Giraffe and Bird Together Again Reviews

Posted on August 14th, 2018 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“A strength of this title is the action verbs and rich vocabulary that is introduced….The text and illustrations also work well together….This title lends itself to discussion about friendship and being open to try new things. VERDICT A strong choice for a preschool storytime or a one-on-one sharing.”
–Robin Sofge, Prince William Public Library System, VA

Click here to read the full review

Booklist

“Bender’s language is lively and poetic: Giraffe gazes and grazes, Bird swoops and soars and explores. Her illustrations focus on Giraffe’s very expressive face, which often dominates his orange-and-brown-colored pages, while Bird, when not displayed in full glory on his blue-tinged ones, is just a feather or two, leading Giraffe on his quest. More than one rescue is needed here, which adds to the tale’s tension. Savor for the warmth of the illustrations, the fun, and the read-aloud possibilities.”
— Edie Ching

Click here for the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“The zany odd couple is back again in an exciting new adventure….Bender’s sharp wit, onomatopoeic language, and cartoon-style illustrations capture Giraffe’s exasperation, determination, and terror and, above all, the joy of his reunion with his best friend—right before they get themselves into more trouble! Bender includes a map of the locations Giraffe visits in his odyssey; inset pictures of the new animals in this book, a bush baby and an ibex, along with their Latin, scientific names offer bonus STEM material.

May this series continue with more humorous adventures that teach, ever so gently, that best friends have to let each other roam—because the reunion is that much sweeter. A sequel that delivers; may Bird soon have his own starring role in an upcoming story.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Bender’s acrylic and coloured pencil artwork is an essential part of the book’s success, and, as in the previous Giraffe and Bird books, the illustrations’ contents not only reflect the characters’ emotions but add to the book’s written text….

Bender provides foreshadowing to the contents of Giraffe and Bird Together Again via a map that occupies part of the copyright page and its facing page. There, young readers can see the route that Giraffe will follow in his quest to find Bird as well as learn the names of the two other African animals that will make cameo experiences in Bender’s illustrations.

Like the earlier two books in the series, Giraffe and Bird Together Again offers subtle lessons in the dimensions of friendship.

Grade One children all across Canada will encounter these two animal friends this autumn as Giraffe and Bird has been chosen as the 2018 TD Grade One Book Giveaway selection.

Highly Recommended.”
—Dave Jenkinson

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

Rating: 1-5 (5 is an excellent or a Starred review5

What did you like about the book? Beautiful illustrations with acrylic and colored pencil. A fun lively sequel to Giraffe and Bird. A story of friendship and trying new things. An unlikely pairing- Giraffe likes routine and Bird likes adventure….A wonderful map at the beginning of the book depicts the route Giraffe takes to find Bird and the animals he encounters along the way….

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

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“One of the best elements of Giraffe and Bird Together Again is the artwork. Rebecca Bender’s use of colour to place the reader in the forest, on the mountain and looking out over the plain is extraordinary. It’s warm and rich in tone and evocative of a setting many of us in Canada will never experience. But, of course, it’s her characters that draw the reader back every time. Generally using only body language and eyes, Rebecca Bender lets the reader see what Giraffe and Bird are thinking and feeling. Frustration, joy, distress and relief are all there in those few elements. It’s impossible not to fall in love with Giraffe and Bird. Moreover with details like Bird hiding under a traditional Canadian work sock or Giraffe in knee pads and helmet or the weird assortment of detritus lodged in the quicksand, kids will seek and find and laugh.

Rebecca Bender’s Giraffe and Bird was recently honoured as the selection for the 2018 TD Grade 1 Book Giveaway. That means every child in Grade 1 in Canada should have received their own copy of that special first book (unless their school board sadly opted out of the program). The enduring affection between these two unlikely friends continues to endear them to young children, perhaps seeing something of themselves in Giraffe or Bird. Whether sensitive to teasing, or homebody or adventurer, there is something of everyone in these two characters, and we’re so glad that Giraffe and Bird are together again.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful picture book is part of a series featuring Giraffe and Bird as companions in various escapades and situations….Each new place pictures an animal from that environment interacting with Giraffe in some way, giving ideas for discussion when reading. The map at the front of the book names these animals for the reader, and shows the distance that Giraffe had to follow to find Bird.

