The Stowaways Teaching Guide

Posted on October 3rd, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: The Stowaways Author: Meghan Marentette Illustrator: Dean Griffiths Publisher: Pajama Press

 

Click here to download The Stowaways teaching guide.

Sun Dog Teaching Guide

Posted on October 3rd, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Sun Dog Author: Deborah Kerbel Illustrator: Suzanne Del Rizzo Publisher: Pajama Press

 

Click here to download the Sun Dog teaching guide.

French Toast Teaching Guide

Posted on October 3rd, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: French Toast Author: Kari-Lynn Winters Illustrator: François Thisdale Publisher: Pajama Press

 

Click here to download the French Toast teaching guide.

Giraffe and Bird Together Again Teaching Guide

Posted on October 3rd, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Giraffe and Bird Together Again Author: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

 

Click here to download the Giraffe and Bird Together Again teaching guide.

Before You Were Born Activities

Posted on September 25th, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Before You Were Born Author: Deborah Kerbel Illustrator: Suzanne Del Rizzo Publisher: Pajama Press

Click here to download the Before You Were Born colouring sheet

Finding Lucy Reviews

Posted on September 17th, 2019 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“Beautiful, bright, and fanciful illustrations using acrylics on canvas gift readers with delightful details….The prose is mainly conversational, lengthy at times, and includes entertaining adjectives such as atrocious and flabbergasting. Moreover, the careful choice of words invites children to think about the correlation between art, color, and feelings. VERDICT There are many facets to this book that will give viewers something new to discover with each reread. A real find.”
—Mindy Hiatt, Salt Lake County Library Services

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: Finding Lucy Author: Eugenie Fernandes Publisher: Pajama Press“Everybody’s a critic. Lucy, an elementary-age white girl who appears to live alone with her cat, is an artist, painting happily in her garden until a reporter from the local paper comes by….Fernandes’ illustrations borrow both palette and a sense of vegetative lushness from Gauguin; Lucy’s creations are almost wholly abstract. She is also the only human in the story—all the carping critics are anthropomorphic animals, lending a sense of fun and softening the unkindness of their remarks. The text shares the illustrations’ whimsy, delighting in words as much as Lucy delights in her art. A valuable lesson in pursuing your own artistic star.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Fernandes also does not shy away from using big words and challenges her readers to expand their vocabularies; for child readers who love language, this story is a treat.

In addition to writing the text, Fernandes also painted Finding Lucy’s illustrations, using acrylic paint on canvas which gives the illustrations vibrancy and texture. Lucy and her series of animal visitors are dynamic and interactive; in one illustration, Lucy is shown sharing a cup of tea with the elephant reporter. The illustrations are an explosion of bright colours, light, and joy. Fernandes uses a playful mix of semi-abstract solid shapes to form the background and cartoon-like animation to depict Lucy and the animals. The illustrations are every bit as energetic and cheerful as the text.

Finding Lucy is recommended for young artists finding their own artistic voices and lovers of bright and vibrant illustrations.

Recommended.”
Sabrina Wong is a librarian at Capilano University in North Vancouver, British Columbia.

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Eugenie Fernandes has given us a story in words and pictures that supports that idea that creativity is an expression of self and needs to be embraced rather than questioned, especially when every armchair critic feels the need to voice their personal preferences and expects the artist to accommodate those. From colour to feeling, shape and voice, creativity comes from within and Lucy knew and knows this. Sadly she is distracted by those with loud and overbearing opinions and buckles under their varied and judgemental assertions.

I hope Eugenie Fernandes, whose art work has won her a variety of awards and accolades, has always felt supported in her artistic endeavours whether she chooses to use acrylic paint on canvas as she does here in Finding Lucy or other media. If Finding Lucy demonstrates anything it’s that those who observe art derive their perceptions from their perspective and attitudes and Lucy can’t possibly give every viewer what they need to see the art’s beauty. I’m glad that she finally trusts herself, and her very wise cat, that what she brings to her art is everything it needs to be to bring her joy.”

