Category: DK Canada

Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century Book Review

Looking for a way to reduce your environmental impact? Find your route to a more sustainable lifestyle with Dick Strawbridge and his son James.

About Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century

We can all take steps to reduce our carbon footprint and be more self-sufficient. For some, that might mean heading to the countryside to live off the land. For the rest of us, the reality might involve smaller, but no less important, lifestyle changes: cutting back on plastic or food waste, growing vegetables, preserving meat and fish, preparing jams and chutneys, baking sourdough bread, making your own plant-based milks, or keeping a chicken or two.

Dick and James Strawbridge know what it’s like to make these changes. Between them, they’ve lived on a smallholding, in a terraced house, and even a chateau. In this updated book, they share everything they’ve learned and give you the tools you need for a more rewarding and environmentally-conscious life. Whether you want to completely revamp your lifestyle or just make everyday changes that will make an impact, Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century is the perfect place to start.

My Thoughts

I have found that the last two months have taught me a lot – one of those things has been my reliance on others (especially when you go to get common grocery items and can no longer find them in the store!). I have wanted to become more self-sufficient for the last few years but the events of the last few weeks really brought home the importance of being self-sufficient.

My favourite part of this book is that it is for all comfort levels – from those of us like me just starting to explore self-sufficiency to those who have been following this lifestyle for a while but looking to expand on their current practices. They cover many aspects of a self-sufficient lifestyle – from in the home to in the yard (which includes gardens and animals). Each section contains many ideas in each chapter, some that you can implement right away and some that may take a bit of work.

We started to tackle some of the easier ideas in the book, such as choosing low energy light bulbs, reviewing our current electricity costs (and where we are wasting hydro like when we leave computers on standby) and checking all of our windows and doors. My husband loved the section on setting up a workshop – it gave him great ideas on how he can rework the space we have already set aside for him in the garage. Our goal this summer? Create an earth oven! I can just imagine how delicious pizza would be made in one of these ovens.

We don’t have a lot of outdoor space but what we do have we have converted to raised vegetable beds. In the past I have only grown tomatoes but this year, we started from seeds the following vegetables: cucumbers, squash, spinach, green onions, peppers, tomatoes and strawberries. They have just been put in the raised beds (that we made ourselves from wood we already had) and I am so excited to watch them grow. Our youngest has taken to helping me water and ensure the area is kept weed free.

This is an excellent resource for all levels of self-sufficiency – whether you are just starting on this journey or are a seasoned veteran of this lifestyle. There are many tools and ideas that you can implement and change right away, and many more that you can use to plan out over a period of time. There is something for all comfort levels – a win-win for all.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

About the Author

Dick Strawbridge, a retired lieutenant colonel and former army engineer, has always been fascinated by how things work. His desire to lead a greener life led him to put his practical and leadership skills to use in converting New House Farm in Cornwall into an ecologically friendly, but completely modern, place to live. The family’s journey to a sustainable, self-sufficient lifestyle was documented in the BBC series It’s Not Easy Being Green, which ran for three seasons. Dick cowrote the previous edition with his son, and is also the author of It’s Not Easy Being Green (BBC Books, 2009). His most recent TV project is the BBC series Escape to the Chateau (March 2018), now in its fifth season, which has been renewed for another season in 2019.

James Strawbridge, Dick’s son, has inherited his father’s enthusiasm for inventing and DIY, and cohosted It’s Not Easy Being Green. After cowriting the previous edition of Self-Sufficiency for the 21st Century and It’s Not Easy Being Green, James and his father hosted other popular series, including The Hungry Sailors (ITV 2012, 2013) and Saturday Farm (ITV 2013). James has also cowritten a series of books on artisan crafts, preserving food, and traditional skills: Made at Home (Octopus, 2012). He currently lives in Cornwall.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Marvel Amazing Powers Book Review

Marvel: Amazing Powers is a level 3 Reader for children beginning to read alone. 

About Marvel Amazing Powers

Whose suit is reinforced with the metal Vibranium? Who loves climbing up walls? Who has unlimited strength? Discover these answers and all the amazing powers of your favourite Marvel Super Heroes. Meet the Guardians of the Galaxy, Spider-Man, Thor, The Hulk, Black Widow, Captain America and many more!

Marvel: Amazing Powers is a level 3 Reader for children beginning to read alone. It combines DK’s four-level reading program with the ever-popular Marvel comics, helping kids learn how to read–and learn to love reading. Featuring high-quality images from the Marvel comics, Marvel: Amazing Powers was created in consultation with literacy experts. Young readers will learn about Wolverine, Black Panther, Ant-Man, and Wasp, as well as many more awesome heroes. Discover their extraordinary abilities, and remember, evil Super Villains are lurking just around the corner.

