Brr. Time to button up that coat and enjoy a brisk walk, then come home and cozy up with a cuppa. And just like us, the mice of Brambly Hedge love a warm fire and a bowl of steaming soup after an afternoon out.
Some of the youngest Brambly kiddies have never seen snow before (have no fear, lots and lots of the white stuff is coming!), and Jill Barklem’s Winter (1980) showcases their discovery. This children’s book continues the four-seasons fare of this beautifully told and illustrated series that has spawned its own large fan base, plus figurines and animation.
You’ll want to read this with your own children, and exclaim over the pictures.
After the mice families dig themselves out of the first massive snowfall, they plan a feast (“When summer streams are turned to ice,/ A Snow Ball warms the hearts of mice.”)
You’d know something was up with the mice if you saw all those little paw prints left in the snow. And so would William and Cammy, who wander about in the picture book In The Snow: Who’s Been Here? (1995, by Lindsay Barrett George), and discover all the birds and animals that live in the winter woods by the impressions they leave in the white stuff. Porcupines like to hang out in the tops of evergreens, it turns out. Who knew?
At the end, the two children go tobogganing. A perfect day.
Teens will shiver to award-winning Canuck Graham McNamee’s Bonechiller (2008), which visits a hamlet inhabited by a bunch of wild country kids who drive too fast on empty backroads, looking for thrills. Most of these guys are just bored and looking for fun. One, Pike, is out of control.
Then Danny discovers something worse than his friends: some sort of…. creature, stalking him one night out in the deep freeze. It’s huge, has fangs, and it loves the cold.
Soon, a high-school student disappears (though no one’s gonna miss this local bully).
Danny can’t really talk about his fears to any adults; his mom is dead, his well-intentioned but hurtin’ dad drinks, “trying to drown the demon, as he likes to say.”
Yet Danny’s working it all through, and has even met the gal of his dreams — though it may be too late for him. There’s something about that terrifying creature…soon Danny starts to change. Then another friend starts to change… and they must save themselves.
(But what doesn’t change? Danny notes that The Leafs are still losing.)
Bonechiller is filed in New Arrivals under Young Adult.
In a more literary vein, Stephen Henighan’s The Streets of Winter (2004) moves into the big city, sliding through the slush of Montreal. The narrative is constantly switching from one character to another, as a cast of urbanites — francophones, immigrants, anglos — lurches through life. They’re not all likable, but they’ll all fascinating.
Looking for something else entirely? You’ll find special displays of wintery-themed and Christmas books on display at the Lennoxville Library all this month, offering some seasonal suggestions.
Plan ahead! Your last chance to get books and books-on-tape or CDs before the Christmas break is Dec. 22, when the library will close at 6 p.m. We will re-open Tuesday, Jan. 4. Don’t be without a book over the holidays!
Get ready for February’s Canada Reads, when the Lennoxville Library and the CBC talk books. This year’s books are:
The Best Laid Plans by Terry Fallis, The Birth House by Ami McKay, The Bone Cage by Angie Abdou, Essex County by Jeff Lemire, and Unless by Carol Shields.
BAD SEX AWARDS
One of the more entertaining awards given out at this time of the year is the best-of-the-worst Bad Sex in Fiction Award, handed out annually by the British magazine Literary Review.
The winner is The Shape of Her by Rowan Somerville. Nominees included Anabel Lyon’s The Golden Mean (a wonderful book reviewed previously in Good Reads), as well as The Slap by Christos Tsiolkas, Maya by Alastair Campbell, A Life Apart by Neel Mukherjee, Heartbreak by Craig Raine, Jonathan Franzen’s Freedom, and Adam Ross’s Mr. Peanut.
– Eleanor Brown, December 3, 2010