Christmas A to Z
White Lily Press / 8 December 2017

Christmas A to Z by Susan Harris Published by White Lily Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $12.00 ISBN 978-0-9949869-1-7 Christmas. Even the very youngest children get caught up in the excitement–the gifts, the tree, and of course, Santa Claus–and to help celebrate and explain some of the season’s symbols, celebrations, and emotions, Saskatchewan writer Susan Harris has added to her shelf of children’s books with a new title, the brightly illustrated Christmas A to Z. It’s important to note that this is a secular Christmas alphabet book; Harris previously published An Alphabet of the First Christmas: A Christian Alphabet Book, as well as several other titles for young children. The book begins with a broad dedication: “For boys and girls who love Christmas,” and ends with a sweet letter from Harris to her young readers. The author uses a gentle tone to address her “Little Friend[s],” and her experience as a former teacher comes across in the letter’s engaging text. “Did you know that it does not snow in some countries? I grew up in the country of Trinidad, which is an island, and it does not snow there,” she writes. “Do you have a favourite present you received…

Alphabet of the First Christmas, An
White Lily Press / 7 December 2017

An Alphabet of the First Christmas: A Christian Alphabet Book by Susan Harris Published by White Lily Press Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $12.00 ISBN 978-0-9949869-2-4 Author Susan Harris has added another alphabet book to her growing list of titles: An Alphabet of the First Christmas: A Christian Alphabet Book, will be specifically welcome to those who wish to teach (or learn!) the alphabet from a Christmas-themed and a Christian perspective. Like her book, Christmas A to Z, this softcover leads young readers through a colourful array of images, and it uses some “big” words to represent certain letters. For example, “B” is for Bethlehem, “E” is for “Emmanuel,” “F” is “Frankincense,” and “Y” is for “Yeshua,” “the Hebrew name for Jesus,” meaning saviour. I applaud Harris for using both simple words and these more difficult ones: I can almost hear a little child carefully pronouncing “Frankincense” after he or she hears it, and enjoying both the challenge and the sound of the word. Several of the illustrations reminded me of traditional Christmas card images, while others featured cartoon-like characters. The book is perfect for Christmas gift-giving, as it even includes a handy “To” and “From” page at the beginning….

ABC’s Down on the Farm
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 23 December 2014

ABC’s Down on the Farm by Eileen Munro Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Shelley A. Leedahl $12.95 ISBN 978-1-927756-27-0 Have you ever thought about how much fun it would be to create an alphabet book? There would be so many ways to approach it, from simple animal alphabets to esoteric books geared mostly for adults-it just depends on your interests and experience. Saskatchewan writer and painter Eileen Munro grew up on a farm, and this year she put her own brand on the alphabet, with ABC’s Down on the Farm, a colourful burst of farm-inspired pages that reveal some of the best features about rural life via relatable text and cheery, down-home illustrations. Throughout the rhyming story we follow a pony-tailed girl and a blond boy as they enjoy a country lifestyle that includes picking apples, violets and flax flowers; interacting with various animals; and taking part in activities like hauling grain to the elevator and collecting eggs. The tone is light and musical, ie: “Cc is for combine in the field, threshing grain. Dd is for ducks that splash in the rain. Ee is for elevator, so big and so high. Ff is for flax as…

Canadian Shield Alphabet
Your Nickel's Worth Publishing / 14 January 2009

The Canadian Shield Alphabet by Myrna Guymer Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing Review by Marie Powell Mendenhall $24.95 CDN ISBN: 978-1-894431-23-1 If you thought you knew every word that could be used to illustrate the alphabet in a child’s picture book, you haven’t seen this alpha-book. Kookum and kinnikinnik, qiviut and ungulates are among its illustrated concepts. What’s a qasgiq, or an ulu? The Canadian Shield Alphabet has the answers. More familiar terms like northern lights (“Aurora Borealis”) and meteorites connect school-aged readers to a variety of subjects, as they learn about the land, people, and culture important in several Canadian provinces crossing Shield country. Taiga and tundra are among its landscapes, as are rivers, lakes, swamps, forests. Animals like voles, pelicans, seals, otters, and polar bears help tell the story of this northern environment. As well, birds like the peregrine falcon, snowy owl, ptarmigan, and Canada Goose make an appearance. The land abounds with history as well, and these pages also mention such explorers as Alexander Mackenzie, David Thompson, and Alexander Henry from the late 1700s. Myrna Guymer of Denare Beach, Saskatchewan uses the knowledge she’s gained on her travels by canoe and airplane, to share the adventure…