Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘resource-links’

The Hill’s inclusion of Cree mythology “a brilliant addition…truly frightening”—Resource Links

Posted on June 15th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_Website“Jared is flying in a private jet to visit his father’s diamond mine in the NorthWest Territories when the plane crashes. In his expensive sneakers and “raw” jeans, Jared is totally unprepared for surviving in desolate Northern Alberta. Fortunately Kyle Badger, a Cree teen, is camping nearby and comes to the rescue. After providing first aid for the injured pilot, Kyle tries to get Jared to return to his grandparents’ camp. But Jared insists on climbing a nearby hill, seeking cell phone service. Kyle tells him that the hill is culturally taboo, but Jared refuses to listen. When they reach the top, there is of course no cell service. Instead the boys enter an alternate reality, a spirit world in which their action releases the Wîhtiko (aka Wendigo). The next two hundred pages are an adrenaline-filled fight for survival, where Jared and Kyle only manage to succeed due to Kyle’s wilderness training and the intervention of Wesakechak, the trickster.

This novel has many of the threats of wilderness survival fiction, including quicksand pits, forest fires, and dangerous animals. The inclusion of the indigenous mythological characters is a brilliant addition, and creates truly frightening scenarios. But the best part of this book is the interplay between the two main characters. Jared is the spoiled city kid, and Kyle the tough outdoorsy one, but they are both so much more than the stereotypes would suggest. For example, Kyle advises Jared, “Sometimes scared is the smartest thing you can be.” (p. 29) Only through the combination of their knowledge and skill, and respect for each other’s contribution, are they able to return the Wîhtiko to its lair in The Hill.”


Sky Pig highly recommended by Resource Links

Posted on June 15th, 2016 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“A whimsical story about a pig named Ollie, who wants to fly, and his best friend, Jack, who wants to help him succeed. Of course, pigs can’t fly, but Ollie’s determination to try and try and try sends a clear message to the reading audience—never give up on your dream and keep on trying to achieve it. Jack’s determination to help Ollie in his quest speaks to the importance of the champion who provides the support the questor needs to keep going. At the end of the story, Ollie does get to fly in a hot air balloon and complete his quest the best way he can.

Sky Pig
is delightful, not only for the story and its life lesson, but also for the colourful, mixed media illustrations which help provide the depth and breadth of the book. There is nothing flat in the story or in its presentation. Pre-readers will be able to tell a story from the beauty and texture of the illustrations of the pig who tries to fly and his help who cheers him on. This picture book is highly recommended for whole class reading, individual reading, as well as for students learning about and experimenting with art forms and art media.”




Resource Links recommends Going for a Sea Bath: “Bath time will never be the same!”

Posted on April 27th, 2016 by pajamapress

GoingForASeaBath_Website“Andrée Poulin delivers a hilarious accumulative tale about bath time. Leanne hates her bath time because it is “so boring”. Her inventive father has an idea to increase the fun aspect of bathing. He runs to the sea and returns with 1 turtle for the bath. When Leanne is not impressed he returns to the shore and brings back 2 eels. Leanne decides that the eels are too dark so he goes back to the sea and carries back 3 clown fish. The escapade escalates, as 4 seahorses, 5 shrimps, 6 hermit crabs, 7 sea urchins, 8 anemones, 9 starfish and finally 10 octopi are gradually added to the now over crowded bath tub. The amusing tale introduces numbers, sea creatures and the idea of creative fun to children. The illustrations are wonderful! They are colourful, emotive and very funny. Bath time will never be the same! Thematic Links: Baths; Fathers; Sea Shore Animals; Numbers; Daughters”—Isobel Lang

Resource Links calls Elliot “a wonderful book to provide comfort, hope…”

Posted on April 27th, 2016 by pajamapress

Elliot_Website“Elliot is a young bunny whose needs are not being met by his parents. They do not possess the parenting skills needed to raise Elliot and to make sure his care is complete. Elliot must learn that while his mom and dad love him, they are unable to care for him and to protect him, and therefore, he must live in a foster family until his own parents can care for him. The story teaches a young audience about foster families and child welfare. It provides a gentle, caring way of introducing the concepts of finding a forever home which is loving and nurturing and inclusive for children when their own family cannot cope. Elliot’s journey through foster care to his forever home is fraught with emotion, but the end result demonstrates the challenge of finding the right new family to love him and the perfect fit between child and foster family. In the end, the perfect match is found and Elliot is happy. This is an excellent teaching tool for classroom discussion about families and relationships. It is also a wonderful book to provide comfort, hope and assistance in adapting to a foster family situation for children in that process. Highly recommended. Thematic Links: Foster Families; Family Relationships” —Sharon Armstrong

Resource Links praises Elephant Journey by Rob Laidlaw and Brian Deines

Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Internet“A book that combines the true story of transporting three elephants from the Toronto Zoo to a new home in California in 2013, and factual information about elephants. The details about this removal from the zoo to a Performing Animal Welfare Society (PAWS) sanctuary in Calavaras County, California are precise. Details of the death of one of the elephants from degenerative foot and joint problems eighteen months after the move are included to illustrate the potential problems of housing animals in zoos. The limited size of enclosures and artificial surfaces employed cause defects that may occur when the animal can[not] roam and keep their bodies fit.

