Pajama Press

Archive for March, 2016

The Reading Castle reviews Going for a Sea Bath

Posted on March 31st, 2016 by pajamapress

GoingForASeaBath_Website“…The English translation of the French book by Andrée Poulin is almost everything you can hope for in a children’s book. It combines a hilarious father-daughter adventure and a funny counting game, learning about sea life with the colorful, lively illustrations by Anne-Claire Delisle. “Going for a sea bath” makes bathing and learning fun. Can you count the legs in the pool? Which animals have no legs at all? And which have eight? Why do hermit crabs live in empty seashells? “Going for a sea bath” is a book children want to talk about! The question is: What will YOU do to make bath time more interesting?”

Click here to read the full review.

Uncertain Soldier shortlisted for the IODE Violet Downey Book Award

Posted on March 31st, 2016 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldier_InternetUncertain Soldier by Karen Bass has been shortlisted for the 2016 National Chapter of Canada IODE Violet Downey Book Award. This award is offered annually for the best children’s English book containing at least 500 words of text. The winner will be announced at IODE Canada’s 116th National Annual Meeting being held at the Lambton Golf and Country Club, Toronto, on May 27th, 2016.

Also nominated for this award are:

The Blackthorn Key by Kevin Sands
Speechless by Jennifer Mook-Sang
Avis Dolphin by Frieda Wishinsky and Willow Dawson
The Dogs by Allan Stratton

IODE Canada is a national women’s charitable organization dedicated to enhancing the quality of life for individuals through education support, community service, and citizenship programs.

You can learn more at the IODE website.

Uncertain Soldier, a suspenseful YA novel about a WWII prisoner of war struggling with conflicting loyalties, has also been nominated for the Forest of Reading Red Maple Award.

Elephant Journey “A sensitive account of animal activism and rehabilitation”—Publishers Weekly

Posted on March 21st, 2016 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Website“Born in southern Africa, elephants Toka and Iringa were later captured and brought to a Toronto zoo; a third elephant, Thika, was born in captivity. When the zoo’s cramped conditions and cold climate began to impair the elephants’ heath, public outcry resulted in their 2013 relocation to a California sanctuary. In subdued oil paintings, Deines focuses on the elephants’ long, difficult journey, riding in crates on flatbed truck trailers through dangerous weather conditions. Seeing Toka, Iringa, and Thika finally free to explore their new home—80 acres of glowing grasslands—will likely bring relief to sensitive readers. Photographs and additional rescue details round out a sensitive account of animal activism and rehabilitation. Ages 6–9.”

Elephant Journey nominated for Hackmatack Award

Posted on March 18th, 2016 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_WebsiteElephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity, written by Rob Laidlaw and Illustrated by Brian Deines, has been nominated for the Hackmatack Children’s Choice Award. Elephant Journey is an account of the road travelled by Toka, Thika, and Iringa, three African elephants, from the Toronto Zoo to the Performing Animal Welfare Society sanctuary in California.

The Hackmatack Award is Atlantic Canada’s reading program for students in grades four to six. Participants will read a shortlist of ten fiction books and ten non-fiction books in either English or French, then vote for their favourites. You learn more at the Hackmatack Award website.

In 2014, No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, also by Rob Laidlaw, won the Hackmatack Award in the English Non-Fiction category. Its sequel, Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends, was nominated the following year.

Elliot “…focus[ed] solidly on Elliot’s emotional reactions…”—Booklist

Posted on March 11th, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_Website“Elliot, an anthropomorphized bunny, is just a regular kid. His parents love him very much, but they don’t know how to take care of him. A man named Thomas comes to help, and he takes Elliot to a foster family where everything is different. His new environment is jarring, but Elliot soon feels understood and cared for. He goes back and forth with his own parents and other families until, finally, he is adopted into a family that will take care of him forever. Fostering is a difficult topic, but Pearson addresses it in a gentle, age-appropriate manner free of blame. Her direct lines keep the focus solidly on Elliot’s emotional reactions, and repetition reinforces a reassuring undercurrent of familiarity in each new home. Gauthier’s collage illustrations, in muted tones and childlike shapes, effectively dampen the realism of the potentially scary scenarios in the story and keep the mood somber but hopeful. Though it might not be representative of every fostering experience, this sensitive story nevertheless could be a comfort to children in the foster system.”—Booklist
— Sarah Hunter



A Year of Borrowed Men Resource Links Review

Posted on March 9th, 2016 by pajamapress

A Year of Borrowed Men | Michelle Barker & Renné Benoit | Pajama Press“A Year of Borrowed Men tells a story from World War II that will be unfamiliar to many readers, but is nonetheless a moving part of the history of the German-Canadian community. The author writes from her mother Gerda’s recollections, bringing to life the engaging voice of the younger Gerda, whose family hosted three French prisoners-of-war on their German farm in 1944.

