Upcoming Parenting Program: Bridging the Gap : Transitioning from Daycare to Elementary School

Bridging-the-Gap_500pxChildren who attend daycare or preschool are already well on their way to making an easier transition to Kindergarten, however it can still be an adjustment for children and parents alike. New schedules, new kids, and a different learning structure with new rules and expectations will all help children learn to become more independent, but it can also cause (understandable) anxiety. Anxious or not, there are many resources in place to help your child get the best out of their first year of elementary school. Enter our upcoming free parenting program, Bridging the Gap: Transitioning from Daycare to Elementary School. The program will take place here at the library on Wednesday, September 30 at 7 pm. 

Our guest expert Nicole Spence has lots of experience helping families as they learn new routines. As a social worker in local schools, she has often given parenting workshops which provide hands-on advice and resources, answer questions from parents, and help embrace the exciting change that is elementary school. Nicole is an advocate for kids and families, and will be able to speak to issues such as how to effectively communicate with teachers and administrators, and how to create the best routine for your child. Whether your little one is going to elementary school in the next few years, or has just come from daycare or preschool to a new Kindergarten class, this is the perfect program to help get a leg up on elementary school.

The program has been featured in Montreal Families. Click here for the full article. To register, please call us at (514) 485-6900 ext. 4121.

Ce programme se déroule en anglais, cependant il sera possible de poser des questions et obtenir des réponses en français.

We hope to see you there!

Posted in Library Programs, Parenting, Programs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Sign of the Cat by Lynne Jonell

sign fo the catSometimes, you pick a book off the shelf because it has a great cover. When I saw Lynne Jonell’s The Sign of the Cat had arrived, I decided to take it home in spite of the cover (which I found looked a little dated), and I’m certainly glad I did. This middle grade novel about a young boy on a rollicking adventure was a blast to read, full of danger, evil plots, humour and cats! This was a very fun book, and while I could spot many of the plot twists coming, that didn’t hamper my enjoyment of it.

Warned by his mother to ensure that he never tried too hard or succeeded more than other children, Duncan has been chafing under her restrictions for years. He was told he must never be top of the class, never win at fencing and, oddly, never walk around without his hat on. Duncan bristles under these directions, not understanding why his mother wants him to hide his excellence. He knows she loves him; she works long hours teaching music in order to keep him fed, sometimes going without food herself.

Something  else which makes Duncan unique is his ability to speak Cat. Taught by his elderly feline friend Grizel when he was very young, Duncan confides in his beloved pet all of his frustrations; while she advises him to heed his mother’s warnings, Duncan is a young man determined to find a way to do his very best. One day, while attempting to find work on the docks, he runs into the Earl of Merrick, the much-loved hero who has been searching tirelessly for the missing princess. Everyone in the island kingdom of Arvidia knows the story of Charles, the bad Duke, who betrayed the King and tried to kill the Earl of Merrick. During the conflict, the princess was lost and has been for years now, with the Earl searching tirelessly for her. So when Duncan meets the Earl on the docks, he is stunned and excited, even more so because the Earl invites him aboard his ship. What follows is a sea-faring adventure, full of intrigue, betrayal and mystery.

This is a fun fantasy novel that isn’t too bogged down in fantasy-world details, so it’s a good choice for readers who don’t like (or are reluctant to try) high fantasy. Duncan is a sweet character, who has a little bit of a rebellious streak in him (which makes him more interesting), but it is his kindness that will really win readers over. He is trusting, which is what gets him into trouble early in the book, but also smart, so he is able to get himself out of his predicaments. While the story starts off a little slowly, once the adventures begin, the pace really picks up.

The Sign of the Cat was a very enjoyable middle grade fantasy book, that will appeal to lovers of adventure. It’s a delightful stand-alone (so far), which means the reader gets a satisfying conclusion when he or she turns the very last page. So if you are looking to try out a fun and fantastical adventure, give The Sign of the Cat a try!


Posted in Book Reviews, Chapter books | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Favourite: Pack of Dorks by Beth Vrabel

pack of dorksI’m always looking for great middle-grade realistic fiction, and Beth Vrabel’s Pack of Dorks is a winner. The story starts with Lucy, the heroine, declaring, “This was the biggest recess of my life. Today, I would become–officially–the bravest, most daring, and by far the most mature fourth-grader at Autumn Grove Intermediate School. Today, as soon as the bell rang, I was on my way to becoming a legend. Today, I was going to kiss Tom Lemming.” Lucy is used to being popular; little does she know that thing are about to change.

