Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘wordless-picture-books’

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

A Starred Review for Small Things from School Library Journal!

Posted on March 1st, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_Website“[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

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

Resource Links says Woodrow at Sea is “a strong addition to any library”

Posted on February 16th, 2018 by pajamapress

WoodrowAtSea_Website“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

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

“For a story told with no words, Woodrow at Sea has much to tell” says CanLit for LittleCanadians

Posted on January 22nd, 2018 by pajamapress

WoodrowAtSea_Website“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

Publishers Weekly says Small Things “may provide a measure of hope to those who might otherwise have given up in despair”

Posted on January 19th, 2018 by pajamapress

SmallThings_Website“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

A Kirkus Starred Review for Woodrow at Sea by Wallace Edwards!

Posted on January 16th, 2018 by pajamapress

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

Woodrow at Sea “is a fun-filled tale that offers something new with each reread” says CM Magazine

Posted on January 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

WoodrowAtSea_Website“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