Alphabet in the Park
Home Style Teachers / 2 April 2024

Alphabet in the Parkby Ashley Vercammen, Illustrated by Evgeniya FilimonovaPublished by Home Style TeachersReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$20.00 ISBN 9781778152900 I’ve reviewed a number of children’s alphabet books across the decades, so I’m always impressed when a writer puts an original twist on the traditional “A is for Apple” text. Saskatchewan’s Ashley Vercammen and her illustrator, Evgeniya Filimonova have done just that. Their 2022-released Alphabet in the Park contains a rhyming narrative, it’s interactive, seasonal, and it offers some original ideas re: ways to explain—and show—the twenty-six letters that form the English language. The letters actually become characters, playing along with the children in the book. This unique story is set in a park, and it’s winter. From a visual perspective, this makes for many pages with snowy white backgrounds, which in turn make the illustrations stand out. On the left side of each page spread a single letter takes its turn in a solid bold colour. In choosing a winter theme and selecting one orange-haired girl to appear in several of the scenes, readers get a sense of continuity. The cast of characters is culturally inclusive, which is always a bonus in children’s stories. Young readers are welcomed to…

Stones Will Sing, The
Cold Blue Press / 2 April 2024

The Stones Will Singby Alanna VanePublished by Cold Blue PressReview by Toby A. Welch  $12.72 ISBN 9781738023301 The premise of The Stones Will Sing seems to be the question of whether music can be a life-changing force. It is a quirky yet fascinating topic to delve into, wrapped inside a fantastical tale of adventure.  The novel opens as the king of the country of Koshluk goes rampant on a quest to quash all the arts. Included in his declarations is that musical instruments are illegal and anyone caught singing will have their larynx removed. You can imagine the chaos that ensues when these rules (among others involving books, theater, etc.) are made known.  On one hand, you have Prince Ash, the second son of King Marcus of Koshluk, who is on a mission to protect the people of his country and their freedoms. Then there is Cedar, a woman who’s drawn to music with an inexplicable force. The duo embark on a journey, both carrying their provisions but also the weight of their secrets. For example, Cedar has no clue that Ash is a prince. Ash’s brother, James, is weaved through the tale as well as many other characters that keep things interesting…