#Bookexcursion, Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/23/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading.  Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Our Recent Reads:

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The Summer of June by Jamie Sumner

Hair-pulling was one of the ways 12 year old June dealt with her anxiety so after school ends, she makes the bold decision to shave her head.  In solidarity, her mom shaves her head and while her mom says her daughter is a “wonder to behold,” June regrets her decision 10 minutes later.  June’s mom is in charge of the town’s library teen department and June regularly accompanies her mom to work during summer vacation.  At the library, she meets Homer Juarez who quotes poetry and a widower, Luis, with a passion for gardening. Making friends is not her summer goal; taming her anxiety and owning her independence are.  

June has a great support system in her mom and her therapist Gina, but as her mom says “sometimes you have open yourself up to more than you got to know what you’re missing. And that can be scary for anybody.” So when both Homer and Luis help June in a time of crisis, she allows her circle of support to widen.  Feeling more in control, June stops taking her medication so when her anxiety is set off at a local event, June’s secret is revealed. Will her new friends accept her and more importantly, will June accept herself? 

Written from June’s perspective, Sumner did a beautiful job capturing her struggles and strengths. Of course, I loved that so much of the story took place in the library and June shared that books help ease her trapped feelings.  Her friendship with Homer was so endearing and once she was honest about her anxiety, he didn’t walk away and opened up to her. The Summer of June is a story that will fill your heart and soul. 

Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. The Summer of June celebrates its book birthday on May 31, 2022. 


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Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs by Annette Whipple Illustrated by Juanbjuan Oliver

Whipple’s latest book in THE TRUTH ABOUT series! Ribbit teaches there is more to frogs than their leaping legs, bulging eyes, and sticky tongue. Here are a few of the questions explored. 

  • What is the difference between frogs and toads?
  • How do some frogs live underground?
  • Why don’t frogs freeze to death?
  • Are frogs important to people?

I love the format of this nonfiction picture book. for it is a great mentor text to teach children about text features.  A question is posed in a large and appealing font.  Each answer is written in kid friendly language so the facts are easy to understand.  Clear, crisp photographs of the frog match the question; a sidebar also appears on every page spread and includes Oliver’s illustrations and the frog’s humorous point of view on the topic. 

As an elementary reading specialist, I adore THE TRUTH ABOUT series because Whipple’s text is  accessible to kids at all reading levels.  After reading Ribbit, readers of all ages will be even more fascinated with frogs next time they see or hear one in their travels! To read my full review, click here.

Thanks to the author for sharing an eARC. Ribbit! celebrated its book birthday last week on May 15, 2022. 


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The Hiking Viking by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Timothy Grant

Leif was a Viking, but he didn’t want to battle, brawl, holler, and howl.  His dream was to hike and explore.  His family does not understand chiding Leif that he must help the clan win the Viking Games. Leif dutifully prepared and participated in the Games and while his strength was outmatched, the score was tied between the two clans. The clan showing the greatest treasure would prevail as winner. Leif’s clan learned that his strength was not in his physical body, but rather in his ability to see the treasure in nature.

Gehl’s inspiring text and Banks’ bold and expressive artwork reminds us to appreciate the beauty in the world’s natural wonder. I love that Leif showed loyalty to his clan but ultimately taught them a lesson on stamina and perspective.

Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy.  The Hiking Viking released in February 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine character.

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Friends Fur-ever (Must Love Pets #1) by Saadia Faruqi

Summer vacation has begun and Imaan has one wish-a dog of her own.  Convincing her mom is no simple task, but perhaps, starting a pet sitting business with her best friend London and new friend Olivia will show her mom she is responsible.  And when her neighbor is in need of emergency pet sitting for her dog, Sir Teddy,  Imaan feels obligated to offer.  Didn’t her mom just say that neighbors are like part of our big family and we should take care of them if they need something? 

The thrill of pet sitting is tempered by reality.  When her little brother Amir starts to sneeze out of the blue, Imaan doesn’t want to admit he is allergic.  Imaan also doesn’t like sharing Sir Teddy with London and Olivia and her feelings are hard to hide from them. Due to circumstances, she relishes the opportunity to have Sir Teddy all to herself for a day but discovers that taking care of him alone is not as fun or as easy.  

