making movies and TV from the inside out
Toronto: Owl Books/Greey de Pencier, 1998. 64 p.
ISBN 1-895688-75-2
Film-making - Television production
As a creator, writer and producer of TV shows for children as well as an acting teacher, the author brings a well-grounded insider's perspective on a topic which is of great interest in the modern media age. This information book is packed full of facts and vignettes organized into six chapters. The attractive layout of the landscape-sized pages uses a wide variety of visual presentation styles, lively cartoon- like illustrations, and different type fonts to set off the many different capsules of information. Throughout the book terms are explained clearly and quiz questions given which reveal interesting film trivia. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 56
Raskin, Lawrie (text/photos)
Pearson, Debora (text)
52 days by camel. My Sahara adventure
Toronto: Annick, 1998. 88 p.
ISBN 1-55037-519-9
Sahara - Travel - Adventure
A Toronto man's boyhood fascination with the desert (triggered by a Donald Duck comic and nurtured later by David Lean's film of Lawrence of Arabia) and his unwavering pursuit of his evermore concrete dreams led him to the Sahara. Finding an old road sign »Timbouctou 52 Jours« inspired him to seek out this ancient, mysterious city. Here he documents his journey in exquisite photographs, hand-drawn maps, and a running narrative interspersed with boxed explanations on topics related to the people, language and geography of the desert. The layout design of text and illustrations is pleasantly varied and adds a special dimension to this travel adventure book. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 57
Matas, Carol
Toronto: Key Porter, 1998. 120 p.
ISBN 1-55013-933-9
Single mother - Siblings - Growing-up - Peer pressure - Love relations
Three sisters, each very different from the other, ranging in age from thirteen to seventeen have a close relationship, partly due to their divorced mother's long working hours. They have a ritual of sharing their experiences in nighttime truth-only »telling« sessions. As each in turn recounts the events of recent weeks during one summer holiday, issues arise - drinking too much alcohol, going along with a group decision one disagrees with, coping with ego problems of a boy one likes, keeping a gay friend's secret, having sex - that make them grow up and see things better by talking them over. This first-person narrative flows easily and gives much food for thought. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 58
Withrow, Sarah
Bat summer
Toronto: Douglas & McIntyre, 1998. 174 p.
(A Groundwood Book)
ISBN 0-88899-351-X
Boy/Girl - Child/Death - Friendship - Outsider - Imagination - Bat - Child neglect
When summer holidays arrive and his best friend, Tom, is gone to camp, Terrence finds himself drawn to Lucy, a strange girl his age who hangs around the same city park and thinks she is a bat. Not only does he begin to understand and enjoy her make-believe world, he also gets caught up in the crisis triggered in part by her family's chaotic and neglectful style of life. The situation escalates when she hides for days in a cave and he is torn between feelings of loyalty and concern for her wellbeing. This first novel is an absorbing read with a child-like (first-person) perspective, sharply observed details, and wide cast of believable characters. (10+)
(Groundwood twentieth anniversary first novel for children contest winner, 1997; Governor General's Literary Award, 1998, Shortlist)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 1999 - 59
Wynne-Jones, Tim (text)
Petričič, Dušan (illus.)
On Tumbledown Hill
Red Deer: Red Deer College Press, 1998. [32] p.
(Northern lights books for children)
ISBN 0-88995-186-1
Monsters - Hide-and-seek
The theme is monsters (or else »painting-on-awindy- afternoon-amidst-chaos«). The literary form consists of sentences, each having one word less than the previous one. The eye-catching graphic format is made up of six rows of black block-letter words, one word to a square, which progressively disappear to reveal more of the underlying illustrations. The zany scenes of events on Tumbledown Hill are done in pastel watercolors, the whimsical narrative has a melodic, lyrical flow. At the end of the day the protagonist's painting and the story converge at a question which every young viewer will delight in answering. This two-layered anecdotal tale is a congenial collaboration between an esteemed writer and a talented artist who began his artistic career in Yugoslavia. The book is highly suitable for reading aloud and intensive looking over and over again. (4+)

Canada (French) - 1999 - 183
Lenain, Thierry (text)
Poulin, Stéphane (illus.)
Petit zizi
(Little weenie)
Laval (Québec): Les 400 Coups, 1997. [32] p.
(Grimac ; 5)
ISBN 2-921620-16-2
Penis - Competition - Love
Who can pee the farthest, who has the largest penis? The boys in Martin's school class seem to consider this the main question in life. It soon takes on significance for him, too, when loud-mouthed Adrien announces just such a contest to win the favor of Anais, the prettiest girl in the class, whom Adrien secretly has a crush on. Anais makes her own decision. She paints a red heart for the shy, clumsy boy. The illustrations give riotous commentary using crazy perspectives and bizarre exaggerations of the contest and the dramatic love scene. (6+)

Canada (French) - 1999 - 184
Noël, Michel
La ligne de trappe
(The trapper's trail)
Montréal (Québec): Hurtubise HMH, 1998. 173 p.
(Collection Atout ; 21 : Aventure)
ISBN 2-89428-273-7
Canada - Wilderness - Airplane crash - Survival
The author is an expert on the wilderness of Northern Canada and writes an apparently authentic story of the desparate struggle for survival of four people whose plane crashed hundreds of kilometers from the next human settlement. The narrator is a Mestize. His view of things discloses the shrewd and humbling recognition of man's precarious roll in the wilderness, based on practical experience. According to his scale of values as an Indian the fundamental elements which are valid for human existence are none other than: life, love and death. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1999 - 185
Pelletier, Maryse
La musique des choses
(The music of things)
Montréal (Québec): Courte Échelle, 1998. 150 p.
(Roman+ ; 52)
ISBN 2-89021-319-6
Puberty - Musical talent - Self-discovery
A sixteen-year old boy, son of highly respected professional musicians and himself musically talented, is caught up in a crisis of identity. Searching to find his own way in life, he begins to doubt his artistic talent. The unexpected encounter with his previously unknown grandparents helps to correct the image of his deceased father that had been conveyed by his mother. He learns to enjoy the company of his peers and appreciate their points of difference. Growing in maturity, he recognizes that his talent lies in music. The sensitively constructed psychological perspective of a young man's problems conveys to its readers an insight into the at once precarious and protective interconnectedness of human relationships within a community. (13+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 1999 - 186
Simard, Rémy (text)
Pratt, Pierre (illus.)
Monsieur Ilétaitunefois
(Mr. Onceuponatime)
North York, Ont.: Annick Press, 1998. [26] p.
ISBN 1-55037-545-8
The many storytellers in the town are quite annoyed with the little man who calls himself »Mr. Onceuponatime «. As soon as the magical introductory phrase used by every storyteller is spoken, he suddenly appears and announces, »You called me!« To preserve the peace, they lock him up and then finally rebaptise him with the name »The End.« From now he appears, politely donning his hat, at the end of every story. And so it is possible to keep this little man, the amusingly grotesque personification of storytelling, under control. This tall-tale from a pre-television age is illustrated in the style of colorful woodcuts with black outlines. (6+)

Canada (English) - 2000 - 56
Bedard, Michael (text)
Tait, Les (illus.)
The clay ladies
Toronto: Tundra Books/McClelland & Stewart, 1999. [40] p.
ISBN 0-88776-385-5
Childhood memories - Sculpture - Neighbor - Grandmother/Grandchild
A young child describes an overnight stay with his grandmother and the memories she shares with him of two important adult role models in her own childhood. Next door to her lived two unusual women sculptors in a large old house-cumstudio who always welcomed child visitors. The text tells how the women hold respect for children and nature, are able to heal wounded animals and give children the opportunity to appreciate beauty and details, and sense the satisfaction of shaping ideas from lumps of clay. The meticulously composed full-page picture scenes of each visit are shown on the opposite page and support the story beautifully. (8+)

Canada (English) - 2000 - 57
Khan, Rukhsana (text)
Gallinger, Patty (illus.)
Muslim child. A collection of short stories and poems
Toronto: Napoleon Publ., 1999. 69 p.
ISBN 0-929141-61-X
Muslims - Religious customs - Sayings
This collection of 21 entries - stories, poems, sayings and activities - offers children outside the Muslim world a very wide range of information at the story and the information level (in part, through extensive explanations in side-bars). The way that Muslim children learn to practice the beliefs of their ancestors are depicted in quite realistic narratives that show how their religion effects their daily lives and how they themselves grow in understanding. The reader will also gain much understanding for a culture that is still widely unfamiliar in many countries. (8+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 58
Leedahl, Shelley A. (text)
Slavin, Bill (illus.)
The bone talker
Red Deer: Red Deer Press, 1999. [32] p.
(Northern lights books for children)
ISBN 0-88995-214-0
Old age - Neighbor - Help - Time - Memories
This literary folk tale ends, in a surprising twist, as an homage to the wide prairie land of central Canada. It starts with the decline of an old woman who was so old that »she talked to her bones as if they were her children« and continues in a wry, lyrical style, telling of all the neighbor's efforts to keep her involved in life and all her stubborn refusals. But when a mere child offers her two scraps of cloth, she slowly finds a smile and begins to sew again. People from near and far bring her more pieces of cloth, each holding special family memories. The superb oil painting illustrations are filled with stylized characters representing Canada's immigrants. (8+)

Canada (English) - 2000 - 59
Marchand, Barbara (illus.)
Kou-Skelowh = We are the people. A trilogy of Okanagan legends.
Penticton: Theytus Books, 1999. 88 p.
ISBN 0-919441-81-5
Folktale/Canada/Okanagan - Origin of life - Names - Animal/Man
These three traditional legends of an Aboriginal tribe in British Columbia were first translated in the 1980s for educational use within the tribal setting. They tell how the chiefs of the Animal and Plant people prepared for the coming of a new people, mankind, by arranging for them to have food and songs; how before the coming of humans the Great Spirit gave all the animals names and their own unique tasks; and how a dream taught the turtle how to free all the animals from their slavery to the eagle. These animal fables make for lively storytelling and are impressive cultural documents of a deep respect for nature and natural processes. The stylized pen-and-ink wash illustrations reflect the spirit of the texts. (8+)

Canada (English) - 2000 - 60
Munsch, Robert N. (text)
Martchenko, Michael (illus.)
We share everything
Markham: Scholastic Canada, 1999. [28] p.
ISBN 0-590-51450-4
Kindergarten - Sharing - Gender roles
A six-year old boy and girl begin their first day at kindergarten with a power struggle over toys, books, and activities. Repeatedly, their teacher exhorts them to share everything. But when they take her quite literally and share - exchange - their clothes as well, they seem to have broken a terrible taboo. And all the children in the kindergarten agree that their teacher must change her way of seeing things! This is a delightful read-aloud picture book with a catchy refrain that captures the child-like spirit of play, spontaneity, and fun in both text and illustration. (5+)

