Sunday, December 1, 2013


 The Blue Spruce Award program brings recently published Canadian children's picture books to children between the ages of 4 and 7 (junior kindergarten to grade two). For many children, this is their first introduction to the world of books.

This program promotes reading for enjoyment and begins to develop a child’s skill in evaluating a picture book based on story, text and pictures. Readers are encouraged to chat about books they are reading, share their reviews, find out what their peers are reading, and begin to compile their own Top Ten book lists.  For Blue Spruce:

The Nominees for 2014:

A Good Trade by Alma Fullerton, Karen Patkau

Kato cannot believe his eyes when he sees what is in the aid-worker''s truck; how will he show his thanks for such a great gift? In a small Ugandan village, Kato wakes early to start the long, barefoot trek beyond his village and along fields dotted with cattle and guarded by soldiers. His destination is the village well, where he will pump a day’s supply of water into two jerry cans. Like every day, Kato lets the water splash over his hot, tired feet before carrying his heavy load back home, where his chores await him. But this is no ordinary day. The aid-worker’s truck has come to the village square, and in the back is a gift so special, the little boy rushes home to look for something to repay the aid-worker. Alma Fullerton''s spare, lilting prose tells a deceptively simple story of one day in a little boy’s life. But in a place ravaged by a generation of civil war and drought, a village well brings life, a gift of shoes is a cause for celebration, and a simple flower becomes an eloquent symbol of peace and gratitude.

I Dare You Not To Yawn by Hélène Boudreau, Serge Bloch

Just try to resist this comical - and infectious - cautionary fable that will have even bedtime-avoiders gladly snuggling up for a nightly challenge. A yawn can land you in your pj's and under the covers before you can blink and say "Baa baa black sheep." So clamp your mouth shut and look away from your sleepy dog, stay away from your cuddly blanket, and whatever you do, don't think of baby orangutans stretching their long arms out for a snuggly hug. Otherwise, you might find your mouth opening wide and letting out a great big yawny yaaaaaawn - hey, you were supposed hold it in! A hilarious read-aloud that is so much fun, kids will beg for it again and again, whatever the consequences.

If You Hold A Seed by Elly MacKay

Something magical happens when you plant a dream with a seed. With plenty of love and patience, they can blossom into an extraordinary gift. To be shared with those you love and those with big dreams, this book encourages us to never give up.

In The Tree House by Andrew Larsen, Dušan Petričić

An evocative story about two brothers who are growing up (one faster than the other), an unusual summer night and a special tree house that proves childhood is not just a time but also a place.

Mr. Zinger’s Hat by Cary Fagan, Dušan Petričić

This wonderful new story is about stories, and story-telling, and is sure to enchant and instruct children at home and at school for years to come. It is the story of a bored little boy, who meets a man, and together they build a story. This story within a story is charming and changes both their lives... and quite possibly the readers as well. 

Oddrey by Dave Whamond

Oddrey is a young girl who is a little bit different from everybody else. Her curiosity and flights of fancy are often a source of some teasing at the hands of her classmates. But Oddrey faces all of these discouragements with optimism and grace.
When her class production of The Wizard of Oz is cast and Oddrey is given the rather spiritless role of a tree, she decides to make the best of the situation. But when her classmates start forgetting their lines, knocking down props, and suffering from stage fright, Oddrey steps in to save the show - not by stealing it, but by helping her classmates rise to the occasion. This is an endearing story with a timeless message of how the misfits in our midst can be the ones we most often misjudge.

Sky Color by Peter H. Reynolds

Marisol loves to paint. So when her teacher asks her to help make a mural for the school library, she can't wait to begin! But how can Marisol make a sky without blue paint? After gazing out the bus window and watching from her porch as day turns into night, she closes her eyes and starts to dream. . . . From the award-winning Peter H. Reynolds comes a gentle, playful reminder that if we keep our hearts open and look beyond the expected, creative inspiration will come.

This Is Not My Hat by Jon Klassen

A tiny fish swims happily by wearing a round blue bowler hat. It's not his hat, he tells us, but he is certain he is safe because the hat’s owner is still asleep. But is he? Visual humor swims to the fore as the best-selling Jon Klassen follows his breakout debut with another deadpan-funny tale.

Uncle Wally’s Old Brown Shoe by Wallace Edwards

Inspired by the familiar nursery rhyme The House That Jack Built, this story follows the course of one very unusual shoe as it travels through a fascinating, imaginative world to encounter an assortment of quirky characters. The imaginative text and cumulative story are sure to enthrall young readers, as will the detailed illustrations. Children and adults will delight in finding the whimsical objects and hidden meanings in the layered colorful artwork, reminiscent of Wallace Edwards’s first book, Alphabeasts. 

Willow Finds A Way by Lana Button, Tania Howells

Willow is thrilled the whole class -- including her! -- is invited to classmate Kristabelle''s fantastic birthday party, until the bossy birthday girl starts crossing guests off the list when they dare cross her. There are many books on bullying, but Willow''s story offers a unique look at how to handle the situation as a bystander.

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