With themes of family and friendship,  middle grade readers will relate to this pawsome series.  I love that Faruqi chose to have Imaan narrate because readers get to really know her as a character exposing her strengths and needs.  What I love most about Imaan is that she admits her mistakes and learns from them.  Looking forward to the next adventure in the series! Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Friends Fur-ever celebrates its book birthday on May 31, 2022. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Book Birthday, Nonfiction, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs by Annette Whipple

                                                                   

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About the Book:
Title: Ribbit! The Truth About Frogs 
Author: Annette Whipple
Illustrator: Juanbjuan Oliver
Pub. Date: May 15, 2022

 

I received an eARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.  All opinions are my own. 

Bella and I are thrilled to wish a very Happy Book Birthday to Ribbit, Whipple’s latest book in THE TRUTH ABOUT series! Ribbit teaches there is more to frogs than their leaping legs, bulging eyes and sticky tongue. Here are a few of the questions explored. 

  • What is the difference between frogs and toads?
  • How do some frogs live underground?
  • Why don’t frogs freeze to death?
  • Are frogs important to people?

I love the format of this nonfiction picture book. for it is a great mentor text to teach children about text features.  A question is posed in a large and appealing font.  Each answer is written in kid friendly language so the facts are easy to understand.  Clear, crisp photographs of the frog match the question; a sidebar also appears on every page spread and includes Oliver’s illustrations and the frog’s humorous point of view on the topic. 

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As an adult, I never knew that toads are frogs and blinking helping frogs swallow their food.  Other cool facts is depending on the type, tadpoles can take from 2 weeks to 3 years to become a froglet. Couch’s spadefoot toads rest for 9 months underground in the summer.  Because the sugar in their blood acts like anti-freeze, spring peepers can survive freezing in the winter and thaw out in the spring.  

In my opinion, the most important question Whipple asks and answers is Are frogs important to people?  They eat lots of insects, are prey for other animals, and support scientific initiatives in cancer research, pain treatment and chemical testing,  The last question, How Can I See Frogs?, provides tips for how to find frogs in your area.  I also appreciate Whipple’s advice on caring for a pet frog.  Kids (and adults) need to know the facts before committing to owning one as a pet.  Other helpful information are directions on how to build a toad house, a glossary, and a list of websites. 

As an elementary reading specialist, I adore THE TRUTH ABOUT series because Whipple’s text is  accessible to kids at all reading levels.  After reading Ribbit, readers of all ages will be even more fascinated with frogs next time they see or hear one in their travels! 

To view the Frog Educator Guide and other resources, click on the image below. 

Ribbit Teacher Guide

If you know a child who enjoy learning cool facts about animals,, check out Whipple’s other books in THE TRUTH ABOUT series.

  • Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls 
  • Woof! The Truth About Dogs
  • Scurry! The Truth About Spiders
  • Meow! The Truth About Cats (Fall 2022)


Praise for RIBBIT!

Ribbit SLJ Review

 


Meet the Author!

Annette Whipple celebrates curiosity and inspires a sense of wonder while exciting readers about science and history. She’s the author of ten fact-filled children’s books including The Laura Ingalls Wilder Companion: A Chapter-by-Chapter Guide (Chicago Review Press) and The Truth About series (Reycraft Books) including Whooo Knew? The Truth About Owls, Scurry! The Truth About Spiders and Woof! The Truth About Dogs

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for I Am Able to Shine by Korey Watari Illustrated by Mike Wu

                   
                                               

About the Book:
Title: I Am Able to Shine
Author: Korey Watari
Illustrator: Mike Wu
Pub. Date: May 1, 2022


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for I Am Able to Shine published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Keiko has one wish-to change the world and shine. She is enthusiastic and passionate about making a difference. While there are times she feels invisible, Keiko does not wallow in her sorrows. She persists to be noticed. From Watari’s uplifting text and Wu’s rich illustrations, readers see that Keiko’s endurance is fueled by her family who love and support her.  She exudes strength eating sushi at lunch, starting an origami club. and teaching traditional Japanese dance with her ballet class. I love this illustration showing Keiko’s confidence being the leader. 

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Once Keiko finds a force inside her, she is invincible. This illustration moves me because Keiko sees herself in the future recognizing that she can do anything she sets her mind to. 

With Watari’s affirming text and Wu’s expressive illustrations, Am Able to Shine is a story that teaches kids to embrace their identity. Back matter includes an author’s note sharing the inspiration for the story as well as a glossary of Japanese terms. After reading it aloud to kindergarten students, they had these thoughts about what they learned from Keiko. 

  • Be kind and helpful.
  • Stand up for others and yourself.
  • Share what you like to do with your friends.

