Pajama Press

Archive for May, 2012

Canadian Children’s Book News calls Last Airlift”Thought-provoking, heartrending and inspirational”

Posted on May 30th, 2012 by pajamapress

“Thought-provoking, heartrending and inspirational, author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s first non-fiction book chronicles one woman’s account of a little-known piece of Canadian history: the Ontario government-sponsored Operation “Babylift.”

In April 1975, South Vietnamese orphans were airlifted from Saigon and flown to Ontario where they were adopted by Canadian families. This military maneuver saved interracial babies (with American blood) and disabled children from being killed… Written from the perspective of eight-year-old Tuyet, who is crippled from polio, the book gives the reader vivid insight into life in a Saigon orphanage where children never see the sky and subsist amidst a soundtrack of warfare. Tuyet’s story reveals not only the privations and misplacement caused by war but the assumptions made by well-meaning people about the desirability of Western customs and middle-class values. Plentiful food, her own room and her first family initially cause Tuyet mistrust, discomfort and even terror.

This simply written but masterfully perceptive story of human resilience and courage belongs on every school and public library shelf. Although it could be read aloud to Grade 3 students and independently by Grades 4 to 8 students (e.g., for social studies or language units), the narrative easily captures an adult. Forchuk Skrypuch, who has received numerous awards for her historical novels, enriches this slender book with photos and official documents. Historical and author’s notes, detailing relevant background to Tuyet’s plight and the author’s research methods, make engaging additions alongside a list of further resources and an index.”

–Aliki Tryphonopoulos

Rebecca Bender wins the Blue Spruce Award!

Posted on May 28th, 2012 by pajamapress

Pajama Press author Rebecca Bender has taken home the Blue Spruce Award for her debut picture book, Giraffe and Bird (Dancing Cat Books, 2010)!

The Blue Spruce Award is part of the Ontario Library Association’s annual recreational reading program, the Forest of Reading. Readers from across the province voted for their favourite in a shortlist of books for their age category; Giraffe and Bird was chosen by voters aged 4 to 7.

Rebecca received the award at the 2012 Festival of Trees on May 15, the same day her second picture book, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe, hit the shelves. Quill & Quire has already given the sequel a starred review, saying, “Endearing animal buddies Giraffe and Bird return in Rebecca Bender’s stellar second book, Don’t Laugh at Giraffe…a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it’s always better to laugh with a friend that at one.”

Pajama Press will be releasing a Giraffe and Bird greeting card line this summer, and further books are being planned. For those who just can’t wait, the characters will interact with fans on special Facebook pages, The Giraffe and The Bird.


Acts of Courage “a rousing success,” says Ten Stories Up

Posted on May 26th, 2012 by pajamapress

Acts of Courage made me want to go dig up more information, which is surely a goal of history writers everywhere – to inspire interest in what really happened.  In that sense, a rousing success!

…to people who think Canadian history is boring – this book will change your mind.”–Lindsey Carmichael

Click here to read the full review

Last Airlift reviewed inBulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

Posted on May 25th, 2012 by pajamapress

“…Skrypuch, who originally intended Tuyet’s experience to take the form of a novel, opted instead for a nonfiction presentation as interviews helped Tuyet reclaim many of her early memories and participate in retelling her own story. This biographical approach helps to humanize a war that, for most readers, may seem like ancient history, and the tight focus on the airlift and Tuyet’s first days with the Morrises reminds readers that they are sharing the experiences of an agemate.” –Elizabeth Bush

Click here to read the full review.

A starred review for Don’t Laugh at Giraffe from Quill and Quire!

Posted on May 24th, 2012 by pajamapress

* Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

“The amusing duo that tickled funny bones and captured hearts in Rebecca Bender’s 2010 picture book debut, Giraffe and Bird, return in Don’t Laugh at Giraffe.

The book opens with a fun montage of all the ways Giraffe and Bird irritate each other. Giraffe barely tolerates Bird’s chirpy morning song. Likewise, Bird plugs his ears when Giraffe clears his extra-long throat. Nonetheless, they are friends, which makes Bird’s part in embarrassing Giraffe at the watering hole that much harder to bear. Afterward, Bird feels horrible, so he comes up with a clever way to win back his friend and show the power of a well-placed joke.

As with her first book, Bender excels at bringing to life the precious, amusing intricacies of friendships (particularly young friendships) in a captivating, likeable story. The annoyances the two pals visit upon each other are instantly relatable, and readers of all ages will recognize bits of themselves in stately Giraffe and silly Bird.

Bender’s visuals are equally charismatic. Rich, lush colours provide backdrops for wonderful close-ups of the characters’ faces as they express a range of emotions. The look on Bird’s face when he sees Giraffe sipping water from a mud puddle will melt the coldest of hearts. A stunning two-page spread (pictured above) of Giraffe’s head, with tiny Bird atop his nose, is especially impressive.

