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Archive for the ‘Book Resources’ Category

Sun Dog Reviews

Posted on March 27th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

SunDog_Website“At the top of the world in the Arctic Circle, a young sled dog, Juno, seeks adventure….Kerbel weaves facts about the Arctic Circle within a tender story of the devotion between a boy and his dog. Del Rizzo’s vibrant, colorful polymer clay and acrylics capture the beauty of their home. The modeled clay gives Juno, the boy, and environs a sculptural, tactile quality. The boy has beige skin and black hair, there is an inuksuk in one picture, and their town is a tidy one of wood-frame houses. Juno may be a puppy in the Arctic Circle, but children everywhere will relate to her.”

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CM Magazine

“Kerbel’s poetic detail places the reader in a calm town on top of the world at a time before anyone else is awake and where the wind is lighter than a whisper….Del Rizzo’s textured illustrations in polymer clay pair incredibly well with the acrylic wash of the sky, creating a dreamy image of the midnight sun. Each illustration adds a new dimension to the story, encouraging readers to find hidden meaning in the illustration’s detail….This interesting and unique story could lead to scientific conversations with younger children about life in the Arctic, diverse tundra animals, and the sun cycles in a fun and engaging way, as well as the take-home message of displaying true bravery. In addition to the text, which depicts the romantic landscapes of the tundra and the magical feeling of being on top of the world, Kerbel also includes information on the endpapers about the majestic midnight sun and the atmospheric optical phenomenon called sun dog, both being her inspiration for Sun DogHighly Recommended.
—Mallory Dawson is the Teen Advocate Librarian at Vaughan Public Libraries

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Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Reviews

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by pajamapress

Booklist

BenScaredyDog_Shadow_Website“When Ben meets Erv, the new kid across the street, he likes her right away, but her hefty pet, Max, triggers his fears: ‘Big dog. Big jaws. Big teeth.’…This picture book dovetails nicely with the anxiety theme in Ben Overnight (2005) as well as events in Ben Says Goodbye (2016)…The precisely worded text uses dialogue well while revealing Ben’s thoughts through the concise narration. The artwork expresses Ben’s emotions with finesse and captures the story’s gentle humor. A fine read-aloud choice, this Canadian picture book will have broad appeal for young children.”
—Carolyn Phelan

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Kirkus Reviews

“Ben’s fear of dogs is sensitively portrayed in a text that skillfully interweaves exposition, questions, and dialogue, with Ben’s internal musings set in italics. Amusing illustrations in watercolor and ink make effective use of heavy outlines and copious white space for a clean, contemporary look. Another successful outing in a winning series, with lots of room for more adventures for Ben and his new friends Erv and Max.”

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CM Magazine

“When new neighbours move in across the street, Ben is interested in meeting what could possibly be a new friend. But one thing is stopping him: his fear of dogs….

Kim LaFave is an illustrator with a focus of paint, pencil and digital media. His images in Ben and the Scaredy-Dog are beautiful. The feelings of fear and uneasiness are clearly depicted on Ben’s face. The illustrations, by also showing body language, add another element to the story.

Apprehension, fear and anxiety are normal feelings. A fear of dogs is common, but learning to cope with this fear is very important. Ben’s bravery is to be commended, and he provides a great example of overcoming a fear.

Every child has a fear, but how they learn to cope and deal with it is the important thing. Ben and the Scaredy-Dog will contribute greatly to story times in the library, classroom or at home. Highly Recommended.
—Courtney Crocker, Regional Librarian for Central Division with Newfoundland and Labrador Public Libraries

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Bat Citizens: Defending The Ninjas of the Night Teaching Guides

Posted on February 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

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Click Here to download the Bat Citizens Classroom Reading Guide

