Tiptoe Joe

Tiptoe fast,

Tiptoe slow,

Say hello to Tiptoe Joe.


Tiptoe Joe is pretty much toddler time perfection. Bouncy, rhyming text, short phrases, sweet characters and lots of opportunities for simple actions make this a winning choice, and I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to discover it!

Tiptoe Joe, a red sneaker-wearing bear, tiptoes around the forest inviting his animal friends to join him for a surprise. The animals clop clop, thump thump, flap flap, thud thud, swish swish, and slap slap after him, to discover that Tiptoe Joe’s secret, and the reason he’s being so quiet, is a pair of adorable new little bear cubs, curled up fast asleep.

Image result for tiptoe joe picture book

This book must’ve been written with story time in mind. I love the repeated phrases “(animal, animal) come with me. I know something you should see.” and ” Tell us, tell us, Tiptoe Joe. What’s the secret? Let us know.”, which remind of some of my other favourite story time books, like I Went Walking, Brown Bear Brown Bear, This Little Chick and Monkey and Me.  There’s a great sense of rhythm, and the rhymes are really effective.

I can also picture using this with my toddlers and getting them flapping and swishing like the owl and the turkey and thudding like the moose. The actions are simple and repetitive, which is great for adorably clumsy little toddlers who are just figuring out this whole motor-skills thing.

This simple, happy little story is definitely worth checking out, especially if you’ve got toddler times coming up!

Review: Some Birds

Some Birds

Ooooh…..this book is pretty. So, so pretty.

It’s like an adult colouring book that’s been colored by someone who’s actually good at coloring (someone unlike myself).

The rhyming text is simple and fun, celebrating the lush variety of the avian world.

And the pictures! Oh, the pictures! So pretty!

So….yeah, I realize that this hasn’t been the most comprehensive book review (“nice rhyming text, ooooh pretty colours”), but hey, it’s been 30 degrees outside recently (which may not sound all that hot to some people, but is a veritable heat wave for the Pacific North West), and my brain has melted somewhat.

It’s still a pretty book.

Owls See Clearly At Night : A Reading Staycation

If you’ve followed my blog for a little while you’ll likely have already heard me rave about the works of Cree-Metis author/illustrator Julie Flett. Originally from Toronto, Flett has been based on the West Coast for over twenty years. She is an activist as well as an author/illustrator, and is an active campaigner for indigenous rights and education, language preservation, and women’s issues, particularly with regard to Aboriginal women in Vancouver’s notorious downtown eastside.


Flett’s commitment to supporting language acquisition and preserving indigenous languages can be seen in her stunning Michif alphabet book, Owls See Clearly At Night, which was nominated for a Governor General’s Award for Children’s Literature.

Michif is the traditional language of the Metis people, who are one of three Aboriginal populations as defined by the Canadian constitution, and who are traditionally based in the prairie provinces, primary Manitoba. Their culture and language are a blend of Aboriginal and European roots, with a particularly strong French influence. Michif is a complex language that evolved from a merging of Cree, French, English, and other Aboriginal languages, including Ojibwa and Assiniboine. It is also unfortunately a critically endangered language, with only about 1000 fluent Michif speakers still remaining.

Owls See Clearly At Night is indicative of growing movement dedicated to revitalizing threatened indigenous languages. As an alphabet book it serves as a means of introducing both Metis and non-Metis readers to the basic fundamentals of the language, as well as important cultural elements. Significantly, Owls See Clearly At Night is a Michif-English alphabet book, with the Michif text given the most emphasis, turning the traditional linguistic power dynamic on its head.

Elegant, beautiful and power, Owls See Clearly At Night is an ode to a powerful language that might be dying, but which can still be saved. The Metis language is only one of thousands of threatened languages around the world. According to the BBC,

Over the past century alone, around 400 languages – about one every three months – have gone extinct, and most linguists estimate that 50% of the world’s remaining 6,500 languages will be gone by the end of this century (some put that figure as high as 90%, however).

Languages “are conduits of human heritage…Languages also convey unique cultures. Without the language, the culture itself might teeter, or even disappear.” Language shapes the way we see the world and our place within it, and influences every aspect of our culture. In many indigenous communities language has played a critical role in cultural transmission, as knowledge was traditionally passed down through generations orally, and not transcribed. Cut off from their traditional languages, minority communities in countries around the globe can be dangerously  weakened and entire cultures may be lost. By preserving their  languages and supporting their growth and development, indigenous communities can strengthen their bonds both within their communities and with their ancestors, linking themselves with their past and building a strong foundation for the future.

#IMWAYR – August 21, 2016

It’s Monday, What Are You Reading? is hosted by Kathryn at The Book Date, and adapted by Kellee at Unleashing Readers and Jen at Teach Mentor Texts with a children’s/YA focus. The Sunday Post is hosted by The Caffeinated Book Reviewer. These weekly roundups are a great way to discover new blogs and bloggers, share titles, and add to your ever-growing to-read list.

