Pajama Press

Archive for November, 2015

Dance of the Banished wins the Geoffrey Bilson Award

Posted on November 19th, 2015 by pajamapress

DanceOfTheBanished_websitePajama Press is honoured to celebrate a win for the Geoffrey Bilson Award for Historical Fiction for Young People for the second year in a row. Dance of the Banished by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch received the award on November 18th at the Canadian Children’s Literature Awards Gala at the Carlu in Toronto.

“In Canada we are writing fantastic historical fiction for kids,” Skrypuch said, speaking in particular to her fellow finalists Patrick Bowman (Arrow Through the Axes, Ronsdale Press) and Caroline Pignat (The Gospel Truth, Red Deer Press and Unspeakable, Razorbill Canada).

This is not the first award for Skrypuch, who has written more than a dozen historical picture books, chapter books, and juvenile and young adult novels. In these books. as in Dance of the Banished, Skrypuch employed her exceptional research skills to bring to light aspects of history that are little known or understood.

A second Pajama Press title was also a finalist for an award at the gala. A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison was shortlisted for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award for the most distinguished English-language Canadian children’s book of the year. This picture book biography, co-written by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson and illustrated with Ted Harrison’s own art, details the artist’s life from his childhood in an English coal mining town to his final home in British Columbia. It recently won the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award and is nominated for several more, including the Forest of Reading Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award. A Brush Full of Colour is published under the Ann Featherstone imprint.

Pajama Press extends warm congratulations to our talented authors, and appreciation to the TD Bank Group and the Canadian Children’s Book Centre for their administration of these awards.

Kids’ Book Buzz: Reviews by kids, for kids

Posted on November 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

Kids’ Book Buzz is a website where children’s books are reviewed by their intended audiences: kids! Here’s what they had to say about some of our latest titles.

Kiss, Kiss

Kiss, Kiss | Jennifer Couelle & Jacques Laplante |Pajama Press “This book is very nice because it shows you all sorts of nice kisses. Kisses show someone that you love them, and some kisses are long, and some are short, some are loud and some are wet. This shows people kissing, and dogs kissing, and birds kissing, and even fish kissing. But it isn’t sloppy or gross, because the pictures are just little cartoon pictures. Some of the words rhyme but it isn’t really a poem and there aren’t very many words. I like the pictures where the mom or dad is giving the child a kiss, or the grandma. There are lots of hearts because the kisses show love. Sometimes a mom might give a kiss to help her child feel better if he got a scraped knee, and sometimes a kiss is to say hello or goodbye. Then at the end it says “I Love You!”

You will like to read this book because the pictures are really fun with lots of colors and funny animals and kissy lips. Maybe you will give this book to someone you love.”

Reviewed by Liesel, Age 4

Princess Pistachio and the Pest

Princess Pistachio and the Pest by Marie-Louise Gay, translated by Jacob Homel“A little girl named Pistachio wants to explore a cave with her friends, but instead, her mother wants her to take her little sister to the park. Pistachio thinks that is going to be so boring. First, she gets accused of being a thief, which is so embarrassing. Then, she falls into a witch’s garden and almost gets turned into a toad. Worst of all, she gets kicked out of the park because a warden thinks she meant to take money from the fountain, but it was her little sister, Penny. Everything terrible that happened that day was all Penny’s fault. But it was not boring. When she tells her mother what happened, her mom decides to call someone to look after them, since it’s too much for Pistachio. She calls the witch!  Pistachio is horrified. Even though she hated her day with her sister, she tells her mother not to worry. She’s sure they will have fun together.

I really liked this book. It’s hilarious, and it’s a short chapter book with pictures. It’s very exciting too. No book could be boring with witches, police, and thieves, especially not this one.”

—Reviewed by Paloma, Age 9

Once Upon a Line

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_500px“Once upon a Line is like no other book I have ever read. There really isn’t a story written, but instead you need to use your own imagination to finish off a story. Each page is a different picture and story for you to make up. They said the pictures were from a Great-Uncle George, who was a magician and had a magic pen. They say that every picture starts with a line and you need to find the line in each picture, as well as find the magic pen.

Once upon a Line was a great book. I liked looking for the starting line and magic pen on every page. I loved sitting with my mom and sister and we each took turns continuing the story for every picture. Some stories were easy to continue and others were harder. The illustrations were very detailed, colorful and some where really funny. My favorite page was the prince who dreamed in color and dreamed up a dragon. It was really fun making up your own story and using your imagination.”