About the Author & Illustrator: 

Husband-and-wife team Korey Watari and Mike Wu live in the San Francisco Bay Area in California with their two lively daughters. This is their first picture book together. Korey is a sansei, or third generation Japanese American, born and raised in Los Angeles. She played basketball for a Japanese American League, graduated from the University of California Riverside, and studied at the Fashion Institute of Design and Merchandising. Korey has worked in the animation and fashion industries for companies such as Disney and the Gap. This is her first picture book. Learn more at www.koreywatari.com or on Twitter at @tinyteru.Mike is the author and illustrator of the acclaimed, bestselling Ellie series, the first picture book of which was named one of NPR’s best books of the year. He is also a Pixar artist and has worked on films including The Incredibles, Ratatouille, Up, Toy Story 3, Coco, and Soul. His illustrations have been hailed as “reminiscent of classics like Harry the Dirty Dog and Curious George.” Visit him at www.theartofmikewu.com or on Instagram at @wudog23.

#Bookexcursion, Chapter Books, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/2/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading.  Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Our Recent Reads:

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Hummingbird by Natalie Lloyd

12 year old Olive has one prayer, wish, and wildest hope-to be a student at Macklemore Middle School.  Because Olive has brittle bone disease and uses a wheelchair, she has been home-schooled since kindergarten. She is tired of being called  “fragile” and while her bones may be breakable, her spirit is not. Another reason is that she has a keen sense that her BFF is there waiting for her. 

After delivering a three-point sermon, Olive convinces her parents to attend Macklemore Middle School. Just right before her first day, feathers start appearing randomly throughout her Tennessee mountain town.  According to local folklore, the feathers are a precursor to a magical hummingbird’s arrival who grants a wish to the first who solves its riddle.  Olive and pretty much the whole town is on the hummingbird hunt.  While Olive got her wish to go to middle school and has become friends with classmate Grace Alice Cho, entrepreneur, she still wonders. What if she could wish her brittle bones away?   Would that make her life better or does she already have the best life? 

I am a huge fan of Lloyd’s novels.  She weaves in magical elements into her stories and makes readers believe they are real.  Olive is such a beautiful soul.  I adore her spirit and her determination to not allow her fragile bones to define her.  Secondary characters teach lessons about perseverance and how one can make their own wishes come true.  But most of all, I appreciate Lloyd sharing in her author’s note that Olive’s story was inspired because she herself was born with brittle bone disease. 

Full of heart and hope, Hummingbird is a story that will make you smile, laugh, and cry. But most of those tears were of joy not sorrow.  Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Hummingbird celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2002. 


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Lizzy and the Cloud by The Fan Brothers

Lizzy doesn’t care that clouds may be a bit out of fashion so when she goes to the park on Saturday, she heads straight to the Cloud Seller.  She chooses an ordinary looking cloud, names him Milo, and follows the instructions to water it daily.  Never confine a cloud to a small space is Rule 6 and Lizzy takes Milo on neighborhood walks on sunny days and gives him the opportunity to soar high in the sky on rainy days. Like many pets, Milo grows bigger and bigger covering her whole bedroom ceiling.  When Milo began rumbling, Lizzy knows Milo is unhappy and makes the grown up decision to set him free.  

I am always in awe of The Fan Brothers’ glorious illustrations.  Their use of color is powerful because it helps your eyes focus on what is important. What I love most is the message of loving something so much to let it go.  This is a lesson important to discuss with kids.  Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Lizzy and the Cloud celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2022. 


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Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome by Kat Zhang Illustrated by Charlene Chua   

In the third story of the Amy Wu picture book series, Lin, a new student from China, joins Amy’s class. The class enthusiastically welcomes Lin and Amy tries to engage him in conversation, but Lin doesn’t say a word. When Lin is picked up by his family at the end of the school day, Amy notices his beaming face and willingness to speak Chinese with his sister. Amy comes up with plan to invite Lin and his family to a dumpling party to give him a warm welcome. Will it work?

I adore Amy Wu! She is exuberant and determined demonstrating problem solving skills which is great for kids to see. I love that Zang chose to have Amy experience a loss of words when sharing the welcome banner she and her grandma created.  Amy learns from Lin that actions can be as kind and welcoming as words. Thanks to Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy. Amy Wu and the Warm Welcome celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine character.

