Posts Tagged ‘book festival’

Happy Ivy and Bean Day!

If you have girls age 6 to 10, you are probably familiar with Ivy and Bean, two seven-year old girls who’s antics and adventures are caught in the early chapter book series by Chronicle Books aptly entitled Ivy and Bean. My seven-year old daughter recently discovered them and loves, loves, loves the series. I reviewed their first book during this weeks Write a Review Wednesday post.

In celebration of the sixth book in this series, Ivy and Bean Doomed to Dance, we’re hosting a little Ivy & Bean Day celebration.

Ivy & Bean Doomed to Dance (book 6) After begging their parents for ballet lessons, Ivy and Bean finally get what they want…well, not exactly. Much to their surprise, it turns out ballet lessons do not include karate chops and roundhouse kicks to the villain’s heart. The girls have no interest in learning how to dance gracefully, but they promised their parents they would finish the entire ballet course! When it comes time for Ivy and Bean to participate in the ocean-themed class recital, the girls must figure out a way to get out of it without breaking their promises. (synopsis from Chronicle Book’s website)

You can also checkout the book trailer for Ivy & Bean Doomed to Dance

I think one reason my daughter loves the Ivy & Bean books is because the two girls are just like her; they like adventures and playing crazy games (which of course don’t feel crazy to them). One of my daughter’s favourite games right now is those cootie catcher games. You know the ones that you fold in paper and pick numbers. Well Ivy & Bean have created their own Double-Dare Cootie Catcher which you can printout for yourself (a pdf file).

Perhaps you want to learn some of Ivy & Bean‘s tricks, like hanging spoons on your face or setting a record for the most straws in the mouth or making your own potions in your bedroom lab (one of my daughter’s favourite things). Well you can find out how to do these and more (a pdf file).

Think you know everything about Ivy & Bean? Test your knowledge with this Ivy & Bean Quizz (a pdf file).

Looking for more Ivy & Bean fun, checkout their website. You’ll find more information on all the books in the series, including the ability to read the first chapter of each book. And don’t forget to become a fan of Ivy & Bean on Facebook.

All this is fun, but the best way to celebrate Ivy & Bean Day is to pick-up a copy of one of their books. That’s certainly my daughter’s idea of celebrating.

Review and Blog Tour: Medina Hill

It feels a bit silly saying it now, but for the longest time I didn’t know that there were people who could speak with the dead, or that you could sum up a person’s life by the number of pork pies he had stored away in an ice box. I didn’t know that getting kicked by a Gypsy girl hurts a lot more if she’s got a wooden leg. Or that on a narrow strip of the Cornish coast, you might discover a pocket of Arabian Desert. These were all things I had yet to learn.

3795690920_966ef89d4d_mSynopsis from Tundra Books

In the grimy London of 1935, eleven-year-old Dominic Walker has lost his voice. His mother is sick and his father’s unemployed. Rescue comes in the form of his Uncle Roo, who arrives to take him and his young sister, Marlo, to Cornwall. There, in a boarding house populated by eccentric residents, Marlo, who keeps a death grip on her copy of The New Art of Cooking, and Dominic, armed with Incredible Adventures for Boys: Colonel Lawrence and the Revolt in the Desert, find a way of life unlike any they have known. Dominic’s passion for Lawrence of Arabia is tested when he finds himself embroiled in a village uprising against a band of travelers who face expulsion. In defending the vulnerable, Dominic learns what it truly means to have a voice.

My Thoughts

I must admit I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy this book; I’m not a big fan of historical fiction. But right from the beginning I was drawn in by Dominic’s character. Trilby Kent did a great job bring Dominic and all the stories characters to life. And what characters; they were fun and eccentric but completely believable.

I love how Dominic originally starts reading Incredible Adventures for Boys: Colonel Lawrence and the Revolt in the Desert as a way to avoid having conversations with people, but quickly he finds a connection to Lawrence. When Dominic is confronted with awkward or new situations, such as feeling homesick or meeting real life Gypsies, he thinks back to the book and how Colonel Lawrence would handle things.