Canada (English) - 2000 - 61
Trottier, Maxine (text)
Morin, Paul (illus.)
Toronto: Stoddart Kids, 1999. [32] p.
ISBN 0-7737-3136-9
Childhood memories - Neighbor - Canada/History 1941-1942 - Japanese-Canadians - Internment
The first-person narrator recalls her own personal experience of losing a friend through the politics of war. While visiting her grandmother on the Pacific coast one summer, the girl befriends an older Japanese man who has a magnificent garden of stones, blue irises (flags) and, in the middle, a fish pond. Although Canadian born, Mr. Hiroshi is forced to give up all this and taken away to an internment camp. Soon new people move in and change the garden entirely, but the young girl manages to save some flowers and stones - as the start of a new garden that can grow better with time. This beautifully illustrated picture book contains a poignant story whose impact grows with re-reading; an excellent starting point for reflection and discussions. (8+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 62
Wallace, Mary (text/illus.)
The Inuksuk Book
Toronto: Greey de Pencier, 1999. 64 p.
ISBN 1-895688-90-6
Arctic - Inuit - Stone - Communication
This beautifully designed information book explains various aspects of the past and present life of the Inuit, the aborigines of Canada's arctic regions. While the well-written text draws upon many authoritative sources to give a wide and carefully selected array of details in twelve thematic chapters, the combination of various-sized color and black-and-white photographs on each page draw the reader into a fascinating world where human beings and nature interact at a very basic level. An inuksuk, a stone structure that communicates knowledge, plays an essential role in survival and in transmitting cultural values. Inuktitut symbols, words and sounds are clearly explained in an appendix. (10+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2000 - 63
Wyatt, Valerie (text)
Petričié, Dušan (illus.)
Earthlings inside and out. A space alien studies the human body
Toronto: Kids Can Press, 1999. 63 p.
ISBN 1-55074-511-5
Physiology - Anatomy
At first inspection upon his arrival space pilot Danoid from Planet Memo finds that Earthlings have built-in helmets, speakers, primary manipulatives, and outer coverings that are alive and growing. The book is structured as an entertaining but highly informative interview between Danoid and 10-year old Pete that describes the amazing features of our bodily functions and compares them with other possibilities. Each page is illustrated with a variety of humorous cartoon sketches and clear scientific displays. In each chapter there are easy-to-implement experiments, while an index facilitates later reference. The graphic design and high standard of illustration are perfect complements to an appealingly imaginative text. (8+)

Canada (English) - 2000 - 64
Ye, Ting-xing (text)
Langlois, Suzane (illus.)
Share the sky
Toronto: Annick Press, 1999. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55037-579-2
China - Prejudice - Canada/Immigrant - Difference - Kite
Fei-fei lives with her grandparents in a village in Asia while her parents establish a new life in North America. With her mind (and night-time dreams) filled with prejudices and reservations voiced by her relatives, Fei-fei is finally sent off to join her parents in a strange new city. To her great surprise and joy she finds children with similar interests and needs at her new school - and, best of all, the same love for kite-flying - a symbolic motif in this book. She is able to reassure her grandparents that they are living under the same sky. The illustrator employs a diversity of perspectives to convey feelings and impressions. The text is printed in boxed insets except on the very last page, when Fei-fei feels a part of her new surroundings. (5+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2000 - 172
Fréchette, Carole
DO pour Dolorès
(DO for Dolores)
Montréal (Québec): Courte Échelle, 1999. 144 p.
(Roman+ ; 57)
ISBN 2-89021-356-0
Differences - Friendship - Puberty - Parents
The friendship between these two 14-year old girls is based on the phenomenon that opposites attract. Do is an adventuress, while Vero prefers to stay fairly inconspicuous. Their common bond is the love of novels. Curious about their differences, they get to know each other better, and Vero's personality, in particular, is enrichened as she finds new ways, like those of her friend, to develop herself. Both teenagers are faced with the challenge of finding a more mature, more autonomous relationship to their difficult fathers. The author, a well-known playwright, gives a suspenseful enactment of how Do unexpectedly disappears from Vero's life after her friendship has fulfilled its meaning. (12+)

Canada (French) - 2000 - 173
Gagnier, Hélène (text)
Gaudette, Christiane (illus.)
L'autre vie de Noël Bouchard
(The other life of Noël Bouchard)
Saint-Laurent (Québec): Tisseyre, 1998. 115 p.
(Collection papillon ; 62)
ISBN 2-89051-702-0
Adolescence - Handicap - Isolation - Daydream - Happiness
Mentally handicapped Noël leads a lonely and cowering life, ridiculed by all around him as the handy man on the neighbor's farm. He can only laugh and be happy by escaping into his daydreams, where he imagines himself as a carefree young child, playing with little elves. The narrative perspective renders Noël's inner life and lets the reader realistically experience the suffering that the uncaring behavior of other people can cause for someone handicapped. (9+)

Canada (French) - 2000 - 174
Lasser, Olivier (text)
Jorisch, Stéphane (illus.)
Charlotte et l'île du Destin. Une histoire
(Charlotte and the island of fate. A story)
Laval (Québec): Les 400 Coups, 1998. [46] p.
(Les grands albums)
ISBN 2-921620-13-8
Journey/Life - Dream/Reality - Time/Leisure
The idea for this story about a girl's adventurefilled journey - which starts in the realm of dreamy fantasy and moves into real space and time - came from the illustrator himself, and this explains the remarkable correspondence between text and pictures. The watercolor illustrations depict the secret of human life as a series of way-stations. Never losing her openness and simplicity, Charlotte absolves one island after the other where she experiences either confusion or confirmation. The large city, as a turning point in the journey, exerts both fascination and repulsion. This ambivalency is achieved through an imagery that gives our mechanized island-like planet the flair of a frenzied, raging magician's garden. (5+)
(Prix Littéraire du Gouverneur Général pour l'Illustration; 1999)

Canada (French) - 2000 - 175
Sarfati, Sonia (text)
Pellan, Alfred (illus.)
Le cueilleur d'histoires. Un conte
(The collector of stories. A story)
[Québec, Québec]: Musée du Québec, 1998. 44 p.
ISBN 2-551-18914-4
Art - Literature - Storytelling
The Quebecois painter Alfred Pellan (1906-1988) took his inspiration from Surrealism and Cubism. A unique element in his work is the »bestiary.« It consists of hundreds of fantasy animals, whose richness of form reflect the naive playfulness of the artist. They are drawn, made of collage, sculpted from painted stones and scrap materials, amorphous or four-footed, endowed with antennas, trunks or quills. Twenty of them were chosen by Sonia Sarfati to accompany an exhibition and made into a darkly mysterious story set in a time in the distant past. These creatures travel about and gather stories which would protect against fears and dangers. The graphic design of this book enhances the charm of this encounter between visual art and literature by fusing illustration and text into an artistic whole. (8+)

Canada (French) - 2000 - 176
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Germain, Philippe (illus.)
Alex, le petit joueur de hockey
(Alex, the little hockey player)
Saint-Lambert (Québec): Dominique et Compagnie, 1999. 32 p.
(À pas de loup : Niveau 3, je dévore les livres)
ISBN 2-89512-044-7
Hobby - Hockey - Wish
Alex thinks of nothing else but hockey. Even the smallest act of the day is steeped in it. While eating his muesli at breakfast he sets up a competition between the oat flakes. At the lunch table his forks dribble the carrots, and while doing his homework the pencils hit the eraser into the pencil kit for the 100th goal of the day. But unfortunately Alex doesn't have the right gear. His family ignores his requests, and so the champ has to help himself. An old pullover is worked over into a hockey tricot to give fuel to the illusion of being number one on the star team. Dynamic illustrations, large size print and a simple direct voice are the hallmark of this new series of books that match the imaginary world of beginning readers. (7+) ☼

Canada (English) - 2001 - 47
Ellis, Deborah
The breadwinner
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, 2000. 170 p.
ISBN 0-88899-419-2. - 0-88899-416-8
Afghanistan - Taliban - Girl - Women's emancipation - Freedom - Loyalty
This compelling and realistic novel is set in Afghanistan, a country devastated by more than 40 years of war and under the yoke of the Taliban, members of an extreme religious group, ever since 1996. When her father is arrested, elevenyear- old Pavana has to become the breadwinner of the family. Since the Taliban has banned women from public life (women cannot go to school, work outside the home or leave their homes without a man), she must transform herself into a boy. The author presents a sensitive portrayal of determined girls and women struggling for survival and fighting for their dignity and freedom. (10+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2001 - 48
Gregory, Nan (text)
Lightburn, Ron (illus.)
Wild Girl & Gran
Red Deer, Alberta : Red Deer Press, 2000. [34] p.
(Northern lights books for children)
ISBN 0-88995-221-3
Grandchild - Grandmother - Friendship - Death - Imagination
Perched on her favourite tree, Wild Girl awaits the arrival of her grandmother. For a happy spring and summer, they enjoy a deep friendship. But as the autumn leaves wither, grandmother falls ill. In winter, grandmother has died. Rhythmic, urgent and engaging, the text bears the mark of a true storyteller's craft: little snippets of playful poetry mingle with short sentences of well-paced prose. The illustrator uses layers of pencil drawings, acrylics and oil paints to project the changing moods unto the landscape of the Garry Oak Meadow, a unique ecosystem in British Columbia. Together, words and pictures pay homage to nature and the power of imagination and love which renew Wild Girl's spirits. (6+) ☼

Canada (English) - 2001 - 49
Heneghan, James
The grave
Vancouver : Douglas & McIntyre, 2000. 236 p.
ISBN 0-88899-414-1
Time-slip - Ireland <1847> - Famine - Identity - Friendship - Family
Abandoned as a baby, 13-year-old Tom has been shuffled from one foster home to another. When he hears rumours that a mass grave has been unearthed on his school grounds, he finds himself inexplicably drawn to it. The grave pulls Tom down into its terrible darkness and beyond, where he discovers that he is in Ireland in 1847, at the height of the potato famine. The Monaghans take him in, and for the first time Tom experiences what is is like to have parents and siblings who care for one another. Tom's journeys into the past provide him with some clues to his family background, and he returns to his present with a renewed sense of responsibility. A final intriguing author's note to this powerful first-person narrative explains that a mysterious mass grave actually was discovered in Liverpool in 1973. (13+)

