Tag Archives: book review

The Warrior’s Daughter

FIC Bennett, Holly. The Warrior’s Daughter. Orca Book Publishers, 2007. 240 pp., pb. ISBN 978-1-55143-607-4. $9.95.

Luainne is the daughter of the great Irish warrior, the legendary Cuchulainn. Although he has a reputation throughout Ireland as the most fearsome of killers, to Luainne he is a loving playful father who amuses her with his exciting tales and marvellous feats. Then the unthinkable happens – Cuchalainn returns from war badly injured and subsequently dies. Luainne’s mother could not go on without him and she took her own life to be with the man she loved. Luainne is left to continue to adulthood after suffering loss, betrayal and fear. She is able to find strength, not from the sword or her proud parentage, but from her own courageous spirit.

A good story, and well told for adult readers, but lacks the action and drama necessary to hold teen readers. Very few secondary students would be interested in reading the book to its conclusion. It is unfortunate because teenagers would enjoy the story – just would find it difficult to wade through the prose.

Recommended with reservations, as it is for a limited audience.

Recommended grade level – 8-12 Date: May 2014
Reviewer’s Name:  Rosemary Anderson Position:  Retired Teacher Librarian
Institution:  W.L. McLeod Elementary School District:  91, Nechako Lakes

The Oil Man and the Sea

Kopecky, Arno.  The Oil Man and the Sea.  Douglas and McIntyre, 2013.  264 pp., maps, index, col & b/w photos, pb.  ISBN 978-1-77100-107-6.  $26.95.

The proposed Northern Gateway Project to build a pipeline from stacks_image_107Alberta to Kitimat and load bitumen on oil tankers has sparked a political civil war in Canada.  Kopecky persuaded his photographer friend Ilja to sail his 40 ft. boat up the BC coast from Sidney to Kitimat and explore the planned tanker route.  His interesting travelogue explains why this oil shipping is hazardous to the environment, and also gives citizens and First Nations epoples along the route a strong voice against a greedy enterprise powered by some very large world corporations.  He meets with many Firtst Nations groups and other concerned citizens all along the route, and sees first hand the challenges that face oil tanker traffic.  He also shows the beauty of the BC coast and what development of these oil reserves would cost the environment.

This well written book combines an abundance of information on ecology, culture and history while meditating on the advisability of oil pipelines and tankers, and reaching the conclustion that the BC coast is not a place for oil tankers.  This is a great learning tool, containing a wealth of information and promoting lots of debate and discussion.  The author has researched and interviewed well, and the excellent photographs greatly enhance the text.  I recommend this as background reading for all concerned citizens as well as a great resource for high students and teachers.

Recommended grade level – 9-12 Date: May 2014
Reviewer’s Name:  Rosemary Anderson Position:  Retired Teacher Librarian
Institution:  W.L. McLeod Elementary School District:  91, Nechako Lakes

Would Someone Please Answer the Parrott!

 FIC Young, Beryl.  Would Someone Please Answer the Parrott!  Peanut Butter Press, June 2013.  ISBN 978-1-927735-00-8.  $19.95

As the title would suggest, you’re in for a hilarious read once you open Beryl Young’s Would Someone Please Answer the Parrot!

When the Gibson family opens their door, they’re surprised to see Uncle Bill.  And even more surprising is the cage he’s holding.  The Gibson’s seven-year old twins, Zack and Zoe are ecstatic!  They’ve never owned a pet before and wouldn’t a talking grey parrot be the most exciting pet ever?  However as the family was soon to find out, Guapo, the parrot had many talents!  He could imitate voices, barking dogs, sirens and most annoying of all, the telephone.

Although the Gibson family finds Guapo frustrating at times, he does become a “hero”.  Imagine an unpleasant aunt visiting and making everyone’s life miserable.  Enter one talented, talking parrot, two clever twins and a plan devised by them to end the aunt’s visit in a most hilarious manner.   (“Bombs away,” might give you a clue!)

Needless to say, Guapo touched the hearts of the Gibson family and now resides with them permanently!

Award-winning cartoon animator, Jason Doll’s illustrations add to the delight of this picture book.

Recommended ages 4-8 Date: January 2014
Reviewer’s Name: K. Schweitzer Position: Retired Teacher
School District: 61

The Lewton Experiment

FIC Sa, Rachel. The Lewton Experiment. Tradewind Books, 2013. 180 pp., pb. ISBN 978-1-896580-97-5. $12.95.
Sherri is seventeen and is excited about her first summer job. She is a student reporter for the newspaper in a tiny little town of Lewton, Ont., where her Aunt Gillian and Uncle Walter live. But her enthusiasm soon wanes when she arrives in the almost deserted town. Instead of a busy tourist town, the businesses are nearly all closed and everything has been taken over by a big box store. When Sherri tries to find out why the store is closing up the town, she is blocked at every turn and all her reports to the paper are rewritten to paint the business in a favourable light. The business seems to have an unusual influence over the townspeople and Sherri works hard to discover what it is. She even manages to fit in a little romance. She uncovers the unorthodox methods used by the business that include a low-protein additive in the food to lower resistance, playing music with subliminal messages, and inserting microchips that control the behaviour of the employees. With the help of her new romantic interest, she ia able to get information from computers and some of the latest employees coerced into the program, and exposes the scandalous business practices used. The business is shut down and Sherri is praised for her efforts.

A well written book that addresses present-day problems and has plenty of action to keep the reader engaged. It also illustrates how change can be made by one person.

Recommended for secondary libraries. It would make a good novel study.

Recommended grade level: 9-12 Date: July 2013

Reviewer’s Name: Rosemary Anderson Position: Retired Teacher Librarian

Institution: W.L. McLeod Elementary School District: 91, Nechako Lakes