Hot…hot hot hot hot hot….It has been HOT. It was 30 degrees yesterday. THIRTY DEGREES. (That’s 86 degrees for you Yankees). Sure, compared to the East Coast heat wave that might not sound all that impressive (actually I was surprised when I did the conversion,it feels so much hotter than a measly little 86 degrees….), but here in the air conditioning-less Pacific Northwest, 30 is HOT.

OK, weather-related rant over and done with, on to the books!

This week I…..

  • Shared some ways to use Shaun Tan’s wonderfully weird picture book Rules of Summer  in a class or library group setting.

rules of summer cover

  • Talked about some of my favourite book settings, and completely forgot to mention others (I blame it on my melting brain….).

TTT Top Ten Tuesday The Book Wars

  • I participated in another edition of Nonfiction Wednesday, talking about The Toad, another edition in one of my favourite nonfiction series for young reader, Elise Gravel’s Disgusting Critters!


  • My British Columbia-based Reading Staycation experience continues with one of my favourite story time books, the very funny Grumpy Bird by Vancouver-based Jeremy Tankard. Who can’t relate to this grumpy bird who wakes up on the wrong side of the bed?

  • I shook my Reading Staycation series up a bit with an interview with the fantastic, super-talented and super-duper nice Vancouver-based illustrator Dawn Lo. I love being able to support local, independent artists and creative entrepreneurs – the artistic life is a rewarding one, but it can also be pretty challenging, so let’s all support each other!


  • I’m currently enjoying a new-to-me Stephen King novel, The Cell.  The premise is pretty cheesy – a mysterious event dubbed “the pulse” has turned cell phone users into terrifying zombie-like creatures. Cell phone usage = zombification. Not really the most imaginative (or subtle….) premise there (tell me what you really think about young people, Mr. King…), but if you can overlook that aspect of the novel it really it quite enjoyable (so far anyway).  King is a thoughtful, clever writer who balances shocking horror and character-drive story to create very readable experiences.  But oh MAN is this novel done a major disservice by its unintentionally HILARIOUS back copy…

From international bestseller Stephen King, a high-concept, ingenious and terrifying story about the mayhem unleashed when a pulse from a mysterious source transforms all cell phone users into homicidal maniacs.
There’s a reason cell rhymes with hell.

Cell: A Novel by [King, Stephen]

So, there’s my week in a nutshell! Hope everyone has been having an AMAZING week – stay cool and hydrated everybody (unless you’re in the Southern Hemisphere, you lucky duckies)!

#diversekidslit – August 20, 2016

Our theme for today’s Diverse Children’s Books linkup is Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Share your favorite book or books that take place in a different country than where you live! (The theme is only a suggestion. Diverse posts on alternate topics are always welcome.)

What Is #DiverseKidLit?

Diverse Children’s Books is a book-sharing meme designed to promote the reading and writing of children’s books that feature diverse characters. This community embraces all kinds of diversity including (and certainly not limited to) diverse, inclusive, multicultural, and global books for children of all backgrounds.

We encourage everyone who shares to support this blogging community by visiting and leaving comments for at least three others. Please also consider following the hosts on at least one of their social media outlets. Spread the word using #diversekidlit and/or adding our button to your site and your diverse posts.


We hope this community will grow into a great resource for parents, teachers, librarians, publishers, and authors! Our next linkup will be Saturday, September 3rd and on the first and third Saturdays of every month.

Upcoming Themes

Our theme for the current linkup is Favorite International Book(s) for Children. Themes are a suggestion only; all diverse book posts are welcome. If you’re interested, you can start planning now for our upcoming themes …

  • September 3rd linkup: Diverse Book(s) Featuring a Character with a Disability. (Need ideas? Check out past winners of the Schneider Family Book Awards.)
  • September 17th linkup: Favorite Bilingual Book(s). Think about your favorite book or books that are published in bilingual (or multiple language) editions.

Most Clicked Post from Last Time

Our most clicked post from the previous #diversekidlit is Top Ten Tuesday: Books Set Outside of the United States (By Continent) from Ricki and Kellee at Unleashing Readers. They each share a favorite book from the five populated continents, excluding North America.

#DiverseKidLit is Hosted by:

Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Google+Gayle Swift, Author of ABC, Adoption & Me


Jane @ Rain City Librarian
Blog / Twitter / Instagram

Marjorie @ Mirrors Windows Doors
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest

Mia @ Pragmatic Mom
Blog / Twitter / Facebook / Pinterest / Instagram

Myra @ Gathering Books
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Guest Host for August

Shoumi Sen, Author of Toddler Diaries
Blog / Twitter / Facebook

Want to be notified when the next #diversekidlit linkup goes live? Click here to join the mailing list. Interested in joining as a host or an occasional co-host? Contact katie at thelogonauts.com.