—Reviewed by Jewel, Age 7

Giraffe Meets Bird

Giraffe Meets Bird by Rebecca Bender“There’s this giraffe that meets this bird. The bird was in its nest, in its egg, and when it hatched, giraffe saw it, because Giraffe is so tall. Giraffe thought the bird was cute and nice when he saw it, and Bird and Giraffe both learned what the other one liked, and had to learn to be nice. But they didn’t always get along, because sometimes they didn’t like what the other one did. Bird didn’t like Giraffe telling him what to do, and Giraffe didn’t like Bird bonking his head. So then they didn’t seem to like each other. But then when there was trouble coming, they went into this tree and helped each other because they were friends.

I liked this book because I like looking at the pictures, and there are fun things to look at in it. I like the part where the lion family comes and where the giraffe jumps into the tree. I was glad that Giraffe and Bird decided to be friends, even though they didn’t always get along. The pictures are really nice. This is a good book about being good friends.”

Reviewed by Liesel, Age 4

Bad Pirate

Bad Pirate by Kari-Lynn Winters and Dean Griffiths“Bad Pirate is about dog pirates that think being a pirate is about being saucy, bold, and selfish. The captain’s daughter, Augusta, is kind, nice, and helpful. Her dad and the other pirates think that is very, very bad. Augusta finally tries to be selfish, and then when there is a storm, her selfish act puts the whole ship in danger. So, she goes to help fix the sail, even though its not her job, and when her dad growls at her, she has to get saucy with him. Will he get mad at her? Will he let her fix the sail or will he let the ship sink? You have to read the book to find out!

Augusta is brave because she stands up to her dad, and is kind even when he tells her she should be selfish. I like this book because it was cool. I love pirates, and I like all the different characters. I really like all the details of the illustrations, they look like real dogs. And I like all the different breeds. I also like the ship. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes pirates, or wants to be nice, even if sometimes their friends aren’t.”

—reviewed by Lily, Age 6

Timo’s Garden has “plenty of charm” says Publishers Weekly

Posted on November 12th, 2015 by pajamapress

Timo's Garden | Victoria Allenby & Dean Griffiths | Pajama Press“Allenby (Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That) and Griffiths (Bad Pirate) explore the perils of perfectionism, following a rabbit named Timo through a week’s worth of gardening, as he tries to make it perfect for an upcoming garden tour. Allenby laces her story with alliteration and wordplay (“Gently, he planted some ginger. Gingerly, he planted some gentians”), and Griffiths’s color illustrations further add to the cozy atmosphere—there’s a whiff of The Wind in the Willows in the dapper outfits he gives the animal characters. It’s impossible to miss the message (“I could have tended my friends instead of my garden,” Timo realizes, after a rainstorm ruins a week’s worth of work), but the easy camaraderie and old-fashioned gentility among these friends exert plenty of charm.”

“Edwards totally pulls it off” in Once Upon a LineThe Globe & Mail

Posted on November 11th, 2015 by pajamapress

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_500px“Giant circus frogs eat their trainers, robots ice-skate on frozen ponds, a dinosaur hatches out of a balloon held by a king: we were already in love with this book even before the high concept set in. And that high concept is how the author’s uncle left a trunk full of his drawings, all of which he started by sketching the same squiggly line. You have to find the line in the picture and finish his story. The test of any high-concept book is the execution and Edwards totally pulls it off, creating a sort of If On A Winter’s Night A Traveller for the under-10 set. I suspect this book will live near the top of our favourites pile for quite some time.”

Click here to read the full column.

Evie Brooks is Marooned in Manhattan is “a wonderfully clever read,” says I Am, Indeed

Posted on November 10th, 2015 by pajamapress

MaroonedInManhattan_Website“…On the whole, I found Evie engaging and solidly voiced, while she worked through her grief she did find many intriguing and new things, and animals galore—from exotic (Iguanas and snapping turtles) to ordinary dogs and cats.  Well developed, you can see the city through Evie’s fresh eyes, and understand her needing to keep busy as she deals with her grief.  Adults are also more than just window dressing, her relationship with Scott and the conflicts with Leela feel honest and are well-spaced: not too much acting out or angst.  The showdown at the end, combined with Evie’s own guilt over some situations with Scott bring her to the cliffhanger… will she stay in New York, or return to Dublin.

