Shape Up, Construction Trucks! Reviews

Posted on July 2nd, 2020 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

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

Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

Cover: This is My Daddy! Author-Illustrator: Mies van Hout Publisher: Pajama Press“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

Benjamin’s Blue Feet Interviews

Posted on June 22nd, 2020 by pajamapress

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

Open Book interview with author-illustrator Sue Macartney

CanLit for LittleCanadians Author Q&A with Sue Macartney

KidLit 411 interview with author-illustrator Sue Macartney

Picture Books, Eh! interview with author-illustrator Sue Macartney

Storyteller Academy interview with author-illustrator Sue Macartney

Benjamin's Blue Feet Reviews

Posted on June 22nd, 2020 by pajamapress

CanLit for LittleCanadians

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

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Kirkus Reviews

“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. (Picture book. 3-7)

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

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

Posted on June 2nd, 2020 by pajamapress


Sky of bombs, Sky of stars. Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Click here to download the Sky of Bombs, Sky of Stars teaching guide.

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

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

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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

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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.”

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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

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.

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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.”

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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

A Quiet Girl Reviews

Posted on April 28th, 2020 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: A Quiet Girl Author-Illustrator: Peter Carnavas Publisher: Pajama Press“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.”

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

Posted on March 31st, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the The Dog Patrol: Our Canine Companions and the Kids Who Protect Them teaching guide.

Queenie Quail Can't Keep Up Teaching Guides

Posted on March 31st, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up teaching guide.

Finding Lucy Teaching Guides

Posted on March 31st, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Finding Lucy teaching guide.

Lili Macaroni Teaching Guides

Posted on March 31st, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Lili Macaroni teaching guide.

Harvey Comes Home Interviews

Posted on March 20th, 2020 by pajamapress

Cover: Harvey Comes Home Author: Colleen Nelson Publisher: Pajama PressMade in Manitoba Book TV interview with Colleen Nelson

Paula Knows What to Do Teaching Guides

Posted on March 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Paula Knows What to Do teaching guide.