December 17, 2010

Merry Christmas & Happy New Year

London Snow

When men were all asleep the snow came flying,
In large white flakes falling on the city brown,
Stealthily and perpetually settling and loosely lying,
Hushing the latest traffic of the drowsy town;
Deadening, muffling, stifling its murmurs failing;
Lazily and incessantly floating down and down:
Silently sifting and veiling road, roof and railing;
Hiding difference, making unevenness even,
Into angles and crevices softly drifting and sailing.

Savor the rest of the poem by Robert Bridges at the Poetry Foundation.

November 25, 2010

In Our Window - Celebrate the Season

"On the night you were born,
the moon shone with such wonder
that the stars peeked in
to see you
and the night wind whispered,
'Life will never be the same.'

Because there had never been
anyone like you...
ever in the world."

Leaf's Lament

The Leaf's Lament
by Andrew Fusek Peters

Said the leaf to the sky,
I would learn to how to fly,
But I'm shaking like a leaf do I dare?

Listen to a recording and read more

October 31, 2010

In Our Window - Words That Start With B

Actually, this is the window we just took out. But we would like to congratulate Vikki Vansickle on the success of her debut novel, Words That Start With B. Enjoy this interview  with Vikki on Rachelle Delaney's blog and more insight on the book by Shelf Elf.

If you would like to hear Vikki talk about books for young people with Mary Ito, Kevin Sylvester and Kenneth Oppel check out this episode of CBC's Fresh Air.

October 21, 2010

The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate

Listen to Vikki expound on the virtues of The Evolution of Calpurnia Tate in this video and on her blog, Pipedreaming.
Read a review at Shelf Elf including an interview with author Jacqueline Kelly

September 22, 2010

Dear George Clooney

Vikki shares two favorites, Word Nerd and Dear George Clooney: Please Marry My Mom, by author, Susan Nielsen.

August 25, 2010

Mockingjay Hits the Shelves

Shelf Elf asks a few questions to Vikki VanSickle who was a Midnight reader of Mockingjay.

August 19, 2010

In Our Window - Remarkable Creatures

A review for our featured book, Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier by the UK Sunday Times
"...thoroughly absorbing historical novel... Chevalier has taken the true histories of Anning and Philpot and fashioned from them a moving story of the resilience of an unusual female friendship and of ground shifting beneath people's feet as new discoveries force them to look at the world with fresh eyes."

Listen to Nina as she introduces a triumvirate of fossil hunting books in this video.

July 28, 2010

The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters

A friend was quizzing me recently for a great book to take with her on vacation. She wanted a big satisfying novel, something she could really sink her teeth into. Something literary, a page turner, maybe something suspensful but not a traditional mystery. Something she and her husband could both enjoy. The Little Stranger by Sarah Waters is just the book for my friend and anyone else looking for a truly captivating story.

Set in a small country town in England, just post WWII, in an era that saw many of the local gentry unable to keep up their pre-war lifestyle, the story revolves around the estate Hundreds Hall and the Ayres family who are desperately trying to hold onto the family heritage. The story is told by Dr. Faraday, the local physician who becomes more and more involved with the strange goings on in the crumbling house. Who is the little stranger? I've had a number of stimulating discussions with others who have enjoyed the book as much as I have and now can hardly wait to have a nice cup of tea and another good chat with my friend when she comes back from her holiday! - Nina

Read an extract here.

July 15, 2010

The Bride's Farewell

I find stories such Keturah and the Lord of Death the best kind of escapism and was delighted to be transported once again by The Bride's Farewell, a completely enchanting tale of love found, lost and found again by Meg Rosoff. Set in the mid 1800s, in a small English village, I made friends with Pell, a young woman on the eve of her marriage, stealing away under the cover of darkness with only a soft woolen shawl intended as a wedding gift and her beloved horse Jack. At the last moment, Bean, her young brother, won't be left behind and off they go into the great unknown with the confidence that the world down the road is better than the one they are leaving.  The path of life is a twisty one however and Pell has her share of heartaches as well as triumphs. The beauty of the language, the purity of a friendship with a horse and the perseverance of one girl, alone against the world, makes for a gripping tale of determination and the love of family. So satisfying! - Nina

