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Category: Animals & Nature

22 Rep Picks to Read this Spring

by Brooke
Animals & Nature + Biography & Memoir + Fiction + Food & Drink + Graphica + Home & Garden + Humour + Kids + Picture Books + Psychology & Self-Help + Travel + YA Fiction / February 20, 2017

A new year means new books and we've got all of the recommendations you could possibly need! Kick the year off right with these hand-picked selections for the early spring season!

Dani Farmer

This Is That
by Chris Kelly, Pat Kelly and Peter Oldring
"Sometimes this great country of ours seems a little too good to be true. You, being Canadian, already know the wonders of Flin Flon’s tropical beaches and how to portage the Rideau Canal (with or without a protective toque) but there may be people in your life that don’t. Thankfully, the This is That: Travel Guide to Canada is both hilarious and faux-informative. You’ve heard the show on CBC, now let it guide you through our magnificent nation!"
The River
by Marc Martin
"Ever since I was a child, I’ve dreamed of sailing down a long and winding river, watching the jungles or forests or cities pass me by as I make my way to a faraway sea. I don’t know how, but Marc Martin managed to bring my childish imagining to reality. I only wish I could fall into its lush pages for real!"

Ali Hewitt

Unf*ck Your Habitat
by Rachel Hoffman
"You have until January to make room on your bookshelf for the only housekeeping and organizational book that acknowledges that you might not even remember what your bookshelf looks like under all that stuff you’ve piled on it. Or possibly even where your bookshelf is."
by Adam Rex, illustrated by Scott Campbell
"In this charming epistolary picture book, you and Gazelle will both fall in love with lovelorn Ox. A winner for sure!"


Judy Parker

Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk
by Kathleen Rooney
"We Canadians are lucky enough to have an afforable trade paper edition of Lillian Boxfish Takes a Walk. Lillian is a one of a kind character — an 85 year old Manhattanite who worked in the “Mad Men” era of advertising and who is walking across the rundown Manhattan of 1984. In one novel (and one walk) the reader gets a glimpse into a life that traversed the century and into the city that shaped her.”
by Stephanie Garber
"The promise of a new fantasy novel with an original magical world, an intense and unbreakable sisterly bond and a mesmerizing romance hooked me immediately. Rights have been sold in over 25 countries, film rights were pre-empted and the early reads and reviews are spectacular. Caraval has all the hallmarks of being a sensation!"

Lorna MacDonald

Letters to a Young Muslim
by Saif Ghobash
"This is a highly readable manifesto for young Muslims written as informal letters by Saif Ghobash, the United Arab Emirates Ambassador to Russia. Ghobash explores what it means to be a Muslim in today’s changing world; he seeks to make sense of the violent nature of extreme Islam and separate it from the moderate Islam embraced by the majority of Muslims today. How can moderate Muslims unite and find a voice that is true to Islam while actively and productively engaging in the modern world?"
The Edge of Everything
by Jeff Giles
"In this sci-fi fantasy debut, the first of a new series, 17 year old Zoe, reeling from her father’s sudden death and her neighbour’s mysterious disappearance, is brutally attacked and then rescued by a mysterious bounty hunter called 'X.' X is from a hell called the Lowlands and has been sent to capture the soul of Zoe’s evil attacker. As Zoe and X learn more about their different worlds, they begin to question the past and their fate. Oscar-winning director Peter Jackson (Lord of the Rings) found this novel, 'Gripping, utterly original, beautifully written.' Now that is an endorsement!"


Saffron Beckwith

Terms and Conditions
by Robert Sikoryak
"Wow! What an entirely crazy and brilliant concept. Sikoryak makes one of the most boring documents on the planet unputdownable."
The Night I Followed the Dog (new in trade paper)
by Nina Laden
"I loved this book when it first came out and 20 years later it is more awesome than ever!"

