Posted on September 17th, 2014 by pajamapress
“This encouraging animal-rescue story features the world’s fastest animal: the peregrine falcon. Set in the era when scientists realized that DDT was thinning eggshells and endangering many bird species, the story is told in a simple, immediate manner, focusing mainly on the birds rather than on their rescuers. Two peregrines meet at their cliffside nesting site, where the male flies to a great height, plummets down, and then sweeps upward to join the female in an aerial courtship dance. Their first four eggs are taken by a woman lowered down the cliff by a rope. Of their next three eggs, two break during nesting, but they raise the remaining chick. Meanwhile, a rescue team hatches the first four eggs, nurtures the surviving three young birds, and releases them. An owl snatches one, but the others survive as city dwellers, living on a skyscraper ledge. Trained as a scientific illustrator as well as a biologist, Godkin uses soft, precise strokes of oil paint to create scenes of peregrines in captivity and in the wild. An attractive, informative picture book.”
Posted on April 15th, 2014 by pajamapress
“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).”
Posted on January 27th, 2014 by pajamapress
“Nat the Cat can sleep through anything, even the antics of his rambunctious kitten housemate. He can also sleep in, on, or around anything, including a cooking pot, halfway off a shelf, and of course in the comfort of the window’s sunbeams. The pesky kitten does eventually interfere with Nat and his dreamland—naturally when the rest of the house is quiet—and the two friends engage in some energetic antics while avoiding what actually should be their bedtime.
This rhyming story has a playful tone, great for reading aloud to preschoolers. The adorable illustrations by Tara Anderson, rendered primarily in pencil crayon, will appeal to the target audience a great deal, and may even inspire them to try their hand at similar drawings. The onomatopoeia in words like “whoosh,” “shush” and “hush” further add to the light heartedness of the book, and will be fun for kids to imitate.
Nat the Cat is a good choice for both a preschool storytime and for bedtimes, and young ones will especially find the bright illustrations sweet and charming.”
Thematic links: Cats; Bedtime
Posted on December 30th, 2013 by pajamapress
PreS-Gr 2–McLellan’s playful, heartwarming story about a cuddly monster family examines how birth order affects sibling relationships. As the youngest, Tweezle is coddled by Mom and Dad, who call him their “sweet baby.” Tweezle repeats the phrase, “I’m not baby…I big boy!” throughout the story, as he tries prove to his older siblings, Hoogie and Pumpkin, that he is just like them. Tweezle attempts to make pancakes, wash dishes, and help with the garden. Onomatopoeic words (“splash and a crash/blam and a slam”) mimic the chaos that follows poor Tweezle as he attempts to win his siblings’ acceptance. When he rescues a baby bird, the family celebrates Tweezle’s good deed, acknowledging that is was a “big” deal for such a “big” guy. Bright colored pencil and watercolor illustrations adorn each spread, while a soft-hued palette adds calmness. Expansive white space allows readers to appreciate details in the facial expressions. A great addition to both school and public libraries that help teach sibling acceptance and understanding.
—Krista Welz, North Bergen High School, NJ
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