As exhilarating as a ride across the moors, Rosoff’s fourth novel is rich in the emotional landscape of the untamed female heart. The Bride’s Farewell has elements of Daphne du Maurier’s Jamaica Inn, Hardy’s Tess of the d’Urbervilles and a good number of Flambards books, yet Rosoff’s vivid, pared-down style brings it closer to a kind of western… every sentence is crafted and weighted with beauty, but it’s the intelligence and shaping sensibility with which the story is told that make it something special.
—The Times (London)
Read an extract here.
Enjoy Shelf Elf's review with a video of Meg talking about the book.
The Guardian's video of Meg Rosoff reading The Bride's Farewell

July 11, 2010

Acquainted with the Night

Do you remember the freedom of summer, that last day of school and the endless summer days stretching before you? With each young customer that popped into the store last week I had a little memory burst. As they piled their books on the counter it reminded me of the books I read on those hot sultry evenings lying on the old camp cot on the porch.

Summer was the time I reread my favourites and still do. Tonight after everyone has left the cottage I will sit on the porch surrounded by books, dip into poetry collections, gaze into my art books and flip through books about Scotland.  Then when it is dark and quiet and with only the stars and fireflies lighting the night, I will slide the kayak into the cool water and drift as I gaze at the night sky.

Finally, when the night has wrapped itself around me, I will head to shore, walk along the stepping stones that still hold the sun's heat, and climb into bed with Christopher Dewdney's Acquainted with the Night.

Acquainted with the Night is an hour-by hour journey throught the darkness. Dewdney explores all aspects of the night through science, mythology, poetry, psychology, history and the literature we associate with the night. This is a book to first read from start to finish and then dip into again and again. - Cath

July 3, 2010

On My Bookshelf: Keturah and Lord Death

Seeing Keturah & Lord Death on my bookshelf brings back the memory of a summer evening. I had spotted a stag grazing in the raspberry patch. I moved closer, he stopped and checked my approach. I asked him if he was the Great Stag that Keturah followed into the woods. Ignoring me he went back to to his grazing. I tried a few more steps, but he raised his head with his beautiful antlers and gazed at me. His eyes asked me to follow, then he bounded through the underbrush into the woods. I did follow until the mosquitoes forced me back to the cottage. I consoled myself that night by rereading that wonderful book by Martine Leavitt. Her description of the Great Stag is a wee bit different from mine -
I was picking new peas in our garden, which is bordered by the forest, when the famed hart, the hart that had eluded Lord Temsland and his finest hunters many times, the hart about which I had told many a story, came to nibble on our lettuces. I saw that he was a sixth-year hart at least, and I would have run at the sight of his antlers, spread like a young tree, had I not been entranced by his beauty. He raised his head, and for a long moment he looked upon me as if I had stumble upon him in his own domain, so proud he was, and so royal. At last he slowly turned and walked back into the forest.
I meant only to peek into the trees to see more of him. I thought only to follow the pig path a little way into the forest in hopes that I might have a new story to tell of him at the common fire. I thought I saw him between the trees, and then I did not, and after a good long while I turned about and realized I was lost in the wood. 
[Thanks to Dave Skilling for the photo of one of my borrowed copies of Keturah and Lord Death that landed on Quadra Island]

Read a review from the Bookshelves of Doom
Keturah -- beautiful, sixteen, the village storyteller -- follows a hart into the forest and quickly loses her way. After three days, she is exhausted and starving. She know that death can't be far away.
But when he finally comes for her, she finds that Death is a young man -- melancholy and brooding, lonely and not without compassion. Keturah tells him a story, and they strike a bargain: He will allow her to live one more day. If, in that time, she hasn't found and married her One True Love, she will return to him, finish her story, and become his Queen.
Keturah becomes a Scheherezade of sorts, spinning out her story and escaping Lord Death again and again, But her fellow villagers are aware of her new acquaintance. The relationship terrifies them. Rumors fly.
And a plague is coming.  
Read the rest of the review here.