I had a sinking feeling for Lucy when Becky, Lucy’s best friend, admits to her that she had befriended Lucy because she was the most popular girl in school. Furthermore, Becky would do “anything” to be popular. She says it herself. When Lucy doesn’t show up for school the day after the uninteresting first kiss she shares with Tom Lemming (Becky has her first kiss at the same time with Henry, Tom’s best friend), things begin changing fast. Lucy has a good reason for not going to school the day after: she is at the hospital with her mother, who is giving birth to Lucy’s little sister. Lucy’s sister is born with Down Syndrome, and her parents are sad and preoccupied. Worse (from Lucy’s point of view), she loses the faux-diamond ring that Tom had given her at the hospital, and her parents don’t seem to care or want to help her find it. When Lucy returns to school the next day, Becky is ignoring her. To add insult to injury, Becky, Tom, and Henry are laughing at her behind her back. Suddenly, Lucy finds herself being pursued by the class nosepicker, April, but to Lucy, it seems like she has no friends at all.

Things get better when Sam, a quiet and thoughtful boy with whom Lucy has never spoken, begins to talk with her. Sam and Lucy’s budding friendship helps Lucy to realize that there are a lot of classmates that she’s never noticed before. Even with Sam’s support, the drama continues at school, but Lucy’s parents are often too busy to notice that she’s having a hard time.

Lucy is tougher than she thinks she is. As Lucy’s friendship with Sam, April, and her little sister grow, Lucy begins to grow too. One of my favourite aspects of the book is how much Lucy is changed by her challenges; she becomes much more self-aware and much kinder as her story progresses. I loved this book because Lucy has the experience that most kids in later elementary school have; making new friends, losing old ones, and even being teased. Her story is universal in so many ways, but Lucy’s sense of self, her independence, and her introspectiveness is what makes her special. It is guaranteed that young readers will be able to put themselves in Lucy’s shoes, and perhaps they will also be inspired to form their own “pack of dorks.”



Posted in Book Reviews, Chapter books, Favorites | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Awesome Picture Book: Bears Don’t Read! by Emma Chichester Clark

Bears DontIt’s time for another Awesome Picture Book post! This isn’t the first time I’ve written about the subject of this post: Emma Chichester Clark. Minty and Tink surprised and delighted me when I first discovered it (here is my review of that book), and since then, I’ve been pleased to spot Ms Chichester Clark’s illustrations in a great many library books (click here for all library holdings). Every time I stumble across one, her work makes me smile, and I can always identify her because of her distinctive style (a fact which was recognized when she was given the Mother Goose Award for best newcomer). However, she is not just a talented illustrator; she is also a skilled writer, whose stories are charming, funny and memorable. Case in point: Bears Don’t Read.

George is a thoughtful bear who spends most of his days wondering about Life. His brothers and sisters are happy to spend their days fishing and chatting, but George wants more. That is when he finds a book lost in the woods. As soon as he gets his paws on the book, he knows he has discovered something very special, but he doesn’t know how to read! Determined to unlock all the secrets in the book, he goes off in search of a place where he will be taught how: a school. Except when George goes into town, he causes widespread panic. Will he ever be able to learn to read?

This is a longer picture book, with a wonderful story that sparks the imagination. Needless to say, the illustrations are unique and eye-catching. The leaves and flowers look like they are inspired by (and comprised of) vintage wallpaper swatches, a wonderful detail that adds great depth to the images. On top of the fantastic visuals, Chichester Clark has created a remarkably likable bear in George; he is determined, smart and curious. As the reader, you want him to find a teacher who isn’t scared of him, because as all readers know, and as George discovers when he finds that lost book in the woods, books make the world a more interesting place!

This picture book is a great choice to inspire and motivate first-time readers, but most of all, it’s a lot of fun.

Happy reading.


Posted in Book Reviews, Picture books | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Teen Program: Guardians of the Galaxy

Are you a fan of Marvel comics (or do you know someone who is)? Here at the library we get tons of requests for Marvel, and we’re really excited about all of the great Marvel movies coming out these days.

Guardians-of-the-Galaxy_500pxWith Montreal Comicon happening this weekend and Ant-Man coming to theatres on July 17, what better way to celebrate (for free) than by coming to the library to watch a screening of last summer’s awesome Marvel hit, Guardians of the Galaxy? We’ll be showing the film this Friday, July 10, at 7:30 pm for teens 13 and older. One lucky teen will have a chance to walk away with some Marvel comics of their own.

In case you need a refresher (or haven’t seen it yet), here’s the trailer for Guardians of the Galaxy:

To register to see the movie, please call us at (514) 485-6900 ext. 4121, or e-mail childrendept@cotesaintluc.org. Hope to see you there!

