Tag Archives: kids books

Water Hazard- Helene Boudreau

5 Dec

“Twins André and Lucas love working at Cavendish Beach on Prince Edward Island—helping their Park Warden mother, lobster fishing with their grandfather and collecting seaweed with Mr. Arsenault and his horse, Thunder. But when Thunder is badly hurt by a mysterious object in the ocean, the boys know they need to turn to another passion of theirs—solving mysteries. With Lucas’s brain and André’s courage, the boys always solve their cases, and now they have their eye on hostile Mr. Prune. Water Hazard is the second title in Hélène Boudreau’s Red Dune Adventure series. “

Okay, so you all know how much I say I hate describing a book as cute. But what am I supposed to do when that’s exactly what the book is? Cuz Water Hazard? For me it was full of the cute. But not gushy, pink and overly sweet cute. Nope. I just loved the setting, the characters and the story. All combined it was cute.

I think any kids who like reading about animals, nature or mysteries are going to devour this book.  Think Hardy Boys and Eric Wilson’s books. And I loved how Helene didn’t dumb down the mystery in the book just because it’s geared towards kids. I wasn’t even 100% until the twins solved things.

If you have a young reader, Water Hazard is a great book. And the fact that it takes place in PEI where I live? Love it.


The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods by Kate Inglis

20 May

Publisher: Nimbus Publishing
Released: Oct 30th, 2009
Genre: MG
Bought at Word on the Street because of  its awesome title.

The pirates of the Dread Crew, ruthless junk hunters, are on the rampage through the Maritime woods. On their trail is a boy pirate tracker Eric Stewart, who gathers mounting evidence of their hooliganism until one day their clue-laden path of destruction completely disappears. Little does Eric know that the rumbling, stinking pirates are much, much closer than he thinks. This paperback edition includes eight pages of new content including a pirate glossary and praise pages. Check out dreadcrew.com for lots more additional content! This book is recommended for antsy boys who long for glory, for spritely girls inclined to reach out for adventure, and for good-humored grown-ups who like the smack of Limburger and devils’s club sandwiches with a dash of junebug pepper. The Dread Crew: Pirates of the Backwoods contains things disgusting, rude, repulsive and crush-like in nature. It also includes the most gigantic party ever seen, a rampaging woodship, random explosions, a prison, an escape, inventions, blackberry sploosh and many, many secrets as well as unexplained stinks.

From Nimbus Publishing website

The hubs and I have no plans to ever have children. But once I started reading The Dread Crew, I wanted to pop out a kid and have it speed grow to about 8 or so that we could read this book together. It was that good. For me, it’s everything a kids book should be: imaginative, informative, fun and at times gross. Very gross.

This was such a cool book. I mean, it has PIRATES. Disgusting, gross, icky pirates that Inglis still managed to make lovable. And as with the best characters, there’s more than meets the eye with this crew.

I honestly had no idea where Inglis was going with the story, and I don’t want to ruin it for you, but it’s pretty amazing. And, more importantly, believable. There were twist and turns and unexpected adventures but the story lands where it should and the ending was fun and satisfying.

The Dread Crew is such a fun book that I think all kids will like it. And most adults, too.

Alison Dare’s Double Dare Blog Tour

15 Jun

I was so happy when I got the chance to not only read the wickedly amazing Alison Dare graphic novels by the equally wickedly amazing  J. Torres and J. Bones, but also to have a bit of fun creating my own Alison Dare mini adventure as part of the Alison Dare Double Dare blog tour.

My thoughts:

Okay, first of all, how cool is Alison Dare? The daughter of an archeologist mom and librarian/crime fighting superhero dad, Alison always has lots of adventures. And, of course, plenty of chance for misadventure. Both of these graphic novels, Alison Dare, Little Miss Adventures and Alison Dare, The Heart of the Maiden were so much fun! Seriously. The art work was super, the story lines outstanding and quite often I found myself laughing out loud at Alison’s antics and some of the supporting cast of characters.  The novels had an old school 1940s-1950s radio serial feel to them. Kinda like Batman meets Indiana Jones meets the Mummy. Just super cool.

The adventure: The Case of the Pharaoh’s Cat

Never one to shy away from trouble or adventure, Alison Dare recently went on a brave rescue mission. On location with her mom, Alison stumbled upon a nefarious plan by Vlad the evil mastermind to steal the Pharaoh’s precious kitty cat. With her father tied up elsewhere and her mother busy with the dig, it was left up to Alison to save the day!

