Something Big
aemworks Publishing / 16 December 2022

Something Bigby Jenna and Avery Wasylkowski, Illustrated by A.E. MathesonPublished by aemworks PublishingReview by Shelley A. Leedahl$11.95 ISBN 9-78177-980702 Illustrator/publisher A.E. Matheson has done something big. She’s teamed whimsical illustrations and a fanciful conversation lifted from “real-life” (I’m assuming, as the front cover declares the story’s a “conversation” between Jenna and Avery Wasylkowski), and created a delightful—and most unusual!—Christmas-related story that spotlights childhood imagination and belief. I hadn’t even reached the first page of text before I was mesmerized: the book opens with a two-page, full-bleed spread of a green dragon with translucent wings chained to charcoal-coloured boulders. His eyelids are heavy, smoke vapours from wide nostrils, and one of his three grey horns appears like a party hat atop his fringy head. This well-crafted image inspires curiosity: what exactly is this clawed creature? Turn the page, and one enters a completely different scene: a realistic family breakfast with a mother, father and son around a kitchen table. Here, too, I’m slow to flip the page, even though the opening text’s compelling: “So? Any thoughts on what you’re asking Santa for Christmas?” (We don’t know which parent’s asking this question, and this interesting lack of attribution’s another trait that sets…

Germy Johnson’s Piano War
aemworks Publishing / 2 March 2012

JJ “Germy” Johnson, the engaging hero of award-winning author Alison Lohans, Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan, is back with a new adventure. This time, JJ’s parents are forcing him to take piano lessons, which are proving to be hazardous to his health. To be perfectly honest, piano lessons also take up valuable time when he could be battling cyber-pterodactyls or man-eating sharks on his game system. But his parents just won’t see his point of view. So JJ is forced to take drastic action.

Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan
aemworks Publishing / 2 March 2012

Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan by Alison Lohans Illustrations by A.E. Matheson Published by aemworks Publishing Review by Michelle Shaw $7.95 ISBN 978-0-9784974-0-8 Germy (JJ) Johnson is facing a serious predicament. His Great Aunt Pru is coming for a long visit. She’s old and smells like medicine. Her false teeth click when she talks and sometimes she takes them out to surprise people. It’s not funny! Those false teeth give him nightmares…literally. Worst of all, she’s staying in his bedroom and he’s now forced to share a room with his baby sister, Jessica. JJ is determined to find a way to force Aunt Pru to leave and his new kitten gives him a brilliant idea. Germs…the ultimate weapon! What if Aunt Pru became deathly ill? Then she’d have to leave. JJ embarks on a quest to infest Aunt Pru with all the germs he can find. Which isn’t as easy he thought and earns himself a not-so-pleasant nickname along the way. Germy Johnson’s Secret Plan was first published in 1992 and was widely used in grade three classrooms across Canada. When it went out of print, the author, award-winning Regina-based Alison Lohans, kept getting requests for it. So she decided to…