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The Library Bus Reviews

Posted on September 8th, 2020 by pajamapress

Booklist

Cover: The Library Bus Author: Bahram Rahman Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard Publisher: Pajama Press“Illustrations in warm-hued watercolors depict the buildings in the old city nestled in the mountains ‘like the embroidered scarfs in the Grand Bazaar,’ which contrasts with the dusty tents of the camp. The girls’ individualized faces and emotions will establish a bond with children everywhere as Rahman celebrates the brave and resourceful Afghani women teachers from his childhood who found creative ways to educate girls.”
—Lolly Gepson

Read the full review in the October 1, 2020 issue of Booklist

Kirkus Reviews

“Grimard’s illustrations pair well with Rahman’s words, from the sun rising over the mountains in the morning against an atmospheric sky to the dusty camp area with tents labeled UNHCR. Pari, her mom, and many girls cover their hair. In the backmatter, the author, an Afghan refugee himself now living in Canada, offers a personal message, which is accompanied by a brief note about refugee camps.

An inspiring story that conveys the power of education—paying it forward and meeting avid readers where they are.”

Click here to read the full review

Quill & Quire

“The majority of Canadian children – though shamefully not all – can take for granted the availability of books at home or in schools and local libraries. Two new picture books, both told from the perspective of children, are set in war-ravaged countries where access to books is anything but a given….The Library Bus introduces readers to the brave women in contemporary Afghanistan who run mobile schools and libraries to teach young girls and provide them with reading and writing materials….

Bahram Rahman’s The Library Bus is inspired by growing up in Afghanistan and by the children he met during visits to orphanages and camps in Kabul….

The dangers and obstacles that still exist for girls getting an education in Afghanistan are not emphasized; Rahman instead refers back to the education of Pari’s mother by her father, which had to be conducted in utter secrecy. In the afterword, the author mentions the inspiration he drew from the real-life children he met. Gabrielle Grimard’s characteristically warm style and her animated representation of Pari and the other children beautifully brings to life the vitality and potential of the girls in the book.”

Click here to read the full review

A Family for Faru Reviews

Posted on July 28th, 2020 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: A Family for Faru Author: Anitha Rao-Robinson Illustrator: Karen Patkau Publisher: Pajama Press“Fiction and nonfiction meet as a boy seeks to save an orphaned rhino….This picture book offers a colorful portrayal of a gentle rhino and a boy who cares for him and helps him survive. Readers will encounter many other animals throughout the savanna in Patkau’s illustrations, including egrets, giraffes, an ostrich, guinea fowl, and vervet monkeys. Young readers will also enjoy finding small insects, reptiles, and mammals along the journey. The backmatter offers insightful details on the poaching of rhinos, their endangered status, conservation efforts to save them, and Rao-Robinson’s story of her encounter with rhinos in South Africa that inspired the book.

A gentle story that helps children understand why wildlife conservation matters and why they should care.”

Click here to read the full review

Shape Up, Construction Trucks! Reviews

Posted on July 2nd, 2020 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

Cover: Shape Up, Construction Trucks! Author: Victoria Allenby Publisher: Pajama Press“Storytime gets a kick in the pants with this jaunty combo of shapes and vehicles….Similar in its cadences to Brown Bear, Brown Bear, What Do You See? by Eric Carle (1967), this book is ideal for construction storytimes everywhere. ‘Road roller / Road roller / Coming through! / I spy a circle— / How about you?’ Be sure to sing it to the tune of ‘Twinkle Twinkle Little Star’ if you really want to bring down the house. Activities to further engage young children are included at the end of the book.

Clear, crisp, clean, and concise—trucks and shapes have never before looked (or sounded) this good.”

Click here to read the full review

This is My Daddy! Reviews

Posted on June 22nd, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: This is My Daddy! Author-Illustrator: Mies van Hout Publisher: Pajama PressSchool Library Journal

“Conventions of gender, species, and race have all been rendered moot, making this a universal book for lapsitting young ones and their caregivers to point at and select…With the call-and-response format of “Who is my daddy?” and “This is my daddy!” this generous game will inspire noisy story hours as well as reassuring bedtime rituals.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review)4

What did you like about the book? A fun interactive story with funny animal challenges….The bright, colorful characters and playful storyline celebrate the bond of father and child. It is sure to engage young children, and support their abilities to notice details, think critically, and predict what will come….

