Posted on March 21st, 2016 by pajamapress
“Born in southern Africa, elephants Toka and Iringa were later captured and brought to a Toronto zoo; a third elephant, Thika, was born in captivity. When the zoo’s cramped conditions and cold climate began to impair the elephants’ heath, public outcry resulted in their 2013 relocation to a California sanctuary. In subdued oil paintings, Deines focuses on the elephants’ long, difficult journey, riding in crates on flatbed truck trailers through dangerous weather conditions. Seeing Toka, Iringa, and Thika finally free to explore their new home—80 acres of glowing grasslands—will likely bring relief to sensitive readers. Photographs and additional rescue details round out a sensitive account of animal activism and rehabilitation. Ages 6–9.”
Posted on October 30th, 2015 by pajamapress
Couëlle and Laplante celebrate kisses, be they big or small, quick or “slurpy.” Both the writing and artwork have a sweetly haphazard quality—Laplante’s scraggly illustrations look authentically kid-drawn, the meter of Couëlle’s verse varies wildly, and she sneaks in a few extemporaneous unrhymed moments. “Some kisses make noises: big ones like… smooch! And little ones like… peck!” she writes as a startled dog’s ear raises in alarm while a doting grandmother kisses her granddaughter’s forehead. Whether kisses are meant to mitigate soccer injuries or signal hello or goodbye, Couëlle and Laplante make it clear that “a shower of kisses never misses.”
Click here to read this review on the PW website
Posted on September 8th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Twelve-year-old Evie’s mother has died, giving custody of Evie to an uncle she barely knows in New York City. Evie is loathe to leave her home in Dublin, so she and Uncle Scott strike a bargain that Evie will spend the summer in New York and then decide if she wants to stay or return to Ireland to live with her godmother. This hook, along with a prologue that finds Evie stuck in a building’s trash chute after escaping a security guard, lend structure to an otherwise delightfully anecdotal plot that shifts between Evie’s adjustment to Manhattan (including her helping out at her uncle’s veterinary practice and her crush on an older boy) and flashbacks to her life in Ireland.
Newcomer Agnew gives Evie an engaging balance of sarcasm, vulnerability, and humour, and the story’s secondary characters are equally well-developed and entertaining….The cliffhanger ends the story on a gripping note, but readers would be clamoring for another Evie book even without one.”
Posted on July 23rd, 2015 by pajamapress
“German sailor Erich is not a Nazi, despite being part of the Third Reich’s military. Max, a Canadian boy from a German family, does not support Hitler, but peers in rural Alberta subject him to vicious torment anyway. When Erich is taken prisoner, he crosses paths with Max at a logging camp where several of the POWs are sent as labor. The two find support in each other as they face a world that views them as trespassers. Not only does Erich suffer as an enemy alien, his fellow German prisoners suspect him of being an Allied sympathizer, because he speaks English. Can he prove his worth in a risky effort to uncover who has been sabotaging the Germans with dangerous logging accidents? Can both boys ever find peace and acceptance in a world where war-driven fear and resentment overshadow people’s humanity? …readers will likely find the two main characters’ journeys to safety and justice in a cruel world compelling.”
Posted on June 30th, 2015 by pajamapress
“Through the fictional story of a Tanzanian girl named Anna, Fullerton (Community Soup) and Deines (Bear on the Homefront) reveal how bicycles can change the lives of children whose families lack access to motorized transportation. Opening on “a little schoolhouse [that] sits at the end of a dusty road,” Deines shows Anna working indoors at a desk. “There will be no daylight for schoolwork by the time she reaches home,” writes Fullerton. A truck from a “Bicycle Library” unloads several bikes, but none are left for Anna; undeterred, she helps her friends learn how to ride their bikes (“She directs Samwel around the obstacles/ Left/ Right/ Stop!”) and shares one of them with another student so both of them can get home quickly. Soaked in warm golds and oranges, Deines’s oil paintings glow with a sense of promise as the children race around the schoolyard on their bikes. Fullerton says quite a bit with few words in her verselike prose, and a detailed author’s note discusses the vital role bicycles play in communities across Africa and supplies information about bicycle donation organizations. Ages 4–up. (Sept.)”
Posted on May 26th, 2015 by pajamapress
Despite the title, a boy named Ben is feeling anything but big—his older, school-age siblings get report cards, can swim, and have no trouble using chopsticks when the family goes out for dinner. Luckily, siblings Robin and Joe sense the preschooler’s unhappiness, and they create a report card just for Ben. His subjects include feeding the cat, shoe tying, and “making us laugh,” and he gets A-pluses across the board. Loosely defined by rough, crayonlike lines, LaFave’s images have a swoopy, gestural quality; like Ellis’s text, they take a minimalist approach to the range of emotions Ben is feeling, from jealousy to disappointment and pride. Ages 2–up.
Posted on August 19th, 2014 by pajamapress
“…Rendered in a muted palette, Deines’s lush oil paintings showcase the Canadian landscape as the children make their way by train to Winnipeg to live on a family’s farm until the war ends. Once again, Teddy narrates the story, and his separation from Aileen tenderly mirrors the children’s distance from their parents…”
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on February 18th, 2014 by pajamapress
“…The girls become romantically involved, a crime punishable by death. Inspired by the life of an Iranian woman Ellis met (“This story is essentially hers,” she notes), the novel powerfully depicts lives pulled apart by outside forces and the warmth of falling in love. A firm grounding in Iranian history, along with the insight and empathy Ellis brings to the pain of those whose love is decreed to be immoral and unnatural, make this a smart, heartbreaking pairing with Sara Farizan’s recent If You Could Be Mine.”—Publishers Weekly
Click here to read the full review.
Posted on September 16th, 2013 by pajamapress
Publishers Weekly recently published an article by Sally Lodge featuring books for children that “sort through the complexities of war.” One of these books is Last Airlift: A Vietnamese Orphan’s Rescue from War by Marsha Forchuk Skrypuch. Lodge writes, “This true story examines one girl’s life in a Saigon orphanage, her dramatic rescue and relocation to North America, and her adoption into a loving family.”
You can read the full article here.
Posted on July 26th, 2013 by pajamapress
Pajama Press is pleased to announce that Nix Minus One by Jill MacLean is a Publishers Weekly Pick for the “Best New Books for the week of July 29, 2013.” One of eight selections in a variety of genres, MacLean’s book was chosen by PW‘s editors from among their many previously-reviewed, recently-released titles.
You can view the full list of PW Picks here.
You can read PW‘s review of Nix Minus One here.