Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘resource-links’

Resource Links highly recommends Ben Says Goodbye to help children through difficult times

Posted on October 30th, 2015 by pajamapress

Ben Says Goodbye | Sarah Ellis & Kim La Fave | Pajama Press“Ben’s friend is moving away. Ben does not want to see his friend go and does not want to say goodbye. These are difficult concepts for young children to have to learn. Ben creates his cave world to help him come to terms with the loss of his friend. When Ben has spent the time he needs to move forward, he leaves his imaginary world and rejoins his family in their world. He also spies the possibility of making a new friend when he sees the scooter wheeled outside the moving truck next door.

This is an excellent resource to use in helping a young child through the difficult time of families moving from the neighbourhood. Making new friends is sometimes hard to do, but Ben’s experience speaks to the problem from the point of view of that young child and shows that it is possible to do. Highly recommended for parents, young children, classroom discussions, and story time.”

Resource Links calls Uncertain Soldier “Compelling”

Posted on June 18th, 2015 by pajamapress

UncertainSoldier“Erich Hofmeyer is an uncertain soldier. He enlisted in the German navy only because his father left him no choice, and now his ship has been sunk, and he is in in a POW camp in northern Alberta. His British grandparents have given him a broader world view than his fellow German soldiers, and he becomes a target of vicious bullying when he expresses what is perceived as disloyalty to the Reich. When the opportunity arises to leave the camp to work in the bush logging, he and his friend jump at the chance. But the logging camp has its complications: half the workers are Canadians who hate the German prisoners because of the deaths or imprisonment of relatives fighting overseas. At a nearby farm, Max Schmidt is also uncertain. His father wants him to be proud of his German heritage, but he is bullied daily at school by the other boys, who take out their anger on this little “Hitler”. Max’s family is under suspicion, as all German nationals were, so there is no one to whom Max can take his concerns. On a visit to the logging camp, he is befriended by Erich, who senses their shared experiences. The German prisoners at the camp are increasingly endangered by mysterious accidents, and in their fear they turn on Erich as the only one who speaks English fluently. The attacks on Max become more vicious, until he barely escapes being hanged. Max takes off into the bush, and only the skill of the native tracker Christmas and Erich’s help save him from drowning. Both Max and Erich have learned to stand up to an enemy and stand up for a friend. Bass has shone a light on a lesser known part of Canadian history. German nationals living in Canada were discomfiting for many communities, at a time when husbands and sons were fighting and dying in Europe. This novel shows solid research into the conditions of the 38,000 German POW’s in Canada, and life in rural Alberta in the 1940s…the visceral details and important themes make the journey compelling.”

Thematic Links: Friendship; Bullying; Stereotyping and Racism; World War II – Canada – POW Camps

—Patricia Jermey

Giraffe Meets Bird “a wonderful book to share with younger children”—Resource Links

Posted on June 18th, 2015 by pajamapress

Giraffe Meets Bird by Rebecca Bender“This is the third book by this accomplished author/illustrator featuring Giraffe. The earlier volumes both received OLA recognition, and I would expect that this one will too. In contrast to many books for preschool and young readers, the author introduces a rich and varied vocabulary to express the emotions felt by both the characters. Not restricting herself to “mad”, “glad” and “sad”, the characters are “fascinated”, “thrilled” and “peeved” at different points in the story. The text is limited to one or two sentences per page and difficult words are in a large and different font. The text is accompanied with delightful, full page coloured, acrylic illustrations by the author. The huge difference in size of these friends is not mentioned explicitly, but the illustrations present the problem brilliantly. When the two meet a family of elephants the concepts of small and big, bigger and biggest are quite clear. This will be a wonderful book to share with younger children to feature unlikely friendships and explore emotions.”

