Pajama Press

Archive for December, 2015

School Library Journal reviews Once Upon a Line

Posted on December 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_500px“The cover asks, ‘Where do stories come from? How do ideas begin?’ and the title answers, ‘Once upon a line.’ The book begins with a Harris Burdick–like framing device describing a folder of pictures found inside an old steamer trunk. Readers are invited to take the paintings and a humorous beginning line to develop original stories. Unlike Van Allsburg’s mysterious, moody illustrations, Edwards’s are more fanciful. Rendered in watercolor, pencil, and gouache, most of the pictures depict animals in strange situations. Many of the images are visual jokes, such as a chicken chasing an egg with legs, accompanied by the text ‘Once upon a line, there was a great race. No one knew who would come first until the fluffy one began to….’ Each full-page illustration is boxed by a white border on three, not four, sides, leaving even the pictures open-ended. By themselves, the funny pictures will amuse readers; going further, the situations should inspire creative writing. Edwards adds a puzzle element by hiding the same drawn line in each picture. An answer key is included at the end of the book….”

Kirkus Reviews praises Ben Says Goodbye

Posted on December 17th, 2015 by pajamapress

Ben Says Goodbye | Sarah Ellis & Kim La Fave | Pajama Press“Little Ben’s best friend, Peter, is moving away, and Ben is heartbroken. The only way he can deal with his sadness is by moving himself—not away, however, but to an imaginary cave under the table. Caveboy Ben eats with his fingers, plays with rocks, and protects himself with a club and a stick. He communicates mostly nonverbally, using “Guh” for everything. In the safety of his cave, he expresses his loss in an imaginative series of drawings depicting the two best buddies having fun and doing all kinds of boy stuff. The drawings become increasingly complex, showing the two friends tunneling toward each other through an underground world of subways, ancient cities, and buried treasure. The center of the Earth is, of course, the perfect place for a barbecue, so the boys roast chili dogs and hang out in Ben’s cave drawings. The spell is broken when Ben smells popcorn, returning somewhat grudgingly to his long-suffering family. In a reversal of the opening scene, movers arrive at Peter’s old house, bringing boxes and a scooter that clearly belongs to someone Ben’s age, perhaps a new friend. The upbeat, cartoon-style drawings, thickly outlined with an effect that looks like charcoal, neatly complement the simple, declarative text. Any young child who has experienced the loss of a close friend will find this story resonant.”

Ben Says Goodbye “a useful and pitch-perfect story,” says Quill & Quire

Posted on December 14th, 2015 by pajamapress

Ben Says Goodbye | Sarah Ellis & Kim La Fave | Pajama Press“Veteran children’s author (and Q&Q contributing editor) Sarah Ellis adds another title to her Ben series of picture books (produced in collaboration with illustrator Kim La Fave). This touching, realistically told story of a little boy dealing with the hardship of his best friend moving away is a rarity in a kidlit landscape littered with animals and imaginary beings. La Fave’s colourful illustrations are warm and accessible, adding another comforting element to a useful and pitch-perfect story that allows kids to see hope in a bleak situation.”

Elephant Journey a 49th Shelf Favourite Picture Book of 2015

Posted on December 14th, 2015 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Internet“This book captures the real-life journey of three elephants from the Toronto Zoo to their new home at an animal sanctuary in California, the story also framing the difficulties of wild animals in captivity and our changing understanding of zoos and their purposes. From acclimatizing the elephants to their travel crates, to transporting the crates by crane onto transport trucks, and then those transport trucks’ long, winding journey across the continent (which includes the drivers dousing the wheels with water as the brakes start to overheat while they’re climbing up and down mountains in Utah and Nevada), Laidlaw’s words and Deines’ illustrations work perfectly together to bring this tale to life.”

Click here to read the full post.

Seven Metroland Media outlets recommend Elephant Journey

Posted on December 14th, 2015 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Internet“A heartwarming nature adventure for children, Elephant Journey: The True Story of Three Zoo Elephants and their Rescue from Captivity chronicles the steps in relocating the last three surviving elephants at the Toronto Zoo to their more appropriate home at the Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in California.

Rob Laidlaw, author and founder of Zoocheck, has written an entertaining account of this journey for young children where he shows how the less than an acre enclosure, with Canadian winters, was nothing like the native African home the animals should be enjoying.

After considerable work and effort by many people, the three elephants—Toka, Thika and Iringa—were transported to a much more suitable and healthier place. The PAWS sanctuary boasts “eighty acres of natural land” where the animals can explore “hills, trees, streams, and grasslands” compared to the “barely one acre of mostly barren ground” in Toronto the animals were forced to endure for years.

At the end of the inspirational story the author has included information about elephants and the dramatic events that resulted in their rescue and better life at the PAWS sanctuary.

Complemented with excellent illustrations by Brian Deines and photographs, Elephant Journey is an important book, with an important message, that parents, teachers and other educators would be wise to share with their children.”

This review was published in:

Inside Halton
Our Windsor
MuskokaRegion.com
DurhamRegion.com
NorthBayNipissing.com
ParrySound.com
Simcoe.com

Elephant Journey is an important book.”—CM Magazine

Posted on December 14th, 2015 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Internet“…Elephant Journey is an important book. For those who grew up with the elephants at the zoo, for those who only visited Toko, Thika, and Iringa once or twice, or for those who have never had (and may never have) a chance to experience the elephant exhibit in Toronto, this book is a worthwhile read. It’s a positive look at the decisions made by activists in both Canada and the US to help the elephants live a happier and healthier life, and it’s an fascinating look at the incredible journey the elephants made to reach their new home in California.

Highly Recommended.”

Click here to read the full review.

Elephant Journey “An appealing animal-rescue book”—Booklist

Posted on December 14th, 2015 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Internet“Toka, Iringa, and Thika, three female elephants at the Toronto Zoo, showed signs of illness, people became concerned about their living in a cold climate with so little room to roam. In a clearly written narrative, Laidlaw explains how the three elephants were moved from the zoo to an animal sanctuary in California. Led into crates that were loaded onto a flatbed trailer, the elephants made the long journey west, where they were greeted by other elephants and released onto an 80-acre preserve of grasslands with hills, trees, and streams. Based on photos of the elephants’ journey, Deines’ oil paintings illustrate the text very effectively. An animal-rights activist and the author of children’s books such as Saving Lives and Changing Hearts: Animal Sanctuaries and Rescue Centers (2013) and Wild Animals in Captivity (2008), Laidlaw mentions his personal involvement in the project in the four-page appended section. Illustrated with color photos, this section comments on elephants in general as well as the facts behind the narrative. An appealing animal-rescue book.”

— Carolyn Phelan

Click here to read the review on BooklistOnline.com