Pajama Press

Archive for March, 2017

Adrift at Sea “tells a powerful story of survival” says Jana the Teacher

Posted on March 27th, 2017 by pajamapress

AdriftAtSea_website“This beautiful nonfiction picture book tells a powerful story of survival and the harrowing experience of a group of Vietnamese refugees….Tuan Ho’s account of his family’s perilous trip, along with beautiful oil paintings to illustrate this narrative, make this a terrific resource for anyone who wants to learn more about Vietnamese refugees (sometimes referred to as ‘boat people’). It could also be used as a way to draw parallels to the experiences of refugee families of today.”

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Booklist Online calls The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park a “lovingly illustrated, educational volume”

Posted on March 27th, 2017 by pajamapress

thewolvesreturn_website“…Tranquil wildlife scenes in soft, naturalistic colors are full of meticulous details and capture the majestic beauty of the iconic park, which teems with life. The clear, matter-of-fact text is a lovely complement to the warm scenes, which include vistas, underwater habitats, and close-ups. Additional information about the history of the park and the importance of the wolves to the ecosystem closes this lovingly illustrated, educational volume.”
—Anita Lock

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Uncertain Soldier “is a solid, intelligent interpretation of the politics of the [1940s]” says There Will Be Books

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldier_Internet“…Less traumatic than the American Summer of My German SoldierUncertain Soldier tells the story of Erich Hofmeyer, a German prisoner of war held in Alberta in the winter of 1943-44….

Uncertain Soldier is a solid, intelligent interpretation of the politics of the time and the effect of opinion on morale. Through the richness of its characters, the novel gives voice to a gamut of attitudes, revealing the complexity of life during the 1940s far more thoroughly and effectively than what is taught in history classes. In contrast to the Canadian Sam’s violent insistence that ‘a few firing squads last war would’ve fixed it,’ Erich’s British grandfather astutely notes that ‘more mercy by the Great War’s victors might have prevented the fight that loomed’ (103). The parallel with history is made more powerful by its subtlety; most readers will not hear Sam’s vehemence as an echo of French military politician Ferdinand Foch, who noted at the time that the Treaty of Versailles was ‘not peace [but] an Armistice for twenty years,’ asking for harsher restrictions to be place on the defeated Germany. On the opposite end of the spectrum, Erich’s grandfather’s position is reminiscent of John Maynard Keynes’s insistence that the conditions were too harsh, that the Treaty was a ‘Carthaginian peace,’ a peace ensured by the complete annihilation of the vanquished, such as Rome’s conquering of Carthage. Historians still debate the political ‘what ifs’ of the first half of the twentieth century, and this uncertainty, manifested at all levels of society, is brilliantly woven into the fabric of Bass’s text.”

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Both reviewers at Library of Clean Reads agree that The Wolves Return is “an amazing book for both adults and children”

Posted on March 24th, 2017 by pajamapress

thewolvesreturn_website“We are always amazed at how much we learn from children’s non-fiction books. This one is an educational and excellent portrayal of the value of wolves in maintaining a healthy wildlife and ecosystem.

Our Review:

Reviewed by Sandra Olshaski

Who couldn’t love this book about the value of wolves? From the pencil crayon and watercolour illustrations to the beautiful text, it’s an amazing book for both adults and children. It highlights how very important are all creatures and how one animal alone contributes to a thriving natural world….

The colourful illustrations will certainly appeal to children, especially those who are already animal lovers. I appreciate the information pages regarding the history of wolves in North America. I can’t say enough about this beautiful book that contains such important life lessons. I highly recommend it.

Reviewed by Laura Fabiani and Son

It’s a sad reality that most city children have never seen live wild animals (except perhaps at the zoo) or know much about them. Both my son and I were surprised by how much we enjoyed and learned from reading this book. With clear informative text and beautiful illustrations, the author has succeeded in teaching us that large predators play a vital role in the health of the ecosystems where they live….

Children who are animal lovers will especially enjoy the depictions of the various animals…My son and I enjoyed this book and we especially liked that on the front and back inside covers are the names and illustrations of all the plants and animals in the book.

This book should be included in all school libraries and can be used when teaching science and nature in elementary schools. An excellent addition to a home library too.”

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Good Morning, Grumple “is a sweet spin on what can be a stressful morning routine” says Montreal Review of Books

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by pajamapress

goodmorninggrumple_website“Not everyone is a morning person, and Good Morning, Grumple is a story in rhyme that offers a solution to those grumpy feelings that overtake many of us when forced to greet another new day. Written by Victoria Allenby and illustrated using a combination of mixed media and collage by Manon Gauthier, this picture book introduces us to Grumple at his worst….

Good Morning, Grumple is a sweet spin on what can be a stressful morning routine that is sure to please both pre-school kids and their parents.”

