Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Reviews

Posted on March 19th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

BenScaredyDog_Shadow_Website“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.”

Click here to read the full review

Bat Citizens: Defending The Ninjas of the Night Teaching Guides

Posted on February 26th, 2018 by pajamapress


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

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

Wash On! Reviews

Posted on February 13th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

WashOn_Website“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.”

Click here to read the full review

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

Click here to read the full review

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)”

Click here to read the full review

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.

Click here to read the full review

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

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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

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

Timo Goes Camping Reviews

Posted on December 21st, 2017 by pajamapress


TimoGoesCamping_Website“A sequel to Timo’s Garden (2016) and Timo’s Party (2017), this book tells an accessible, appealing story in eight chapters of large-print text. Created with warmth and attention to detail, the illustrations will help other noncampers imagine the settings and equipment as well as the dressed animal characters. The inviting cover art will draw readers to the book.”
—Carolyn Phelan

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“Five friends embark on a camping trip in this early reader chapter book. Saucy Suki, grumpy Bogs, helpful Rae, quiet Hedgewick, and studious Timo decide—with the urging of adventurous Suki—to take a camping trip, even though none of them have gone camping before….The bold illustrations are coupled with flowing, sensory-laden prose to make a treat for the eyes and ears alike. VERDICT An enjoyable choice for elementary schools and sure to be popular with children. A great choice for a class read-aloud during Kindness Week.”
—Amanda C. Buschmann, Carroll Elementary School, Houston

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

Kirkus Reviews

“Allenby’s five woodland characters are full of personality….Griffiths’ digital illustrations depict the animals realistically but also anthropomorphize them with clothing; they walk on two legs. Vignette, single-page, and double-page artwork serves to show the friends’ emotions and illustrate the text. Beginning chapter-book readers will look for the friends’ next adventure and head to the library whenever their own skills are lacking.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“In this wonderful addition to the Timo series! Timo’s friends have decided to go camping, despite the fact that none of them have gone before….Timo Goes Camping is a great book for newly independent readers who are looking for a bit of a challenge. There is a good amount of novel vocabulary, but this is well-balanced with clear writing and supportive illustrations. There are two major themes in this story….

A lovely touch is the illustration of a table of contents. For some readers, this may be their first introduction to navigating an information book. The inclusion of some basic camping knowledge will inspire many readers to do some research of their own….

The colourful illustrations are engaging and do a good job of supporting the text. As expected with a book intended for independent readers, the pictures do not provide explicit cues as to the text’s meaning. They do, however, do a good job of bringing the story to life and drawing in the reader….Overall, Timo Goes Camping is a fun story that skillfully combines camping know-how with emotional intelligence.

Highly Recommended.
—Sadie Tucker is a children’s librarian with the Vancouver Public Library

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful chapter book is due to be released in March 2018, plenty of time before camping season here in Canada kicks in….

When the trip begins, Timo immediately finds his knowledge useful, helping tie the frying pan to Hedgewick’s pack with the knots he learned about. As the trip progresses, Timo’s knowledge continues to come in handy. There is much teasing from Suki about the mistakes made along the way, and even about Timo’s book-learning until Timo gathers the courage to discuss how teasing can hurt people’s feelings. I liked the opportunity taken for this discussion and the way it came up naturally through the plot. I liked the topic of a typical Canadian pastime such as camping.

Of course, the thing I loved most about this book was how even Suki agreed by the end that every adventure needs a librarian.

This is a good book for kids to introduce the idea of camping and some of the activities involved in such an adventure, the importance of not going into an adventure without some knowledge and preparation, and about ensuring that teasing doesn’t become hurtful. The illustrations are lovely, bringing the animals to life, along with their environment.”
—Shonna Froebel

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

Genre: animal fiction

What did you like about the book? …This is an excellent choice to display teamwork, to learn about camping and canoeing and having fun….A simple, short story perfect for beginning chapter book readers. There are bright, detailed digitally created illustrations on every page.

