Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘Booklist’

Bear on the Homefront “an appealing look into a little-known part of WWII”—Booklist Online

Posted on October 14th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnHomefront_cover_rgb_hi-res“This companion to A Bear in War (2009) extends the story of a Canadian girl’s teddy bear, who rode out WWI in the uniform pocket of the girl’s father and was returned after the he died in battle. Now, during WWII, the little girl has grown into a nurse assigned to a train carrying “guest children” across Canada. These children have been sent by their British parents to escape Nazi bombings.

Nurse Aileen befriends a brother and sister who are being sent to a farm couple in Winnipeg and gives Teddy to the boy to comfort him. As before, Teddy narrates the story and also speaks directly to the boy and his sister. Deines’ watercolors impart a nostalgic feel to the story, which lasts until the end of the war, when the two children return home and Teddy returns to Aileen. Though lacking the photos that helped make the first book so fascinating, this is an appealing look into a little-known part of WWII.”
— Connie Fletcher

Booklist praises the “lyrically written” Revenge on the Fly

Posted on September 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

RevengeOnTheFly“In 1912 Ireland, 12-year-old Will Alton has lost his mother and baby sister to disease. After immigrating to Canada, Will’s father gets a job in a stable, while Will goes to school. When a local newspaper claims that flies are the harbingers of disease and runs a contest with cash prizes for the most flies caught during a three-week period, Will sees an opportunity to avenge the deaths of his loved ones and also help his father make ends meet. Interspersed with Will’s clever and resourceful attempts to catch flies by the hundreds are his experiences at school, where he is known as the new kid, the poor kid, and the focus of the local bully. McNicoll has brought a little-known chapter of Canada’s history to life in this novel of a young boy learning what it means to grieve, to win, and to be a man. Reminiscent of the historical novels of Karen Hesse, this quiet story is lyrically written with a believable young protagonist and a thoughtful message of hope in the midst of trouble.”

ALA Booklist calls When Emily Carr Met Woo a “sweet story”

Posted on August 1st, 2014 by pajamapress

WhenEmilyCarrMetWoo_RGB“Emily Carr is one of Canada’s most celebrated painters and poets. Born in 1871 in British Columbia, Carr spent most of her life as a starving artist. This picture-book tells the story of Carr’s love of animals, her struggle to fit into mainstream life and make ends meet, and her adoption of a lovable monkey that she named Woo. For 15 years, Woo lived in Carr’s household, making mischief, providing companionship and accompanying Carr on artistic expeditions into the Canadian forests. However, when Woo takes her mischievous behavior too far, she puts her life in danger and leaves Carr desperate for his quick recovery. Full-color illustrations bear an uncanny likeness to the actual people and places they represent and are a perfect complement to the storybook-style narrative. Back matter includes photographs of Carr and Woo and a bibliography. This sweet story of friendship and love will spark interest in the art and poetry of a Canadian national treasure.”

– Erin Anderson

Booklist recommends The Stowaways to DiCamillo fans

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

Stowaways_HR“Rory Stowaway longs for adventure. The other mice in his rural community mistrust the Stowaways’ history of exploring the World Beyond, and his own father is determined to keep his family safe at home. Meanwhile, as Rory learns more about his missing grandfather, he becomes determined to find and rescue him, even if he doesn’t quite see how it can be done. In her first novel, Marentette shows promise as a storyteller, creating distinctive characters, building tension, and grounding the fantasy with realistic settings and details. Appearing at intervals throughout the book, Griffiths’ lively shaded-pencil drawings capture the personalities of the characters and enhance the charm of the story. Maps on the endpapers encourage readers to trace Rory’s steps both in town and close to home. With its colorful, dramatic cover illustration, this appealing book will quickly find its audience, fans of mouse adventure tales from George Selden’s The Cricket in Times Square (1960) to Robert C. O’Brien’s Mrs. Frisby and the Rats of NIMH (1971) to Kate DiCamillo’s The Tale of Desereaux (2003).”

Carolyn Phelan

Moon at Nine is “inarguably powerful”—Booklist

Posted on April 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

MoonAtNine_C“Fifteen-year-old Farrin lives with secrets. It is 1988, and Farrin’s wealthy parents are conspiring to install the Shah’s son to the throne. That is their secret; hers is even more dangerous. She is in love with Sadira, the new girl in school, who returns her feelings even though homosexuality is regarded as a crime punishable by death in Iran. When the Revolutionary Guard discovers them together, the girls are taken to prison and threatened with execution. How can they possibly survive?…it is inarguably powerful, and readers will identify with the two star-crossed girls who are victims of what seems to be an inhumane government. In an appended author’s note, Ellis chillingly reports that more than 4,000 lesbian and gay Iranians have been executed since 1979. A book study guide is included and will help encourage much needed discussion.”