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Adrift at Sea will “help shed light on events of the past that share a similarity to those that are happening in the world today” says The Children’s War

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by pajamapress

AdriftAtSea_website“The plight of refugees have been in the news a lot these days because of the war in Syria. As more and more borders are closed to them, it might be a good time to remember another group of refugees who arrived on North America’s shores and have contributed so much to their adopted country.

When the Vietnam War ended in 1975, and the communist government took over South Vietnam, daily life became so difficult and unbearable that families were willing to risk escaping their country in rickety boats not made for long sea voyages. But these boats were the only way out, unless you were rich….

Adrift at Sea
 is told from Tuan’s point of view, and aimed at readers about the same age as he was when he escaped Vietnam. Such a young narrator may not capture the truly difficult and risky trip in the kind of detail a book for older readers might, but he still very clearly depicts the fear, the hot sun, lack of water, and relief at being rescued at an age appropriate level that any young reader will be able understand.

Skrypuch has included a number photos of the Ho family, both in Vietnam and in Canada. She has also included a brief history of the ‘boat people’ as the refugees came to be called. The refugees faced not only the kinds of problems that the Ho family dealt with, but there were storms, pirates and always the threat of dying of thirst and hunger, and sometimes, they found that they were not welcomed everywhere.

Using a color palette mainly of oranges, yellows and blues, Deines’s highly textured oil on canvas illustrations capture all the secrecy, fear, and perils, all wrapped up in the dangerously hazy, hot, and humid weather that these refugees faced in their desire for freedom and a better life.

Adrift at Sea is a powerful historical nonfiction story that can certainly help shed light on events of the past that share a similarity to those that are happening in the world today.

This book is recommended for readers age 6+”

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Waiting for Sophie is “Highly Recommended” by CM Magazine

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by pajamapress

waitingforsophie_website“Sarah Ellis is one of Canada’s most successful writer of children’s books (Back of BeyondBen Overnight, and several volumes in the “I, Canada” series). She is also a critic, a teacher and a librarian.

Utilizing the trope of “new baby – concerned older brother – problem with new baby – happy ending”, Ellis begins her story with Liam, who looks about six, being woken up by Nana-Downstairs, a hip lady in pants and designer specs. Mom and Dad have gone to the hospital because new sister Sophie is on the way.

Ellis’ trademark wry humour comes into play almost immediately…

Carmen Mok, who has many picturebook and magazine credits to her name, has graced the pages with some charming digitally-created art with the look of watercolours, mostly images of the characters in the story. The font chosen is a large, clear one, and the layout beckons new readers of ‘chapter books’ to give it a try. The book would also be appropriate for a slighter younger audience for reading aloud.

Waiting for Sophie is a fine addition to library collections, especially those requiring more easy novels with contemporary themes.

Highly Recommended.
Ellen Heaney

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Under the Umbrella will be enjoyed by “anyone who dislikes rainy days” says Winnipeg Free Press

Posted on March 22nd, 2017 by pajamapress

undertheumbrella_website“Anyone who dislikes rainy days would enjoy Under the Umbrella by French author Catherine Buquet and illustrated by Marion Arbona…

Arbona’s artwork, in gouache and pencil, is the real highlight of this rhyming story. She is a three-time Governor General’s Award finalist, and her unique illustrations evoke the very feeling of a rain-soaked day. For youngest readers (2-4).”
—Helen Norrie

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Canadian Children’s BookNews recommends When the Rain Comes for “a classroom setting to spark interest in Sri Lanka, its people, culture, geography, and climate”

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by pajamapress

WhenRainComes_website“…Alma Fullerton tells to tale in free verse. She successfully conjures up the sights and especially the sounds of a day in Sri Lanka—the song of the bullock-cart driver, the clop of the ox, the pounding of rain and the cracking of thunder. Kim La Fave’s illustrations magically transform a bedsheet into a flock of birds. He convincingly whips up the wind and slashes rain across the page to convey the frightening immediacy of a flash flood.

Young readers will identify with Malini’s trepidation in facing her new task, and they will cheer for her as she overcomes her own fear to save the day. When the Rain Comes is an engaging story in its own right but could also be used in a classroom setting to spark interest in Sri Lanka, its people, culture, geography, and climate.”
—Ildiko Sumegi

Read the full review on page 32 of the Spring 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews

How Do You Feel? makes richer language “accessible to even the youngest of readers” says Canadian Children’s BookNews

Posted on March 17th, 2017 by pajamapress

HowDoYouFeel_website“A little hedgehog sets off on a voyage of sensory discovery in the picture book, How Do You Feel?, by Rebecca Bender….

Through an elegant simplicity, the author is able to use richer language, which becomes accessible to even the youngest of readers.

This is a lovely story for young children, as it explores the complexities of the world in a simple format. Few will have experienced physically touching all the varieties of animals in the story, and Bender creates an opportunity for children to use the natural world around them to build richer experiences to add to their imaginary worlds.”

Read the full review on page 31 of the Spring 2017 issue of Canadian Children’s BookNews