I enjoyed the unlikely friendship that developed between Dominic and a Sancha, a Gypsy girl. It illustrates that even when children are from different backgrounds and dealing with unique struggles, there are some things that all kids desire: friendship, being accepted, love of family. Reading Medina Hill helped to remind me that even children can have amazing courage and teach us adults a thing or two.

And the Thoughts of a Pre-Teen

My niece is an avid read so I asked her to take a read of Medina Hill and see if she enjoyed the story as much as I did:

The story was very believable and I really felt like I was there. The characters were vivid, but [Trilby Kent] left a lot of room for the imagination. My favourite character was Sancha. She was a strong and determined character who stood up for her people.

My favourite part was when Sancha bids on her people’s land, which is being auctioned off. When [the town] found out she was a Gypsy, they would not accept the ticket. Dominic stood up for her, claiming the bid was his. He got his uncle to authorize the bid, and showed the people how unfairly the Gypsies were being treated.

I really enjoyed the story. It was an exciting book that also sends the message that we are all the same. [Trilby Kent] did a very good job of portraying the Gypsies. I had a very hard time putting it down!

An Interview with Dominic

While reading Trilby Kent‘s Medina Hill I forgot that I was reading about fictitious characters. Dominic, Marlo, Sancha and the other colourful characters felt so real; I wasn’t reading just a story but a tale of a young boys life. So I thought one way I could extend the story would be to ask Dominic a few questions (through Trilby Kent):

Me: Do you plan on visiting Medina Hill next summer?
Dominic: I really hope so! But only if all the usual crowd is still around – it just wouldn’t be the same without the friends we made there.

Me: When visiting Uncle Roo and Auntie Sylv, you didn’t seem to think about or write to your parents? Was this on purpose? Did you ever feel guilty?
Dominic: My sister and I were both pretty homesick to begin with: Marlo missed Mum especially, and I couldn’t help feeling that I’d been sent away as a kind of punishment for not talking. But on the very first day, something strange happened – and from that moment on, we were just too busy to spend much time feeling sorry for ourselves. It was also hard to feel lonely in a house full of people (“artistic types”, I suppose you’d call them!)

Towards the end of the summer I realized that I hadn’t written to Mum, who was still in hospital. That did make me feel a little guilty. Then again, she might not have been too pleased to hear about some of the things we got up to – so perhaps it was for the best!

Me: Do you think you’ll ever visit Arabia or learn to ride a camel?
Dominic: If I could do just one thing, it would be to ride a camel into Petra and see the Lost City with my very own eyes. I’d like to go to Arabia in the same way that T.E. Lawrence did, as an archaeologist; I’d want to speak Arabic and learn the ways of the desert from the Bedouin. That would be really grand.

Me: How many times have you read Incredible Adventures for Boys: Colonel Lawrence and the Revolt in the Desert?
Dominic: I’ve almost lost track. Seven times, I think – and counting! I read it three times that summer at Medina Hill.

Me: As we’re celebrating the launch of your story, what do you think Marlo would make for the party?
Dominic: We’d definitely have to have some of the Reverend’s “special” pies and pasties: stargazy pie, steak and kidney pie, leek pie. Afterwards, there’d be saffron buns and scones with strawberry jam and Cornish clotted cream. And lots of ginger beer to wash it down!

Today marks the first day of a week long event celebrating the launch of Trilby Kent’s debut novel Medina Hill. Visit Tundra Book‘s blog for a list of all the bloggers celebrating this week. If you want to add Medina Hill to your personal library, visit Amazon.ca.

Trilby Kent smAbout Trilby Kent

Trilby Kent was born in Toronto, Ontario, and grew up in cities on both sides of the Atlantic. After completing degrees at Oxford University and The London School of Economics, she worked in the rare books department at a prominent auction house before turning to writing feature articles for publication in Europe and North America. She now lives in London, England. Medina Hill is Trilby Kent’s first novel.

Format: Hardcover
Pages: 176
On Sale: October 13, 2009
American Price: $19.95
Canadian Price: $21.99
Publisher: Tundra Books
ISBN: 978-0-88776-888-0 (0-88776-888-1)

My word! All full day of Word on the Street.

yesterday was the Word on the Street Book and Magazine festival in Toronto. It’s been in my calendar for weeks now. I even compiled a list of things I wanted to cover at the event. I’m fortunate enough to live just a streetcar away so I didn’t have to worry about traffic or construction or parking or protests.

