#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/16/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Incognito by Shelley Johannes

Incognito, the second book in the series immediately picks up from Book 1. It is the second week of third grade, and Beatrice and her best friend Lenny have officially yet secretly launched Operation Upside.  They are ready to give the first UPSIDE award of the week to classmate Wes Carver who thoughtfully holds the door open for everyone daily.  Then Beatrice gets the idea that the first award should go to her no shenanigans teacher, Mrs. Tamarak.  Receiving an UPSIDE would put a guaranteed smile on Mrs. Tamarack’s face right?  After secretly slipping the award into the stack of ungraded homework, Beatrice shares her good news with a very shocked Lenny.  Lenny informs Beatrice that Mrs. Tamarack will not consider a most strict award to be a compliment. She is right, for Mrs. Tamarack is not amused.  This mishap calls for Beatrice to go incognito for a while so that the identity of Operation Upside remains a secret.  But if you know Beatrice, laying low is not one of her strengths.

After reading and loving the first Beatrice novel, I did not think it was possible to love her even more, but I so do!  With Operation Upside, Beatrice’s mission is to spread happiness and who can argue with that?  Beatrice and Lenny also demonstrate inclusiveness encouraging Chloe to see how Wes’ animal knowledge can benefit the veterinary club and befriending and recruiting new student Sam Diaz for Operation Upside.  And of course, Shelley Johannes’ whimsical black felt tipped pen drawings of Beatrice and her friends make the book even more fun to read! Special thanks to author Shelley Johannes for sending an ARC of Beatrice Zinker: Incognito on a #bookexcursion.  It will be released on September 19, 2018.

The Remember Balloons by Jesse Oliveros  Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

In this heartwarming story, balloons represent memories. The older one is, the more balloons one has; therefore, it is no surprise that James’ grandpa has the most balloons in his family.   James loves hearing his grandpa tell him about his balloons, but lately, his grandpa is experiencing some difficulty; his balloons are getting caught in a tree or worse, floating away.  Worried, James shares his concerns with his parents who tenderly tell him that this happens as you get older.  At the end of the book, James discovers a way for him and his grandpa to hold on to these precious memories.

The Remember Balloons tackles the subject of dementia with tenderness and compassion.  Each colorful balloon represents one memory and are the focal point of the beautifully drawn illustrations.  I highly recommend this read aloud to help children better understand and cope with loved ones who are experiencing memory loss.

Special thanks to author Jesse Oliveros asnd Simon & Schuster for sending a F & G of The Remember Balloons to our #bookexcursion group.  It releases on August 28, 2018.

Good Night, Little Monsters by Kara LaReau  Illustrated by Brian Won

Monsters before bedtime?  No child will be able to resist this sweet and spooky story about little monsters’ bedtime rituals.  Written in rhyme, Kara LaReau sweetly shares that monsters have similar routines such as brushing teeth, snuggling close, reading a story or singing a lullaby.  I can see how this board book could be used to introuduce or reinforce bedtime routines. Brian Won’s illustrations are adorable and will bring smiles and laughs. I have no doubt that Good Night, Little Monsters is a story that children will beg to be read again and again, and adults will gladly agree.

Special thanks to Kara LaReau for sending Good Night, Little Monsters to our #bookexcursion group. It released in June 2018.

How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville Illustrated by Giselle Potter

Although I am familiar with Temple Grandin, I never new about her first invention, the hug machine.  How to Build a Hug is a narrative picture book biography that introduces Temple as a young child who like other kids, loved to build things but does not like hugs.  Temple wondered why hugs calmed others when they made her uncomfortable.  At boarding school, she continues to build and watches families hugging hellos and goodbyes still wondering will she ever feel comfortable with a hug?  It was until she spent the summer at her aunt’s ranch in Arizona that Temple’s idea took form.  Observing how a ranch hand used a squeeze chute to keep a cow calm during a vet exam, Temple planned and built her own hug machine.  She used her hug machine to calm her when she felt nervous or scared.

How to Build a Hug is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that can be a mirror or window to readers.  Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville do a wonderful job conveying Temple’s feelings and emotions so that children can understand her dilemma with hugs, and Giselle Potter’s warm, vintage-like watercolor illustrations complement the text well. While the text does not specifically mention that Temple as autistic, the author’s note does and provides more information about Temple Grandin’s life.  I am always looking for nonfiction picture books for #classroombookaday and there is no doubt that How to Build a Hug will be read to students in the upcoming school year.

