Posted on February 28th, 2017 by pajamapress
“…Waiting for Sophie is a great older sibling book for younger school-age kids. Sarah Ellis not only captures the excitement of waiting for a new baby brother or sister, but also gives voice to the little frustrations kids can experience when dealing with a new baby in the house, and the desire to have a playmate their age. Sarah Ellis shows readers the fun side of being an older brother, like being the one to make the baby giggle. The gently colored illustrations make this a cozy reading choice for parents and kids, or educators discussing caregiving, to gather together and enjoy. This is a good book for any expectant sibling…”
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Posted in Waiting for Sophie | Tagged big-brother, book-review, canlit, carmen-mok, chapter-book, early-chapter-books, early-reader, fiction, kidlit, middle-grade-fiction, new-sibling, sarah-ellis, siblings
Posted on December 28th, 2016 by pajamapress
“In this follow-up to 2015’s Timo’s Garden, Allenby again recounts a heartwarming story of friendship…
The story reads like an encyclopaedia of friendship with each good act from a friend provoking another. The warm, detailed illustrations evoke a comfortable small-town charm, sure to entice readers to visit Toadstool Corners again and again. The book also does a nice job of highlighting everyday texts within the narrative, including lists, invitations, and newspaper articles, which could prompt discussion about the importance of reading and writing in daily life. A simple apple recipe at the end of the book should inspire many readers to host apple festivals of their own.
Depicting acts of courage, selflessness, and kindness, Timo’s Party is wholly designed to support its readers’ character development. While certainly not flashy, this latest iteration of Timo and friends offers another gentle and useful tale about the power of friendship.
Thematic links: Kindness; Responsibility; Perseverance; Courage; Cooking; Friendship; Mindfulness; Social Anxiety”
Read the full review on page 1 of the December 2016 issue of Resource Links
Posted in Timo's Party | Tagged apples, baking, book-review, childrens-book, dean-griffiths, early-reader, friendship, mg-fiction, middle-grade-fiction, picture-book, rabbits, recipes, victoria-allenby
Posted on August 8th, 2016 by pajamapress
Toadstool Corners is hosting the Toadstool Corners’ Great, Green Garden Tour in a week. Several of the animals in the community have signed up for it already. Rae the badger thinks that Timo’s garden should be on the tour too. Though Timo does not think his garden is “Great,” he does have a week to make it better than it is now, and so Timo adds his name and address to the list of participating gardens.
That afternoon Timo assesses his garden. It is very nice with its flower borders, herb garden, sitting bench and lawn, but he feels that it needs more, so he starts writing out some lists. He writes a “Things I want to keep” list, and a “Things I do not want to keep” one. Finally he writes a “Things I want to add” list. He would like to add more flowers, new mulch, and perhaps a grape vine.
The next day, on Monday, Timo gets to work weeding, watering, hoeing, and hauling. The garden starts to look nicer, but it is still “not quite great.” Then Hedgewick pays a call. He asks Timo for some parsley, which the rabbit is happy to give his friend, and then he invites Timo to come over for lunch. Hedgewick is making spinach cakes, which are always really delicious. Timo is tempted, but he declines the invitation. He has far too much to do to get ready for the garden tour.
With every day that follows, Timo gets more and more concerned that his garden isn’t going to be good enough for the tour and he works harder and harder to get it “ready.” He also declines one invitation after another, choosing to spend all his time working, and none of his time with his friends. He starts to feel tired and decidedly unenthusiastic about gardening. What used to be a joy is now a trial. Then something unthinkable happens and all of Timo’s plans and hopes are ruined.
Children are going to enjoy reading about Timo’s garden adventures, and misadventures, in this charming chapter book. They will see how a fun activity can become a chore when you take it too far, and how that activity can take over your life if you are not careful.
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Posted in Timo's Garden | Tagged dean-griffiths, early-reader, reviews, through-the-looking-glass, timos-garden, victoria-allenby
Posted on April 15th, 2016 by pajamapress
“An ideal addition to school and community library collections, and complete with an illustrated glossary of flowers, this beautifully-designed early reader is very highly recommended for children ages 5 to 8, and in grades 1-3.” —Midwest Book Review
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Posted in Timo's Garden | Tagged book-review, dean-griffiths, early-reader, midwest-book-review, timos-garden, victoria-allenby
Posted on November 12th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Allenby (Nat the Cat Can Sleep Like That) and Griffiths (Bad Pirate) explore the perils of perfectionism, following a rabbit named Timo through a week’s worth of gardening, as he tries to make it perfect for an upcoming garden tour. Allenby laces her story with alliteration and wordplay (“Gently, he planted some ginger. Gingerly, he planted some gentians”), and Griffiths’s color illustrations further add to the cozy atmosphere—there’s a whiff of The Wind in the Willows in the dapper outfits he gives the animal characters. It’s impossible to miss the message (“I could have tended my friends instead of my garden,” Timo realizes, after a rainstorm ruins a week’s worth of work), but the easy camaraderie and old-fashioned gentility among these friends exert plenty of charm.”