Anything you did not like about this book?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book? Kids who have enjoyed the previous two stories about Timo and his friends will like this in addition to those who like animal fiction.”
Katrina Yurenka, Moderator, Youth Services Book Review

Click here to read the full review

Woodrow at Sea Colouring Pages

Posted on December 19th, 2017 by pajamapress




Click here to download the Woodrow at Sea colouring page

Wash On! Teaching Guides

Posted on December 18th, 2017 by pajamapress



Click here to download the Wash On! classroom reading guide PDF

Wild One Teaching Guides

Posted on December 18th, 2017 by pajamapress



Click here to download the Wild One reading guide PDF

Woodrow at Sea Reviews

Posted on December 1st, 2017 by pajamapress

Kirkus ★ Starred Review

WoodrowAtSea_Website“Edwards’ watercolor-and-ink illustrations are deceptively simple without fancy visual angles or digital effects—but it is this simplicity that creates and supports the story’s authentic, heartfelt ingenuousness. A lively, intelligent variation of full-page illustrations, double-page spreads, and spot vignettes keeps the pace active….A story of adventure and friendship without the boundaries of words, which becomes more personal and satisfying as a consequence.”

Click here to read the full review

Quill & Quire

Woodrow at Sea is another ocean-faring adventure story, this time about an elephant and mouse on separate but strikingly similar journeys…The characters are likeable in their animation and the ‘plot’ finds just the right mix of silly and scary….With this book, [Wallace] Edwards is moving in a different direction, forgoing his rich, deep-coloured palette for one much brighter, and embracing simplicity in his drawings rather than detail and subtext….[T]aken on its own, Woodrow at Sea is a delight.”

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links Magazine

“Rating: G…This wordless book could also be called a beginning graphic novel….

This book represents a positive message of friendship, peace and harmony, which are common themes in Edwards’ work….[A] good exemplar to show children how to create a wordless book (using illustrations to tell a story) as well as a fantastic example of a book that allows for elaboration and multiple interpretations by each reader (as it has no text to direct the full narrative) and each reading and reader will see different nuances and make different connections based on their own imaginations and lived experiences. This book will be a strong addition to any library. Thematic Links: Sea Journeys; Friendship; Wordless Book”
—Erin Hansen

Read the full review on page 3 of the February 2018 issue of Resource Links Magazine

CM Magazine

“Unquestionably, there is something quite refreshing in this excitingly new creative direction which Edwards has fully embraced in this latest publication. Although almost entirely unrecognizable from his previous drawings, the illustrations in Woodrow at Sea are masterpieces in and of themselves. Through the introduction of softer hues and unembellished characters, Edwards creates a dynamic contrast between visual simplicity and a powerful, adventurous narrative….

Edwards’ exclusively visual narrative unfolds effortlessly through the clever arrangement of illustrative content on each page. The imaginative depiction of action through a combination of single, whole page drawings and unframed montage sequences smoothly guides the eye, allowing for easy comprehension and seamless transitions between events….

Woodrow at Sea is a fun-filled tale that offers something new with each reread. The wordless nature of the book will enable pre-readers to assume an active role in the storytelling process. Edwards’ journey into textless format is truly a treat for new and old fans alike. A beautiful reminder of the joy of a newfound friendship rooted in kindness, Woodrow at Sea is sure to become an instant favourite.

Highly Recommended.
—Christina Quintiliani

Click here to read the full review

Hakai Magazine

“The elephant and the mouse went to sea … and the rest of the story Woodrow at Sea is up to your interpretation of the cute and colorful watercolor illustrations in this wordless book….If you’re looking for a more interactive reading experience, try taking turns telling the story with your young reading buddy.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Not since an owl and a pussycat set off to sea have two wholly unlikely friends shared a boat on the open water. But the story of Woodrow at Sea is less love story than story of friendship and a far more poignant one than Edward Lear’s nonsense poem….

Because Woodrow at Sea is a wordless book, author-illustrator Wallace Edwards allows his illustrations to carry the story. But it really isn’t just one story. Everyone will read something different into his touching and considerate artwork….For a story told with no words, Woodrow at Sea has much to tell. And a lesson in creative thinking and visual literacy would not go amiss here.

Woodrow at Sea is truly a story about the importance of friendship and the good fortune of having a friend who has your back when seas get a little rough. It may not always be an angry ocean or a purple monster, but there’s always something that is eased with the support of a friend.”

Click here to read the full review

The Night Lion Teaching Guides

Posted on November 20th, 2017 by pajamapress

TheNightLion_WebsiteClick here to download the Reading Guide for The Night Lion