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is a warm, gentle tale with a good message and plenty of funny moments, making it a great choice for sharing. After all, the story reminds us, it’s always better to laugh with a friend than at one.” – Sarah Sorensen, a writer in Toronto.

CanLit for LittleCanadians praises Don’t Laugh at Giraffe

Posted on May 23rd, 2012 by pajamapress

Rebecca Bender‘s experiences in design and publishing (now as art director/designer at Pajama Press) have served her well, helping her create the touchable, plush animals that are Bird and Giraffe.  Bold acrylics fill the pages (try and find large sections of white anywhere) bringing the richness of the settings to act as companions for the distinct characters on which she focuses.  But Rebecca Bender goes beyond just drawing animals in bold colours:  she creates personalities with expressive visages (hard to do on a small bird) and morphologies, with lessons to teach and learn.  Recognizing that we’re all a little bit Giraffe and a little Bird makes them even more endearing.” –Helen Kubiw

Click here to read the full review.

Last Airlift “highly recommended” by Ten Stories Up

Posted on May 18th, 2012 by pajamapress

[Last Airlift] would make a wonderful story, even if it were completely made up.  But it’s not.  Last Airlift is 100% nonfiction…At the same time, it reads like a novel, with characters and dialogue, bringing the experience of a young refugee vividly to life…Highly recommended to history fans, native North Americans interested in other cultures, and kids who love survival stories. –Lindsay Carmichael

Click here to read the full review

No Shelter Here is Pet Rescue Magazine’s “Tail of the Month” for February/March Issue!

Posted on May 16th, 2012 by pajamapress

“No Shelter Here is a wonderful introductory for younger generations and sure to be a book the entire family will learn from. From what dogs need to have a quality life to serious issues and those who face them, Rob Laidlaw gives young readers a fair but realistic view on today’s canine world. While learning simple facts about acquiring a dog, their needs and responsible ownership, they are also exposed to several realities in the canine/human realm.

When it comes to the impact humans have on ‘Man’s Best Friend’ there are sensitive issues that can be extremely difficult to discuss, let alone explain. Laidlaw gently explores the various topics such as research, racing, chaining and puppy mills while featuring what he calls ‘Champions’ from around the world and what they are doing to create change”

–Jamie Hunter, Rescue Mag

Click here to read the full review

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe Giveaway

Posted on May 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress

Don't Laugh at Giraffe by Rebecca Bender

Pajama Press is giving away a signed copy of Rebecca Bender’s hilarious picture book Don’t Laugh at Giraffe and two sets of our exclusive Don’t Laugh at Giraffe greeting cards

Follow us and tweet this link to be entered in the draw. Be sure to use our handle, @PajamaPress1, so we know you’re participating!

Greeting Cards





DID YOU KNOW you can also interact with The Giraffe and The Bird on Facebook? Like their pages to get in on the fun.

About the book:

Don’t Laugh at Giraffe is the hilarious sequel to author/illustrator Rebecca Bender’s award-winning picture book Giraffe and Bird. The two heroes are back, squabbling, scrapping, and generally getting on each other’s nerves. But even though they don’t always act like friends, when Giraffe’s feelings are hurt, Bird finds a way to save the situation.

The book is a hardcover picture book for ages 4-7, but adults will enjoy it, too!

About the Greeting Cards:

These greeting cards, which will officially go on sale in August, 2012, come in four different designs featuring the original art of acclaimed author/illustrater Rebecca Bender. The cards measure 5 x 7 inches and are blank inside for personalized greetings.

Contest ends on May 15, 2012

Resource Links calls Acts of Courage “an awe inspiring infatuation with Laura Secord”

Posted on May 1st, 2012 by pajamapress

“Laura Secord in Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812, is brought to life as a determined ‘Little Red Riding Hood’, adventurous, curious, robust, generous and courageous, taking risks to help the ones she loves—mainly family and country. Connie Brummel Crook has created an exceptional account of what would or could have been Laura Secord’s life. She depicts vivid landscapes and interiors of the 19thcentury with exquisite imagery…

…In Acts of Courage: Laura Secord and the War of 1812, Connie Brummel Crook creates an awe inspiring infatuation with Laura Secord, through richly descriptive period imagery, plot motion, language and sequences that are fitting for both 19th century and present day readers. The interweaving of both fictitious and real characters is executed seamlessly, with cleverly woven twists and an unexpected conclusion.

A love story, with war, passion, humanity; it is a dynamic and fascinating story that demonstrates the implacable resolve of women in that period. It is something that can be admired by all.”