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night Reviews

Posted on February 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

BatCitizens_Website“This extensive introduction to the world of bats covers a wide range of topics from where they live to what they eat to how they communicate. Laidlaw debunks myths such as bats are blind and discusses threats to their survival, such as the devastating disease, white nose syndrome, and human disruption of hibernating sites….Particularly interesting are 10 profiles of ‘bat citizens’ from around the world who are helping conservations efforts…A center gate fold opens to reveal a larger-than-life hoary bat with various anatomical features labeled and explained….VERDICT Even readers who don’t actively engage in citizen science projects should gain a new appreciation of bats through this engaging overview. A good choice for most school and public library collections.”
—Kathy Piehl, Minnesota State University Library, Mankato

Read the full review in the March/April 2018 issue of School Library Journal

CM Magazine

“Because bats are a favorite topic for many young readers, there’s always room in the marketplace for another book, especially one that is comprehensive, based on the latest data, and written in an appealing, kid friendly style….

Scientific information is presented in a direct, easy to read manner throughout, with sufficient detail to answer most questions young readers might have….[B]ecause bat populations are being decimated by White Nose Syndrome, readers learn about the latest research. To help with the loss of habitat or disturbance, readers read how concerned citizens are providing bat roosting boxes, prohibiting people from entering old mines and caves, and most interesting, researching ways to protect bats from wind turbines that kill millions….Since bats have long been given a bad rap, everything in this book is aimed at dispelling the myths….

The book profiles 11 kids, starting as young as four, with life long interests in bats and ambitions to be involved in the solutions to their conservation. Arming these kids with today’s technology is resulting in new data collection. They are terrific ambassadors whose dedication to the cause will inspire readers to think about their own interests and aspirations in science fields.

The orderly layout of the book will engage readers and leave a strong impression. The main text, with large bold subheadings, occupies the centre of each double-spread, framed on each side and along the bottom with many well chosen, captioned photos and sidebars. An exciting surprise awaits mid book: a huge foldout diagram of a Hoary Bat with key body parts labelled. The same poster graces the reverse of the cover. That cover, by the way, is striking for its matte black finish with glossy silhouettes and large bat flying towards you. This is a most visually appealing book! Bat Citizens’ contents should readily satisfy the bat curious.

Highly Recommended.
—Gillian Richardson

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Kirkus Reviews

“Chock-full of bat facts and photographs, this nonfiction book for young readers makes the case for bat conservation, including challenges that face the species and possible solutions….The smaller ‘bat facts’ and ‘batty ideas’ boxed items, on the other hand, fit in nicely with surrounding photographs….[A] striking center gatefold allows readers a closer look at a hoary bat….Look to this eye-catching book to be convinced of the wonders of the bat and how they are deserving of protection.”

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Quill & Quire

“This jam-packed book of facts and fanatics is enjoyable for bat lovers and the uninitiated.”

Read the full review on page 36 of the April 2018 issue of Quill & Quire

Book Time

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night by Rob Laidlaw is an amazing book with lots of information, pictures and stories….There is also information about the variety of threats bats face, including white-nose syndrome, and humans (of course) as well as suggestions on what we can do to help our winged friends.”

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Wash On! Reviews

Posted on February 13th, 2018 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

WashOn_Website“When young Petronilla refuses to ‘wash off’ and instead decides to ‘wash on’ one day, she creates a series of hilariously chaotic events. With colors now staining anything she or her family touches, the world becomes a collage of random colors, spreading from person to person until ‘coloritis’ covers the globe….In her newest book Marineau, with the assistance of translator Woods, has delivered a delightful well-paced narrative that constantly catches readers by surprise….Gauthier has created a series of masterful mixed-media illustrations that work with the text and contain extra details that pump up the humor….VERDICT An extremely fun story for family and storytime sharing. Wash on!”
—Margaret Kennelly, iSchool at ­Urbana-Champaign, IL

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

Kirkus Reviews

“A girl alters a simple phrase and changes the world….Gauthier’s gorgeous mixed-media illustrations are quirky and angled, with an energetic combination of drawn lines, watery paint, cut paper, wood textures, and photo collage….Topsy-turvy offbeat fun.”

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CM Magazine

“Be swept away in the magic of colour as Petronilla and her family paint their home and town with every touch! Wash On! brings colour and life to a world in which Petronilla feels is too dull and boring at times….

