Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up Interviews

Posted on March 1st, 2019 by pajamapress

Dawn Babb Prochovnic interview with author Jane Whittingham

Celebrate Picture Books interview with author Jane Whittingham

Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Teaching Guide

Posted on January 25th, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Ben and the Scaredy-Dog Author: Sarah Ellis Illustrator: Kim La Fave Publisher: Pajama PressClick here to download the Ben and the Scaredy-Dog reading guide

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life Teaching Guides

Posted on January 24th, 2019 by pajamapress

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

Click here to download Beverley Brenna’s teaching guide
for Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life

 

Click here to download the Pajama Press teaching guide for Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life

Penguin Days Interviews

Posted on January 21st, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: Penguin Days Author: Sara Leach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

Pique News Magazine interview with author Sara Leach

A Good Day for Ducks Activities

Posted on January 7th, 2019 by pajamapress

Cover: A Good Day for Ducks Author: Jane Whittingham Illustrator: Noel Tuazon Publisher: Pajama Press

Click here to download the A Good Day for Ducks colouring page

Paula Knows What To Do Reviews

Posted on January 3rd, 2019 by pajamapress

School Library Journal

“This poignant book is filled with love and kindness. Paula and her daddy take care of one another following the loss. Despite their sadness, this tale highlights the relationship that Paula and her daddy still have. The illustrations are filled with softly drawn pictures of Paula and Daddy, along with Paula’s paintings in bold primary colors. VERDICT A wonderfully comforting book for children who have experienced loss.”

Click here to read the full review

The Horn Book Magazine

“The text does not gloss over the different ways parents and children can grieve, or how in grief those roles may be reversed. Readers are left with thoughts about the therapeutic ability of art to express emotions and create healing spaces for the imagination to work through loss.”
—Julie Hakim Azzam

Read the full review in the July/August 2019 issue of Horn Book Magazine

Kirkus Reviews

“When a young girl’s father is too sad to get out of bed, she paints him a picture and the two go on an imaginary adventure together….Author/illustrator Dufft’s watercolor illustrations skillfully combine an assured, realistic watercolor style to portray Paula and her father, with a rudimentary childlike stroke to visually highlight the imaginative adventure. Light and shadow are used to great effect to convey mood…A gentle, touching story of loss and resilience and of the beneficial role imagination plays, with visually intelligent and well-executed illustrations.”

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

“Written and illustrated by German children’s book author Sanne Dufft, Paula Knows What To Do is a sweet and poignant story about memory and overcoming grief, showing how a child’s imagination can find a moment of joy and a safe place to land after a loved one is gone. Unique, thoughtful and entertaining, Paula Knows What To Do is unreservedly recommended for family, daycare center, preschool, elementary school, and community library picture book collections for children ages 4-8 years.”

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 simple story about a little girl who decides to cheer up her family after the loss of her mother. In the story it says that mommy is gone so you never really know if it involves death or divorce but there is a loss that is making the father sad so it can work either way….Their adventures take them flying in the sky and then a soft landing right back into her father’s bed. This does cheer up her father and he makes coffee and hot chocolate and they sit looking at her beautiful pictures. You really have a feeling that, although they are both sad, things will be better as long as they are there for each other….

To whom would you recommend this book? Perfect for children between the ages of two and five and definitely a great book to start a conversation about dealing with a loss….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” pile? Yes”
Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Because this is a book about loss and sadness it can be read to any child. The wording surrounding loss isn’t specific, (the author says Paula’s mom is gone), so gone could mean death, divorce, or that the mom went away on a trip. Children can take comfort in the fact that they can feel less sad by helping someone else when they are feeling similar feelings.”
—Tanya Boudreau

Read the full review on page 3 of the April 2019 issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“Watercolour illustrations depict the naturalistic figures of a small child in pajamas and her unshaven father who are taken from a bedroom and whirled up into an imaginary adventure. The backdrops move from the cosily domestic to open blue water to the dark, forbidding skies of the storm. The spread near the beginning which shows Paula kneeling on the floor to start her painting of the sailboat, with a wide-eyed teddy bear looking on, is especially affecting. There is a clever repetition of a large white expanse of cloth with prominent red dots which functions both as Daddy’s bedsheet and the sail of the painting-inspired boat….