To whom would you recommend this book? A wonderful book for fathers to share with their sons. And a great read aloud for PreK-K to build observational skills and have fun together.”
Julie Durmis, J.C. Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Click here to read the full review

Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“Mies Van Hout leads you on a dynamic visual journey in her latest contribution to the world of Board Books: This is My Daddy!

Board Books can be well, dull. Not for the kids. Children love them, if they are done correctly. But, for adults, the lessons contained in a Board Book are among the most basic of lessons and, as a child often likes to repeat them over and over, they can start to grow tiresome on the reader. This is My Daddy!, however, provides entertainment both for the child and the adult….Van Hout layers clues into her carefully crafted illustrations so that even if you are unfamiliar with the particular species, you can make an educated guess.

In trademark Van Hout style, the visuals are big, bold and bright. The artwork on the ‘reveal’ pages encompasses an entire two-page spread dominating the visual field and highlighting the father/child relationship. This is particularly important as there are so few Children’s Books on the market that reinforce the father/child bond. This is a welcomed addition.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“The contents of This Is My Daddy! are not the simple matches of the familiar kitten/cat, puppy/dog, calf/cow or piglet/pig variety….The physical book, with its padded cover and round corners, is very child safety-friendly, and the glossy cardstock paper will stand up to the manipulations of fingers just learning to turn pages….

This participation book, with its colorful illustrations, belongs in libraries serving the target age group, and it would be a good home purchase as well.

Recommended.”
—Dave Jenkinson, CM’s editor, lives in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Little ones are invited to take part in reading both the repetitive question and its accompanying answer. The question and the creature asking face a page with four choices each time. It affords growth in vocabulary, practice in reading (even for little ones), and a good deal of fun for all. Kids love interactive books, and are generally happy to read them again and again. They like the success that comes with knowing the pattern and the answer.

Each choice is made from a set of four dads. All have things in common, but only one is the Daddy. The baby rhino chooses from blue/green images of an elephant, a rhinoceros, a hippopotamus, and a crocodile. Talk can lead to the difference between a rhino and a hippo, habitat, the fact that each has four legs, etc. Once the child listener has made a decision, a turn of the page provides a full-page answer spread of father and child enjoying each other’s company.

Some of the creatures are less easily identified than others. That will lead to further learning as explanations will ensue. For the very young, it won’t be as important as it is the older toddler. Both will garner enjoyment and new learning from sharing it.

Perfect as a bright and appealing gift for a new baby, or to be included in a book basket meant to start a brand-new home library. Mies Van Hout is a talented writer and illustrator whose bold colors are distinct and appreciated by young readers.”

Click here to read the full review

Metroland

“Young children will enjoy this simple book with bright, colourful illustrations. The reader is given an illustration of a young animal and then four illustrations where one animal is the father and the reader is asked to pick the correct illustration…

This is My Daddy will keep young children entertained and features fairly durable pages, a padded cover and rounded corners.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful toddler book explores colour, shapes, and other early learning concepts….I just loved this book, for the thought that went into it and the lovely pictures. There is humour and fun throughout.”

Click here to read the full review

Benjamin’s Blue Feet Reviews

Posted on June 22nd, 2020 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: Benjamin's Blue Feet Author-illustrator: Sue Macartney Publisher: Pajama Press

“A bird learns self-acceptance in this tale with a concealed environmental message….(Editor’s note: An author’s note about ocean trash has been appended to the finished book.) Water-pollution discussion requires an extra step beyond the reading, but this a good place to start.”

Click here to read the full review

Metroland

“Nice picture book with a simple – and important – message about self image. The author has also included “A Note about Trash in the Ocean” asking young readers to help reduce waste and help protect wildlife.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4…

What did you like about the book? This is a sweet story about self-acceptance with a light and humorous feel, as well as science undertones….Benjamin and the side characters are lovable animals with big eyes and cute facial expressions. The animals are labeled on the front end-pages, making it easier for young readers to identify them in the illustrations. The texture in the illustrations, especially the water, brings different elements of the pictures to life….

To whom would you recommend this book? This would be a great class read-aloud as an introduction to a science unit about animal adaptations, how trash affects ocean animals, or the habitat of the Galapagos Islands. I would also recommend it to readers who like animals – there are lots to identify in the illustrations in addition to those in the story. Read-alike with A House for Hermit Crab (Carle).”
—Sarah Bickel, Greenlodge Elementary School, Dedham Massachusetts

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Benjamin is a blue-footed booby who lives on an island in the Galapagos and loves searching for treasure. Unfortunately, with plenty of garbage clogging the oceans, it’s not surprising that much settles on Benjamin’s island….

