Over The Top Book Release!

Potlatch Publications is delighted to invite you to the launch of our new book Over The Top: A Love Story by Grace Wilkinson, to occur November 23rd 2014 from 2p.m. to 4, at First Unitarian Church of Hamilton Ontario, 170 Dundurn Street South. A full press release can be found by visiting the Stoney Creek News Website. 

Those who attend will be entertained with live music of World War One (including “K-K-K-Katie”), readings by the author’s granddaughter Valerie Nielsen, who edited the book, and hearty refreshments.

This is a story called a “novel” by the author, although it is based solidly on fact. It tells of the stormy courtship and marriage of an “army” couple in the years leading up to and including the First World War. The settings are fascinating, the first section of the book occurring in the immediate area of Buckingham Palace, where Sgt. Ted Wilkinson served with the British Army. The other major setting is the beautiful Malvern Hills area west of London, where Ted was physical education instructor at a boys’ school and Grace served as cook. There they raised three sons. Like so many families in 1914, the Wilkinsons are caught up in the events of World War One, and Ted, now a lieutenant, is shipped to the Western Front in 1916.

This is a wonderful, entertaining “read” by a gifted writer, now being released to the public by Valerie, who was entrusted with the manuscript. She has also collected fascinating supporting documents, and a wide variety of photographs.

There is a powerful Canadian connection to the book; Valerie is a Canadian and her father Charles Wilkinson, Grace’s eldest son, served for twenty-two years as an editor at The Hamilton Spectator. Excerpts from his book Spirit of Britain are reprinted in his mother’s book Over The Top: A Love Story.

For further information about this or others of our books, please contact Potlatch Publications.


Over the Top: A Love Story

Over the Top: A Love Story

by Grace Wilkinson

Publisher: Potlatch Publications
Genre: biography & memoirs
Format: trade paperback; photographs; 150 pages

Editor: Valerie Nielsen, granddaughter of the author

Cost: $20.00

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Over The Top: A Love Story is a fascinating memoir, termed “a novel” by its writer Grace Wilkinson, depicting family life in England early in the twentieth century, climaxing with the onset of the First World War. The author had been inspired by her son Charles, while visiting his family in Hamilton, Ontario, to write a few memories of her marriage to Ted, a dedicated career soldier, and of being the mother of three young sons.

Grace and Ted meet at a British Army dance close to Buckingham Palace, where Ted is stationed. There a stormy courtship begins, resulting in an equally stormy marriage, but one loaded with love. During an interval in Ted’s military career, they both take employment at a boys’ school, in the shadow of the famous Malvern Hills northwest of London. There they raise three sons, during which time the First World War begins, and Ted rejoins the Army as an officer. Home on leave, the young lieutenant leads his family uphill to a picnic on the Worcester Beacon, the highest peak in the Malverns. Soon thereafter, he finds himself in France, in a trench on the Western Front.

Grace lived long enough to see her sons grow up and prosper, with families of their own. Charles brought his to Canada, where he enjoyed a long career as an editor at The Hamilton Spectator.

In the Spotlight: 1980 Comics Annual

The 1980 Comics Annual

edited by Ian Carr

Cover painting by Ian Carr, who – along with a host of other talented artists – created this amazing collection of comics.

128 pages (64 in full-colour), large format paperback, $9.95

ISBN 0-919676-19-7


This book appeared before the avalanche of new comic books and graphic novels came on the scene, and has become a collector’s item with fans of the great practitioners of these genres. Besides Ian Carr himself, this wonderful book contains early work by brilliant writers/artists now enjoying well-deserved fame. As Ian himself has written: “The 1980 Comics Annual is a rilly good book, honest! An’ it has dese guys in it”: Don Inman, Paul Rivoche, Ken Steacy, Arn Saba, Tom Nesbitt, Jim Simpkins, Jim Craig, Jeff Wakefield, Franc Reyes, and Bill Slavin. The editor has written more about his book: “What’s Good? – some of Canada’s TOP cartoonists gathered between two covers. What’s bad? Never you mind. Now get out there and BUY IT.”


“I gave Ian Carr and crew the highest marks for an extremely well done anthology of graphic art and illustration. Superb stories brilliantly illustrated by talented artists!”

