Books by C.B. Canga

CHILDREN'S
Released: March 1, 2011

Step aside, Paul Bunyan, Hals Halson has come to challenge you as the "greatest lumberjack in North America." When Paul suggests that instead of fighting they work as a team, Hals responds by attacking, first trying to wrestle ("That tickles," Paul says), then kicking him, then throwing him over his shoulder and finally charging headfirst into Paul's stomach—and the impact is so strong that all the trees for five miles lose their leaves. Every time Hals tries to harm him, Paul brushes his efforts aside. In the end, Paul waits for him to revive and hands him some fresh biscuits. Hals groans and stands up, "How'd you like to hire the SECOND best lumberjack in North America?" And so a "tall" tale of a strange friendship is born. The rustic, rough-hewn illustrations are bold, with a sculpted look that plays up the combatants' brawn and their outsized proportions; Babe is a vibrant, glowing blue. The author's note refers to the growth of Paul Bunyan tales but makes no mention of her source for Hals Halson, who is a far-flung character not found in most children's books about Bunyan, if any. That probably won't matter to kids, who will assume he's made-up, just like Paul. (Picture book. 5-8)Read full book review >
CHILDREN'S
Released: July 1, 2008

A mystery at the museum is the perfect case for an aspiring fourth-grade detective. Early one morning before school, Alec gets to go with his father, Officer Flint, to the American History Museum, where somebody has made off with the entire cache of gold coins in the Christopher Columbus exhibit. Curator Dr. Glumsfeld gives Alec an uneasy feeling, but this doesn't prevent him from trying to crack the case. His neighbor, Emily Berg, has no interest in detection, but the new girl at school, Gina Rossi, shares Alec's passion for puzzles, and becomes his sidekick. The pair even begins passing coded messages, a puzzle-solving bonus for the reader (with solutions at the back of the book). Santopolo's prose crackles, and she manages to weave in a fair degree of historical information on Columbus as she spins her yarn (and supplements it with a lengthy Author's Note). The first in what promises to be a solid middle-grade series in the tradition of Encyclopedia Brown. (Fiction. 9-12)Read full book review >