Author-illustrator Sue Macartney tackles a lot of big issues in Benjamin’s Blue Feet while maintaining a sweet story about a curious bird who finds novelty in junk. Like a child who finds gems among stones, Benjamin finds treasure in the garbage that washes up on shore….

Sue Macartney’s art, created with pen and ink and digital media, always places the emphasis on Benjamin’s blue feet except when the garish garbage is around. His blue feet are vibrant and still harmonious with the earthiness of his environment, unlike the incongruous junk with its artificial and discordant colours. Though Sue Macartney carries the reader to the unique environment of the Galapagos through the content of the landscape and its creatures (she also includes a double-spread of an assortment of ‘Creatures of the Galapagos’), I was especially mesmerized by her aquatic environment. She imbues her water with such hues of green and blues and textures of crinkly waves and whitecaps that the saltwater spray is almost palpable.

Benjamin may be surreal as a blue-footed booby who talks and can manipulate man-made junk, but the problem of ocean garbage and negative body image are not. They are dangerous challenges to our world and ourselves and teaching young children about them via an amiable bird reflects well on Sue Macartney and Benjamin both.”

Click here to read the full review

Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“Macartney does a magnificent job not only writing this book, but also providing warm, friendly illustrations with a kid friendly vibe; bringing comfort to young readers. The writing is very relatable to young readers in that it uses phrases that they would associate to something usually found by them. I appreciated how she used kid-related phrases when Benjamin finds treasures on the beach: ‘A string-stretch-it?’

This book is a joy to read! Self-reflection and self-worth are two crucial skills to have at any age. In the classroom, I would use this book to help my students understand what traits help make them uniquely wonderful. Good self-esteem (a good reflection), will always help you appreciate your self-worth. The book is also notable in that it helps children understand the effects of littering; another lesson in itself for young readers.”
—Tyler Stapleton, Contributor

Click here to read the full review

Mrs. Book Dragon

“I really loved the inside cover with the Galapagos creatures inside and the note at the end about waste in the oceans. I also enjoyed the unique vocabulary, like “string-stretch-it” to describe the trash Benjamin found on the beach. Finally, the overall message of finding what you are good at and embracing being different is just perfect. I love that message.”

Click here to read the full review

Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars: A Vietnamese War Orphan Finds Home Reviews

Posted on June 22nd, 2020 by pajamapress

CM Magazine

Cover: Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars: A Vietnamese War Orphan Finds Home Author: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch Publisher: Pajama PressSky of Bombs, Sky of Stars: A Vietnamese War Orphan Finds Home is literary nonfiction; that is, a true, researched, factual story which uses some of the narrative techniques of fiction writing, such as ‘showing, not telling’, description, dialogue, and interior monologue. The attractive cover, showing a girl drawn in silhouette looking at stars (or maybe explosions), and the vivid storytelling, may give some young readers the impression that the book is a novel. Reading on, the photographs of helicopters, tanks, fleeing crowds, and rows of babies in boxes in an aircraft reveal that this story has a particular historical setting. But the picture on Page 71 personalizes the story. It shows a Vietnamese girl with two parents and three younger children in a Canadian living room. The fact that Tuyet is real, not a fictional character, will make the book compelling for young readers….

The story ends with a significant incident that demonstrates Tuyet’s physical and psychological progress. The historical note, the information about polio, the list of resources and, above all, the author’s note, are very useful to readers in getting the most out of Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars. In giving young Tuyet her own unique voice and vividly presenting her joys and anxieties in a carefully structured story, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch has created an excellent work of literary nonfiction. Tuyet, she says, is her hero, and indeed Tuyet will be a hero to the young people who read this inspiring story.

Highly Recommended.”
Ruth Latta’s most recent novels are historical nonfiction, including Votes, Love and War, (Ottawa, Baico, 2019). Ruth resides in Ottawa, Ontario.

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“For young readers who have not had the privilege of reading Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch’s award-winning non-fiction books about Son Thi Anh Tuyet, a child rescued from Saigon at the end of the Vietnam War and who finds a new life in Canada, Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars offers an omnibus of the two earlier stories….

Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch consistently tells stories about young people challenged during historical times and how they rise above the adversity to make lives for themselves. Tuyet’s is such a story. She was a little girl alone, feeling her life limited to work and caring for others, never expecting much for herself. But with an airlift out of Saigon and the love of a compassionate family, Tuyet builds something new and begins to see herself as the incredible person she has always been, beyond what service she provides. Fortunately, by putting both Tuyet’s stories together in an omnibus, Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Pajama Press will help young readers get the whole story, saving them from a search for sequels or determining which book came first. Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars truly gives young readers the more complete story of a Vietnamese war orphan’s journey from hardships and horror to hope and home.”

Click here to read the full review

Band of MG Books (@bandofmgbooks)

“If you are looking for middle grade historical fiction and nonfiction, I enthusiastically recommend any book by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. When you pick up Sky Of Bombs, Sky Of Stars: A Vietnamese War Orphan Finds Home, you’ll get two fascinating and award-winning biographies in one—Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War & One Step at a Time: A Vietnamese Child Finds Her Way….

[Tuyet’s] compelling story is full of bravery and perseverance. Readers are given such an incredible window to a refugee’s experience and the obstacles they must overcome in an unfamiliar place. Tuyet shares her traumatic experiences and thoughts candidly, especially about her worries of having surgery…I enjoyed the many pictures included and was happy to put a face to the name of strong, kind Tuyet and her wonderful adoptive family.

Sky Of Bombs, Sky Of Stars will be an excellent non-fiction addition to any library.”
—Christina Ammirati

Click here to read the full review

The Haircut Reviews

Posted on May 28th, 2020 by pajamapress

CanLit for LittleCanadians

Book: The Haircut Author: Theo Heras Illustrator: Renné Benoit Publisher: Pajama Press“There’s probably a lot of trepidation with respect to haircuts right now as many barbershops and salons are closed and people are taking on the task themselves. Fortunately, most of of have a history of haircuts and know what to expect, even if we ourselves don’t know what to do. But imagine a toddler who has never had a haircut. That first haircut can generate much confusion and even distress for the unknown but Theo Heras and Renné Benoit’s newest picture book, The Haircut, will comfort any child and probably a parent or two, as a young boy is taken to the barbershop for the first time….

What a wonderful book to read with toddlers (and then get them reading for themselves) who will be experiencing their first haircut. It speaks to them, not their parents who think their hair is too long or wants it styled or thinks it’s time. It’s time because the little boy’s hair keeps falling in his eyes and gets in the way of his play. He knows it’s not convenient so they know it too.

Theo Heras, along with illustrator Renné Benoit, has taken children through a number of common childhood experiences (e.g., Hat On, Hat OffBaby Cakes; and Where’s Bunny?) in these uniquely presented books. The padded cover with rounded edges and extra-heavy pages are far nicer than board books usually aimed at the youngest of readers and are a treat to handle and to read to young children. The Haircut is similarly comforting and informing. That book cover portrait that focuses on the child and his glorious tresses and doubtful face invites the reader in, and Renné Benoit’s watercolour and digital illustrations are similarly engaging, both uncluttered and complete. Like Theo Heras’s words, Renné Benoit has illustrated The Haircut for the young child, though everyone can appreciate the book.

Whether a parent wants to help a child to prepare for that first haircut or to reminisce about that first experience, The Haircut is there for a snuggly read.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 5

What did you like about the book: A simple and charming read aloud to share with your son for his first haircut. The story is wonderfully illustrated with soft watercolors that detail the young boy’s facial expressions….The large book format with padded cover, rounded corners, and extra heavy pages will endure for it to be read over and over….

To whom would you recommend this book? A great read aloud for fathers and sons to bond over this ‘first haircut experience’ and to ease the anxiety for toddlers in going to the barbershop….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our ‘to read’ piles? Yes”
Julie Durmis, J.C. Solmonese Elementary School, Norton, MA

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“With a subtle nod to the traditional male barber shops of the past, The Haircut captures a toddler’s experience with his first haircut….

Told with simplicity in short, clipped sentences, The Haircut will be relatable to toddlers, many of whom will have some anxiety about getting their hair cut for the first time. The large book format, with padded covers and rounded corners, is perfect for little ones, and the heavy pages make it both durable and easy for toddlers to turn the pages.

Renné Benoit’s soft watercolor illustrations, rendered in muted shades of blue, tan and sienna with pops of red, add charm to the story….Recommended.
—Gail Hamilton

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“It seemed so apt to read this now just as this service is reopening in many areas after a long closure. The little boy in the story goes with his dad to get his haircut, experiencing the fun and trepidation of a first experience….