Canada (English) - 2001 - 50
Lee, Dennis (text)
McPhail, David (illus.)
Bubblegum delicious
[Toronto] : Key Porter Books, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55263-159-1
Bug - Nonsense - Poetry
Dennis Lee, praised as the poet laureate of the Canadian children's poetry, returns in this truly delightful book. Using the rhythm of bouncing balls and schoolyard songs, he has created a whimsical world of nursery and counting rhymes, nonsense and two-pence, lyrical lullabies and quirky quatrains literally crawling across the pages. These are accompanied by a parade of psychedelic bugs, a product of the illustrator's overboarding imagination. These bugs counterpoint the verse with their own brand of visual poetry. A friendly boy and his dog take the reciting reader through the welldesigned book. But soon, one feels, the children will shout, chant, sing. (5+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 51
McKay, Sharon E.
Charlie Wilcox
Toronto : Stoddart Kids, 2000. XI, 221 p.
ISBN 0-7737-6093-8
World War I - Infirmity - Heroism - Growing-up - Friendship - Newfoundland
Charlie Wilcox is born into a family of captains and sealers in Newfoundland. But weak and with a club foot, he is not to go to the ice. Charlie is determined to prove himself. He tries stowing away on a sealing ship, only to find he is headed for war! Tending to the wounded at the army hospital, Charlie proves his worth in the trenches of World War I. When he returns home, he is no longer a boy, but a young who has found his way. McKay, great-niece of the »real« Charlie Wilcox, masterfully blends fact and fiction, developing an unforgettable cast of characters against a fully realised setting. Every minor character comes alive, and one can share in the lovable protagonist's excitement, fear and nascent love, admire his determination and heroism and smile at his little worries. This touching historical novel is written with a deep awareness of human emotion and a fine sense of humour. (10+)
(Governor General's Award; 2000)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 52
Schwartz, Roslyn (text/illus.)
The Mole Sisters and the busy bees
Toronto : Annick Press, 2000. [28] p.
ISBN 1-55037-663-2. - 1-55037-662-4
Sisters - Bee - Laziness - Business
When a busy bee buzzes by, the irresistible Mole Sisters stop doing nothing. They begin smelling flowers and get their noses covered in pollen until they look like flowers themselves. An enormous sneeze, splashing all over the page, puts everything right in the end. The short, lively text brims with imagination and resounds with onomatopoeia. The playful pastel-chalk illustrations capture wonderfully amusing situations, such as the Mole Sisters' noses sticking out of the tall grass. This is a charming new series whose humour and refreshing simplicity will not only delight preschoolers. (4+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2001 - 53
Waboose, Jan Bourdeau (text)
Deines, Brian (illus.)
Toronto, ON : Kids Can Press, 2000. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55074-697-9
Sisters - Northern Lights
This is a quiet book, for it cherishes the wisdom of previous Ojibway generations. As the two sisters go out into the night to see the Northern Lights, they remember grandmother's words: »Wisdom comes on silent wings«. Waboose's knowledge of the northern landscape has created a gentle yet powerful story about a journey into a silent night. It is about the bonds between sisters, between generations and between humans and nature. Deines's oil on canvas illustrations capture the chill of a silent northern night, the warmth of the family circle and the radiance of a child's wonder. (6+) ☆ ☼

Canada (French) - 2001 - 176
Croteau, Marie-Danielle (text)
St-Aubin, Bruno (illus.)
Ma nuit dans les glaces
(My night on the ice)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte Échelle, 2000. 63 p.
(Premier roman ;101)
ISBN 2-89021-431-1
Child - Threat of death - Loneliness
Fred goes ice-fishing with his father. His vivid imagination transforms the excursion into an Inuit adventure. But then, reality catches up with imagination. Suddenly, the ice float with the fishing hut drifts off with Fred. He spends a lonely night until he is finally rescued; this event brings about a decisive turn in his childhood. This story for beginning readers relates how a child confronts the fear of death and how it finds the strength to struggle for survival. Identification with the young hero will help children to win confidence and to lose the anxiety of growing up. Growing up will always bring about situations of distress – even if they are not as extreme as the one experienced by Fred – which youngsters have to master on their own. (7+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2001 - 177
Gravel, François (text)
Burcev, Anatoli (illus.)
L'été de la moustache
Ville Saint-Laurent (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2000. 48 p.
(Les grands albums)
ISBN 2-921620-46-4
Hat - Moustache - Fashion - Friendship
All the male world indulges in the capricious caprioles of moustache fashion. Monsieur Antoine with his »moustaches à la mode« caters for all their needs. His barber shop thrives. However, the spirit of the times disdains the hat shop of his friend Monsieur Vincent. Hats are »out«. A miracle is brought about by one of those rare living moustaches which Antoine sells only to very special customers: Gently, it smoothes down on Vincent's upper lip, caresses him like a cat and makes him happy. From now on, customers come streaming in and business booms. At the end of the summer, all living moustaches fly down south – just like migratory birds. Business resumes to normal. Author and illustrator evoke the charm of ancestral coquetteries with refined skill. The watercolour drawings stage the fashion fancies in the style of the Belle Epoque and follow the lighthearted slogans and puns of the text. One might smile upon these men with their modish musings – but because they are true gentlemen they never lack dignity. (9+)
(Governor's General's Literary Award; 2000)

Canada (French) - 2001 - 178
Noël, Michel
Le cÉur sur la braise
(Heart on the ashes)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2000. 164 p.
(Collection Atout ; 39 : Récit)
ISBN 2-89428-409-8
Canada - Indians - Reserve - Environmental destruction - Passive resistance
It is hardly known that the living space and freedom of the native Indians were restricted just as cruelly in the 1950s as during the time of the settlers. With this novel the author, coordinator of the Native Affairs Department, raises the issue. He denounces the scandalous conditions in the reserves while expressing deep reverence for the traditional ways of the Natives. Nature shares in the suffering of its people – a poetic device common to native story telling. Noël implies, however, that our modern times call for more inventive ways, initiatives and new forms of solidarity. (12+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2001 - 179
Pelletier, Francine
Les eaux de Jade
(The Waters of Jade)
Montréal, QC : Médiaspaul, 2000. 161 p.
(Jeunesse-pop ;134 : Science-fiction)
ISBN 2-89420-404-3
Deep sea diving - Adventure - Maturing
This psycholocially convincing young adult novel combines various elements of the nature novel, agent thriller, science fiction and adventure story. 12-year-old heroine Jade lives on an extraterrestial planet. Her name discloses her innate affinity to the mysterious world of the deep sea which she discovers to be her element during a diving expedition with her parents. The dangers of the voyage commissioned by a secret service help her to mature. She learns to master her fears and to calculate risks. She also establishes a new relationship with her over-protective parents, showing them that she is worthy of a trusting partnership. (15+)

Canada (English) - 2002 - 46
Kositsky, Lynne (text)
Lightburn, Ron (illus.)
Matthews, Sharon (illus.)
Rachel : a mighty big imagining
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Penguin Books, 2001. XI, 64 p.
(Our Canadian girl) (Juvenile fiction)
ISBN 0-14-100252-2
Nova Scotia/1783 – Slavery – Emancipation – Gender role
The story of ten-year-old Rachel is one of four in a new series of Canadian historical fiction. Aimed at young girls, the series features strong heroines in various historical settings. Black-and-white-illustrations, a historical map of Canada, and a timeline add to the retro-Victorian make-up. Rachel has fled slavery and come to Nova Scotia to be free. As she experiences poverty and prejudice, her family's love and an Indian girl's friendship, she understands that freedom exists above all in the mind. Kositsky draws a compelling portrait of one of the lesser-known chapters of Canadian history that will inspire girls to read on. They will find related information and activities at the supporting website www.ourcanadiangirl.ca. (8+)

Canada (English) - 2002 - 47
Ruurs, Margriet (text)
Bonder, Dianna (illus.)
A pacific alphabet
Vancouver [et al.] : Whitecap Books, 2001. [36] p.
ISBN 1-55285-264-4
Pacific coast
In recent years, many Canadian children's books have explored their country's mountains, prairies, and northern regions from A to Z. This quirky picture ABC-book takes you on a rollicking journey along the Pacific coast. Ruurs' alliteration-packed verses overflow with the rich fauna and flaura while Bonder's bright, capricious pictures brim with deliciously absurd imagination and humour. Odd, delightfully grotesque characters populate the pages. Children will rejoice at the rich sounds of the verse and love to plunge into the pages to identify many hidden objects that start with each letter. (6+)

Canada (English) - 2002 - 48
Sheppard, Mary C.
Seven for a secret
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2001. 189 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-437-0; 0-88899-438-9
Coming of age – Gender role
Women's lives in Cook's Cave, Newfoundland, long followed the same course: school until age 14, pregnancy, marriage to a fisherman, children, housework, trouble with a drinking husband or loss of a beloved husband in a storm. In 1960, things are changing: Melinda, Rebecca and Kate, cousins and best friends, are promising and very different young women. That summer they have to make decisions which will determine their futures somewhere between tradition and emancipation. Melinda's authentic, saucy voice lends this firstperson narrative freshness and gives a vivid portrait of three Newfoundland-generations. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 49
Slade, Arthur
Toronto, Ontario : HarperCollins, 2001. 168 p.
(Young adult fiction)
ISBN 0-00-648593-6
Coming of age – Imagination – The Evil – Reality/Fantasy
»You are on the cusp […] between boy and man, the dreaming and the reality«. That's what Abram Harsich, an uncanny stranger who mesmerises a little Saskatchewan prairie town, explains to Robert. The eleven-year-old still possesses the deep intuitive understanding of a child which allows him to unravel the mysteries surrounding the disappearance of his little brother. But he equally has the strength to confront Harsich, who steals children to collect their »dust« – their souls. In this intellectually and emotionally engaging novel, Slade masterfully explores this realm of transition in which the boundaries between reality and fantasy blur. He draws on elements from horror tales and science fiction, fantasy and coming-of-age stories. Action-packed and yet full of reflexion, Slade's writing brims with dazzling imagery and literary references ranging from the Bible to science fiction. This is a thrilling page-turner of high literary quality. (12+)
(Governor General's Award; 2001)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 50
Swanson, Diane (text)
Clark, Warren (illus.)
Nibbling on Einstein's brain : the good, the bad & the bogus in science
Toronto [et al.] : Annick Press, 2001. 104 p.
ISBN 1-55037-686-1; 1-55037-687-x
Science – Fraud in science – Scientific literacy
Science determines many choices we make and the way we understand the world. However, not everything that looks like science is reliable. It is difficult to distinguish between sound science that is based on proper research and phony science that is false or misleading. That is why this book advocating scientific literacy is particularly welcome. It doesn't give answers but shows what questions to ask. It doesn't accumulate facts but demonstrates how to evaluate them. It's a guide to critical thinking, teaching awareness of media and mind traps. Swanson's accessible writing, Clark's zany illustrations and the effective layout make this book – complete with assignments, index, glossary, and references – an enjoyable interactive read. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 51
Toten, Teresa
The game
Calgary, Alberta : Red Deer Press, 2001. 208 p.
ISBN 0-88995-232-9
Emotional trauma – Guilt – Friendship
Fragmented memories trouble Dani's mind as she regains consciousness in Riverwood Psychiatric Clinic. Distant ones of her loving mother, haunting ones of her father, and powerful ones of the »Game« she and her sister Kelly used to play – a game of Good against Evil which holds the key to her emotional trauma. With the help of Doctor Thurber and new friends, Dani can finally confront it. Toten effectively explores various narrative techniques to convey the psychological complexity of guilt, angst, craving for love and acceptance: nonlinear unfolding of the plot, shifting points-ofview, inclusion of letters and interviews. In short: a stirring, well-crafted novel. (16+)
(Governor General's Award; 2001, Finalist)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2002 - 52
Watt, Mélanie (text/illus.)
Leon the chameleon
Toronto, ON [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55074-867-x
Difference – Colour – Loneliness
Leon the chameleon is different from all the other chameleons. On a green leaf, he turns red, on yellow sand, he turns purple, and in the blue pond, he turns orange. No wonder Leon feels lonely! Apart from illustrating the principles of complementary colours in a strikingly original way (the book started off as a university project on colour theory), Leon himself learns an important lesson: What makes him different is also what makes him special. Watt's vibrant acrylic and black ink illustrations perfectly capture Leon's moods and strongly bring the message of acceptance and self-confidence across. (4+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2002 - 172
Beauchemin, Jean-François (text)
Mangeau, Marc (illus.)
Mon père est une chaise
(My father is a chair)
Montréal (Québec): Québec Amérique Jeunesse, 2001. 155 p.
ISBN 2-7644-0090-x
Father – Son – Loss – Separation – Single-parent child
Instead of the usual appraisals you will find a warning on the book's back cover: »I might as well tell you right away, dear reader, the story I have written for you is not pretty.« And indeed, what 11-year-old Anatole has to go through in three days of triumph, anguish and turmoil is pretty ugly. When his father tumbles down the freshly polished stairs, Anatole seizes the chance to start a new, meaningful life. But finally, reality catches up with him. Despite the disturbing plot, Beauchemin creates a quirky and lovable character whose quest for love against all odds infuses this unconventional novel with warmth and humour. (12+)

