It is nearly Canada Day (July 1) and my thoughts have turned to picture books with a decidedly “Canadian look.” This afternoon, I pulled Under a Prairie Sky off my bookshelf and spent some time enjoying the detailed, striking watercolour illustrations and the equally dramatic text. A terrific Canadian picture book read aloud for four and five year olds, Under a Prairie Sky is the story of a farm boy who aspires to be a RCMP Officer when he grows up. While harvesting wheat with his father, he is sent to find his younger brother before a storm arrives at the farm. Knowing that this is a job that will demand the detective skills of a Mounted Police Officer, he quickly changes his clothes, dons a Stetson and mounts his trusty black horse. He follows young Will’s trail through the fields and into the wild, taking in flora and fauna native to the Canadian prairies.
Old Bird – written by Irene Morck and illustrated by Muriel Wood
When Papa buys Bird, a gentle mare who will transport Archie and Arnfeld to and from school, he has no idea the impact the horse will have on his farm. Bird follows the children as they do their chores and insists on being allowed into the barn. Bird opens latches and asserts herself until Papa decides she must be sold. Just before the auction, Bird again has her way. This time she shows the family just how she can contribute to the farm. Old Bird is a truly lovely story, beautifully illustrated, that reminds us old does not mean incompetent or worthless.
You may also be interested in our page titled “Diversity.” We highlight picture books and chapter books that celebrate and inform us about human diversity including learning disabilities, physical disabilities, allergies, single parent families, interracial families, same sex parents, aging, death and more.
Gunner Hurricane Horse written by Judy Andrekson Middle grade fiction published by Tundra Books
I approached Gunner Hurricane Horse with some trepidation as I’m not particularly interested in the lives of horses and, while I like animals, I don’t consider myself to be an ‘animal lover.’ In fact, Gunner Hurricane Horse is a compelling true story that will appeal to young readers on many levels. Gunner was a very young and unkempt American Paint Horse when he arrived on Heather Lott-Goodwin’s ranch. He challenged his trainers and was constantly getting into trouble of one sort or another.
As Gunner learns, grows and matures, we come to know his personality and those of the people who helped to shape him into a World Champion. We care about Heather Lott-Goodwin, her husband and her young son. When Hurricane Katrina passes directly over their ranch, we learn about the challenges faced by Heather as an emergency room nurse, the difficulty in coping for those who remained at the ranch as well as the incredible damage inflicted by the storm.
Highly recommended as a read-aloud or for independent readers aged seven and up.
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