Our Thoughts

Marvel Amazing Powers brings all of your favourite Marvel characters, good and bad, and key events in one place.

We love the Marvel series, they are strong, funny characters who struggle with important moral decisions that can save the world. While they have these amazing abilities, they are also human with matching emotions that so many of us can relate to. We always set aside time in our busy schedules to watch the new releases, re-watch movies and episodes when they are shown on cable. We each have our own favourites for different reasons but each one is incredible in their own way.

This book looks at a wide range of characters including: Spiderman, Captain America, Black Panther, The Wasp, Captain Marvel, Black Widow, Scarlet Witch, The Guardians of the Galaxy and so many more. It even include some of the top villains, including Ultron and Thanos. I liked how the book even includes key time periods in their lives, including the Surtur Saga and the road to Civil War. We learn about each character, some of the facts you may have already known but some may be new to you (I never knew Black Panther married the woman who would later become the hero Storm!). Each character has roughly one page dedicated to describing their past and their accomplishments and one page dedicated to illustrations. The story was engaging and exciting as we worked through each character. It was perfect for our young reader to read to his parents with a great balance of imagery to keep him engaged. This has become a favourite book for us to read daily and we have even organized a new binge watching schedule for the Marvel movies.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

About the Author

Catherine Saunders is an author and editor who has written several licensed books and readers, including LEGO Friends Character Encyclopedia, LEGO NINJAGO: Team Ninja, LEGO Friends: Let’s Go Riding!, and Star Wars: Obi-Wan Kenobi, Jedi Knight.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Amazing Animal Journeys Book Review

Kids will learn all about animal migration with this fascinating book.

About Amazing Animal Journeys

Kids will learn all about animal migration with this fascinating book. Whether flying or walking, animals are constantly on the move! Join different animals on their exciting travels as they seek out food, shelter, and warm weather. You won’t believe how fearless and strong these brave creatures are!

Stunning photographs combine with lively illustrations and engaging, age-appropriate stories in DK Readers, a multilevel reading program guaranteed to capture children’s interest while developing their reading skills and general knowledge.

Our Thoughts

Are you looking to expand on the current e-learning situation we as parents are finding ourselves in? Or perhaps looking to go in a new direction? Keep your child entertained and learning with Amazing Animal Journeys.

Animals are incredible and this book focuses on one of the most amazing journeys animal make – migration. Animals migrate for many reasons (give birth, find food, escape cold weather), and your child may have seen this happen without really understanding it (the Canadian geese heading South for the winter). This book looks at four specific animals that migrate in North America: caribou, Monarch butterflies, Gray whales and snow geese.

Each of the four sections dedicated to an animal gives us a brief background of the animal, where they live and where they migrate to and why. The book then dives right in following the animals migration monthly, where they travel to and what they face on their journey.

We loved learning about these four animals and the journey they go through. We had never heard of snow geese, who make their home on Baffin Island and really enjoyed learning about how they raise their young and travel South to stay warm during the summer months. We learned many new facts about how the animals raise their young, their predators and were amazed at how far they travel and how many months they go without food! The young animals make very long journeys at such a young age, reminding you just how amazing and strong animals are. At the end of the book, several pages are dedicated to how humans can be harming these animals by taking over their habitats, drilling, oil spills and more.

Beautiful pictures and great facts can be found in this engaging book all about the migration journey of four animals. This is a great resource to start your child learning about migration, animals and how we may have an impact on these animals without realizing it (not to mention what we can do to help stop this).

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters Indigo.

About the Author

Liam O’Donell is a Toronto-based educator and author of books and graphic novels for young readers. His many titles include DK’s Amazing Animal JourneysWest Meadows Detectives series, and Tank & Fizz books. 

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions are my own.

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The Sea Book

Featuring fascinating fishy facts accompanied by bright, bold, and beautiful illustrations, this book takes children on a journey through the sea and all its zones.

About The Sea Book

The Sea Book explores a wealth of incredible marine animals and their habitats, from up on the ice, down to colorful coral reefs, underwater forests, and right down to the deepest darkest depths where the weird and wonderful lurk.

Following on from The Bee Book, Charlotte Milner continues to highlight to children important ecological issues faced by our planet, this time with a focus on marine life and the damaging effects humans are having on our seas. Children will discover what they can do to help, and there are tips on how to live plastic-free. Children will even get to craft their own recycled shopping bag!

Our Thoughts

I have always found our oceans fascinating – the power, the mysterious nature of them and the incredible creatures found in their depths. The sea is beautiful and it is our job to protect the animals that live in the water and their home.

