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CanadianMother (Ontario)

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Moontide And Magic Rise #1 World Without End
Moontide And Magic Rise #1 World Without End
by Sean Russell
Edition: Mass Market Paperback
Price: CDN$ 9.89
42 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars Fantasy on the quirky side, Nov. 23 2008
I previously read Russell's epic "Swan's War" trilogy and enjoyed it, so I thought I would try something else he had written.

World Without End, the first part of the "Moontide and Magic" duology, was a very different sort of book from Russell's newer epic fantasy. It was quirkier and in my mind read more like a suspenseful mystery novel. I did however enjoy this book quite a bit as well.

The story does not take place in a medieval setting, but rather in a time which feels to me similar to the late 1700s-early 1800s. It is the age of scientific discovery, "empiricism" as it is called, and Magic is something few people believe in any more. Naturally, as this is a fantasy novel we will find that Magic does indeed still exist in this world, although it is very hard at first for the scientific-minded main character, Tristam, to accept.

As the mysterious story unfolded I found it hard to stop reading. Russell created so many intriguing questions that the main character was trying to answer. Let me tell you, that although the story was a very interesting read, almost nothing was answered at the end of this book. In fact, a number of new questions arose in the very last chapter! So if you are going to give this book a try, do yourself a favour and pick up Sea Without a Shore at the same time, so you can read the continuation of the story without interruption.

Although I did enjoy this book, I gave it only 4 stars because the quality of the actual writing was lacking. I found the writing in Russell's newer series to be beautiful and lyrical, but the writing in this older book really felt quite wooden at times, like Russell was just mechanically describing the characters and events without any flair. And even more annoyingly, as the story went on it seemed that Russell wanted to stretch it out with some really tedious sections of description that I just had to skim over. Especially the part with the sea battle--it was much too long and contained all kinds of technical seafaring jargon that I found incredibly boring.

However, thankfully those few boring sections were easy to skim through and the greatest part of the story contained some interesting events and character development. The Duchess of Morland was especially interesting because her motives were so difficult to discern.

All in all, a worthwhile read and I look forward to reading the second book to find out how all these mysteres turn out for Tristam on his sea voyage.

Children of the Forest
Children of the Forest
by Elsa Beskow
Edition: Hardcover
Price: CDN$ 9.98
28 used & new from CDN$ 1.60

8 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Beautiful yet tiny volume, Oct. 16 2008
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This review is from: Children of the Forest (Hardcover)
As other reviewers have stated, Children of the Forest is a charming classic. There is no defined plot, but the book simply follows the family of "little people" who live in the forest for one year as they work and play amongst the trees. My 9 year old daughter really enjoys reading through this book. There is a sweetness and an innocence to this book that not many modern books possess.

I wanted to write this review just to make sure that potential buyers pay attention to the size of the edition they are buying. I did not carefully read Amazon's listed dimensions for this book and I expected to get a normal sized storybook--instead I got a very small pocket sized book. You know those small white Beatrix Potter hardcovers? This book is almost exactly the same size. Pocket size--which may be a positive feature if you'd like to take this book along on a nature walk, but I just thought I would mention in case others besides myself were hoping to get something larger.

M*A*S*H: Season Eleven
M*A*S*H: Season Eleven

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Saved the best for last..., Oct. 14 2008
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This review is from: M*A*S*H: Season Eleven (DVD)
Now that I have purchased MASH Season Eleven on DVD, I have the entire series. I love watching these old episodes of this classic show that, in my opinion, is one of the best shows ever to be on television. I have seen every episode many times since I was a kid and still I never get tired of watching them.

I believe that with season eleven, they saved the best for last. Every single episode in this season was good, and a few of the episodes were especially poignant and memorable. This all culminates with the final two hour movie that closes off the series so completely and with such emotional intensity. I defy you to watch this final episode without a single tear!

Fans of this show should own all the DVDs, but for the more casual watchers, if you only buy one MASH DVD, I would highly recommend you get this last one, because the show only got better as time went on, and because the final episode is just excellent.

The Story of Canada
The Story of Canada
by Janet Lunn
Edition: Paperback
3 used & new from CDN$ 50.32

9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Great content, but flimsy edition, Oct. 8 2008
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This review is from: The Story of Canada (Paperback)
I am currently reading The Story of Canada with my almost-10 year old daughter for her homeschool history lessons.

I really like the content of this book--the information is broken up into sections short enough that kids don't get overwhelmed, but it is still written like a story, and well written too. The main text is sprinkled with interesting sidebars detailing various aspects of Canada's history--for example, in the section describing the beginnings of the fur trade, there is a box of information detailing how beaver hairs were used to make felt hats in Europe, with drawings of the types of hats that were made with it.