Wonderfully paced, easy to read, and quite appropriate for 10 year olds and up, this story delicately balances the concept of grief and loss with the ordinary exuberance of a curious 12 year old in the midst of changes, and is a wonderfully clever read.”

Click here to read the full review.

A Brush Full of Colour wins the 2015 Information Book Award

Posted on November 9th, 2015 by pajamapress

ABrushFullOfColourPajama Press is pleased to announce that A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine Gibson is the winner of the 2015 Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award.

The results were announced on Saturday, November 7th at the Vancouver Roundtable’s Illustrator Breakfast. The award will be formally presented on January 27th, 2016.

Dreaming in Indian: Contemporary Native American Voices, edited by Lisa Charleyboy and Mary Beth Leatherdale and published by Annick Press, was selected as the 2015 Information Honour Book.

A Brush Full of Colour is a picture book biography of Ted Harrison, Canada’s most iconic painter of the Yukon. In addition to the Information Book Award, it has been nominated for the TD Canadian Children’s Literature Award, the Ruth & Sylvia Schwartz Children’s Book Award, the Rocky Mountain Book Award, the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award, and the Hackmatack Award.

Click here for more information about the Children’s Literature Roundtables of Canada Information Book Award.

A Year of Borrowed Men “reminds us that friendship has no borders”—The Calgary Herald

Posted on November 9th, 2015 by pajamapress

A Year of Borrowed Men | Michelle Barker & Renné Benoit | Pajama Press“This book, based on true events, looks at a German family during the Second World War who are given French soldiers on loan to help with their farm. Seven-year-old Gerda can’t understand why they must be treated like enemies and when they are shown kindness, her mother is threatened with prison. This story reminds us that friendship has no borders. Beautiful watercolour drawings and original photographs make this a great book for youngsters. ages six to nine.”

Click here to read the rest of the column

Elephant journey “brings complex issues of animal protection to life”—Pickle Me This

Posted on November 6th, 2015 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_InternetElephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity, by Rob Laidlaw and Brian Deines, is a fantastic non-fiction book that uses the power of narrative (and the award-winning Deines’ gorgeous illustrations) to bring complex issues of animal protection to life…

…Four pages of photographs, fact boxes and additional text add context and background to Laidlaw’s story, though the book stands well enough on its own without it. It’s a harrowing story with a most hopeful ending, and will make a definite impression on readers of all ages.”
—Kerry Clare

Click here to read the full review.

 

Kirkus Reviews praises Kiss, Kiss

Posted on November 4th, 2015 by pajamapress

Kiss, Kiss | Jennifer Couelle & Jacques Laplante |Pajama Press“A rhyming celebration of kisses of all kinds. Kisses can do so much: from sending love and healing boo-boos to saying hello and goodbye and good morning and good night. And then there are the kinds of kisses: wet ones, big ones, pecks, slurpy ones, and the ones that leave lipstick marks behind. ‘When grownups kiss it may look sappy. / Well, they’re in love—and very happy.’ While Couëlle’s verse changes rhythm and rhyming pattern on a whim (and not all of it rhymes), this matches the flighty topic of love and kisses (and also may reflect the fact that this is a translation of Le bisou from the French). And Laplante’s simple illustrations, which appear to be digital, are similarly whimsical, more rough sketches with color that often extends beyond its lines. A full range of relationships are represented here—parents, grandparents, couples, friends are all happily smooching. And people are not the only kissers in these pictures: fish and birds kiss, and a baby shares kisses with a dog. ‘Because a day without kissing / has something missing.’”

A Year of Borrowed Men a “heartfelt story” with “universal appeal”—CM Magazine

Posted on November 2nd, 2015 by pajamapress

A Year of Borrowed Men | Michelle Barker & Renné Benoit | Pajama Press“…Based on the childhood memories of Gerda Schlottke, the author’s mother who immigrated to Canada after the war, the text is augmented with family photographs and an appended note. The choice of Gerda as narrator adds to the story’s appeal for Gerda is unaware of the many horrors associated with this war; for her, it is simply a difficult time without her father. Benoit’s realistic watercolour, coloured pencil, and pastel illustrations employ an earthy palette that brings this heartfelt story to life. This makes A Year of Borrowed Men a natural choice for Remembrance Day story hours, but the overarching theme of kindness in a time of mistrust and suspicion gives the story a universal appeal that will likely spur many thoughtful discussions.

Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review