Thematic Links: Friendship; Emotions

—Mavis Holder

A+ for Big Ben is “delightful”—Resource Links

Posted on April 20th, 2015 by pajamapress

BigBen_C_Oct16.inddBen is too small for most of the things older sister Robin and older brother Joe enjoy. Too small for school, too small for swimming strokes or reading the menu in a restaurant. Even too small to see out the window in the car. The sensitivity of his siblings helps lift Ben out of the funk he is in. The pair create a report card for Ben, complete with letter grades and comments. The assessment? It’s an A+ for Ben in all of the special talents he contributes to the family: feeding the cat, shoe tying, tooth brushing and making family members laugh.

This delightful short book perfectly encapsulates the trials and tribulations of being the baby of the family, all the while showing the special regard held toward him by the rest of the family.

Thematic Links: Family; Siblings; Report Cards

—Moira Kirkpatrick

Princess Pistachio and the Pest is “a big hit” with Resource Links

Posted on April 20th, 2015 by pajamapress

Princess Pistachio and the Pest by Marie-Louise Gay, translated by Jacob Homel Princess Pistachio is elated to be out of school and starting summer vacation. She has big plans with friends for the first day, all of which are dashed in an instant when her mother insists that she take her younger sister Penny to the park so that she can finish her work. An exciting day exploring a cavern in the cemetery has now transformed into a boring excursion to the park with her annoying baby sister.

The day proves to be anything but boring however. Beginning with Penny’s display of kleptomania at the grocers, followed by a disappearing act, near fatal accident and an encounter with Oldtooth, the witch in the park, Penny keeps Princess Pistachio hopping all day long. Seeing Pistachio exhausted and frustrated by the end of the day, Mom relents and offers to bring in a babysitter for the following day. When the pair hear who she has in mind however, they quickly decide they can fare better on their own.

This book is full of adorable illustrations that, along with the text, clearly capture both the frustrations and fondness older siblings have for their younger charges. Sure to be a big hit with young readers just graduating from picture books to their first chapter books.

Skydiver “is highly recommended for both school and public libraries”—Resource Links

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by pajamapress

“Using crisp text and exquisite paintings award winning author and illustrator Celia Godkin tells the story of a pair of peregrine falcons. The book begins with a description of the habits of the birds in springtime.

“Together, they swoop and tumble in a dazzling courtship dance.” As the story progresses, Celia seamlessly introduces the concepts of conservation in response to the long term effects of global usage of DDT. Celia describes how the first clutch of eggs was taken from the birds to be raised in a bird sanctuary.

Skydiver: Saving the Fastest Bird in the World  by Celia GodkinWithout bogging down the story, Celia provides justification and explanations of actions taken. In regards to the removal of the eggs Celia notes that “ The falcon rescue teams know that peregrines often lay a second clutch if the first is destroyed.” The pair of falcons do indeed lay more eggs and raise one chick that year. The book follows the development of the human raised chicks. Celia explains that due to the usage of DDT the peregrine falcon “…had disappeared from great tracts of its former territory” and shows that even high rise buildings in cities have been used successfully to reintroduce the peregrine falcon.

The two page paintings illustrate the wide scope of a peregrine’s world. The paintings evoke a sense of the peregrine’s speed in flight. This book is highly recommended for both school and public libraries. It can be used for story time as well as lesson units about nature, birds, conservation and the environment.”

Thematic Links: Peregrine Falcons; Animal Rescue; DDT; Environment
—Laura Reilly

“This is a must have.” Resource Links reviews A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison

Posted on January 13th, 2015 by pajamapress

“If you have a Ted Harrison book, this is a must have. A Brush Full of Colour tells the story of Ted Harrison from his birth in 1926 England and follows his development as an artist to the present day, living in Victoria. The book is full of Harrison’s paintings, including his earlier work before he developed his recognizable style. The text is easy to read, comprehensive, and interesting.