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Fenway and the Bone Thieves (Make Way for Fenway #1) by Victoria Coe Illustrated by
Joanne Lew-Vriethoff

My favorite Jack Russell Terrier is back with his human Hattie in the Make Way for Fenway chapter book series. In this first adventure, Fenway is in the car headed to the Treat Place (pet store) with his family.   Luckily, Fenway’s attention is now focused on his bone, but when he sees squirrels in the Dog Park (backyard), he fears the rodents want to steal his treat.  Fenway must find a place to hide his bone so it is secure.  Once his bone is safely tucked underground, Fenway is relieved.

But now the rain is preventing him from digging up his bone and enjoying it. Fenway is not a very patient pup; playing with his toys isn’t keeping his mind off his bone.  In the morning, Fenway sees sunshine and can’t wait to go out to the Dog Park. Hattie lets him out but when he digs, his bone is not there!  Did the squirrels steal it? 

Written from Fenway’s point of view, author Coe has created a character who I doggedly love! As a dog mom, Fenway’s dialogue and actions are on point.  Kids (and I) love Coe’s Fenway middle grade novels so it’s exciting to read a new series written for young readers.  As a reading specialist, I appreciate all the support for readers transitioning to chapter books such as length (85 pages), short chapters, and Lew-Vriethoff’s adorable black and illustrations which perfectly capture Fenway’s personality. Thanks to the author for sharing an eARC. Fenway and the Bone Thieves celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 3, 2022.  And a bonus-Fenway and the Frisbee Trick publishes simultaneously and 2 more Fenway adventures are to come in 2023!

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#classroombookaday, Earth Day, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Nonfiction, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? Earth Day Edition 4/18/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading.  Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Grateful for my spring break to relax and reset. We took a short getaway to Luray, Virginia. When we discovered small dogs were allowed in Luray Caverns as long as they are carried during the tour, we knew it would be one of our stops. Bella even donned a had hat for the tour.

We stayed in a cozy cottage right on the Shenandoah River enjoying its peaceful sounds.

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School resumes tomorrow and while this year has been challenging, always appreciative of time to recharge and the knowledge that summer vacation is getting closer. 


This Friday, April 22, 2022 is Earth Day! Read my reviews of newly released picture books perfect for celebrating our planet and encouraging kids to take action to preserve our precious resources.


Our Recent Reads:

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Only One by Deborah Hopkinson Illustrated by Chuck Groenink

An exuberant young girl educates young readers about our universe and all its wonders. She begins sharing her knowledge with her brother defining content vocabulary such as stars, galaxies, and the Milky Way. As the siblings stroll the neighborhood, they encounter other children who accompany them on their walk. The sun, our solar system, and the atmosphere are a few additional terms explored by the girl. Towards the end of book, the children reach the woods where they observe the wonders of nature and join their community in tree planting. 

I love that Hopkinson’s chose to have the young girl narrate the story because it makes the content more accessible to kids. Groenink’s soft illustrations convey the message that while the universe is indeed immense, our actions make an impact on Earth.  Only One teaches that it is our responsibility to treat our planet with care.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Anne Schwartz Books for sharing a copy.  Only One recently released on April 5, 2022.


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Be Thankful for Trees by Harriet Ziefert Illustrated by Brian Fitzgerald

This narrative nonfiction picture book celebrates trees and their importance in our lives. Ziefert’s short, rhyming phrases and Fitzgerald’s large, bright illustrations are pleasing to the ear and eye making the content easy for young children to understand. Kids learn trees provide food, comfort, music, art, recreation, and homes for living things.  The last chapter celebrates that life would not be possible without trees and stresses how humans must do their part to protect trees. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Red Comet Press for sharing a copy.  Be Thankful for Trees published on March 29, 2022.


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Once Upon a Forest by Pam Fong

On the first page spread, an adorable marmot is tending to her garden while her bird friend looks on. At the top of the page, smoke is in the air. Concerned, the marmot follows the smoke into the forest and sees the damage. She quickly returns home to fetch her wagon carrying tree seedlings and garden tools and the bird accompanies her. In this wordless picture book, no text is necessary, for the breathtaking artwork shows the animals’ dedication throughout the seasons toward restoring the area ravaged by fire. I love Fong’s choice of utilizing mostly gray tones and representing life with pops of color. Once a Upon a Forest is a perfect read aloud to teach kids how a small act of kindness can make a big difference.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Random House Kids for sharing a copy.  Once Upon a Forest published on February 8, 2022.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine character.