Posted in Timo's Garden | Tagged dean-griffiths, early-reader, publishers-weekly, Review, timos-garden, victoria-allenby
Posted on October 16th, 2015 by pajamapress
Timo the rabbit is eager to make his garden “great.” Timo loves his garden, with its many flowers (an illustrated index names all those mentioned in the text) and “herbs for cooking, a lawn for visiting, and a bench for sitting and daydreaming.” Suddenly, though, it doesn’t seem special enough when he decides to participate in the upcoming garden tour. From one short chapter to the next, instead of spending time with friends, he frets and gardens, gardens and frets. Ultimately, Timo not only misses out on fun with friends, he’s also thwarted by poor weather when a rainstorm leaves the garden “a mess.” His friends rally to him help clean things up, but…the garden tour is cancelled due to yet more (offstage) rain, and so Timo and his friends instead have a picnic and make plans for more gardening. A closing image of garden-tour judges at Timo’s gate suggests that all’s well in the end. Throughout, Griffiths’ richly colored illustrations depict anthropomorphic animals in a pastoral setting and include Timo’s lists of tasks on pages made to look like notebook paper. While the text isn’t controlled enough for brand new readers to decode, the brief chapters make the story accessible on a structural level. A fine title for growing readers. (Early reader. 7-9)
Posted in Timo's Garden | Tagged dean-griffiths, early-reader, kirkus, Review, timos-garden, victoria-allenby
Posted on July 6th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Young readers are going to love this amusing chapter book, which introduces us to a girl who is sure that she is a princess who is being raised by the wrong family. It is amusing to see how Pistachio deals with her naysayers, and how she learns that there are actually more important things in life than being a princess.”
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Posted in Princess Pistachio | Tagged chapter-book, early-reader, marie-louise-gay, princess-pistachio, Review, through-the-looking-glass
Posted on April 24th, 2015 by pajamapress
“…Young readers making the transition to chapter books will once again be thrilled to read about the adventures of intrepid Pistachio and her lovable little sister Penny. The text is easy to read, but challenging enough to engage young readers who will definitely be able to relate to the action in the story. Gay’s narration is full of dynamic descriptions: ‘Pistachio stands there, like a statue, her mouth open and her cheeks burning red.’ (p. 23)
The illustrations provide a great deal of interesting information for readers as well. Readers are able to see Pistachio’s frustration and anger, Penny’s enthusiasm and joy, and their mother’s love for her children…
This book can definitely be used as a read-aloud for early emergent readers while fluent readers can read it themselves. Young readers and their teachers or caregivers will enjoy discussing many interesting topics while reading Princess Pistachio and the Pest, including family relationships, personal responsibilities, friendships, legal issues and stereotypes. Highly Recommended.”
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Posted in Princess Pistachio and the Pest | Tagged and-the-pest, canadian-materials, chapter-book, CM-magazine, early-reader, jacob-homel, marie-louise-gay, princess-pistachio, Review
Posted on January 12th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Pistachio is overjoyed when a golden crown arrives by mail, along with an unsigned card that reads, “Happy birthday, my little princess!” She decides that her real parents are a king and queen who will be coming for her soon. Suddenly it seems less important to obey her “adoptive” parents or be kind to her little sister, Penny. Her snooty pretensions make her a laughingstock at school. But when Penny gets lost one night, Pistachio summons her courage (“a real princess is brave”) to venture out alone and find her sister. Gay, best known for the Stella picture-book series, switches gears to write for a somewhat older audience. This early chapter book may be shorter than most, but it vividly portrays the characters’ emotions in both the text and the many colorful ink-and-wash illustrations. Sometimes charming and sometimes funny, the story is as satisfying as its protagonist’s name: Pistachio Shoelace. The last page reveals the cover of Princess Pistachio and the Pest, the second book in Gay’s new series.”
Posted in Princess Pistachio | Tagged Booklist, chapter-book, early-reader, jacob-homel, marie-louise-gay, princess-pistachio, Review
Posted on November 21st, 2014 by pajamapress
“In Princess Pistachio, Marie-Louise Gay appeals to young readers making the transition to chapter books. The text is easy to read and full of engaging conversations between the “princess” and her family and friends. Her friends are brutally honest with her when she pretends to be someone she is not: “You are no more a princess than I am. What has got into you?” Young readers will definitely be able to identify with Pistachio Shoelace’s desire to be someone else while suffering through family responsibilities and obnoxious siblings…
…This book can definitely be used as a read-aloud for early emergent readers. Fluent readers can read it themselves. Princess Pistachio is a beautifully written and luminously illustrated book which will help children make the transition to chapter books. Readers of all ages will also be thrilled to learn that there will soon be a new Princess Pistachio book!
Click here to read the full review.
Posted in Princess Pistachio | Tagged chapter-book, CM-magazine, early-reader, marie-louise-gay, princess-pistachio, Review