Category: Early Reader | Chapter Books

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

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

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.

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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

Author Guest Post | Can Reading Mysteries Help Children Build Grit? by Robin Newman author of the #earlyreader mystery series Wilcox & Griswold: policemice detectives!

Posted Thursday, 25 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Author Guest Post Banner created by Jorie in Canva.

In conjunction with my review of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake I wanted to give the author Robin Newman a chance to write a Guest Post on a topic of her choosing to help compliment my own thoughts on behalf of her series debut! This is a series for Early Readers in particular, but as I highlighted on my review, I think it would be an excellent addition to the selections adult readers in literacy programmes are given as a clever way to engage them in a story that keeps your eyes on the humour and the beautiful illustrations which compliment the story-line!
Ms Newman happily picked a topic that won me over as soon as I saw the question it proposed because I grew up reading cosy mysteries (a la Nancy Drew and the Hardy Boys right alongside Dame Agatha Christie: see my review of the new Poirot for more insight) and can attest that mysteries went a long mile towards helping me expand my perception and view of the world. They are stimulating as they are cheekily humoured and the reason my preference is for cosy over hard-boils (except for when I read a hard-boiled *this!* side of cosy; yes, my own definitive difference!) is due to the nature of the tone, violence, and the inclusions therein.
I didn’t just read Cosies, I watched them on tv and inside motion pictures too! My favourites these days are police procedurals with a family knitted into the heart of the characters (i.e. Rizzoli & Isles, the Mentalist, NCIS (pick one, I love all 3!), Murdoch Mysteries, Miss Fisher Murder Mysteries, and Castle; to name a few!) or most of the mysteries put out by the BBC!
Finding stories writ for younger readers or readers just starting to get their feet wet into this wonderful world of imagination and story-craft with a clear bent of joy stitched inside them is a joy for me! I love showcasing authors and publishers who are getting it right and doing a lot of good with their published works. It is my pleasure to bring Ms Newman to my blog and to share with you her thoughts on the benefits of reading mysteries!

The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake by Robin NewmanCaptain Griswold and Detective Wilcox are two hardboiled police mice and MFIs—Missing Food Investigators. When Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake goes missing the day before her big party, Griswold and Wilcox must investigate a farm full of fun, colorful suspects—and it will take smarts (and a delicious dose of humor) to crack the case.

An easy-to-read mystery with plenty of clues to point readers in the right direction, the book includes the recipe for Miss Rabbit’s tasty carrot cake from bestselling cookbook author, Mollie Katzen, and comes with a downloadable curriculum guide available for classroom use which teaches problem solving, logic skills, and storytelling.

Children will love this funny, friendly twist on classic mystery and detective stories as they follow the clues through pages filled with engaging illustrations and an entertaining, interactive story.

Genre(s): Early Reader | Cosy Mystery | Foodie Fiction

Illustrated Stories | Imagination Friendly

Wilcox & Griswold No. 2 due out Autumn 2016: The Case of the Poached Egg

Published By: Creston Books, LLC (@CrestonBooks)

Converse via Twitter: #WilcoxAndGriswoldMysteries, #earlyreader, #KidsLit and #JKSLitPublicity

About Robin Newman

Robin Newman

Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman has been a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and English Cocker Spaniel, who happens to have been born on the Fourth of July.

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Posted Thursday, 25 June, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Children's Literature, Cosy Mystery, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm, Reader Submitted Guest Post (Topic) for Author

Book Review | Children’s Lit arrives on #JLASblog: “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake: A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery” by Robin Newman with illustrations by Deborah Zemke An early reader gem to engage your child into the joy of sleuthing!

Posted Thursday, 25 June, 2015 by jorielov , , , , 0 Comments

Ruminations & Impressions Book Review Banner created by Jorie in Canva. Photo Credit: Unsplash Public Domain Photographer Sergey Zolkin.

Acquired Book By:

I was selected to review “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake” by JKS Communications: A Literary Publicity Firm. JKS is the first publicity firm I started working with when I launched Jorie Loves A Story in August, 2013. I am honoured to continue to work with them now as a 2nd Year Book Blogger. I received my complimentary copy of The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake direct from JKS Communications in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive compensation for my opinions or thoughts shared herein.

Happily supporting Children’s Lit:

One of the best blessings in 2015 is being able to bring a spotlight on Children’s Literature a bit more than I could originally as a 1st Year Book Blogger. I have been actively seeking out opportunities to review Children’s Lit, inasmuch as I have quite a heap of selections I want to pursue through my local library as next reads which I hope will potentially become future showcases on my blog.

