Pajama Press

Archive for May, 2018

Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “demonstrates that children have enormous potential to learn coping strategies for all manner of fears and anxieties” praises CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on May 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama Press“…Ben and the Scaredy-Dog solidifies the boy’s place in guiding those in preschool and kindergarten to understanding more about the big world of siblings, change, friendships and dogs….

Sarah Ellis demonstrates that children have enormous potential to learn coping strategies for all manner of fears and anxieties. Ben’s fear of dogs is valid, especially for very little children and very big dogs, but by comparing how Ben’s siblings see dogs–Robin sees their playfulness, Joe sees them as loving creatures–with how the little boy sees them–‘When Ben looks at a dog he sees jaws and teeth. That’s a dog to Ben. Jaws and teeth.’–Sarah Ellis legitimizes all perspectives. Even the baby-steps approach to dealing with Max lends credence to the ability for children to learn how to cope while trying a multitude of strategies, including self-talk and mindfulness.

I love Kim La Fave’s illustrations of Ben and company. His emphasis on perspective–looking up from a child’s point of view and at their eye-level–encourages empathy for Ben’s distress and concerns. Even with the bright colours of the kids’ clothing and Max’s soft expressions, Ben’s fear is validated. But, with that lightness of line and colour, Kim La Fave pulls together Ben’s thoughtful personality, Erv’s playful exuberance and Max’s big puppy nature.

It’s nice to know, courtesy of Ben and the Scaredy-Dog, that anyone can be scaredy-dog about something and that it can be lightened with a little help from inside and out.”

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Missing Mike “is a touching, lyrical story” written in an “effortless and candid” style says Fab Book Reviews

Posted on May 24th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“Canadian author Shari Green, author of the critically acclaimed and award-winning novel-in-verse Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess, returns with Missing Mike, a middle grade novel (also in free verse) about a young girl’s unbreakable bond with her rescue dog Mike and what happens to Mike, her family, and their community when a devastating, seemingly unstoppable wildfire hits their town….

Overall, Missing Mike is a touching, lyrical story with the beautiful, boundless relationship of Cara and Mike as its core and achor. Shari Green’s writing style is effortless and candid, a perfect match for Cara’s natural and appropriately trusting, childlike narrative. Readers who love stories about human-animal bonds, children’s novels told in free verse, or middle grade titles that explore family dynamics and strength in facing adversity might find much to love about Missing Mike. Those who enjoy the writing of authors such as K.A. Holt, Katherine Applegate, Barbara O’Connor, Beth Vrabel or Alison Hughes might also want to check this moving middle grade novel out.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction calls Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night “impressive and well-researched”

Posted on May 23rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night Author: Rob Laidlaw“Young readers love knowing as much as they can about bats. Rob Laidlaw writes terrific nonfiction on topics that kids love to read. It’s a win-win situation. No one will be disappointed when sharing this new book.

Rob’s writing style is conversational, and personal. He provides clear information, based on up-to-date study and creates a book that is perfect fare for his target audience….

The information provided throughout is easy to follow, answers most common questions and leaves readers with a good amount of knowledge concerning these oft-maligned creatures. The final section provides ideas for being a friend to bats. Making sure that buildings are safe for bats to make their homes there, bat mapping, understanding how important bats are to a healthy world, raising money to help fund bat research, and celebrating their place in the world. A list of 14 Ways You Can Help Bats, and a list of the many organizations that help bats around the world are presented. A glossary and index follow.

Impressive and well-researched, as are other books by Rob Laidlaw, there is much to like about this fine book.”

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Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night “is sure to recruit a fresh legion of bat lovers” says Booklist

Posted on May 17th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night Author: Rob Laidlaw“[T]hese remarkable nocturnal ninjas are up against threats ranging from urban development to white-nose syndrome. In this educational primer, animal activist Laidlaw (Elephant Journey, 2016) briefs readers on all things bat—and the youngsters working to protect them. With each turn of the page comes a new concept (habitat, hibernation, and diet, to name a few) and a treasure trove of bat-tastic full-color photos….While those already entranced by these singular creatures of the night will be inspired anew, the succinct, well-researched text and interactive format—including a center gatefold of a life-size hoary bat—is sure to recruit a fresh legion of bat lovers, too. Bat citizens unite.”
Briana Shemroske

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Small Things “offers a significant potential gift: understanding, and the possibility of recovery” says The Times Literary Supplement

Posted on May 11th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Small Things Author: Mel Tregonning Publisher: Pajama Press“When giving children books, well-meaning adults may feel impelled to offer challenge, too – opting for text-dense vocabulary boosters at the reader’s diagnosed level, with the difficulty ramped up a little for luck. However gentle, though, this sort of nudge is not an unalloyed blessing. It may pluck children out of storylines in which they were ecstatically resident; deny them the elegant plotting of a well-turned mystery, the satisfying structure of a pony story or the terseness of a comic adventure….

A frequent casualty of the utilitarian focus on advancement and sheer length is illustration, and the reader’s respect for it. The children told “You’re too old for picture books” are not only banished abruptly from an enchanted kingdom. They are also held back from winkling out images’ stored secrets of detail, and from learning the artist’s language of window-frame, colour, light, shade, emphasis, the single line that communicates mood, or loss, or season – everything we mean by “visual literacy”. Sophisticated, demanding concepts may also be com­municated, via illustration, to readers unable or unwilling as yet to parse the complex language required.

Small Things, a wordless graphic novel by Mel Tregonning, and finished, after her death, by Shaun Tan (Allen & Unwin), is an extra­ordinary example: an illustrated book that communicates difficult, painful ideas solely via intricate monochrome graphite drawings….[T]o the ten- or twelve-year-old besieged by incipient anxiety or depression it offers a ­significant potential gift: understanding, and the possibility of recovery….The image of a small, vulnerable body breaking down by degrees, while deeply discomfiting, honours the weight of what it conveys; and the book as a whole celebrates the helpfulness of uncon­ditional love, while successfully avoiding a superficial, unduly swift resolution….”

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CM Magazine “Highly Recommends” Missing Mike by award-winning author Shari Green

Posted on May 4th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press“In Missing Mike, a free verse novel, Green takes readers into a wildfire scenario much like that experienced by the residents of Fort McMurry in 2016, an event that was viewed by Canadians across the country via various television or online news outlets….

Green ends Missing Mike…with a number of unknowns regarding the family’s future because of the fire’s larger, long term impact on the community of Pine Grove and its inhabitants.

Green’s choosing to tell this story via free verse was the correct stylistic decision. Her descriptions, particularly those dealing with the evacuation, are absolutely gripping. There’s much to like in Missing Mike. Green also authored two other verse novels, Root Beer Candy and Other Miracles and Macy McMillan and the Rainbow Goddess.

Highly Recommended.
—Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, MB.

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School Library Journal calls Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “compassionate” and “warmhearted”

Posted on May 3rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama Press“Emphasized in thick, crayonlike outlines, the soft, cartoon illustrations add comfort and charm to this encouraging, gentle narrative about a common childhood fear. VERDICT This compassionate story may ease some anxiety in young children who are nervous or fearful around dogs. A warmhearted addition to Ellis and LaFave’s books about Ben.”

Read the full review in the May 2018 issue of School Library Journal