Ryan Muscat

An Atlas of Countries that Don't Exist
by Nick Middleton
"The Principality of Sealand was declared in 1967 on an unused air defence platform in the North Sea, about 12 kilometres off the coast of England. It has a population of 27, issues stamps, coins, licence plates, passports, has a national anthem, has been invaded, and fields a football team. It is not a real country. Find out about Sealand and dozens of other non-existent countries with no diplomatic recognition in An Atlas of Countries That Don’t Exist. The book is a beautifully illustrated and fascinating compendium of weird and wonderful places, and is a perfect gift for friends and family from Christiania to Moreset to Circassia."
Noisy Night
by Mac Barnett, illustrated by Brian Biggs
"Have you ever wondered who’s making the noises you hear coming from the apartments above you? Mac Barnett, the king of the children’s picture book, has the answers in Noisy Night: sheep, opera singers, babies, and others. This fun book, beautifully illustrated in split-level spreads by Brian Biggs, is a fantastic read-along picture book for little kids."

Jenny Enriquez

The World's Best Spicy Food (2nd edition)
by Lonely Planet
"Embark on a culinary journey and explore spicy food from all over the world — then make them at home with the 100 recipes included! Because who doesn’t love food and travel? This book seamlessly combines the best of both worlds and is perfect for foodies and those afflicted with wanderlust."
The Bone Witch
by Rin Chupeco
"The first book is a new YA dark fantasy series from Rin Chupeco! You’ll find lots of necromancy, magic, and witches within these pages. Perfect for fans of Leigh Bardugo, Sara Raasch, and Garth Nix’s The Old Kingdom series."

Laurie Martella

The Forgetting Time (new in trade paper)
by Sharon Guskin
"The Forgetting Time is not a book that can easily be forgotten. It stays with you. It haunts you with thoughts of the after-life. I found myself so engaged with this mother’s quest to do whatever she could to help her son, who did not fully belong to her alone. Chilling. Compelling. Read it!"
by Mary Sullivan
"Frankie will charm you. Through few words, and speech bubbles, much is expressed about building a new friendship, and learning to share.”
Cheryl Fraser

Bites on a Board
by Anni Daulter
"A perfect book to show you how to impress your guests with creative food served on unique cutting boards."
C is for Canada
by Trish Madson, illustrated by David M. Miles
"A great book for little ones to learn about Canada on our 150th birthday. A perfect addition to a Canadian’s list."
Karen Stacey

Birds of Prey
by Pete Dunne with Kevin T. Karlson
"Stunning photography, well documented and invaluable information — Birds of Prey is a superb book for all book lovers and any popular nature collection. This is much more than an identification guide. It discusses raptor ecology, behavior, conservation, and more. Another great addition to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s valued collection in the field of ornithology."
by Sarah Cohen-Scali
"A must read for 14+ and adults. Originally published in France, the subject matter is WW2 Germany and the Lebensborn project, creating and defining a 'pure race.' Unlike The Boy in the Striped Pajamas, our young protagonist is not an innocent; he has been bred and trained to be the prototype of the 'exceptional people' — pure evil. The wonder of this novel and its extraordinary writing is it allows you to understand and grow to love him against all your instincts to despise him. A disturbing, thoughtful and important book for anyone interested in history, fine writing and the wish to understand a perspective other than our own. Compulsive reading, impeccably researched and utterly disturbing."
Morgen Young

In the Great Green Room
by Amy Gary
"Like so many parents before me, I read Goodnight Moon to my son daily, and still have most of it committed to memory. How amazing it is to find out that Margaret Wise Brown was so vivacious, creative and ground-breaking! 70 years after its original publication, we finally get to learn the details of this force to be reckoned with."
Mosquitoes Can't Bite Ninjas
by Jordan P. Novak
"A hilarious debut that captures the playfulness of childhood and the aggravation of mosquitoes! I have been looking for the secret to beating those little pests, and I finally have it! A perfect way to distract and retract from those annoying little bugs that buzz in all our ears."

My favourite books of 2011: Danielle (Publicity)

by Danielle
Animals & Nature + Art & Photography + Food & Drink + Humour + Sports / December 22, 2011

When I was asked to list my top books for this season I was at a loss. Working at Raincoast for all these years the seasons seem to mesh together so I thought to let you in on some books that mirror who I am and what I'm about...

My Last Supper
by Melanie Dunea. It's a truly awesome coffee table book filled with not only beautiful photographs of some 50 top chefs but includes their recipes as well. Truly, it's a gem. When I blogged about this book this season I had let readers know what my last supper would be.
"I'd like to eat steak, good steak. Ones we bought from the market. Baked potatoes with all the fixings and a yummy beet salad. And chicken wings from grain fed chicken too (hot of course)." You can see by the pic this is exactly what I love to eat when we're camping in the Okanagan so if I would have to choose this would be my 'last supper' as well.