I loved the illustrations by Benoit as well. The boy is so cute and his expressions are so relatable.

A great book for any library or home collection.”

Click here to read the full review

Raincity Librarian

The Haircut is the latest baby/toddler book from the author and illustrator pairing of Theo Heras and Renne Benoit, following their adorable books Hat On, Hat Off, Baby Cakes, and Where’s Bunny?…The text is wonderfully spare – this would be a delightful pick for a baby or toddler time, where attention spans are often limited, to say the least! Heras was a children’s librarian for 24 years, and it shows in her writing – she really knows what makes for a successful book for the littlest listeners. And as always, Benoit’s illustrations are charming – everything she creates is just the sweetest!…

The Haircut has thick, sturdy, tear-resistant pages, with rounded corners and a padded cover, and will survive the attentions of the most, ahem, enthusiastic young readers.”

Click here to read the full review

Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“It is doubtful that most people remember their very first haircut. However, in the moment, it is a daunting event, and not just for the recipient of the haircut. Anything that causes anxiety or stress in our children does the same for us as parents. A haircut is one of those events that usually happens early in our children’s lives.

Heras shows how something a little scary becomes much easier with Daddy along to make it better. On their first trip to the barber shop together, not only does daddy make getting a haircut less scary, he also creates a special bond with his son….

Written for children ages 1-3, this is a cute story to share with kids that are worried about their first haircut (and it won’t hurt that mom and dad will get to read it as well).”
—Isabel Suárez

Click here to read the full review

Mrs. Book Dragon

“The first haircut, or actually most haircuts for a young child, can be a scary experience. This is a good book to share with a child who might be nervous about getting a haircut. I liked the large and simple pictures along with the short and sweet words. Finally, the facial expressions would be very helpful for a child as well.”

Click here to read the full review

Harvey Holds His Own Reviews

Posted on May 8th, 2020 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

Cover: Harvey Holds His Own Author: Colleen Nelson Illustrator: Tara Anderson Publisher: Pajama Press

“Relieved to have her spirited West Highland terrier Harvey back after he wandered away from home in the previous book, Harvey Comes Home (2019), Maggie is settling in to her new school when the seventh grade girls learn they are required to complete service hours….This sweet dog story competently explores multiple themes. As with the first book, the innate value of learning from and listening to the elderly is highlighted. Maggie develops respect and fondness for the residents of Brayside and the lives they have lived. She also experiences the shifting social dynamics of middle school, painfully learning that expanding her circle of companions can be beneficial as old friends drift away….VERDICT With the winning combination of a relatable main character and an adorable dog, this book should find a home with readers seeking a warmhearted tale of growth and connection.”
—Nancy Nadig, Penn Manor Sch. Dist., Lancaster, PA

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Characters…are lovingly developed, resulting in a deeply engaging coming-of-age story. Anderson’s soft, pencil illustrations set up each chapter.

Another fine effort that wraps up some loose ends but also explores worthy new ground.”

Click here to read the full review

Foreword Reviews

“Colleen Nelson’s heartwarming novel Harvey Holds His Own is about friendship, loyalty, and the importance of staying true to oneself, no matter the obstacles….

Harvey’s love for his people, his desire to protect his territory, and his curiosity for the world around him are authentic reflections of canine personalities. The memories that Mrs. Fradette shares are interesting for their glimpses into the past, and Maggie and Austin both navigate difficult situations with maturity and consideration for those around them.

Harvey Holds His Own is a charming novel whose important life lessons are bettered by the love of a good dog.”
—Catherine Thureson (July / August 2020)

Read the full review in the July/August 2020 issue of Foreword Reviews

YA Books Central

“What I loved: I found Maggie to be particularly compelling, and I appreciated her struggles with evolving friendships and the quest for popularity that becomes so common in middle school. Harvey’s perspective adds a cuteness to the book that will appeal to young readers who love pets. I also appreciated the members of the retirement community and the perspectives they have throughout. The residents are really special and their characters add a lot to the story. The illustrations throughout are also really great and just as cute as the image of Harvey on the cover….