The illustrations are great, and I loved how Giraffe and Bird supported each other.”

Click here to read the full review

A Good Trade Teaching Guide

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the A Good Trade reading guide

When Emily Carr Met Woo Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the When Emily Carr Met Woo teaching guide

Two Times a Traitor Teaching Guide

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Two Times a Traitor reading guide

The Theory of Hummingbirds Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Theory of Hummingbirds reading guide

Slug Days Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Slug Days Author: Sara LEach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

Click here to download the Slug Days reading guide

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World reading guide

Once Upon a Line Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Once Upon a Line reading guide

Next Round: A Young Athlete’s Journey to Gold Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Next Round reading guide

Dragonfly Song Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Dragonfly Song reading guide

Dance of the Banished Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Dance of the Banished reading guide

A Bear in War Teaching Guides

Posted on August 8th, 2018 by pajamapress

Click here to download the A Bear in War reading guide.

Swallow’s Dance Reviews

Posted on August 1st, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

“Spiritual and cultural beliefs blossom into a celebration of life—at least until the darkness of fear and ruthlessness of the earthmother rip apart a homeland and a cherished way of life. This mesmerizing, aching tale explores ancient beliefs in gods and nature and their impact on an Aegean island society in the Bronze Age….Orr nimbly shows Leira’s imperiousness and her humanity alike as the girl witnesses the jarring shift in order when once-exalted priests and priestesses find themselves cast adrift. Her mixture of prose and free verse to tell Leira’s story is lyrical and magnetic—and devastating. Not for readers searching for a simple or happy journey, this is a beautiful song of a book that shows that life isn’t always fair, but change is always constant.”

Click here to read the full review

Booklist ★ Starred Review

“As she faces the demands of sheer survival, Leira gradually realizes that the privileges afforded to her, thanks to her social status, are meaningless, and she starts taking on whatever unpleasant job she must to protect herself and her family. There are no miracles and no clear answers for Leira, but she learns to love what she has and that she can cope with anything. Leira’s lyrical first-person narrative advances the story along beautifully with a fitting sense of urgency, and free-verse songs clue readers in to her emotional development. Immersive historical fiction.”
—Donna Scanlon

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal ★ Starred Review

“Gr 5-8–Leira’s sheltered life of privilege is all she has ever known. Her biggest concern is becoming a woman so she can start her priestess rites. Her people believe the earth goddess will protect them if the proper rituals and sacrifices are carried out, but an earthquake rocks their existence. Leira’s mother is crushed inside their home and suffers severe brain damage, and eventually her family chooses to take their chances by boarding a boat to Crete. As tragedy upon tragedy befalls the sweet but naive Leira in this Bronze Age–set tale, readers will cheer for her to succeed, grow, and to find her way in this new world. Some chapters written in verse make the more emotional plot lines sing. An eye-opening look at how difficult it is when one’s status changes in life, and how attitude can shape outcome. VERDICT Beautiful writing and a fast-moving plot will give young historical fiction fans much to love.”
–Mandy Laferriere, Fowler Middle School, Frisco, TX

Read the full review in the October 2018 issue of School Library Journal

Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books

“After her home is swallowed by the sea, Leira’s protracted fall from grace is effectively punctuated by seamless narrative shifts among prose, verse, and song, which fans of Orr’s Dragonfly Song (BCCB 01/18) will recognize. What she endures—the uncertainty of her family’s fate and becoming a servant herself—makes for a gripping exploration of privilege during her journey toward womanhood.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

Swallow’s Dance is a sweeping tale of courage, fortitude, hardship and perseverance against all odds. It is also a coming of age story, an intimate glimpse into the life of a young girl adjusting to puberty at a time when her family, friendships and her understanding of her place in the world are brutally torn apart. Wendy Orr has crafted a sympathetic, memorable heroine whose struggles and challenges transcend time from the Bronze Age to modern day. Youth will relate to and sympathize with Leira, and readers of all ages will find hope in Leira’s resilience and ability to adapt and move forward despite seemingly insurmountable obstacles. Orr delves into the universal themes of family, love, loss, friendship, status and endurance within an engrossing and moving tale. As in Dragonfly Song, Orr includes some of Leira’s thoughts in segments of beautiful lyrical prose that could easily function as stand-alone poetry. While suitable for middle grade students and a wonderful introduction to mythology and discussions surrounding puberty, spirituality, class, mental health, death and disaster, Swallow’s Dance is one of those rare books that is also just a great story, an epic tale for all ages.

