Pajama Press

Archive for October, 2015

Timo’s Garden “a fine title for growing readers”—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on October 16th, 2015 by pajamapress

Timo's Garden | Victoria Allenby & Dean Griffiths | Pajama PressTimo the rabbit is eager to make his garden “great.” Timo loves his garden, with its many flowers (an illustrated index names all those mentioned in the text) and “herbs for cooking, a lawn for visiting, and a bench for sitting and daydreaming.” Suddenly, though, it doesn’t seem special enough when he decides to participate in the upcoming garden tour. From one short chapter to the next, instead of spending time with friends, he frets and gardens, gardens and frets. Ultimately, Timo not only misses out on fun with friends, he’s also thwarted by poor weather when a rainstorm leaves the garden “a mess.” His friends rally to him help clean things up, but…the garden tour is cancelled due to yet more (offstage) rain, and so Timo and his friends instead have a picnic and make plans for more gardening. A closing image of garden-tour judges at Timo’s gate suggests that all’s well in the end. Throughout, Griffiths’ richly colored illustrations depict anthropomorphic animals in a pastoral setting and include Timo’s lists of tasks on pages made to look like notebook paper. While the text isn’t controlled enough for brand new readers to decode, the brief chapters make the story accessible on a structural level. A fine title for growing readers. (Early reader. 7-9)

Once Upon a Line an “interactive, imaginative book” —Booklist

Posted on October 6th, 2015 by pajamapress

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_500px“This interactive, imaginative book opens with the drawing of a single line, used in each illustration that follows. Edwards charges the reader to identify that line in each of the completed illustrations. (It’s a tough game, but don’t worry, there is an answer sheet at the back.) Readers are then challenged to complete the story that each page introduces. Sometimes the prompt is an action (“Mr. Wolf was about to give up searching for his pet duck when…”), other times a rationale (“He preferred to write his own music because…”). This variation will keep readers on their toes, and the colorful illustrations created with watercolor, pencil, and gouache will continually surprise with unexpected depictions: an elephant in an umbrella, dinosaurs popping out of a king’s balloons, a dog whose reflection is a cat. This is a charming reminder of the importance of a single line, and the fun of the creative process. Pair with Christopher Myers’ My Pen (2015) for a different take on the power of the pen.”

—Edie Ching

In a Cloud of Dust “teaches a powerful lesson”—The Montreal Gazette

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by pajamapress

homecover-in-a-cloud“A simple, straightforward text illustrated with oil paintings by Toronto’s Brian Deines, In a Cloud of Dust nevertheless teaches a powerful lesson about sharing, and can be used by parents and teachers to show children there are others in the world who are less fortunate—and who would benefit from donated bicycles. An author’s note at the end of the book lists some organizations that distribute bicycles to African nations and other developing countries.”

Click here to read the full review.

Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan a great book for animal lovers, says School Library Journal

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by pajamapress

MaroonedInManhattan_WebsiteEvie Brooks, 12, is at a crossroads: her mother, who was an American, has died, and her mother’s brother Scott insists that she should leave her home in Dublin, Ireland, and live with him in New York City. Evie wants to stay in Ireland with her mum’s friend, but she agrees to try New York for the summer. Uncle Scott is a vet, and the tween spends her days helping out at his clinic, making some new friends, and learning what Scott’s snooty girlfriend thinks of his new charge, which is not much. By the end of the summer, Evie has decided to stay after all, a predictable outcome—not so predictable, however, is a final twist that paves the way for a sequel. VERDICT An enjoyable, light read that will particularly draw in animal lovers, who will learn a lot about animal care from Evie’s work with Uncle Scott.
—Etta Verma, Library Journal

“I applaud Ellis for writing this book”—Breanne Bannerman reviews Moon at Nine

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by pajamapress

Moon At Nine by Deborah Ellis - the true story of two girls who fell in love in post-revolution Iran “…I really loved the relationship between Farrin and Sadira, and I applaud Ellis for writing this book. It’s heartbreaking to think of the hardships people have gone through, and continue to go through, to be with a person they care about and love. I can happily say that this book is in both the Early Years and Middle Years school libraries in which I work, and I hope that many of our students will read it.”

Click here to read the full review.

Dance of the Banished a 2015 White Ravens Selection

Posted on October 5th, 2015 by pajamapress

Dance of the Banished, a WWI novel by Marsha Forchuk SkrypuchThe International Youth Library has named Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch a 2015 White Ravens Selection. The White Ravens Catalogue, a list of international children’s books considered especially noteworthy by the IYL’s language specialists, is compiled annually and distributed at the Bologna Children’s Book Fair. Noteworthiness is determined based on the books’ “universal themes and/or their exceptional and often innovative artistic literary style and design.” (www.childrenslibrary.org/servlet/WhiteRavens)

Here is what the IYL says about Dance of the Banished:

“Renowned Ukrainian-Canadian author Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has written a number of books about Canadian internment camps. Her latest YA novel again returns to this little-known topic. Set in Anatolia and Canada from 1913 to 1917, the story follows a teenage couple who are forced to go their separate ways until they are finally reunited years later. At the beginning of World War I, Ali seizes the opportunity to seek work in Canada, but is soon thrown into an internment camp for Enemy Aliens. Zeynep is left behind in their Anatolian home village, where Christian Armenians and Alevi Kurds – both minority groups within the Ottoman Empire – live peacefully side by side. When the country is shaken by revolution and war, the young Alevi girl is determined to do her utmost to save her friends from the Armenian Genocide. Told in diary form and letters from two points of view, this story recounts the horrors of World War I, but also documents people’s great compassion and courage in dangerous times. (Age: 14+)”

School Library Journal enjoys Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan

Posted on October 1st, 2015 by pajamapress

MaroonedInManhattan_Website“Evie Brooks, 12, is at a crossroads: her mother, who was an American, has died, and her mother’s brother Scott insists that she should leave her home in Dublin, Ireland, and live with him in New York City. Evie wants to stay in Ireland with her mum’s friend, but she agrees to try New York for the summer. Uncle Scott is a vet, and the tween spends her days helping out at his clinic, making some new friends, and learning what Scott’s snooty girlfriend thinks of his new charge, which is not much. By the end of the summer, Evie has decided to stay after all, a predictable outcome—not so predictable, however, is a final twist that paves the way for a sequel. VERDICT An enjoyable, light read that will particularly draw in animal lovers, who will learn a lot about animal care from Evie’s work with Uncle Scott.”

—Etta Verma