Blog Book Tour | “PJ Mouse” a Children’s Chapter Book series inspired by the author’s daughter. Gwyneth Jane Page brings “PJ Mouse” to life through adventurous tales!

Posted Wednesday, 16 December, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

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Acquired Book By: I was selected to be a part of the blog tour for “PJ Mouse series” hosted by iRead Book Tours. I received a complimentary copy of the books: “The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse: in Canada” and “The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse: in Queensland” direct from the author Gwyneth Jane Page. Initially when I signed up for the blog tour we were meant to select one or the other, rather than both titles to review. I cannot remember which title I marked myself down to read these many months later, however, I’m yielding to thinking it was Queensland, as dearly curious I am about Canada I think I opted to read the one about Australia. Therefore, only one of these were sent in exchange for an honest review whereas the second book I was not obliged to post a review, but rather elected too as I was most delighted in reading it. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Continuing my appreciation for Canadian Lit:

For most of 2015, I have happily spent inside the covers of Canadian author’s works of story-craft, most of whom turnt out to be for Children’s Lit, as I explained on my review for Hannah Both Ways on the last blog tour I hosted for Canadian Indie Pub: Rebelight Publishing. There have been other stories I’ve happily soaked inside this year writ by other Canadians, however, what I appreciated the most is the diversity of their stories and the heart-centre of the stories they craft for children. They re-establish the innocence and the mirth of coming-of age whilst giving adventure and light-hearted humour a bit of a nod as well! It’s been an incredible year for #CanLit for me, and I am quite enthused I get to round out December with another chance to spotlight my appreciation for my dear neighbours of the North!

My review of The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada:

The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world-discovering exciting new places and people along the way!​ ​ Come join PJ on his first adventure across Canada as he hikes on a glacier in the Rockies, finds a salt lake in the prairies, and walks on the ocean floor in Nova Scotia.

As soon as you pick up the Chapter Books, you can re-direct your mind back to your own childhood – where crayons and colouring were the key highlights of your afternoons, and where adventure lurked around every experience you were more than excited to become a part of. Childhood has it’s own sensibility and exploration of the world around us in such a fashion as to lend eyes to observational nuances and a heartfelt centering on life as a whole. What I appreciated about the artwork in the Chapter Books is how transporting they were to etch back memories of my own childhood days, as they felt like illustrations any child would have loved to have had hung on their wall. There is a slight cheeky bit of humour in most of the illustrative plates but there is also a twinge of childhood reverie where you can re-gather a sense about what it was like to first see ‘everything’ the world presented to you.

What duress – what despair! PJ Mouse is betwixt a rain downpour and an insistent instinct to be sheltered by a kind soul who would give him friendship rather than abandonment. Little PJ Mouse is found shuddering under a bench by a daughter and her Mum; the only two who found him, and thankfully the ones who meant him goodwill rather than harm. PJ Mouse has quite the personality, as he’s keenly developed in this first installment of the series – his voice is true and his manner of speaking not only appeals to the context of his character but he speaks how you would think he might, and that’s most satisfying!

In Chapter Two, before I could read the text of this section, it’s the despondent look upon PJ Mouse set ‘awash and a whirl’ that truly struck my fancy of taking away my attention! Love when Chapter Books for children have such a hearty tone and a beat to them; almost as if they were put to song, as their rhythm is quite cheerful, and this one has an up tempo that has a lovely rhyming sync of words about it!

There is a bit of a cleverness at getting children to ‘think outside the box’ as you come to notice how creative the story takes on it’s pacing. Even the illustrations start to shift and collide with the words themselves in order to provide new perspectives and new meanings within the confines of expression and showing of actions. It’s a lovely learning lesson nearly set to the pace of a word game – as young children I would imagine would be in a fit of giggles listening to PJ Mouse (and his woeful me expressions) and seeing how his curiosity and his enthused approach to his adventures with Emily take him to places he never imagined were possible to visit.

Geographically speaking, this is a good primer to introduce children to Canada and the driving route of how you can cross-sect the Provinces; especially keen for American children, who might not get the best overview in their lessons. It’s a clever way to entice children to think about geography but also, locale and place in proportion to where your visiting. Too often I think there is a bit of a rush to get from Point A to Point B without truly appreciating the in-between bits; and those are the most dear to remember years lateron! Definitely shows how a slowing down and keeping an awareness about your surroundings is the best approach to adventuring because you learn from where you go and you takeaway bits of those places with you when you leave them.