"A blend of folktale, myth and romance, the book's thought-provoking conclusion is perfect for adolescent pondering."
-- The Toronto Star

"Leavitt's novel is an unusual blend of folktale, myth, and romance, and its unexpected conclusion is thought-provoking. And while the prose is sometimes overly ponderous ('and my heart smote me'), more often it is lucid and arresting."
-- Horn Book

June 26, 2010

Graduation Day

Congratulations to all those wearing a Harry Potter like cloak, may you receive one of these books to help you on your journey:

for inspiration along the way,

Oh, the Places You'll Go by Dr. Seuss
The North Star by Peter H. Reynolds
Dream by Susan V. Bosak

or escapism if not yet decided on the road to take,

Delaying the Real World by Colleen Kinder
Vagabonding by Rolf Potts

or a little practical advice,

How to Survive the Real World edited by Andrea Syrtash
Good to Go by Kim Zarzour and Sharon E. McKay

and a poem to tuck into your pocket,

If you can talk with crowds and keep your virtue,
Or walk with kings--nor lose the common touch;
If neither foes nor loving friends can hurt you;
If all men count with you, but none too much;
If you can fill the unforgiving minute
With sixty seconds' worth of distance run--
Yours is the Earth and everything that's in it,
And--which is more--you'll be a Man, my son!

Read the rest of Rudyard Kipling's inspirational poem here and enjoy Harvey Keitel reading.

June 18, 2010

A Quote for My Father

A quote for my father by Clarence Budington Kelland -
       He didn't tell me how to live; he lived, and let me watch him do it.

Dad, thanks for -
reading my favorite book over and over and over again,
talking as we walked the dog around the block,
encouraging my love of baseball even when I struck out,
throwing me off your shoulders into the ocean waves,
bringing me a comic every Friday night,
taking me to the lumber yard and letting me run wild,
having patience as you taught me to drive on the old country road,
sharing a KitKat after a humbling round of golf,
letting me work in your office even though I drove you mad,
holding the broom so I could practice a 100 and 1 curling shots,
playing with my children by the magnolia tree,
showing me the way through adversity and sickness with your smile.

I think of you often and remember.

On My Bookshelf: My Dad

"On My Bookshelf" will be a regular post, featuring treasures from our personal bookshelves. If you would like to share a gem from your shelf send a photo and short description to me at Looking forward to finding out what your passions are!

Dipping off "my bookshelf" in time for Father's Day is My Dad by the current Children's Laureate of Britain, Anthony Browne.
When I opened it, there it was: dad's dressing gown, just as I remembered it. It really took me back to being a small boy, thinking of him as a god who could do everything.     -Anthony Browne,
A great tribute to fathers everywhere and a fine inspiration for children to create a 'my dad' list of their own. -Starred, School Library Journal 
One short video of Anthony in his studio talking about his books, gorillas and where he gets his ideas and a longer more in-depth interview can be found here.

June 15, 2010

Till all the Stars Have Fallen

Vikki recommends one of our favorite gifts! From Kids Can Press, a rich collection of Canadian poetry compiled by David Booth and illustrated by Govenor General's Award winning illustrator, Kady MacDonald Denton. Kady created our very own dragon that graces these pages. You can read an interview with Kady by Library and Archives Canada here.

June 10, 2010

Poetry Friday: Neil Gaiman's Instructions

There are some books that arrive at the bookshop as pleasant surprises and then there are those that you have been teased with for many years, Neil Gaiman's Instructions falls into the later group. I first read the poem on the Journal of Mythic Arts and learned that it appeared in the anthology A Wolf at the Door and Other Retold Fairy Tales edited by Ellen Datlow & Terri Windling. The poem has now been transformed into a book, beautifully illustrated Charles Vess.

by Neil Gaiman
Touch the wooden gate in the wall you never
saw before.
Say "please" before you open the latch,
go through,
walk down the path.

Read the rest here.

