Open Book's Holiday Book Guide #9: Animals Among Us

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The holiday season is here, and there's no better time to cozy up with a good book (or ten!). Open Book's Holiday Book Guide will direct you to some of the most engaging books on store shelves this season. Our Guide will be regularly updated throughout December, featuring a fresh theme with each listing. Today's theme: ANIMALS AMONG US.


Fox on the Ice
by Tomson Highway with illustrations by Brian Deines

The Cat's Pajamas
by Wallace Edwards

On Parade
by Rob Laidlaw

Chicken, Pig, Cow, Horse Around
by Ruth Ohi

Octopus Intelligence
by Timothy Quinn

Animals That Changed the World
by Keltie Thomas

Sanctuary Line
by Jane Urquhart

How Do You Read to a Rabbit?
by Andrea Wayne Von Konigslow

Animals Among Us:

Written in English and Cree, Fox on the Ice (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), written by Tomson Highway, with striking illustrations by Brian Deines, is the story of Joe and Cody, two brothers who go ice fishing with their parents, pet dog and sled dogs. The sled dogs spot a fox across the lake, and Joe and his mother are taken on a ride.

Anyone familiar with Wallace Edwards's artwork will probably already have a copy of The Cat's Pajamas (Kids Can Press) on their shelves. For those of you yet to discover the strange beauty and wonderful silliness of his books, this collection of idioms is a great place to start.

Animals are lucky to have biologist Rob Laidlaw on their side. The founder of Zoocheck Canada has devoted over 30 years to campaigning for wild animals in captivity. His second book for kids, On Parade: The Hidden World of Animals in Entertainment (Fitzhenry & Whiteside), provides a smart and critical look at the lives of performing animals around the world.

When Horse arrives to the barn, he cramps the style of the residents — or so Chicken says. Chicken, Pig, Cow, Horse Around (Annick Press) by Ruth Ohi will delight preschoolers and help teach them the value of friendship.

Timothy Quinn's gripping novel, Octopus Intelligence (Guernica Editions), is about two men: a former intelligence contractor and a paleontologist who are struggling with their identities. The story is set in New York and takes you to Iran, Haiti, Guatemala, Honduras and the Moroccan desert, where the paleontologist has discovered a "four hundred million year old transitional cephalopod."

Animals have had a greater hand (or hoof or paw or fin) in shaping the world than you might think. They've led humans to great discoveries, guided them through dangers and spread devastating diseases, to name a few of their fabulous and not-so-fabulous contributions to our history. Animals That Changed the World (Annick Press) by Keltie Thomas is a fascinating book geared to kids aged nine to twelve.

Jane Urquhart's latest novel, Sanctuary Line (McClelland & Stewart), is set on the shores of Lake Erie. The protagonist, Liz Crane, is an entomologist who has moved into her family's old farmhouse to study the migratory patterns and survival techniques of the Monarch butterfly. Alone on the farm, Liz is haunted by her family's history and the memories of loved ones.

How do you read to a rabbit? Or a boa constrictor? Or a kangaroo? Andrea Wayne Von Konigslow's playful book for preschool and kindergarteners, How Do You Read to a Rabbit? (Annick Press), contemplates the challenges of reading to a variety of animals.


Buy these books at your local independent bookstore or online at Chapters/Indigo or Amazon.

Don't miss previous editions of the Holiday Book Guide! Check out the great line up for:

LIFE STORIES
IDEAS & INSPIRATION
CANADIANA
WORK & PLAY
A TASTE FOR CULTURE
CITY LIVING
THE WORLD AS WE KNOW IT
STAGE, SCREEN & SONG

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