Canada (French) - 2002 - 173
Bletton, Marie (text)
Borduas, Paul-Émile (illus.)
Le petit canoë
(Little canoe)
Saint-Laurent (Québec) : Les 400 coups, 2001. [32] p.
(Petites histoires de l'art)
ISBN 2-89540-030-x
Arts – Abstract art – Canoe - Imagination
This picture book introduces a promising series exploring the narrative and imaginative potential of art. Bletton's choice of an abstract, untitled painting by the avant-garde Québec artist Borduas may surprise. But the story of the little canoe lost on the planet Borduas demonstrates the inspiring power of imagination and captures the experimental playfulness of Borduas' work. Children will enjoy discovering the strange creatures that come to life in the midst of changing shapes and colours. The book calls for an adult to take children on this enchanting journey of art appreciation. (5+) ☼

Canada (French) - 2002 - 174
Chabin, Laurent
La valise du mort
(The dead man's suitcase)
[Montréal] : Hurtubise HMH, 2001. 154 p.
(Collection Atout ; 52 ; Policier)
ISBN 2-89428-471-3
Detective – Mystery
Chabin, prolific writer with a keen sense of setting and a fondness for teenage anti-heroes, adds yet another gripping murder mystery to his well established universe of detective stories. In a series of cleverly plotted and well-paced incidents, Marcus Arbuckle gets entangled in a mysterious crime: He accidentally kills his father, knocks down a stranger, steals a car, only to be threatened and hunted in turn – and all that because of a black suitcase of unknown content. Adopting Marcus' limited perspective, Chabin outwits the reader and leads him on false tracks. This is perfect entertainment full of suspense and refreshing humour. (11+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2002 - 175
Lamontagne, Ann
Les mémoires interdites
(The forbidden memories)
Hull (Québec) : Éd. Vents d'Ouest, 2001. 205 p.
(Roman ado ; 34 : Drame)
ISBN 2-89537-022-2
Memory – Identity – Creativity – Plagiarism
Grégoire wants to be a writer. His imagination and talent seem phenomenal until a big scandal at the young writers' competition reveals that he possesses an infallible memory instead: Word by word he had reproduced Saint Exupéry's »The Little Prince« without realising it! Accused of plagiarism and knowing that his ideas are no longer his, Grégoire has to confront the darker sides of memory before he can painfully regain his threatened identity and liberate his imagination. In her first novel, published in the award-winning »Roman ado« series, Lamontagne masterfully renders the characters and the setting. Taking up the French literary tradition of reflections on memory, she shows how identity and creativity are at the very core of it. References to literary works and insights into the workings of memory will inspire the read- ers to explore the realms of literature and science on their own. (12+)
(Governor General's Award ; 2001 ; Shortlist)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2002 - 176
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Favreau, Marie-Claude (illus.)
La petite fille qui ne souriait plus
(The little girl who no longer smiled)
Saint-Laurent (Québec): Soulières Éd., 2001. 50 p.
(Ma petite vache a mal aux pattes ; 29)
ISBN 2-922225-58-5
Child abuse
This little book has the courage to address one of the greatest taboos of children's literature: child abuse. Nathalie is oppressed by a terrible secret. The man who causes her anxiety has told her no one would love her anymore once they knew the truth. All she can do is long for a soap that cleans people's inside. Finally, an observant art teacher discovers Nathalie's secret and helps her confront it. Tibo's sensitive, simple style and Favreau's sketchy yet gentle illustrations set this book apart from purely issue-oriented problem novels. (6+)

Canada (English) - 2003 - 47
Edwards, Wallace (text/illus.)
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2002. [32] p.
ISBN 1-55337-386-3
Alphabet – Animals
Truth often lies in paradox – as, for example, in the fact that the rigid structure of the alphabet continuously seems to inspire unconventional ABC-books. In his first book for children, Edwards unites an exotic menagerie of »alphabeasts« in a mansion lavishly decorated with elaborate tapestries, intricate carpets and extravagant draperies. Each letter features an unpredictable guest in an incongruous setting engaged in an even more unexpected activity. This surreal feast for the eyes will fascinate young and old and lead to reflections on the uncanny boundaries between wilderness and civilisation. (6+)

Canada (English) - 2003 - 48
Goobie, Beth
The lottery
Victoria, BC [et al.] : Orca Book Publ., 2002. 264 p.
ISBN 1-55143-238-2
Scapegoatism – Peer pressure – Friendship
A tribute to Robert Cormier’s »Chocolate War«, this tense novel explores the destructive dynamics of peer pressure and scapegoatism: At the beginning of the new school-year, fifteen-year-old Sally Hanson learns that she is the so-called »winner« of the reputed lottery set up by the Shadow Council – a student body terrorising the entire high school. Victim of the Council and shunned by all the students, Sally tries to face the darker side of human nature without losing faith in herself or her friends. Trust in her brother and in the powers of music help her to stay true to herself. Goobie’s keen sense of observation shows in her poignant psychological analysis and in the resourcefulness of her striking imagery. (12+)

Canada (English) - 2003 - 49
Holeman, Linda
Search of the moon king’s daughter : a novel
Toronto, Ontario [et al.] : Tundra Books, 2002. 309 p.
ISBN 0-88776-592-0
Sister – Brother – Poverty – Child labour – Class society – England/1830-1836
This gripping novel draws a shockingly realistic portrait of the appalling living conditions of the poor in comparison with the safe and comfortable life of the upper classes in 19century England. After her father’s death, Emmaline, her mother Cat, and her deaf baby brother are thrown out of their small country cottage and forced to move to a nearby mill town where, one day, Cat has her hand smashed in a terrible factory accident. To get hold of laudanum, the pain-killing drug, the girl’s desperate mother eventually sells the small boy into servitude as a chimney sweep. Emmaline, now 15, immediately sets off to find and save her brother and encounters a lot of cruelty but also kindness, hope, and even a small miracle. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 50
Levine, Karen
Hana’s suitcase : a true story
Toronto, Ontario : Second Story Press, 2002. 111 p.
(The Holocaust remembrance series for young readers)
ISBN 1-896764-55-x; 1-896764-61-4
Holocaust – Persecution of the Jews – Quest – Holocaust Education – Japan/Canada
Fumiko Ishioka, director of the Tokyo Holocaust Center, felt that the best way to teach children about the past is to show them physical objects that tell the story of the people connected to them. When a suitcase with the only information »Hana Brady, May 16, 1931, Waisenkind (orphan)« arrives in Japan from the Auschwitz Museum in the year 2000, the quest for Hana’s story begins. This inspiring and deeply moving documentary brings together the three stories of Fumiko’s and the Japanese childrens‘ detective work, of Hana’s childhood in former Czechoslovakia, her deportation to Theresienstadt and her murder in Auschwitz, and finally that of her brother, who survived the Holocaust and came to Canada with nothing but the family photo album to keep the memory of Hana alive. This way, the Holocaust does not appear like a distant chapter of German history but rather like an event of universal impact, which teaches today’s generation to work towards peace, tolerance, and understanding. (10+) ☆
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)
(CD of original CBC radio documentary available upon request)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 51
Park, Janie Jaehyun (retelling/illus.)
The tiger and the dried persimmon : a Korean folktale
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. [30] p.
(Groundwood books)
ISBN 0-88899-485-0
Folktale – Tiger – Courage
A persimmon is a fruit given to children in East Asian countries as a sweet treat. But, luckily, the great tiger – powerfully rendered in the illustrations – does not know that. When he comes to a farm house to devour the ox, he hears the »growling« sounds of a little baby who seems to fear nothing – neither wolf, nor bear, nor tiger – except for dried persimmon. The tiger’s misinterpretation results in a wonderful comedy of errors with many an unexpected turn, skilfully reflected in the changing perspectives of the swirling, dynamic pictures. These vibrant and highly expressive illustrations are inspired by the ancient tradition of Korean art and effectively bring this retelling of the Korean folktale to life. (5+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2003 - 52
Yee, Paul (text)
Chan, Harvey (illus.)
Dead man’s gold and other stories
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2002. 112 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-475-3
Chinese immigrants – Ghost stories
In ten original stories, Paul Yee masterfully conjures up the past of Chinese immigrants who came to the New World to make a living but were haunted by the people, traditions, and values of their old home country. Lovers cruelly separated by immigration laws, strict fathers, and poor peddlers unable to adapt to the New World return as ghosts so that their fates will not be forgotten. Told in the popular form of ghost stories, they provide a link between traditional Chinese folklore and modern North American short stories, and create a powerful »New World Mythology«. The award-winning illustrator takes up the strong images of the texts and heightens their intensity in eerie and evocative plates which add to the bibliophile nature of this thoroughly designed book. (16+)
(Shortlisted for the Governor General’s Award 2002)

