Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘kidlit’

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

Click here to read the full review

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

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

Slug Days is included in A Mighty Girl‘s list of “20 Books About Autistic Mighty Girls”

Posted on April 30th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Slug Days Author: Sara LEach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press“Author Sara Leach’s experience teaching kids with ASD allows her to create a realistic portrayal of life through their eyes. This empathetic chapter book, filled with black and white illustrations on nearly every page, is perfect for sparking conversation with elementary school children about understanding and embracing differences.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm calls Wash On! “lovely” and “fun”

Posted on April 29th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Wash On! Author: Michèle Marineau Illustrator: Manon Gauthier Translator: Erin Woods Publisher: Pajama Press“This lovely tale of a young girl who finds the magical power of words while taking a bath, will delight all young readers….The fun of imagining [coloritis] happening is enhanced by the illustrations showing color moving to other objects and the confusion it causes. A fun book.”

Click here to read the full review

 

Wash On! “focuses on the joie de vivre of a world filled with colour” says CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on April 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Wash On! Author: Michèle Marineau Illustrator: Manon Gauthier Translator: Erin Woods Publisher: Pajama Press“Though most of us wash off any dirt and colours that stain our skin, a little twist of words and fate have colour splotches washing onto little Petronilla in Quebec author and translator Michèle Marineau’s newest picture book Wash On!…

Wash On! may be based on a silly situation in which colours are transferred rather than cleaned off but the story actually has several powerful messages hidden in that imaginative scenario. First, Wash On! focuses on the joie de vivre of a world filled with colour. We all need a little colour in our lives…But like anything, it is possible to have too much of a good thing, as everyone learns, including Petronilla. Once the colours explode and there is no contrast and no way to differentiate objects, that joy is lost, like the dog, in an overabundance of stain. Splashes of colour are wonderfully invigorating and therapeutic but excesses are debilitating and even harmful. Second, Governor General award-winning author Michèle Marineau recognizes the power of children in defining the world and their need to manage their own circumstances. Her family may think of Petronilla as chaotic but she seems to just want a hand in determining the life she will lead.

Michèle Marineau tells powerful stories in her native French language and this translation by Pajama Press’s Erin Woods highlights that poignancy with merriment and spirit. That same boldness is depicted with daring by Manon Gauthier’s mixed media illustrations. Manon Gauthier…continues to do amazing things with gouache, pencil and paper collage, ever different and totally wonderful.

Wash On! may say a lot about living a life in colour but it also reminds us about moderation and having control over the lives we lead. Young readers will laugh at the silliness of the family’s situation but we can all learn a lesson or two from Petronilla and her splashy world.”
—Helen K

Click here to read the full review

Ben and the Scaredy-Dog “offers a surprising perspective on overcoming one’s fears” says Resource Links Magazine

Posted on April 26th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama Press“Rating: E…Ben and the Scaredy-Dog offers a surprising perspective on overcoming one’s fears. As we see Ben be brave we also see another character overcome his own fears.

Readers of all ages will enjoy this relatable and fresh story constructed in short, effective prose….La Fave’s colourful yet airy illustrations depict diverse characters and allow for the readers’ own experiences and imagination to fill in the setting. A fun read!

Thematic Links: Fear in Children; Fear in Animals; Dogs; Animals; Friendship; Bravery; New Experiences”
—Ana Malespin

Read the full review on page 4 of the April 2018 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night is an “excellent information-packed book” says Resource Links Magazine

Posted on April 24th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night Author: Rob Laidlaw“Rating: E…Readers of any of award winning Rob Laidlaw’s previous books will agree with the description on the jacket cover of Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night “Rob Laidlaw has devoted his life to protecting animals and empowering others to do the same.” One of the ways that Rob protects animals and empowers others is by producing excellent information-packed books.

Bat Citizens combines an impressive amount of research about bats with snapshots of many ‘bat citizens’, children and young adults, helping bats world-wide. Rob states in his introduction “Bats are disappearing because of threats like habitat destruction, roost disturbance, disease, and wind turbines.” The purpose of the book is to inform readers, to think good things about bats, and to provide inspiration and advice to help bats….

This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. Each ‘Bat Citizen’ article could be a starting point for individual or group projects, such as learning mapping software to study local bat ranges, conducting experiments to understand echolocation, building bat-houses in shop class for the school, and community. Students could host a bat festival educating and encouraging others to understand bats. The world needs bats.

Thematic Links: Bats; Bat Conservation; Animal Activists; Animal Welfare”
—Laura Reilly

Read the full review on page 22 of the April 2018 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Resource Links Magazine calls Timo Goes Camping “an enchanting story”

Posted on April 23rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Timo Goes Camping Author: Victoria Allenby Illustrator: Dean GriffithsTimo Goes Camping is the newest early reader chapter book about the loveable rabbit Timo and his friends…

Each of the five characters on the camping trip has a distinctive personality: nervous Timo, smarty Suki, grumpy Bog, helpful Rae, and quiet Hedgewick. Children will relate to this cast of characters, and when the trip is complete, and the last pages of the book are read, children will understand that the camping adventure was also about courage, lessons in life, and how teasing can be hurtful. The message lends easily to opportunities for discussions about teasing, courage, teamwork, and learning from mistakes, etc. The text is refreshing, uncomplicated and the perfect font for an early chapter book.

The complementing illustrations are vibrant, delightful, and inviting….

Timo Goes Camping is a great book for beginning campers and readers who enjoy the outdoors. The story has lots of information and ideas for preparing for a camping trip. Certainly an enchanting story depicting a familiar Canadian adventure!

Thematic Links: Camping; Friendship; Kindness; Courage; Teasing”
—Carmelita Cechetto-Shea

Read the full review on page 13 of the April 2018 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Small Things is “a must-have, one-of-a-kind addition to every school library and home collection” says CM Magazine

Posted on April 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_Website“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.

Click here to read the full review