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Imagine if your best friend was an ancient oak tree

In life, you don't need a lot of friends. You only need one good friend who is by your side, day after day, through thick and thin. For one little boy, that best friend is Bertolt. 

But Bertolt, isn't like any other best friend. See, Bertolt is an ancient oak tree. 

And this little boy loves Bertolt. He spends a lot of time hanging out with this 500-year-old oak tree (he estimates that's Bertolt's age based on his scientific calculation of another tree that was cut down beside it.) 

Springtime is especially beautiful, when he can hang out in the coolest hangout ever, spying on the neighbourhood below. Bertolt's leaves create the best privacy for the boy. Nothing gets past this little boy. Not the lawyer's daughter kissing Kevin, or the Tucker twins stealing bottle from the grocer and selling them back to him. Nope, there is so many interesting things to see and do when you hang out on the high branches of Bertolt. 

Then winter arrives, and the boy must say goodbye …

Liam Takes A Stand by Tory Wilsom and Josh Holinaty

This book tries to pack a wallop of teaching moments into it, and actually succeeds.
Lesson 1:  Work Hard. Work Smart.
Lesson 2:  Sibling Rivalry Is Real
Lesson 3 When Life Throws You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Liam has two brothers older than him. Lister and Lester are identical twins, who are constantly busy trying to outdo one another. Regardless of the activity, their first instinct is to compete with it each other. 

All Liam really wants, is to hang out with his brothers and do things with them. But they barely notice him. 
The twins are too busy trying to figure out what their next big competition will be.

One day, a bit of entrepreneurial spirit strikes and they open up rival lemonade stands outside their house. Lester first starts the game opening up a Lemonade Universe. Which immediately prompts Lister to open his own Lemonade Multiverse. 
This just escalates the competitiveness. Each one trying to outdo the other in their branding, product development and even execution, in the effort to ge…

In Focus by Libby Walden

Ten illustrators.
Ten subjects.
One fascinating book.

Looking at 101 wonders of the world from the outside, in, ten illustrators including Tracey Tucker, Thomas Pullin, Barbara Bakos and Chester Bentley, explore a subject in depth, in an attempt to provide unique perspective and ignite in kids, a curiosity for the world and our fascinating planet. 

From cutaways, to close-ups to cross sections, this interactive book is engaging and a pleasure to indulge in. Both parents and kids will enjoy learning about everything from famous landmarks to fruit, and the natural world, to vehicles. 

Close-Ups allow you to enjoy a fresh perspective by looking at the world from the outside, in. 

Cross Sections slice through 101 objects, animals, and buildings to reveal some extraordinary interiors. 

Cutaways allow the reader to reveal wonderful surprises. 

One of my favourites is the section on buildings of the world that includes the Taj Mahal, the Colosseum, St. Basil's Cathedral and The White House. Did …

Love Comes In All Sizes

Me Tall, You Small by Lilli L'Arronge A whimsical banter between a parent and a child is represented by a pair of weasels, and delightfully captured in a series of vignettes. 

Me Tall, You Small by Lilli L'Arronge celebrates the difference between parents and kids, while highlighting their common love for each other. 

Let's face it, parents and children are different. They think differently. They look at the world from different perspectives. They disagree on almost everything. Even cookies? Yes, even cookies. But at the end of the day, they admire and love each other, and are able to find a commonality. 

YOU MINE. ME YOURS.
YOU AND ME, AS IT SHOULD BE.

There is a silliness to the word play. The book has a nice balance of banter, partly filled with nonsensical words like "whoop" "bop" and "bip", while also sprinkled with real words, that represent the moment. 

The real strength of Me Tall, You Small rests in its simplicity. Lilli L'Arronge takes …

A B.C. Blues Crime Novel

Undertow by R.M. Greenaway

BACKGROUND: This is the second in the B.C. Blues crime series set in the province of British Columbia. In the series opener, Cold Girl, constables Dion and Leith found themselves working together in the northern interior. In Undertow, they once again reunite, this time in the City of North Vancouver. For Dion, North Vancouver is a challenging comeback, and for Leith, it's a whole new experience. Both find super sized stress in the busy streets, interwoven murder investigations to solve, and the omnipresent push and pull of the Pacific on their psyches. 

The scene: A haunting murder that seems without motive. 
A young electrician is beaten up. His wife and baby girl are being tracked down too. Why? 

More twists and turns dominate the plot line. 

Who battered and asphyxiated a wealthy nightclub owner in his own garage? 

As crime series' go, this one combines all the ingredients to keep you fixated. It's no wonder the writing is dead on, after all, R.M. G…

Start April in the company of friends

CITY OF FRIENDS by Joanna TrollopeLife is unpredictable. Careers don't span like you'd like. Neither do relationships. 
City Of Friends navigates through the lives of four friends, now in their forties, whose lives steer off path...understandably. Blueprints rarely are set in stone.  The downward spiral begins with Stacey, who at the beginning of the book, has a huge upset in her existence. 
Stacey Grant has just lost her long time private  equity job, and she has no idea how she's going to deal with the incredible sense of injustice. Sixteen years at one company, and just like that, it's over. It all started because she thought she deserved some flexibility on the job. A chance to balance life and work, and an ailing mother, who's illness was starting to demand more of her time. Would this have happened if she were a man? 
Within a matter of weeks, Stacey was starting to realize that her original plan of spending long days at home with Bruno (her dog), and taking her…

The Break by Katherena Vermette

The Break by Katherena Vermette is set in Winnipeg's North End. One fateful night a crime occurs witnessed by a young M├ętis mother. The Break is narrated from several viewpoints, adding to the complexity and interest of the storyline. 

"I choose to live in hope," Katherena Vermette said at a Canada Reads event at Indigo Chapters last month. And when you read The Break, you see that this theme lingers in the background, despite the gut-wrenching narrative. The protagonist, perseveres. 

The story revolves around the crime committed but the reader is forced to piece together the journey captured from various viewpoints and make sense of the differing frames. Shifting narratives, by people connected with the violence, narrate the story leading up to the night of the crime, making the pacing and suspense thoroughly satisfying. All in all, there are ten perspectives that act as the magnifying glass to the solving of the mystery. One of these, is the girl at the centre of the cri…