Tunnels of Tyranny
DriverWorks Ink / 24 January 2024

Tunnels of Tyrannyby Mary Harelkin BishopPublished by DriverWorks InkReview by Michelle Shaw$19.95 ISBN 9781927570715 The tunnels of Moose Jaw are once again the backdrop for nail-biting excitement and adventure in the Tunnels of Tyranny, the fourth book in Mary Harelkin Bishop’s best-selling Moose Jaw Time Travel Adventure series. I am so delighted that the series has been relaunched. The books were originally published by Coteau Books which unfortunately closed in 2020. However, the series was still in demand and, when the 20th year anniversary of the books drew near, Mary Harelkin Bishop approached DriverWorks Ink to assist in updating the books and relaunching them. In this book, Andrea and Tony race to Moose Jaw when they hear that their grandfather is ill. He asks them to return to the past to retrieve a notebook. But when they return to 1920s Moose Jaw, they discover that the dreaded Ku Klux Klan (KKK) is in town. It’s a race against time as the children wonder if they will ever get back to the present or will have to stay in 1920s Moose Jaw for ever. Bishop’s research is fascinating, and she bases the events that occur in the book on historical facts….

if you lie down in a field, she will find you there
Radiant Press / 24 January 2024

If you lie down in a field, she will find you thereby Colleen BrownPublished by Radiant PressReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$20.00 ISBN 9781989274941 Colleen Brown’s If you lie down in a field, she will find you there underscores that “perception is everything”. The Ontario-raised writer and artist’s memoir contemplates the mystery of her mother via disparate childhood memories and family vignettes, many of which are recalled by Brown’s much older siblings. In delivering these random remembrances, Brown effectively gives the woman’s “perfectly human and unremarkable” life the warm spotlight it deserves; this comes in stark contrast to the “death porn” the media spouted after her mother’s murder by a serial killer. The book is a construction, “a way to make sense of a life,” and it bucks against the “narrative pull” associated with writing about violence. Don’t expect a straight line or an ordered chronology. Do expect to be engrossed by this jigsaw of a memoir that’s often poetic, frequently philosophical, and presents a yearning for “wholeness”. Brown was eight when her mother, Doris, died “suddenly, out of sequence, shockingly and violently”. The killer’s confession came two years later, and he’s been in a psychiatric institution since 1978 under a…

Prairie Seasons
Blow Creative Arts / 24 January 2024

Prairie Seasonsby Amber AntymniukPublished by Blow Creative ArtsReview by Sally Meadows$23.00 ISBN 9781999546236 Amber Antymniuk’s newest children’s picture book, Prairie Seasons, is a child’s-perspective love song to life on the prairies throughout the year. With its glorious sing-song rhythm, this book begs to be read out loud, and will be enjoyed not only by the young children it is written for, but also by the adults who read to them. Amber is both writer and illustrator of Prairie Seasons. She has done an admirable job of creating a lyrical narrative that appeals to all of our senses. As a songwriter and former teacher, I personally am drawn to children’s books that rhyme, and Amber has done a wonderful job of creating phrases with movement and flow. Some of her phrasings are quite lovely (“tucking the earth in as summer fades”) and detailed in a way that is fresh and new (“Some days are so frigid that ice forms within our nostrils”). Amber’s illustrations have a lovely soft appeal that perfectly complement her words. Watercolour and ink are her media of choice, and her attention to detail effectively showcases her ability as an artist to capture elements of the flora and fauna, prairie…

Amnesia Project, The
Wood Dragon Books / 24 January 2024

The Amnesia Projectby Payton ToddPublished by Wood Dragon BooksReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$19.99 ISBN 9781990863264 Keeping journals and writing poetry are common practices among teens, and I commend them for documenting their lives, even if no one else ever sees the writing. Some of our most exciting and/or trying experiences may occur during adolescence, and writing’s good therapy. What’s highly uncommon, however, is for a teenaged writer to have a book published, and for that book to be a 302-paged, young adult sci-fi novel with a large cast of well-developed characters, a complex and dynamic plot, and a satisfying conclusion. Enter Payton Todd and The Amnesia Project. At age fifteen, the avid writer and student from Wood Mountain, SK won the Wood Dragon Books’ Young Author Competition. After working with publisher Jeanne Martinson on successive edits, the attractive, action-filled novel was released. In an interview with moosejawtoday.com, Martinson said “Wood Dragon worked around Payton’s school schedule, and she lives on a [cattle] ranch, too, so she has a lot of chores and obligations. We’re really proud of this book …” The futuristic novel centres around seventeen-year-old Kole Danvers, who finds himself assigned a new name and position—Beta 9X—at the Pacific…

Tyler Evans the Great
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 24 January 2024

Tyler Evans the Greatby Alison LohansPublished by Your Nickel’s Worth PublishingReview by Miriam Körner$ 19.95 ISBN 9781778690228 What does it mean to be a hero? I have no doubt that everyone has a slightly different definition. If you were to ask Tyler Evans in Alison Lohans’ newest chapter book Tyler Evans the Great, he would tell you what a hero is not: A hero doesn’t let the school bullies take his cookie away. A hero doesn’t lose a shoe when he kicks a ball. And a hero doesn’t get his hair ruffled, especially not by his mom. Could Tyler ever be a hero? Told through the eyes of the young protagonist, this book explores a child’s longing to be a hero for the people (and animals) that mean most to him in his young life: his brother, his single mom, his friends and schoolmates, his dogs and even the robin and caterpillars in his backyard. Tyler tries hard to be a hero, but either he isn’t quick enough and someone else has already stolen the part or his attempts backfire. To make matters worse, his older brother Matt doesn’t let Tyler play video games with him and calls him a…