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Apple and Magnolia by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Patricia Metola

Every day, Britta and her pup visit two trees named Apple and Magnolia. Britta believes the trees are best friends. Apple drops her fruit and it rolls under Magnolia and Magnolia’s leaves fly to Apple in thanks. As she and her dog dance under a starry sky, Apple and Magnolia careen together. Both her father and her sister disagree with Britta; however, her grandmother is on her side. When Britta discovers Magnolia with patchy bark and yellow leaves, she is worried. Being her only ally, Britta consults Nana who asks if Britta has a plan. Britta is one smart girl creating ways to connect Magnolia with Apple and her pup “helps” her with her tasks. It appears that the trees are getting closer to each other each day. Britta takes measurements and the data proves her observation is correct. Over time, Apple’s support allow Magnolia to bloom again. 

In the author’s note, Gehl shares how trees can communicate and help each other. While the story is about the relationship between two trees, Gehl also sweetly highlights the bond between a girl and her Nana who has faith in her. And while Britta’s dog is not central to the story, Metola’s soft, gentle illustrations show her pup is always there by her side supporting her. Gorgeous artwork and a heartwarming plot make Apple and Magnolia a touching story for Earth Day or any day!  A discussion and activity guide on how trees are connected to each other and to us can be found here.  Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Flyaway Books for sharing a copy.  Apple and Magnolia released on February 8, 2022.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
#Bookexcursion, Chapter Books, Debut Author, Early Readers, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/11/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading.  Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Our Recent Reads:

Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence by Sonja Thomas

12 year old science-loving Mira Williams must face facts.  Her summer sucks (although her grandmother chides her for her inappropriate language).  Well, you be the judge.  Her best friend, Thomas, has moved far away, her father is laid off, her science fair rival, Tamika, has moved into Thomas’ old house, and her cat, Sir Fig Newton, was just diagnosed with diabetes.  And the worst part is treatment is so expensive, her parents think the only solution is finding a new home for Sir Fig.  No offense Gran, but I think Mia’s word choice is spot on.  

Mira cannot let go of Sir Fig without a fight. She convinces her parents to give her a month to make the money for Sir Fig’s care. Babysitting and selling lemonade are good starting points, but $2000 is a lot of money to earn.  Inspired by Tamika’s mother’s activism, Mia discovers a way to raise money, but now another worry has emerged.  Will Sir Fig respond to his treatments? Mira who typically only believes in facts must also have faith for as Gran says, “Faith allows for possibilities.” 

Written from Mira’s point of view, debut author Thomas beautifully captures the voice of smart, authentic, and determined young girl who readers will relate to and root for.  As I was reading, my heart hurt for Mira as she worried about both Sir Fig, her dad, and her friendships, but I appreciated how Thomas did not allow Mia to wallow in her sorrows. Mia’s determination was invigorating and I especially loved how Thomas showed how Mia’s experiences, good and bad, changed her, for the better.   Mira learned that with patience, curiosity, observation, and persistence, she had not only survived the worst summer of her life but also emerged stronger.   Thanks to the author for sharing with my #bookexcursion group. Sir Fig Newton and the Science of Persistence recently published on March 22, 2022. 


Donut: The Unicorn Who Wanted to Fly by Laura Gehl Illustrated by Andrea Zuill

After seeing a bird flying in the air, a unicorn sweetly named Donut has one wish-to fly!  But wanting and doing are entirely two different things.  Donut makes multiple attempts to achieve her goal but none are successful.  Witnessing her struggle and desire, her animal friends lend their support to help make Donut’s dream come true.

I absolutely adore Donut!  On each page spread, Gehl’s text only consists of two words.  For example, Donut jumps! is followed by Donut thumps!  Gehl’s concise rhymes allow kids to join in the reading which is a read. Zuill’s illustrations are absolutely gorgeous.  What I love most is Zuill’s attention to detail, for readers can see Donut’s not only determination and frustration but her forest friends’ reactions and responses. With themes of persistence, friendship, and collaboration, Donut is another great picture book for teaching and/or reinforcing social skills. Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Random House Kids for sharing a copy.  Donut celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 12, 2022. 


