Category: Raincoast books

Magical Picture Books Perfect for the Holiday Season from Raincoast Books

Raincoast Books

Books have a magical quality about them, they take you on adventures to far off places, they encourage you to do use your imagination and foster a love of learning and education. Each book is special in its own manner.

Every holiday season, I ensure that I pick two books each for my nephews and niece, along with my own boys. I try to find a book that will capture their interest and spark a flame. Two new titles from Raincoast Books will make a perfect gift under the tree this year, Ara the Star Engineer and Mary Poppins, as they inspire, excite and encourage.

Magical Picture Books Perfect for the Holiday Season from Raincoast Books

Ara the Star Engineer is a great gift for young girls who want to explore the world of technology or perhaps a parent who wants to encourage their child to think big!

Ara is a young girl who loves BIG numbers. She wants to count all the stars in the sky… but how? This is an upbeat adventure of Ara and her sidekick droid, DeeDee (“Beep!”). They use smarts and grit to solve a BIG problem and discover an amazing algorithm. A quest that takes them through a whirlwind of intriguing locations at Innovation Plex – Data Centre, Ideas Lab, Coding Pods, and X-Space. Along the way, they encounter real-life women tech trailblazers of diverse backgrounds, including a Tenacious Troubleshooter, an Intrepid Innovator, a Code Commander, and a Prolific Problem Solver. They tinker-and-tailor, build-and-fail, launch-and-iterate, and in the end discover an amazing algorithm of success – coding, courage, creativity and collaboration.

This is an incredible, must read book for all young girls. It breaks my heart just a little on how this book was developed – she was inspired to write this book when her daughter stated that ‘engineers are boys’. Too often young girls are told either verbally or through visuals and media that they are not meant to participate in STEM or that this is a male dominated field. That flame is extinguished before it is even given a chance to spark. Girls should be encouraged to participate in STEM activities, books and classes. This book follows Ara, a young and inquisitive young girl, as she tours the Innovation Plex Data Centre in order to solve her own tech problem of counting the stars. She meets with four incredible women who show her how to solve her problem and these women help to inspire young girls who have an interest in those fields. It is so important to show young girls that other women have and are succeeding in this field and that they should always aim for the stars. No challenge is too big for any young girl (or child) when they put their mind to it. This is a definite must have book item for all young children and to be read over and over again.

You can find more about Ara the Star Engineer on the Raincoast Books website. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters.

About the Author

Komal Singh is a techie by day and a storyteller mom by night , one who loves coding and cupcakes, data crunching and day dreaming, pottery making and program planning. She was inspired to write this book when a hypothesis put forth by her four year old daughter stunned her: ‘Engineers are Boys’.

Singh is passionate about using technology as an enabler and an equalizer for all. She takes part in kids’ coding clubs, sits on hackathon judge panels, and volunteers with nonprofits on technology development.

Komal grew up in India and studied Computer Science at Delhi University and later moved to Canada to complete her Masters’ degree in C.S from Simon Fraser University. She has worked as a software engineer with tech consulting firms and is currently an Engineering Program Manager at Google. Komal lives in Waterloo, Canada, with her husband and two kids.

Magical Picture Books Perfect for the Holiday Season from Raincoast Books

Mary Poppins, the illustrated gift edition, is a full-color illustrated edition of the classic novel about the magical nanny who has delighted children and adults the world over for many years.

Experience the adventures of the magical nanny who inspired the classic film, stage show, and young imaginations around the world in a whole new way. This illustrated gift edition features silver foil on the cover and beautiful artwork by Julia Sarda that re-imagines Mary’s London in rich, full color. Ideal for the lifelong Mary Poppins fan or serious collector, this edition also makes for a lovely family read-aloud book.

I loved Mary Poppins as a child, it was by far one of my favourite movies of all time. She was such a special person and sparked your imagination. I am sure the minute you hear her name, you are transported to your childhood and can sing all of the songs all over again. I could not wait to get my hands on this book. It is such a treasure from its magical cover (honestly I kept running my hands all over it, it is so beautifully done) to each and every page – it can be both a collectors item and a soon to be cherished book for a child. I almost didn’t want to share it with my own kids, it felt so special!

I loved reading the stories out loud to my son, it was easy to follow along and even easier to make silly voices to keep him entertained. There was an excellent balance of images throughout the book to keep your child entertained visually (but the stories are so vivid, you could almost get away with none). This is honestly a truly special book that will make adults and children alike happy.

You can find out more about this book on the Raincoast Books website. You can purchase a copy of this book on Amazon and Chapters.

About the Author

P. L. Travers (1899-1996) was a drama critic, travel essayist, reviewer, lecturer, and the creator of Mary Poppins. Ms. Travers wrote several other books for adults and children, but it is for the character of Mary Poppins that she is best remembered.