Paula Knows What to Do, a gentle piece of bibliotherapy…would be useful in discussions of feelings and of the loss of a parent. Recommended.”
—Ellen Heaney is a retired children’s librarian living in Coquitlam, British Columbia

Click here to read the full review

Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“Gently told, visually lovely with its range of color and light, and uplifting, children will be happy to know that father and daughter can weather the storm that loss brings.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This lovely picture book uses two styles of drawing, one to tell the story, and one to show the drawings that Paula makes, bringing them together in wonderful ways….I loved how the drawings tied into the bed covering, and how the sense of adventure that Paula instigated brought energy into the story. A great book to use to begin discussions of loss and grief.”

Click here to read the full review

Penguin Days Reviews

Posted on December 11th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus ReviewsCover: Penguin Days Author: Sara Leach Illustrator: Rebecca Bender Publisher: Pajama Press

“Lauren, who has autism spectrum disorder, is back for a second outing following Slug Days (2017)….A scratchy dress, a little vomit, and an accidental fall into the calves’ stall will all get in the way, although Lauren’s dislike of new situations and a bad case of stage fright are the biggest challenges. Lauren relates her prickly feelings in a believably forthright voice that offers readers welcome insight into her perspective….

Bender’s soft, gentle illustrations expand and illuminate Lauren’s narrative. Plenty of white space and short chapters make this empathetic effort extra accessible to a broad audience….

Another fine and enlightening peek into Lauren’s unique, often challenging world that displays her differences but highlights the needs she shares with all children: love, acceptance and friendship. (Fiction. 5-9)”

Click here to read the full review

Booklist

“In this sequel to Slug Days (2017), Lauren again narrates the story, offering insights into how she sees the world and what helps her cope with stressful situations. While she faces particular challenges, Lauren’s misadventures (dealing with loud relatives, letting calves out of their stall, throwing up on her flower girl dress) could have happened to any girl. Other kids will enjoy reading about them from her point of view. Bender’s winsome pencil drawings with gray shading illustrate the story with sensitivity and humor.”
— Carolyn Phelan

Click here to read the full review

The Horn Book Magazine

“In Slug Days (rev. 3/18) readers met Lauren, a second grader with autism spectrum disorder; they learned about the effects her ASD had on her everyday routine and also learned some of her coping strategies. Penguin Days throws a new set of challenges at Lauren: a visit to North Dakota for her aunt’s wedding means coping with an unfamiliar rural environment, wearing a scratchy flower girl dress, and interacting with a set of relatives she isn’t used to—and who aren’t used to her, or to making adjustments when she needs them….Black-and-white pencil and digital illustrations should help early-elementary-age readers understand Lauren’s emotions and those of the people around her.”
—Shoshana Flax

Read the full review in the January 2019 issue of The Horn Book Magazine

Foreword Reviews

“A lighthearted story, Penguin Days follows Lauren, who is on the autism spectrum. She sometimes misreads social cues, like not understanding why others laugh; she is not always included in groups….Pencil illustrations by Rebecca Bender appear on nearly every spread. They feature Lauren and her family and are insightful in showing the way she navigates the world, including feelings that Lauren herself might not pick up on or understand. The book’s chapter breaks sometimes interrupt the flow of the story, which might imitate how Lauren sees her own world.

In Penguin Days, Lauren’s family learns to accept one another, no matter how challenging a situation might seem.”
—Rebecca Monterusso

Read the full review in the January/February 2019 Children’s Spotlight issue of Foreword Reviews

Manhattan Book Review

“We rated this book: [5/5 stars]…

Author Sara Leach has written an excellent story told from the point of view of a young girl who has Autism Spectrum Disorder and has trouble dealing with so many things. The voice of Lauren is pitch-perfect and really expresses her specialness well. The infusion of humor makes this very accessible to all children. Charming illustrations by Rebecca Bender complete this sweet story. This book will give parents and teachers an excellent portal to difficult discussions about the Autism Spectrum and the many children affected by it.”