Enjoy a visual feast here.
See how Charles Vess develops a sculptural fountain based on ‘A Midsummer Nights Dream'

Neil Gailman reads Instructions

May 31, 2010

Delicious Summer Reading: A Homemade Life

Is there anything more satisfying than reading about food? Being an amateur foodie myself, I gravitate towards well-written food fiction, such as the charming School of Essential Ingredients and the sensual Like Water for Chocolate. I’ve even been known to branch out of fiction into food-related non-fiction and memoir. One of my recent favourites is Molly Wizenberg’s memoir A Homemade Life: Stories and Recipes From My Kitchen Table. Molly is the author of the popular blog Orangette, a collection of recipes and delightful food-based anecdotes. Molly adopts her blog’s friendly, inviting tone in her book, sharing the story of her life through food. The book is full of delicious recipes ranging from the perfect French toast to cider-glazed salmon to savoury salad dressings. I like the way Molly talks you through her recipes; she is supportive and clear in her instructions. In between the recipes, Molly shares the moments that shaped her life. Part cook book, part coming of age novel, part love story, I savoured every word of this memoir. A must read! -Vikki VanSickle

May 27, 2010

Join us for Nina's Summer Reads

Summer arrived this weekend, which means it’s time for sunscreen, gelato, and everyone’s favourite book event, Nina’s Summer Reads! At The Flying Dragon, we believe that summer should be as stress-free as possible, so let our resident expert Nina McCreath guide you through the hottest of seasons with the coolest of books. Join us on Friday June 4th at 10:30am in our literary salon for coffee, pastries, and great book recommendations. Nina has created a list of fantastic adult reads to get you through the dog days of summer, whether you are lake-side, pool-side, or at home in the city.

This is a $15 drop-in event. Grab a friend and join us on June4th. We look forward to seeing you!

May 20, 2010

The Solitude of Prime Numbers

Always curious to read a book that is enjoying huge international acclaim, I looked forward to hunkering down with The Solitude of Prime Numbers by Italian author Paolo Giordano. From the first page I was involved in the lives of two children, Alice and Mattia, and the series of incidents that would shape the way they see themselves, setting the stage for the outsiders they would become.

Clear, evocative writing, like a cold stream that allows you to see the grit and stones on the bottom, propelled me forward through the coming of age of these two young people who come to recognize a kinship in each other. Desperately hoping all will be well for my young friends, I found The Solitude of Prime Numbers to be a mesmerizing read that speaks to the anguish and poignancy of youth and young adulthood. A story not soon forgotten. - Nina

Read the first chapter here.
Read  Liesl Schillinger's review at NYTimes Sunday Book Review.
Paolo Giordano speaks about "being protected by the page".

May 13, 2010

Jeremy Tankard Wins OLA Blue Spruce Award!

Congratulations to Jeremy Tankard who won the OLA Blue Spruce Award for Boo Hoo Bird. I love the 'Forest of Reading' awards because the winners are chosen by the readers (aka kids). In the photo above,  Jeremy was visiting our storytime, much to the delight of the children. - Cath

Jeremy was the guinea pig for Seven Imp when they created a new format for their interview series called 'Seven Questions over Breakfast' which you can savor here. You may recognize his work in the banner for Shelf Elf and see the posts that lead up to its creation. I think it suits her personality perfectly! A great review of Me Hungry! here. Also, take a moment to enjoy the videos she has posted. 

May 10, 2010

Rick Riordan is a Rock Star!

The atmostphere was electric, it was like the Beatles for tweens. Rick Riordan is a rock star, the screaming coming from the depths of the Flying Dragon had our neighbors wondering just what we were up to now. After introducing his new book The Red Pyramid, book one in The Kane Chronicles Rick had some fun with the fans.- Cath

Take a sneak peek at the first chapter in The Kane Chronicles.
For those of you that can't leave the Greek mythology behind visit Shelf Elf for some recommendations.
USA Today says 'Another towering Riordan tale of mythology.' 

May 5, 2010

Twice Upon a Garden

Filmed through the changing seasons, 'Twice Upon a Garden' captures the lush beauty of the historic Reford Gardens while intimately portraying the bond between Elsie and her great grandson, historian Alexander Reford - who took over the Gardens in the mid-90s. Both Elsie and Alexander reinvented the art of gardening with passion and daring: visitors are swept away by the rare plants in Elsie's classic English garden and enthralled by Alexander's cutting-edge International Garden Festival. Past and present, traditional and avant-garde are linked by stunning cinematography and evocative archival photos.

