Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘graphic-picture-books’

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….”

Click here to read the full review

Small Things earns a Booklist Starred Review

Posted on March 1st, 2018 by pajamapress

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

Small Things “is all at once superbly illustrated, unforgettable, extremely emotionally resonant, beautiful, heartbreaking, and hopeful” says Fab Book Reviews

Posted on February 21st, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_WebsiteSmall 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

Small Things is a book that Marmalade Books “won’t forget”

Posted on February 18th, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_Website“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

Small Things “is one of the most unique books [Book Time] has read in a while”

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_WebsiteSmall 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

Kirkus Reviews praises “the refreshing visibility and validity of childhood pressures” in Small Things

Posted on February 9th, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_Website“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