Thursday, June 18, 2009

Review in the Montreal Gazette!

I am in good company on this one. Which is nice, cause I had a bit of
a sad day.

And, I am so very excited that Elizabeth Dulemba - illustrator, writer
and blogger extraordinaire is reviewing my book and asked me some
really great questions as well - this Sunday it will be up on her blog

Do you have thoughts about my book or would you like some activities
you can print out for the kids - email me and let me know, I would
love to hear from you.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

My very first book review!

This was such a pleasant surprise for me yesterday! A beautiful local
magazine - Country Roads Hastings reviewed in the Garden!
Also reviewed was a book illustrated by fellow
member - - The Little Green Pea.

Friday, June 12, 2009


Excuse the loooong post - but I will be reading and doing some
activities on this awesome day... AND, I get to see a couple of old
pals who are also in the book biz - Claudia Dey and Hilary Leung :

The Little Paper, Don Kerr Productions, TINARS For Tots, Bunch and
Pages Books & Magazines present

t o t s t o c k '0 9

Who says it's not easy being green? Don Kerr & The Blue Bin Band host
'totstock 09', an afternoon of songs, stories and crafts designed to
make eco concerns fun and accessible for curious minds aged 2-8.

Don't miss the musical stylings of Claire Jenkins, Garden Jane and
Jerome Godboo's Cirque D'irt and, I Eat Kids. Come, watch David Wall
perform The Lorax by Dr Seuss, Claudia Dey bring to life Kerr's
Sniffing Princess & The Sweet Toothed Prince, illustrator Irene
Luxbacher & author Andrew Larsen paint The Imaginary Garden, Peggy
Collins present In My Garden, and Barbara Klunder share her new book,
The Animals Day. And you can make history: join David Bruins & Hilary
Leung as they stage the world's largest ever Cowboy Ninja Bear

Chris Reed will be Master of Ceremonies. All proceeds go to The High
Park Nature Centre, who will run eco-craft stations throughout the
park. – 'totstock 09' is presented by The Little Paper, Don Kerr
Productions, TINARS For Tots, Bunch and Pages Books & Magazines.
Sorauren Park (At Wabash & Sorauren).
Sun June 21; 2-5pm. PWYC.


THE BLUE BIN BAND Veteran producer and musician DON KERR has gathered
some of the finest players on Toronto's indie music scene for totstock
09. KEVIN LACROIX will appear on bass and TYLER KERR will handle the
drums and marimba duties. This stellar rhythm section will at once
anchor and propel REBECCA EL-SALEH on harp as well as keyboard player

CLAIRE JENKINS is a celebrated vocalist and songwriter. Her primary
focus is Claire Jenkins Avec Band. The group recently released an
acclaimed album, Crow's Nest / Nid de Pie. Jenkins also composes music
for theatre, acts and dreams up projects of all shapes and sizes.

CIRQUE D'IRT was founded by JANE HAYES and JEROME GODBOO. Jane (
) is a visionary artist, gardener and educator with a passion for
garden performance and participatory community events. Jerome (
) is a master harmonica player and songster with a talent for bringing
musicians together, dancing through paradise and living on the circus
edge. For each Cirque D'irt show, Jane and Jerome draw on their
networks of talented community artists, musicians, dancers,
entertainers, puppeteers, clowns, foodies, gardeners, educators and
volunteers. Visit:

I EAT KIDS is a tight unit comprised of budding rockers: Oliver (6) &
Jessa (6), Edi (8), Georgia(9) & Zoë (10) & Sadie( 10). Don't let
their tender age fool you. They take no prisoners on the dance floor.


THE LORAX "UNLESS someone like you...cares a whole awful lot...nothing
is going to get better...It's not."

Long before saving the earth became a global concern, Dr. Seuss,
speaking through his character the Lorax, warned against mindless
progress and the danger it posed to the earth's natural beauty.

"The big, colorful pictures and the fun images, word plays and rhymes
make this an amusing exposition of the ecology crisis."—School Library

DR. SEUSS was born Theodore Geisel in Springfield, Massachusetts on
March 2, 1904.. Dr. Seuss's first children's book, And To Think That I
Saw It On Mulberry Street, hit the market in 1937, and the world of
children's literature was changed forever! Winner of the Pulitzer
Prize in 1984 and three Academy Awards, Seuss was the author and
illustrator of 44 children's books, some of which have been made into
audiocassettes, animated television specials, and videos for children
of all ages. Even after his death in 1991, Dr. Seuss continues to be
the best-selling author of children's books in the world.

DAVID WALL is a musician and artist. He was one of the key members of
the influential group, Bourbon Tabernacle Choir. Wall has long been a
fan of Dr Seuss. Over the years, he has shared The Lorax with several
generations of dreamers.

actions impact the natural environment around us? How much is too
much? Don Kerr tackles such weighty themes with a touch of whimsy and
magic in his contemporary fairy tale, The Sniffing Princess And The
Sweet-Tooth Prince. After bringing the kingdom to the point of
collapse with their gluttony, the eponymous royal siblings must
reverse their ways to save it. The book includes a CD of beautifully
crafted songs based on Kerr's tale as well as a reading of the story
in both English and Japanese.

DON KERR is a musician, songwriter, producer, and author. He sings and
plays drums, cello, and tenor guitar. Kerr has played with Ron
Sexsmith since 1987 and was a member of Rheostatics. He has a
recording studio in his home called The Rooster, where he works as a
highly respected producer. Kerr created and illustrated The Sniffing
Princess And The Sweet-Tooth Prince, a children's book and
accompanying cd. He has invented and built many musical instruments;
notably, the Salad Bowl Banjo, the Canadian Talking Drum, and The
Hydrophone (a 2 octave tuned percussion instrument). Kerr is Canada's
pre-eminent urban landscape percussionist.

CLAUDIA DEY is a celebrated playwright, author and columnist. Awards
and international productions have recognized several of her plays.
Notable amongst these is The Gwendolyn Poems. Her debut novel, Stunt,
was published last year to wide acclaim and remains a bestseller. Dey
recently stopped writing the popular "Group Therapy" column for the
Globe & Mail to focus on her follow-up book, How to be a Bush Pilot: a
Field Guide to the Secrets of Female Pleasure. It will be published
next season by HarperCollins Canada.

THE IMAGINARY GARDEN When Theodora's grandfather must leave his home
for a new, "easier-to-manage" apartment, Theo misses his beautiful
garden the most. Poppa's balcony is too small and windy for a garden,
but soon Theo and Poppa find a creative solution to this drawback.
Together they decide to paint a garden and the small balcony soon
becomes a canvas for an abundant garden masterpiece.

In this picture book bursting with mixed-media art, an imaginary
garden is the centre of a special relationship between a girl and her
grandfather. Readers will marvel at each stage of this fertile garden
as it grows from seed to full flower, revealing the power of art to
enrich our lives. As Theo learns to layer her brushstrokes to create
flowers and red-breasted robins, young readers will see how they can
use those simple steps to create their own masterpieces too.

From balcony flower boxes to potted trees in foyers, city dwellers
have always tried to bring the outdoors in. In The Imaginary Garden,
author Andrew Larson and illustrator Irene Luxbacher bring fresh,
luscious garden life to a city apartment in this touching picture book
that shows the warmth and imagination.

ANDREW LARSEN is the author of KCP's Bella and the Bunny and lives in
Toronto with his wife, son and daughter.

IRENE LUXBACHER is an artist and the author-illustrator of The Jumbo
Book of Art, The Jumbo Book of Outdoor Art and the Starting Art
series. She also works as an art teacher. Irene lives in Toronto.

IN THE GARDEN is an enchanting children's book about the delights of
planting and sowing. Told from the perspective of a young boy, and
illustrated in lush colors reminiscent of a blossoming garden, it
beautifully conveys the magic, mystery, and wonder of a growing
season. Inspired by her own child's gardening adventures, author and
illustrator Peggy Collins charms readers with cheery, colorful artwork
and endearing text that perfectly captures a child's unique view of
the growing world around him.

PEGGY COLLINS has been an illustrator her entire life. She began
writing and illustrating books in kindergarten and had her first
"real" book published about four years ago with Scholastic. Since
then, she has illustrated more than ten books for children, including
The End of the Dinosaurs, There's a Spider in the Bath, and Quiet
Tessa. In the Garden is her first book as both author and illustrator.

THE LEGEND OF NINJA COWBOY BEAR Why does Ninja beat Cowboy, Cowboy
beat Bear, and Bear beat Ninja? The Legend of Ninja Cowboy Bear is a
children's book that answers these questions. It's also a story about
three friends who discover an important truth about equality and how
to appreciate one another.

Ninja Cowboy Bear is a game similar to one you probably already know -
rock, papers, scissors. The big difference is how you play it. Like
swimming, eating a sandwich or stretching, some things are better with
your whole body. This game is no different. Instead of simple hand
gestures, you use your whole body to mimic your chosen character.

DAVID BRUINS spends most of his days as a computer programmer.
However, he'd much rather spend his time riding his bicycle, playing
guitar, or coming up with stories and telling them to anyone who will

HILARY LEUNG is a designer by day, illustrator by night and ultimate
player on weekends. Having spent the last five years pursuing other
dreams, he is happy to return to his first true love - drawing.

Twelve minutes south by boat from the shores of Toronto, there is an
Island shaped like a shoe. At the toe of the shoe there is a village
of about 250 cottages, home to nearly one thousand, including pets.
But beyond the houses, on the rest of the Island, live many wild
creatures . . .

Imagine that once a year all the animals living on the Toronto Island
decked themselves out like people and held a party -- a day for
animals only. The amusing result can be seen in this charming alphabet
book, where illustrations show animals up to human antics -- playing
instruments, cycling, boating, barbecuing, bathing and napping -- on
the beloved Island. The work of renowned artist Barbara W. Klunder,
this book celebrates one of Canada's most cherished places.

BARBARA W. KLUNDER is an eclectic artist gifted in many genres and
media, from designing hand-knit sweaters (which were launched in New
York with the help of Vogue magazine), hand-hooked rugs and fonts, to
illustration work for books, posters and logos for clients ranging
from theaters to jazz festivals to the Rolling Stones. She is well
known for her commitment to human rights and environmental causes, and
her work has been exhibited throughout North America. Barbara teaches
drawing and painting at the Art Gallery of Ontario, and she is a
sought-after lecturer and juror for contemporary art exhibitions. She
lives in Toronto, Ontario

CHRIS REED has been the Series Coordinator of This Is Not A Reading
Series since May of 2007. He expanded the series by introducing a
children's program, TINARS For Tots, in September of 2008. Reed was
the bassist for The Rude Penguins, dubbed "the best dressed old school
ska band in the nation's capital" by The Ottawa Xpress.


As the literary and musical acts appear on the mainstage, The High
Park Nature Centre will operate half a dozen or so eco-craft stations
positioned throughout the park. Each station will provide children and
adults alike with an opportunity to develop their appreciation of the
natural environment.

The High Park Nature Centre is committed to the promotion of
responsible stewardship of the natural environment. They offer year-
round outdoor experiential environmental education programs that
provide park visitors of all ages with the opportunity to gain an
appreciation of the park's unique ecosystems and to participate in the
restoration of the park's natural areas. Visit:


For more information on 'totstock 09', visit:

If you are interested in sponsoring or volunteering at 'totstock 09',


Thursday, June 11, 2009

I shot the serif...

OK, so it could be lack of sleep, or just that I have a strange sense
of humour, OR that I am consuming my 3rd mug of coffee today (see 1st
statement). But I think this is hilarious. I wish I knew where it came

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Enormous Potato - review Wednesday

Retold by Aubrey Davis and Illustrated by Dusan Petricic
Published by Kids Can Press

I had the pleasure of meeting and taking a story telling workshop with
Aubrey Davis last fall.

This man was spellbinding, lovely and genuine. I really really liked

The enormous potato is a re-telling of a classic folk tale. A whole
family is needed to pull it out, a whole village is needed to eat it.
A small seed and some good soil and incredible illustrations build and
build to the climax that sends the whole family falling to the ground.
We love this book and while love to read it, it is also one of the
stories we tell in the dark, many versions of it, sometimes it is a
bus stuck in the mud, sometimes it is a carrot... it is an age old
tale and a fantastic re-telling.

If you ever get the chance to meet Aubrey, or better yet - listen to
him tell a story with your eyes closed - jump on it.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Our stay home day

This morning I called in sick.

And I was, on a couple of levels. I felt terrible, and had been up practically all night with our three year old. But I was also so stressed I could not think straight anymore.

So this morning when we happened to sleep in - we called a stay-home-day. I could not have made a better call. We slept, cuddled, played. We built stuff in the garden, a cool found wood trellis, and a bit of a fence. We went for a long walk and I remembered to wear my rubber boots so I could splash too.

We ate slowly and picnicked outside.

We did not get in the car. We did not rush anything. We had fun.

I was so wound up, things have been so busy, I've been crabby and edgy and surprised that my sweet son was totally acting out. He was, and for good reason. I have not been the best mom the last week or so and have no excuse really. So today I healed. Things are back in perspective and I am happy again.

Do you know how many times my son has said, " mom, I just love you." today? At least a million. He needed this day too. As we wind down and snuggle, I can't help but hear the birds singing and it makes me smile.

Our kids are smart. They seem to know before we do when it is time to slow down for a bit.

PS - BOTH birdhouses we put out have new tenants!

Friday, June 5, 2009

Oh Happy Weekend!

Off to the woods to see one of my best pals and her lovely little guy.
You know those friends that are ALWAYS friends, the ones you can pick
up with right where you left off, and the only thing you've missed
living on the other side of the country is how fast your kids are
growing? Here is a pic from one of my most recent dummies...

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Way Back Home - why we love it.

Well, I have to say that I am an enormous Oliver Jeffers fan. We've
been reading 'The Way Back Home' lately.

As per usual, it is a beautiful book, the illustrations are so simple
and well designed they just draw you in to the story. The story of a
boy who gets stuck in the moon and meets a martian who is also stuck
on the moon is full of humour and humanity. The two solve the
problem, but then the boy forgets about his friend for a moment (which
we have all done at one time or another), he quickly goes back. They
both go home.

The understated friendship is solidified by a mysterious package
delivered to the boys door on a wordless page at the end. Another
masterful story by Jeffers in my opinion.

Monday, June 1, 2009

Nature Makes you Wonder

This is our son on an excursion into the Owl Forest on Amherst Island this spring. The chickadees flit about and will land on anything holding seeds, though they were particularly taken with our little guy.