Special thanks to the authors and Kara Ledbetter of Simon & Schuster for sending a F & G of How to Build a Hug to my #bookexcursion group.  It releases on August 28, 2018.

Etta’s and 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 main character.

The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

All dogs have a good sense of smell, but Nell’s is so keen, she is known as Detective Dog Nell. Tuesday through Sunday, Nell solves crime after crime but on Mondays, she goes to school with her person, Peter and listened to stories.  And of course, the best smell of all was the smell of books!  But one Monday, Nell smelled something wrong only to discover all the books in Peter’s classroom are gone! With her nose leading the way, Nell sets off to find the missing books. Not only is she successful in discovering the book thief but makes sure he never has to “steal” again. If you like dogs and books, you can’t go wrong with The Detective Dog.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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#Bookexcursion, Book Birthday, Debut Author, Picture Books

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aiden Cassie

Beagles & Books wishes Aiden Cassie and her debut picture book, Sterling, Best Dog Ever a very Happy Book Birthday!   A very special thank you to Aidan Cassie and Macmillan for sending a copy of Sterling to my #bookexcursion group to read and review prior to its release. Below is my review which was featured on my #IMWAYR post on 6/25/18.

Sterling is determined to find a home.  Sleeping outside the Butlery Cutlery Company, he sneaks into a box of forks that are delivered to the Gilbert family.  When the family opens the box and finds Sterling, the mom and dad are perplexed but the daughter ‘s and her baby sister’s smiles say it all.  Sterling strives to be the best fork ever but soon discovers that perhaps, the family doesn’t need a fork.  Being adaptable, Sterling attempts to be a whisk, a rolling pin, and even a stick but none of these tools seems to make him or the daughter happy.  Will Sterling ever realizes his one and only job is to just be himself?

Sterling, The Best Dog Ever is a heartwarming and humorous story about learning to be comfortable in your own skin or in Sterling’s case, fur. The rich and colorful illustrations beautifully complement the plot and depict not only Sterling’s determination to be needed and useful but also the little girl’s true desire to have a dog of her own to love.

I can’t wait to share Sterling, The Best Dog Ever with students in the fall!  Its message of self acceptance makes it a perfect read aloud for #classroombookaday. If you need any more convincing, get a sneak peek of Sterling by viewing the trailer below.

 

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/9/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls: Power Play by Beth McMullen

Abby Hunter is back for another thrilling adventure.  Fellow classmate Toby’s father and creator of the hit reality game Monster Mayhem has been kidnapped.  While on a school trip to Paris, Toby disappears while in pursuit of his father’s abductor.  Abby is determined to find Toby, but it’s not easy when her mom, superspy Jennifer Hunter, is now filling in as headmaster at Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls and tells her Toby is safe and everything is under control.  Soon Abby discovers information to the contrary and must come up with a plan to get to Florida to save Toby.  Unfortunately, planning is not Abby’s strength but it’s not a deal breaker when you have classmates and friends like Charlotte and Izumi. As Izumi states “All three of us rolled together make one seriously good spy.”  Once in Florida, the three still need the help of Abby’s frenemy Veronica Brooks to find Toby, and it doesn’t take long before their covert mission is no longer secret to Jennifer and the director of the spy college located in Florida. Their knowledge of Monster Mayhem saves them and once reunited with Toby, Abby, Charlotte, Izumi, and reluctantly Veronica travel to London to partake in a mission to find the bitter hacker responsible for kidnapping of Toby’s father and possibly the demise of the entire spy school.

While reading the first book is not a necessity, it is highly encouraged because I already had a good understanding of the back story and relationships between characters.  Power Play is a great follow-up because the fast paced plot takes the reader all over the world and focuses on relatable themes such as friendship and teamwork.  As Abby states, “We all have different strengths and that’s what makes us good together. Sometimes the trouble is recognizing that.”  The ending leaves the reader hanging which makes me hopeful that another adventure is in the works.

A special thanks to Beth McMullen for sending Power Play to my #bookexcursion group.  It celebrated its book birthday last week on July 3, 2018.

