Katie Be Quiet
Coteau Books / 8 June 2011

Katie Be Quiet by Darcy Tamayose Published by Coteau Books Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $18.95 ISBN 978-1-55959-390-6 Thirteen-year-old Katie Bean has much to process. She and her mother have moved to a “sleepy prairie town,” she is the target of school bullies, and “Her body [is] going through weird changes.” Her mother is preoccupied with her unusual new job – “drawing up plans for Constantine’s lavender farm” – and thus has zero time for Katie. These issues are difficult enough, but what’s truly devastating is the fact that Katie’s eccentric musician-composer father recently died “in his sleep,” and Katie’s grieving in solitude. Her only friend is her father’s piano. There is, however, a strange new development in her young life: the voice that “[keeps] shushing her.” Is she going crazy? So begins the juvenile novel, Katie Be Quiet, the second book by Lethbridge writer Darcy Tamayose. The “new kid not fitting in” scenario is common among books for young readers, but Tamayose’s book stands out for its complex mystery, its intermingling of youth and adult characters – including a rude man from Paris and his poodle-doting wife who’ve come to manage the lavender farm’s tea room – and for…

Make A Rabbit
Polka Dot Press / 8 June 2011

Make a Rabbit by Mary-Ann Kirkby Review by Karen Lawson Published by Polka Dot Press $18.95 ISBN 978-0-9783405-2-0 Make a Rabbit is a delightful children’s book that will capture your heart from the first page. The first look at the title may have you reaching for scissors and glue but no, Make a Rabbit is not a children’s craft book. The term is a Hutterite expression that gently and delicately explains the rite of passage that every toddler goes through when he is ready to leave the world of diapers behind. Mary-Ann Kirkby first reflected on life within a Hutterite colony in her memoir entitled I am Hutterite. In her children’s book, Make a Rabbit, she has used a Hutterite colony as her setting and tackled an issue that all parents can relate to as their baby makes the transition from baby to toddler. As a former member of the Hutterite community, Kirkby understands her subject matter well and uses her knowledge of their culture to teach her readers about this special group of people that are an important part of our prairie history. Eddy Hofer is a lovable, rambunctious, curious, child. He is loved not only by his parents,…

The Kayak
Thistledown Press / 8 June 2011

The Kayak by Debbie Spring Published by Thistledown Press Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall $12.95 ISBN: 978-1-897235-71-3 Debbie Spring launches the action of her juvenile novel, The Kayak, in the opening chapters, when Teresa is kayaking around the islands of Georgian Bay. She notices a wind surfer in trouble, and manages a daring rescue, pulling him to shore by rope. Once on shore, though, Teresa’s father comes and lifts her from her kayak into her wheelchair. That doesn’t bother Jamie, who asks her to a campfire with his friends. In spite of the manipulations of his former girlfriend, Kat, Jamie tells Teresa: “There’s something special about you and I want to find out.” Written in the first person, the book’s style helps readers connect with Teresa: “The choppy waves rise and fall. My kayak bobs like a cork in the swirling waters of Georgian Bay. I love it. I feel wild and free… I am one with the kayak. The blue boat is an extension of my legs. I can do anything: I can go anywhere. Totally independent. Totally in control of my life. It’s so different back at shore.” Teresa easily solves the conflicts that arise in her life….