Sliding a great segue to reading

Bonnie Belec
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Jack and the Fairy Dogmother
By Tammie Winsor
41 pages; $12

Well I have to throw a huge bouquet to one of the moms of one of the students in my children’s Grade 3 class.

She touched base with us a couple of weeks ago and suggested we all get together for a sliding party.

When I was younger I was out swooshing down hills, trudging through snow and laughing all the way, but lately not so much.

We said yes anyway and despite the bone-chilling temperatures, we ventured out one Sunday to a local park.

Looking up at the top of the hill from way down at the bottom, made me regret my decision.

I couldn’t back out, however, especially with Lindsay and Liam waddling ahead of me in their puffy snowsuits and yelling back at me, “Come on, Mom. Hurry up, Mom.”

By the time I got halfway up, my significant other asked if he should call 911. He wasn’t joking.

After I made it to the top and gasped for air, my body began to adjust to the cold and much needed exercised. I watched the children make a couple of fun runs down the hill, and a couple of climbs back up again.

 It was so very entertaining and exhilarating. Listening to their laughter being carried up the hill with the wind and watching their cheeks turn red was all worth my feet freezing.

 I eventually took a run down on their slides and even took a turn on a blown up donut-shaped one. It was a blast.

It was a busy Sunday for us — basketball and two birthday parties — so after about an hour and a half we packed up our gear and headed home.

We unwound under a fuzzy blanket with a book before getting ready for the next event.

A book Liam has enjoyed reading during the past couple of weeks is “Jack and the Fairy Dogmother,” by Tammie Winsor, illustrated by Greg Money. After we read it the first time, he said, “I should be more like that, Mom,” to which I said, “yes, yes you should,” and smiled fondly at him.

We read about Jack several times before I realized the author is originally from Newfoundland, living in Ottawa, which is also where the illustrator lives.  I love the way Money uses only one colour throughout his drawings in the book — red. Everything else is black and white.

Winsor, as she wrote in the acknowledgements, won a contest called Hopes and Dreams by CBC Radio One which helped bring Jack and his dalmatian, Scooter, to life.

We’re glad she won, too, because it is a wonderful read and offers a couple of life lessons to children without being  overbearing — hence Liam’s comment I referred to earlier.

It is such a great story, I don’t even want to ruin the storyline, as it is a lot of fun to see what unfolds firsthand.

However, I will say Jack is suffering from a bad case of bad manners and is seriously lacking in the tidy department, and it takes something spectacular to make him realize it.

Winsor created the book for the three to seven age group, but mine enjoyed it at eight. Lindsay and Liam like reading more now than being read to, so the language and writing is perfect for them. It is so worth a read.

Happy reading.

Organizations: CBC Radio

Geographic location: Newfoundland, Ottawa

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