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton

boys dont knitAbout 7 years ago, I discovered knitting , and since then, I love reading about it. Usually, books about knitting tend to be picture books, so when we received a young adult novel titled Boys Don’t Knit, I knew I had to read it. I was excited to see a book for teens about a boy discovering knitting, not only because of the knitting connection, but also because I love finding new and unexpected books that appeal to boys – and this one certainly does!

Boys Don’t Knit by T.S. Easton is about Ben, a seventeen year old who was caught stealing liquor from a store and has been placed on probation and given certain mandatory acts to fulfill. The first is to keep a journal, which annoyed him to no end as he has been keeping a diary (as he calls it) for years. Then, he must also help out around the house of the woman who was injured during his attempted theft. And finally, he has to take part in some sort of after-school activity so that he develops a sense of community. His choices being rather limited, he decides to take a knitting class. And so begins a rather funny and heartwarming story of a young man’s adventures in knitting, bullying and romance!

There are so many reasons that this book was a hit for me, including the great story, compelling characters and funny writing. I was sold on this book in the first few pages; with every passing sentence, I became convinced that Ben was a character I had to get to know better. From the embarrassment he feels over his parents’ affection for each other (which manifests in lame double entendres), to his logic-based fantasies about one of his teachers, Ben was a well-rounded character who kept making me laugh.  I also found his sense of right and wrong quite compelling. The whole reason he got into trouble for stealing was because while his friends (masterminds behind the alcohol theft) were racing away from the scene of the crime with little regard for safety, Ben was biking away at a reasonable speed, and the crossing guard, angered by the behaviour of the other boys, ended up in a collision with Ben, who got blamed for the whole thing!

I loved that this novel was in first-person journal narration and that the main character was a seventeen-year-old boy; it’s not every day that you find a YA novel in this form told from a male perspective. Ben was funny, relateable, and in many ways, a typical teenage boy, struggling with fitting in, parental disapproval, and getting the girl (once he decides which girl he wants to get)! I loved that this typical teenage boy also fell for a hobby that is traditionally seen as feminine, although as knitting teacher Mrs Hooper informs the  group, “Knitting was originally a male-only occupation.”

Give this gem of a YA a chance and you’re sure to fall for Ben Fletcher, “accidental criminal, liar and master of mohair.”

Happy reading!


Posted in Book Reviews, YA | Tagged , , , , | Leave a comment

Upcoming Teen Program: Fun Across the Board

FunAcrosstheBoard_500pxBoard games are not only a great way to bond with others, but they can be challenging, creative, funny, and good for your brain. We’re very excited that we’ll soon have awesome board games like Settlers of Catan, Pandemic (my personal favourites), and many others available in the Children’s Department for kids and teens to check out and play with friends or family.

On June 26 from 5:30-8:30, in honor of the end of exams, we’ll launch our board games collection at a free teen event: Fun Across the Board Social Game Night. Tweens and teens aged 11-16 can come and play board games together. No registration is required; teens can drop by with their friends to choose from a great selection of games. Members of our Teen Advisory Group will be playing too!

If you know a gamer (or are a gamer between 11-16), don’t miss this first opportunity to play games at the library. It’s going to be fun!

Posted in Programs | Leave a comment

Awesome Picture Book: Mister Bud Wears the Cone by Carter Goodrich

At one point, our Great Dane had to wear an Elizabethan collar (one of those ridiculous-looking cones that you put on your dog when they have an injury that they can’t stop licking). I remember her bumbling around the house, knocking into things with her head hung down in shame. We could never leave it on her for too long: her embarrassment was too much for us to watch, and she was so large that it was actually sort of a hazard to have her weaving about, unable to see where she was going.

Mister BudWhen I saw the adorable Mister Bud and Zorro on the cover of Carter Goodrich’s picture book Mister Bud Wears the Cone, I knew it would be worth the read. Whether your little one is a dog lover or just a fan of adorable illustrations and funny animal antics, this book will be sure to please.

Mister Bud is a dog with a sore spot that he can’t stop licking. Unfortunately, this means that he has to wear his cone collar. Mister Bud seems to be getting all the attention, and Zorro, his doggie brother, starts to get jealous. Zorro starts to tease Mister Bud, stealing his toys. When Mister Bud chases his tormentor, he knocks into a table with his cone, and a lamp falls and breaks. Finally, Mister Bud will be in trouble! Unfortunately for Zorro, who has also gotten into the dog treats, Mr. Bud is rewarded by getting his collar off and getting a treat for his misery, while Zorro gets in trouble for being naughty.

zorro2There is a very relatable thread in Mister Bud and Zorro’s story of sibling rivalry, and perhaps a lesson to be learned from this book. Above all, though, Mister Bud Wears the Cone is fun, entertaining, and cute.