Michèle Marineau shines the light on Petronilla who has been living in the limelight of her perfect sister. Petronilla has never felt so important – realising the power she holds to ‘wash on’ colours from one object to another. Marineau’s use of dialogue provides a voice for each character. The characters’ emotion, tone, and volume are heard and experienced through Marineau’s use of descriptive dialogue…

Manon Gauthier’s mixed-media illustrations are captivating and inventive. Her use of gouache, pencils, and paper collage provides depth and layers to each setting….

Wash On! (originally published in French as Barbouillette) will leave readers wanting to experience the remarkable transfer of colour from one object to another and paint their world with colour! Highly Recommended.
—Kelsey Sukich is a French-immersion kindergarten teacher at École Rivière-Rouge in Winnipeg, MB. She loves exploring the power and expression of colour with her kindergarteners!

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Youth Services Book Review

“Petronilla is a little girl with ‘a talent for chaos’ compared to her ‘perfect’ older sister Babette. One evening while taking a bath Petronilla says ‘Wash on!’ and instead of dirt washing off, colors wash onto her….When the abundance of colors makes it impossible to find the dog, Petronilla finally agrees to say ‘Wash off’ and things go back to normal. Children will enjoy watching young Petronilla wielding her power. The illustrations of mixed media perfectly convey the chaos of color.”
Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

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Where’s Bunny? Reviews

Posted on February 6th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

WheresBunny_Website“The sibling pair that last made Baby Cakes (2017) now walk themselves through a bedtime routine….As in the prior book, the pictures’ focus is on the children, both brown-skinned and with straight, black hair. The brown-skinned adult hands that place the toddler in the bath and then lift the tot back out make it clear that the children are being lovingly supervised, but the visual centering of the children allows for fluid reading of the text….[R]eaders may well see a newly literate older sibling reading aloud to a younger one—an empowering possibility….A nicely child-centered iteration on a common theme. (Picture book. 2-5)”

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School Library Journal

“Designed for the youngest listeners and readers, this sweet story features an older sister who helps her adorable younger brother wind down from his day and enjoy the rituals of bedtime….By using a warm color palette without strong contrasts, the watercolor-and-digital art suggests coziness, happiness, and familial love. The fluffy bathrobes and pajamas look positively snuggly….VERDICT A soothing bedtime story perfect for one-on-one sharing with babies, toddlers, and preschoolers alike.”
—Sally James, South Hillsborough Elementary School, CA

Read the full review in the March/April 2018 issue of School Library Journal

CM Magazine

“Told with sparse language, Where’s Bunny? will appeal to the very young. Its soothing pace makes it an ideal bedtime book. It includes supplementary material – a bedtime checklist and a “clean teeth” checklist….The illustrations are simple, interesting, and cheerful, with an emphasis toward the blue range of the colour spectrum. The children have happy expressions, even during times of potential strife, such as brushing teeth or saying goodnight (as any parent could attest to!). Refreshing, too, is the depiction of children of colour.

Young children are sure to be soothed by the content, pace, and illustration of Where’s Bunny?

Highly Recommended.
—Roxy Garstad is the Collections Librarian at MacEwan University in Edmonton, AB.

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Author Theo Heras and illustrator Renné Benoit’s very young brother and sister from Hat On, Hat Off and Baby Cakes have returned in a story about getting ready for bed and the routines involved with that evening ritual….

Theo Heras makes her text simple and readable for those just learning to decipher books, and it is sweetly appropriate for a concept book about bedtime routines. Many concept books tend to be flat, emphasizing only the concept in the simplest of texts. Thankfully Theo Heras does more than just assert a concept. There is a story here, one of sibling affection and a young child’s bond to his stuffed animal, that is elevated with Renné Benoit’s artwork. The children are so beautiful and angelic with their bright faces and cowlicked hair, and their surroundings are as soft and inviting to the reader as to the children. From Bunny with his carrot-topped hat and the towels and robes and bedcovers, Renné Benoit draws readers into the warmth of the children’s home and lives and asks them to stay for a bit.