I was lucky enough to attend quite a few hockey games this past year. We were able to go to the Western Conference finals where the Canucks beat out the Sharks. We had a blast.  When Portable Press decided to update their Uncle Johns Shoots and Scores, with 70 all new pages I might add, I was quick to take a flip. I'm a bit of a poser when it comes to the game so by reading up I can hang with the boys and show off with som fun hockey facts and stats.

When the sun is shining and I'm in need of getting fresh air what better way to get out and about than riding around town. In my house we love to ride so Cyclepedia made my list. A book for any bike enthusiast. 

If you know me, I'm a bit of a cat person. So this is why Meow made it on my list. This book's full of pictures of these adorable creatures with cute captions. Easy. Oh this is Dash -

May the Fourth be With You

by Brian
Animals & Nature + Art & Photography + Fiction + Film + Food & Drink / May 04, 2011

A long time ago… (last week)

In a galaxy far far away … (Downtown Vancouver)

We were presented with several brand new Star Wars books and products from several publishers which prompted someone to ask, “Is 2011 a Star Wars anniversary year?”

Silly, sales reps – EVERY year is a Star Wars anniversary year.

And no day better exemplifies that than today. May Fourth.

And while we’d like to think that the book industry is the omni-present gatekeeper of culture and higher learning, we can’t all publish the Atwoods, the Ondaatjes and the Gladwells. Which is fine by me. This intern here loves the quirky titles that spin off of pop culture icons. I’ll take the Zombies, the Bathroom Readers and the Darcy Romance line any day.

But that’s a blog post meant for another time.

Today it’s all about the George Lucas Empire – in book form.

Here’s a look at a couple of my favourites that have made their way to my desk.

The Star Wars Cook Book 1 & 2

Star Wars Cook BooksThese Star Wars themed recipes are great for all ages and feature scenes from each Star Wars episode using the recipes found inside.



The Wildlife of Star Wars

Do you remember all the sea life in the backdrop of Naboo during Episode 1? Or the various animals running around Tatooine? Me neither –but if you ever wanted to impress your friends at your next Star Wars marathon by yelling out “WHOA! Check out that Geejaw” during Return of the Jedi then yeah, this book is for you.


The Art of Star Wars Comics

Ok, I’m guilty here. I didn’t actually know there were Star Wars comics. But after flipping through some of the cover art in this collectible postcard set I have to say that I am intrigued and will be picking a couple up.  Of particular note – Star Wars Purge: Last Stand of the Jedi looks pretty bad *ss.



The Art Of Star Wars: The Clone Wars

The concept art and lighting tests found within this book are amazing. It reminds me of the robots and monsters I used to draw as a kid except those were never made into a multi-billion dollar franchise. Maybe I should pick up a (shameless plug alert!) Doodle Sketchbook from the nearest indie book retailer…

The Sounds of Star Wars

At first glance I thought this book was something my 7 year old nephew might enjoy, but after flipping through the book I realized that this one is fun for the whole family. The sounds will keep anyone entertained (except for my pod mates who cringe at hearing lasers and Darth Vader breathing every 15 seconds) but the real value is in the behind the scenes look at what inspired Lucas and Ben Burtt to create Wookie language and speeder sounds.

After a quick review, I’ve decided I need to find a way to sneak these books out of the office for a closer read, I better practice my Jedi wave… “These are not the books you are looking for.”

Easter Books to Usher in Spring

by Siobhan
Animals & Nature + Art & Photography + Humour / April 20, 2011

Growing up in Northern Ontario, I always thought the image of Easter you see on TV was a bit off... I mean, how could you possibly have an Easter egg hunt outdoors when the ground is still blanketed in snow — or worse, slush? (Wearing poufy pastel dresses, no less.)

And then I moved to Vancouver... and now I get it (except for the pastel dresses; I think I may be a bit old for that now). While some (most?) of the country is still bracing for snow, it's feeling quite Spring-like and Easter-y here in Vancouver. The cherry blossoms are out and it's bright and sunny outside. There are daffodils poking up all over the place. Sorry, rest-of-Canada, but it's true.

But there's hope yet. In the spirit of Easter, here are a few books to usher in Springtime, no matter how cold, wet or snowy it may be outside. Just curl up with a book that's full of Springtime goodness, and use your imagination... Chocolate eggs also help.