James Madison

The Madison Review of Books.

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In the Spotlight: Athlete’s Foot: How I Failed at Sports

Book: Athlete's Foot How I Failed at SportsAthlete’s Foot; or, How I Failed at Sports

by Robert Nielsen

Cover painting by Katherine MacDonald

Finalist – Stephen Leacock Medal for Humour

192 pages, trade paperback, $19.95

ISBN 0-919676-53-7


Divided into three sections – “The Wretched Rookie”, “The Jaded Journeyman”, and “The Vulnerable Veteran” – here is the autobiography of a hopeless “athlete” trying to achieve stardom (He knew The Law of the Canadian Male: “If you don’t play in the NHL, you’re a failure”). Set in western and eastern Canada – and even England – the story reveals that no matter what sport our hero tries, disaster strikes: fishing, he catches his lure in his friend’s face; deer hunting, he is caught reading Shakespeare; tackling in football, he is knocked cold; golfing in a tournament, he quits after five holes; experimenting with karate, his teeth are crushed by a black belt. In England he tries cricket (bowled out by the first ball) and rugger (toenails fall off). The author wrote the book “because the market is flooded with the exploits of famous athletes. It’s time an unsuccessful sportsperson had a say, someone with whom the hopeless masses – both men and women – can identify.”

About the Author:

Robert Nielsen, President of Potlatch Publications, is the author and editor of several Potlatch books, including Garney Henley: A Gentleman and a Tiger; Canadian Children’s Anual; and, Breeding as a Sport: 101 Student Howlers. His “institutional biography” of an Ontario hospital, Total Encounters: The Life and Times of the Mental Health Centre Penetanguishene won the “Award for Best Non-fiction Book” from the Hamilton & Region Arts Council.


“Here is a book to bring tears and laughter to any man or woman who has spent a lifetime attempting and failing at sport – any sport, any age.” Patricia Burgess Citation. Stephen Leacock Association.

“Where Nielsen excels is in the sudden reversal at the end of each chapter that brings us face to face with something important, haunting if you like. That touches us all.” Judy Rapson, Stephen Leacock Association, The Flamborough Review.

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In the Spotlight: James Parsons and His Magnificent Mouth of Adventure

James Parsons and His Magnificent Mouth of Adventure

by Amy Elizabeth Dennis

Afterword: “All About Braces” by Dr. John Bozek

Illustrations: Mary Trach-Holadyk

The adventures of a little girl who admires a boy across the street because he has “train tracks” on his teeth. She believes there’s a train in there somewhere, and is determined to ride it. When the train finally appears, it exits James’ mouth, and the girl climbs aboard for an extraordinary ride right through the core of the earth to China – and back. When James’ “train tracks” disappear, the girl switches her allegiance to a boy with a “silver rocket” on his leg – and ends up amidst the stars! Here is an exciting and exotic fantasy story, magnificently illustrated throughout in full-colour. A gorgeous book!

About the Author:

Amy graduated from Queen’s University with honours in English/Dramatic Literature and Education. She is a graduate of the Certificate in Writing Program at McMaster University, and recently graduated from the Master in Fine Arts Program at the University of British Columbia. For two years she taught in Japan, and her poetry has appeared in the Japanese publications JetFeul, Amaturosa and Enews. She says about her book, “I wanted to explore some of the things kids are typically embarrassed about and turn them into positives. The narrator accepts James’ dental braces and sees them in a different light.” She lives in Burlington Ontario

About the Illustrator:

Mary graduated from Sheridan College in Graphic Illustration, and continued her studies at McMaster University and the Dundas Valley School of Art. She is the Art Director of Potlatch Publications, responsible for the design and artwork of every edition of the Canadian Children’s Annual. She lives with her husband and two children in Hamilton Ontario.

The Dentist: Dr. John Bozek is a noted orthodontist who lives in Burlington Ontario. He writes, “This discovery in Egypt is evidence that orthodontics is the oldest dental specialty.” What discovery?? (Read all about it and find out!)


“The delightful prose and detailed illustrations make this book a real treat…The outcome is certainly reason to celebrate.”

Julie Slack
Mountain News
“Brace yourself for a story with real bite.”

Lesley Simpson
Hamilton Spectator

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