About the Illustrator

Julia Sarda has illustrated everything from classic children’s books to concept art for merchandise and video games. She lives in Barcelona.

What do you look for in a book as a gift for a young child?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Forever or a Day Book Review

Raincoast Books

In Forever or a Day, we celebrate the time you have with the ones you love.

Forever or a Day Book Review

About Forever or a Day

Celebrate the time you have with the ones you love.

“The seconds that count in catching the bus;
The idyllic hours that slip by so quickly during a perfect day on the lake;
The summer days that disappear into blissful happiness”

This gorgeous picture book is a conversation between parent and child across the course of a single day. Inviting comparisons to All the Wonderful Things You Will Be, I Wish You More, and Love, this celebration of cherished moments with loved ones is at once simple, profound, and truly beautiful.

Forever or a Day Book Review

Our Thoughts

Forever or a Day is a touching, sweet book that is important for both children and parents to remember the importance of time and to live in each moment as we are never promised tomorrow.

As parents, we are reminded of this every day when we look at our children. They are growing taller, maturing, growing in knowledge and understanding. Sometimes these changes happen so slowly over time that it hits us hard and we look at them and think where did this time go?? I know this happened to me with my eldest, I look at him and think how can he be taller than me now and so handsome and mature? For children, all they want to do is get older so they can do all of the things they feel they may be missing out on. Both sides tend to forget to live in the moment and cherish each and every second. It usually isn’t until a death in the family or a friend or in their community that we have to address this topic. But in those moments we fear that we didn’t show our love enough to that person, could we have spent more time, could we have done a little bit more?

Reading this story out loud to my youngest, actually brought tears to my eyes. It reminded me that I need to slow down – soon enough my kids will be out of the house and not needing me as much anymore and all of those little things that drive me nuts right now, I will miss. It made me want to just hold on to my children tighter and ensure they know just how much I love them right now and that they are perfect just the way they are.

The story itself is simple and I like how the story is played out slowly over the pages, it reminds me of the meaning of the story – to slow down and appreciate each moment. With fewer words on each page, we could take the time to devour their meaning and appreciate the beautiful illustrations.

This is a truly beautiful book to cherish between parents and children – a definite must have in your family library.

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

Rating: 5/5

About the Author

Sarah Jacoby’s illustrations have won awards from the Society of Illustrators (Gold Medal), Creative Quarterly, and Communication Arts . This is her first book as both author and illustrator. She lives in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

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

Continue Reading

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a children’s picture book that imagines the story of Marlon Bundo, the Bunny of the United States (BOTUS), who meets the bunny of his dreams.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

About A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo is a children’s picture book that imagines the story of Marlon Bundo, the Bunny of the United States (BOTUS), who meets the bunny of his dreams. Published by Chronicle Books in collaboration with the hit HBO show Last Week Tonight with John Oliver, the book is being released, coincidentally, the day before Marlon Bundo’s A Day in the Life of the Vice President, a different picture book written by Charlotte Pence, the Vice President’s daughter, and illustrated by his wife, Karen Pence.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

Instead of following around the Vice President, A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo follows a day in the life of the BOTUS, as he falls in love with another bunny, Wesley. The two decide to wed, only to be told by the Stink Bug in charge that same-sex marriage is not allowed. When Marlon, Wesley, and their supportive animal community realize that they can choose who is in charge of their society, they vote out the Stink Bug and the couple is married surrounded by their friends.

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

With its message of tolerance and advocacy this children’s picture book beautifully explores issues of marriage equality and democracy. John Oliver is donating all proceeds to two charities: and

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

My Thoughts

Our differences are what makes us special. I have spent so much time encouraging my children  to embrace their differences and to respect others for who they are. Sometimes I find it difficult to understand that we have come so far but yet we have not when people still do not accept others based on gender, sexual preference and the colour of their skin.

This heart warming and beautifully written book is a special celebration of love – the love between two male bunnies. As Marlon puts it, his husband to be makes his heart warm and fills his lonely life and he can’t imagine life without him in it. His husband to be feels the same. They can’t imagine a life without each other and that is why they want to get married.

Isn’t this the love that we hope our children find? Someone who makes them happy, loves them with all their heart and respects them as a person? I can only pray that my children find such happiness whether it be with a male or a female. It is disheartening that people can be cruel enough to think that some individuals don’t deserve this happiness in marriage because they want to marry a member of the same-sex. This is what this wonderfully written book addresses in a positive, humourous manner.

Marlon knows its okay to be different but the leader of the group of animals refuses to honour his wishes to marry another boy bunny. The Stinkbug (the leader) states that boy bunnies do not marry boy bunnies and he will not allow this to happen. All of the other animals are left confused – they all do things differently so why isn’t this okay? The animals come together to vote the Stinkbug out and celebrate the union of two bunnies who love each other regardless of their gender.

This is a special book that is beautifully illustrated with an important message for youth and adults alike – that we are all special and worthy of love. That differences should be celebrated and encouraged and that we should embrace these differences. I loved reading this book not only by myself but with my children.

It was a breath of fresh air in a world that can sometimes be difficult to understand. It hits very close to home when we look around us and the lack of acceptance for same sex marriages that we see happening now. This book is released a day before Pence’s daughters book was to be released and while they are both focused on the life of Marlon Bundo, this book is all about acceptance and love – something that this world needs a lot more of right now. All profits from this book will be going to two charities: The Trevor Project and AIDS United.

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

A Day in the Life of Marlon Bundo

About the Author

MARLON BUNDO is a very fun bunny who recently relocated to Washington, D.C. from his home in Indiana. He enjoys hopping through the garden, eating all his vegetables, and hula-hooping.

Book Video

Disclosure: I received digital copies to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Spring into Fun with Raincoast Books #PlayTestShare

Raincoast Books

Spring is right around the corner and we are very excited for a change in the weather. Spring with all of its beauty and new beginnings also brings with it rainy days that will be spent inside. As parents we know how quickly our children can become bored inside when they know the weather is warmer but they are stuck inside due to rain and how frustrating this can be for them (and us).

Raincoast Books has put together nine of their top spring games and activities as part of their #PlayTestShare Spring Fun promotion to keep your child engaged and happy during the rainy days of spring. We put to test two of these activities, Crocodile and Friends Animal Memory Game and After Dinner Amusements: Which Would You Choose.

The hardest part? Which one we loved more!

Spring into Fun with Raincoast Books #PlayTestShare

Crocodile and Friends Animal Memory Game

Fossil, a good-natured crocodile who just wants some peace and quiet, quickly won the hearts of children everywhere in the delightful picture book The Quiet Crocodile. Now Fossil and his friends are back, ready to play, in this fun memory game. The fifty-two cards feature twenty-six charming illustrations of Fossil and his many friends, nested in a handsome keepsake box. An added bonus is a folded poster showing all of the animal friends together, from Fippo the Hippo and Ryan the Lion to Pat the Cat.

Spring into Fun with Raincoast Books #PlayTestShare

This is beautifully illustrated game of memory. The cards are thick which is perfect for little hands learning the rules of the game. I fell in love with the beautiful illustrations, they are so precious! Each animal definitely has a character of their own, our youngest loved the lion while I fell in love with the zebra. There are twenty-six pairs of card which was just enough to keep the game competitive but not too hard for our youngest.

You can purchase a copy of this activity on Raincoast Books.

Spring into Fun with Raincoast Books #PlayTestShare

After Dinner Amusements: Which Would You Choose

With 50 hilarious and thought-provoking questions asking players to choose between two equally good, unpleasant, or absurd scenarios, this revealing party game leads to interesting conversations and good fun for all ages!

Spring into Fun with Raincoast Books #PlayTestShare

We LOVED these fifty questions! We brought this on a car trip to Toronto and had so much fun with the answers. Some of them were so tough to answer (how can you choose between spiders and snakes!). They were questions that were appropriate for all ages in our family (from six to thirty-six) and I actually loved to hear our boy’s answers – they put so much thought into their answers and it was great to see how creative they were. They actually started to come up with some of their own creative questions. As I type this, our youngest is currently asking if I would rather hug a hippo or a cheetah – he has really gotten into this game!

You can purchase this activity on Raincoast Books.

The other activities in the #PlayTestShare spring edition are:


A hilarious herd of llamas star in this laugh-out-loud twist on the game of dominoes. From Llama-nardo da Vinci to Super Llama (it’s a bird, it’s a plane, it’s . . . a llama?), kids, families, and llama enthusiasts will have a blast matching heads to tails to complete the chain and win! It’s a goofy gift, a boredom-busting game, and a great way to develop matching and fine motor skills, all in one appealing and colorful package.

Pass the Parcel: A Party Game

Everyone wins in this modern take on a classic British party game!  Players take turns unwrapping the parcel to uncover cheeky dares that will soon have the whole group beaming. Under the last layer, there’s an envelope containing a special surprise!

Draw Like An Artist: Pop Art

A collection of eighteen fun and colorful activities for aspiring Warhols, Hockneys, and Lichtensteins ages ten and up, or anyone who enjoys working with color, pattern, and pop-culture imagery, and gaining a better understanding of the 20th century’s most popular art movement. Sixteen perforated pages provide plenty of raw material for collage, drawing backgrounds, and inspiration.

The Mystery Mansion

Reviving the Victorian craze for ‘myrioramas’, the 20 picture cards can be placed in any order to create seamless scenes. Almost infinite combinations of cards provide endless storyscaping possibilities. Find sinister suits of armour and the aftermaths of strange accidents, butlers with a grudge and glamorous couples where revenge is never far from the surface. With many games to play and millions of stories to tell, each turn of the card is a new adventure. Where will the story take you?

In the Ocean: My Nature Sticker Activity Book

The world’s oceans are home to many different species and plants, from tiny organisms like plankton to the world’s largest animal, the blue whale. Deep down in the seas’ depth, you will even find some monstrous-looking creatures that seem to have come straight out of a fairy tale. Vivid digital illustrations help introduce a variety of aquatic creatures in this addition to the My Nature Sticker Activity Book series.

Alpha Shapes

This modern twist on alphabet blocks offers a new way to see the beauty of letterforms. Adults and children alike can build letters and words out of the 39 colorful wooden pieces, spelling out names or creating personalized messages for display.

Bob the Artist: Dominoes

Bob the Artist, first introduced in the quirky Bob the Artist picture book, loves to paint with brightly colored splashes, but he has got into a bit of a mess. Help Bob clear up his paints by matching the colors and numbers in this fun game of dominoes. A wonderful concept game for toddlers!

The Giveaway! 

My Canadian residents (excluding Quebec) can now enter to win one of the above mentioned products as part of Raincoast Books #PlayTestShare spring promotion! Enter via the Rafflecopter form below – good luck!

a Rafflecopter giveaway

Disclosure: I received two of the above mentioned products in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading

Beat the Winter Blues with Two New Children’s Books from Raincoast Books!

Raincoast Books

I am quite ready for winter to be officially over! I am tired of the freezing rain, wind chill that keeps us stuck inside and the mess that the kid’s boots make. I think our kids are almost at the end of their patience as well.

You can beat the winter blues by adding in two new releases from Raincoast Books perfect for your young reader and Mom and Dad to read aloud. Both The Big Bed and The Boy and the Blue Moon were just released this month and will be the perfect new addition to your home library.

Beat the Winter Blues with Top Picks from Raincoast Books!

The Big Bed

From the creator of the Honest Toddler blog, The Big Bed is a humorous picture book about a girl who doesn’t want to sleep in her little bed. Her solution? She presents her dad with his own bed, a camping cot,  in order to move herself into her parents’ big bed in his place. A twist on the classic parental struggle of not letting kids sleep in their bed.

I have to be so honest here, I was literally laughing out loud as I read this book. I feel like this is the struggle and conversation we have every night over who gets to sleep in our bed! This little girl is quite clever and came up with quite the argument and solution for her Dad. Her arguments are priceless – sorry Dads, you have a Mom – you don’t need their Mom too! And really it isn’t fair that Dad gets squished into the far corner OR that he takes it out on her and dare move her to her bed with that inefficient night-light. So Dads, let us present you the cot! We were cracking up as we read this one and I could almost see our little one’s mind start reeling like I wonder if this would work for me? This is a well written and beautifully illustrated children’s book that will infuse story time with laughter.

You can find The Big Bed on Raincoast Books and Amazon.

Beat the Winter Blues with Top Picks from Raincoast Books!

The Boy and the Blue Moon

On the night of a blue moon, a boy and his cat set out for a walk and find themselves on a magical adventure. Together they travel through fields of flowers, forests of towering trees, and lakes of deep dark blue. Flying through starry blue skies, they reach the blue moon. But the blue planet, Earth, calls the explorers home. Safely back in bed, the boy wonders – was it only a dream?

This is a beautiful story about  young boy who makes a big wish under the magic of the blue moon. Even at my age, the mystery of space and the magic of the moon can amaze me. When you hear the words, blue moon, you begin to think of magical things and mystery. In this beautiful written and illustrated book, a young boy learns about the magic of the blue moon but also learns to appreciate his own home too. As he sets out from his home, everything has been washed in shades of blue! When he finds a boat and sets off, he embarks on an extra special journey to the moon. He is the pop of red in the otherwise lonely environment of the moon. He quickly learns that there is nothing quite like home and heads back to the yellow light of his own home. This is a beautiful book to cherish at bed time. We love the journey this young boy and his cat head out on but also the feelings of missing home. Life is definitely a mystery and adventure in this wonderful tale!

You can find The Boy and the Blue Moon on Raincoast Books and Amazon.

Make sure to pick up these two new books on Amazon this month to add some new adventure to your winter reads. What have you added to your home library this month?

Disclosure: I received the above mentioned books in order to facilitate this review. All opinions expressed are my own.

Continue Reading