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CanCon Picture Books (by Julie Booker)

By 49thShelf
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When I got a job as teacher-librarian in a primary school the kids asked if Miss Booker was my real name. The irony hadn't even occurred to me; I was too busy worrying about whether my name would hinder me from winning the famous literary prize. **Julie Booker is five feet tall. She lives in a Toronto row house and drives a tiny car. She has a toy poodle and twin baby boys. She teaches small children. She sees the world in pithy arcs, nicely contained. Her short stories have appeared in numerous literary magazines and anthologies, including the 2010 edition of Best Canadian Stories. She won the Writers' Union of Canada's Short Prose Competition for Developing Writers in 2009.**
Jelly Belly

Jelly Belly

by Dennis Lee
illustrated by Juan Wijngaard
edition:Paperback
tagged :
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Why it's on the list ...
Dennis Lee is probably best known for Alligator Pie, but having used this book for twenty years in my teaching, the poems are well worn synaptic pathways in my brain. And the illustrations are inseparable from the poems. A few favourites that play with Canadian content: Bundle Buggy Boogie and Torontosaurus Rex (found on a menu in the illustration for The Dinosaur Dinner.)
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M Is For Moose

M Is For Moose

A Charles Pachter Alphabet
edition:Hardcover
tagged : canadian, alphabet
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Why it's on the list ...
It rhymes. It's a wonderful readaloud. It surprises. "N is for Newfoundland where Bumble Bee Bight is the name of a town. and so are Nancy Oh and Blow-Me-Down." And because it's Pachter's work, it's visually beautiful. (And what ABC book makes room for Margaret Atwood, Susanna Moodie and Margaret Laurence?)
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Drumheller Dinosaur Dance
Why it's on the list ...
Imagine a group of kids, cross-legged at your feet, all eyes on the book in your hand. With the first "Boomity-boom, Rattley-clack, Thumpity-thump, Whickety-whack," you know you've got them. That's why this is on the list. Not only does it introduce the Badlands, it begs for actions to accompany the chorus.
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The Hockey Sweater

The Hockey Sweater

by Roch Carrier
translated by Sheila Fischman
illustrated by Sheldon Cohen
edition:Hardcover
also available: Paperback
tagged : hockey
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Why it's on the list ...
Carrier's depiction of rural Quebec in the 1940s from a child's point of view is pitch-perfect: the Anglo-Francophone tension, the role of hockey and the church and the crushing blow when Roch receives the wrong jersey. Humour and compassion are evident in every sentence: "I asked God to send me right away a hundred million moths that would eat my Maple Leaf sweater."
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City Alphabet
Why it's on the list ...
Using photos of Toronto, this is an homage to (usually-maligned) graffiti. Schwartz says in the afterword: "As you walk down the street words appear, unexpected, unbidden, like random pages from a concrete diary. Who are they addressed to? They are addressed to you." It makes me want to search the city for messages.
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Eenie Meenie Manitoba

Eenie Meenie Manitoba

edition:Paperback
also available: Hardcover
tagged :
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Why it's on the list ...
Whatever happened to skipping songs? Chants and clapping patterns as you tossed a sponge ball against the wall? Bring it all back, I say, and start a whole new generation of clappers and skippers.
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Peg And The Whale
Why it's on the list ...
Set in Labrador, I like this for the strong female protagonist, the nod to Jonah-in-the-whale and the playful language: "The whale took the hook, and the line played out faster than a tune from a jack-in-the-box."
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The Cremation of Sam McGee
Why it's on the list ...
I love any book illustrated by Ted Harrison. His distinctive striated skies and layered landscapes capture the cold of the Yukon using colours indicative of northern skies, beyond the expected blue and white. This is a fun, folksy, tall-tale of a poem.
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