Canada (French) - 2003 - 173
Croteau, Marie-Danielle (text)
St-Aubin, Bruno (illus.)
Mais qui sont les Hoo?
(But who are the Hoos?)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte échelle, 2002. 62 p.
(Premier roman ; 127)
ISBN 2-89021-533-4
Neighbour – Chinese – Prejudice – Tolerance
The Hoos, Fred’s new neighbours, are a family of ten. All the family members climb out of the removal van with a chair on their heads, and, with the same chairs still on their heads, they come out of the house again. Since foreign behaviour often remains incomprehensible and lack of understanding frequently leads to rejection, Fred and his friend Gus, who are full of prejudice, make fun of the Hoos. As a consequence, their teacher decides to »punish« them: They have to get to know the Chinese family. Soon, they realise that the Chinese neighbours do not eat cats, and they learn that the family are famous artists. Full of wit, very entertaining, and easy to read, this humorous children’s novel teaches the message of being tolerant and unprejudiced. (7+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 174
Desjardins, Richard (ed.)
Les plus beaux poèmes des enfants du Québec
(The most beautiful poems of children from Québec)
Montréal, Québec : L’ Hexagone/VLB éditeur, 2002. 175 p.
ISBN 2-89006-677-0
Poetry – Children
This illustrated volume of poems for young and old, written and drawn by children, is the result of a large literature competition with the motto: »À vos plumes, les poètes!« (Grab your quills, poets!). About 650 Québecois school classes with roughly 17,000 pupils between the age of eight and twelve have followed the call. A high-quality jury chose 86 poems and illustrations which mirror the wide variety of topics children tackle nowadays. It becomes clear that the word »fun generation«, a term frequently used in Western countries today, does not apply to these children at all. In addition to typically Canadian titles, such as »Snow«, and topics generally popular with children, such as »My favourite animals«, this anthology contains several poems about important issues: friendship, love, peace, tolerance,... The book’s design expresses the wealth of the children’s poetry and imagination in an admirable way. (8+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 175
Meunier, Sylvain
Le cheval d’Isabelle
(Isabelle’s horse)
Hull (Québec) : Vents d’Ouest, 2002. 145 p.
(Collection Girouette ; 5 : Aventure)
ISBN 2-89537-039-7
Teenage girl – Horse riding – Summer camp – Horse – Legend – Indigenous people
Finally, the holidays have begun and fourteen-yearold Isabelle can visit her beloved summer riding camp again. Yet, this year, an unusual adventure awaits her: One night, Isabelle sees a large white horse that obviously beckons the girl to ride off with it. Later, she learns that the animal has been appearing to horse-loving girls for generations. The horse’s secret, the source of which is the love of an indigenous couple, goes back to a war between France and England in 1759 and its consequences for a village of indigenous people that existed in the region at that time. In this novel, two worlds are brought together in an interesting way: Dream and reality, past and present, the fantastic and the believable. (9+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 176
Roy, Pierre
Une tonne de patates!
(Tons of potatoes!)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2002. 87 p.
ISBN 2-89428-566-3
Canada/1939-1948 – Boy – Poverty – School
This children’s novel, which tells the story of an eleven-year-old boy living in Quebec between 1939 and 1948, makes a time come alive that seems to be a very distant past in present-day Canada. The effects of the world economic crisis in 1929 and of the Second World War, such as poverty, hunger, migration to the cities, child labour, etc., form its historical context. Samuel has to drop out of school to help his father with the farm work. Still, the family is not able to maintain the farm and, soon, they have to fend for themselves in Montreal. Despite the unfavourable situation, Samuel – eager to learn – manages to finish his school education. As a notary, he can later even help his family to leave their poor life behind. (9+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2003 - 177
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Melanson, Luc (illus.)
Le grand voyage de Monsieur
(The great journey of Mister)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2001. [32] p.
ISBN 2-89512-189-3. – 2-89512-191-5
Death – Mourning – Journey
Filled with grief after the death of his child, a man leaves his home behind and goes on a journey. He lets himself drift along, his decisions influenced by coincidences. When his train stops at the sea, he crosses the ocean on a passenger ship. Thus, the man travels the world, strolls along the streets, spends some pleasant time with people who invite him into their homes. At the end of the world, he meets a child who has lost his parents in a war. Hand in hand, they try to overcome their grief. The text, reduced to the essential words, and the clear, yet discreet illustrations manage to present the loss of a loved person, the grief, and the loneliness in a sensitive way, suitable for children. (4+) ☆ ☼
(Governor General’s Award; 2002)

Canada (English) - 2004 - 49
Dinn, Philip (adapt.)
Jones, Andy (adapt.)
Cohen, Elly (illus.)
Peg Bearskin : a traditional Newfoundland tale
St. John’s NL : Running the Goat, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 0-96887-127-5
Folktale – Newfoundland – Longing for child – Ugliness – Love
Read the text and you will hear the authentic voice of a local Newfoundland storyteller; take a closer look at the text and you will see true love for the art of bookmaking: Every single letter has been handset and each paragraph’s place on the page carefully considered. This unique tangibility of voice and type creates a strong sense of place, while the tale of Peg Bearskin itself makes ample use of universal narrative patterns: There are three daughters, three quests, and three husbands. But Peg is a ferociously ugly and thoroughly unconventional heroine who makes sure that the happy end holds a humorous surprise in store. Cohen’s stark black-and-white linocuts reveal the darker side of this traditional folk tale. (6+)

Canada (English/Cree) - 2004 - 50
Highway, Tomson (text)
Deines, Brian (illus.)
Fox on the Ice = Mahkesís mískwamíhk e - cípatapít
Toronto, ON : HarperCollins, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 0-00-225532-4
Cree Indians – Nature – Family – Community
This bilingual picture book is the third in the Songs of the North trilogy. Each volume is centred on one animal – the caribou, the dragonfly, and the fox respectively – and relates one little outdoor adventure of the two Cree brothers Joe and Cody and their dog. The narrative in English and Cree focuses less on plot than on tone and atmosphere. It evokes the vastness of the far North, the beauty of the Manitoba landscape, the happiness of the family, and the simple joys of living in harmony with nature. Deines’s sparkling illustrations perfectly capture the majesty of the Great North and almost seem to reflect the boys’ tinkling laughter. (5+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 51
Major, Kevin (text)
Blackwood, David (illus.)
Ann and Seamus
Toronto : Douglas & McIntyre, 2003. 109 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-561-x
Shipwreck – Newfoundland/1828 – Epic poem – Heroism – Love – Steadfastness
On May 29, 1828, the Despatch, an Irish immigrant ship, runs aground off the shore of Newfoundland. »These are the barest facts. They tell us nothing of the misery and pain.« Oh, but Kevin Major and David Blackwood certainly do, and how! They also tell us about courage, hope, and love. Thanks to young Ann Harvey’s steadfastness, more than 160 lives could be saved from »the hellish clutches of Isle aux Morts.« Adopting the form of a narrative poem, Major creates a dramatic contrast between intimate lyrical passages reflecting the aspirations of the two protagonists and the powerful epic scenes describing the plight and rescue of the shipwrecked. Blackwell’s haunting blue and grey prints vividly reflect all shifts in tone and voice. The generous text layout amplifies the epic rhythm and reinforces the impression that one is reading a timeless tale of love and courage. (12+)
(Governor General’s Award; 2003; Shortlist)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 52
Sadlier, Rosemary (text)
Wang, Qi-Jun (illus.)
The kids book of Black Canadian history
Toronto ON : Kids Can Press, 2003. 56 p.
ISBN 1-55074-892-0
Black Canadians – Canada/1628–2000
This non-fiction title tells an important story seldom told: the history of Black Canadians. From the first Black slave to arrive in New France in 1628 to the Black singers, artists, and politicians of today, this book offers informative double-pages on key periods, people, or events: the Underground Railroad, the participation of Black soldiers in various wars and revolutions, the Jamaican Maroons, etc. Short personality profiles and »did-you-know boxes« with intriguing bits of information arouse the reader’s curiosity. A section titled »Prejudice and Racism« reminds us that the best way to fight these two evils is to learn more about each other. In this sense, this book makes a true contribution to tolerance. (8+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2004 - 53
Schwartz, Virginia Frances
Markham, Ontario : Fitzhenry & Whiteside, 2003. 268 p.
ISBN 1-55005-053-2
Kwakiutl Indians – Coming of age – Twins – Salmon – Sacrifice – Atonement
This powerful historical novel about Kwakiutl Indians from the Northwest Coast of Canada has strong mythic resonances. Set in the 15century, it weaves together the story of three adolescents on the brink of adulthood and a Kwakiutl transformation myth. The destiny of 11-year-old Nana and her twin brother Nanolatch is clearly set out before them. According to the Way, the boy will succeed his father as chief of the tribe while Nana will be married off. But thanks to Noh, a slave girl and shaman’s daughter, the two discover that they have to find their own way by listening to the world of the Spirits. Changing the point-of-view between the three protagonists, Schwartz creates a fascinating blend of ancient Indian legends and a modern coming-of-age novel. (12+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2004 - 165
Chastenay, Pierre (text)
DesRosiers, Sophie (illus.)
Taillefer, Heidi (illus.)
Je deviens astronome
(I’ll become an astronomer)
Waterloo (Québec) : Quintin, 2002. 47 p.
ISBN 2-89435-197-6
Astronomy – Planets – Stars
This introduction to astronomy does not only impart well-founded basic knowledge in a comprehensible way to children; at the same time, it also encourages them to join in and conduct experiments themselves. The author, who works as an astronomer at the observatory in Montreal, begins with celestial objects that can be spotted with the naked eye. Building on general knowledge, he gradually increases the complexity of technical requirements and of the theoretical background from chapter to chapter. The child’s interaction is always counted on because the clearly structured non-fiction book with its informative pictures includes models and instructions for building various devices to watch the sky. (8+)

Canada (French) - 2004 - 166
Gingras, Charlotte (text)
Jorisch, Stéphane (illus.)
La boîte à bonheur
(The lucky chest)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte Échelle, 2003. 62 p.
(Mon roman; 3: Intimiste)
ISBN 2-89021-668-3
Parents – Divorce – Piano – Search
This sensitive novel shows how important music can be, especially in difficult situations. Clara’s life is a complete chaos right now: Her father has fallen in love with another woman, her two older sisters blame their mother for the failure of the marriage, and the mother is in despair. When they move into a smaller flat and eventually even sell the piano, Clara almost loses all hope. She starts searching for the beloved instrument which had been a family heirloom for generations and – as »lucky chest« – had always offered some kind of emotional support to her and her mother, formerly a famous singer. Despite the depressing real-life topic, the story is presented in a lighthearted tone and particularly touches the readers because it is written in first person. (10+)

Canada (French) - 2004 - 167
Rouy, Maryse
L’Insolite Coureur des bois
(The unsusual trapper)
Montréal : Hurtubise HMH, 2003. 139 p.
(Collection Atout ; 84 : Histoire)
ISBN 2-89428-664-3
Orphan – Trapper – Fur trade – Journey – Native people – Canada/1753
In the 18century, those men in the French colony of Canada who circumvented the official fur trade in the St. Lawrence valley and travelled to Indian settlements were called »Coureurs des bois« (trappers). In many cases, they were the first Europeans who came into contact with the various tribes. In 1753, the young orphan Baptistine also becomes a trapper. Fleeing from the cruel landlady for whom she has to work, the girl dresses as a boy and joins three other trappers. On the one hand, the strength of the text lies in its precise description of the various characters. On the other hand, the presentation of the trappers’ experiences and their encounter with a native tribe offers young readers a demanding yet entertaining look into Canadian history. (10+)

Canada (French) - 2004 - 168
Tibo, Gilles (text)
Lafrance, Marie (illus.)
Émilie pleine de jouets
(Émilie full of toys)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2003. [32] p.
ISBN 2-89512-309-8. - 2-89512-310-1
Girl – Talent – Toys – Father – Rescue
Émilie is not like other girls. Whenever she closes her hand and opens it again, a toy appears on it. Motivated by caring love, the parents and Émilie herself try to make the best of this magic talent. Toy cars, spinning tops, dolls, and balls are given to old or sick people in the village, some are used as firewood, or piled up as a sculpture of toys. One day, after the girl has saved her father from drowning at sea with her skill, life changes: »Émilie full of toys« turns into »Émilie full of love«. Like a recurrent theme, the girl dressed in red pops up in all the illustrations, which – even in the most dramatic situation such as the rescue at sea – are soothed by the sensitive text. (4+)