Booklist enjoys “Allenby’s well-rhymed debut”

Posted on March 6th, 2014 by pajamapress

NatTheCat_Med“A playful black-and-white kitten observes the ease with which Nat, a larger tiger-striped at, can sleep anywhere at any time of day in Allenby’s well-rhymed debut picture book. In rich hues and textures, Anderson’s multimedia illustrations depict a home full of sunlit rugs, bookshelves, pianos, toy-strewn floors, half-full chests, and chairs of all shapes and sizes—any of which Nat can turn into the perfect place for a nap. Nat sleeps sprawled on his back, curled in a ball, with paw-covered eyes, and in many other feline postures, while the kitten busily spends his daytime hours sliding down a banister, experimenting with a toy wand, and smiling admiringly at his sleepy companion. But when nighttime comes, Nat is finally ready to play, and the kitten has a rambunctious companion of his own at last…that is, until he gets worn out and falls asleep on top of Nat. Sweet without being saccharine, this is a good choice for group read-alouds.”
Francisca Goldsmith

Booklist praises Cat Champions

Posted on February 15th, 2014 by pajamapress

CatChampions“Here’s a book for cat lovers and those who want to know more about caring for furry friends. Laidlaw offers a slew of information…about cats: history, breeds, care, and habits of both domesticated and feral cats. But the book’s centerpiece is the “cat champions,” or young people (some eight or nine years old) who have gone above and beyond to make life better for felines. Among them are a girl who started Blankets Fur Beasties, which collects blankets, quilts, towels, and other supplies for shelters; a seven-year-old boy, who volunteers for animal protection in China, feeding feral cats; and a family, led by their teen daughter who specializes in fostering cats…The list of organizations where kids can learn about ways they can help is extensive and useful.”

— Ilene Cooper

Booklist reviews Nix Minus One

Posted on July 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

“MacLean’s free verse style mirrors 15-year-old protagonist Nix Humbolt’s quiet, unassuming nature: “The first time / I came across the word / introversion / was the first time / I recognized myself. Like, / there was a category / for me.” At the heart of the novel, which is set in a tiny Newfoundland village, is Nix’s complex, push-pull relationship with his older, rebellious sister, Roxy, and the tender bond he forms with a neglected guard dog. To deal with the challenges of both, Nix takes refuge in his father’s woodworking studio, channeling ragged emotions he can’t verbally express into smooth boxes, picture frames, and tables. But when tragedy upends Nix’s life, it takes a special girl named Blue—and a special dog—to help him confront reality. Nix’s immediate first-person narration offers astute observations (“Is an adult just a teenager with a layer of veneer?”), and YAs who are drawn to contemporary fiction and verse novels won’t want to miss this poignant Canadian import.
— Ann Kelley

Booklist says One Step at a Time “will grip readers”

Posted on December 1st, 2012 by pajamapress

In this sequel to Last Airlift (2012), Vietnamese orphan Tuyet, now rooted and happy in her adoptive Toronto family, is terrified of the surgery she has to undergo to straighten her leg and ankle, which were left twisted from the polio she contracted in Saigon. As she lies in the hospital recovering from the operation, her leg in “cement,” she is haunted by nightmares of the past and by her fear of losing her present home. Is there something she has done to upset Mom and Dad? Are they sending her away? Unable to speak English, she cannot ask for help in the hospital, and her confusion about what is happening now forms the story’s drama. Occasional black-and-white photos show Tuyet at home in Toronto with her loving parents and siblings. Along with the true personal story, the facts about polio across the globe, past and present, will grip readers.— Hazel Rochman

Booklist Review of No Shelter Here

Posted on July 19th, 2012 by pajamapress

Animal advocate [Rob] Laidlaw has a bone to pick with the way some of the world’s 500 million dogs are treated. After identifying what all dogs need, the author takes a hard look at puppy mills, free-ranging dogs, dogs that are constantly chained, and dogs submitted to devocalizing and appearance-altering surgeries. While some dogs have healthy “careers” as dog sniffers, rescue dogs, and therapy dogs, the engaging text explains the perils for greyhound and sled-dog racers, as well as dogs used for scientific research. But not all dogs have it bad. Numerous profiles reveal how “Dog Champions” have initiated grassroots efforts to provide better services and protection to canines. For readers looking for their next best friend, Laidlaw explains how and why to adopt a dog and the various kinds of shelters available. Abundantly stocked with color photographs and supplemented with online resources and a glossary, this book invites children to pause and consider our friends who have paws.
— Angela Leeper, Booklist