Highly Recommended.”
—Cate Carlyle is an author and former elementary teacher currently residing in Halifax, Nova Scotia, where she is a librarian at Mount Saint Vincent University.

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? Top notch historical fiction for those who like it ancient!…Set during the Bronze Age, the story shows that migration has been a constant since time began, and that it has never been easy to lose your home and those whom you love and start over in a new place, in this case, Crete. Leira narrates, in prose and alternating poetry, the catastrophe and the emotional toll it takes on her and her family. Lots of animal sacrifice, daily ritual worship of the gods, and intense heartbreak for a young person unused to any hardship. The poetic interludes do a good job of describing the emotional journey. The scenes of devastation – earthquake in Santorini, tsunami in Crete – are riveting to experience through the lens of a survivor….

To whom would you recommend this book?  Definitely offer this to fans of Orr’s Dragonfly Song and to fans of historical fiction, ages 10-14.”
—Stephanie Tournas, Robbins Library, Arlington, MA

Click here to read the full review

Log Cabin Library

Swallow’s Dance is the fictionalized story inspired by the real events of a hurricane that occurred in 1625 BCE on the island of Thera (now known as Santorini) that resulted in a huge tsunami on Crete and the speculation of whether the people of Thera were able to flee to Crete before the city was buried.  Like Dragonfly Song, Swallow’s Dance is told through a combination of prose and free verse. It’s a wonderful mix of survival and a coming of age story.

Leira is a resilient young girl who endures so many hardships once she arrives in Crete. One of her early concerns is that she will never be able to complete her learning to become a woman….Despite everything that she endures, she is still strong, fierce and strives to improve her living situation, to one day be free. You can’t help rooting for Leira as she vows to honor her people and claim who she is.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill Jemmett

“This is a very powerful story. It was quite emotional at times. I had tears in my eyes by the end, but I was pleased with the ending. This story has a traditional Greek form because it is written partly in verse. The sections in verse are particularly descriptive and lyrical. This reinforces the Greek atmosphere of the story.

This is a beautiful and powerful story. I loved it!”

Click here to read the full review

A Good Day for Ducks Reviews

Posted on July 24th, 2018 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“This charming story captures the joy of a rainy day….. The tale will resonate with many small children. The ink and watercolor artwork adds to the lighthearted mood….VERDICT A comforting and appealing choice for storytimes and one-on-one sharing.”
–Robin Sofge

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Impressionistic illustrations use light, splashy washes of color with scratchy ink outlines and white backgrounds, conveying both the excitement of the rainy outdoor scenes and the familiar, cozy atmosphere inside. The simple plot, short length, and rich vocabulary make this a fine choice for toddlers just beginning to listen to real stories, but there’s enough interest and action for older preschoolers as well. Just right to enjoy after a rainy-day outing while sipping a cup of hot chocolate and perhaps wearing a pair of bunny slippers.”

Click here to read the full review

Seattle Book Review

“We rated this book:  [5/5]…Author Jane Whittingham has written a spare text filled with onomatopoeia and lyrical writing that will charm little ones and those who read to them. The gorgeous watercolor illustrations by Noel Tuazon seem to be washed by the stormy day, and they are the perfect complement to this enchanting story. This is a sweet story children will ask for over and over.”
—Rosi Hollinbeck

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“A Good Day for Ducks would make for a good bedtime story as it does not contain any sort of strong plot or exciting events. However, the basic storyline is likely relatable to the intended young audience.

The author selected basic sight words and includes lots of repetition throughout the story, making the book suitable for beginning readers. Children would likely pick up the vocabulary quickly after hearing it read aloud several times.”

