Disclosure: I reviewed both books in exchange for a fair review.
Book Title: The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – in Canada by Gwyneth Jane Page and Illustrated by Megan Elizabeth
Category: Children’s fiction, 72 pages
Genre: Adventure / travel
Release date: Feb 13, 2014
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.
I have yet to find a book that replaces my favourite children’s book, but The Travel Adventure Of PJ Mouse (both of the books that I am reviewing) comes a close second. These are the types of stories I want to share with my friend’s children, G & B because it’s about adventure and exploring. I feel that adventuring and exploring, as in exploring the world around you is missing in many children’s books these days. S0 for me Gwyneth and Megan have hit the nail on the head.
I love Megan’s illustrations, they are so cute! I love illustrations that look like they have been drawn or painted, I’m not a huge fan of digitally done drawing. They have a place, just perhaps not in children’s books in my opinion.
As for the story, I really liked it. I have family in Canada, so it’s been a joy for me to read about some of the places they talk fondly about. I like the interaction between PJ, Emily and her siblings, you can tell that the siblings are very close. It’s their quick thinking that saves PJ when he gets into a little difficulty.
Would I recommend giving The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Canada to a friend?
Yes! I think these would make lovely presents for small children, especially those visiting Canada. I’ll be buying a copy for G and one for B when he’s older.
Category: Children’s fiction, 60 pages
Genre: Adventure / travel
Release date: June 27, 2015
Would I recommend giving The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse in Queensland to a friend?
Yes! I think these would make lovely presents for small children, especially those visiting Australia. I’ll be buying a copy for G and one for B when he’s older.
Meet the author and illustrator:
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.
Interview with Gwyneth Jane Page:
What genre do you write and why?
I believe it is called creative non-fiction. It is a mix of fiction and non-fiction. The places and the incidents are real, but PJ talking and thinking and participating in the adventures is obviously not since he is a stuffed animal. I chose to write in this manner as I wanted kids to learn about the world and not live with irrational fears of their surroundings but I also wanted them to enjoy the story and want to read and learn.
What kind of books do you like to read?
I like historical fiction. To me, historical fiction is a great way to learn about history, places and people but in an enjoyable manner. I enjoy the Morland Dynasty by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and the epic novels on different cities of the world by Edward Rutherfurd. I guess I styled my writing from what I enjoy…..learning but in a non-textbook way.
If you were stuck on a deserted island, which 3 books would you want with you?
I think I would choose Pride and Prejudice for familiarity and enjoyment, as I love the character development and the subtle humor throughout the book. On a practical level I think I would need some kind of book on survival or how to build a raft. For the third book I think I would want some epic historical fiction that I had not read yet.
Where do you write?
I often write at home at the kitchen counter. Sometimes I go to The Beachhouse restaurant where my daughter Megan works, as it is a lovely location, with views out to the ocean and the islands. Writing can be a fairly solitary exercise and it is nice to be surrounded by background noise, but at the same time be uninterrupted by things that need doing at home.
What is your next project?
My next book is on England ‘The Travel Adventures of PJ Mouse – In a Small Corner of England’. It will be available in November. The next one is on New Zealand. The first draft of the manuscript is complete but Megan has not yet started the artwork for the book. I expect it will be published some time in the middle of 2016. The 5th book in the series will most likely be on Italy. I have just started writing the manuscript.