I love being able to draw a circle of joy around the writers who are truly underwriting a lot of innocence and light into their literary ideas for children; because not all stories need to be rooted in realism, as I still believe that even in the world of Children’s Lit, sometimes the undertone can run too dark. It’s been awhile since I could scout out Early Reader | Chapter Books at a local book shoppe, so imagine my happy joy in finding the Wilcox and Griswold Mysteries!? They appear to be the perfect starter for a budding mystery lover and a great opening door for a Mum (such as I will be) who wants to help encourage her (future) children in a direction to intersect with one of her most beloved sections of literature!

Mysteries are wicked awesome because they get you thinking outside the box and they give you a measure of mirth towards understanding different points of view. I happen to appreciate illustrators and writers who stitch in a happy thread of childhood wonderment and joy into their stories, and it’s a pleasure to be honoured with showcasing Creston Books as an Indie Publisher of Children’s Literature! They are definitely a publisher to keep an eye on for new releases and I cannot wait until August, when I will be giving my impressions on behalf of one of their picture books: In a Village by the Sea by Muon Van and April Chu!

Equally impressive is one of their Autumn new releases: Ada Bryon Lovelace and the Thinking Machine by Laurie Wallmark with illustrations by April Chu! A step back into the footfalls of history where science and mathematics were constantly being elevated by new discoveries, this is a story set against the backdrop of Lord Bryon (as Ada has a famous Da!) whilst on the verge of computer technology being coded for the first time!

I came across the author behind How to Be Human (as Florida Frenz is her pen name) quite by accident, as I was following a thread of convo on Twitter. Coincidentally, shortly thereafter I was offered to review The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake and knew quite instinctively I was meant to find this Indie Publisher! At some point I am going to see if I can ILL a copy of How to Be Human but the best part is that the front list and back list of this Indie is beaming strongly crafted stories into the lives of young readers! A mission I will always be happy to champion and support!

Book Review | Children’s Lit arrives on #JLASblog: “The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake: A Wilcox and Griswold Mystery” by Robin Newman with illustrations by Deborah Zemke An early reader gem to engage your child into the joy of sleuthing!The Case of the Missing Carrot Cake
by Robin Newman
Illustrator/Cover Designer: Deborah Zemke
Source: Publicist via JKS Communications

Captain Griswold and Detective Wilcox are two hardboiled police mice and MFIs—Missing Food Investigators. When Miss Rabbit’s carrot cake goes missing the day before her big party, Griswold and Wilcox must investigate a farm full of fun, colorful suspects—and it will take smarts (and a delicious dose of humor) to crack the case.

An easy-to-read mystery with plenty of clues to point readers in the right direction, the book includes the recipe for Miss Rabbit’s tasty carrot cake from bestselling cookbook author, Mollie Katzen, and comes with a downloadable curriculum guide available for classroom use which teaches problem solving, logic skills, and storytelling.

Children will love this funny, friendly twist on classic mystery and detective stories as they follow the clues through pages filled with engaging illustrations and an entertaining, interactive story.

Genres: Children's Literature, Early Reader Stories, Illustrated Stories, Foodie Fiction, Cosy Mystery



Places to find the book:

Borrow from a Public Library

Add to LibraryThing

Also by this author: Author Guest Post by Robin Newman

Series: Wilcox and Griswold Mysteries,


Published by Creston Books LLC

on 12th May, 2015

Format: Hardcover Edition

Pages: 40

Genre(s): Early Reader | Cosy Mystery | Foodie Fiction

Illustrated Stories | Imagination Friendly

Wilcox & Griswold No. 2 due out Autumn 2016: The Case of the Poached Egg

Published By: Creston Books, LLC (@CrestonBooks)

Available Formats: Hardback

Converse via Twitter: #WilcoxAndGriswoldMysteries, #earlyreader, #KidsLit and #JKSLitPublicity

About (Illustrator) Deborah Zemke

Deborah Zemke puts words and pictures together in unexpected and lively ways. The author and illustrator of more than twenty children’s books and a frequent contributor to Ranger Rick magazine, her most recent book with Creston is Cock-a-Doodle-Oops!, a farm caper.

About Robin Newman

Robin Newman

Raised in New York and Paris, Robin Newman has been a practicing attorney and legal editor, but she prefers to write about witches, mice, pigs, and peacocks. She lives in New York with her husband, son, goldfish, and English Cocker Spaniel, who happens to have been born on the Fourth of July.

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Posted Thursday, 25 June, 2015 by jorielov in #JorieLovesIndies, Animals in Fiction & Non-Fiction, Art, Bits & Bobbles of Jorie, Blog Tour Host, Book Review (non-blog tour), Book Trailer, Bookish Discussions, Bookish Films, Children's Literature, Cosy Mystery, Early Reader | Chapter Books, Illustrations for Stories, Indie Author, JKS Communications: Literary Publicity Firm