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“With a large font format, plenty of onomatopoeia, and simple watercolour illustrations, this offering is a great read aloud for preschool groups or family time. The lovely depiction of a brother and sister who are close in age, and perfect companions, heartwarmingly shows a wonderful example of being content with simply playing in the rain, sharing a snuggly drink, and quietly drawing together.”
—Nicole Rowlinson

Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? This is a sweet story about two young children enjoying a wonderful rainy day….The text is very simple and this will appeal to younger children. Sounds effects such as ‘drip drop’, ‘splish splash’, and ‘quack quack’ will also appeal to a younger audience and could be fun for a library story time.”
Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA

Click here to read the full review

Fab Book Reviews

“A Good Day for Ducks is the wonderfully rhythmic, sing-song tale of siblings who show readers just how best to enjoy the rain- and how to make the most of cozy and fun indoor activities after the rain….Readers will likely find much to love in the lightheartedness that A Good Day for Ducks offers. The combination of effective, chanting-like text (perfect short length for toddlers and up to appreciate!) with lovely, soft watercolor and ink drawings makes for another great picture book from the Canadian author and artist duo.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This is a book in celebration of a rainy day, of siblings, and of the fun of experience. Like Jane’s previous book Wild One, this is a book about children enjoying nature.”

Click here to read the full review

Book Time

“In A Good Day for Ducks by Jane Whittingham we get to embrace our inner child and spend a day in the rain…This book makes me wish for rainy spring – not fall – days.”

Click here to read the full review

A World of Kindness Reviews

Posted on July 23rd, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

“Inspiration for acts of kindness, with illustrations from several artists….In a meta act of kindness, royalties from the proceeds from the book will support a nonprofit group, Think Kindness. A tool to spur kindness conversations…”

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Rating: E

Nine children’s authors and illustrators have come together to answer the question, “Are you kind?” Their illustrations show children and animals answering that question through their actions….

Every page of this book has a unique style of artwork. Realistic, cartoon, mixed media, plasticine, and pen and ink. The settings and children featured in each scene reflect a diversity of cultures….Every child (and parent) could benefit from this book.
—Tanya Boudreau

CM Magazine

A World of Kindness, the new collaboratively created picture book produced by the editors and illustrators of Pajama Press, offers young children aged two through five a simple introduction to the concept of kindness….

The real strength of A World of Kindness is its art….each illustration in its own way and style authentically highlights the joy of kindness….

Kindergarten teachers will find that A World of Kindness makes a lovely companion to now-classic picture books on kindness such as Have You Filled a Bucket Today?”
—Michelle Superle

Click here for the full review

Pickle Me This

“In a note inside the book, Pajama Press Publisher Gail Winskill writes that the idea for the book was born when her three-year-old granddaughter asked her one day, ‘Nana, how can I be kind?’….Each page features art by Pajama Press’s acclaimed illustrators, some from previous books and others original (and my children were excited to see illustrations from books they’ve loved before!). Being gentle with animals, saying please and thank you, helping shy friends join in, watching over those who need it.

The ideas are simple, but they’re also transformative and profound, and the depth and diversity of illustrations on this book provide another layer of richness, making A World of Kindness a deeply meaningful read. Even better: royalties from the book will be donated to Think Kindness.”

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“I think we can all use inspiration for kindness every day in every way. So, the people at Pajama Press have created this book to inspire kindness when talking with children….

The questions are asked of young readers, and the illustrations inspire quiet conversation about the many ways we can show kindness to others. Nine artists are included, in artwork already published or pieces specifically created for this book. They show young readers some of the many ways they can be kind and helpful.”

Click here for the full review

Fab Book Reviews

“[T]his picture book is more attuned to making its simple, important, strong messages/sentiments known, and thus would likely function well in preschool or elementary classrooms for further discussion and exploration. The themes in A World of Kindness also allow for the book to be effectively paired and examined with similarly-themed picture books such as David Ezra Stein’s The Nice Book, Pat Zietlow Miller and Jen Hill’s Be Kind, or All Are Welcome by Alexandra Penfold and Suzanne Kaufman….Extras: There is a downloadable poster available through the Pajama Press website.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This book raises funds for Think Kindness and illustrates what kindness looks like….The pictures are well chosen to convey the actions, and show diversity. A great addition to any collection.”

Click here to read the full review

Book Time

“Each page is drawn by a different Pajama Press illustrator. I enjoyed flipping through the pages and recognizing the style of each illustrator….The messages, which include being kind to animals, helping those younger than you and saying sorry when you are wrong, makes it a cute and beautiful book.”

Click here to read the full review