The Sea Book starts off by exploring our blue planet and what inhabits those mysterious waters. We are even introduced to underwater volcanoes and trenches – I have always been intrigued by volcanoes underwater and learned that there are more volcanoes underwater than there are on land! Neat right? The deepest point in the ocean is so deep that Mount Everest could fit into it – almost hard to believe right?

The creatures that fill the ocean are pretty incredible too. There are fish of all shapes and sizes – some that we are familiar with and others not so much. We even learned about a new shark – a cookiecutter shark! We learned about the reptiles, mammals and invertebrates that also call this home. We also appreciated that Charlotte went into detail on the different areas in the sea – the place these animals call home can be quite different. We explored life on ice, coral reefs, kelp forests, open water, and even the deep and dark areas of the ocean.

This book is full of interesting facts as it explores the waters around us. We learn about the animals and the places they call home using beautiful illustrations and facts that are age appropriate. I love how the book also dedicates parts of the book to how we are hurting these animals and their home and how we (parents and children) can help out. This is a definite must have book for children.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

About the Author

Charlotte Milner is an illustrator and author based in London. She studied illustration at Kingston University where she discovered picture books as a tool to bring non-fiction topics to life. Since graduating, she has been designing, writing, and illustrating to bring information to little readers. Charlotte has a natural flair for illustrated storytelling and a strong interest in conservation.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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Explore Your Unconscious Mind with DK Canada: Dreams

Learn how to interpret your dreams and use your unconscious mind as a tool for self-help with this in-depth guide to dream analysis.

About Dreams

Have you ever dreamt you were being chased? How about a dream that your teeth were falling out? With an open mind and some guidance you will be able to shed light on how the images and emotions we experience in our sleep can be deeply connected to waking life.

Explore the psychological function and meaning of dreams, and learn to unlock their power for self-improvement. With interpretations of dream images and themes, Dreams will show you how to interpret and control your dreams to address issues and imbalances in your life, as well as improve your psychological wellbeing.

Find out how, when, and why we dream. Discover how to keep a dream diary, the significance of nightmares and recurring dreams, and the secrets of lucid dreams. Dream interpretation has been practiced around the world for years, and now you can learn how to decode your own dreams to find the personal messages, using your own dream journal.

My Thoughts

“Who looks outside, dreams; who looks insides, awakes” – Carl Jung, page 19 Dreams.

Dreams are one of those amazing topics that we love to talk about, that keep us up wondering and can also cause worry. I still remember when I woke up after a nightmare of my teeth falling out – I woke up in a sweat, feeling inside my mouth to ensure I still had all of my teeth. It left me with the most awful feeling for two days straight (and a constant fear that they were going to just start dropping out of my mouth!). I had no idea what brought on this irrational fear and why my mind for several days afterwards could not turn it off.

This book starts off by talking about the theory of dreams, healthy sleep, sleep hygiene, dream pioneers and dream skills. I liked learning about the history of dreams but I found the dream skills section very helpful. So many times, I wake up feeling anxious from a dream but I can’t recall my dreams or why I was left feeling this way. Or I will have a feeling of deja vu during the course of my day that has left me wondering, has this happened before in my dreams? I liked how it spoke about a journal and documenting important things in the dream like where are you, who is there, how do you feel and what events led up to the dream? All important factors when you are trying to recall your dreams. She also includes a few case studies to give you a better understanding of how to break down your dreams.

The dream directory is extensive but please be cautious. The author even gives a simple caution that sometimes, one size does not fit all. Dreams are not simple and need to be weighed based on your own history. The dream directory covers a range of topics including: people, childhood, sex, house, travel, places, pressure, loss, animals, nature and water. Each topic explained the dream and then had an action item below explaining what you may have been feeling and how to potentially interpret that dream.

This is a great starting point for those who love to try to decipher their own dreams (or want to start) or those who want to gain a better understanding of their emotions, their thoughts and how this impacts their sleep and their dreams.

“Dreams are today’s answers to tomorrow’s questions” – Edgar Cayce, page 189 Dreams.

You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Indigo.

About the Author

Rosie March-Smith is a registered psychotherapist with the UK Council for Psychotherapy and a Member Emeritus of the UK Association for Humanistic Psychology Practitioners. She has been in private practice for more than 20 years and works with dreams, Gestalt methods, psychodrama, and the transpersonal. A former journalist, she wrote internationally as a freelance contributor to newspapers and magazines, traveling widely to research articles on education and mental health issues. She is the author of two Open University publications on counseling skills and relationships.

Disclosure: I received a copy of this book in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

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