The Beautiful Children
Thistledown Press / 25 February 2011

The Beautiful Children by Michael Kenyon Published by Thistledown Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-47-8 I’ve just finished The Beautiful Children, a poetic novel by BC writer Michael Kenyon, and feel I’m waking from a trance. In Kenyon’s mystifying story one’s never quiet sure what’s real and what’s imagined, or how the author – who hass previously published four books of fiction and two poetry collections – manages to shape-shift this harrowing tale about urban street kids and lost adults into a book that celebrates life. That sleight-of-hand, Kenyon’s musical language, and the book’s surrealistic qualities are its charms. The plot is easiest to follow in the first of the book’s three sections. Sapporo, a Japanese man, awakes with amnesia and finds himself in a hospital. In time he leaves the hospital with his son, a boy of ten. The awkward pair play catch, and at home, the uneasy roommates are “two animals who were shy of each other.” Sapporo regularly sees a therapist, but as time progresses he sinks further into his dreamlike world. He tracks the passing of time and records impressions but doesn’t understand their meaning. And he has no idea how to parent:…

Linger
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 18 February 2011

Linger by Marny Duncan-Cary and illustrated by Megan Mansbridge Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Karen Lawson $12.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-10-1 Linger is the first collaborative effort by Marny Duncan-Cary and Megan Mansbridge. Duncan-Cary is song writer and singer from Lumsden and Mansbridge is an accomplished artist. Together they are a winning combination and have created a gem of a book. Although it is a child’s picture book, Linger is one of those heartstring-tugging classics that everyone falls in love with. The first day of school is an emotional milestone. It is full of excitement and anticipation but also apprehension as your child takes her first flight from the nest. What mother hasn’t shed a tear to see her baby climb the steps of the big orange school bus for the first time and watch it disappear down the road? Duncan-Cary explains why she wrote this book in the foreword; she shares how difficult it was to realize and to acknowledge that her child was becoming independent and was growing up. Duncan-Cary was so overwhelmed by her emotions on that warm, autumn day when her youngest daughter started school that she went home and wrote the song Linger. The…

The Running of the Buffalo
DriverWorks Ink / 11 February 2011

Running of the Buffalo by Ron Petrie Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Cindy Wilson $21 ISBN 978-0-9810394-5-9 What child growing up during a Saskatchewan winter has not put their tongue on a frozen metal object, or been aghast and terrified by seeing someone else make that terrifying (and painful) mistake? Ron Petrie’s Running of the Buffalo will make you forget the pain entirely. This book is filled with enjoyable nonsense, a great deal of local knowledge, and accurate research sometimes hidden beneath the author’s antics. You’ll see yourself, or someone you’re related to, or someone you know in Petrie’s humour and approachable style. The author, who grew up on a farm in province with largely rural populations, shares his point of view, which others from rural Saskatchewan will relate to. Petrie offers the ridiculous in areas like child rearing, home improvement, sex, and government. You’ll laugh out loud at the author’s take on growing up in Saskatchewan, and at his take on life. It’s great to read about the province’s rural towns and villages, many of which will be instantly familiar to the seasoned Saskatchewanian. Petrie suggests the names of some towns could mistakenly reflect the type of citizens…

The Adventures of Caraway Kim … Right Wing
Thistledown Press / 4 February 2011

The Adventures of Caraway Kim…Right Wing by Don Truckey Published by Thistledown Press Review by Kim McCullough $10.95 ISBN 978-1-897235-43-0 Set in the dead of a 1960s Alberta winter, The Adventures of Caraway Kim…Right Wing is the story of eleven-year-old Kim and his race to become Top Scorer of the Caraway hockey team. Kim was first introduced in author Don Truckey’s first ‘Caraway Kim’ novel for middle years readers: The Adventures of Caraway Kim…Southpaw, published in 2005. To win the title of Top Scorer, Kim he has to beat Brad Rooks, the local troublemaker. The boys’ rivalry continues off-ice, forcing Kim to confront his own sense of right and wrong, as well as stand up for himself against Brad’s overbearing ways. In Kim, Truckey continues to follow a likeable young hero who makes realistic choices. Truckey’s clear rendering of a time he calls “before now” makes life in the 1960s come alive. Young hockey fans interested in the old days of the Original Six will be thrilled with the detailed descriptions of the difficulties players faced back in those days: the rough ice; the biting cold; and the thin, not-so-protective equipment that left heads, knees and throats vulnerable to injury….