The art of Brian Deines shows the similarities between the Californian highlands and the savannahs of Africa, in contrast to the snowy concrete world of the Toronto Zoo, which adds much to the character and enjoyment of this book.”
—Mavis Holder

Resource Links praises “sweet and simple” Kiss, Kiss

Posted on December 22nd, 2015 by pajamapress

Kiss, Kiss | Jennifer Couelle & Jacques Laplante |Pajama Press“This very sweet and simple tale describes many types of kisses in a language very young children will understand and appreciate—e.g. ‘You can do it once, or twice. 100 times is very nice.’ Each type of kiss illustrates the different varieties of relationships to parents, grandparents, pets etc., found in a small child’s life.

The carton illustrations are cheerful and warm with touches of humour. The story is good for babies and toddlers.”
—Isobel Lang

Timo’s Garden “beautifully illustrated,” “timeless,” and “heartfelt”—Resource Links

Posted on December 21st, 2015 by pajamapress

Timo's Garden | Victoria Allenby & Dean Griffiths | Pajama Press“In this beautifully illustrated beginning chapter book, Victoria Allenby has introduced a lovely menagerie of animal friends, a timeless theme of the trials of friendships, and a whimsical and heartfelt text.

When Timo hears about the upcoming Toadstool Corners’ Great, Green Garden Tour, he is both excited to enter the fun contest, and concerned about the timeline. He has but one week to turn his garden from merely nice to great. Timo commits so wholeheartedly to the project that he begins to neglect his many friends, even missing his weekly tennis game with his pal Suki. In spite of this, however, when disaster strikes Timo’s nearly finished garden, his friends all pitch in to help save the day. Timo learns a valuable lesson, without the inclusion of tired moralizing, and makes sure to show all of his friends how wonderful he thinks they are.

The format of the book does an excellent job of holding interest. It incorporates lists on illustrated notebook pages, colourful half-page drawings on most pages—often across spreads—and an illustrated glossary of flowers at the end.

The text is simple enough for beginning readers for the most part, but does incorporate just the right amount of more challenging words to hone sounding-out skills. In addition, the use of some consistent rhyming text, alliteration, and onomatopoeia, adds whimsy and a lyrical tone to the story, a rarity among chapter books.

Highly recommended.”
—Nicole Rowlinson

“A masterpiece!”—Resource Links reviews Once Upon a Line

Posted on November 2nd, 2015 by pajamapress

“Join the magic pen on a journey through the imagination and its stories.

Wallace Edwards’ Once Upon a Line is the ultimate springboard to story writing for individual readers or for whole class endeavours.

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_500pxStarter sentences combined with beautifully illustrated colour pictures of a possible story line are set out on each page, where the only limit is the individual’s imagination. This is a fabulous tool for teaching creative writing, from brainstorming through process writing to illustration and publication.

Highly recommended for classroom libraries, creative writing classes, rainy afternoon entertainment and more. This book whets the creative mind’s appetite and begs its satisfaction. Each illustration can tell a thousand stories if the mind allows it. A masterpiece!”


Bad Pirate “Highly Recommended” by Resource Links

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by pajamapress

BadPirate_Jacket_Mar6.indd“Captain Barnacle Garrick displayed all the characteristics of the typical bad pirate; he was saucy, bold and selfish. His daughter, Augusta, however did not follow the pattern. Around the pirate ship she was kind-hearted and helpful, never saucy and bold. She could never be a bad pirate until she did something selfish! Was now the time to make her father proud?

This delightful pirate spoof uses vocabulary in an interesting way to develop the story. Key words such as saucy, bold, and selfish, plus typical pirate expressions such as Aye! Arr! and Land ahoy! are found in bold, large print. The dialogue in bubbles is also colloquial and fun. This text should be a great read-aloud.

Each page is filled with colourful, humourous illustrations depicting the pirate ship and swarthy crew. Emphasizing the common reference to pirates as ‘sea dogs’, each pirate on the ship is cleverly drawn as a different breed of dog, including ‘peg-leg Scully, a white bull terrier. Augusta, in contrast, is a winsome spaniel. This story should amuse and delight young readers as well as prove to be a starting point for interesting discussion regarding personal characteristics. It is highly recommended for both a classroom and school library collection.”

Evie Brooks “a highly identifiable and likeable lead character”—Resource Links

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by pajamapress

MaroonedInManhattan_Website“Although it opens with yet another dead mother, Evie Brooks Is Maroonedin Manhattan is a fresh take on the duck out of water trope. Evie finds herself living in Manhattan with her uncle, a veterinarian—about as far from her late mother’s bohemian life in Dublin as Evie can imagine. After a few funky days, Evie starts lending a hand with the animals, making friends, discovering the city, plotting against Uncle Scott’s scheming girlfriend, and learning how to cope with grief that sometimes leaves her breathless and afraid. This is a quick-moving novel, and Evie is by turns smart, cheeky, stubborn, and introspective—a highly identifiable and likeable lead character, even when the characters who surround her are somewhat less rounded.

Evie’s narrative voice is appealing but distinctive. The author plays with differences in accents, diction, and cultural views, but rarely allows Evie to become a cliché or a type. The novel is finely managed for the middle-grade reader, with hints of concerns more typical of YA novels though the book’s roots remain in childhood…”