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Using acrylic paint on canvas, Ms. Fernandes creates bold spreads that are both textured and detailed. She brings a joy to images that will encourage young children to try their hand at creating something of their own.”

Click here to read the full review

The Skeleton Coast Reviews

Posted on September 13th, 2019 by pajamapress

Booklist

“These four kids have faced the worst their world has to offer and come through learning lessons about sticking together, the unbreakable bonds of family, and never giving up hope. The last leg of their journey adds heartwarming reunions to the regular dose of adventure and danger, with themes of starting anew, family, friendship, and courage bringing this epic tale to a satisfying end.”
—Elizabeth Konkel

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“The postdiluvian Flooded Earth trilogy concludes as it began, with high-seas derring-do….For all its dystopian setting, this satisfying trilogy closer is full of pluck.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

The Skeleton Coast, by continuing the highly credible adventure, moral questions, and imaginative view of a climate-ravaged future of the previous two installments in the series, brings the story to an exciting and satisfying conclusion. As always, characterization is strong, with the introduction of the superstitious and strong-willed Blossom and the naïve yet principled Lt. Cherry as strong additions to the cast….The question of ‘who are the good guys’ is deeply explored, the plight of refugees eerily prescient, and the sailing and survival skills of the kids put to thrilling test as usual….

Highly Recommended.”
Todd Kyle

Click here to read the full review

What Cats Think Reviews

Posted on September 13th, 2019 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

Cover: What Cats Think Author: John Spray Illustrator: Mies van Hout Publisher: Pajama Press

“This book perfectly encapsulates everything that is elegant and enigmatic, sinister and sassy in feline behavior. Free-verse poems provide glimpses into the minds of cats, always with a clever, subtle sense of humor. These verses will work well when teaching children that poetry comes in many forms, not just rhyming couplets…..The rhythmic text and dynamic art will delight all readers, but cat lovers will take extra pleasure in the quintessentially feline traits celebrated in this book.”
—Alyssa Annico, Youngstown State University, OH

Click here to read the full review

Publishers Weekly

“Are cats capable of poetry? They are in this volume, which imagines their interior lives through 20 short poems, some more predictable than others….Color pours off each page in van Hout’s vibrant, bold illustrations—a mix of acrylic ink, oil pastels, and gouache. Her felines expressively embody Spray’s emphatic free verse, which authentically gives voice to cats’ changeable emotions.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“The many facets of a cat’s personality are showcased in this delightful tribute to domestic felines. An assortment of vivid, colourful cats present their feelings in free verse, each one on a separate double-page spread. The author’s use of the first person is very effective in drawing readers in. Some of the poems are of the laugh-out-loud variety while others will cause readers to commiserate with the feline narrators….

Each cat’s uniqueness is not only celebrated by the clever free verse but also by the vibrant, mixed media illustrations, rendered in acrylic ink, oil pastels and gouache, primarily in bright greens, yellows, reds and blues. The cats are shown in a variety of poses, but what makes the illustrations truly charming are the priceless facial expressions….Readers need not be cat lovers to thoroughly enjoy this book. What Cats Think is fun, imaginative and loaded with personality!

Highly Recommended.”
—Gail Hamilton is a former teacher-librarian in Winnipeg, Manitoba.

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Colorful, expressive pictures of cats are accompanied by brief text….Bright hues, scribbly lines, and high-contrast backgrounds combine to create pictures that pop, and the relatively large trim size adds to their impact.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“In brilliant colours of lime green and red, turquoise and purple, Mies van Hout’s art, created with acrylics, oil and gouache, startle and comfort the reader with an array of cats. They are skinny and scared, obese and wise, and playful and sneaky. They are no one’s cat and they are everyone’s cat….It is in the creation of scenarios that John Spray illustrates with words what Mies van Hout’s cats say in her art….