Final verdict: With fantastic characters and unique perspectives, Harvey Holds His Own is a middle grade contemporary that will appeal to the preteen audience well. Great for animal lovers and middle schoolers dealing with evolving friendships.”
—Olivia Farr

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“The sequel to Harvey Comes Home is narrated in alternating chapters by Maggie, Austin, and Harvey. In a gently paced and heartfelt way, Nelson juggles three separate but intersecting story trajectories…Fans of the original and newcomers alike will relish the riveting friendship story contained within the pages of Harvey Holds His Own. Highly Recommended.”
—Kay Weisman is a former youth services librarian at West Vancouver Memorial Library.

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“Harvey is the star: a lovable, brave and resourceful little dog.”

Click here to read the full review

Band of MG Books

“I was thrilled to learn that Harvey’s story would continue after reading the award-winning Harvey Comes Home last October. Colleen Nelson’s touching and wonderfully layered sequel, Harvey Holds His Own, tells a story of change, connection, and courage….Colleen Nelson skillfully writes and brilliantly intertwines multiple, relatable themes of friendship, understanding, forgiveness, and even a bit of Winnipeg history in this engaging story combined with an irresistible, furry friend. Along with delightful, expertly shaded illustrations by Tara Anderson, Harvey Holds His Own is a heartfelt and wholly enjoyable read that will leave you with the warmest of feelings.”

Click here to read the full review

Ms. Yingling Reads

Strengths: Brayside is portrayed as a positive environment for older residents, with activities, parties, and lots of socializing. The reality of residents ailing and dying is not glossed over, but I appreciated especially that the smell of the place was described as clean and pleasant; Maggie had thought it would smell like moth balls! Harvey is a great dog, and his interactions with the residents is very touching. Maggie’s friendship with Mrs. Fradette (and Mrs. Fradette’s vintage car!) really shine in this book, and her story is much happier than Mr. Pickering’s….

What I really think: I liked this better than the first book, which had some violent moments. I liked the combination of dogs with history from senior citizens, so will probably purchase the series.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“I love how Colleen Nelson tells this story in three different voices….There is such a wonderful cast of characters in this book, especially all of the seniors at Brayside. Colleen Nelson has captured so many different personalities among the residents and has painted seniors in a way to inform young readers about all the knowledge, wisdom and life that can be learned from the older generation. She makes volunteering with the elderly seem like a huge adventure and through this story will entice readers to maybe sit down with a grandparent and learn more about life when they were younger or encourage them to pack their mandatory volunteer hours with time spent listening and sharing with those in a retirement community.

Harvey Holds His Own is such a feel good story. This story will leave the reader feeling all warm and fuzzy inside and secretly hoping for another Harvey tale.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“I really enjoyed this book, as we see Maggie grow and venture into new experiences. She shows good character, and we learn a little about Winnipeg history as well….

The drawings bring Harvey to life, and I liked how the drawing at the start of each chapter gave a hint to the story to come.

There are lots of interesting characters here, and I look forward to more books about Harvey and the people he loves.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill’s Book Blog

Rating: ★★★★★

This story was so cute…uplifting and cheery…

There are three alternating perspectives in this story. I love that parts that are from Harvey’s perspective. He spends a lot of time sniffing things and cataloguing them for later. It’s great to see this dog perspective. The two other perspectives are from Maggie’s and Austin’s points of view. Austin’s is in first person, since he was a main character in the first book and this one. Maggie didn’t have a big role in the first book, so her chapters are written from the third person point of view. It made a distinction between hers and Austin’s chapters, even though they were both main characters. However, it worked since it is a continuation of the first book.

This is a great story! It could be read as a stand-alone or as a sequel to Harvey Comes Home.”

Click here to read the full review

A Quiet Girl Reviews

Posted on April 28th, 2020 by pajamapress

School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

Cover: A Quiet Girl Author-Illustrator: Peter Carnavas Publisher: Pajama Press“A pale girl with free-flowing frizzy brown hair, Mary does not say much and when she does, she speaks quietly. She climbs trees to hang her recycled jug feeder, whispers to birds, and swings and cartwheels outdoors….Illustrations feature both full-page spreads filled with soft colors and expansive views of the outdoor world, and smaller illustrations in simultaneous succession with plenty of white space….VERDICT A quiet young girl in a noisy world, Mary shows her loud, busy family that listening allows for more to be heard. With suitable tips on the practice of mindfulness, this title will be a welcome addition to every picture book collection.”
—Ramarie Beaver, formerly at Plano P.L., TX

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“This gentle Australian import exhorts readers to listen, pay attention, and, sometimes, unplug…The delicate, sweet line illustrations present brown-haired Mary and her family with beige skin and also depict creative ideas for recycling plastic bottles. A spread with simple mindfulness tips concludes the book.