The DVD would make a lovely gift paired with Elsie's Paradise: The Reford Gardens
Blogs that have visited the gardens Pruned.
Interesting interview with Alexander Reford at Mocoloco

May 4, 2010

Doors Open: Art Deco Architecture

Don't miss this visual presentation by Tim Morawetz, author of Art Deco Architecture in Toronto: A Guide to the City's Buildings from the Roaring Twenties and the Depression. Tim will be speaking at The Toronto Public Library Beaches Branch on the opening day of 'Doors Open', Saturday, May 29th at 2pm.

Autographed copies of the book may be purchased after the talk, or by visiting

Read a great review by Christopher Hume of the Toronto Star and another at the
Another great book to have in your pocket as you tour the city is A Guidebook to Contemporary Architecture in Toronto by Margaret & Phil Goodfellow. They will be giving a presentation at Harbourfront Centre Wednesday, May 26, at 6:00pm

April 30, 2010

CBA Libris Award Nominations

We are thrilled to announce that for the second year in a row, the Canadian Booksellers Association has nominated us for Specialty Bookseller of the year! It is an honour to be recognized alongside Toronto staple Books for Business and the beloved Halifax institution, Woozles Ltd. 

Since it’s inception in 1998, the CBA Libris Awards recognizes excellence in the Canadian book industry by celebrating the achievements of authors, editors, publishers, distributors, sales reps, and booksellers. These awards are nominated and voted on by members of the bookselling community, which is what makes this nomination so meaningful. The Canadian book industry is rife with innovative and committed individuals. We are honoured to have made the shortlist from such a deep and varied pool of contenders.

April 29, 2010

Full Moon Over The Flying Dragon

In honor of Guy Gavriel Kay coming to the store in May to celebrate the launch of his new book Under Heaven 
I've selected a poem by Li Bai 

Alone and Drinking Under the Moon

Amongst the flowers I
am alone with my pot of wine
drinking by myself; then lifting
my cup I asked the moon
to drink with me, its reflection
and mine in the wine cup, just
the three of us; then I sigh
for the moon cannot drink,

and my shadow goes emptily along
with me never saying a word;
with no other friends here, I can 
but use these two for company;
in the time of happiness, I 
too must be happy with all
around me; I sit and sing
and it is as if the moon

accompanies me; then if I
dance, it is my shadow that
dances along with me; while 
still not drunk, I am glad 
to make the moon and my shadow
into friends, but then when
I have drunk too much, we
all part; yet these are 

friends I can always count on
these who have no emotion
whatsoever; I hope that one day
we three will meet again,
deep in the Milky Way. 

(poem from Poet Seers)

As I walked the dog around the courtyard on this evening of the full moon, I remembered another poem by an Australian writer, Judith Wright, that is included in Classic Poetry: An Illustrated Collection  selected by Michael Rosen with pictures by Paul Howard 

Full Moon Rhyme
There's a hare in the moon tonight,
crouching alone in the bright buttercup field of the moon;
and all the dogs in the world
howl at the hare in the moon.

(read the rest here and then buy the book here or there)

Over at Terri Windling's Drawing Board she has reminded me that we are close to Beltane , it brings to mind the haunting music, Huron 'Beltane' Fire Dance, by Lorenna McKennitt and the novel, Ysabel , by Guy Gavriel Kay that takes place at Beltane.

