Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘juvenile-nonfiction’

The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park

Posted on November 29th, 2016 by pajamapress

thewolvesreturn_website“…The Wolves Return is another book by the environmental writer/illustrator Celia Godkin….Thirteen Canadian wolves were released into Yellowstone National Park in 1995 and a further ten the following year. Enough time has now passed to fully appreciate the positive effects that the re-introduction of this one species has had on the entire ecological system. This has been a triumph of environmental science and a perfect example to cover in a book for children.

The story is written in uncomplicated language and is overwhelmingly positive in both tone and presentation. The first page describes the reaction of the animals as the wolves arrive, placing this event within the normal course of life. Then the consequences are given one at a time, including the increase of biodiversity due to the return of many plants and animals that had disappeared after the wolves were extirpated many years ago. This is not a scientific description, rather an inspiring look at the results.

The final pages of the book give the historical and scientific background of the story. There is enough information here that older children can embrace the story while even young children interested in the topic of wolves and conservation can go further and learn more. Together with the story, the addition of this material gives a complete portrayal of the issue.

The illustrations are beautifully rendered, moving and evocative. They increase the emotional impact of the words, showing many creatures against the natural backgrounds of the park. Pictures make the connections more clear: trees have allowed birds to nest and reproduce, water plants have given insects and frogs places to live and hide. The interdependence of species is made explicit throughout the book adding depth and scope.

The Wolves Return is a handsome book with an uplifting environmental message, one that avoids sounding like a textbook. The book will be great addition to any personal, classroom or school library. It will appeal to anyone already interested in conservation and could appeal to many others with the reference to the highly dramatic wolves on the cover. While intended for those in the early grades, there is enough here to interest older readers.

Highly Recommended.
—Willow Moonbeam

Click here to read the full review

Ingram News and Reviews for the Youth Librarian gives a positive review to The Wolves Return: A New Beginning for Yellowstone National Park

Posted on November 29th, 2016 by pajamapress

thewolvesreturn_website“The last sentence of The Wolves Return perfectly sums up the message of this lovely nonfiction picture book: ‘Who would have thought that the return of a few wolves could have benefitted so many other animals?’ Godkin succinctly outlines the species that have enjoyed success as a result of the return of the wolf to Yellowstone: the wolves keep the elk population in check -> more tree seedlings and berry bushes grow -> birds and bears now have food and shelter and beavers have trees to build dams-> dammed water creates ponds -> ponds harbor fish and insects that feed herons, otters, and osprey -> and so on. Young readers will enjoy seeing all the animals and plants that now flourish as a result of one change in an ecosystem. Godkin’s illustrations, created with pencil crayon and watercolor, are all two-page spreads and just beautiful. Recommended for ages 5 to 8….”
—Becky Walton, MLIS, Collection Development

Click here to read the full review

Elephant Journey receives another review from Youth Services Book Review

Posted on July 12th, 2016 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_InternetWhat did you like about the book? The living conditions for three elephants in a Toronto zoo are inhumane; the elephants’ enclosure is too small and conditions in the winter are too cold. Moved by the elephants’ plight, Canadian citizens campaign to move the elephants to a larger, warmer refuge located in California to live out the remainder of their lives. Despite opposition by zoo officials who prefer a move to another zoo, the citizens prevail, and the elephants are moved to the PAWS (Performing Animals Welfare Society) sanctuary.  Deines uses an attractive color palette of soft violet, saffron, and brown hues to convey the seriousness of the elephants’ plight and their (qualified) happy ending (an addendum tells us that not long after arriving at the PAWS sanctuary, Iringa, one of the elephants had to be euthanized). Five pages at the end show photos of the elephants and provide additional facts about elephants….

To whom would you recommend this book?  This serves as a gentle introduction to animal rights suitable for third grade and up. Pair with other picture books about animals in captivity whose situations were improved such as Ivan: The Remarkable True Story of the Shopping Mall Gorilla.

Who should buy this book? Elementary libraries and public libraries.

Click here to read the full review.




Skydiver by Celia Godkin, “a hopeful, upbeat success story”—Youth Services Book Reviews

Posted on July 8th, 2016 by pajamapress

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinRating: 1-5:  5 (5=starred review)

Genre:  Nonfiction Picture Book

What did you like about the book? A peregrine falcon pair mates and lays eggs. Before the eggs can hatch, they are stolen by a scientist who rappels down a cliff to get them. No, it’s not an evil scientist. Rather, it shows the lengths conservationists were forced to go to prevent the extinction of a species when DDT caused birds’ shells to become fragile. Scientists knew the wild peregrines would lay a second clutch to replace the stolen one. Meanwhile, more of the stolen young survived than would have in the wild. The story shows how scientists raised the young and then released most back into the wild to help the species recover. This is a hopeful, upbeat success story told using attractive watercolor pictures in mostly blues and browns. A brief author’s note at the end provides sources of additional information about peregrine falcons and the rescue efforts.

Anything you didn’t like about it?  No.

To whom would you recommend this book?  Although the audience appears to be first to third graders, some challenging vocabulary (eg. accumulate and conservationist) makes it better suited to be read aloud by an adult.