Really Bird Stories
by Harriet Ziefert Illustrated by Travis Foster

When you are a bird with really big feelings or wants, the best name is well, Really.  In I Really Want to be First, Really is tired of always being last so his friends, a dog and a cat, give him the chance to be the leader. Really leads his friends to a tree to climb.  But when Pup and Cat get scared, can Really who can fly, take charge and lead his wingless friends back to the ground? In I Really Want a Bigger Piece, sharing a blueberry pie is not equal.  Really gets the smallest piece, Cat’s piece is messy, and Dog’s piece is perfect.  How can these three friends solve their problems so everyone is happy? 

Fans of Elephant and Piggie and Pigeon and Duck will REALLY love Ziefert’s and Foster’s new early comic series.   Appearing in speech bubbles, Ziefert’s lively text is all dialogue making the story easy for kids to access. Foster’s bright and energetic illustrations fill the pages and will captivate kids.  As a reading specialist, I love that the stories teach and reinforce positive virtues such as friendship, teamwork, sharing, and kindness.  In addition, a Think About/Talk About section follows the story where kids can make connections to each story.  More adventures are coming! A third book, I Really Want to Fly to the Moon, releases in September 2022. 

Thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media and Red Comet Press Books for sharing copies of the series.  I Really Want to Be First and I Really Want a Bigger Piece celebrate their book birthday tomorrow on April 12, 2022. 


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine character.

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Being A Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Pete Oswald

If you are looking for a picture book to support social emotional learning, I highly recommend Being a Dog.  Children not only get to learn mindful strategies, but also are exposed to vivid verbs (munch, romp, ruffle, wade, whirl) which enhances their oral and written vocabulary.  The back matter includes directions on how to take a mindful nature walk with a canine friend in all four seasons as well as instructions on a mindful breathing exercise. 

With rhythmic, concise text, and warm, expressive artwork, Being a Dog is a tale that gives children the “oppawtunity” to learn how to mindful of their feelings in order to reach their full “pet-tential.”  To read my full review, click here

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Being a Dog by Maria Gianferrari

Bella and I are honored to be part of the blog tour for Being a Dog: A Tail of Mindfulness written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Pete Oswald.  This playful picture book celebrated its book birthday this week on April 5, 2022.  Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Harper Collins for sharing a F & G in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Dogs have countless wonderful qualities including the ability to live in the present moment.  Being a Dog introduces children to mindfulness with an adorable dog as their guide.  On the very first page, Gianferrari engages in word play with the following text:

Being like a dog 
is BE-ing.
Right now.

Oswald’s cheerful pup with its wagging tail and a ball in its mouth helps children visualize what being in the moment means.  

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As the sun rises, the dog greets its young person, and the two stretch to begin their day.  This page spread is touching because Oswald shows the pair’s close relationship with the child’s artwork of the dog adorning the bedroom.

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The dog and child spend time together outside. As the pup engages in lively behaviors such as sniffing and playing, Gianferrari invites readers to join in.  Feelings are also explored with canine sounds to match like barking when worried and yowling if sad.  Children are encouraged to mirror the cute dog’s actions as a means to remain mindful of their present thoughts and emotions.   

Gianferrari’s love and respect for dogs shines through in the text.  She admires their ability to enjoy the present and be in touch with their feelings.  I especially loved this page spread inviting readers to sleep like a dog.  My favorite is ” Circle before you sleep,” for Bella religiously makes a loop before settling.  Oswald’s rendition of the dog’s actions is perfect.  The crossed paws when dreaming are endearing.

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If you are looking for a picture book to support social emotional learning, I highly recommend Being a Dog.  Children not only get to learn mindful strategies, but also are exposed to vivid verbs (munch, romp, ruffle, wade, whirl) which enhances their oral and written vocabulary.  The back matter includes directions on how to take a mindful nature walk with a canine friend in all four seasons as well as instructions on a mindful breathing exercise. 

With rhythmic, concise text, and warm, expressive artwork, Being a Dog is a tale that gives children the “oppawtunity” to learn how to mindful of their feelings in order to reach their full “pet-tential.”  

About the Author:

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Maria Gianferrari is a community scientist, self-taught naturalist, and bird nerd who holds an M.A. in Creative Writing and a Ph.D. in English. She is the author of narrative nonfiction picture books which celebrate urban ecosystems, the natural world and our wild neighbors. She also writes engaging expository nonfiction. And as a lover of dogs, Maria’s fiction picture books star dogs as main characters and explore the human-canine bond. She writes from her light-filled, book-lined study in Massachusetts with rescue dog, Maple at her side.


Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway!

  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Being a Dog giveaway tweet.
  • Check out the bloggers below to read more reviews and enter more giveaways!
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Early Readers, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/4/22

Bella and I are excited to share our latest reads in It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading.  Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.