World War II from the German perspective remains some what problematic: how do we reconcile decades of erroneous equation of “German” with evil, with the real experiences of many Germans during the war? While the topic is dealt with effectively in some texts—Roberto Innocenti’s Rose Blanche (1985), Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief (2005), John Boyne’s The Boy in the Striped Pajamas(2006), among others—it will take so many more stories for truth to overcome the stereotypes. A Year of Borrowed Men contributes positively and significantly to our understanding of the compassion of some of the German populace who placed themselves in an almost untenable psychological and ideological situation.

Gerda’s father was “borrowed” by the German army, and in his place the government sent three French prisoners—Gabriel, Fermaine, and Albert—to work the land. Gerda’s innocent narrative perspective ensures that the dark reality of Germany’s forced labour policy is not brought out. With the egalitarianism of young children, Gerda cannot understand why the three must live with the animals, and eat in the “pig’s kitchen,” where the slops were prepared. That was the rule though: these men were prisoners and were to be treated as such. Inviting them in to dinner one night almost sent Gerda’s mother to prison herself, yet the family could not deny their fundamental humanity. Despite regulations, in the face of threats, Gerda and her mother find little ways of making the Frenchmen’s lives more tolerable: extra butter on their bread, catalogues to cut into elicit decorations at Christmas, sneaking treats for them to eat. The men reciprocated with affection for their little German freunde: “I couldn’t keep the borrowed men here,” Gerda observes at the end of the war, “but we were friends—and I could keep that forever.” The story is made more powerful by the fact that Gerda did indeed keep that friendship alive: enough that her daughter has retold their story for her grandchildren’s generation to learn.”—Resource Links




Kiss, Kiss,/em> is “…a sophisticated and amusing…little book [with] wide appeal…”–Montreal Gazette

Posted on March 9th, 2016 by pajamapress

KissKiss_WebsiteKiss, Kiss, by Montreal’s Jennifer Couëlle was first published in French as Le bisou. Translated by Karen Simon, it retains a cheerful breeziness; simple rhymes describe the various types of kisses and how they can brighten a person’s day—or night (“Good-night kisses on the head. / Hugs before we go to bed,” accompanies a page that shows dad tucking his kids into a bunk bed). The colourful art of Montreal’s Jacques Laplante—whose simple lines and distinctive graphic style is both sophisticated and amusing— gives this little book wide appeal, although the publisher aims it at ages 3 to 6.

Click here for link to original review.


“A phenomenal page-turner”—Marsha Skrypuch reviews The Hill

Posted on March 8th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_Website“…Karen Bass anchors the fantasy element with such gritty, sore and smelly reality and such nail-biting terror that the reader has no choice but to be hooked.

I read this novel in a single long gulp because I could not put it down. And after I was finished, it stayed on my mind.

A phenomenal page-turner. Love the premise. Love the writing. Don’t read this book in bed.”
—Marsha Skrypuch

Click here to read the full review.

Elliot is “a must-read,” says Today’s Parent

Posted on March 3rd, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_Website“Written by Julie Pearson (an adoptive mother) and illustrated by Manon Gauthier, Elliot is a gentle guide to the foster child system from a kid’s point of view. Elliot’s parents love him, but when he starts crying and misbehaving they don’t know what to do. That’s when Elliot meets a social worker named Thomas…

…The book tackles a complex issue in an approachable and kid-friendly way with adorable bunny characters and soft collage illustrations. It’s a must-read.”

Click here to read the full post.

Vegbooks recommends Elephant Journey by Rob Laidlaw and Brian Deines

Posted on March 3rd, 2016 by pajamapress

“Rob Laidlaw, one of my favorite children’s authors covering animal protection topics, recently released his latest title, Elephant Journey, which follows Toka, Thika, and Iringa in their travels and experiences. (I received a copy of this book to review.)

ElephantJourney_Website…This lifelong journey to sanctuary was no small feat, and the majority of the book’s pages focus on the last leg of the journey from the zoo to California: the fabrication of special transport units, the Canadian-US border crossing, and overcoming mountainous, snowy terrain. Subdued oil paintings by Brian Deines based on actual footage from the trip make this a calm, easy-to-follow and hopeful storyline. And this wouldn’t be a Laidlaw title unless their was some science, which comes in the form of an index, photographs and additional information at the end of the book.

So much of what PAWS does goes without the recognition it deserves. This 40-page book does a beautiful job of telling a powerful story that demonstrates why sanctuaries, animal activists, and nonprofits are so important: because they help real animals who have endured so much, like Toka, Thika, and Iringa, and are making great strides towards creating a world free from harm, free of captivity.


Click here to read the full review.