Another invitation that is extended to readers comes by way of Pajama Press’s unique picture book format for the very young: a padded cover with rounded corners, and extra-heavy paper….Like the words and the art of Where’s Bunny?, the book says, ‘Hug me’ and the very young will be sure to oblige at least once before lights out.”
—Helen K

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Small Things Reviews

Posted on January 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

Booklist ★ Starred Review

SmallThings_Website“In this wordless picture book-graphic novel mashup, originally published in Australia, artist Tregonning introduces an unnamed boy grappling with corrosive anxiety….Much like the boy’s ever-transforming anxieties, panels shift from slender, compressed squares to sweeping double-page spreads. The otherworldly glow of the black-and-white palette, too, elegantly underscores the boy’s ongoing battle against darkness. More than a moving portrayal of one boy’s struggle, this is also a magnifying lens through which to identify and discuss mental illness with readers of all ages. Don’t let its title or page count fool you, Small Things’ effects are monumental.”
— Briana Shemroske

Read the full review in the April 2018 issue of Booklist

School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

“[An] incredibly moving tale…This wordless, picture book–size graphic novel is rendered in beautiful gradients of pencil. It was created by the late Tregonning and completed by Shaun Tan (The Arrival), whose own style is similarly characterized by surrealism. Cute character designs with bobble heads and circular eyes make the work pensive rather than depressing. This is a sympathetic examination of anxiety that never assigns blame; instead, the authors acknowledge the complexity of the situation and that resolutions aren’t easy….VERDICT With direction from educators, guidance counselors, or parents, this poignant title will resonate with those dealing with mental illness. A superb example of bibliotherapy.”
—Rachel Forbes, Oakville Public Library, Ont.

Read the full review in the March/April 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Foreword Reviews ★ Starred Review

“A boy struggles to fit in at a new school in this wordless story with a big message about childhood anxiety and the power of kindness and acceptance….[The illustrations] depict the insidious nature of worry…”

Read the full review in the May/June 2018 issue of Foreword Reviews

Publishers Weekly

“The late Australian artist Tregonning’s wordless graphic tale, completed posthumously with help from Shaun Tan, captures the way anxiety can ravage children’s lives….Tregonning creates a visual language for the pain of depression and anxiety, and her story may provide a measure of hope to those who might otherwise have given up in despair.”

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Kirkus Reviews

“Anxiety is more than a feeling in this visual narrative, more than the pressure of school tests, the loneliness of exclusion by classmates, or the fear of such shortcomings being discovered at home. Anxiety, represented here by ominously sharp swirls of black ink, has a visceral, visual gravitas—it grows to fill literal and figurative space as the young protagonist’s outlook progresses steadily downhill….[T]he refreshing visibility and validity of childhood pressures accompanied by the equally important realization that no one is alone in their experience of such strain balances the slight risk that readers might lose track of the narrative….A picture book that wants to be a graphic novel, and a message worthy of both.”

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CM Magazine

“Every once in a while, we are privileged with the gift of holding in our hands truly unique and emotionally riveting books which have the capacity to leave permanent footprints etched in the heart. Mel Tregonning’s Small Things is, undeniably, one of those books. While Tregonning’s untimely passing in 2014 has resulted in her being unable to physically witness the impact that her work has had on so many lives, it is safe to say that the legacy she has left behind in Small Things will continue to inspire and promote awareness for years to come….

Sadly, Tregonning was unable to see her project to its entirety, and, therefore, the final illustrations of the book were completed by renowned illustrator Shaun Tan who has forever redefined the genre of children’s literature with his creative, wordless vision and masterful life-like illustrations through such influential books as The Arrival. The similarities between Tregonning’s and Tan’s work are uncanny, and their mutual use of black and white and intricate shading techniques results in an extraordinarily realistic and haunting visual depiction of the actions and emotions of their characters. While evidently unforeseen, this chance merger of two such prolific illustrators of our time has resulted in a wordless masterpiece that, like The Arrival, effortlessly taps into the rawness of the human experience.