Canada (French) - 2004 - 169
Various (text)
Roberts, Bruce (illus.)
Noir, blanc ou poil de carotte : des enfants écrivent contre le racisme
(Black, white, or redhead: children write against racism)
Montréal (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2003. 39 p.
(Carré Blanc)
ISBN 2-89540-158-6
Racism – Tolerance – Religion – Interculturality
They are nine, ten, or eleven; boys and girls of different ethnic origin or social class, and all of them have decided to write against racism. Out of about 300 ‘protests’ against racism, eight teachers from various schools in Quebec have selected 16 representative examples of different genres – a diary entry, a poem, an essay, a fairy tale, etc. The result is not a didactic textbook but rather a kaleidoscope of fear of intolerance yet also of hope for tolerance and a peaceful dialogue. The children’s texts are embedded in the declaration of human rights and the sketchy, partly symbolical illustrations of well-known artist Bruce Roberts. (10+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 45
Aldana, Patricia (ed.)
Paterson, Katherine (foreword)
Dragland, Stan (transl.)
Under the spell of the moon : art for children from the world’s great illustrators
Toronto [et al.] : Douglas & McIntyre, 2004. 80 p.
(A Groundwood book)
ISBN 0-88899-559-8
Illustration – Children’s poetry – Multiculturality – Anthology
The idea behind this gorgeous anthology was to offer children a colourful selection of works by the best children’s book illustrators from all over the world and thus celebrate high quality international writing and illustration for children. Ranging from Mitsumsa Anno, Quentin Blake, Marie-Louise Gay, and Dušan Kállay to Peter Sís and Lisbeth Zwerger, each of the award-winning artists featuring in this collection chose a short text, poem, children’s verse, riddle, counting-out rhyme, etc. and illustrated this text on a double page. Texts are printed in the original language of the culture they come from and in an English translation. Part of the proceeds from this book will be donated to the International Board on Books for Young People (IBBY), the organisation that – founded by Jella Lepman more than 50 years ago – is striving to fulfil its founder’s greatest dream of creating peace and understanding between people of different cultures through the best of children’s books. (4+) ☆ ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 46
Carroll, Lewis (text)
Jorisch, Stéphane (illus.)
Toronto, ON [et al.] : Kids Can Press, 2004. [40] p.
(Visions in poetry)
ISBN 1-55337-079-1
Father – Son – Monster – Threat – Hunt – Killing – Nonsense poetry
Lewis Carroll’s (1832-1898) classical nonsense poem about the mysterious Jabberwocky is one of the most well-known English language poems ever. Its enigmatic verses naturally lend themselves to innumerable interpretations. In this beautifully designed little volume, published in the new series »Visions in Poetry«, the Victorian poem is transported right into the 21st century in which public opinion is manipulated by mass media. Here, a war-crazed old man sends his son on a mission to slay the allegedly dangerous monster. The slightly surrealistic, bizarre watercolour, pencil, and ink illustrations by award-winning Stéphane Jorisch perfectly match the scary atmosphere of the text while they leave ample room for the readers’ imagination and interpretations. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 47
Joe, Donna (text)
Jeffries, Jamie (illus.)
La Fave Kim (illus.)
Ch’askin : a legend of the Sechelt people
Roberts Creek, BC : Nightwood Ed., 2003. [24] p.
ISBN 0-88971-180-1
Canada / First Nations – Legend – Bird
This thin square booklet is the latest volume in the »Legend of the Sechelt People« series. Written in a simple style reminiscent of traditional oral storytelling, the picture book relates the tale of Ch’askin, the mystical thunderbird, and its relationship with the Sechelt people, a First Nations tribe from Canada. When they first settle on the Sunshine Coast in British Columbia, the huge powerful bird helps them build their villages and gather enough food until they are self-sufficient. The short tale is complemented by a number of soft atmospheric black-and-white drawings that slightly resemble cave paintings. They are contrasted with clear, sharp, totem-pole-like depictions of the thunderbird. (4+) ☆

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 48
Juby, Susan
Miss Smithers
Toronto : HarperTrophyCanada, 2004. 274 p.
ISBN 0-00-639265-2
Outsider – School – Beauty contest – Everyday life
Ladies and Gentlemen, please raise the curtain again for the inimitable Alice McLeod, formerly home-schooled weirdo, now on the rocky road to turning into a practically ›normal‹ person. In this hilarious sequel to the bestselling »Alice, I think«, the ambitious journalist-to-be jumps at the chance of becoming (rich and) famous by entering the Miss Smithers beauty pageant. The witty diary relates one disastrous event piling upon the next as the inventive teenage girl, who certainly lacks some basic social skills, braves the wide world of her home town. Female readers devouring this firstperson narrative with its catching dry humour will undoubtedly suffer from severe stomach-ache caused by excessive laughter. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 49
Lee, Dennis (text)
Kovalski, Maryann (illus.)
So cool
Toronto : Key Porter Books, 2004. 70 p.
ISBN 1-55263-613-5
Whether it is the humour of »To My Friend the Total Loser«, the funny anxiety of »French Kissing With Gum in Your Mouth«, the deep sadness of »The House of Alone«, or the peaceful reflection of »High Summer«, this collection of poems perfectly captures the whole range of feelings that young people know only too well and often struggle with. Renowned poet Dennis Lee’s touching verses and rippling rhythms are ingeniously translated into energetic, semi-abstract, black-and-white pictures rendered in various techniques by well-known illustrator Maryann Kovalski. This attractive square volume with its trendy title and matching design will speak to teenage and adult readers alike. (10+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 50
Mac, Carrie
The Beckoners
Victoria, BC : Orca Book Publ., 2004. 217 p.
(Teen fiction)
ISBN 1-55143-309-5
Bullying – Violence – Outsider – Friendship
It’s more or less by accident that Zoe ends up with Beck and her gang on the first day at her new school. She is utterly shocked to see that the five girls don’t have any scruples about using outright violence to terrorise the school community. Yet, once Zoe is initiated to the Beckoners, giving them the cold shoulder turns out to be dangerous; succumbing to the gang’s rules may be easier than competing with her classmate April, called »Dog«, for the place of top victim. In a gripping, fast-paced third-person narrative, the author introduces her readers to a brutal scenario of teenage bullying and peer pressure in which even the teachers prefer to turn a blind eye rather than to get involved. Thus it takes all of Zoe’s courage and the help of her new friends for her to join the ›right side‹. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2005 - 51
Oppel, Kenneth (text)
Reid, Barbara (illus.)
Peg and the Yeti
Toronto : HarperCollins, 2004. [34] p.
ISBN 0-00-200538-7
Girl – Exploration – Adventure – Mount Everest – Yeti – Friendship
Little Peg, born on her parents’ fishing boat, has always been adventurous. Now that she has set her mind on seeing the top of the world, she packs her fishing rod and travels to Mount Everest. Without any climbing gear but with a lot of determination, the resourceful girl braves the icy slopes, befriends the scary hairy mountain monster, and finally returns to her parents, already pondering her next adventure. Kenneth Oppel’s endearing and funny story about a feisty little heroine is translated into astonishingly vibrant plasticine pictures by renowned artist Barbara Reid. The illustrations, of varying surface texture and brimming with funny details, depict the scenes from unusual angles, while the artist’s trademark style lends them a three-dimensional feel. (4+)

Canada (French) - 2005 - 165
Boisvert, Jocelyn
Un livre sans histoire
(A book without [hi]story)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Soulières Éd., 2004. 132 p.
(Collection Graffiti ; 23)
ISBN 2-89607-004-4
Book – Novel – Reader – Content
The »book without [hi]story« is really the history and the story of a book. This book tells its readers – »yes, that’s you, the person holding me in their hands right now« – its fate of the past 20 years. Most of it is narrated in flashback in a linear way, yet with some insertions and remarks about future events. After the book was bought at a bookshop because of »the author’s beautiful eyes,« it travelled from one hand to the next, was carelessly thrown away, was abused as a sketch and notepad, before it eventually ended up in YOUR hands. Thanks to a lot of humour and self-mockery, the book as well as the act of reading are turned into the entertaining subjects of this book. The story of the book is always announced but never entirely revealed because »the stories that people invent themselves are the best ones after all«. (11+)

Canada (French) - 2005 - 166
Davidts, Jean-Pierre (text)
Cloutier, Claude (illus.)
Les mésaventures du roi Léon : Gros Bedon
(The misfortunes of the lion king : Big Belly)
[Montréal] : Boréal, 2004. 54 p.
(Boréal Maboul)
ISBN 2-7646-0362-2
Corpulence – Overweight – Diet – Medicine
Thos book clearly illustrates the king’s ›weighty‹ problem. The glutton suffers from the »V.P.S.O.- syndrome« – »Voit plus ses orteils« (Doesn’t see his toes anymore). One of the three ›grand doctors‹, the llama Juscul, insists that if he wants to be the judge of the cake-competition at the baker’s festival, the lion king needs to go on a diet. Assisted by simple black-and-white drawings, the text portrays the animals as charming and humorous figures. In an entertaining yet sensitive manner, they send out a message that is explained in more detail in the short appendix: Just like the king, numerous children are too fat because they do neither eat a balanced diet nor stop themselves when they’ve had enough. (6+) ☼

Canada (French) - 2005 - 167
Fortin, Caroline (ed.)
Atlas des océans
(Atlas of the oceans)
Montréal : Québec Amérique Jeunesse, 2004. 96 p.
ISBN 2-7644-0817-X
Sea – Ocean – Water – Marine animals
This non-fiction title about the oceans of the world is divided into five chapters: »Portraits of the Oceans« presents oceans and seas, plus various types of shores. »In the Depth of the Ocean« introduces readers to the geology of the sea floor. »Water in All its Manifestations« provides information about the water circle, the salinity of the water, about waves, currents, and tides. »An Ocean of Life« shows the great variety of marine animals and plants, while »Discovering the Oceans« describes the history of seafaring and how humans have made use of the oceans. Accompanied by lots of pictures, charts, and maps, this book offers a comprehensible, comprehensive, and informative insight into the ecosystem of the oceans that make up 70% of our planet and accommodate about 80% of the Earth’s animals. (7+)

Canada (French) - 2005 - 168
Hébert, Marie-Francine (text)
Nadeau, Janice (illus.)
Nul poisson où aller
(No fish to go to)
Saint-Laurent (Québec) : Les 400 Coups, 2003. [48] p.
(Les grands albums)
ISBN 2-89540-117-9
War – Girl – Soldier – Friendship – Fish
What happens when soldiers invade your home? What do you take with you when you have to flee? Do you leave the fish in the bowl behind even though you promised the little creature the most wonderful life? In a sensitive and poetic way, this picture book tells about war, threat, and violence through the story of little Zolfe and her friendship with Maiy, a friendship that cannot be destroyed, not even by the war. Without explicitly showing scenes of violence, the pencil and watercolour illustrations demonstrate the horrors of war metaphorically, e.g. through the raven-like soldiers. The »picture book within the picture book«, called »The Pot of Dreams«, blurs the borderline between reality and imagination, yet raises some hope for a comforting future. (8+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2005 - 169
Leblanc, Louise (text)
Favreau, Marie-Claude (illus.)
Le chevalier de l’alphabet
(The knight of the alphabet)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte Échelle, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 2-89021-660-8
School – Alphabet – Letters – Reading – Illiteracy
As soon as Ludovic starts school, his life is determined by a single nightmare: the alphabet. Letters whirl around in his head and even start attacking him. When the boy confides in his grandfather, the old man admits that he himself can neither read nor write. With a lot of humour, this picture book tackles a delicate topic that a lot of children are faced with when they start school. The comic-like figures and the colourful letters mirror the little hero’s problems in an entertaining way. With the help of his grandfather, Ludovic conquers the alphabet like a brave knight – and what could be more suitable than to start with the letter »V« for »Victory«? (4+) ☼