A Brush Full of Colour: The World of Ted Harrison. A picture book biography by Margriet Ruurs and Katherine GibsonThe text is divided into chapters: Childhood, Travelling the World, Life in the North, and A Full Time Artist. Each page is filled with colourful reproductions of his paintings, photographs, memorabilia, and artist sketches. Readers will be amazed to discover the influences in his work and the growth in his style. Harrison wrote the preface and several of his quotes are interspersed throughout the text. As a result, the reader gets a good understanding of who Ted Harrison is. The authors include questions below most of the reproductions to further guide the conversation. (“What do the ravens tell us about the weather that day?”)

A foreword by Ted Harrison, Table of Contents, and Index are included in this beautifully presented book. [It also includes] Acknowledgements, Sources and Resources.

Highly recommended for all Canadian libraries.”

Thematic Links: Art; Painters; Biography; Northern Landscape; Canadian Artists; Yukon
—Louise Sidley

Peach Girl “will be cherished by many generations to come”—Resource Links

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

PeachGirlCover“When a Japanese farmer and his wife see young Momoko push her way out of a giant peach, they immediately begin to care for her. Using various parts of the fruit, they provide her with clothing, protection, and food. “Peachy” she declares, before she starts off to make the world a better place. As she journeys through the forest, looking for the ogre the couple warned her about, she meets a monkey, a dog, and a pheasant. Although each animal is frightened of the ogre who is bigger than a tree, has teeth like knives, and eyes that shoot flames, they agree to help Momoko for a serving of her peach dumplings. Although the trip is not easy (they have to build a boat) and their fear of the ogre never dissipates, the friends find the ogre’s house and make their presence known. When the strangers begin to talk with one another, they realize no one is as scary as they thought, and because they all love peach dumplings and good company, new friendships are formed.

Inspired by the Japanese story, Peach Boy, this tale (illustrated with acrylics) stars a courageous girl who makes the world a friendlier place through her actions and beliefs. She brings strangers together (Next time, I’ll bring my folks too) and shares what she can; even if it’s all she owns. Set in old Japan, the beautiful picture book with full page paintings, will be cherished by many generations to come.”

Bear on the Homefront “a highly recommended excellent discussion starter”—Resource Links

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

BearOnHomefront_cover_rgb_hi-resBear on the Homefront continues the true life adventure of a Teddy Bear begun in the book A Bear in War. Poignant and tender in its writing, this picture book helps to teach today’s children about real life experiences during World War II. Bear on the Homefront, told from the bear’s point of view, recounts how children were sent from England to Canada for safe keeping during the war and follows a young boy and girl, along with Teddy, who became guests of a family living on a farm in western Canada. The story shares a touch of their lives over the five years they spent on the farm, including how much they miss their parents and their home in England. Teddy, too, misses his family, Nurse Aileen. When the war is over and William and Grace go home to England, Teddy, too, is sent home to Nurse Aileen in Montreal.

An excellent springboard for classroom investigations about World War II and its affects (sic) on all aspects of life. Also, a highly recommended excellent discussion starter and catalyst for reflection on the affects of war on children. In addition, using both together provides the impetus for research into the Canadian War Museum and its artifacts, along with the importance of family history, first hand accounts of historical events and primary sources of information in our society.”

When Emily Carr Met Woo “will fascinate,” says Resource Links

Posted on October 27th, 2014 by pajamapress

WhenEmilyCarrMetWooA read aloud that will fascinate younger students as it focuses on Emily Carr’s love of animals and her eccentricities, while older readers may notice some of her artistic techniques and her love for the outdoors. Emily discovers a small monkey at the pet store in Victoria and takes [her] home to be part of the menagerie that lives with her, but Woo’s inquisitiveness and habit of collecting stray items gets [her] into trouble. Fortunately, this story has a happy ending for both the artist and Woo.

Emily Carr was trusted and respected by the First Nations people of the West Coast and this book misses the opportunity to present that aspect of her life. However, it is mentioned in the short biography and an adult sharing this lovely book may be able to bring this part of her life into the conversation.