In Small Things, the author seems to speak to us from beyond the pages with a poignant reminder that no one is ever truly alone in their internal battles. Furthermore, Tregonning’s young protagonist acts as an example of the newfound hope and healing that can progressively emerge from confiding in others during life’s more challenging phases. Perhaps what makes this book most appealing is its relatability. Readers of all ages will be able to associate with the examples of daily stresses and worries that make us vulnerable and, at times, chip away at the soul, leaving temporary cracks for the light to escape. This beautifully depicted textless narrative which effectively honours not only the life of Tregonning, herself, but also the lives of all those who have been impacted by struggles with mental health, is a must-have, one-of-a-kind addition to every school library and home collection.

Highly Recommended.
—Christina Quintiliani is an Ontario Certified Teacher and Ph.D. Candidate at the Faculty of Education, Brock University, St. Catharines, ON., where she is researching children’s literature.

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Fab Book Reviews

Small Things is one of those tremendous reads that is an experience…Mel Tregonning’s Small Things, a wordless graphic picture book, is all at once superbly illustrated, unforgettable, extremely emotionally resonant, beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful all at once. Far too often I have had conversations with a parent or caregiver at the library who does not see merit in wordless books; an adult who tries to dissuade their child from reading a wordless picture book as ‘there are no words in it, why would you read it’. I find this crushing and a total disservice to the potent, consequential nature of wordless graphic books like Small Things….

Overall, I highly, highly recommend this title for readers young and old….An exceptional, stand-out piece that opens the way for discourse on mental health, I hope Small Things is a title that gets shared, talked about and appreciated.”

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Marmalade Books

“According to parenting and teaching educator Barbara Coloroso, childhood anxiety is an issue facing an alarming number of youth today. The subject is hit head-on in Small Things, an amazing and emotional new wordless graphic picture book for ages 8-12, by Australian artist Mel Tregonning.

I received an advance copy from the Canadian publisher Pajama Press. It immediately reminded me of Shaun Tan’s book The Arrival, published in 2007. I never forgot this migrant story. Also wordless in graphic book style, it was the perfect way for the ‘reader’ to really feel what it would be like to arrive in a foreign country, not able to speak or read the language or understand the culture….

Mel Tregonning was obviously inspired by Shaun Tan’s work and created a similar opportunity for readers to see what it would be like to walk in the shoes of a child suffering from debilitating anxiety….

This is an important book for pre-teens and young teens that deal with or know someone that deals with anxiety. A must for middle grade school libraries and would be an ideal conversation starter for classrooms.

Like The ArrivalSmall Things is also a book this bookseller won’t forget.”

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Book Time

Small Things by Mel Tregonning ($22.95, Pajama Press) is one of the most unique picture books I have read in a while….

In the afterword by Barbara Coloroso, author of Kids Are Worth It, writes ‘Mel Tregonning speaks volumes about childhood anxiety – an issue facing an alarming number of youth today.’…

Once I read that afterword, my first thought was Wow. What a powerful message with powerful illustrations.

But I wondered if my nine-year-old son would get it. When I ‘read’ it to him, I told him the black creatures were demons and we looked through the story together. I explained to him about anxiety and not letting fear get in your way of doing what you want to do. I plan to keep this book and pull it out once in a while to remind my son of what doubt, fear and negative self-talk can do. Because I think Coloroso is right – this book is a great starting pointing to help identify anxiety and ensure my son never let the demons win.”

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Woodrow at Sea Interviews

Posted on January 10th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kingston Whig Standard interview with Wallace EdwardsWoodrowAtSea_Website

All The World a Poem Teaching Guides

Posted on January 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

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Click here to download the All the World a Poem classroom reading guide

 

 

Water’s Children: Celebrating the Resource That Unites Us All Teaching Guides

Posted on January 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

waterschildren_websiteWatersChildren_ReadingGuide_Page_01Click here to download the Water’s Children classroom guide