Mr McGee and the Biting Flea by Pamela Allen

By Maureen Tai, 15 June 2018

“Mr McGee went out to play, down to the beach one windy day.”  


Reading aloud to, and with, my children must be one of the best perks of being a parent.  Rhyming picture books are the most fun to read aloud, bar none. And Mr McGee and the Biting Flea has male frontal nudity to boot.

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Mr Tiger Goes Wild by Peter Brown

By Maureen Tai, 2 June 2018

“Mr Tiger was bored with always being so proper.”

IMG_3950All the inhabitants in Mr Tiger’s world are animals who have snooty expressions on their faces and who stand upright.  All of them – including deer, brown bear, fox, buffalo, monkey, hedgehog, horse and ibex – are dressed to the nines in top hats and bonnets, suits and bow ties, solemn skirts and long sleeved blouses.  They walk sedately from place to place, or if they must, ride stiffly on penny farthings and normal bicycles. Everything is calm, quiet and so very proper. Everyone has a stiff upper (and lower) lip.

Except Mr Tiger.

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Do not lick this book* (it’s full of germs) by Idan Ben-Barak & illustrated by Julian Frost

By Maureen Tai, 31 May 2018


If you are a parent of young children like I am, you will have, at one point or another, yelled at them to stop eating their nose poos or licking elevator buttons because “FOR HEAVENS SAKE, THOSE THINGS ARE FULL OF GERMS!” And your progeny would not have given a monkey’s because, well, let’s face it, no one can see germs can they?

Do not lick this book* (it’s full of germs) attempts to remedy this situation by magnifying some common microbes (by some hundreds of thousands of times), giving them faces, limbs, attractive hues, cute names and quirky personalities, and inviting readers to whisk them off on adventures. Sounds fun? It is! Continue reading

The Princess and the Pony by Kate Beaton

By Maureen Tai, 25 May 2018

“In a kingdom of warriors, the smallest warrior was Princess Pinecone.”


We all know someone like Princess Pinecone. Heck, we’ve all BEEN someone like Princess Pinecone. You know the feeling? When you’re seven years old, and convinced that you’re small, uncool, and insignificant while everyone else is smarter, stronger, and so much more accomplished.  On top of that, you never, ever get the specific thing that you ask for. EVER. Especially from your parents (and in particular at Christmastime). Do I sound bitter?

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Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois by Amy Novesky & illustrated by Isabelle Arsenault

By Maureen Tai, 13 May 2018

“Louise’s mother was her best friend. Deliberate…patient, soothing…subtle, indispensable…and as useful as an araignée (spider).”


Every mother leaves an imprint on her child.  For French artist Louise Josephine Bourgeois (1911-2010), known best for her impressive metal sculptures of spiders, that imprint is achingly deep, lasting her entire life. Cloth Lullaby: The Woven Life of Louise Bourgeois is a gorgeously illustrated non-fiction picture book that tells the moving story of a daughter’s love for her mother, and of the artist – and the art – that emerges from it.  Continue reading