Please enjoy our guest reviews by local writer and friend of the store, Jennifer Pownall

Caroll Simpson’s children’s books showcase her talents through vibrant artwork and the written word.  From stories of origin and adventure for young children in her Coastal Spirit Tales series, to sturdier volumes developed to engage infants and toddlers, her works utilize First Nations motifs and elements from the west coast.  Even in her board books there is a beautiful connection between the animals featured and the surrounding land or seascape, and embedded within the illustrations are familiar thematic images, further suggestive of the Indigenous mythos by which she is inspired.  Simpson’s reverential treatment of the art and stories of the First Peoples of the Northwest Coast is evident in these captivating works, and the additional information provided at the end of her picture books are an excellent resource for parents and educators to draw upon when seeking to deepen a discussion with children about nature or culture.

     Sarah and Michael Explore Port Coquitlam is as wonderfully local as a book can be.  Written and illustrated by a number of talented artists from the namesake city, this collection of stories has appeal for both kids and adults whether they are residents of PoCo or the Tri-Cities, have lived or spent time in Metro Vancouver, or are simply interested in historical accounts shared through the lens of a children’s book.  By using the common thread of the two young protagonists – as well as their friends and family – six different authors have scribed tales that examine some of the elements that have shaped Port Coquitlam.  From archaeological digs to visits from royalty, from terrible floods to the origins of landmarks, this anthology will spark community pride and encourage every reader to get out and explore!

Blowing Kisses and Fist Bumps, the first two picture books by children’s writer Jaime Windle, explain the steps involved in the perfect youthful gestures these titles promise.  Guiding the reader with step-by-step instructions, Windle’s delightful use of rhyme draws children in from the first sentence.  With an absorbing, conversational flair, these books will engage kids with sweet questions, entertaining details, and imaginative twists.  A great start to what will surely become a well-loved series, Blowing Kisses and Fist Bumps both demonstrate how the observation, examination, and description of the finest elements of any action can add up to more fun!

We wish to extend a big THANK YOU to Angela at What’s On! Port Coquitlam for publishing these reviews in the July/August 2018 issue of the magazine.