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.”

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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.”

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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? 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.”

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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

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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.”

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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.”

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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

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

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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.”

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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.”

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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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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.”

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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

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

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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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Winnipeg Free Press

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

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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.”

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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.

The Elephant Teaching Guides

Posted on March 16th, 2020 by pajamapress

Click here to download the teaching guide for The Elephant.

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

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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.”

Click here to read the full review

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!”

Click here to read the full review

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.

Click here to read the full review

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

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? 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

Click here to read the full review

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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Music for Tigers Reviews

Posted on February 10th, 2020 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

Cover: Music for Tigers Author: Michelle Kadarusman Publisher: Pajama Press“Kadarusman masterfully creates a lush, magical world where issues associated with conservation, neurodiversity, and history intersect in surprising and authentic ways….Crucially, the author acknowledges the original, Indigenous inhabitants of the land as experts, something rarely seen in books about environmental degradation. Louisa’s narratorial voice strikes the right balance of curiosity, timidity, and growing confidence, and her character’s transformation feels both incredibly natural and incredibly rewarding to behold.

A beautiful conservation story told in a rich setting and peopled with memorable characters.”

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Shelf Awareness ★ Starred Review

“The magic and mystery of the Tasmanian rain forest take center stage in Michelle Kadarusman’s novel about a middle-grade Canadian girl finding herself—and a species believed to be extinct—in the wilds of Australia. Incorporating themes of diversity and environmental preservation into her adventure, Kadarusman (Girl of the Southern Sea) creates a story straight out of adolescent daydreams….

As Louisa discovers a new, exciting side of herself, Kadarusman guides readers through the majestic intricacies of a remote corner of Australia. She pays homage to the Australian Aborigines, granting deep respect to their role as caretakers of the Tasmanian rain forest, and paints her characters as respectfully and authentically as the setting. The friendship that evolves between Louisa and Colin, who is on the autism spectrum, adds a layer of complexity to Louisa’s character as well as to the plot itself. Compassionate and endearing, Music for Tigers hits all the right notes.”
—Jen Forbus, freelancer

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Foreword Reviews ★ Starred Review

“The wilds of Tasmania are described with tangible reverence, making clear the drive which the characters have for preserving it….Descriptions of the ‘pastel-blue sky’ and twinkling constellations are enchanting, while Louisa’s growing attention to the natural beauty around her mirrors her increasing commitment to the camp and its mission….

A stirring tale that will inspire young readers to take to heart our collective responsibility as stewards of the planet, Music for Tigers is a coming-of-age story with a conservation twist.”
—Danielle Ballantyne

Read the full review in the May/June 2020 issue of Foreword Reviews

Quill & Quire ★ Starred Review

“In her third outstanding middle-grade novel – after Theory of Hummingbirds and Girl of the Southern Sea – Kadarusman continues to be a clear, insightful, and humourous guide to unfamiliar experiences and settings, and in this case species. She’s unearthed the fascinating history of an extinct animal and entwined it with a heartfelt story of a dedicated family whose good deeds have run up against the ever-encroaching, commerce-driven modern world. The dire ecological realities are spelled out by a secondary character, who gives eco-tours and discusses the ways we can protect and respect the rainforest and its original inhabitants, both human and animal.

But Kadarusman is not out to tell a didactic activist story. She’s concerned with character development: how Louisa shifts from her one-track musical mindedness to being engaged with the unique and passionate work that’s so meaningful to those around her, and how Ruff, a dedicated and accomplished vet, eventually comes to understand there’s more to life than marsupials. With a light touch, Kadarusman presents a family coming to an end of a chapter and instead of fighting the inevitable, using this last bit of time to strengthen their connections to one another before starting fresh.”

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Washington Post KidsPost

“Imagine wanting to focus on a favorite pastime during your middle-school summer vacation, but instead you are sent 10,000 miles away from home….

Throughout Music for Tigers, Kadarusman provides interesting information about Tasmania’s Tarkine rainforest, its original human inhabitants and the variety of wildlife that has lived there, before and after European settlers destroyed a way of life. Absorbing what she can of this world, Louisa faces challenges and lets new experiences change her. As she says at one point, “I hardly recognize myself. And I like it.”

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Booklist

“Author Michelle Kadarusman deftly incorporates Australian history into this middle-grade book that reads like a love letter to the unique flora and fauna of the Tasmanian Tarkine. The author’s note at the end gives more historical information about the Tasmanian tiger and efforts to preserve other endangered species. Music for Tigers is perfect for young readers interested in ecology and preservation.”
—Bridget Ward

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School Library Journal

“This is a well-told and timely story, which gently but firmly addresses topics such as environmental impact, endangered species, neurodiversity, friendship, bullying, and being your best self….short chapters and narrative style make a fantastic amount of information highly accessible.

VERDICT A solid choice for middle grade collections providing a balanced and comprehensible voice to the environmental discussion for young people.”
—Emily Beasley, Omaha Public School

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Winnipeg Free Press

“In Music for Tigers Toronto writer Michelle Kadarusman suggests how a single tiger might have survived, and created an incredible experience for a girl from Canada….Kadarusman grew up in Australia and undoubtedly has heard rumours of modern-day sightings of this elusive creature. It makes for a good story in an unusual setting. Written for readers 8-12 years of age, especially animal lovers.”