Make a cup of tea and settle down to enjoy Nancy Pearl 
interviewing Guy Gavriel Kay. - Cath

April 22, 2010

Bones of Faerie

Vikki VanSickle speaks about Bones of Faerie by Janni Lee Simmer 

A dark fairy-tale twist on apocalyptic fiction—
as familiar as a nightmare, yet altogether unique.
Check out Vikki's written review at Pipedreaming

April 20, 2010

Melodic Sounds of Gianmaria Testa

I first heard Italian singer-songwriter Gianmaria Testa's warm, dusky voice on a Putumayo World Music CD, Italian Cafe. I was bewitched and floated in a trace like state to my favourite music store, L'atelier Grigorian, to pick up his first CD, Montgolfières. Testa is one of the artists that creates the musicial atmosphere of the Flying Dragon. He has become a personal and customer favourite. - Cath
When listening to Testa's songs for the second time, it becomes clear to what extent his music has always followed the same thread. A delicate thread that has been held onto every since that day of celebration and childhood when he discovered the power of suggestion of simple song. Music that roams the subterranean shocks, the sometimes veiled confusion which, without warning and everlastingly, can give rise to that agonizing happiness, that indescribable fervor of feeling alive, penetrated, affected by the world, and that disturbing desire to be able to and to know how to describe it. - Richard Robert (Les Inrockuptibles)
Follow L'atelier Grigorian on twitter for melodious recommendations.

April 15, 2010

An Intimate Evening with Guy Gavriel Kay

Our next author event will be an intimate evening with Guy Gavriel Kay. On Wednesday, May 19th, Guy will be joining us in our cozy literary salon for an in-depth and insightful discussion with resident expert Ashley Benson.

Multi award-winning Guy Gavriel Kay is one of Canada’s most acclaimed authors. His innovative blend of history and fantasy has endeared him to millions of fans world-wide. If you aren’t already familiar with his name, be prepared to hear more about him. His latest book, Under Heaven, is poised to become his most wide-reaching novel yet.

The cost of the event is $50, which includes the price of Kay’s latest release, Under Heaven. The remainder of the proceeds will be donated to Frontier College. Space is limited, so call to book you ticket today. Don’t miss this once in a lifetime chance to get up close and personal with a Canadian superstar.

Call The Flying Dragon Bookshop to book your ticket 416-481-7721.

April 13, 2010

A Triumvirate of Fossil Hunters

Nina McCreath talks about a triumvirate of fossil hunters: Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier, Curiosity by Joan Thomas and The Fossil Hunter by Shelley Emling.

April 10, 2010

Meet the Aviators of the Flying Dragon Bookshop

Nina can tell you exactly where she was when she read each book in the store. Her optimism and passion for life is reflected in our adult section, which she lovingly selects, one special title at a time.

Cath brings magic to everything she touches. When she isn't reading about faraway places, she can be found hunting for beautiful books and other treasures to enrich the store.

Elaine specializes in performative picturebooks and good ole British Whodunnits. She has legions of young fans who come back year after year to her storytimes and bookclubs.

Patti loves contemporary literary fiction with an international bent. Due to her fiscal finesse we are able to stock piles of our favourite books.

Vikki will read anything that is described as a poignant coming of age story. She spends most of her time nosing around in middle grade and teen, where she hopes to find books with her name on them in the near future.

Ashley reigns over all things sci-fi and fantasy, and can be found digging for artifacts in Jordan when she's not digging in the prop room for displays.

Casey, our zen master, balances his love of international fiction with laugh-aloud novels from our middle section.

Kerry is our resident shelf elf and can most often be found in the middle grade section.

Inderjit is our newest member, after finishing an internship at Kids Can Press, she has decided to join us in our literary realm.

Journey with The Sea Captain's Wife

Historical Fiction, with its focus on days gone by, is often a relaxing break from today's world; a steaming cup of soup that warms and envelops. I was hoping for this kind of enjoyment from The Sea Captain's Wife as I started it early one Saturday morning. How nice to go back to bed with a cup of tea and the promise of a few hours reading.

Set in the mid 1800s, the story begins on the banks of the Bay of Fundy and transports the reader, along with a sea captain, his wife and child, around the world on a voyage that is filled with the wonders and misfortunes that are part of a life dictated by the wind and the stars. What gives the story added elements of depth and tension are the often turbulent waters of this young couple's relationship as they navigate the customs and conventions of the day, when women were not welcomed on board and the opportunity for privacy and intimacy was scarce. The Sea Captain's Wife is a completely engrossing read; I could barely put it down. When I turned the last page, I was sorry to find myself back on shore. - Nina

Visit Beth Powning's site for fascinating history of the period including diaries and dirivations. The Globe and Mail gave the book a wonderful review.

