Pajama Press

Posts Tagged ‘Review’

“All public and elementary school libraries” should have Elephant Journey, says Youth Services Book Review

Posted on May 26th, 2016 by pajamapress

ElephantJourney_Website“In October of 2013 three African elephants, Iringa, Thika and Toka, who had lived at the Toronto Zoo for many years, were given sanctuary at PAWS (Performing Animal Welfare Society) in California. Toka and Iringa had been wild born and stolen from their mothers when very young to be taken to a zoo in the cold clime of Toronto, Canada. Thika was born at the Toronto Zoo. Outrage at the small enclosure for these three elephants living in an unnatural climate finally lead to their being trucked all the way to sanctuary in California. Photographs and illustrations accompany the text.

To whom would you recommend this book? Put this one on display to attract a wider audience and recommend to kids and adults who like elephants and want to learn about their plight in captivity.

Who should buy this book? All public and elementary school libraries”

Click here to read the full review.

Going for a Sea Bath “will surely get a giggle,” writes The National Reading Campaign

Posted on May 11th, 2016 by pajamapress

GoingForASeaBath_Website“This picture book builds gradually with all the animals ending up in the bath – or falling out of it! Kids will love the chaos that ensues, which Delisle reflects through each character’s and creature’s actions, positions, and expressions. Going for a Sea Bath is an off the wall read which will surely get a giggle.”Jen Bailey

Click here to read the rest of the review.

The National Reading Campaign callsThe Hill a “…climatic tale of survival”

Posted on May 11th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_Website“…Finding their common humanity despite their differences might be the hardest thing Kyle and Jared have ever done, as well as the most rewarding. Through a fantastical, yet modern and timely tale, Bass shows how the power of circumstance can bond even the most stubborn with life-changing results.”Amy Mathers

Click here to read the full review.

Canadian Children’s BookNews recommends A Year of Borrowed Men

Posted on May 10th, 2016 by pajamapress

A Year of Borrowed Men | Michelle Barker & Renné Benoit | Pajama Press“Because German Men were conscripted to fight during World War II, the families left behind were obligated to by the Nazi government to take in French prisoners of war to perform needed work. This is why three captives came to stay with seven-year-old Gerda, her mother and siblings at their farm. The rules were stringent: the French were to assist with the operation of the farm, sleep in the out-buildings and be treated as enemies. Anyone showing kindness to these “borrowed men” could be imprisoned. It was, however, challenging for Gerda to be so hard-hearted. On one particularly cold day, she invited them to share dinner with her family inside their warm home. For this act, her mother received a stern reprimand from the local police. From then on, compassion was demonstrated in more subtle ways, ensuring that the captives were well fed and treated with dignity. When the war ended, they parted as friends.

Based on her mother’s childhood memories of Germany during World War II, Michelle Barker’s book is a poignant account of one family’s brave acts of kindness in an atmosphere thick with fear and distrust. The story is told from little Gerda’s perspective, and we witness how a prohibited relationship grew from Feinde (enemies) to Freunde (friends). “The borrowed men knew some German words but we did not speak French. We had to use our hands to show them what we meant. Sometimes I drew pictures for them.” An Author’s Note and family photographs provide further context regarding Gerda’s experiences.

Renné Benoit’s watercolour, coloured pencil and pastel illustrations convey a pastoral environment imbued with the bleakness of war. In the midst of fear and strife, we see comforting moments in one family’s life. The simple acts of preparing meals, gathering around a candle-lit Christmas tree to sing carols and sharing conversation and scarce resources with strangers offer hope that goodness can sometimes triumph over evil.”


This review originally appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Canadian Children’s BookNews.

Canadian Children’s Book News: “Wallace Edwards has done it again!”

Posted on May 10th, 2016 by pajamapress

OnceUponALine-COVER-FAKE-FOIL_RGB_1000px“Wallace Edwards has done it again! The introduction to Once Upon a Line lets us know that the fantastical paintings in this book were created by Great-Uncle George using an enchanted pen from the East. He only had to draw a single curving line, and it would turn into a painting. Each page has an illustration incorporating that line and a start to a story, beginning with ‘Once upon a line,’ an obvious and intriguing reference to ‘Once upon a time.’ As with his other books, Edwards creates many levels of meaning by combining all that you see on the page in unexpected ways.

