My Favourite Canadian Books: Janette Oke’s Animal Friends

Today I’m joining up with the Canadian Homeschool Blogging Team to talk about our favourite Canadian books. My first thought was—one book? I have to pick ONE favourite Canadian book? Um……

The Canadian Homeschooler Blogging Team presensts... Our Favourite Canadian Books

I was a voracious reader during my childhood and teenage years. When I was ten, my mom gave me an old journal in which to write down the books I’d read. I actually kept doing that until about ten years ago. It’s fascinating now to go back and see what books I was reading when. Often the titles make me smile as I remember the books (or don’t). I can’t wait to read some of them again with my daughters.

In the first few pages of that book, various authors’ names appear multiple times. One Canadian name jumps out at me: Janette Oke.

Probably best known for her prairie romances, Oke also wrote a whole series of kids’ books that I read and re-read. I still have two of the books on my shelf: Who’s New At the Zoo and The Impatient Turtle.

Janette Oke's kids books Who's New at the Zoo and The Impatient Turtle.

Each of Janette’s stories is told in the first-person by a particular animal. Each has a lesson in character to learn, but there’s lots of fun along the way. I love the way Janette can spin a story around the daily life of a turtle in a pond or a gorilla in a zoo. These books are perfect for either an advanced reader (like I was) or reading aloud to younger readers.

The Impatient Turtle is about a turtle named Pogo who wants to have fun like the boys who come to swim at their pond. Except that his shell keeps getting in the way. Pogo’s friends are happy being turtles, but Pogo is convinced life would be better without a shell. Until one day he learns why he was made the way he was…

“I slowly opened my eyes and blinked at the brightness of the blazing sun. I knew that I had to move, and move quickly, but my whole being seemed to protest. This was not the time of day to be hurrying. I blinked again and saw family members and friends resting here and there, faced turned into the sun, arms and legs stretched out as they soaked in the afternoon rays. None of them wanted to move either.” ~ opening paragraph, The Impatient Turtle

Other books in Janette’s Animal Friends’ series include A Cote of Many Colors (about a flock of pigeons and two boys who want a pet), Maury Had a Little Lamb (one of my favourites), and Ducktails, which are all listed in the first few pages of my book journal. (After reading Ducktails I started on A Woman Named Damaris and the rest of Janette’s prairie romances!)

Janette Oke was born in Alberta and attended Mountain View Bible College in Didsbury. She and her husband Edward have pastored churches in Indiana as well as Calgary and Edmonton. Janette’s first novel, Love Comes Softly, was published in 1975; since then, she has written more than 75 other books. She has co-written books with T. Davis Bunn and her daughter Laurel Oke Logan. She’s been awarded several awards for her contribution to Christian fiction. I actually met her in 2000, at the first writing conference I attended.

Looking for more great Canadian books? Check out recommendations by other homeschoolers over at The Canadian Homeschooler.

What are your favourite Canadian books or authors?

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  1. Debbie West March 2, 2015
  2. Rebecca @ Hip Homeschooling February 25, 2015
    • Bonnie Way February 25, 2015
  3. lisa February 25, 2015
    • Bonnie Way February 25, 2015

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