Review of A Day of Feelings and A Day of Shapes and Colours

by Ashely Vercammen

Published by Home Style Teachers
Review by Sally Meadows
$15.00 ISBN 9798776175084, ISBN 9781998218004

Looking for colourful and educational books to add to your classroom, school, or home library? Check out Ashley Vercammen’s A Day of Feelings and A Day of Shapes and Colours.

Ashley may have grown up in a tiny rural hamlet, but that hasn’t stopped her from thinking big! She has a degree in International Studies from the University of Saskatchewan and has taught English to children around the world. Ashley has drawn from those experiences, along with her work with children with developmental disabilities, to create easy-to-read early reader books that focus on compassion, acceptance, and community.

A Day of Feelings is a wonderful resource for teaching about emotions and how to share one’s feelings with others in a socially appropriate way. Her inclusion of multicultural children in her illustrations and the conversational tone of the book particularly benefits students with English as an additional language, as well as children, such as those on the autism spectrum, who learn best from the simplicity and directness of social stories. 

Ashley has included interactive activities in the book’s last few pages that give readers an opportunity to put into practice what they have learned. There are face templates on which to draw each feeling discussed, as well as a space to write out each feeling word. The last page includes all four feeling words neatly printed out in big letters, a help for teachers and tutors creating worksheets and classroom resources for their students.   

A Day of Shapes and Colours features delightful cartoon-like characters with expressive eyes that illustrate a wide range of shapes (circle, square, hexagon, etc.) and colours (primary, secondary, and lesser known colours such as indigo). This book is a fun way for students to learn about and be reinforced in key visual art and mathematics components of the Saskatchewan curriculum. 

I love hearing an author read his or her own work, and you can hear Ashley read A Day of Feelings (along with a selection of her other titles) under the “Free Content” tab on her website


Review of Prairie Seasons

by Amber Antymniuk

Published by Blow Creative Arts
Review by Sally Meadows
$23.00 ISBN 9781999546236

Amber Antymniuk’s newest children’s picture book, Prairie Seasons, is a child’s-perspective love song to life on the prairies throughout the year. With its glorious sing-song rhythm, this book begs to be read out loud, and will be enjoyed not only by the young children it is written for, but also by the adults who read to them.

Amber is both writer and illustrator of Prairie Seasons. She has done an admirable job of creating a lyrical narrative that appeals to all of our senses. As a songwriter and former teacher, I personally am drawn to children’s books that rhyme, and Amber has done a wonderful job of creating phrases with movement and flow. Some of her phrasings are quite lovely (“tucking the earth in as summer fades”) and detailed in a way that is fresh and new (“Some days are so frigid that ice forms within our nostrils”).

Amber’s illustrations have a lovely soft appeal that perfectly complement her words. Watercolour and ink are her media of choice, and her attention to detail effectively showcases her ability as an artist to capture elements of the flora and fauna, prairie landscapes, and everyday activities that bring joy to kids.

This book takes me back to the time that my own two boys were little, when the world around them provided an endless source of wonder. As a reader and reviewer, I am torn between wanting to see more prairie-specific images, and undertanding the author’s need to portray more universal childhood experiences like splashing in mud puddles and making a ladybug pet for readers across Canada and beyond.

Amber Antymniuk grew up on an acreage outside of Tisdale, Saskatchewan and is a former teacher of Arts Education in Saskatoon. Her words and artwork reflect her observations of and love for nature as filtered through the eyes of her children. As both writer and illustrator of her books, Amber adds extra value to her school visits (K-8) with her ability to incorporate a range of curriculum requirements (Arts Education, English Language Arts, cross-curricular) into her presentations. You can learn more about Amber at      


Review of Lost Treasure on the Circle Star Ranch

by Jackie Cameron

Illustrated by Wendi Nordell
Published by Your Nickel’s Worth Publishing
Review by Sally Meadows
$19.95 ISBN 9781778690013

In Lost Treasure on the Circle Star Ranch, nine-year-old Ben stumbles across yet another mystery as readers get a glimpse of life on his family’s ranch on the Canadian prairies.

The story draws the reader in immediately with a vivid visual of two horses gallopping across the prairies, their riders-Ben and his sister Sarah-shouting about a grass fire.

Ben’s family springs into action. The appearance of a stranger in a blue truck who helps put out the fire raises Ben’s curiosity. When he learns from a Hutterite neighbour that there had been another grass fire years ago near an abandoned cabin on his family’s rented land, and that the fire might have been connected to a thief using the cabin as a hideout, Ben’s imagination goes into overdrive. Could the stolen money and jewellery still be at the cabin? And could the mysterious man in the blue truck, who Ben spots again later at the rodeo, be on the hunt for the lost treasure?

Swift Current author Jackie Cameron effectively weaves details about life on a ranch-the danger of grass fires, the value of neighbours, the kids’ participation in rodeos, the diversity of prairie wildlife, fun campfire traditions, and more-into the twists and turns of the main storyline. 

I really enjoyed this story because although I didn’t grow up on the prairies, my father and his extended family did. With one cousin who still ranches and another cousin who was a national rodeo champion, this city girl got a glimpse into what life on the prairies might have been like when they were young boys, with a page-turning mystery to boot.

I hope this story inspires young readers with prairie roots-and those reading to them-to learn more about their own family history. For students who grew up in another culture, this engaging novel for kids is a wonderful way to learn about the unique lifestyle of a fundamental part of the Canadian cultural tapesty.

Author Jackie Cameron was a teacher-librarian for 25 years. She has tapped into her intimate knowledge of life on the Saskatchewan prairies-her family raised beef cattle-to write childrens’ books that educate and inform about the ranching life. The first book in her series, Adventures on the Circle Star Ranch-the author’s first ever publication-was shortlisted in the children’s book category of the 2022 Saskatchewan Book Awards. This story is suitable for ages 5-8 (K-3) and is a worthy addition to a school, classroom, or home library.