With What Cats Think, Mies van Hout and John Spray have given us the context for cats’ looks and sounds that will remind us of the depth of feline reasoning and expression. It’s not surprising to many that cats have been celebrated and worshipped throughout history and it’s best we not forget this.”

Click here to read the full review

Fab Book Reviews

“Mies van Hout’s acrylic ink, gouache and oil pastels artwork is typically stunning, eye-catching and vibrant: there are distinctive colour palettes for each spread; each drawn cat is unlike the one before; and I would be absolutely remiss if I did not mention that the cats are drawn with remarkably expressive faces, bodies, and tails (there are some cats that had me giggling over their expressions and thoughts!). There is much to pore over in What Cats Think and I enjoy that it doesn’t necessarily have a linear direction to it: that means that whether a reader is absorbed by the artwork, or particular cats, or particular poems- Spray’s poems are whimsical and should be hugely appealing to younger and older readers!- or whether a reader wishes to enjoy the picture book beginning to end, the story simply works. For the cat lovers, for the readers who enjoy their animal stories in verse, and for those who enjoy cat-focused stories such as I Hate My Cats (A Love Story)Mr. Pusskins: A Love Story, the Fuddles books by Frans Vischer, I Won’t Eat That, or Galia Bernstein’s I Am a Cat might especially adore What Cats Think.”

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“If you have never lived with a cat, you may not recognize the many faces they present to the world. That is decidedly not true of Mies van Hout, whose wonderful, warm and witty mixed media artwork bless the pages of this fascinating book….John Spray’s free verse text celebrates the cats presented. Each turn offers a double page spread with featured feline accompanied by tremendous variety in tone and temperament….

Verse matches art in every way. There are times when readers will laugh out loud. There are also more sombre, haughty, and frightening times. The absolutely on-point feline faces speak clearly to the emotions felt. Those who love cats will tell you that cats do have varied emotions. The 20 featured here certainly speak eloquently to that statement.

You don’t have to love cats to love this book. It’s a charmer!”

Click here to read the full review

Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round Reviews

Posted on September 4th, 2019 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round Author: Rosanna Battigelli Illustrator: Tara Anderson Publisher: Pajama Press“Rhyming verses follow a group of cats for some pumpkin picking and carving fun before trick-or-treating….The ending is especially satisfying, one larger cat giving a smaller one a hug while three others curl up with the largest gray cat on a sofa with a book: ‘Pumpkin tired, / pumpkin fed, / pumpkin story, / pumpkin bed.’…The artwork, done with colored pencil and acrylic glaze, is both childlike and nicely textured, the six cats easily differentiated, especially the elder dark gray parental figure who wears half-moon specs….Cozy, repetitious autumn fun for toddlers and younger preschoolers.”

Click here to read the full review

Publishers Weekly

“Cats enjoy all the glories of a human Halloween in this peek at popular October traditions. In Anderson’s colored pencil and acrylic glaze illustrations, a family of smiling, scarf-wearing felines heads to a pumpkin patch…Battigelli’s text—a series of rhyming, two-word phrases each beginning with ‘pumpkin’—…possesses a jaunty rhythm and a fun-to-pronounce quality. Ages 3–6.”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“[T]he repetition and simplicity of the text make this an appealing choice for group-sharing during storytime. The art, created with colored pencil and acrylic glaze on watercolor paper, is warm and fuzzy, providing a safe, not-so-scary depiction of Halloween that is appropriate for young listeners. The book concludes with instructions on how children can carve their own jack-o’-lanterns, emphasizing the need for an adult helper. VERDICT A safe bet for libraries looking for autumnal and Halloween-themed picture books for the youngest patrons.”
—Laura J. Giunta, Garden City Public Library, NY

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Rating: E…The simplicity of the text is brought to life by the perfect pairing of Tara Anderson’s warm, cosy and childlike illustration style. Rendered in a luscious and juicy palette of bright oranges and emerald greens along with warm autumnal hues and the deep, dark Halloween blacks and purples. Whimsical and energetic, the furry friends pop off the pages reeling in the reader to join in the fun!