Blog Book Tour | “PJ Mouse” a Children’s Chapter Book series inspired by the author’s daughter. Gwyneth Jane Page brings “PJ Mouse” to life through adventurous tales!The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland

PJ Mouse, an adorable little stuffed animal, was lost and alone until young Emily heard his cries for help. Now, along with his new family, PJ gets to travel the world - discovering exciting new places, people, and animals along the way!​ ​

Come join PJ on this, his second adventure, along the coast of Queensland, as he snorkels at the Great Barrier Reef, chats with a Loggerhead turtle in the midst of a great undertaking, and explores the tropical rainforest- until he has to be rescued by one of the local friendly wildlife.

Places to find the book:

ISBN: 9781770845084

Published by First Choice Books

on 27th June, 2015

Pages: 60

Available Formats: Paperback and Ebook

Converse via: #PJMouse

About Gwyneth Jane Page and Megan Elizabeth

Gwyneth Jane Page and Megan Elizabeth

Gwyneth Jane Page (Jane), who holds an MBA from Simon Fraser University, has called many countries home. She grew up in such places as England, Peru, the USA, and the Caribbean, and has also lived in Australia and Canada. She now resides in Victoria, BC with her husband and four children. The PJ Mouse books are based on Jane's family trips with the real stuffed animal, PJ, who was found by Emily, Jane's youngest daughter.

Megan Elizabeth, Jane's second oldest daughter, has lived in Canada and Australia and travelled extensively with her family​ ​and PJ. Having been artistic since she was a little girl, illustrating the PJ Mouse books has enabled her to combine her love of travel with her love of art. Megan completed her studies at VanArts and is now building her career as a professional photographer as well as an illustrator. She currently resides in Victoria, BC with her family.

My Review of The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland:

The only difference between the two Chapter books, is the first one is a matte finish and the second has a gloss finish on their covers. Queensland also has a gloss interior illustrations and text arrangements, but I must say, I think the matte version is a bit easier to read as it doesn’t catch the glare of lights nearly as much as the gloss.

The wicked adventurous spirit you feel when you take your first plane ride is quite charmingly expressed inside this installment of the series! Even the details of his passport, the length and girth of the plane and the insignia of Australia on the tail portion of the plane were quite bang-on brilliant, as they give measure of insight into how PJ Mouse and his companions see the world as they are adventuring. They bring this vision to the reader and allow the readers to thereby get caught up inside their story as it’s being unravelled.

I must admit, the take-off was always quite the best part for me as well! Those were the days where you had to rush gates, dash off to your seat and hope you could get settled before the lift-off! Crowded airports and this hustle of people-movers all going off in different directions in a sort of orchestrated chaos of perfection. Air flight is quite unique in how everyone goes in the same circles but everyone ends up in different places at different times. It’s quite extraordinary and yet, how the planes lift off and land gracefully again at their destinations is equally intriguing!

Emily has a way of talking to PJ Mouse as if he were not simply a little person with a tail but a proper member of her inner circle. She grants him license to ask certain questions that she is old enough to understand and thereby shares her views with him as to teach him something he might not yet know himself. He’s quite the champion keeper of joy for Emily, as he’s game for nearly anything, even when he’s not entirely sure what he’s getting his tail mixed up inside! Laughs. PJ Mouse is happy to simply be content within this niche of a world he’s found with Emily and her family. Travelling with them and learning through experiences, is a bit of charmed life I think he never felt he’d have once he realised he was abandoned in that rain storm in the first installment. It’s quite lovely seeing how hearth of home and love out of friendship can knit together a joy within his spirit. For everything he gains in return from Emily; Emily and her family are gaining by having PJ Mouse along with them.

I love how honest the illustrations are about PJ Mouse and his situations – as you can truly see how a mouse like him could not only enjoy the adventures but grow through the experiences he’s collecting. Experience and adventure tend to go hand in hand, but it’s how you internalise what you’ve lived is what counts the most in the end. I love his happy-hearted self trying new things and being someone who simply goes with the flow as best as he can. He has a big heart but he has a genuine curiosity to try things as well.

I appreciated the scope of this installment to not only include ecological systems of discovery for children but for the curiosity of animals and wildlife as a whole. It’s a gentle introduction to different environs and a bit of a kind embrace of how those environs function and are self-sustaining. The truly classic way you know your wrapped up inside a PJ Mouse adventure is the ending — you always get a bit of happiness seeing who PJ Mouse confides his adventures too and how their unique friendship has a bit of a capstone on the adventures themselves.

