Mason Jar Science: 40 Slimy, Squishy, Super-Cool Experiments, by Jonathan Adolph (2018)

Mason Jar Science, by Jonathan AdolphWith two visiting grandsons in the house when this arrived, it’s been put to the test! Plus the cover is quite appealing – I liked it right away, and both boys leafed through it without prompting. It’s nicely organized into six sections. The introductory pages cover What’s So Great About Science?, Why Mason Jars?, and Using the Scientific Method to Solve Mysteries. Then the 40+ experiments are divided into five sciences: The Magic of Chemistry, Earth Science for Earthlings, The Root of All Fun – Botany, It’s Alive! Biology, and Understanding Matter in Motion – Physics. Read More »


Bathroom Ideas You Can Use, 2nd ed., by Chris Peterson (2018)

Bathroom Ideas You Can Use, 2nd edition, by Chris PetersonAs in the Kitchen Ideas You Can Use book, this update from the first edition (2013) is photo-packed, offering suggestions of what to consider in your bathroom design, whether it’s a new-build or a renovation. It’s not a do-it-yourself guide in the least, but rather it provides inspiration for designing your bathroom, giving information on the latest styles, surfaces and fixtures, and drawing your attention to matters of comfort, beauty, luxury and accessibility as you design the space. The book is just under 200 pages, and most facing page spreads feature four to six photos along with helpful explanations and tips to guide you in making the best choice for your family life, style preference, and budget. Read More »

Kitchen Ideas You Can Use, 2nd ed., by Chris Peterson (2018)

Kitchen Ideas You Can Use, by Chris PetersonOnly four years after the first edition, author Chris Peterson has released an updated edition to his stylish kitchen design guide, reflecting the quick pace of change in both technology and trends. From bold lighting options and copper fixtures to eco-friendly countertops made of recycled glass, paper, and other materials, this new edition offers a photo-packed and comprehensive overview of what to consider in your kitchen design. It’s just under 200 pages, and most facing page spreads feature four to six photos along with helpful explanations and tips to guide you in making the best choice for your home design, family life, style preference, and budget. Read More »

Cry, Heart, But Never Break, by Glenn Ringtved (2001, 2016)

Illustrated Book
Cry, Heart, But Never Break by Glenn RingtvedThis is the second of two books I’m reviewing today on grief and death. They are challenging issues for any of us, and when children are involved, books can offer a way for adults to help kids grasp an understanding of death and accept the pain of loss. This tender and sensitive book offers an honest and gentle approach to an impending loss. Four children are sharing a kitchen table with Death, who has come for their beloved grandmother. Death is presented as a visitor, a kind one, whose heart is surprisingly full of a love for life. The children naturally try to deter Death from his task. Read More »

The Funeral, by Matt James (2018)

Children’s Fiction
The Funeral, by Matt JamesThis is the first of two children’s picture books dealing with death I’m reviewing today. Matt James is the Canadian illustrator who so beautifully created images to accompany the words of the Stan Rogers ballad, Northwest Passage, for a picture book that I reviewed several years ago now. (He won a Governor-General’s Award for that one!) This is his first foray into both writing and illustrating a children’s picture book, and he does it brilliantly. Funerals are difficult for children, both conceptually and emotionally, so I was expecting images of frowning and shushing grown-ups. But James captures the conflicting emotions perfectly – Norah really is sad that her Great-Uncle Frank is dead, and practises her “sad face,” but she is secretly happy to have a day off school. Read More »

50 Hikes with Kids – Oregon & Washington, by Wendy Gorton (2018)

50 Hikes with Kids - Oregon & Washington, by Wendy GortonHiking with kids is one of those activities that sounds easy but is fraught with potential pitfalls. They get tired, bored, cranky, hungry and pouty, unless you plan the excursion with care. Wendy Gorton is committed to helping families get outside, and to that end has compiled a list of 50 hikes in the Pacific Northwest that are sure to get youngsters interested in spending time outdoors. The hikes are all easy to moderate, with no elevation gain over 275 m (900 ft) and none more than 7 kms (4 miles) in length. The book features 32 hikes in Oregon and 18 in Washington. The vast majority are, reasonably, within short drives of the main cities in both states – Seattle, Portland, and Bend, with a few selections on the eastern edges of the states. Read More »

Dog Training 101, by Kyra Sundance (2017)

Dog Training 101, by Kyra SundanceAt not quite a year and a half, my dog is still a puppy, so life with her is all about training, ideally having fun while doing it. Positive training is about finding ways to reinforce the behaviour you want, so when I spotted this book on the new titles shelf at our library, I snapped it up. I’m not familiar with author Sundance, though she has a good backlist. This is one of the best positive training books I’ve found, as the instructions for each element are clear, simple, and short. I’ve already used a few of the instructions and found success. The book is ideal for someone like me, still going through the basic training stage, as opposed to more advanced tricks like getting the dog to push a snowblower (I’m not kidding – see our British Columbian sensation Morgan!). Read More »