Easy to read yet lively, Battigelli’s Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round guides us around the clock from daytime to evening transforming an orange pumpkin to something aglow! Don’t forget the ‘How to Carve a Jack-o-Lantern’ how-to guide in the back inside cover!”
—Lara Chauvin

Read the full review on page 2 of the October 2019 issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“The rhyming scheme is bouncy and fun…Tara Anderson’s charming, bright illustrations are created with coloured pencil and acrylic glaze on watercolour paper and have a nostalgic feeling to them….A fun, simple, festive book that families will love. Highly Recommended.”
—Andrea Zorzi is a children’s librarian at Toronto Public Library in Toronto, Ontario.

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

“What could be better than an autumn trip to the pumpkin patch with a cast of cat characters ready to celebrate Halloween? In bouncy rhyme, the folksy felines choose their pumpkins, wheel them home, and work together through all the steps of carving a jack-o-lantern. With the lanterns’ spooky and cheerful faces shining bright, now is the time to dress up and head out for trick-or-treating. The collaborative work of author Rosanna Battigelli and illustrator Tara Anderson, Pumpkin Orange, Pumpkin Round will prove to be a unique and appreciated addition to the Halloween reading lists of children ages 3-6 — as well as an enduringly popular inclusion into family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections.”

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? This is a sweet rhyming story about all the festivities that lead up Halloween night. This story features a family of cats and their brave little mouse friend….

To whom would you recommend this book? This book is perfect for ages three to five….The rhyming text is very soothing and the images are not scary so it is a perfect Halloween book for young children. Even during one scene where a scary creature appears, you can clearly see that it is a cat wearing a scary mask–younger children will not be scared by this Halloween book.”
—Kristin Guay, former youth services librarian

Click here to read the full review

Winnipeg Free Press

“Battigelli has written a series of catchy rhyming verses celebrating this beloved autumn icon….and with Anderson’s vibrant illustrations, they take the pumpkin all the way from the farmer’s field to the Halloween doorstep. Early readers and preschoolers will enjoy this one as they get ready for trick-or-treating.”

Click here to read the full review

Missing Mike Teaching Guides

Posted on August 21st, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama PressClick here to download the Missing Mike teaching guide.

Lili Macaroni Extra Content

Posted on August 21st, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Lili Macaroni Author: Nicole Testa Illustrator: Annie Boulanger Publisher: Pajama Press

Click here to download the Lili Macaroni butterfly activity page

The Girl Who Rode a Shark: And Other Stories of Daring Women Reviews

Posted on August 12th, 2019 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews ★ Starred Review

Cover: The Girl Who Rode A Shark: And Other True Stories of Daring Women Author: Ailsa Ross Illustrator: Amy Blackwell Publisher: Pajama Press“Brief biographies of 52 intrepid women, spanning the globe and all centuries, are flanked by large, full-color illustrations and by maps that show the women’s adventuring sites….The artwork, reminiscent of art deco travel posters, is a gorgeous complement to the eclectic curation. The biographies are written in a conversational style, often including a short quote from the subject….An exciting labor of love—for kids of all gender identities. (Collective biography. 8-12)”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“The subjects are fascinating, and the women come from a variety of time periods, geographic regions, socioeconomic backgrounds, and ethnicities and include women with disabilities. Yet they all shared common characteristics: the need for adventure and a desire to learn. The book also contains portraits of the women, a glossary, and information about Indigenous peoples and the world’s ever-changing political boundaries. VERDICT This colorful, delightful book is highly recommended for all history and women’s history collections.
—Patricia Ann Owens, formerly at Illinois Eastern Community College, Mt. Carmel