Click here to read the full review

CM Magazine

“Lauren is an eight-year-old girl with Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD), and she sees the world in her own unique way. Penguin Days is a stand-alone book that also continues a story begun in Slug Days, with Lauren encountering challenges this time beyond school that help her stretch and grow. Not only must she attend her first-ever family wedding, but she is going to be a flower girl!…

Sara Leach’s writing is finely crafted as well as highly readable for the intended age group—no small feat— and Lauren’s first-person voice is just as compelling as it was in Leach’s previous work. Ongoing mix-ups and dilemmas present themselves within a strong, plot-driven storyline, and, while the resolution is authentic and satisfying, readers will no doubt anticipate further books about this delightful character.

Adding to the hilarious escapades in the text are Rebecca Bender’s kid-friendly black-and-white illustrations. Penguin Days would make great independent-reading fare for classroom and school libraries as well as additions to units on identity and difference.

Highly Recommended.
Bev Brenna

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 ‘must have’ for any library!…Lauren exhibits some behaviors typically found in children on the autism spectrum such as disliking loud sounds, feeling hot and cold at the same time, rocking back and forth, not liking changes or sharing, and not understanding expressions such as a child being ‘priceless’. We see Lauren handle these challenges through breathing exercises and special tricks she has learned to calm down….

To whom would you recommend this book? I think this is an important book for just about any child; however, if a child is around another child with Autism Spectrum Disorder they would definitely benefit from reading this book. It really explains how these children are feeling and how they process all the events around them. This book is geared for the early elementary level….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” pile? Yes”
Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA

Click here to read the full review

New York Journal of Books

“The insights readers get about ASD feel authentic and, for those who aren’t familiar with someone who has ASD, unthreatening. This isn’t simple for an author to do, but Leach has taken a topic that kids are exposed to more and more and given them ways to understand why people with ASD behave the way they do. Adults learn, as well. Readers come away with more tools in their toolkit to be empathetic, patient, and nonjudgmental.

Bender’s whimsical pencil drawings on most pages contribute to comfortable reading for those just stepping into chapter books. The illustrations capture emotions and reflect a lovely childhood innocence. Along with the many illustrations, young readers will appreciate the simple sentence structure and vocabulary. Early chapter book readers will find the chapters are bite-size in the amount of text. Yet the same reader can feel a sense of accomplishment in the number of pages covered. The pages have plenty of white space, which also contributes to more comfortable reading.

Penguin Days provides learning of the most important kind, and has an added bonus of sweet humor, age appropriate text, and engaging illustrations. It belongs on the shelf of every library for young readers.”
—Janelle Diller

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Rating: E

Penguin Days is a beautifully illustrated, very well written novel for beginning chapter book readers, and is a follow-up to the equally wonderful Slug Days….Lauren’s voice is so authentically honest, the storyline is engaging and relevant, and the pace and reading level are perfect for beginning readers to be introduced to the subject of Autism, or to simply embracing differences.

The extraordinary pencil illustrations are beautiful, and enhance the gentle emotions and narrative of the story wonderfully.”
—Nicole Rowlinson

Read the full review on page 12 of the April 2019 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Canadian Children’s Book News

“As readers get to know Lauren, they will empathize with her disappointments and smile at her honesty — a trait that seems to go hand-in-hand with her literal nature. Rebecca Bender’s black-and-white illustrations complement the storyline by conveying the emotional ups and downs of Lauren’s experience.

Overall, this book would make a great springboard for a discussion about feelings and emotions. It presents a wonderful opportunity for children to empathize with the perspectives of others.”
—Ildiko Sumegi is a reviewer from Ottawa and the mother of two young readers.

Read the full review on page 29 of the Summer 2019 issue of Canadian Children’s Book News

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Eight-year-old Lauren of Sara Leach’s Slug Days (Pajama Press, 2017) has returned and now the young child on the autism spectrum must find new coping strategies beyond the school and home situations with which she contended in her first book….

Thankfully Sara Leach shows us that Lauren can have slug days when everything goes wrong, and penguin days when she has to dress up and get along with people she rarely sees, and still have wonderful butterfly days when all is right with the world. With the addition of Rebecca Bender’s charming black-and-white illustrations that depict Lauren in all her moods, Penguin Days becomes a story of resiliency and overcoming anxiety and stressful situations for all children, with ASD and not.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“I thoroughly enjoyed the previous book about the young autistic girl Lauren, Slug Days, and was excited to have her story continue….It’s neat to watch Lauren develop here, and conquer new situations, and make new friends.

The illustrations are charming, and really bring the story to life. From penguins to cows, scratchy dresses to pug onesies, they added to the story. I particularly liked the photo style pictures at the end. I hope to see more Lauren books.”

Click here to read the full review

Lone Tree Reviews

Rating : 4 Star…

This was a short story but it shows what goes through a mind of a young girl with Autism….From acting like a sloth during the wedding rehearsal to annoying her cousins with penguin facts, this is a must read for anyone who is looking for a little something different from all the other books out there.

I can’t say much more than that because y’all need to read this short tale that will give you a glimpse of what Autism is like for the person who has it and for the people around them.

Thank You to Sara Leach for this eye-opening book that much needed in this day and age.”

Click here to read the full review

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life Reviews

Posted on November 30th, 2018 by pajamapress

Publishers Weekly

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

“Alternating narrators Jeannie and her pet hamster exude an endearing impetuousness in this novel about family and finding one’s true self….Brenna (The White Bicycle) expands on themes of identity and acceptance by introducing Anna, Jeannie’s mother’s transgender friend, and Robin, the man who is Harvey’s new partner. Represented by different fonts, the emotive narrative voices are distinctive and wryly limned….Fetching portraits of Sapphire by Anderson (Rhino Rumpus) open each chapter.”

Click here to read the full review

Quill & Quire“She persisted: Two early reader chapter books show preteen girls going after what they want”

“In two new middle-grade novels about modern tweendom – with LGBT themes – feisty young protagonists face grown-up problems with strength and conviction….

Written by award-winning Saskatoon author Beverley Brenna, and illustrated by Tara Anderson, Sapphire the Great is full of zest….Throughout the novel, the theme of gender-nonconformity is present without being explicitly broken down or didactic….

Both these books contain positive LGBTQ characters and themes. Sibby mentions Charlie Parker Drysdale’s ‘two moms’ and, in Sapphire, Jeannie’s dad has a new boyfriend. Brenna’s novel also directly challenges young readers to think beyond cisgender norms. These original stories would be very helpful classroom resources to provide an entry point for anti-bias and inclusive language and to open up important conversations on gender, self-identity, and inclusivity.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“This slice-of-life Canadian import is more than just another ‘I want to get a pet’ tale….Sapphire and Jeannie narrate alternating chapters, and neither is completely aware of all that is going on around them. Sapphire, especially, reports dialogue and action she does not fully understand, adding an additional layer to this tale of understanding difference.”

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 touching and funny story mainly about a girl and her new hamster, but it is also about a family dealing with significant change….The story teaches acceptance of differences and of being who you are. These themes are presented in an age-appropriate and sensitive way….The book grabbed me right away and had me laughing at the end of the very first chapter. The chapters narrated by Sapphire are amusing, I loved the stream of consciousness feel as Sapphire finds her way in the world and tries to figure out the meaning of her life….Almost every illustration at the beginning of each chapter is the hamster character, these are excellent black and white pencil drawings which illustrate the personality and emotion of the animal….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” piles? Yes!”
Valerie Trantanella, Norman E. Day School, Westford, MA

Click here to read the full review

Saskatoon StarPhoenix

“Ever attuned to evolving social dynamics, Brenna presents a family in which the father has left to be with his male companion, and his mystified two children and angry wife are given comfort and cheer by a very large, mannish woman named Anna Conda. Helping little Jeannie navigate her way through this tricky territory is Sapphire, her new hamster, who not only poses intriguing philosophical questions but is co-narrator, with Jeannie, of this story….Brenna understands a child’s need for warm limits and presents a modern family trying to work its way to safety, comfort, and mutual respect.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life is far greater than a story about a girl getting a pet hamster. It’s about struggling to find your place. Jeannie is a pretty good caregiver for Sapphire but she’s trying to figure out why her father isn’t keeping in touch, whether her parents are ‘getting put back together’ (pg. 40), why her little brother seems stressed, how to be a friend, why her Mom’s new friend Anna Conda seems reserved though really cool, and the questions that kids want answered but no one will respect them enough to tell them the truth. Meanwhile Sapphire is recognizing how nice her new home is, singing when pleased, and beginning to understand freedom, especially after a dangerous escape outdoors in frigid January….

It’s perfect that Jeannie’s story and Sapphire’s come together to become something bigger and better. Just as the two are better for having each other in their lives, Beverley Brenna’s text is enhanced with the adorable illustrations by Tara Anderson which head each of the forty-two chapters….

A perfect early reader for kids who love animals, Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life is actually more about giving significance to managing our own stories.”
—Helen K

Click here to read the full review

HW Book Reviews

“The story is told through short alternating chapters between Jeannie and Sapphire the Great (her hamster).

We join Jeannie, Alistair (her brother), and their mother three weeks after Christmas and two weeks after their father left, Harvey, left the house. Everyone is dealing with the separation in different ways. Jeannie yells everything, Alistair has turned to video games, and their mother is feeling very stressed….

This book has left me at a loss for words in a very good way. The characters are so engaging, honest, and real that you forget you are reading a book….The story is complete, satisfying, and just feels right…..

Overall rating: ♥♥♥♥♥”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This children’s novel is told from two points of view. One is that of nine-year-old Jeannie….The other point of view is that of Sapphire, the hamster that Jeannie gets….We watch how Jeannie struggles with her own feelings, sometimes erupting in frustration, anger, or sadness. And we watch how spending time with Sapphire calms her, and others in her household.

The idea of freedom extends beyond Sapphire into others in the story, who are struggling with the freedom to be who they really are, despite how others may react to them. It’s about being able to have that freedom to be comfortable in your own skin, to be happy with your life, and to see that life in a positive way….

This book exposes children to a variety of family types, and opens the door to discussion in a positive way of these differences. A great addition to any library.”

Click here to read the full review

Book Time

“For such a small book, there is whole lot going on in Beverley Brenna’s Sapphire the Great and the Meaning of Life…There is a lot of things I liked about the book, including Sapphire, who learns about what is important in life and shares that knowledge with the reader. I like Anna and how she teaches the children about kindness and friendship and I like that Jeannie is not caught up in what should be or shouldn’t be, but rather she accepts people who they are.”

Click here to read the full review

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up Reviews

Posted on November 29th, 2018 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

“Bright, swirling, busy spreads in warm gouache colors enhance this simple tale of a family of California quails, reminiscent of Make Way for Ducklings….Whittingham adopts a slightly old-fashioned storytelling voice to tell her tale, employing rhythm and repetition to both delineate characters and propel the plot. Pedersen imbues her quail chicks with lots of personality by focusing on their wide, white faces and bouncing topknots. The moral? Slow down and smell the roses!”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“Repetitive words such as ‘tap, tap, tap’ and ‘hurry, hurry, hurry,’ printed in color, invite young readers to chime in. VERDICT The lovely illustrations and lyrical language, the pairing of curiosity and caution, and the opportunity for youngsters to join in the reading make this a great choice for group sharing.”

Click here to read the full review

Foreword Reviews

“Spring colors abound in green grass and clover, fluffy yellow chicks, and indigo-plumed parents as the quails learn a lesson from their littlest one about appreciating the beauty all around us.”
—Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Read the full review in the March/April 2019 issue of Foreword Reviews

CM Magazine

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up is such a beautifully written story about appreciating the world around us and taking the time to stop to notice and wonder. The writing begins very whimsically and is full of descriptive words but turns to a more fast-paced, action-packed read after the orange fuzzy thing enters the scene. Pedersen’s illustrations perfectly capture Queenie Quail’s world and encourage readers to also notice the beauty around them. The details in the writing and in the illustrations, along with the repetition in the text, make Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up an excellent read-a-loud that will keep young readers engaged until the end. Highly Recommended.”
—Mallory Dawson is the Community Engagement Librarian at Whitby Public Library, Ontario.

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

“Beautiful, bright, nature illustrations grace the pages (very appropriately) in this story about a little quail who couldn’t keep up with her hurried parents and siblings….Queenie’s curious observations saved her family from furry danger. Now, her family realizes it sometimes is necessary to stop and look around you!”
Lindsey Hughes, Marstons Mills Public Library, Marstons Mills, MA

Click here to read the full review

Midwest Book Review

“A well crafted picture book story for children ages 3-7 in which author Jane Whittingham’s original tale is deftly supported by illustrator Emma Pedersen thoroughly charming artwork, Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up will prove to be an immediate and enduringly popular addition to family, daycare center, preschool, and community library collections.”

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Rating: G…This is a fun read aloud because many of the pages have repeating phrases of onomatopoeia. (bob bob bob, tap, tap, tap, hurry, hurry hurry). The gouache illustrations contain suspense because the children will wonder what Queenie sees, especially at the end when all ten of her brother’s and sisters are looking up.

There are not a lot of picture books about quails, so this would be a wonderful way to introduce children to these fun birds commonly found in many forests of the world.”
—Tanya Boudreau

Read the full review on page 7 of the April 2019 issue of Resource Links Magazine

Celebrate Picture Books

“Jane Whittingham’s story of an adorable quail who stops to smell all the roses is a charming, charming, charming read-aloud that adults will love sharing and kids will enthusiastically chime in on during the fun repeated phrases. Whittingham’s agile storytelling shines with lyrical rhythms and alliteration…The gentle suspense will keep young listeners riveted to the story, and afterward they’re sure to join Queenie and her brothers and sisters in slowing down to enjoy the world around them.

Readers will immediately fall in love with Queenie and her siblings as Emma Pedersen’s cute-as-can-be, tufted quail babies race and bob along the trail to keep up with Mama. With expressive eyes and tiny beaks that form a perpetual smile, they nestle next to Mama and pile on top of Papa. As they watch out for Queenie, one or two often peer out at readers, inviting them along on their excursions….Pedersen’s lovely gauche paintings are as fresh as a spring meadow and will entice kids and adults to take a nice slow walk together.

A unique and tender story that will have children entranced from the first page, Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up will be a favorite on home, school, and public library shelves.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for LittleCanadians

“Though quails are usually very quiet unless startled, Jane Whittingham gives them voice in Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up and your little ones will enjoy the repetitive chirps of the quails as they move and urge Queenie to hurry. Moreover, by boldly colouring certain phrases or words, including those repeated three times in succession, even non-readers will be able to pick up on key words and read along. Beyond the text, the story content has important embedded messages about sticking together for safety as well as taking the time to really see along the journey….

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up is Toronto artist Emma Pedersen’s first picture book and she does Queenie and her family, as well as Jane Whittingham, proud. Though Emma Pedersen ensures that the quail are truly quail-like, with their head plumes, known as topknots, of which Queenie’s is bi-coloured, and elongated bodies for adults and rounded-bodied young, she has given them her own personal stamp of cuteness. In fact, with the adorable facial expressions on the chicks and parents, Emma Pedersen anthropomorphizes the quails just enough to help children see themselves and their families within. Similarly, the landscapes Emma Pedersen creates of stylized plants are both real and fantastical, enriching each page of the story.

While the basis of Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up may be appear to be a scolding at an errant youngster, it delightfully turns into a lesson about the value in stopping to smell the grass and the blossoms and see the amazing in our surroundings, to the betterment and safety of all.”
—Helen K

Click here to read the full review

Fab Book Reviews

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up is great, bouyant and chirpy reading fun, filled with energy, rhythm, repetition and marvelous artwork. Emma Pedersen’s gouache illustrations are absolutely glorious and inviting (and deeply adorable), while readers familiar with Jane Whittingham’s work in A Good Day for Ducks and Wild One will recognize that the author (also a librarian!) approaches storytelling with an audience in mind, leading to stories tailor-made for reading aloud.

Overall, a beautifully cozy, heartwarming read that contains a just-right-for-the-story moment of excitement. While fresh and current, there is also something so very wonderfully nostalgic in the storytelling and visual appeal of Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up. My experience of reading this picture book made me think back to when I used to be read (or read) old favourites such as The Story of FerdinandNo Roses for Harry, or Make Way for Ducklings (also noted by Kirkus Reviews I can see!)…Readers on the lookout for a lovely new storytime read aloud to try for preschool ages and up, or for a new cuddly story to share, Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up is one to reach for!”

Click here to read the full review

Kids Make Mess

“My children instantly fell in love with little Queenie and so did I. Not just an appealing book for young readers who can relate to the protagonist, Queenie reminds parents (like me) to slow down and appreciate the natural curiosity of their children–children who have an innate ability to really see all the beauty in this world. And when push comes to shove, Queenie is able to recognize when she must hurry, and pulls through for her family….The illustrations by Emma Pedersen are gorgeous, colourful gouache paintings reminiscent of the books of my childhood. The bright and colourful pages will make it an awesome addition to your spring picture book collection.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up makes a fantastic read aloud. Your listeners will want to join in on all the repetitious parts of the story, the hurry, hurry, hurry and the tap, tap, tap. The story is engaging and fun and so impeccably illustrated. Emma Pedersen’s illustrations just scream Spring!”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Bookworm

“This engaging picture book uses word repetition, alliteration, imagery, and onomatopoeia to bring the story of this young bird and her family to life….This is a delightful story of stopping to take delight in the world around us, and valuing the contributions that we may not always recognize as being helpful. Lovely.”

Click here to read the full review

Book Time

Queenie Quail Can’t Keep Up by Jane Whittingham and illustrated by Emma Pedersen is an adorable book in words and pictures. I love Pedersen’s illustrations and I love how Queenie stops to enjoy the little things in life, but knows when she has to hurry.”

Click here to read the full review

A World of Kindness Interviews

Posted on November 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: A World of Kindness Author: The Editors & Illustrators of Pajama Press Publisher: Pajama Press

Advance Reading Copy interview with the creators of A World of Kindness

Marmalade Books “My Interview With Children’s Author/Editor Ann Featherstone”

A Good Day for Ducks Interviews

Posted on November 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: A Good Day for Ducks Author: Jane Whittingham Illustrator: Noel Tuazon Publisher: Pajama Press

WORD Vancouver interview with author Jane Whittingham

Sun Dog Interviews

Posted on November 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

InkyGirl “Advice for young writers, debut picture book SUN DOG, deals with the universe: Deborah Kerbel answers three questions” interview with author Deborah Kerbel

Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Interviews

Posted on November 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Too Young to Escape: A Vietnamese Girl Waits to be Reunited with Her Family Authors: Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch and Van Ho Publisher: Pajama Press

Books Q&As with Deborah Kalb interview with Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch

Missing Mike Interviews

Posted on November 20th, 2018 by pajamapress

Cover: Missing Mike Author: Shari Green Publisher: Pajama Press

Judith L. Roth interview with Shari Green

Book Q&As with Deborah Kalb interview with Shari Green

Campbell River Mirror “Campbell River author tells story of a child’s resilience amid wildfires” interview with Shari Green

Pencil: A Story with a Point Reviews

Posted on November 12th, 2018 by pajamapress

Foreword Reviews ★ Starred Review

“Office supplies have never been more entertaining than they are in this punny tale of friendship and ingenuity. Old school and new tech go head to head when Jackson trades his longtime pal Pencil in for a shiny new Tablet. Cheerful illustrations add to the hilarity as Pencil tries a variety of toppers and innovative uses while enlisting the help of everyone from Eraser and Scissors to Sticky Notes and Flashlight in an effort to regain Jackson’s attention.”
—Pallas Gates McCorquodale

Kirkus Reviews

“Move over, Pencil; Tablet’s in town…but what happens when Tablet breaks?….Pencil tries desperately to cheer Jackson up, but nothing works…until he enlists his old companions from the drawer, Scissors, Paper Clip, Flashlight, Tape, and the rest. Jackson finally smiles again, and all the supplies end as friends, with pages full of puns….The illustrations feature expressive, googly-eyed implements and realistic children and animals interacting against a white background….An overload of fun puns will have many readers giggling through to the openly sweet moral at the end.”

Click here to read the full review

NY Journal of Books

“The whole story is a format for a bunch of silly puns. Older kids will love it when they get the double meanings of the various school supplies. When Battery says, ‘He’ll get a real charge out of that,’ the astute second grader will understand the double meaning of charge and get the joke….

The digital art with lots of white space is hilarious, the kids are likable and diverse, and the speech bubbles help each object say the right thing. The end papers are robin’s egg blue and have the various white pages of the flip book with the dog as the star.

Corny as it is, Pencil: A Story with a Point is great fun. Every librarian should make it a point to order this delightful book.”
—Susan Middleton Elya

Click here to read the full review

Resource Links

“Rating: E

Who would ever think that pencils, rulers, sticky notes, and other basic office supplies could be so much fun? In Ann Ingalls’ new book Pencil: A Story With a Point, readers discover a story of friendship and creativity, and suddenly office supplies become intriguing, comical, and enjoyable. Jackson and his best friend Pencil are inseparable, doing things together like writing, sketching, etc. When Tablet, a new friend, enters the scene Pencil is soon pushed aside for this new technological friend. One day Pencil is dropped on the floor and Bernie (dog) picks him up, starts to chew him, thus causing large dents in Pencil. Pencil then gets cast away in a dark drawer with other rejected office supplies. Pencil fears his life is over. Low and behold, one day the drawer opens and Pencil is rescued by Jasmine. But disaster strikes again and it is up to Pencil and his other office supply friends to come up with a solution to make Jackson smile again.

Through the use of personification, Ann Ingalls has created an entertaining and engaging book that is carefree, engaging and certainly a winner for young readers to enjoy….The illustrations provide a connection to the text and allow the reader to use their own imagination wondering if the objects could really talk! The use of the white background of the pages allows the illustrations to be even more powerful in their realism; the white background prevents readers from being distracted from the story and the illustrations.

Pencil: A Story With a Point is a perfect story to have readers enjoying a big belly laugh! Libraries and classrooms will certainly be filled with giggling children when this book is read during story-time read-alouds….

Thematic Links: Friendship; Computers; Puns/Wordplay; Conflict Resolution; Collaboration; Humour”
—Carmelita Cechetto-Shea

Read the full review on page 5 of the February 2019 issue of Resource Links

CM Magazine

“Veteran author Ann Ingalls has produced a book with a lightweight plot but much lighthearted play with language that will delight younger readers just learning about verbal humour as well as teachers who could use this book as a lesson on the pun as literary device.

Dean Griffiths is a British Columbia illustrator with a number of awards to his name. He has filled the pages of Pencil with familiar objects which are candy-colourful and plastic in their contours, as well as expressive images of the two dark-eyed, dark-haired children. Tooth-marked and a little off-kilter, Pencil is definitely a character in his own right in the story. The spread showing the shadowy interior of the junk drawer where a small green flashlight illuminates little but a number of pairs of eyes is especially captivating.”
—Ellen Heaney

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Youth Services Book Review

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

To whom would you recommend this book? I could see this being enjoyed by children ages four through seven. It would be a great way to introduce a craft project — especially if children were making some sort of book. It really does show the importance of simple craft activities over constant stimulation on electronic devices….

Should we (librarians/readers) put this on the top of our “to read” pile? Yes”
Kristin Guay, Centerville Library, Centerville, MA

Click here to read the full review

Pickle Me This

“…the illustrations are very appealing (including very cool endpapers) so I sat down to read this with my daughter, and told her, ‘If we’re going to like this book, it’s going to have to be really good.’

And it was. Primarily, because (as might be discerned from the book’s subtitle) Pencil is playful with language and we never got tired of the puns…

And while this indeed a pencil versus tablet story for our screen saturated age, it’s also more interesting than just that, about a boy who loved his pencil until he abandoned it for tablet pursuits, and then Pencil was rescued from the junk drawer by the boy’s sister, and was there to see it happen: the tablet crashing to the floor and breaking, the boy distraught. Is there anything that Pencil can do?…[A] warm and humorous book which demonstrates that a story with a point is not necessarily a bad thing. It’s all in the delivery, and this one is done right.”

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Jana the Teacher

“This clever picture book reminds readers that even though our world is filled with exciting technology, sometimes the best fun comes from the simplicity of pencil and paper….Humorous, pun-filled text along with terrific artwork will make this a fun book to share with young children.”

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Sal’s Fiction Addiction

“It takes a community to find a solution. The conversational puns that follow will have readers giggling and trying their hand at creating some of their own … perfect! The colorful, expressive digital art is humorous in all the right places.”

Click here to read the full review