Our Recent Reads:

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This Book Will Get You to Sleep by Jory John Illustrated by Oliver Tallec

A kangaroo with a megaphone, monster trucks, electric guitars, car alarms, barking dogs, and meowing cats will put you to sleep, right?  In this hilarious bedtime story, the marsupial narrator breaks the fourth wall firmly believing that his tactics will induce a peaceful slumber.  When his strategies do not produce effective results, the kangaroo resorts to counting sheep, but wait….the sheep are being chased by a fire breathing dragon.   The narrator is both perplexed and annoyed as to why sleep has not occurred.  

Contrary to the kangaroo’s mission, kids will stay wide awake to listen to this fun bedtime read aloud and ask for repeated readings because John’s text is so enjoyable and witty.  Tallec’s lively illustrations have immense kid appeal and will not support shut-eye.  In a nutshell, This Book Will Get You to Sleep will not deliver its promise, but it will provide delight and laughter which is much more important. 

Thanks to Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  This Book Will Put You to Sleep publishes tomorrow on April 5, 2022. 


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Hat Cat by Troy Wilson Illustrated by Eve Coy

Hat Cat is a charming story about the relationship between an old man and a rescue cat.  While the cat is curious about the outside, he is loyal because he loves the man who gives him shelter, food, and love.  Wilson’s gentle, melodic text and Coy’s warm, expressive illustrations give this quiet story so much life.  The soft cadence of the text makes the story is a joy to read aloud and kids quickly picked up on some of the repetitive phrases.   Coy’s artwork shows the depth of their relationship, for the man’s face lights up in all his interactions with Hat and Hat reveals his emotions ranging from joyful and content to scared and worried.  To read my full review, click here


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Pruett and Soo by Nancy Viau Illustrated by Jorge Lacera

Pruett and Soo is an uplifting story about friendship and finding your voice. I appreciate how Viau shows Pruett’s conflict between following the rules and doing what was right in his heart.  Both Pruett and Soo are characters that kids will cheer for because they both have big feelings they can relate to. Lacera’s energetic and vibrant illustrations will captivate kids and truly bring Pruett and Soo to life.   What I love most about the story is the message to be true to yourself.  Pruett’s friendship with Soo gave him the courage to speak up and take action. To read my full review, click here.


Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week

Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine character.

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Doggo and Pupper Save the World by Katherine Applegate illustrated by Charlie Adler

In the second book in the series, Pupper wishes he could be like flying Wonder Dog on TV, but heroes aren’t scared of things like giant squirrels.  And heroes need someone to save. Doggo and Cat don’t need saving so being a hero is not going to be easy.  When Doggo and Pupper go to the park to listen to a band, Pupper hears a sound in a bush.  It could be a giant squirrel, but Pupper is brave and discovers a baby bird who is not yet learned to fly.  Perhaps, Pupper can be a hero after all.

I just adore Doggo, Pupper, and Cat too.  Applegate’s easily accessible text coupled with Adler’s bold and humorous illustrations not only appeals to young readers but also supports them in transitioning to chapter book reading.  I love how Doggo’s and Pupper’s relationship has deepened and how Doggo dotes on the young pup.  Excited to hear a third book, Doggo and Pupper Search for Cozy, will release in March 2023.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

 

“People love dogs. You can never go wrong adding a dog to the story.”
Jim Butcher
#IMWAYR is dedicated to dear Etta, my original book beagle. Blessed that Etta is part of my story.
Giveaway, Picture Books

Review and Giveaway for Hat Cat by Troy Wilson

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About the Book:
Title: Hat Cat
Author: Troy Wilson
Illustrator: Eve Coy
Pub. Date:  February 22, 2022


Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Hat Cat.  Special thanks to author Troy Wilson for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


My Review:

An elderly man’s daily pleasure is sitting on his back deck with peanuts on his hat for the squirrels. One morning, he finds not a squirrel, but a cat under his hat. The cat, now named Hat, becomes the man’s constant companion except when he goes outside to feed the squirrels. What if Hat ran away or scared the squirrels? Not willing to risk either scenario, Hat remains in the house. This illustration just tugs my heart as Hat paws the window while his person enjoys his time with the squirrels.

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One day, after giving Hat food and affection, the man leaves and does not return.  Alone for a few days, Hat is finally greeted by a woman and her daughter who take care of him, and just like the old man,  they firmly close the door upon leaving.  This illustration of the young girl wearing the old man’s hat as she and her mother depart makes me chuckle, but my heart breaks for lonely Hat.