Click here to read the full review

Booklist

“This collection presents single-page but surprisingly detailed accounts of more than 50 notable women….The essays are engaging, and in addition to providing basic biographical information, effectively connect each woman with her designated category. Brightly colored digital-media portraits face each page of text, and double-page maps pinpoint each subject’s country of origin. Truly international in scope and ranging across centuries…this attractive collection should spark inquiry for further research.”
— Kathleen McBroom

Click here to read the full review

School Library Connection

“The title of this new nonfiction text is enough to catch any readers’ attention, but this is only one of many qualities of this book that will keep readers engaged….The diversity of the women featured allow readers of all backgrounds to find a little bit of themselves in these stories. Additionally, Ross employs language from world cultures and varies her sentence structures; the book even has a glossary at the end. Also worthy of mention are the incredible illustrations provided by Amy Blackwell….The colors, cultural aspects, maps, and quotes in the illustrations amplify Ross’ exquisite writing. This would be a strong addition to any middle grade or middle school collection.”
—Caitlin Bennett, Librarian, Londonderry (New Hampshire) Middle School

Read the full review in the Jan/Feb 2020 issue of School Library Connection

CM Magazine

“Ailsa Ross’ The Girl Who Rode a Shark & Other Stories of Daring Women is a comprehensive work of middle grade nonfiction. The book is broken up into six sections, and each section includes anywhere from 7 to 10 women of historical significance. A former travel writer and student of law and women’s rights, Ross selected 50 female ‘adventurers’ to showcase, spanning the centuries from 231 BC to modern day. The final pages include a glossary of terms, such as ‘activism’, ‘emancipation’ and ‘colonialism’, as well as a listing of indigenous peoples and their geographic locations and a disclaimer about how geographical names change over time….

Ross’s book would be a useful resource for school-aged studies on topics such as women’s rights, female historical figures or biographies. The book is diverse both culturally and geographically, and the easy to navigate layout and bright engaging illustrations will quickly draw readers in. The inclusion of maps and a glossary make this book a good fit for school libraries and classroom collections. An alphabetical index by name would have been an added bonus for students looking to quickly find a particular person. The Girl Who Rode a Shark & Other Stories of Daring Women would work well coupled with Lisa Dalrymple’s book Fierce Women Who Shaped Canada to inspire and motivate young females as the two books are similar in format and scope and feature some of the same women.

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

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Rating: G…This book would appeal mainly to girls in the upper elementary and junior high grades who have an interest in women and the accomplishments they have achieved throughout history. The biographies are short but give a good idea of what these women did to make them outstanding in their place and time. They could lead to further research by students who have a particular interest in some of the women highlighted.

Thematic Links: Women in History”
—Victoria Pennell

Read the full review on page 37 in the October 2019 issue of Resource Links

Pickle Me This

The Girl Who Rode a Shark, by Ailsa Ross (who lives in Alberta!) and Amy Blackwell, has managed to live up to my expectations. My favourite bit is the Canadian content—we’re almost at the Roberta Bondar essay. And Indigenous hero Shannen Koostachin is included in ‘The Activists’ chapter.

The women profiled in the book come from places all over the world, include many women of colour, and also women with disabilities. Even better—while many of the profiles are of historical figures, just as many are contemporary, young women who are out there doing brave and groundbreaking things as we’re reading. A few of these figures are familiar, but more are new to us, and their stories are made vivid and compelling through the book’s beautiful artwork and smart and engaging prose.”

Click here to read the full review

Christina Ammirtai

“What an incredible compilation of fearless females who are sure to inspire anyone who reads of their bravery, strength, intelligence, and persistence. THE GIRL WHO RODE A SHARK had me in awe, not just for each of the 52 courageous, impactful stories, but also for the beautiful images and organization of the collection….THE GIRL WHO RODE A SHARK will serve as inspiration to all readers, especially female, empowering them to be their best selves and follow their hearts no matter how daunting the road—or ocean—might be.”