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Oregon Coast Youth Book Preview Center

“Verdict: Students who enjoy nature stories, especially those who are interested in cryptid species, will enjoy this book. The idea that a large extinct predator species might actually be found is exciting….This character and setting driven plot appeals on many levels and introduces a setting not well represented in children’s books in the United States. I recommend it for middle school and public libraries.”
—Jane Cothron

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CM Magazine

Music for Tigers seamlessly blends several themes together to create a unique story. The most obvious theme of wildlife conservation is beautifully executed with important messages that we, as humans, can often do more harm than good, even when we try to help….

Another important theme in the novel is that of mental health and personal growth. Both Louisa and Colin are neurodivergent children who have to deal with real life implications of their mental health….

Kadarusman’s novel also provides an uncommon but insightful blending of science and art. Louisa feels at the beginning of the novel that her parents wish she was more interested in biology like them. She feels that they can’t understand her passion for her music because the two things are polar opposites. However, she finds through Eleanor’s journals that the two things can be used together for a very good purpose. Louisa learns that her music can be used along with her parents’ biology to help the animals she’s come to love.

Michelle Kadarusman’s, Music for Tigers is a fun, engaging read for middle grade children, one that will appeal to many different readers because of its diverse themes and subjects. Louisa’s relationships with Colin and Rufus are delightful to read, and the novel covers important topics with delicacy and grace. Music for Tigers is a heartwarming story of personal growth and friendship that will draw readers in with its charm.

Highly Recommended.”
—Deanna Feuer is an English Literature graduate from the University of the Fraser Valley. She lives in Langley British Columbia.

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CanLit for LittleCanadians

Art is born of the observation and investigation of nature. (Cicero)

There is art within the pages of Music for Tigers. It’s the art that comes from seeing and hearing and knowing a place and its people. Just as she did in her earlier books, The Theory of Hummingbirds (2017) and Girl of the Southern Sea (2019), Michelle Kadarusman delivers us with her art, this time to the island of Tasmania, a land rich with stories, of history, of landscape and of life….

Music for Tigers is a statement, albeit a songful one, of our impact on the natural world for our own purposes, destroying critical habitats and species. It implores us to step up and put conservation and preservation measures in place before it’s too late, when even the music of our efforts won’t be enough to save ecosystems and their species.

With Music for Tigers, Michelle Kadarusman reminds us, again, that being human requires much of us but the dividends from benevolence to others, human and not, may be unforeseen but boundless.”

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Elizabeth CookCanLit for LittleCanadians guest reviewer

“As an avid traveller, I love stories that help me relive fabulous trips I have taken in the past. While I never made it all the way to Tasmania when adventuring around Australia, where Michelle Kadarusman’s Music For Tigers takes place, I felt as though I had. Her description of the Tasmanian rainforest is breathtaking. Michelle Kadarusman weaves her words in such a way that makes the world down under come alive. The best way I can describe it is that she not only created a beautiful story, it felt like she created a melody with her words. I could feel the rhythm and cadence of the eucalyptus trees and all of the animals contained on the island of Tasmania….

Michelle Kadarusman’s Music For Tigers is a beautiful novel that is a captivating read. It weaves in themes of animal stewardship, environmental protection, family, and friendship into one heartwarming book. This novel would be an excellent read for adults as well as students in Grades 4 and up. If you love protecting animals in their natural environment, you will love this book…just be sure to watch out for those bunyips!”
—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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Christina Ammirati

“This captivating story is full of heart, hope, music, and science. Louisa’s many new relationships evolve so beautifully and I especially adored her interactions with Colin, who has autism spectrum disorder. Kirkus starred reviewed, MUSIC FOR TIGERS is a special coming-of-age story that pays homage to Tasmanian aboriginal people, nature, and the magnificent beings with whom we share the earth.”

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Book Gaga

“Kadarusman weaves beautifully themes and issues such as environmental fragility and protection, understanding and respecting neurodiversity differences, reverence for family and history and more into an engaging and at times suspenseful storyline….Michelle Kadarusman orchestrates it all with compassion and storytelling verve. Music For Tigers is uniquely good and genuine, truly ‘fair dinkum’…!”

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Homeschool by the Beach

“There is nothing better than getting so entranced by a book that you are able to finish it in one day. Music For Tigers completely captivated me from the very first pages. It was full of lovely and diverse characters, adventure, mystery, messages of conservation, and so much heart! A truly beautiful combination!…

I absolutely adored this book. Author Michelle Kadarusman is a beautiful storyteller. This was the first book I have read of hers and I am eager to read more. She transported me to the wilds of Tasmania…I could almost see the ginormous spiders!! I love that she tackled so many important topics in the pages of this book. Topics like species extinction, environmentalism, neurodiversity, and anxiety are woven beautifully throughout the pages.

The relationships in the story were so beautiful. Being able to watch the bond grown between Louisa and Uncle Ruff was so heartwarming. I also loved seeing such a special friendship build between Louisa and Colin. It is such a breath of fresh air to read a book with characters that are so relatable and so real. I also absolutely loved the strong message of conservationism!”

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