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On another day, the young girl leaves the door wide open for Hat.  When he ventures outside, can he be trusted?

Hat Cat is a charming story about the relationship between an old man and a rescue cat.  While the cat was curious about the outside, he is loyal because he loves the man who gives him shelter, food, and love.  Wilson’s gentle, melodic text and Coy’s warm, expressive illustrations give this quiet story so much life.  The soft cadence of the text makes the story is a joy to read aloud and kids quickly picked up on some of the repetitive phrases.   Coy’s artwork shows the depth of their relationship, for the man’s face lights up in all his interactions with Hat and Hat reveals his emotions ranging from joyful and content to scared and worried.  My favorite illustration of all is of the young girl quietly sharing with the man that Hat is trustworthy.

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When I read aloud Hat Cat to a class of kindergarten students, they clapped when the man returned home and noticed he was wearing his hat.  They asked, “Did the little girl give it back to the man?”  I loved their questioning because the children were making inferences based on the illustrations. As a reading specialist, I greatly appreciate picture books like Hat Cat because they that provide opportunities for kids to make connections and think.  While we at Beagles and Books are partial books featuring dogs, Hat Cat makes us realize that cats are pretty cool too.


About the Author: 

Troy Wilson is the author of nine picture books with five publishers, as well as 16 stories for kids’ magazines. His many summers as a camp counselor taught him a lot about life, the universe, and everything. He lives in Victoria, BC, Canada.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Pruett and Soo by Nancy Viau

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About the Book:
Title: Pruett and Soo
Author: Nancy Viau
Illustrator: Jorge Lacera
Pub. Date: March 22, 2022


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Pruett and Soo published by Two Lions/Amazon Publishing. Special thanks to the publisher and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

On Planet Monochrome, the home rules are pretty black and white. 

Blend in.
Wear only black, gray or white.
Be calm. 

Now, at his house, Pruett may have let loose to music when alone, but he adhered to the school rules without fail.  

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A new student, Soo, joins Pruett’s class and she brings color to his world (literally). Unlike Pruett and his classmates, Soo is full of vibrant hues, immediately asks questions, and uses bright crayons.  When Soo befriends Pruett, he desperately wants to reciprocate, but he is worried about breaking the school rules.  Color crept into his face but he couldn’t bring himself to join her. 

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A lonely Soo begins to lose her bright colors and spirit which prompts Pruett to take action.  With just one question, Soo’s color returns and Pruett’s color emerges.  Feeling confident, Pruett starts asking questions not concerned about the rules.  His bravery propels other classmates to join in, and the result is so brilliant, readers may need sunglasses to read the last few pages. 

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Pruett and Soo is an uplifting story about friendship and finding your voice. I appreciate how Viau shows Pruett’s conflict between following the rules and doing what was right in his heart.  Both Pruett and Soo are characters that kids will cheer for because they both have big feelings they can relate to. Lacera’s energetic and vibrant illustrations will captivate kids and truly bring Pruett and Soo to life.   What I love most about the story is the message to be true to yourself.  Pruett’s friendship with Soo gave him the courage to speak up and take action.

Praise for Pruett and Soo!

“The unlikely friendship at the heart of this allegorical picture book is touching. Viau’s writing is engaging.” –Kirkus Reviews

“Highlighting the value of asserting one’s individuality in the face of pressures to conform, this vivid episode can stand alone or fit neatly into a storytime.” –Booklist


About the Author:

Nancy Viau is the author of a number of books for children including Storm Song, illustrated by Gynux; Today Is a Beach Day!, illustrated by Charlie Alder; First Snow, illustrated by Talitha Shipman; and the Samantha Hansen series. A former teacher, she currently lives in New Jersey and travels around the solar system in her imagination. Learn more at nancyviau.com.

Twitter: @NancyViau1

Instagram: @nancyviau1

Facebook: Nancy Viau

About the Illustrator: 

Jorge Lacera was born in Colombia and grew up in Florida. He attended Ringling College of Art and Design and has worked as an artist or art director at major gaming studios and entertainment companies. He is the illustrator of Zombies Don’t Eat Veggies by Megan Lacera and XO, Exoplanet by Deborah Underwood. He lives in Canada with his family. Learn more at studiolacera.com.

Twitter: jlacera

Instagram: jlacera