Click here to read the full review

Mighty Village

The Girl Who Rode a Shark & other Stories of Daring Women is an inspiring and informative collection of biographies from around the world. From artists, to pioneers, scientists, activists, athletes and seekers, this book is a must have for all kids to discover real examples of courage and perseverance….These extraordinary women will surely inspire the next generation of young readers, or readers of any age to be more brave and take action.”

Click here to read the full review

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life Interviews

Posted on July 17th, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life Author: Beverley Brenna Illustrator: Tara Anderson

Lit Happens interview with author Beverley Brenna

ILA Literacy Daily article “Reading the World” written by Beverley Brenna

Nutcracker Night Reviews

Posted on July 2nd, 2019 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

Cover: Nutcracker Night Author: Mireille Messier Illustrator: Gabrielle Grimard Publisher: Pajama Press“A sprightly introduction to the classic Christmas ballet. The backmatter notes that ‘[The Nutcracker] is often the first ballet children attend,’ and Messier and Grimard’s collaboration does an exceptional job of distilling the ballet’s story into spare, accessible text and engaging art that could prepare children for attending the ballet, let them relive the experience, or simply give them the delight of the story in book form….Sure to elicit the storytime equivalent of ‘encore’ at Christmastime and beyond.”

Click here to read the full review

Publishers Weekly

“This vibrant tribute to a holiday tradition follows a sensory-filled adventure to a Nutcracker performance….The interpretation of the Christmas tree that grows enormous as the clock strikes midnight—always a show-stopper on stage—is particularly memorable, featuring the word Bong! in a gradually increasing font size and a glowing, candlelit evergreen towering over the heroine. A charming entrée for ballet-bound children.”

Click here to read the full review

The Horn Book Magazine

“A good primer to complement a child’s first time seeing The Nutcracker and, for those familiar with it, a fresh take on a classic.”
—Katie Bircher

Read the full review in the November/December 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Foreword Reviews

“Experience Tchaikovsky’s The Nutcracker through the eyes of a young girl attending the ballet in this fresh rendition of the beloved classic.”
—Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Read the full review in the November/December 2019 issue of Foreword Reviews

CM Magazine

“With a diversity of audience and delightful observations, Nutcracker Night captures the magic of a young school-aged child’s visit to the ballet with her father. The Nutcracker, a classic ballet, comes to life as a true auditory experience….The pen and ink with watercolour illustrations are both detailed and energetic….The book concludes with a synopsis of the story told by The Nutcracker as well as history of the ballet and its current cultural significance. Highly Recommended.”
Christy den Haan-Veltman

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

What did you like about the book? This is a celebration of the sights and sounds of an enchanting performance of The Nutcracker….A night at the ballet is wonderfully depicted from the arrival at the theater, the orchestra tuning, the audience clapping and then, “Voof! go the velvet curtains – Wow!” and the ballet begins. The story of the Nutcracker is wonderfully told through minimal text and the lovely illustrations. This is a wonderful introduction to the ballet for young readers and will be enjoyed by fans of the holiday classic.”
Catherine Coyne, Mansfield Public Library, Mansfield, MA

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This delightful picture book would make a lovely December gift for a young child….The pictures here are charming, bringing the characters, audience members, musicians, and dancers to life. We see the rosy cheeks, the children awed by the night and the ones eager for more. There are many children, as would be expected for this ballet, and lots of ages of adults. Fathers and mothers, diversity of people, and a range of festive attire. Outside the snow is falling, and inside the magic makes everything else disappear. Beautifully done.”

Click here to read the full review

Booktime

“[T]his beautifully illustrated book by Gabrielle Grimard are all the sounds a little girl hears as she attends the ballet with her dad….I haven’t had the privilege to attend a performance of the Nutcracker, but based on this book, I can imagine how beautiful it is.”

Click here to read the full review

My Puppy Patch Activities

Posted on June 21st, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: My Puppy Patch Author: Theo Heras Illustrator: Alice Carter Publisher: Pajama Press

A colouring sheet featuring two children and their dogs playing outside

Click here to download the My Puppy Patch colouring sheet