A cautionary tale about listening closely in order to discover the world’s pleasures.”

Click here to read the full review

Seattle Book Review

“We rated this book: 5/5 stars…Peter Carnavas has written a sweet story that will show youngsters that there is a lot be gained from being quiet and seeing and hearing all the beauty that is around us every day. The writing is simply lovely. His enchanting illustrations are the perfect companion to the story, with soft, soft colors and wonderful details. This is a winner. Do not miss it.”

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“The soothing artwork makes a perfect backdrop for Mary’s many discoveries. Plenty of white space keeps the focus on Mary and all that she loves in nature. Quietly beautiful, this tale offers a lesson in being mindful to all that surrounds us.”

Click here to read the full review

Sharon the Librarian

A Quiet Girl is a picture book that really resonated with me. I loved that the artwork was pastel and simple, not bright and shouting, so that it matched the personality of Mary….I think this book is a great family read, especially for those with a quiet family member or friend….I think the book can help readers understand the wonders that they might be missing, and to understand how other people might feel in a world that seems to be loud and in a hurry as a default.”

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Storywraps

“This book is an ode to quietness. Mary, a sweet little introverted girl, loves to experience that quietness. She focuses on the world around her and hears the beauty of a buzzing dragonfly, a lazy sleeping dog, and the rustling of leaves, just to name a few. She revels in and savers the minuscule things of life that she finds everywhere….

This Australian import encourages readers to practise mindfulness, disengage from the busyness of the world and be still. This enables them to listen and pay attention to the quieter things in their life. The illustrations are extremely well done and portray Mary as a very adorable little character. I highly recommend this book….Shhhhh!”

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Canadian Bookworm

“I love the illustrations in Carnavas’ books, both the way he draws nature and the quirky individualism of his human characters. But the other fantastic things about his books is the subtle, yet meaningful way in which he tackles larger issues and makes them real for kids….

The book includes a two page introduction to mindfulness at the end, giving some suggestions in how to be present in your world like Mary is in hers. I really like the last suggestion when they ask you to close your eyes and listen and identify the quietest sound that you can hear. Beautiful and simple to do and so, so satisfying.

Under the sound of my grandfather clock, the soft whish of my dehydrator in the kitchen, the hum of appliances, I can hear noises through the open window from outside, my cats’ quiet breathing as they sleep near me, and feel the breeze coming through the window.”

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The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them Reviews

Posted on February 10th, 2020 by pajamapress

Booklist

“In No Shelter Here (2012), animal advocate Laidlaw highlighted the best practices for procuring and caring for dogs. This newer informational book can serve as a stand-alone or a companion guide….Additional checklists, sidebars, and visuals help make this a fetching book for dog lovers.”
—Angela Leeper

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School Library Journal

“An emphasis on advocacy characterizes this introduction to supporting man’s best friend….The author’s obvious love of dogs and the impressive feats of the Dog Patrol will inspire young readers to take an interest in animal welfare causes.

VERDICT Dog lovers will relish the rich detail and extensive photography in this engaging guide to canine care and advocacy.”

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Kirkus Reviews

“Clear, accurate, engaging, and informative text combines with a substantial collection of high-interest color photographs, several per large page, to round out a thorough exploration of an important issue….Suggestions abound for tasks readers could actually accomplish to improve dogs’ lives. The profiles of young activists add a level of inspiration and ideas for those who want to take further steps and do more than just providing better care for their own dogs….A dog lover’s pledge, a thorough glossary, a detailed index, and a long list of useful websites round out a fine presentation.

Perfect for dog lovers and those contemplating that critical mission.”

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Midwest Book Review

“With informational sidebars, full-color photographs, a glossary and index, and a list of further resources, The Dog Patrol is an ideal instructional handbook and guide for young readers ages 8-12 who seek to improve their canine companion’s welfare at home and beyond — making it an ideal and unreservedly recommended addition to family, elementary school, middle school, and community library Pets/Wildlife collections.”

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Quill & Quire

“Welcoming a pet into your family is a serious commitment and The Dog Patrol offers a comprehensive training manual, specifically designed for kids, on responsible guardianship. Rob Laidlaw, a Silver Birch Award–winning author, biologist, and founder of the wildlife protection organization Zoocheck, expertly delivers practical advice in a calm, friendly tone….With honesty and directness, Laidlaw emphasizes the importance of due diligence: ‘The information you collect might convince you not to get a dog, but that’s okay. If you can’t meet a dog’s needs, it’s probably best to wait.’…

Laidlaw, one of Canada’s most dedicated and respected authorities on animal welfare, provides effective leadership training for young advocates in this essential resource.”