Protest? Parade?

Protest? Parade?

Actually I don’t think this was a protest but a parade. But it did seem a little odd to host a parade just blocks away.

I brought my oldest daughter with me while my husband watched the other two. Yes, I’m sure all my kids would have liked going but there’s only so much distraction I can handle. We hit Kid Street first. I could say it was because I brought my daughter, and that’s partly why, but since I have an interest in children’s books also, that’s the real reason we started at Kid Street first.

I was able to finally meet Joanna from Annick Press and what a wonderful lady. And super cheerful. While we waited for Ruth Ohi to read her newest book CHICKEN PIG COW ON THE MOVE (which I’ll be reviewing this Wednesday as part of Write a Review Wednesday), my daughter wanted to try her luck at the Annick Press String Pull Booth. For a loonie donation (that’s a dollar for those non-canadians) she pulled a string to see what prize she would win. You could win a small Annick book, a paperback, a hardcover or the big prize, a collection of books. Well third times the charm.

Persistance pays off

Persistance pays off

We then headed over to the Children’s Reading Tent to catch Ruth Ohi. I was looking forward to hearing her read because I enjoy her books but I never expected to be so entertained. Ruth Ohi was energetic and enthusiastic and was right into the kids. Beyond just reading from her book, she shared how she created it, the process and even showed some early sketches. She also offered the kids a chance to experiment with their own illustrations by giving them printouts of Chicken, Pig, Cow with space to include their own background. I think my daughter will be busy drawing.

Ruth Ohi reading from her book CHICKEN PIG COW ON THE MOVE

Ruth Ohi reading from her book CHICKEN PIG COW ON THE MOVE

Doughnuts and jellybeans, how to draw by Ruth Ohi

Doughnuts and jellybeans, how to draw by Ruth Ohi

After the entertaining reading we were able to catch Ruth Ohi at the Annick Press booth and get her to autograph our copies. She personalized my daughter’s book with a wonderful sketch of my daughter. My daughter was delighted.

Ruth Ohi personalized my daughter's book..

Ruth Ohi personalized my daughter's book..

...with a wonderful sketch.

...with a wonderful sketch.

And before we had a chance to catch our breath my daughter and I were back at the Children’s Reading Tent to catch Patricia Storm read from her new book PIRATE AND THE PENGUIN. Actually, read isn’t quite right. Instead she performed her book in a wonderful play. I’m just sorry I didn’t film it. Of course I had to pick up a copy of her book also. Can’t wait to share it with my kids.

Patrica Storm as the pirate

Patrica Storm as the pirate

Patrica also gave the audience tips on how to draw their own penguin and pirate

Patrica also gave the audience tips on how to draw their own penguin and pirate

With the readings out of the way (though I was disappointed I missed Carey Fagen and meeting Sylvia from Tundra Books), it was time for a late lunch. The nice thing about the Word on the Street festival this year, they had more than just exhaust dogs. There’s nothing like a sweet corn roast and lemonade.

More than just hotdogs

More than just hotdogs

The corn was perfect

The corn was perfect

We did another round of the festival. Cheerios had a tent giving people a chance to send CHEER postcards to the Canadian Olympic Athletes. My daughter couldn’t pass that up. Plus there gave out little sample bowls which was perfect since I didn’t pack any snacks (I guess I didn’t expect to be at the show for as long as we were).

Sending a little Cheer to the Olympic athletes

Sending a little Cheer to the Olympic athletes

And just before leaving, we ran into an old friend, Chirp. I say old friend because Chirp magazine has been coming to our house for over four years now. My daughter couldn’t resist a hug.

An old friend, Chirp

An old friend, Chirp

There was music and dancing and performances too.  All and all a full and entertaining day. Luckily neither my daughter nor myself fell asleep on the streetcar ride home. But maybe our heavy bag of children’s books kept us away (perhaps some future Write a Review Wednesday books in there too). Until next year.

A book festival isn't complete without books

A book festival isn't complete without books