Publisher: Thistledown Press, 2010
Ages: 13 and up
Varia is a 12-year-old girl who lives with her family and several other space colonists on a planet they call “The Kettle”. Or is she 13 or 14 years old? Because she spent several years on a spaceship getting to her new home, and time is different at high speeds, no one really knows.
One thing she does know is that her colony is in danger. Their food is being infested by illness-causing fungus, the ship containing the other half of their colony, including all but two of the other children, never showed up, and two of their group died of a horrible sickness shortly after exploring the forest around their base. Obviously, the planet must be hostile to animal life–after all, it has no animals of its own, except a few kinds of overgrown insects.
Then two things happen. A constellation that looks like a child falls out of the sky and starts offering them help–in return for shrinking them back into children. And Varia discovers the skeleton of a dragon in a cave, along with a brilliantly coloured stone. Could it be the dragon’s egg? And what will happen if she hatches it?
Varia will be tested as never before as she attempts to save her colony and reverse whatever it was that killed off all the planet’s animals. But to do so, she must figure out who is telling the truth: the mysterious star child or the secret-hugging dragon. Because they are at war with each other, and they can’t both win.
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Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof
Publisher: Scholastic Education, 2006
Ages: Grade 2 Reader; suitable for K-3
Bill Bruin wishes he could sleep through the winter like all the other bears. But he isn’t like the other bears; instead of making him drowsy, the cold keeps him awake.
So Bill does the next best thing: he has a hot bubbly bath. Except he can’t, because there is so much snow on his roof that his ceiling is sagging and he can’t open the bathroom door.
Out he goes into the snowy morning, armed with a ladder and shovel so he can clear the snow off his roof. But will he get it done before nightfall? And will Sammy raven help or slow him down?
This book is available to schools only, through Scholastic Education. It comes in a guided reading pack of 6 books and a teacher’s guide. If you are a school, you can order Bill Bruin Shovels his Roof from Scholastic Canada. Click on “Education” on the left sidebar, then type the book title into the search bar.
But if you live in Saskatchewan, you can see the author reading it on Access7 TV’s Bookworm’s Corner. The show airs Monday to Friday at noon and 3:30.