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Toronto.com

“Dogs are awesome and in his book The Dog Patrol, Rob Laidlaw provides considerable information on these incredible animals….The Dog Patrol is an excellent book for children who live with a canine, want to adopt one or want to actively make things better for these wondering beings!”

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CM Magazine

“In The Dog Patrol, Laidlaw makes sure that young readers are educated in a gentle and thorough way about canine needs. The book introduces the history of the canine and how the original gray wolf developed into hundreds of modern dog breeds, each with its own unique characteristics. It discusses how intelligent dogs are, their social needs and the wisdom of adopting a dog, particularly an older one, from a reliable shelter….

The Dog Patrol definitely belongs in elementary school classrooms or libraries…

Highly Recommended.”
—Helen Mason of Ottawa, Ontario, started her career teaching. When she was in her mid-20’s, she began a freelance writing career, has authored 38 nonfiction books, many of them for young readers, and is currently working on a young adult novel.

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Rob Laidlaw’s book The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them goes beyond the traditional information of different breeds. A well-known advocate for animals, Rob Laidlaw, wanted to not only explain how to care for dog companions but to educate readers about some of the dangers these animals can face….

This book is an excellent read for children who love animals. It will help them to better understand all of the care a companion dog needs, how to understand the signals dogs are giving humans, how to find a reputable adoption centre, and so much more. Many families may not be able to have a dog due to allergies or space restrictions, but they can still be a dog advocate like some of the children in the Dog Patrol profiles highlighted in the book. I am sure Rob Laidlaw’s The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them will inspire readers to support animals in need in their own communities.”
—Elizabeth Cook is a teacher-librarian in the Halton District School Board. She is an avid reader and fan of Canadian literature

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Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review) 4

What did you like about the book? The Dog Patrol functions as both a how-to manual on taking care of a dog and a celebration of kids who have made significant efforts to protect and help dogs. Information is also included about the history of dogs and humans. The book is filled with attractive color photographs with clear captions. Tips include options for adopting a dog, how to find a lost dog, how to protect your dogs’ paws and more….Readers can easily browse through the book or read it cover to cover. Includes a glossary, index and photo credits. This is an excellent resource for anyone thinking about getting a dog, as well as for those who already have dogs. Highly recommended.”
—Laura Gardner, Dartmouth Middle School, Dartmouth, MA

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Christina Ammirati

“Filled with irresistible full-color photos, interesting facts, and expert advice, award-winning author Rob Laidlaw’s latest is a must-have handbook for the middle grade dog lover. The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them, goes beyond the basic necessities about caring for dogs and educates readers on how to enhance the quality of life for their four-legged friends.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Rob Laidlaw is a champion for all animals. Those who have read his informative earlier titles will be as inspired by this book as they have with the others. Many, many families are already proud owners of a canine pet. If you want the kids to take responsibility for that puppy they so wanted, this book will provide a clear guide for dog ownership….

The writing is conversational, stated clearly and appealing from start to finish. The photos and design invite careful attention to content. The profiles he shares in the Dog Patrol sections are inspiring and informative, always with the focus being on the best possible ways to ensure a happy, productive life for the dogs in our care.”

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Fab Book Reviews

“Rob Laidlaw is the award-winning children’s non-fiction author, activist and biologist, behind Bat Citizens: Defending the Ninjas of the Night, and 5 Elephants. This latest non-fiction title for kids, The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them, is perfect-for-dog-lovers and canine advocates….For kids or young teens wondering if they can or how they might be able to get involved in canine welfare causes, The Dog Patrol is a great starting point to motivate and encourage further research. The book is comprehensive without being overwhelming…Just from reading Laidlaw’s Preface and Introduction, readers get a sense of how deeply important canine (and general animal) advocacy is to the author’s heart: this hopeful and easy-to-digest informative tone carries through the course of the book, making The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them a fantastic and vital up-to-date resource for children’s non-fiction collections and dog enthusiasts alike.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“This lovely book celebrates dogs and kids from around the world who work on their behalf. The author is an animal activist and biologist who has several dog companions of his own. I really liked the term companion rather than pet for these domesticated animals….This is a great book for dog lovers of all ages!”

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