Posted on August 3rd, 2017 by pajamapress
“Orr tells her tale in both narrative poetry and prose for an effect that is both fanciful and urgent, drawing a rich fantasy landscape filled with people and creatures worthy of knowing. An introductory note describes Orr’s inspiration in the legend of the Minotaur, but her story is no retelling but a meditation on rejection and acceptance, on determination and self-determination. The shifts between poetry and prose build tension just as surely as the bull dances do. As mesmerizing as a mermaid’s kiss, the story dances with emotion, fire, and promise. (Fantasy. 10-14)”
Click here to read the full review
Posted on July 4th, 2017 by pajamapress
“Irrepressible Princess Pistachio is back in all her enthusiastic glory….Gay’s easy, breezy syntax is wonderfully descriptive even as it skillfully addresses life lessons about friendship, self-involvement, and forgiveness. The cast of characters is eccentric and diverse, and teacher Mr. Grumblebrain’s name is wonderfully inventive. Ink, watercolor, and colored pencil illustrations are full of life and humor, perfectly complementing the action. Breathless, laugh-out-loud fun. (Early reader. 4-8)”
Click here to read the full review
Posted on February 13th, 2017 by pajamapress
“…The two strangers form an almost-instant friendship; the man buys the boy a tart, which they share as the weather magically turns from grey rain to bright yellow sunshine, through which the two soar happily.
Buquet’s prose, translated into English by Erin Woods, consists of rhyming couplets, most of which fit together and flow with satisfying precision…..
…Under the Umbrella is as sweet and lovingly constructed as the brightest treat in a bakery window.”
Read the full review on page 29 of the March 2017 issue of Quill & Quire
Posted on December 27th, 2016 by pajamapress
“With the arrival of Syrian refugee families in many Canadian communities, parents and children alike are charged with trying to understand the harsh experiences these new classmates and neighbours have undergone. The compassionate and beautiful new picture book from Oakville, Ontario, illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo – the first for which she has created both pictures and text – imagines a Syrian child and his family driven by war into a refugee camp.
While the others settle into the new realities of life in the camp, sensitive Sami is unable to recover, expressing his trauma through grief for the pet pigeons he had to leave behind. He tries to paint a picture of his pigeons, but covers their coloured feathers with smears of black, then tears the painting to pieces. When four wild birds fly into the camp and respond to Sami’s attention, they break through the little boy’s isolation and misery. By the end of the book, Sami has reconnected with life, and is even able to reach out to help a new child arriving at the camp.
Del Rizzo bases her story on an account from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan of a child finding solace in some wild birds there. She wisely focuses on what Sami sees and feels without trying to explain too much of the context, relying instead on her visuals to provide this information. The first images of the sky over his former home, glowing with flames and explosions, give way to the beauty of the desert skyscapes in which Sami sees the colourful plumage of his beloved birds. These skillful and imaginative illustrations – created with Plasticine, polymer clay, and other media – give a sense of dimension, which is enhanced by striking and unusual perspectives. My Beautiful Birds is a lovely, timely book.”
Read the full review on page 43 of the January/February 2017 issue of Quill & Quire
Posted on June 10th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Wicked smart pacing and playful art tell the tale of a pirate too doggone loyal for her own good. Capt. Barnacle Garrick may be the scurviest cur (literally—he’s a springer spaniel) to sail the seven seas, but his blue-eyed daughter Augusta is kind, considerate, and caring. In short, she’s a very bad pirate indeed. Disgusted—she’s more inclined to tuck her bunkmates in than to commit basic forms of piracy—her father admonishes her to “be saucy…bold….But most important, me sea pup, yez gots to be SELFISH!” Augusta tries by purloining a fellow shipmate’s peg leg, but when a squall and a torn mainsail mean almost certain sinking, the feisty sea pup teaches her father and his crew that sometimes it pays to be saucy, bold, and selfless. In a story so packed with piratical jargon and growls that even the most staid and sorry landlubbers will become salty dogs while reading it, it’s Griffiths’ art that takes the wave-swept narrative to another level. Augusta’s charm goes far, and each breed of canine is rendered with a loving hand. Even more delightful are the tiny details. From Augusta’s surreptitious carving of a new peg leg to Garrick’s battles with uniformed mice in an early vignette, young readers will see something new with each turn of the page. Arrrrguably the best piratical dogfight you’ll ever sink your teeth into. (Picture book. 4-6)”
Posted on June 6th, 2015 by pajamapress
Princess Pistachio Shoelace’s summer vacation is not starting out on a high note. She has big plans to meet with her friends to search for treasure. But her mother insists that she must take her little sister, Penny, to the park. Penny is delighted, but Pistachio is definitely feeling put-upon. Penny, dressed in a bunny hat and a cape and perched in a wagon filled with toys and the dog, exhorts Pistachio to “giddy up.” The day goes from bad to worse, as Penny manages to cause a great deal of trouble, especially when Pistachio has momentary lapses of attention. Penny sneaks fruit from the grocer, Mr. Pomodoro, and Pistachio is blamed. Penny climbs a wall and falls off, into the garden of Mrs. Oldtooth, the neighborhood witch. When Penny swims in the park fountain and pulls out some coins, Pistachio is blamed again. It has been a decidedly unroyal day, and her frustration is compounded by their mother’s clueless reaction. In four breathless, fast-paced chapters, Gay once again weaves a frantically funny tale with deliciously named characters, while subtly recognizing some underlying concerns regarding sibling responsibility and difficulties with adult-child communication. Descriptive and age-appropriate language flows naturally and is in perfect tandem with the brightly hued illustrations that depict redheaded, freckle-faced Pistachio’s every changing emotion. Young readers will cheer for her. Long live Princess Pistachio. (Early reader. 4-8)
Posted on November 11th, 2014 by pajamapress
“…The skillful combination of text and illustrations addresses many serious concerns of early childhood—and even of parenthood—without straying from the book’s tone of fun and frivolity. (Among the issues so adeptly addressed are adoption, sibling relationships, classmate rejection and a missing child.) The characters are pen-and-ink creations tinted with bright watercolors; Pistachio’s russet braid and freckled face are reminiscent of Pippi Longstocking and the author’s own Stella. Playful names (Pistachio’s teacher is Mrs. Trumpethead) add to the fun. A playful and entertaining take on children’s perennial questions surrounding ideas of personhood, family and community. (Early reader. 4-8)”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on February 1st, 2013 by pajamapress
“…On each spread, a few lines of spare text carry the story in a predictable pattern, a pleasure to read aloud. Page by page, verbs describe Kato’s experience as he wakes, skips, races, treks, fills, hauls, dawdles, hurries, runs, kneels, weaves, gives and dances.
Expertly crafted, Fullerton’s first picture book reminds readers of the pleasure of small things. (Picture book. 5-9)”
Click here to read the full review.