Leaving Wisdom
Thistledown Press / 25 May 2023

Leaving Wisdomby Sharon ButalaPublished by Thistledown PressReview by Toby A. Welch$24.95 ISBN 9781771872362 I first fell in love with Sharon Butala’s writing in the 90s when someone gifted me a copy of her #1 best-selling book The Perfection of the Morning. Since then, I have followed her writing journey closely, devouring almost all of the 20+ books she has penned. Butala’s ability to craft a story that sticks with you long after you’ve turned the last page continues with her latest book, Leaving Wisdom. This is a fascinating novel centered around an intriguing character named Judith. The mother of four adult children, Judith is headed to her own retirement party when she slips on a patch of ice. She whacks her head and suffers a life-altering concussion. Struggling to recover and deal with the memories that her fall seems to have dislodged, she moves from big town Alberta to small town Saskatchewan to be closer to the family farm. What ensues is a wild journey filled with unanswered questions and a woman’s quest for the truth. The book is divided into three parts: Wisdom, Sage, and Jerusalem. Hesitant to give away too much, I’ll just say that the third part…

Nature’s Apprentices

Nature’s Apprentices: The Magic of the Peatlandsby Elizabeth Bekolay, illustrated by Jennifer Lynn BeckerPublished by Your Nickel’s Worth PublishingReview by Michelle Shaw$19.95 ISBN 9781778690020 Every so often you come across a book that so inspires you that you want to eagerly hand it out to as many people as possible. This is a book about the importance of the peatlands, which are a type of wetland. It’s a book that’s packed full of fascinating facts and educational resources. But it’s the story — a beautiful blend of ecology, fantasy and the joy of childhood adventures — that draws you in and enchants you. Johnny and Marty are two brothers who spend time with their mother, a biologist, up north every summer in a cabin in the boreal forest. Friends nearby have a daughter Willow, who is about the same age as the boys and the three children love roaming the forest. Willow is fascinated with learning about different types of plants and frequently stops to draw one in her notebook. One day on one of their adventures they hear a flute playing a very old and beautiful melody and the children fall asleep. When they wake up, they discover they…

On the Busy Old Ranch
Bluestem Books / 25 May 2023

On the Busy Old RanchWritten by Katelyn Toney, Illustrated by Rebecca AllenPublished by Bluestem BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$20.00 ISBN 9781738802708 Katelyn Toney lives the hectic farmer/rancher lifestyle near Tompkins in southwest Saskatchewan with her husband and four children, and when she noted a lack of children’s books that depict the family’s unique way of life, she wrote one. The illustrated board book, On the Busy Old Ranch, is a 1-10 counting book with full-bleed illustrations by Rebecca Allen, rhyming stanzas, and child-friendly but apt portrayals of diverse ranch families’ chore-filled daily life. In a CTV Regina television interview, Toney said she’d been reading to her kids “every day for the past 15 years,” and noted that there were “not a lot of books showcasing the life we live out here raising cattle on the prairies”. She said that there are many farm and rodeo-themed kids’ books, but what she found “really didn’t depict the lifestyle” she and her family experience. The first page spread sets the book’s tone and two-stanza, rhyming style: On the busy old ranch by the barn in the sun worked a big mama cowgirl and her little cowgirl one. “Feed,” said the mama. “I feed,”…