SuperMom and the Big Baby
DriverWorks Ink / 28 February 2013

Supermom and the Big Baby by Dave Driver Published by DriverWorks Ink Review by Karen Lawson ISBN 978-1-927570-01-2 Sometimes the idea for a story comes from an unusual source. According to author, Dave Driver, the inspiration for his children’s book came from his wife, Kelli, who regularly talks in her sleep. After being regularly wakened at night by her nocturnal chattering, Dave had a brainstorm and decided to create a story based on her nonsensical ramblings. The result is a lighthearted book entitled Supermom and the Big Baby. The author includes his whole family in his story but the star of the tale is his baby son, Easton. Easton has an argument with his big brother, Cooper, and then grows and grows and doesn’t stop growing. He soon takes over the neighbourhood and is on the loose. The Driver family must figure out how to get their baby back and reduced to normal size. It doesn’t take long before Easton is running amok and terrorizing the neighbourhood. Neighbours try and help corral the giant baby but ultimately it is up to Supermom aka Kelli to save the day and rescue her enormous son and shrink him back to normal size….

30 Years of Journalism and Democracy in Canada
Canadian Plains Research Center / 28 February 2013

Thirty Years of Journalism and Democracy in Canada:The Minifie Lectures 1981 – 2010 Edited by Mitch Diamantopoulos Published by Canadian Plains Research Centre Press Review by Regine Haensel $39.95 ISBN 978-0-88977-225-0 In his introduction, editor Mitch Diamantopoulos, Department Head of the School of Journalism, states: “This collection profiles the best of Canadian journalism. Its contributors seek to alert, to inform and to protect the people against those who would conceal or distort the truth. In other words, this is also a book about the ongoing struggle for democratic vitality and press freedom in Canada from 1981 to 2010.” Lectures begin with Knowlton Nash’s “Cleopatra, Harlots and Glue”, and continue with other well-known journalists and broadcasters such as Peter Gzowski, Pamela Wallin, Peter Mansbridge, Wendy Mesley, and Evan Solomon. These are the cream of the crop, not only in Canada, but around the world. Their credentials include work with the CBC, MacLean’s Magazine, Southam News, The Globe and Mail, CTV, Good Morning America, and Al Jazeera English-language international news channel. Some lectures discuss problems and pitfalls of journalism, such as censorship. In his 1983 lecture William Stevenson says, “I was in Indonesia when the first rebellions began against Dictator Sukarno ….

Love, Loss, and Other Oddities
Saskatchewan Romance Writers / 26 February 2013

Love, Loss and Other Oddities by Saskatchewan Romance Writers Review by Karen Lawson $16.95 ISBN 978-0-9878337-0-9 Thanks to the Saskatchewan Romance Writers, romance is alive and well in Saskatchewan. In celebration of twenty-five years as a writing group, its members decided to compile their best stories. The result is an entertaining and diverse collection entitled Love, Loss and Other Oddities. There are seventeen talented writers involved in the compilation of this anthology. The stories included in Love, Loss and Other Oddities are as diverse and different as the writers themselves. But there are two things that all the contributors have in common: they all love to write in the romantic vein and they are all residents of Saskatchewan. Romance is a huge genre that encompasses many different components. This book covers every aspect of romance and love. It is a potpourri of love stories. There is everything from historical romance to contemporary romance. It also includes urban fantasy and paranormal romance. Some stories are lighthearted. Several are touching and sad. Many of the stories focus on young love. Some deal with characters that are facing middle and old age. Some look at the sweetness of a new relationship. Others zero…

Thistledown Press / 7 February 2013

Given by Susan Musgrave Published by Thistledown Press Review by Hannah Muhajarine $19.95 ISBN 978-1-927068-02-1 Susan Musgrave has created a story that is both beautiful and heart-wrenching. Given continues where Cargo of Orchids, Musgrave’s previous novel, left off, but it is as welcoming to new readers as it is to old. Indeed, those who discover Given will no doubt be pleased to find that in Cargo, they can learn the full story of the narrator’s intriguing past. The narrator, who remains unnamed, escapes from prison at the beginning of the novel and travels back to her home on an island in B.C. In this small community there are many protestors, a Christian vegetable salesman, a ‘Church of the Holy Brew’, and a café that serves a ‘Philosophical Chicken special’. There is humour, but the majority of it is dark, suitable for the novel’s themes of poverty, addiction, and grief. The narrator is haunted, literally, by the ghosts of her two friends from Death Row. Although they are dead, Frenchy and Rainy are incredibly vibrant. They speak in a witty and inventive slang, speaking disturbing truth using many original turns of phrase. The journey is very much an inner, emotional one,…