Chicken and Egg

Chicken and Egg is one of my personal favourites from Chronicle's Spring list. In it, food writer Janice Cole shares her adventures of deciding to take on raising chickens in her backyard. This book is not only lovely to look at (thanks to the crack design team at Chronicle), it's also topical, as allowing "urban poultry" seems to be an issue that's been raised in several Canadian cities in the past couple of years, and also downright delicious... Did I mention that the book also includes 125 recipes for delicious chicken and egg dishes?

Read a guest post by the author on the Chronicle blog.

Read the spread on Chicken and Egg in a recent issue of HELLO magazine (PDF).



Another gorgeous book with a Springtime feel is Nests: Fifty Nests and the Birds that Built Them. This book featuresamazing photography drawn from the collections of the California Academy of Sciences, the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology at UC Berkeley, and the Western Foundation of Vertebrate Zoology. Close-up photos of nests are accompanied by short portraits of the birds that constructed them. The variety and detail is fascinating. Here are a few spreads from the book... (Click on the images below to see them larger.)





And for something that's just plain fun(ny), check out One Chick to Another. Full of quips and funny one-liners paired with cute photos of, you guessed it, chicks.

One Chick to Another

One Chick to Another

Feel Better Little Buddy - Spoons edition

by Matt
Animals & Nature + Events + Fashion & Textiles + Health & Wellness + Home & Garden + Humour + Podcasts + Vancouver / March 21, 2011


Just after we picked Spoons up from emergency in the morning. Not sure how he did it, but broke two bones in his paw. Ouch. I think I'll submit this to Chronicle Books' "Feel Better Little Buddy", 2nd ed

Here he is just after getting home

Here he is getting used to his cast...doing his favorite thing (beside eating and defending his territory)

Cast comes off in 4-5 weeks. Healing time is a little longer than normal because he is 11 years old in May. 60 years old in human years. I hope my whiskers look as good!

Bee by Rose-Lynn Fisher

by Dan
Animals & Nature + Art & Photography / March 22, 2010

Bee by photographer Rose-Lynn Fisher presents 60 astonishing photographs of honeybee anatomy in magnifications ranging from 10x to 5000x.

As you can see from this video, Fisher's photographs — rendered in stunning detail — are almost otherworldly:


Bee Book coverBee
by Rose-Lynn Fisher
ISBN 978-1-56898-944-0
Princeton Architectural Press
Price: $35.95




Talking about The Life and Love of Trees with Ellen

by Siobhan
Animals & Nature + Art & Photography + Environment + Excerpts / January 05, 2010

In case you missed it over the holidays, here's Lewis Blackwell's interview with Ellen about two of his passions - trees and photography - which he has married in his truly gorgeous book, The Life and Love of Trees.

The book really is stunning - everyone who picks it up seems to have the same reaction as Ellen.

If you haven't seen it yet, have a look at's an  are few images from the book posted on the this slideshow of images from the book posted on the website for O, The Oprah Magazine.

A quick fix for pre-holiday stress…

by Siobhan
Animals & Nature + Humour / December 08, 2009

I don't know about you, but I'm getting a little stressy in the lead-up to the holidays. It seems that every day there are more and more things to do... and fewer days in which to get them done. Fortunately, here's the ultimate distraction from all that madness: cats in wigs.

Yup, I said it. Cats in wigs.

It doesn't get any sillier than that. Well, not until you put it on film.

Here's a trailer for the book Glamourpuss by Kitty Wigs creator Julie Jackson.

"The photos in this book are equal parts cute, funny, and creepy (in that "obsessive cat lady" way), and the combination is most enjoyable. The book is well-designed for casual flipthroughs and kitteh-obsessive pageturners alike, with vivid color reproduction with which to faithfully present all those technicolor wigs. I may buy several copies for teenage, female cat-fanciers on my holiday list. Something about the brand of humor here seems particularly fitting for that age group, and I do not say that with the intent to condescend (although, hey, if the wig fits...). It's sweet, ridiculous stuff." -Boing Boing

Still feeling stressed? Check out this behind-the-scenes video about photographing the cats for the book. There's also a Flickr pool of photos of cats in Kitty Wigs. And in case you missed it, here's Glamourpuss on the cover of Publishers Weekly.