The adorable and hilarious illustrations in this book will have young readers giggling, and the text is fun to read, with plenty of dialogue. It’s an especially fun book if you’ve ever had or known a dog; canine mannerisms and quirks are easy to recognize through Goodrich’s expressive style. Mr. Goodrich is also a cartoon illustrator for The New Yorker, and designed characters for the movies Brave and Ratatouille. His pictures will appeal to readers of all ages.



Posted in Book Reviews, Picture books | Tagged , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Parenting Program: Kids and Eating with Clare Lord

Kids-and-Eating_500pxHow many parents out there have wondered if their children are developing good eating habits? Ensuring that their children have a healthy  relationship with food is a topic that is of interest to many parents. If you are one of those parents, then you’ll want to attend our upcoming free parenting program, given by WISE Philosophy‘s Clare Lord, taking place May 19 at 7 pm.

At this session, Clare will share the top mistakes that most parents make when it comes to food and their children. She calls this list the “Top 10 Mistakes that All Smart Parents Make”, many of which are food habits and rules that have been common practice for years (think “clean your plate”).  She’ll offer alternative ways to approach these sensitive food issues, so you can find a way that works best for your family.

Clare Lord is the founder and Executive Director of WISE Philosophy, and she has a background in psychology, science and nutritional sciences. She brings her years of experience and her considerable knowledge to the library to next Tuesday for a program that you won’t want to miss.

This session is sure to be eye-opening and engaging. If you would like to reserve your spot at this free program, please call 514-485-6900 ext 4121.

We look forward to seeing you there!

Posted in Parenting, Programs | Tagged , , , , , | Leave a comment

Book Review: Spirit’s Key by Edith Cohn

Spirit's KeySpirit’s Key, the first book by Edith Cohn, is a middle-grade story that was as lovely as Eliza Wheeler’s beautiful cover art. Spirit Holden lives on the remote Bald Island, where she is considered an outsider (or “Dingbatter”) because she was born on the mainland. Her outsider status isn’t helped by the fact that her father has the ability to predict the future, which is often fraught with disaster for the residents of the island. Spirit has just lost her beloved dog, Sky, who was her only comfort after her mother passed away.

During his doggie life, Sky was as much an outsider as his owner. He was a “baldie,” part of a pack of wild dogs who live on the island. Superstitious villagers are afraid of baldies because they seem vicious and are believed to be malevolent spirits. When baldies start dying, beginning with Sky, Spirit is determined to find out why. Villagers have begun to sicken too, and they believe that it is because the baldies are somehow spreading disease. Spirit is determined to save the baldies, and to convince her neighbors that the baldies are not dangerous. When Sky’s ghost appears to her, Spirit begins to follow him on dangerous excursions, trying to ravel the mystery of what is threatening the dogs and humans on the island. The stakes get even higher when Spirit’s father is taken away by the town doctor and quarantined with other adults who are showing signs of illness. Spirit’s determination does not go unnoticed, and soon she has gained the help of Nector Hatterask, an island boy whose family has been suspicious of hers since they came to the island (although Spirit’s father has saved their lives with his predictions at least once). Nector is a great crime-solving partner and slowly but surely, he shows Spirit that he is a friend as well.

Spirit’s Key is an exciting book: it’s a great mixture of mystery, magic, and coming-of-age. As Spirit gives chase, she begins to discover that she has inherited her father’s abilities. Although certain details can be a bit confusing at times–there’s a lot going on in this book–Spirit’s Key is full of adventure, gripping, and beautifully-written. Bald Island is a place rich with history, stories passed down from one generation to the next which have great importance to the small society. Each colorful character in the village relies on Spirit or her father in one way or another, but they are afraid of what they don’t know; in the end, it is this fear–not devil spirits or a plague–that causes the most chaos on Bald Island

Spirit’s strength really shines through this heartfelt read; she has lost nearly everything, doesn’t have any friends, and yet is still determined to help those who are suspicious of her. She loves animals and is fiercely loyal to Sky’s memory. Spirit’s Key has a simple message about accepting those who are different, and asks its young readers to truly consider their beliefs before making judgments about others. As each character casts off their fears, they find that they are among friends. Perhaps this is a message often sent in children’s literature, but it is an important one nonetheless, Spirit’s Key remains an imaginative and compelling read.



Posted in Book Reviews, Chapter books, New Books | Tagged , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment