On the Line Reviews

Posted on June 29th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

“To be a team player, sometimes you need to think creatively.

Young Jackson Moore comes from a family of hockey players who swap goal stories at dinner. Grandpa tells Jackson, “You’ve got Moore in your blood. You’ll be great!” But Jackson isn’t so sure, and his first efforts leave him flat on the ice. The other kids think he’s too big and uncoordinated for their team. But they have problems of their own… illustrations portray a diverse cast of characters, from the team to the audience in the stands. Bright swathes of greens and blues are punctuated by oranges and yellows, powering a vibrant, eye-catching palette…. an encouraging story for young readers who struggle with shyness and anxiety. An author’s note offers additional insight to the origin of Jackson’s story.

Believe in yourself, trust your talents, and find resilience in stories.”

Click here to read the full review.

Youth Services Book Review

“The simple text and lively illustrations in this book celebrate being a team player, thinking outside the box, and the true meaning of stewardship. Jackson Moore comes from a family of hockey heroes.  His grandpa was an all-star and taught him how to make a game plan, hold a stick, and pass a puck. Jackson is not so sure about his hockey skills, he feels like a potato on skates and even his teammates question if he is a Moore due to his lack of skills on the ice. Jackson’s grandpa tells him he is good at making game plans and he gets to work on figuring out the team’s problem: not having the proper equipment to play in their upcoming Winterfest Tournament.

A great read aloud for the introduction of being part of a team, reinforcing perseverance, believing in oneself, and valuing everyone’s talents.  This would be nice for coaches to share with their elementary school teams.”

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Canadian Bookworm

“On the surface this is a tale of a young hockey player finding his place, but it is so much more than that. The central character is Jackson Moore, a boy that lives in a small town where hockey is an important part of the community. Several members of his family have been players that have been great assets to their team, described as hockey heroes. Everyone seems to be looking for Jackson to follow in their footsteps, but he has doubts. Mostly he keeps his doubts to himself while wondering what will happen if he doesn’t live up to these expectations.

The illustrations add important elements to the story, showing diversity in the community and on the team, and the level of ingenuity the kids and their parents had used to come up with workarounds on equipment.”

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Book Time

“Author Kari-Lynn Winters talks about growing up in a hockey-loving family in a hockey-loving town but being an OK hockey player: “I wasn’t the best skater. I rarely scored goals and I got even fewer assists.” What Winters came to realize, however, was that she was a team steward or leader, helping her team on and off the ice.

This a great picture book to show kids that there are more important things than scoring goals – like trying hard, being a great team player and never giving up.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime with Stephanie

“This story gave me some very Mighty Ducks vibes and being a huge fan of the movies and the new series, I really enjoyed this book. I grew up in a hockey family but neither of my kids care to play the sport so at times hockey stories can be a tough sell for us. I know so many hockey fans who will really enjoy this story and so many parents who will love the aspect of community and giving back that Kari-Lynn Winters has built into the text. With the hockey community acknowledging the ways that teams are boosting their communities, it’s a bonus to have a story to help them along. I love that we are seeing stories about kindness and leadership off the ice as well as on the ice. We need to show readers that being a team player and a team leader is more than how they play, it’s how they create opportunities and give back off the ice too.

Scot Richie’s illustrations are colourful and filled with excellent hockey action. I love all of the team members in their various iterations of equipment, most not appropriate for playing hockey. He creates a beautiful community throughout the story that readers will love.”

Click here to read the full review

Hello, Dark Reviews

Posted on June 29th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews

“A new perspective combats a common childhood fear: the dark.

Beneath a flock of imaginary sheep running across a rainbow, an Asian-presenting boy lies in bed beneath his covers smiling with the company of a friendly-looking ghostly shadow.…The spare text gently narrates as the kid declares, ‘I’m tired of being afraid of you. Tonight, can we talk?’ Dark purple and blue hues saturate each detailed illustration as the child acknowledges the “good things” the dark also provides. A menagerie of animals playing in the twilight and dreamy scenes of the sky attest to how the dark facilitates life for nocturnal creatures and rest for others. The child then offers a hand to the shadow with an invitation: ‘Let’s be friends.’ In subsequent pages, the child models ways readers can interact with the dark: ‘play imaginary games’; ‘count sheep’; ‘practice breathing’; and ‘listen to music.’ Eventually, and with the help of a night light, the child concludes, ‘I’m sure we can be friends,’ and watches Dark, no longer an object of fear, head back into the closet. The young child presents as East Asian.

This tale compassionately guides young readers to face their fears.”

Click here to read the full review.

CM Magazine

“Written simply and poetically in a reassuring and confident monologue, Hello, Dark will help children to understand why the darkness is necessary. The author’s note explains that this story “reframes the dark in a positive context”, something which it has indeed achieved. The illustrations transport the reader into a nighttime atmosphere and range from depicting a cozy bedroom in rich blue-green hues to the resplendent shades of purple in a starry night sky overseen by a friendly moon. The detail in some of the scenes is astounding, in particular, the picture books on the shelves and the newspaper pirate’s hat. Hello, Dark will be a comfort to children and an essential title for parents who struggle with their children’s fear of the dark. Highly recommended for all children’s collections.”

Click here to read the full review

Youth Services Book Review

The very familiarity of both the child and the setting will make it easy for young listeners to identify with the narrator.  Campeau mixes up the framing of her vibrant digital artwork so that we look at the narrator and the room from a variety of angles, which heightens the book’s visual impact. 

A good choice for families struggling with bedtime fears in children ages 3-6. The use of a BIPOC child as a narrator will be of interest to those trying to diversify their bibliotherapy collections. The very literal illustrations and suggested solutions may work as good talking points for weary adults.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“In this, her debut picture book, Wai Mei Wong has written a compelling story which encourages children to gain control of their anxieties. By articulating concerns and re-imagining a negative situation into a positive one, this book celebrates the inner strength of children in overcoming their fear of the dark. A helpful note to caregivers offers support and strategies.

Tamara Campeau’s vibrant digital illustrations subtly portray the child’s transformation from apprehensive to accepting as Dark grows into a more congenial character. Of visual interest is the child’s bedroom, a comforting milieu filled with toys and a library shelf featuring picture books, two of which have been illustrated by Campeau.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

Hello, Dark by Wai Mei Wong gives voice to a child who is afraid of the dark. “I hear you creak, and cast shadows all around,” he whispers, alone in bed. But soon he realizes that the dark helps animals at night, even helps the moon shine bright.”

Click here to read the full review

Storytime With Stephanie

“Wai Mei Wong is an early childhood educator and has drawn on her experiences working with young children and their families to create this beautiful resource which also includes strategies parents and caregivers can use to help ease bedtime anxiety. Working in a preschool myself, I have definitely fielded the question about bedtime/nighttime anxiety and think that this story would make a great addition to the resource shelves in daycares.

The illustrations by Tamara Campeau make the dark seem less intimidating and more like a great new friend. The rich blues in all of the illustrations add a dreaminess to the story. I especially love her depictions of the nighttime animals and the wonderful book covers featured in the child’s bedroom.

This is definitely a story I will be adding to our preschool resource shelves for the next time we encounter the bedtime questions.”

Click here to read the full review

Bookishrealm (Goodreads)

“This was an interesting picture book. It’s been a while since I’ve come across a newer title that focuses so heavily on a child’s fear of the dark. This will be great for parents/caregivers who are looking for additional support in helping their children cope with a fear of the dark. Not only does the author address the concerns of the child, but through the text the attempt to reframe the child’s perception of what the “dark” really is.”

Click here to read the full review

Bethany (Goodreads)

“Befriending the dark is a smart concept because how can you be afraid of something if it’s your friend? I love how the author addresses the fear of darkness in an indirect and positive light. Instead of focusing on the boy’s apprehension, the author twists it so the dark is the one who’s lonely and looking for a friend too. The overall dark illustrations fit the theme and I love how the illustrator portrays darkness as a shadow so it puts emphasis on it being an actual friend to talk with. Not something to be scared of.

Final Verdict: HELLO, DARK is the perfect book for children who have a fear of the dark. A parent’s job is to bring positivity into a child’s life and this author gives parents the opportunity to do exactly that.”

Click here to read the full review

Harley the Hero Book Trailer

Posted on May 31st, 2021 by pajamapress


Sunny Days Reviews

Posted on May 26th, 2021 by pajamapress

School library Journal ★ Starred Review

“These charming couplets about fun in the sun will have their appeal to lap sitters…. With its padded cover, rounded corners, and thick pages, this eye-catching yet simple look at sunshine will suit all collections that serve toddlers.”

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Similar to the text in its companion book, Snow Days (2020), simple rhyming couplets create a playful, upbeat tone: “Ocean sun: flash and glimmer / Kick and paddle, little swimmer.” A vivid color palette bursting with highly saturated hues pairs well with collage to create richly layered scenes that will capture young readers’ interest. The changing position of the sun and use of embroidery for its rays evoke various moods and signal different times of day in each spread. The use of mixed media allows various textures to jump off the page, giving the book an almost 3-D feel. The multiracial cast of children featured have a diverse mix of skin tones and hair colors.

Radiates joy and the carefree fun of days in the sun.”

Booklist

“This is a charming book for very young children. Kerbel’s brief rhyming couplets—one per spread—capture the feeling of the sun throughout the day and from spring through the heat of summer. The first spread sets the tone: “Morning sun, golden skies / Softly waking sleepy eyes.” The book concludes, “Setting sun, rosy sky / Blow today a kiss goodbye.” The pages in between describe the shining sun, spring sun, bursting sun, blazing sun in the summer, ocean sun, and prickly hot sun. Of course, no book for children this age would be complete without pictures, and Sato’s bright, peaceful collages not only illustrate each page but add texture, pattern, and the feeling of three dimensions to the visual mix.”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central

“SUNNY DAYS is a charming picture book that captures a summer day. Told in rhyme, the story captures so many of the magical things about summer, such as cold treats, playing in the mud, visiting the beach, and planting seeds. The book features full page illustrations of toddlers enjoying the summer with plenty of bright colors and interesting scenes.

What I loved: The rhyming text adds some fun to this book celebrating summer. The text carries the reader from morning until bedtime, adding a reflection of the reader’s own summer days. The illustrations are full of color and capture the joy of summer with children who have diverse skintones. The children pictured appear to be toddlers, which will definitely appeal to the intended audience.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Children’s Booknews

Morning Sun, golden skies

Softly waking sleepy eyes

So begins Sunny Days. A waking child rubs her eyes while the sun streams in from her bedroom window.

The sun is the subject of Deborah Kerbel’s rhyming couplets: morning sun, shining sun, spring sun, blazing sun, ocean sun, setting sun, and more—all are gloriously depicted as little children go about the day playing, exploring, experimenting and celebrating. Each page turn contains a different child or children enjoying a different kind of sun. All are connected by the one sun in all its variations. The seasons and the connection with nature, as well as the children’s activities, spill over the double-page spreads and will delight readers.

Collage illustrations had a particularly childlike quality, and Miki Sato’s illustrations are notably playful and joyful. Three-dimensionality and abundant use of fabric bring these colourful, child-centered illustrations to life. Whether posing in a favourite summer dress, staring intently at a cricket, making mud pies, reading a book, or plating a seed, the children in the illustrations are in their moment under the sun. But the day has to end. In the final illustration, brilliant pink and orange radiate from the setting sun as a little one sits on a parent’s lap and blows on a dandelion:

Setting sun, rosy sky

Blow today a kiss goodbye

Back matter offers five simple experiments that preschoolers and kindergarteners can do by themselves. (But parents won’t want to miss out on the fun!) Sunny Days is a cheerful book chockful of sunshine and joy.”

Theo Heras

Book Time

“This book for three to five year olds shows all that is wonderful about summer and embracing the weather (wearing sunscreen and a hat of course.) I love the ideas at the back of the book that shows some science experiments kids can do including leaving objects on dark-coloured construction paper in the sun and seeing the prints it makes and looking at the rainbows created in the bubbles.
I absolutely love the paper collage illustrations by Sato – the sun shines, the water sparkles, the days grow long and the sun sets. So beautiful and so much detail.”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for Little Canadians

“The rhymes may seem simple but there is a richness in Deborah Kerbel’s take on what children experience in the sun. What’s most important is what they feel, what they see, what they notice, and how it affects them. After all, Sunny Days is a book for our youngest children, connecting with them and their realities. There are the sensations of the blazing sun freckling the skin and the drying of mud. There is sunshine everywhere and anywhere, including an urban setting, a backyard, a beach or a park and Sunny Days shines on the lives of children’s routines, joys and play.

I’ve always loved textured illustration and Miki Sato’s paper collages are becoming a favourite, doing more than just following Deborah Kerbel’s words. The artwork gives us crumbly soil in which seeds are dropped, cooling water lapping onto sandy shores, and angry clouds having left puddles for mud pies. The quality of Miki Sato’s artwork infuses Sunny Days with more than just warmth and light; it also gives a sense of place and pursuit.

My recommendation for enjoying Sunny Days? Get yourself and your young charge on a blanket on the grass or the sand, or on a bench in a park or in yard. Let the child hold the book which is in Pajama Press’s Toddler Tough hardcover format (padded cover, rounded corners and thick paper) and read it aloud, asking questions and even doing the fun and easy science experiments on the final page of the book. Then read it again on a rainy day to remember what sunny days are like.  I suspect your child will start learning the rhymes and reading along with you soon enough and you might even encourage a new curiosity with weather or the solar system. Who knows what Sunny Days may bring?”

Click here to read the full review

Fab Book Reviews

“Author Deborah Kerbel and illustrator Miki Sato’s Sunny Days is a beautiful follow-up to their earlier picture book collaboration Snow Days. In Sunny Days, readers follow joyful, appealing, and sweet spreads that highlight different kinds of lovely sunny day weather, and the different kinds of activities and fun things that young ones and their adults can enjoy during sunny days. As with Snow DaysSunny Days features rich and bright short rhyming text, providing generous space for Miki Sato’s gorgeous layered, textured collage artwork to shine. This is a title that I have been sharing for nighttime read aloud with my youngest and he is just fascinated by the children characters featured in the book, and all the sunny day activities that he and they share in common! Readers who love sweet rhyming books or those who enjoy Snow Days will likely adore Sunny Days.”

Click here to read the full review

Jill’s Book Blog

Rating: ★★★★★

This picture book is about all the different things that you can do in the sun, from morning to night. When you wake up, there’s a golden sky. Then, throughout the day you can garden or swim. In the evening, the sky turns a rosy pink to say goodbye to that day. Each page had short rhyming lines that went along with the pictures.

This is a beautiful children’s book. I love the style of art, with layers of paper creating a picture. Each picture was made with pieces of coloured paper layered on top of one another.”

Click here to read the full review

Simcoe.com

“Miki Sato’s colourful illustrations will capture a child’s attention. At the back of the book there are some experiments that you can do on sunny days including blowing bubbles and looking for rainbows in them, touching stones to feel their warmth from the sun and observing a shrinking puddle.”

Click here to read the full review

Harley the Hero Reviews

Posted on May 25th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Reviews


“Collins’ tale of neurodiversity, based on a true story, is really about Harley’s job as a service dog—from the title and front endpapers to the ending…. The illustrations are inclusive, from the progress pride flag flying over the school under the Canadian maple leaf to the diverse classroom, which includes a child who uses a wheelchair. (The narrator and Ms. Prichard present White, and Amelia presents Asian.)…A lighthearted introduction to service dogs and their grateful partners.”

Click here to read the full review

Foreword Reviews

“Ms. Prichard’s class has the reputation for being the best in the school thanks to Harley, the service dog who helps her to feel safe. Among students of all backgrounds and abilities, Harley is a calming force. He helps the children learn about respect, boundaries, and listening—and when an emergency strikes, he’s ready to leap into action and assist.”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Review of Materials

The author has executed her own illustrations for the book. Bold colours are used for the digital artwork which has the look of having been rendered in oil pastel and line. The facial expressions of the humans and of one friendly dog are very readable throughout, from glee at watching Harley open the Animail box on his own, to the pleasure of a circle time, to dismay at the sound of the fire bell. Perspectives are dynamic and sometimes pull readers in by showing only a fragment of a scene.

A classroom drama with a lesson in caring, Harley the Hero will be enjoyed by children and the adults who introduce the book to them.”

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Canadian Children’s Book Centre

“Every day Harley comes to school with Mr. Prichard to help her feel safe. Harley stays close to Ms. Prichard all day and always keeps one eye open so he can see everything. The students in the class are not allowed to interact with Harley when he has his vest on, so they send him ‘Animail’ and leave him treats. Ms. Prichard’s class is the quietest in the school.

One day the stage curtains catch fire, and everything becomes very loud. The fire alarms ring and ring, and there is even smoke. Most of the children head to the door, but Amelia, who doesn’t like loud noises, runs the other way. Harley drags Ms. Prichard back to her desk to find Amelia hiding underneath. Ms. Prichard, Amelia and Harley crawl to the hallway to safety and everyone cheers. Harley is a hero!

Peggy Collins once visited a classroom where the teacher has a service dog. She based this book on the real teacher, Sherri Richards, and the real-life service dog, Stanley. You’ll find an Author’s Note about the real dog behind the fictional Harley at the back of the book. Collins brings the children in this story to life with vivid colours and expressive characters. The students are from diverse backgrounds, represent multiple exceptionalities, and Harley is a most endearing pup who loves to lick people’s feet. I would highly recommend sharing this book to teach about service animals and to begin discussions about children and adults with ‘invisible disabilities.’”

Youth Services Book Review

“This book is about an elementary school class with many diverse abilities, including a teacher with a service dog. Students in the class know what they can and can’t do with Harley, and it is mostly action focused. (For example, they know they can’t distract him, but they can smile at him, write him messages, and be on their best behavior so he can do his job more easily.) The teacher is described as having an “invisible disability” and Harvey helps her feel safe, which I think is an appropriate and positive description for young children. ”

Click here to read the full review

CanLit for Little Canadians

“Most children are drawn to dogs. They want to pat them and hug them, call their names and get close. But service dogs must be treated differently so that they may help their human friends. Harley is one such service dog so he’s a hero everyday for his person. But when there’s a fire in the school where his person works, Harley proves he’s able to share his strength with others when needed.

As mentioned in Peggy Collins‘s “Author’s Note” and in a brief note from the teacher upon whom the story of Harley is based, Harley the Hero is a very real story. Because of that, Peggy Collins uses it to educate as well as entertain. The issues of individuals with invisible disabilities like PTSD and sensory processing disorder are addressed as are how to deal with service dogs.”

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Eden Mills Writer’s Festival Kids’ Reads

What do you like about this book? 

Yuliana: I liked that Ms. Prichard is the best teacher she can be.

Alison: I like the pictures and the doggy.

What is your favourite part of the story and why? 

Yuliana: My favourite part is when he goes to school. Every day he comes to school with Ms. Prichard. I don’t have a dog. My teacher has a dog at my virtual classes.

Alison: Harley likes to lick feet.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“Harley The Hero by Peggy Collins is based on a real classroom where the teacher has a service dog. The book celebrates the work of service animals and the normalization of neurodivergence. The author-illustrator brings Harley and his class to charming life and concludes with an Author’s Note about the real dog behind the fictional Harley who goes to school every day with Ms. Prichard to make sure she feels safe.”

Click here to read the full review

No More Plastic Teaching Guides

Posted on April 23rd, 2021 by pajamapress

A girl with white skin and long reddish hair swims in the ocean. The sunlight reflects through the ocean water, and a plastic bag is tangled in between her legs and red flippers.The first page of a teaching guide for the picture book No More Plastic

Click here to download the No More Plastic teaching guide.

Outside, You Notice Interviews

Posted on April 21st, 2021 by pajamapress

A fair-skinned girl with rosy cheeks and long, dark braids sits in a tree among golden-brown squirrels underneath the shade of a thick canopy of green leaves.

Open Book interview with author Erin Alladin, “Children are Born as Little Scientists” Erin Alladin’s Outside, You Notice Captures the Wonder of Exploring the Natural World

Bay Today interview with author Erin Alladin. “Local author releases first children’s picture book, Outside, You Notice, for Earth Day”

Benjamin's Blue Feet Teaching Guides

Posted on April 5th, 2021 by pajamapress

Click here to download the Benjamin’s Blue Feet teaching guide.

Easter Morning, Easter Sun Teaching Guides

Posted on March 23rd, 2021 by pajamapress

A white rabbit with a purple jacket, half-moon glasses, and a woven basket full of colorful easter eggs knocks on the door of a treehouse. A little brown kitten in a blue dress waits behind him with eagerness and excitement on her face.

Click here to download the Easter Morning, Easter Sun teaching guide.

If Only… Reviews

Posted on March 17th, 2021 by pajamapress

School Library Journal Starred Review

“Implied messages about imagination and finding satisfaction in your own special abilities are there for children to interpret as they choose. Van Hout employs painted papers in the style of Eric Carle to collage plants and critters and places them on backdrops washed in vibrant, translucent color. The result is spread after spread of exuberantly busy, beautiful life. A glossary with one to two sentences of information about each featured animal is included, as are instructions for making painted papers and collage. VERDICT A visual delight, this picture book offers openings for conversation about wishes, predictions, and one’s own enviable strengths.”
Jan Aldrich Solow

Click here to read the full review.

Booklist Starred Review

Cover: If Only... Author: Mies van Hout Publisher: Pajama Press“The imaginative narrative guides viewers through a series of richly colorful, dynamic collages, each showcasing a creature and its particularly enviable ability, characteristic, or situation. In an appended section, Van Hout presents an illustrated glossary with a relevant fact or two about each animal, as well as an art project advising kids on creating their own collage creatures by sliding scraps of paper around ‘until you feel happy,’ a possible insight into her own creative process and one that may explain how a picture book based on longing manages to express such delight in the natural world. Originally published in the Netherlands, this radiant picture book has international appeal.”
— Carolyn Phelan

Click here to read the full review

Kirkus Reviews

“Every spread, crafted with striking paper-collage illustrations reminiscent of the work of Eric Carle and Denise Fleming, glows with red, blue, green, and yellow hues and provides an entrance to an intricate and appealing environment specific to the creature….The racially diverse children who appear in the initial and final pages are active, smiling, curious, a part of the natural world themselves, and they feature similar abilities of their own. This gentle celebration of differences also promotes an appreciation of others’ strengths and quietly emphasizes relationships within the animal kingdom.

A colorful introduction to the natural sciences featuring warm and inviting illustrations. (glossary, art tips)”

Click here to read the full review

Canadian Review of Materials

“Nature comes alive in Mies Van Hout’s dazzling collage illustrations that are rich in colour and details. Flowers have textured, patterned designs and seem to be in motion. The park-like setting is a clever landscape to explore the “grass isn’t always greener on the other side” adage.

This circular tale comes to a satisfying and thoughtful ending when a dragonfly wants to be a child, explaining, “Then I could run, jump, laugh, play hide-and-seek, count, build houses … and so much more!” Instead of concentrating on what others have, the final spread shows a diverse group of children celebrating their own unique abilities. The grass just might be the greenest where you water it.”

Click here to read the full review

YA Books Central

“IF ONLY… is an intriguing picture book that ultimately encourages readers to be happy with who they are. The book begins with a child thinking that if they were only a butterfly, they could fly anywhere. The butterflies are thinking that if only they were a stick insect, they would blend in better. This continues on until a bug is thinking about being a child.

This was an intriguing concept, and I appreciated the ultimate message along the lines of the grass is always greener… This was unique with its walk through different bugs and insects, giving facts and features about them along the way.

The pages turn really fast with each page having one if only phrase. This makes it great for toddlers through elementary school readers. The circle that starts with a child and goes through the bugs before coming back to children is a fun journey that will resonate with young readers.

Click here to read the full review

Mrs. Book Dragon

“What a beautiful story that is equally beautifully illustrated. The message of this story is to show that you may look at others and wish you had what they had, but you should celebrate what makes you, you. This message is so important for our youth-to celebrate and value yourself and what makes you unique.”

Mr. Alex’s Bookshelf

“The grass isn’t actually greener on the other side of the gate.

Who among us hasn’t wanted to be someone, or something else, if only for a day? The child in If Only wishes to be a butterfly, so she can fly, not realizing that the butterfly wishes it were a stick insect, and the stick insect wishes it were a whirligig beetle….and so on, and so on, until the last insect wishes it were a child so it could do all the things children do.”

Click here to read the full review

The International Educator

“If Only… by Mies van Hout is a colourful picture book for the youngest readers, in which the voice of a child wishes he/she was a butterfly. But the butterfly wishes it was a different insect. From ladybugs to spiders, all critters voice their wishes until the story comes full circle. In addition to the story there is information about each creature as well as instructions for making your own colourful art.”

Sal’s Fiction Addicition

“The repeating text makes this stylish and entertaining book fodder for emerging early readers who are sure to find support here. It celebrates the differences that make each one special, and helps young readers appreciate strengths in others. It is a spirited look at nature in all its glory. Young readers will love that it is a ‘circle’ book that returns them to the child (and others) they met at the outset. Children can do many things that creatures cannot.

Back matter offers a glossary of the featured creatures, acccompanied by a thumbnail sketch and a sentence or two of description. Following that, there is a step-by-step guide for creating collage art resembling that created for this book by Ms. Van Hout.

If only, what?

After reading this book with young readers and others, it would be a telling exercise to ask that question of both children and adults.”

Click here to read the full review

No More Plastic Interviews

Posted on March 17th, 2021 by pajamapress

Cover: No More Plastic Author: Alma Fullerton Publisher: Pajama PressQuill & Quire interview with author-illustrator Alma Fullerton, “In her latest picture book, Alma Fullerton repurposes environmentally damaging waste as artwork”

No More Plastic Reviews

Posted on March 17th, 2021 by pajamapress

Kirkus Starred Review

Cover: No More Plastic Author: Alma Fullerton Publisher: Pajama Press“Angered by the death of a whale, beached on the ocean shore she loves, Isley finds a constructive response….Like Isley with her construction, author/illustrator Fullerton has created her illustrations from ‘repurposed plastic, sand, and moss.’ Among the best of the recent books about ocean plastic thanks to its positive approach and practical suggestions included at the end, this title would work well as a group read-aloud….A gentle, effective presentation of an environmental disaster.”

Click here to read the full review

School Library Journal

“Isley lives near the ocean. One day she awakes to find a dead whale on her beach. Isley is sad then angry when it is announced that the whale died of starvation because it had so much plastic in its stomach. Isley decides to get rid of plastic in her community once and for all. This is a very straightforward book with a clear environmental message about how damaging plastic is to our environment. Isley’s earnest persistence to get rid of plastic is admirable.”

Click here to read the full review

Atlantic Books

“Alma Fullerton makes a poignant plea in No More Plastic, the story of a girl who takes a firm stand against pollution. When Isley wakes up one morning to sounds of distress, she races to the shore where a beached right whale has died, the victim of the plastic that filled its stomach.
Deeply saddened by the senseless loss, Isley is also angry and becomes determined to help keep the ocean that she loves clean and safe for all the creatures that live there. She convinces her family to say no to plastic.
She makes signs and writes letters. And when the people around her start to forget about how important these efforts are, Isley makes a dramatic statement that reminds her family, friends and neighbours that they must keep working diligently towards the goal of a world without plastic.
In prose that is precise and measured, Fullerton conveys Isley’s anguish, frustration and resolve.”

Click here to read the full review

Hakai Magazine

“No More Plastic is an inspiring story of perseverance with an important lesson that one little person can make a big difference. The intriguing illustrations—diorama art made out of plastic waste, sand, and moss—help tell the story and drive home the message. The author’s note at the end includes several ideas of things kids can do to make a difference, including writing letters to decision-makers to demand change—a great rainy-day activity!”

Click here to read the full review

Mrs. Book Dragon

“I really enjoyed the use of diorama art made from plastic waste by the illustrator. It really brought the book full circle and shows how it is up to us to change and save our world. Isley is in all of us.”

Kids’ BookBuzz

“I really like that this book is about helping animals and stopping pollution. I hope this helps people to make better choices… The illustrations in this fun picture book were made from plastic waste, and I found that amazing. I recommend this book. I read it multiple times and noticed new things in the illustrations each time!”

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A Kids Book A Day

“Isley loves everything about the ocean near her home until one day when a dead whale washes up on the beach.  When she learns that the whale starved to death because its stomach was filled with plastic, she becomes angry.  Turning her anger into action, Isley begins a campaign in her community to stop using plastic bags, straws, and other products.  At first people are enthusiastic, but eventually the convenience of plastic causes them to backslide.  Isley begins collecting the plastic she finds on the beach and uses it to create a giant whale sculpture.  The whale serves as a reminder to people in the community, who begin to make bigger changes like banning plastic grocery bags and installing filling stations for water bottles.  Includes an author’s note and a list of ideas for reducing plastics, both locally and globally.”

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Metroland Toronto

“No More Plastic is an excellent environmental picture book aimed at children 4 – 7 but is an important read for everyone. Isley loves the ocean but she is devastated when she finds a dead, beached right whale. The magnificent animal died due to plastic filling her stomach. Isley decides to try and stop people from using plastic. She makes signs, speaks to her family and writes politicians and everyone agrees that there is too much plastic. But they all forget about the tragedy with the whale so Isley gathers up all the plastic on the beach for months and makes “a sculpture as big as a whale.” People stop, think and help – from the grocery store banning plastic bags to the school implementing “zero-waste lunch programs” to the town providing filling stations for water bottles. All working toward “the dream of a plastic-free world.”
No More Plastic is an important picture book which delivers a vital message that cannot be ignored any longer. Complementing the text are beautiful illustrations that Fullerton “made using repurposed plastic, sand, and moss.”

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Sal’s Fiction Adiction

“We are constantly bombarded with proof that we are killing this environment we call home. Wildfires, heat domes, dying oceans and reefs … what will it take for everyone to get on board and begin to make the needed differences we can make to bring change? Reading books like No More Plastic brings an awareness to a young generation and is absolutely essential for their future.

In two final pages, Ms. Fullerton explains that ocean waste is unsafe for all marine life. She goes on to describe how children and their families can reduce the amount of plastic going into landfills, and eventually finding its way to our waters.”

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Outside, You Notice Teaching Guides

Posted on March 11th, 2021 by pajamapress

A fair-skinned girl with rosy cheeks and long, dark braids sits in a tree among golden-brown squirrels underneath the shade of a thick canopy of green leaves.

Click here to download the Outside, You Notice teaching guide.

A Family for Faru Teaching Guides

Posted on March 11th, 2021 by pajamapress

Cover: A Family for Faru Author: Anitha Rao-Robinson Illustrator: Karen Patkau Publisher: Pajama Press

Click here to download the A Family for Faru teaching guide.

Cuckoo's Flight Interviews

Posted on March 5th, 2021 by pajamapress

Cover: Cuckoo's Flight Author: Wendy Orr Publisher: Pajama Press

Open Book interview with author Wendy Orr, “Wendy Orr Explores Love, Disability, and Coming of Age in Ancient Greece in Her Captivating New Novel”