This is a great book for anyone with a wild imagination. On each page Wallace draws the reader into both the illustration and the words. Readers are challenged to find the “magic line” in each picture. In most cases, the story is different, not always exactly what is shown in the picture. For example, we get a dandy rat who loves his “brand new ultra-modern house,” a gleaming white toilet sitting among flowers. The words continue, “‘I have never had such a beautiful home before,’ he said. Just then, a little bird said…” This sentence could lead anywhere, and is an invitation to go somewhere new each time you read it.

Although each page has its own theme, there are a few where connections are made to the previous illustration. At the back of the book is a guide showing where the magical line is in each of the pictures, and a reminder that the enchanted pen is also in each one, too.

Once Upon a Line has all the marks of a Wallace Edwards gem: his distinctive style of illustration, humour, appealing characters and just enough information to get you started on your own story.”


This review originally appeared in the Spring 2016 edition of Canadian Children’s BookNews.

CM Magazine calls The Hill “…an interesting and unique” teen survival story

Posted on May 9th, 2016 by pajamapress

TheHill_Website“The blend of realism and mythology is a difficult mix to pull off, but Bass succeeds admirably. The Hill is an interesting and unique addition to the ever-expanding body of teenaged wilderness survival novels…the added elements of Cree traditional beliefs and cross-cultural tensions help Bass establish her own niche within this field.”—Dr. Gregory Bryan

Click here to read the full review.

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

Quill & Quire reviews Sky Pig

Posted on April 20th, 2016 by pajamapress

SkyPig_Website“All Ollie the pig wants is to fly. His friend, Jack, makes him wings out of duck feathers, a parachute out of a burlap sack, and even sends him careening down a hill with a clutch of umbrellas. Illustrator Suzanne Del Rizzo uses Plasticine, polymer clay, and mixed media to create her 3-D images.”—Quill & Quire

School Library Journal calls A Year of Borrowed Men a “precious gem”

Posted on April 19th, 2016 by pajamapress

A Year of Borrowed Men | Michelle Barker & Renné Benoit | Pajama Press“Based on a true story, this precious gem evokes compassion in a way that is sure to resonate with young audiences. Told from the perspective of seven-year-old Gerda, the tale explores the warmth that can exist among individuals whose countries are at war with one another. Gerda’s “borrowed men” are three French prisoners of war during World War II. The men have been sent to work on her family’s farm in Germany at the same time that her father has been sent into battle. The generosity and human kindness shown by Gerda’s family—especially by the little girl herself—are contrasted with the cold, punishing actions of the village policeman, Herr Mohlen. On a particularly cold night, Gerda’s mother invites the French POWs (who normally eat, sleep, and live in the pig kitchen, where meals for the pigs are prepared) inside for dinner. The next day, Herr Mohlen “borrows” Gerda’s mother and threatens her with prison. The child narrates that a neighbor must have seen them (the author’s note explains the promotion and practice of neighbors spying on one another). But friendly bonds are formed in spite of the formidable authorities, and when the war is over, Gerda is just as sad to say goodbye to her amis as they are to leave their little freunde. The concept of “borrowing” in wartime—first introduced by Gerda’s mother when explaining the sudden appearance of the French POWs (“She said we were just borrowing the French men”) and peppered throughout the text—is sure to spark conversation about the so-called rules of war, especially with the reveal in the author’s note that Gerda’s father (also referred to as “borrowed”) and, later, her brother Franz die in combat. Photos preceding and following the text document what Gerda, her family, and the farm looked like. Illustrations done in watercolor and colored pencil, with a touch of pastel, create a beautiful backdrop that darkens and lightens with the tone of the narrative. VERDICT Purchase where nuanced portrayals of family during World War II are needed. Keep the tissues close by!”Gloria Koster, West School, New Canaan, CT