Posted on March 6th, 2017 by pajamapress
“There is a lot to love about Timo’s Party. The premise and its attentive execution are particularly noteworthy. Timo is honestly anxious about hosting a party but decides to do it anyway. The story provides tools for dealing with intimidating situations (e.g., make a list of tasks) and gives tips on dealing with mild social anxiety as well as navigating social situations (e.g., ask people questions as they like to talk about themselves!). Not only does the book have some good advice, but it embeds that advice in a story that children will want to read….
The illustrations are charming and expressive. The inclusion of news articles and the party invitation are neat additions that not only add visual interest, but help to keep the reader’s attention on the story using environmental text. The presentation of gender was also refreshingly neutral for most of the book (although female characters did noticeably veer towards more traditionally feminine attire when attending the apple festival). The illustrations are placed strategically, complementing the story but not drawing attention away from it. As the reader becomes increasingly engaged with the narrative, the frequency of pictures goes down, subtly increasing the amount of text on each spread.
Timo’s Party is a thoughtful story with emotionally authentic characters….[T]his is a sweet chapter book with an empowering message. Highly Recommended.”
—Sadie Tucker is a children’s librarian with the Vancouver Public Library.
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Posted on December 28th, 2016 by pajamapress
“In this follow-up to 2015’s Timo’s Garden, Allenby again recounts a heartwarming story of friendship…
The story reads like an encyclopaedia of friendship with each good act from a friend provoking another. The warm, detailed illustrations evoke a comfortable small-town charm, sure to entice readers to visit Toadstool Corners again and again. The book also does a nice job of highlighting everyday texts within the narrative, including lists, invitations, and newspaper articles, which could prompt discussion about the importance of reading and writing in daily life. A simple apple recipe at the end of the book should inspire many readers to host apple festivals of their own.
Depicting acts of courage, selflessness, and kindness, Timo’s Party is wholly designed to support its readers’ character development. While certainly not flashy, this latest iteration of Timo and friends offers another gentle and useful tale about the power of friendship.
Thematic links: Kindness; Responsibility; Perseverance; Courage; Cooking; Friendship; Mindfulness; Social Anxiety”
Read the full review on page 1 of the December 2016 issue of Resource Links
Posted on November 7th, 2016 by pajamapress
“…Timo’s Party is an exceptional early reader for imparting an engaging life lesson. But author Victoria Allenby never preaches or instructs the reader how to live life well, or be a good friend or be brave. Instead, she swathes that message in Timo’s daily experiences, taking advantage of a true story-telling opportunity. It’s easy to see beyond the anthropomorphized animals–with their clothes, speech, and human endeavours–as just a bunch of friends whose lives the reader is pleased to share. Though not a fully-illustrated book, Dean Griffiths’s artwork helps take the reader into the friendly world of Toadstool Corners. From the plaid jacketed Timo with his subtle smile and relaxed ears, to the rose-toqued badger Rae and the bustling Hedgewick, Dean Griffiths gives life to the animals in Timo’s Party, taking them from characters to neighbours. And, let me say, we are all pleased to have been invited to this party, and look forward to more good times in Timo’s neighbourhood.”
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Posted on March 1st, 2016 by pajamapress
Despite this book’s serious subject matter—a child who needs foster care—its tone is calm and soothing. Pearson creates a rhythm by repeating the three major ways that a young rabbit named Elliot is misunderstood by a series of adult caregivers, beginning with his parents. They love him but don’t know why he cries, and they don’t know how to respond when he yells or misbehaves. Fortunately, his parents ask for help, and Thomas, clearly a social worker, places Elliot with a foster family, while his parents are taught “how to take better care of him.” This new family understands him and meets his needs. Still, Elliot enjoys his parents’ visits but is nervous when he returns to live with them. When the old problems recur, Thomas places Elliot with another foster family. The child adjusts to his new environment and is happy to be understood. His parents visit, and he wants to live with them again. Eventually, he returns to his birth parents, but the problems persist, and this time Thomas promises Elliot to find a “forever family.” This popular phrase conveys the eternal commitment that adoptive parents and siblings share with an adopted child, and Elliot’s ultimate placement with a loving “forever family” turns out to be the best resolution. Gauthier’s gouache and pencil drawings are simple but poignantly depict the range of emotions Elliot experiences. The muted colors also help reinforce the low-key, reassuring message. Pearson handles this delicate subject with an understandable, sensitive, and sympathetic text. VERDICT Recommended for libraries seeking books to help young children understand that birth parents sometimes do not how to care for them and that other caregivers must enter their lives.—School Library Journal
Posted on February 17th, 2016 by pajamapress
Elliot– a young rabbit with a tendency to cry, yell, and misbehave– moves between several homes in this story of adoption, foster care, and finding a “forever family.” Debut author Pearson never blames Elliot for his behavior (it’s unclear if he’s meant to have a developmental disorder), instead focusing on his parents’ inability to understand their son. After Elliot’s parents seek help, he is sent to live temporarily with an unfamiliar but loving family. Elliot later returns to his parents, but this proves short-lived; following a stint with a second foster family, Elliot is told that his parents could never take care of him, because they did not know how. A muted palette of gray, blue, and manila reflects the somber, uncertain mood, and Gauthier’s (“Magic Little Words”) naif-styled rabbits resemble cutout paper dolls dropped into the scenes, suggestive of the way Elliot is shuttled around. Elliot eventually finds a family that understands him, and while the book’s somewhat oblique language may require supplemental explanation from adult readers, Pearson’s refusal to sugarcoat his journey should resonate with children in similar situations.—Publishers Weekly
Click here to read the full review: http://www.publishersweekly.com/978-1-927485-85-9