Coloured illustrations, maps and photographs abound in this book, which really make the history come alive.

In all, it's a wonderful book to share with your kids, except that the quality of this particular edition is sadly lacking. The cover is very thin and floppy. Our book got a bit of water spilled on the cover, and it quickly soaked right through so that the first third of the book is now wrinkled and water damaged. In a large reference book such as this I would expect to see a much thicker and better quality cover that would not be damaged so quickly and easily.

I do highly recommend the book, but if you do buy it you would do well to find it in hardcover.

by Charlotte Bronte
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 6.64
57 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

4.0 out of 5 stars The Dover edition of Villette contains French translations..., June 15 2008
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This review is from: Villette (Paperback)
After having just finished reading through Villette for the first time, I don't feel I want to discuss too deeply the content of the book--for as other reviewers have mentioned, Lucy suffers very much and as a whole the story is heartwrenching. It is however exquisitely written, as one would expect coming from Charlotte Bronte. In all I would say that I will remember the characters in this book for a very long time.

What I wanted to state in my review is some information regarding the French dialogue. Another reviewer commented that she wished she could have understood the French dialogue within the book. The edition I read was the Dover edition, ISBN 0486455572--and this edition has a full translation of every French phrase within the text at the end of the book. So if you can't understood written French, I would advise you to get this edition.

Great Inventors and Their Inventions
Great Inventors and Their Inventions
by Frank P. Bachman
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 13.30
15 used & new from CDN$ 13.02

4.0 out of 5 stars A solid introduction to the world of inventions, May 20 2008
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My nine-year old daughter and I recently read through this book together for her homeschool lessons, and we both quite enjoyed it.

This book, published by Yesterday's Classics, was originally published by the American Book Company in 1918. So, you won't find stories of the invention of modern items like television or computers, but rather inventions that changed the world in the 1700's and 1800's, such as the steam engine, the locomotive, the sewing machine, the telegraph, the telephone, etc. You will also find well-written and inspiring stories of the lives of men who struggled to bring their inventions to the world. The author, Frank Backman, focused as much on the toils and perseverance of the inventors, on their personal lives, as he did on the actual scientific explanations of the inventions themselves. The overall message of the book is that nothing good comes without a great deal of hard work.

So, although being an old book it will need a little bit of editing here and there while reading aloud--and although sometimes the scientific explanations of the workings of machines is a little hard to visualize--overall I think it is an excellent book to share with my children. It's intelligently written (definitely of a higher literary quality than many science books out there for kids today) and as I previously mentioned, inspiring.

Growing & Using Herbs Successfully
Growing & Using Herbs Successfully
by Betty E. M. Jacobs
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 14.08
49 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars Only useful for those wanting to grow herbs for profit, May 2 2008
The title of this book led me to believe that it would contain useful information for a backyard gardener who wanted to start an herb garden, so I took it out from the library.

Now I am writing a review to let potential buyers know that it is really not about that at all. This book (which was written in the 70s) is aimed directly at people who want to grow herbs, potentially on a large scale, for profit. Much of the book's information concerns increasing your plant stock via different methods of propogation, in order to sell the extra plants; packaging and pricing different herbal products; caring for large beds containing a single plant, etc.

There is practically no advice whatsoever here about how to "use" any given herb. You can read that a particular herb "is used in the kitchen and for medicinal purposes" but that's all you get. I think the "using" of herbs mentioned in the title is referring to using herbs to create a marketable business.

I just wanted to give a heads up that this is not a useful book for casual home gardeners or for people looking for specific ways to use herbs at home.

Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding 7e
Womanly Art Of Breastfeeding 7e
by Leche League La
Edition: Paperback
111 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars A decent overview of breastfeeding, but lacking detail, March 29 2008
I was unsuccessful breastfeeding my first two children. Now that I am pregnant with my third, I decided to take this book out from the library to learn more about how I could do better this time.

I found that The Womanly Art of Breastfeeding was a pretty good overview of breastfeeding, but it was a more simplified book than I was looking for. I wanted more concrete information than the book could offer. For example,I wanted to learn about specific herbs and foods that can help to increase the milk supply. The back of the book mentions it contains information on "how to increase your milk supply by using herbs and medications." But, the book does not say anything specific about which herbs you might take--it only vaguely mentions once or twice that it's possible to increase your milk supply by taking herbs. And on another page it mentions drinking herbal tea instead of coffee to reduce caffeine. That's it!