March 22, 2010

Mem Fox: Queen of the Baby Baskets!

Friends recently had twins and I wanted to celebrate their arrival with a basket of baby books. I perused the shelves one evening; the store was closed and I had the luxury of meandering through the baby section, saying hello to some of my old favourites.
I chose, among others, three books by Mem Fox: Ten Little Fingers, Time for Bed, and Where is the Green Sheep. Mem's books for babies and toddlers represent some of the very best in the genre, each one superbly crafted with effervescence and joy, a delight for children and adults, even at the 99th reading! - Nina

Mem Fox joined us at the store for tea while signing books and sharing with us her reading philosophy from her book Reading Magic.

March 16, 2010

Brenda & Edward

A snowy afternoon and a quiet walk in the woods with Cath and our two lovely dogs. The soft padding of paws on the snow and their occasional touching of noses; this peaceful camaraderie reminded me of Brenda and Edward, a sweet enduring story of canine friendship and loyalty. While life throws the canine couple a few curves, hope is ultimately rewarded and the goodness of life is reaffirmed. Author and illustrator Maryann Kovalsky's affectionate illustrations and universal story will come to mind in the quietest of life's moments. - Nina

March 6, 2010

My Family and Other Animals by Gerald Durrell

I love when a random pick at the video store introduces me to a great book. While wandering through Videoflicks, mindlessly trying to decided what I was in the mood for, I came across Gerald Durrell's My Family & Other Animals.
"This is the story of a five-year sojourn that I and my family made on the Greek island of Corfu. It was originally intended to be a mildly nostalgic account of the natural history of the island, but I made a grave mistake by introducing my family into the book in the first few pages. Having got themselves on paper, they then proceeded to establish themselves and invite various friends to share the chapters. It was only with the greatest difficulty, and by exercising considerable cunning, that I manages to retain a few pages here and there which I could devote exclusively to animals."
"Sometimes it's pretty hard to tell them family and the animals that is. I don't know why my brothers and sister complain so much. With snakes in the bath and scorpions on the lunch table, our house, on the island of Corfu, is a bit like a circus. So they should feel right at home..." - Gerald Durrell
A brilliantly chaotic, hilariously funny classic where the movie does justice to the book. - Cath

March 1, 2010

Gift Basket

Custom design a "dragon wagon" book basket for your corporate and personal gift giving.

Books will be selected to appeal to specific events such as: welcoming a new baby, recognizing a milestone in a child's life, celebrating the birth of a grandchild, providing a family trip basket, heralding a move to a new home, comforting a sick child, giving a holiday activity pack or celebrating a new pet.

Contact us to arrange for your gift basket. Together with favourite books, toys and music, our beautifully wrapped gift baskets will be couriered to the recipient's home.

February 14, 2010

Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier

A few summers ago, I was in the midst of mounting a production of a musical at the Toronto Fringe Festival when Cathy asked me to read a picture book called Amandina by Sergio Ruzzier. Right Away, I could see why she had put it aside for me. Amandina is the story of a shy little dog who loves to sign and dance. She decides to put on a play all by herself, taking on the roles of writer, director, costume designer, poster designer, and star. Amandina is thrilled with her production, but when the curtain rises, there isn't a single soul in the audience. Sad but determined, Amandina falls back on that old show biz Mantra, "The Show Must Go On." She closes her eyes and gives her best performance. Before her final bow, Amandina thinks she hears the thunderous applause of a spellbound audience, but she is convinced she must be imagining it. Or is she?

Needless to say, this quiet but powerful book struck a chord with me and I was bawling before I reached the last page. Amandina now lives on my personal bookshelf, and I have given it to many of my friends of the artistic persuasion. Ruzzier's illustrations are soft and playful. a perfect compliment to his gentle text. Sometimes life is disappointing, but the important thing is to keep your chin up and carry on; you never know what's waiting in the wings. - Vikki

Read an in depth review of Amandina at Fuse 8 and an interview with more illustrations at Seven Impossible Things to do Before Breakfast.

Gift Basket