Pajama Press

Archive for March, 2016

Elliot “something very, very special”—CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on March 2nd, 2016 by pajamapress

“As soon as I read Elliot, I knew it was something very, very special.  And then I learned that Elliot was a translation (capably handled by Pajama Press’ Managing Editor Erin Woods) of a 2014 French-language picture book from Les 400 coups that had already won Le Prix du livre jeunesse des Bibliothèques de Montréal for 2015.  Its subtlety and poignancy ensures its sure status as a winner in English as well!

Elliot_WebsiteElliot is a heartfelt story about finding one’s true family, the one that will love and care for you forever. It might be a foster family, it may be the family you’re born into, or it might be the one that ultimately adopts you, as Elliot is fortunate to find.  But Julie Pearson embues the story of Elliot with an underlying sadness, for Elliot who is being a child and for his parents who try to do the best they can for him but can’t quite manage it.  And Manon Gauthier’s subtle collages of muted colours, save for Elliot’s red striped shirt, express that sadness and the grayness of tenuous family so movingly.  I defy anyone to read Elliot and not cry for the emotional hardships Elliot braves and cheer for the rosy blush of happiness (with a splash of red text) that comes when Elliot becomes part of a new family.

There are very few picture books that I want to clutch a little tighter and hold onto in my heart a little longer.  Elliot is one that has touched me so.”
—Helen Kubiw

Click here to read the full review.



Foreword Reviews praises Ben Says Goodbye

Posted on March 2nd, 2016 by pajamapress

Ben Says Goodbye | Sarah Ellis & Kim La Fave | Pajama Press“When a best friend moves away, it can be very painful. In Ben Says Goodbye, that loss is addressed with sensitivity and honesty….The accompanying illustrations are simple, but they do an excellent job of portraying Ben’s feelings as he watches Peter leave and then re-imagines their friendship. The book offers a wonderful tool for helping young children cope with this type of loss.”

Click here to read the full review.

Elliot recommended to Librarians by SLJ

Posted on March 1st, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_WebsiteDespite this book’s serious subject matter—a child who needs foster care—its tone is calm and soothing. Pearson creates a rhythm by repeating the three major ways that a young rabbit named Elliot is misunderstood by a series of adult caregivers, beginning with his parents. They love him but don’t know why he cries, and they don’t know how to respond when he yells or misbehaves. Fortunately, his parents ask for help, and Thomas, clearly a social worker, places Elliot with a foster family, while his parents are taught “how to take better care of him.” This new family understands him and meets his needs. Still, Elliot enjoys his parents’ visits but is nervous when he returns to live with them. When the old problems recur, Thomas places Elliot with another foster family. The child adjusts to his new environment and is happy to be understood. His parents visit, and he wants to live with them again. Eventually, he returns to his birth parents, but the problems persist, and this time Thomas promises Elliot to find a “forever family.” This popular phrase conveys the eternal commitment that adoptive parents and siblings share with an adopted child, and Elliot’s ultimate placement with a loving “forever family” turns out to be the best resolution. Gauthier’s gouache and pencil drawings are simple but poignantly depict the range of emotions Elliot experiences. The muted colors also help reinforce the low-key, reassuring message. Pearson handles this delicate subject with an understandable, sensitive, and sympathetic text. VERDICT Recommended for libraries seeking books to help young children understand that birth parents sometimes do not how to care for them and that other caregivers must enter their lives.School Library Journal