Canada (French) - 2005 - 170
Major, Henriette (text)
Béha, Philippe (illus.)
Les devinettes d’Henriette
(Henriette’s riddles)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2004. [80] p.
ISBN 2-89428-690-2
Riddle – Human being – Nature – Imagination
Following their first collaboration »J’aime les poèmes« (I love poems), author and illustrator have again teamed up – this time, to create an illustrated collection of riddles. Plenty of imaginative and poetic power is inherent in these riddles, the chapter headings of which already hint at the witty use of language: »Guessyou«, »Guessnature«, and »Guessall«. The illustrations perfectly translate the freedom to play with words into a freedom of graphic design, illustration techniques, and colourful bright paints. In addition, they provide hints to the hidden answers. Each page is different from the next so that the readers are never in danger of getting bored while turning and flipping the pages as they search for the right solution. (4+)

Canada (English) - 2006 - 47
Davidson, Ellen Dee
Stolen voices
Montréal, Québec : Lobster Press, 2005. 188 p.
ISBN 1-897073-16-X
Conformity Outsider – Rebellion
15-year-old Miri lives in Noveskina, a conflict-free society, lead, protected, and suppressed by the Masker. Children become masked at the age of fifteen and have their energy taken away, leaving them apathetic and conformist. Miri runs away to the secret valley, where people have more freedom. There she discovers that she is able to see other people’s voices and sounds and can weave them into a harmonious pattern. The girl returns to Noveskina and, with the help of her new found gift and friends, she frees the city. This fast-paced and powerful science fiction novel examines a number of issues such as conformity and rebellion, mind control, the caste system, false appearances and self-expression, and compassionately portrays a teenager’s struggle to be heard. (14+)

Canada (English) - 2006 - 48
Jocelyn, Marthe (text)
Slaughter, Tom (illus.)
Over Under
Toronto, Ontario : Tundra Books, 2005. [24] p.
ISBN 0-88776-708-7
In their second picture book collaboration, award-winning husband-and-wife team Marthe Jocelyn and Tom Slaughter introduce the concept of opposites to very small children. The simple, ultra-short rhymed text is beautifully translated into brilliant paper-cut illustrations, which will remind readers of picture books by Dick Bruna and Eric Carle or artwork by Matisse. Common oppositions such as »big and small« or »up and down«, easily recognisable for little toddlers, are followed by slightly more complex ideas such as »a square is square, a circle’s round«, which will also be of interest to an older audience. Just as its predecessor »One Some Many«, this work with its luminous animal protagonists is bound to become a favourite with parents and children. (1+)

Canada (English) - 2006 - 49
Kyi, Tanya Lloyd
The blue jean book : the story behind the seams
Toronto [et al.] : Annick Press, 2005. 79 p.
ISBN 1-55037-917-8 / -916-x
Blue Jeans History
This attractive slim non-fiction title traces the history of the Blue Jeans from its origins in the late 19th century to the present day. It discusses the fabric these popular pants are made of, introduces some of the most famous jeans’ designers, such as Levi Strauss and Henry David Lee, talks of the jeans-shortage during World War II, the smuggling of jeans into Russia, Yugoslavia, East Germany, and other countries behind the Iron Curtain, but also raises the issue of fair working conditions and environmental protection. The well-written informative text is complemented by interesting facts printed on jeans-pocket-like boxes. Numerous photographs and old jeans advertisements add a wonderfully nostalgic touch to the book. (12+)

Canada (English) - 2006 - 50
Olsen, Sylvia
Yellow line
Victoria, BC [et al.] : Orca Book Publ., 2005. 107 p.
(Orca soundings)
ISBN 1-55143-462-8
Canada Native people – Ethno-cultural separation – Racism – Prejudice
Like the yellow lines dividing Canadian highways, invisible lines run through the village in which 16- year-old Vince has grown up: white people on one side of the river, First Nations people on the other. When Vince’s best friend Sherry starts dating an Indian boy, both communities are in an uproar. Vince gets caught up in the thick of taunts and threats, but soon his alliance begins to shift. He has to re-examine his own prejudices, especially when he discovers his affection for Raedawn, a girl from the reserve. This fast-paced novel is a compelling read and one of the latest titles in the ingenious »Orca soundings« series of short fiction for reluctant young adult readers, written for teens below grade level. (14+)

Canada (English) - 2006 - 51
Porter, Pamela
The crazy man
Toronto [et al.] : Groundwood Books, House of Anansi Press, 2005. 214 p.
ISBN 0-88899-694-2 / -695-0
Canada/1960’s Farm – Girl – Disability – Prejudice
Living on a Saskatchewan wheat farm in the 1960’s, twelve-year-old Emaline is accidentally injured as she runs into a tractor driven by her father while chasing after her dog. Fed up with farm life and weighed down by guilt, her father shoots the dog and leaves his wife and daughter. Emaline’s mother takes on Angus, a patient from the nearby mental hospital and gifted gardener to work their fields. Taking a stand against the little town’s prejudices and hostility, they succeed in keeping the farm and forming a new kind of family. Angus helps Emaline learn to come to terms with her disability and the loss of her father. Poetically told in free verse, the bitter-sweet story has both depth and simplicity and sensitively depicts the emotions the girl goes through as she struggles to move on with her live. (12+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2006 - 52
Watts, Irene N. (text)
Shoemaker, Kathryn E. (illus.)
A telling time
Vancouver [et al.] : Tradewind Books, 2004. [32] p.
ISBN 1-896580-39-4 / -72-6
Grandmother Granddaughter – Storytelling – Vienna/1939 – Persecution of the Jews – Courage – Book of Esther
This beautifully illustrated picture book offers a touching retelling of the Biblical tale from the Book of Esther. It is set within a double frame story, visually distinguished by the different typefaces and the colours of the illustrations. The book opens with a little Canadian girl listening to her grandmother, who tells her how, one afternoon in 1939, she hurried through Nazi-occupied Vienna to get to the rabbi’s house. She wanted to listen to the old man narrate the Purim story about the secret plot by the Persian king’s evil prime minister Haman against Mordecai and all Jewish people. With immense courage and cleverness, Queen Esther, herself a Jew, manages to uncover the intrigue and protect her people. The rabbi’s storytelling is interrupted by some Nazi officials who plan to imprison him, yet, in the end, the wise man is miraculously saved. The fairy-tale-like pictures, set against a richly patterned background resembling an ancient scroll, perfectly translate the Biblical story’s message of hope. (6+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2006 - 169
Bouchard, Camille
Les crocodiles de Bangkok
(The crocodiles of Bangkok)
[Montréal] : Hurtubise HMH, 2005. 216 p.
(Collection Atout ; 100/101 : Récit)
ISBN 2-89428-767-4
Thailand Sponsorship – First love – Sexual slavery – Sex tourism
When 16-year-old Cédric and his mother travel to Thailand to spend a few days with Sukany, the 15- year-old girl they support, he does not only experience traditions, smells, and pleasures hitherto unknown to him, he also soon plunges into an exciting adventure. On his journey of initiation in a foreign country, the young man grows up, starts to see beyond his horizon, and even falls in love for the first time. Apart from describing the encounter between two young people from different cultures, this teenage novel also paints a critical picture of the daily life in Thailand, which includes sexual slavery, prostitution, and sex tourism. (13+) ☆

Canada (French) - 2006 - 170
Chabin, Laurent
Le jeu de l’assassin
(The murder game)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte Échelle, 2005. 135 p.
ISBN 2-89021-770-1
Solitude Game – Murder – Victim – Offender
Eight friends who spend a few days in a mountain hut are cut off from the outside world by a snowstorm. To pass the time, they play a »murder game«: One person volunteers to be the victim, a second one to be the murder, and the rest of them to act as detectives. Yet unfortunately, the pretend-victim Claire is soon turned into a real one. Who is the real murder? In 15 chapters, the situation is presented from the different viewpoints of the eight friends and the doctor, unravelling all the emotions, background information, and fears of the respective first-person narrator. Step by step, readers learn about the lie-infested, problematic relationship between the socalled friends while the suspense and excitement are kept up until the very end. (13+)

Canada (French) - 2006 - 171
Papineau, Lucie (text)
Adams, Steve (illus.)
Le trésor de Jacob
(Jacob’s treasure chest)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2005. [32] p.
ISBN 2-89512-447-7/-449-3
Boy Grandmother – Separation – Grief – Toy – Imaginary journey
Full of poetry and imagination, this picture book describes a young boy’s close relationship to his grandmother, who has just been moved to an old people’s home. She leaves her old toys behind for the boy and when he cannot find her favourite little horse anymore, he sets off in search for it: Through quicksand and meadows, he reaches the mysterious theme park Belmondo where he finally discovers the horse and frees it. On his next visit, he tells granny about the magic that she and her toys possess for him. The soft colours and the loving expression on the protagonists’ faces perfectly capture the tenderness between grandson and grandmother. Focusing on the essential, the clear illustrations interpret the sometimes quiet, sometimes fantastic text with a lot of sensitivity. (5+)

Canada (French) - 2006 - 172
Pratt, Pierre (text/illus.)
Le jour où Zoé zozota
(The day when Zoé lisped)
Montréal (Québec) : 400 coups, 2005. [56] p.
ISBN 2-89540-196-9
Alphabet Moment
In this book, the alphabet almost seems to be an excuse for the 26 snapshots presented. Each letter of the alphabet is accompanied by a sentence about a person full of pun-like alliterations and by a large-format, colourful picture that interprets each sentence in a way that makes readers spot the illustrator’s sometimes biting, sometimes light-hearted sense of humour. For example, »Firmin Flynn flees in his own way« is complemented by a picture showing the back of a large man in dark clothes as he stands in front of an insurmountable wooden wall. The absurd, yet poetic combination of text and picture easily inspires readers to dream on and discover thousands of other interpretations. (6+)

Canada (French) - 2006 - 173
Soulières, Robert
Ding, dong! : facéties littéraires ; 77 clins d’oeil à Raymond Queneau
(Ding-dong! : literary pranks ; 77 winks at Raymond Queneau)
Saint-Lambert : Soulières Éd., 2005. 238 p.
(Collection Graffiti ; 29)
ISBN 2-89607-020-6
New York Journey – Chocolate – Sale
In order to earn money for a journey to New York, a teenager sometimes a girl, sometimes a boy – goes from door to door trying to sell chocolates. This simple scene is repeated in 77 different versions in various literary styles: as a theatre performance, as a diary entry, in a language reminiscent of Perrault’s or Andersen’s fairy tales, as a fable in the style of Jean de Lafontaine, as a text repeated several times on different time levels, etc. This humorous approach to literature itself and to the act of reading pays homage to the French writer Raymond Queneau, who in 1947 offered 99 different versions of a banal story in his famous »Exercises de style« (Exercises in style). In »Ding-dong!« the author leaves version 78 to the readers’ imagination and asks them to participate in a writing competition. (12+)