Most of the book just covers basic techniques, common sense (stuff like "make sure you get enough rest and drink enough fluids") and lots of quotes from breastfeedings moms, most of whom were simply talking about how much they enjoyed breastfeeding. And a lot of the book also details the benefits of breastfeeding for mom and baby--information which is pretty common knowledge and which I didn't need to read about over and over again.

So although I read this entire book, I don't feel that I really learned anything useful, which was a surprise because it is quite a thick book. But the text is large, and as I previously stated a lot of the information is just common sense sort of stuff.

I was also annoyed by the number of times La Leche League promoted their own books within this one. At times it seemed like the entire book was an advertisement for other books, and for the products they endorse. On just about every other page the authors would say "If you want to learn more about this, read our other book, XYZ."

This book may be useful for someone with no prior knowledge of breastfeeding who has no idea where to begin, but honestly I wasn't very impressed with it and I'm very glad I didn't spend my money on it. I'm sure there must be more detailed and less commercialized guides out there.

The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements
The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved: Inside America's Underground Food Movements
by Sandor Ellix Katz
Edition: Paperback
Price: CDN$ 15.64
38 used & new from CDN$ 2.96

3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An inspiring look at food activism, March 29 2008
I took out this book from the library after hearing enthusiastic reviews about it on one of my online message boards. I was not disappointed. As someone who is interested in the food industry, The Revolution Will Not Be Microwaved (which, by the way, was named after a funk song called The Revolution Will Not Be Televised) was difficult for me to put down.

Katz talks a lot about the problems running deep in our global food system: food transported long distances, genetically modified crops, pesticide use, urban sprawl taking over fertile farmland, over-pasteurization and sterilization of our food, food animals treated with cruelty and raised in filthy conditions, waste and excess when people are starving to death every day, the control of seed stocks by governments and corporations…and many more issues, such as our abuse of our fresh water resources, that are sobering to say the least. Many times as I was reading through this book I felt that my eyes were being opened to things that maybe I wish I didn’t know, most especially when I was reading through the chapter on genetically modified crops—did you know that at least 80% of all soybeans grown in the US are now genetically modified, and around 45% of all corn? GM food is all over the grocery store, and yet no laws exist to force manufacturers to put this on the label, although polls show that 90% of Americans would like to see this information on the label. Why are we not allowed to know what we are putting in our mouth? Read the book and find out the depressing reality.

However, this book is not all doom and gloom. Rather, it holds the inspiring message that a small group of people, even one person, can make a difference in the world. Katz details individuals in every chapter who are trying their best to make a difference in the lives of others, often by opting out of the global food system altogether, by doing things like starting community gardens, raising chickens in their backyard, and learning to scavenge for edible plants in the wild. He even speaks of a group of people living in the country who eat road kill with gusto. Becoming more self sufficient and less reliant on corporations for sustenance is a common theme.

Many of the people Katz speaks of have decided to go against government regulations that they consider unfair, such as the fellow who has an underground “bread club” selling homebaked bread from his home—bread not baked in a commercial bakery is technically illegal for sale.

Probably the most useful thing about this book is that it doesn’t just inspire you, it points you in the right direction so that you can get out there and make a difference. Not only is each chapter filled with ideas, but the end of each chapter has a detailed list of books for further reading, organizations related to that cause, and websites where you can get involved with other people who care about the same issue.

Katz has also included some very interesting unconventional, yet wholesome recipes here, such as a pesto made from chickweed collected from the wild, and a fermented “roots beer” made from various roots, also collected from the wild. The recipes seem intended to stretch our imaginations as to what food can be, and from where we can receive our sustenance (in other words, it doesn’t have to be from a shiny box that came from the grocery store).

I really enjoyed this book, and I would recommend it to anyone who is concerned about our food supply and would like to learn more about what they can do about it, especially those readers who may have a bit of an activist streak. Or simply anyone wanting to learn more about how they can start taking more responsibility for their own health and nutrition. Definitely a worthwhile read.

A Child's Garden of Verses: A Classic Illustrated Edition
A Child's Garden of Verses: A Classic Illustrated Edition
by Robert Louis Stevenson
Edition: Board book
Price: CDN$ 8.50
32 used & new from CDN$ 0.01

2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly beautiful board book, March 9 2008
This book was given as a gift to my daughter when she was young, and it is probably the most beautiful board book in our collection.

It contains a number of Stevenson's most famous poems for children: The Land of Counterpane, The Lamplighter, Happy Thought, Foreign Lands, The Cow, My Shadow, The Swing, and My Bed is a Boat. These poems are all lovely, but the nicest thing about this book is the illustrations, which are all from the early 1900s and very charming.

All in all, if you are looking for an attractive board book (or a nostalgic one) to make a nice gift for a new baby or for a very young child, I would highly recommend this book.

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