"You'll never be able to fight your way to the Pharaoh's kitty cat, Alison! Not if I can help it!"

Harvey, the giant gargoyle was scary, but using her wit and some luck, Alison was able to defeat him with a quick game of "Hey, what's that behind you?".

The next hurdle was the giant grackle gang. This may very well be the toughest opponent Alison has ever come up against! Well, besides brussels sprouts and her math homework.

The head grackle was tough, but no match for Alison. After feeding him some cat food and strawberries, he went right to sleep, leaving the way to the Pharaoh's kitty cat wide open.

The Pharoah's kitty cat was rescued and returned to its proper place. And once again Alison Dare saves the day!

The contest:

The folks over at Tundra books are hosting a super fun contest to win some Alison Dare swag. Just pop on over, print out one or both of the Alison Dare photos and have some fun. I know I did.

Thanks so much to the folks over at Tundra books for inviting me to be part of this blog tour and for the review copies.

Review: My Story: The Hunger by Carol Drinkwater

11 Jun

Scholastic Canada, 2010

It’s 1845 and blight has destroyed the precious potato crop, leaving Ireland starving. Phyllis works hard to support her struggling family, but when her mother’s health deteriorates she sets off in search of her rebel brother and is soon swept up in the fight for a free and fair Ireland.

From Scholastic Canada website.


I seriously wish books like My Story: The Hunger were around when I was younger and struggling to learn about history. Yes, this is a novel, therefore fiction; but the story is based in historical truth. In fact, I learned things about the Potato Famine that I never knew before reading this book.

I loved the fact that this book was written in diary form. It made the story and what was going on in Ireland at that time very personal and made me more vested and interested in the story line. And this book isn’t just about the Potato Famine, either. There is plenty of family drama and romance to keep even the most reluctant reader interested.

For the age group the My Story series is geared towards (9 and up) I think these books are an excellent jumping off point to get kids interested in history. And of course, for adults like me who hated history, it’s a chance to learn a few facts about the past.

The inner kid in me thanks Scholastic Canada for the review copy.

Review: Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen

11 May

Tundra Books, 2010

Twelve-year-old Ambrose is a glass-half-full kind of guy. A self-described “friendless nerd,” he moves from place to place every couple of years with his overprotective mother, Irene. When some bullies at his new school almost kill him by slipping a peanut into his sandwich — even though they know he has a deathly allergy — Ambrose is philosophical. Irene, however, is not and decides that Ambrose will be home-schooled.

Alone in the evenings when Irene goes to work, Ambrose pesters Cosmo, the twenty-five-year-old son of the Greek landlords who live upstairs. Cosmo has just been released from jail for breaking and entering to support a drug habit. Quite by accident, Ambrose discovers that they share a love of Scrabble and coerces Cosmo into taking him to the West Side Scrabble Club, where Cosmo falls for Amanda, the club director. Posing as Ambrose’s Big Brother to impress her, Cosmo is motivated to take Ambrose to the weekly meetings and to give him lessons in self-defense. Cosmo, Amanda, and Ambrose soon form an unlikely alliance and, for the first time in his life, Ambrose blossoms. The characters at the Scrabble Club come to embrace Ambrose for who he is and for their shared love of words. There’s only one problem: Irene has no idea what Ambrose is up to.

From Tundra Books website


Man, don’t you love when you pick up a book to read and about three sentence in you’re like, “This rocks!”.  Yeah, that’s how it was for me and Word Nerd by Susin Nielsen. 

Ambrose, and all of the characters, are wonderfully quirky, but not so much that they aren’t believable. All of us, regardless of our age, know or have known an Ambrose (some of us have been an Ambrose). Awkward, geeky, no social skills yet blissfully unaware most of the time. He was just such a great character to read about and get to know, from his scrabble loving ways to his purple pants and hand made hat.

The friendship that blossoms between Ambrose and Cosmo is so unlikely, yet makes perfect sense at the same time. Kinda like when someone dares you to eat some food combination that should be gross but is totally delicious.

Nielsen has written episodes of the popular Canadian TV series Degrassi Junior High and also four Degrassi books (there are Degrassi books? MUST FIND!), so she is well versed and well practiced in writing about youngsters. And it shows in her writing. Everything described, no matter how weird, is believable.

There are messages in Word Nerd but they don’t seem forced. From family love, to getting over our fears after losing someone, to realizing that no matter how weird you are, there’s a place where you fit in, this is just a warm and funny and fuzzy book. And I can’t wait to read more from this author.