Who should buy this book? Elementary libraries and public libraries.

Where would you shelve it?  Shelve in nonfiction in 598.9 with other books about birds of prey.

Click here to read the full review.

Celebrate Earth Day with the Peregrine Falcon

Posted on April 22nd, 2016 by pajamapress

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinEarth Day is celebrated worldwide every year to give global citizens the chance to demonstrate their support for and dedication to environmental protection. This year Canada is participating in an ambitious campaign to assist in planting 7.8 billion trees—one for every person on the planet—by 2020.

With so much work to do, it’s easy to feel daunted at the prospect of saving the earth. That’s why, while continuing work to protect the environment, it’s important that we also celebrate what we’ve already achieved. A great example of a feel-good environmental success story is the rehabilitation of the Peregrine Falcon.

After the Second World War DDT was developed as one of the first modern synthetic pesticides. Within a decade it was being used extensively all over the world to control insect pests. However, by the end of the 1950’s scientists and researchers noticed insect populations had built up an immunity to it, while species that weren’t its intended target—like the Peregrine Falcon—were exhibiting signs of DDT poisoning. Because the Peregrine Falcon is at the top of its food chain, the birds accumulated large amounts of DDT from the song birds and fish that they fed on, who had absorbed the chemical in smaller amounts from the insects they preyed on.

A DDT build-up in a Peregrine Falcon’s body is not lethal to the bird itself, but it makes their eggshells thin and prone to cracking, causing chicks to die in their eggs. Many breeding pairs of Peregrine Falcons were unsuccessful during this time and their population saw a dramatic decrease. By the mid-1970’s Peregrine Falcon populations had declined by 90% and were at risk of becoming locally extinct, or extirpated, in North America.

Fortunately bird experts and volunteers recognized the need to intervene and save the bird. In 1974 the Peregrine Fund, and other agencies in Canada and the U.S., had initiated a reintroduction program for the Peregrine Falcon. Rescue teams moved clutches of eggs out of the wild to incubate in research labs, giving them a better chance of survival. They were also able to secure mature falcons through bird hobbyists—the Peregrine Falcon has been a prized hunting bird for hundreds of years—to successfully breed in captivity. When chicks were three weeks old they were placed in artificial nesting sites where they were fed and cared for until they were mature enough to develop their own hunting skills.

Initially these nesting sites were located in the wild to duplicate the falcon’s natural habitat, but researchers soon found that chicks were being taken as prey by great horned owls before they could reach maturity. The project was re-homed into cities, where sky scrapers approximated the cliffs where Peregrine Falcons usually nest. The benefit to this change is that, aside from humans, Peregrines have no natural predators in urban environments, but there is still an abundance of small birds and rodents for them to hunt. Because these birds are a migratory species, it was only a matter of time before mature birds began to move back to the wilderness, though there are still many thriving populations of peregrine falcons in large cities across North America.

Since 1974 over 6000 Peregrine Falcons have been released back into the wild; enough that officials were able to remove the Peregrine Falcon from the endangered species list in 1999. The birds are still protected under the Migratory Bird Act, but to this day the return of Peregrine Falcons to the wild is the biggest success to come from the Endangered Species Act.

So any time an environmental initiative—like planting 7.8 billion trees—seems too big to accomplish, it’s good to remember that human intervention has already saved the fastest bird in the world, and with concerted effort and dedication, we can do so much more to help the earth and its creatures.

To learn more about the Peregrine Falcon and what it took to save these incredible birds, Celia Godkin’s non-fiction picture book, Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World is a great resource for classrooms, libraries or curious children. Click here to check out Skydiver‘s book trailer.

Learn even more:
From Death’s Door to Life in the City: The Urban Peregrine Falcon
History of Peregrine Falcon Efforts in Indiana
Journey with Nature: Peregrine Falcons
National Post: From the brink of extinction, Prairie falcons make a comeback
National Wildlife Federation: Peregrine Falcon
Raptor Rehabilitation of Kentucky
The Amoeba Sisters: Biomagnification and the Infamous DDT

Cat Champions nominated for the Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award

Posted on October 16th, 2014 by pajamapress

Pajama Press is proud to announce that Cat Champions: Caring for our Feline Friends has been nominated for the 2015 Forest of Reading Silver Birch Non-Fiction Award.

CatChampionsAn inspiring book by biologist and animal activist Rob Laidlaw, Cat Champions is the companion book to No Shelter Here: Making the World a Kinder Place for Dogs, which won the same award in 2013. Both titles explore the challenges facing animals around the world and the remarkable ways in which young “Cat Champions” and “Dog Champions” are helping them. Readers are encouraged and empowered to make a difference, too.

Since its publication in the fall of 2013 Cat Champions has also been nominated for the Red Cedar Book Award and the Hackmatack Award, and has been a Best Books for Kids & Teens Starred Selection and a Resource Links “The Year’s Best” selection.

The Forest of Reading, run by the Ontario Library Association, is the largest recreational reading program in Canada. Over the next several month, more than 250,000 participants will read a shortlist of books nominated for their age range and vote for their favourite. We are honoured to once again take part in this important initiative.