Canada (English) - 2007 - 46
Bastedo, Jamie
On thin ice
Calgary, Alberta : Red Deer Press, 2006. 348 p.
ISBN 978-0-88995-337-6
Arctic – Climate change – Cultural identity
Five months after her ragtag family moved to the Artic village of Nanurtalik, 16-year-old Ashley, half French-Canadian and half Inuit, still feels like an outsider. When a blizzard hits the place, two of her classmates are killed in a mysterious accident, and terrifying dreams of a bear-man shaman start haunting her, the teenager becomes aware of her special connection with the legendary spirit bear, Nanurluk, and starts exploring an ancient spirit trail. In this gripping novel told in a fresh voice, Jamie Bastedo cleverly intertwines a realistic story about a teenager’s everyday life in the Arctic with mystical elements and messages about the devastating effects of global warming. (14+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2007 - 47
Ellis, Deborah
I am a taxi
Toronto : House of Anansi Press, 2006. 205 p.
(The Cocalero novels) (Groundwood books)
ISBN 978-0-88899-735-7
South America – Parents – Prison – Son – Coca trade – Illegal work – Exploitation
Deborah Ellis, author of the highly praised »Breadwinner «-trilogy, once again dishes up a heavy diet for her readers. Set in South America, this novel relates the situation of 12-year-old Diego, whose innocent parents serve a 17-year prison sentence. The boy shares his mother’s prison cell, goes to school, and works as messenger for other prison inmates (providing the only source of income to pay for their food and »rent«). When he loses his job, he grows desperate enough to join his friend for a job in the coca trade but instead is exploited, abused, chased, and almost killed. Readers will quickly become immersed in the breathtaking events of Diego’s realistically described life and eagerly await the book’s sequel. (11+) ☆

Canada (English) - 2007 - 48
Goobie, Beth
Hello, groin
Victoria, BC [et al.] : Orca Book Publ., 2006. 271 p.
ISBN 978-1-55143-459-9
Sexual identity – Peer pressure – Fear – Courage – Homosexuality – Coming out
For a long time, 16-year-old Dylan has done everything in her power to annihilate her own suspicion that she might be a lesbian. Not only does she dread the wrathful reactions of the tyrannising »phonepatrol « girls and her other classmates if they found out; she simply doesn’t dare acknowledge her own feelings to herself, let alone face the shock and disappointment of her family, her boyfriend Cam, and her best friend Jocelyn, with whom she is secretly in love. Told in a straightforward, authentic voice that slowly reveals the first-person narrator’s inner fights and most intimate thoughts, the impressive coming-of-age novel sensitively portrays the girl’s struggle to find her true identity and accept her sexual orientation. (14+)

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2007 - 49
Poe, Edgar Allan (text)
Price, Ryan (illus.)
The raven
Toronto, ON [et al.] : KCP Poetry, 2006. [48] p.
(Visions in poetry)
ISBN 978-1-55337-473-2
Love – Loss – Despair – Mental illness
The fifth volume in the highly praised »Visions in poetry« series again brings a classic poem alive for modern day readers. »The raven« – a compelling poem about a man’s suffering and slow descent into madness after his true love’s death (and probably Edgar Allan Poe’s best-known work) – was originally published in 1845 but has lost nothing of its appeal. Using a technique called drypoint printmaking, in which the artist crafts an image onto a copper plate with sharp-pointed tools (similar to etching), Ryan Price has created stunning illustrations that perfectly capture the sinister, chilling atmosphere of the timeless text. The slightly distorted pictures show the raven-like protagonist with his spindly arms and huge eggshaped head gloomily brooding inside his hut. The unusual perspectives underline the man’s growing despair when it becomes clear that the threatening figure of the raven will disappear »nevermore«. (14+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2007 - 50
Sawa, Maureen (text)
Slavin, Bill (illus.)
The library book : the story of libraries from camels to computers
Toronto [et al.] : Tundra Books, 2006. 72 p.
ISBN 0-88776-698-6
Library/3000 BC-2000 AD – Writing – Reading – Book
Over the centuries, books have come in all kinds of shapes and forms – and so have libraries. Whether they consist of clay tablets inscribed with cuneiform, hundreds of leather scrolls in a cave, thousands of books carried by 500 camels walking in alphabetical order, or even virtual documents in cyberspace, they all store and provide important knowledge. In an engaging text that reads almost like an adventure story, this non-fiction book traces the history and development of writing, reading, and libraries from the ancient beginnings in Mesopotamia in 3000 BC to the present day. Short factual paragraphs focusing on particular aspects and a bibliographic appendix offer an entertaining combination of background knowledge, trivia, and information for further reading. (10+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2007 - 51
Scowen, Kate (text)
Szuc, Jeff (illus.)
My kind of sad : what it’s like to be young and depressed
Toronto [et al.] : Annick Press, 2006. 168 p.
ISBN 978-1-55037-940-2
Depression – Eating disorder – Mental health
While depression is not at all a recent phenomenon, Kate Scowen points out that »adolescent depression has only been recognized as a medical diagnosis in the past 25 years.« In this non-fiction book, the author discusses this illness, its various manifestations in adolescents, the different problems accompanying it, the possible treatments, and some strategies for dealing with it. The clear text is cut into short paragraphs by quirky black-and-white illustrations, lists of facts, headlines in bold type, and quotations from interviews with young people from 9 to 23. Despite the slightly repetitive style that allows readers to read chapters individually, the book offers a good introduction to affected teenagers, and their friends and families to this topical issue. (12+) ☼

Special Mention - Canada (English) - 2007 - 52
Yolen, Jane (retell.)
Stemple, Heidi E. Y. (recipes)
Béha, Philippe (illus.)
Fairy tale feasts : a literary cookbook
Vancouver : Tradewind Books, 2006. 197 p.
ISBN 978-1-896580-84-5
Fairy tale – Recipe – Cookbook
In this unusual fairy-tale-anthology-cum-cookbook, young readers are offered a delicious feast for their eyes, ears, and bellies. Divided into five sections (breakfasts, lunches, soups, dinners, and desserts), the square volume dishes up crisp, modern retellings of twenty popular mostly European folk tales with some worthwhile information about the tales, their origins, and different versions added in the margins. Each retelling is followed by a step-by-step recipe of a meal taken from the corresponding tale, such as »Runaway Pancakes« or »Snow White’s Baked Apples«, including some suggestions for tasty variations and a number of facts about the dish. Vigorous, boldly coloured full-page illustrations and vignettes perfectly complement this family treat. (8+) ☼

Canada (French) - 2007 - 168
Adams, Steve (retell./illus.)
Le prince et l’hirondelle
(The prince and the swallow)
Saint-Lambert (Québec) : Dominique et Compagnie, 2006. [32] p.
ISBN 978-2-89512-523-5
Statue – Prince – Swallow – Need – Poverty – Assistance
High above the city on a small pillar stands the golden statue of the Happy Prince. A swallow on her way south pauses beside the statue and suddenly feels something wet on its feathers. It is the metal prince who is crying because he sees how severely the poor people in this city suffer. This picture book is an adaptation of Oscar Wilde’s famous fairy tale »The Happy Prince«, a touching tale against »looking away«. Alternating between dark colours and bright sections in gold and white, the illustrations painted on wood underline the discrepancy between rich and poor and confirm how essential it is to turn desolation into hope. In the end, as a successful compromise for young readers, the swallow seeks shelter with the little match girl. (6+)

Canada (French) - 2007 - 169
Chartrand, Lili (text)
Oddoux, Marie-Pierre (illus.)
Rouge-Babine, vampire détective
(Rouge-Babine, the vampire detective)
Montréal (Québec) : Courte Échelle, 2006. 131 p.
ISBN 2-89021-850-3
(Mon roman; 28: Fantastique) Girl – Vampire – Detective – Murder – Investigation
Thirteen-year-old Rouge-Babine (Red-Babine) is small and thin with long black hair and dark-grey eyes. What’s so special about that? She is a vampire! Since nothing exciting ever happens in her home town, she dives into the literary adventures of Sherlock Holmes. Yet one day in the forest, she discovers the letter »V« written in ash. It is a trace of the vampire hunter who has been roaming the region for years. Assisted by the witch Belladonna, the three-headed monster Triplax, and her dog Plakett, the vampire girl determinedly starts her investigations. The first volume of the new »Rouge-Babine« series is characterised by its creative mixture of fantastic, gripping, and humorous elements. (9+)

Canada (French) - 2007 - 170
Dorion, Hélène (text)
Nadeau, Janice (illus.)
La vie bercée
(Life rocked to sleep)
Montréal (Québec) : 400 Coups, 2006. [48] p.
ISBN 2-89540-280-9
Life cycle – Birth – Growing up – Family
This picture book consists of a long poem about people’s lives from birth to adulthood. It mentions highs and lows, happiness and sorrow, the moment they start learning to read and to write, or the time of adolescence when they struggle for independence from their parents. »You blow out your dream-candles one by one and thus each dream comes true.« The highly symbolic illustrations (presenting the »thread of life« that also sustains the connection with one’s family; or the »anchored« parents’ house) accompany the readers’ thoughts with soft colours and fragile figures. The cover picture of the father sitting in a rocking chair and rocking the child to sleep already hints at the changing nature of life with its ups and downs, visualised later as swaying houses and rifts within the pictures. (8+)

Canada (French) - 2007 - 171
Major, Henriette (text)
Béha, Philippe (illus.)
Montréal (Québec) : Hurtubise HMH, 2006. [87] p.
ISBN 978-2-89428-865-8
Language – Saying – Meaning – Game
In every language, there are sayings that people use without analysing their true meaning. What happens if you take them literally? In this book, the author digs up the literal meaning behind numerous figures of speech from areas such as nature, emotions, and everyday objects and turns them into playful, »punny« poems complemented by equally playful, colourful illustrations. A young boy, for example, who visually accompanies a poem about time, tries with a red thread to prevent Time (whose leg protrudes from the collage picture) from running out. To enable readers to get to the bottom of the poems, a glossary explains all the sayings. The humorous and inventive way in which this last book by late Henriette Major questions the use of language in everyday life is completely convincing. (6+)

Special Mention - Canada (French) - 2007 - 172
Turgeon, Élaine
Ma vie ne sait pas nager
(My life can’t swim)
Montréal (Québec) : Québec Amérique Jeunesse, 2006. 126 p.
(Titan jeunesse; 64)
ISBN 2-7644-0467-0
Twins – Suicide – Grief – Depression
For 15-year-old Lou-Anne, life will never be the same. »There is a before and an after«, a life before her twin sister drowned herself in the school swimming pool, and a life afterwards, with the family breaking apart. Maybe Geneviève didn’t really want to die. Maybe she only wanted to be free from the »quicksand«, free from the feeling of emptiness and meaninglessness. While the father tries to avoid his pain as far as possible, the mother buries herself in it to the brink of a breakdown. In their grief for the dead daughter, the parents seem to forget about the living one. Lou-Anne falls into a deep dark hole. She copes with her sorrow by writing about it and escapes her loneliness by talking to Simon. The author tells about depression and suicide in a relentless and authentic style close to the life of teenagers. With great sensibility and depth, the novel also offers hope and courage to all those who don’t see a way out. (14+)