(Never participated in a linkup before? Please click here for a more detailed step-by-step.)

Get #DiverseKidLit Recommendations on Pinterest!

We’ve started a new group board on Pinterest to highlight all the amazing posts and resources for Diverse Children’s Books. Please consider following the board for even more great books!

The Librarian and the eBook

Book Blogger Hop

I’m participating in this edition of the Book Blogger Hop, hosted by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer, because I was intrigued by the question of the week:

Aug. 19th – 25th – Do you read via eBook and if so which one/ones and why? (submitted by Teri)

The answer is no, I don’t read eBooks, but that doesn’t mean you shouldn’t.

Librarians, as you might have heard, have often had a bit of a love-hate relationship with eBooks. There was a point a while back, when eBooks were first starting to trickle into the market, when the media declared the imminent death of print books in the wake of this digital revolution. Libraries would disappear, print books would vanish, and we would all be sitting with our noses in our Kindles (unless you want to borrow books from a Canadian library, in which you’d better get a different eReader * boo hiss Amazon *).


Reality has been a little different, of course. Libraries still exist, and in my area anyway, print book borrowing still exceeds eBook borrowing. Some people (myself included) simply prefer reading text from a paper page, rather than a screen. Teens, for example, are still much for likely to borrow a print book than an eBook.

Still, I love eReaders, and I think eBooks are a fantastic innovation. Being able to store dozens of titles on a single device sounds like a commuter’s dream, and it would certainly make packing for a vacation so much easier (can’t decide with book to take on the plane? Take them all!). eReaders are lightweight, making them potentially easier for people with mobility or dexterity challenges to hold and carry than a print book. eReaders can increase the font size in a document, a useful feature for people with visual impairments, and the fact that library eBooks return themselves automatically means that busy families or individuals with compromised memories or unpredictable living arrangements need never worry about accruing fines. And as a voracious reader living in a small apartment, just think of the space I could free up if I didn’t need bookshelves to store my books!

Still, when it comes to reading on a tablet or eReader, I just can’t do it. I’m not nostalgic or sentimental (OK, who am I kidding, of course I am, but not in this instance) – what matters to me is what’s inside a book, the ideas and thoughts and characters and stories, and I don’t particularly care what format that content takes. I simply haven’t been able to find an eReader that doesn’t make me feel like I’m working. I sit in front of screen for hours each day – the last thing I want to do during my off time is stare at another screen! When I want to switch off, I want to switch off completely, and that means unplugging from all electronics. I’ve tried to join the digital reading revolution, but I’ve yet to find anything that speaks to me the way a good old fashioned book does. For now anyway, print books are simply more attractive and enjoyable to me than eBooks (and according to some studies, I’m not just a lonely Luddite).

That’s just me, though. For a lot of people, eReaders can make reading more affordable and more accessible, which makes the librarian in me very happy indeed. Do I think digital books might replace print books one day? Who knows? We’ll just have to cross that bridge when we get to it.

Grumpy Bird – A Reading Staycation

“When Bird woke up, he was grumpy.”

Well, who can’t relate to that opening sentence? I think we’ve all woken up on the wrong side of the bed like Bird, grumpy and grouchy for no apparent reason, and frustrated to the brim with the world and everyone in it.

Bird is too grumpy to eat, he’s too grumpy to play, he’s too grumpy even to fly, which means he has no choice but to walk to get where he’s going. Turns out all the other animals in his neighborhood LOVE walking, and Bird quickly finds himself a pied piper of sorts, leading the rest of the animals in a jaunt around the woods. When Bird realizes that the other animals are following his lead, and that he can make them do silly things like stand on one leg or jump, he forgets all about his grumpy mood, and invites all of his new friends back to his nest for a snack.

OK, so it’s not the most complex picture book out there, but that’s what makes it such a perfect group read-aloud. The story is short and direct enough to grab and hold the attention of a wiggly audience, the text is simple with just enough repetition, and there are plenty of opportunities to really ham it up as Bird grows more and more exasperated with his too-cheerful neighbors. The illustrations are just awesome – bold black lines, simple shapes, expressive characters, primary colours and few fine details make for eye-catching images that really work well when shared with a crowd.

Grumpy Bird is just so appealing because we’ve all been Grumpy Bird – grumpy, grouchy, and annoyed by every chirpy, cheerful, annoyingly well-meaning person we come across. Hello, Mondays….

Originally from South Africa, Jeremy Tankard lived in several different cities before settling with his family in Vancouver. He was the artist for the BC Summer Reading Club in 2014, and is the author and/or illustrator of several picture books. I also met him once when he brought his family into the central library (I gave him the key to the family washroom), and he was very nice.