Sock Momster, The and Hunting With My Dad

9 November 2023

The Sock Momster
Written by Mari Lemieux, Illustrated by Mario Viani
Published by Home Style Teachers
$25.00 ISBN 9781778152917

Hunting With My Dad
Written by Patty Torrance, Illustrated by Putut Putri
Published by Home Style Teachers
$20.00 ISBN 9781998218028

Reviews by Shelley A. Leedahl

Have an idea for a children’s book, perhaps featuring your own family members or pets? These days, with numerous self-publishing companies available to help new authors navigate the steps toward seeing their own work in print, there are perhaps more books than ever out there vying for coveted space in a child’s collection of titles. One of the best reasons to self-publish is that the whole process can happen quickly. With traditional publishers, writers can wait years to hear back about a manuscript (only to receive a rejection), or receive an acceptance and then have to wait years for the book to be released: I had a book accepted by a reputable trade book publisher in 2012, and it was released in 2019.

Home Style Teachers is a Saskatchewan-based publisher that offers self-publishing services, including finding an illustrator for the story, if the author desires. It is the brainchild of Ashley Vercammen, whose own diverse, illustrated children’s books are included in Home Style Teachers’ quickly growing list. After having read and reviewed a handful of Home Style Teachers’ vibrant softcovers, I can attest that they have the look and feel of a professionally-published book. The illustrations are often cartoon-style digital images featuring the now ubiquitous large-eyed characters.

Mari Lemieux, a teenaged writer from Alida, SK has published The Sock Momster with Home Style Teachers. She was “inspired by her dad’s extravagant bedtime stories and her mom’s constant reminders to wear matching socks,” and the result is her delightful story featuring a large-eyed, bob-and-bangs girl who is in a veritable tizzy because she can’t locate her socks. Her mother (same large eyes, Farrah Fawcett hair) says: “̒Did the sock monster take them?’” Is Mom being sarcastic, or does she know exactly what’s been happening to her daughter’s socks? The ending comes as a colourful and shocking surprise.

Patty Torrance’s Hunting With My Dad is another in the Home Style Teachers’ repertoire. The Tisdale, SK writer and mother “wanted to write a book that would capture the attention of small-town Saskatchewan kids”. This is a father-and-son story about rising early to “hunt buck, doe, and fawn” in the woods. One of the full-bleed illustrations shows a star-twinkling sky and a white crew-cab truck before a field of round bales. Attired in orange safety vests, the pair arrive at their camouflage-painted blind. My favourite text in this rhyming story is when the boy says: “We get to our blind and sit in our seat. My chairs a bit big so I dangle my feet.” The hunt is successful, and apart from the suggestion of blood under the buck’s mouth, not too graphic for young children—especially, I surmise, for those who are from hunting families.

Torrance’s dedication includes a family photo; she reveals that her main character is named after her actual son, Hayden.

Both of these glossy softcover books for young readers were manufactured by See to discover how to quickly get your own book published with Home Style Teachers.


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