Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘kirkus’

Community Soup is “a nourishing choice”—Kirkus Reviews

Posted on June 8th, 2013 by pajamapress

Mary’s little lamb becomes a village child’s goats in this quirky, Kenya-set tale of making pumpkin vegetable soup.

The story opens with children picking vegetables from a community garden. “But where is Kioni?” Kioni is looking for her goats. Suddenly, the text turns into a familiar rhyme, adapted to reflect its setting in an unnamed Kenyan village. Kioni’s goats “with hair of calico” almost eat the vegetables, but they make a better contribution to the soup instead (never fear: It’s just their milk). Textured collage illustrations combining natural materials and painted images show the busy children, the corn, pumpkin, sweet potato and other vegetables that make up the soup, and Kioni’s calico-haired goats. The simple text is set on harvest-toned pages opposite full-bleed pictures. At one point, two consecutive images carry the action. Two double-page spreads emphasize highlights: goats in the garden (“GO!”) and, at the end, goats and children each eating their appropriate foods. The story concludes with a recipe. Fullerton, who introduced young readers to rural Uganda in A Good Trade (illustrated by Karen Patkau; 2013), provides a positive picture of community cooperation in another rural setting, identified as Kenya in the publisher’s cataloging.

For reading aloud or alone, a nourishing choice. (Picture book. 4-7)
—Kirkus Reviews

Kirkus gives A Good Trade a Starred Review

Posted on February 1st, 2013 by pajamapress

AGoodTrade_Jacket_Aug28.indd“…On each spread, a few lines of spare text carry the story in a predictable pattern, a pleasure to read aloud. Page by page, verbs describe Kato’s experience as he wakes, skips, races, treks, fills, hauls, dawdles, hurries, runs, kneels, weaves, gives and dances.

Expertly crafted, Fullerton’s first picture book reminds readers of the pleasure of small things. (Picture book. 5-9)”

Click here to read the full review.

Kirkus believes in Emily For Real

Posted on June 18th, 2012 by pajamapress

After being dumped by her boyfriend, an emotionally shaken 17-year-old high school senior makes friends with an angry young man and discovers that the secure family she always considered rock-solid is riddled with lies and secrets.

This is a story about familial ties-ties of blood, ties of love, ties that bind. It’s also about family lies and the way these lies affect core connections. Although protagonist Emily Sinclair’s family is small, it’s complex and is comprised of a variety of household situations: intact, divorced, step, gay, straight, illegitimate and adoptive. The story… is set in motion when Emily’s grandfather dies, and the family learns that he had both a longtime mistress and an illegitimate daughter. And that’s not even the tip of the iceberg when it comes to the Sinclair family’s surprising but believable secrets, and their eventual revelation shocks Emily to the quick. The other story thread concerns Emily’s realistically depicted budding friendship with Leo Mac, a new classmate with a plateful of family problems of his own, and their testy but ultimately supportive relationship.

…[The story] is genuinely touching at its tear-inducing, hopeful end. (Fiction. 12 & up)

Kirkus says Acts of Courage is great for American kids, too

Posted on April 16th, 2012 by pajamapress

Written from a Canadian perspective, this well-researched and -documented historical novel offers young readers a fascinating perspective on the events following the American Revolution and leading up to the War of 1812… The author tells a good story and presents some fascinating and little-known history (including such issues as slavery, economics, and social justice) in an interesting way. A historical note, sources and maps supplement the account. An opportunity for American children to see a little-known war through a rarely considered lens.

Kirkus Review of No Shelter Here

Posted on February 7th, 2012 by pajamapress

“An informative and visually varied introduction to problems affecting dogs worldwide. In a short, colorful volume with sidebars and photographs on nearly every page, professional dog advocate Laidlaw (Wild Animals in Captivity, 2008) presents facts about how dogs live, provides an overview of the cruelty dogs face at the hands of humans and offers profiles of young activists who are working to better dogs’ lives. Readers who know dogs best as pets will find new information here: The author gives as much time to discussions of street dogs in Detroit and India and the working conditions of sled dogs as he does to the more familiar topics of dog adoption and caring for a canine pet. Dogs’ mistreatment in research facilities and at the hands of some pet owners is addressed frankly but gently, and photographs of cramped puppy mills or dogs neglectfully chained outdoors inspire pathos but do not depend on shock value. A few questions raised by the text go unanswered—the author insists that “dogs … are our friends—not food” but neither extends this claim toward other animals nor explains why dogs, in his view, are different. At just 64 pages, the book does not delve deeply into any individual topic, but a list of animal welfare websites points interested readers toward further information. A worthy overview that may well inspire readers to become “Dog Champions.”

View the Review Here

Kirkus Review of True Blue

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress

“Known for powerful tales of social injustice in the developing world, Ellis here offers readers a flawed but gripping character study of teens in small-town Canada…. Jess—sharply insightful, but selfish and entirely lacking in empathy—may be a piece of work, but she grabs readers’ attention and never lets it go”

Kirkus Review of Last Airlift

Posted on February 2nd, 2012 by pajamapress

“Skrypuch (Daughter of War, 2008) tells the story of the last Canadian airlift through the memories of one child, Son Thi Anh Tuyet. Nearly 8 years old, the sad-eyed girl on the cover had lived nearly all her life in a Catholic orphanage. With no warning, she and a number of the institution babies were taken away, placed on an airplane and flown to a new world. Tuyet’s memories provide poignant, specific details….In an afterword, the author describes her research, including personal interviews and newspaper accounts from the time. But Tuyet’s experience is her focus. It personalizes the babylift without sensationalizing it….Immediate and compelling, this moving refugee story deserves a wide audience.”

View the Review Here