One day, I shall enjoy the third volume:
The Travel of Adventures of PJ Mouse in a small corner of England!
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How did you develop the series of PJ Mouse?

My daughter, Emily, found the mouse when she was about 3 years old. She named him PJ because he kind of looks like pajamas. We took him home, washed him (in the washer and dryer) and he has gone with us everywhere ever since. He has to be one of the cutest stuffed animals I have ever seen. He just looks like he would have a really sweet personality.

I have always traveled a lot and love it. Over the years I had quite a number of people say to me that they would never go to Australia because of snakes and spiders. I thought this quite sad as I felt they were missing out on some amazing experiences because of irrational fears.

At about this time I also got allergic to work (literally) I was renovating houses and developed allergies to the dust and fumes. I needed to reinvent myself. I thought of writing books but did not know where to start. So I started by taking some writing courses at college.

I wanted to encourage people to not be fearful of the world around them as we only live once and there are some fabulous places to explore and appreciate. My thought was that it was probably too late to convince most adults, so I thought I would try and encourage kids to not live in fear. I also wanted kids to be aware of some of our endangered species, such as the Loggerhead turtles.

However, there are a lot of books in the world and I needed more than just another story for kids to want to read and learn about PJ’s adventures. Slowly it occurred to me to write the books from PJ’s perspective, to have the stuffed animal made so kids could have their own PJ, and to give him a passport to travel with that kids would put stickers into. This makes it fun and interactive for them and gives them a cute character to love.

The books are all based on places we have been and experiences we have had. I do some research for specific information about some of the places, but other than that, it is all first hand knowledge. I also try to write about places that people might not know about through general tourist information, such places as Mon Repos in Australia, the salt lake that is in Saskatchewan or the Peak District in England.

My other thought was that I wanted to return to a more classic style of book, like Beatrix Potter, Winnie the Pooh, or Paddington Bear. Kids love illustrations, even when they are 12 years old, so I wanted pictures throughout the books. Little kids need to learn to read, not just have a book of pictures, so I left in big words, and wrote more than a sentence per page.

Kids love characters, stories, and to use their imaginations. I loved the old classics when I was a kid, I don’t think kids are all that different now, yet these old classics are not really offered anymore (to the best of my knowledge). The response I have had to PJ and to the style of the books has been overwhelming. I have had so much fun doing this. Meeting the kids who have PJ and read the books is one of the best parts of what I do.

You start something like this as a thought process and put bits and pieces together in your mind and then in reality. I had to research everything. It has been a huge learning curve this last year. It was a risk. The investment of time and money into creating everything is substantial. I had no idea if my ideas would appeal to people, but I had to try. I would rather try and fail than never try and never know. The response from everyone has been nothing but encouraging and I love it.

Thank you for this delightful insight into how PJ Mouse found his tail and voice in the world of Chapter Books and the imaginative grace of children! Such a heart-warming story how you’ve developed this series!

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{SOURCES: Cover art of “The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse: in Canada & Queensland”, book synopsises, author photograph of Gwyneth Jane Page with illustrator Megan Elizabeth and author biography were all provided by iRead Book Tours and used with permission. Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin. Comment Box Banner made by Jorie in Canva. Post dividers by Fun Stuff for Your Blog via Pure Imagination.}

Copyright © Jorie Loves A Story, 2015.

About jorielov

I am self-educated through local libraries and alternative education opportunities. I am a writer by trade and I cured a ten-year writer’s block by the discovery of Nanowrimo in November 2008. The event changed my life by re-establishing my muse and solidifying my path. Five years later whilst exploring the bookish blogosphere I decided to become a book blogger. I am a champion of wordsmiths who evoke a visceral experience in narrative. I write comprehensive book showcases electing to get into the heart of my reading observations. I dance through genres seeking literary enlightenment and enchantment. Starting in Autumn 2013 I became a blog book tour hostess featuring books and authors. I joined The Classics Club in January 2014 to seek out appreciators of the timeless works of literature whose breadth of scope and voice resonate with us all.

"I write my heart out and own my writing after it has spilt out of the pen." - self quote (Jorie of Jorie Loves A Story)

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Posted Wednesday, 16 December, 2015 by jorielov in Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Biographical Fiction & Non-Fiction, Blog Tour Host, Bookish Discussions, Canadian Literature, Childhood Friendship, Children's Literature, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, Life in Another Country, Nature & Wildlife, Rescue & Adoption of Animals, Social Change, The Natural World, Travel Narrative | Memoir, Travel Writing, Travelogue

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