Different Drummer Volume 2
Agonal Industries / 7 February 2013

Different Drummer Vol. 2 by Danny Kresnyak Published by Agonal Industries Review by Jessica Bickford $20.00 978-1-55383-336-9 Danny Kresnyak’s book is part photo-essay, part human-rights journalism, part road story, and entirely engaging. Different Drummer Vol. 2 is a visually striking odyssey through what is essentially a year in the life of one intrepid man with a camera and the drive to find the untold stories of the lost, the repressed, or the just plain peculiar people of the world. It starts, where else, with an eventful road trip to the U.S. Beard Championships in Pennsylvania. A run in with customs, more than a little alcohol and some fabulously bewhiskered gentlemen create an unforgettable tale that sets the theme of information gathering through risk taking that permeates this adventure in print. Quickly moving through Paris, some Regina history in the form of a farewell to Vassil Zaharik (the 11th Ave. archivist), it is then on to Ghana in West Africa where our venturesome journalist’s stories are focused for the rest of the book. Stories of struggle, betrayal, exploitation, and personal ruin abound, but interspersed throughout these harsh realities are stories of hope and not only the unwavering will to survive, but…

Thistledown Press / 6 February 2013

Dibidalen by Seán Virgo Published by Thistledown Press Review by Hannah Muhajarine $18.95 ISBN 978-1-927068-06-9 The stories found in this enchanting collection by Seán Virgo are almost fairytales, familiar and fascinatingly fresh at the same time. The collection starts simply, with “Before Ago”, a story that sounds like a poem or a song. Its rhythmic and repetitive phrases gave me the feeling I was listening to the story being told rather than reading it from a page. These opening tales are short and cryptic, full of symbolism and meaning. The characters are unnamed-‘a man’, ‘a stranger’ or ‘a priest’-and contain elements of folktales-three eggs found in a field, talking animals, dreams and transformations. As the stories progress, however, new ideas are introduced. A priest struggles to find the best way to live his faith, a soldier finds it difficult to return to his old life after the war. All the stories are neatly linked, some seeming to pick up where the last one left off. They build on each other, gradually gaining length and complexity, moving forward in time to a world more like our own. The last three stories-“Gramarye,” “The Likeness,” and “Dibidalen”-are the longest, making up most of…

Wagons East
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 6 February 2013

Wagons East by Victoria Taylor Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Keith Foster $14.95 ISBN 978-1-894431-88-0 Have you ever felt like taking off – to nowhere in particular? That’s what Victoria Taylor and her partner Carl did, virtually on the spur of the moment. It was this spontaneity that led to the great adventure she relates in Wagons East. Following their dream, the couple set out from British Columbia on a cross-country tour, roughing it as they made their way east. They only got as far as Saskatchewan, but they took the scenic route. They travelled by covered wagon, accompanied by their team of horses, Hoss and Tracker, whom Victoria refers to as “the boys.” Plodding along on a wagon seat at three-and-a-half miles an hour provided a different sensation than driving in a car. Victoria uses a chatty, conversational writing style with a wry sense of humour, saying that indoor plumbing consisted of a cold water tank with a tap. She describes crossing a logging bridge with “no side rails and a million miles to the river bottom.” Despite this and other harrowing experiences, she displays an optimistic buoyancy throughout. The couple stopped at farms and ranches…

Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan
Nature Saskatchewan / 6 February 2013

Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan by Anna L. Leighton Published by Nature Saskatchewan Review by Sandy Bonny $19.95 ISBN 978-0-921104-29-2 Saskatchewan’s uncultivated prairie, the archetypical provincial geography, is grassland — yet many of those thin-leaves are not grasses. The sedges, or Carex, which have three sided blades as opposed to the round stems of grasses, have ‘edges’. And they increase in abundance at edges. If you have canoed through a waterside fen, recall the rough whisper of sedge blades against your hull and paddle. Hiking or hunting in the boreal forests, sedge skirt open spaces, forming thick carpets between forest stands and providing a valuable source of forage and seed to wildlife, as well as a protected habitat for flowering and medicinal plants. With over 103 native species the sedges are the largest genus of vascular plants in Saskatchewan, yet one of the least known and most difficult to identify. Sedges (Carex) of Saskatchewan, Fascicle 3 of the Flora of Saskatchewan’s compendium of provincial botany, reveals the importance of the genus and its role in each of the provincial ecozones. The volume is dedicated to John Howard Hudson (1923-2010), a botanist and educator whose detailed notes and archival specimen collection remain…