Jasmine Toguchi Flamingo Keeper by Debbi Michiko Florence Illustrated by Elizabet Vulovic

In the fourth book in the series, Jasmine’s best friend Linnie gets a puppy.  Jasmine wonders if she can convince her parents to let her have a pet flamingo, which is her favorite animal in the world.  Her hopes get high when Jasmine’s grandma sends her and her older sister Sophie a daruma, which is a Japanese wishing doll.  Her mom explains that you make a wish and color in one eye.  When the wish is fulfilled, you can color in the other eye.  Of course, Jasmine knows her wish-a pet flamingo!  But darumas don’t work that way.  Jasmine learns that wishes don’t just happen; her grandma informs her that you must have gambette which means working hard to make your wish come true.

Jasmine Toguchi is one of my favorite series and it’s perfect for students transitioning to chapter books.  Jasmine appeals to young readers because she is spunky, determined, and has a lot of heart. The black and white illustrations complement the text and show Jasmine’s range of emotions as well as her close relationship with her family. While Jasmine is disappointed that the daruma does not magically grant wishes, she recalls that she has made past wishes come true with hard work.  Not only is Jasmine a great role model for children but each story teaches young (and old) readers about Japanese culture.  Like the previous novels, the author includes an author’s note and a bonus activity, and in Flamingo Keeper, Debbi Michiko Florence shares facts about the daruma and directions on how to make one.  I know my wish-Jasmine’s adventures will continue with another book in the series.

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It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer Illustrated by Claire Messer

Who isn’t nervous on the first day of school?  It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus tells the tale of Busy Bus who is both anxious and excited for his first day on the job. To read my full review, please click here.

Loretta’s Gift by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Alea Marley

Along with her family, Loretta is excited about the arrival of her new baby cousin.  Everyone is preparing for the baby’s arrival but Loretta has no gift to give.  Although her mother tells her she doesn’t need to give a present, Loretta is determined to find the perfect gift.   She considers buying, sharing or making her gift but can’t make up her mind before baby Gabe arrives.  Loretta dotes on her new cousin always saying ” Who’s the best baby on the block?” Gabe smiles and giggles in return.

A year passes, and Gabe is celebrating his first birthday.  Worried, Loretta frets that she still hasn’t find the perfect gift.  Little does Loretta know that she has already given Gabe her gift which is the most precious gift of all-love. Loretta’s Gift a beautiful story and the lovely illustrations warmly show the power of family.  This is a precious story that I can’t wait to share with students.  A special thanks to Pat Zielow Miller for sending a F & G of Loretta’s Gift to my #bookexcursion group.  It will be released August 14, 2018.

Magnificent Creatures: Animals on the Move by Anna Wright

Magnificent Creatures is a gorgeous nonfiction picture book that shares unique facts about animals on the move.  I learned that when jellyfish swarm, it is known as a “bloom” and thousand of starlings moving together is called a “murmuration.”  Springboks are a new animal to me and surprisingly, one of the fastest land animals in the world! What I love about this book is author/illustrator Anna Wright uses a variety of art styles such as pen and ink, watercolor, and fabric collage to showcase the beauty of all the animals. Looking forward to sharing this exquisitely stunning picture book with my art teacher as well as classroom teachers and students.  Our first grade ELA curriculum also features a unit on animal teams so Magnificent Creatures would be a great read aloud during this unit.

A special thanks to Becky Kraemer for sending Magnificent Creatures to share with my #bookexcursion group.  It will celebrate its book birthday next week on July 17, 2018.

Etta’s and 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 main character.

My Father’s Words by Patricia MacLachlan

Before the story begins, Patricia MacLachlan shares that My Father’s Words is a novel based on the real relationship between her late husband, who was a clinical psychologist, a former patient of his, and herself.  Knowing this story is based on truth made me both cry and smile while reading.

After Fiona and Finn’s father dies in a car accident to avoid hitting a child who chased a ball into the street, one of their father’s favorite patients, Thomas comes to pay his respects.  Considering him a hero, Thomas wants to share with Fiona why her father was such a good man and offers to call her once a week for two minutes at 6:50 p.m. every Monday.

On the very first call, Fiona shares her concern for Finn who is sad and alone.  Thomas suggests finding someone who has been left alone for Finn to help.  Writing the advice down, their neighbor Luke sees her note and shares a flyer advertising that a nearby animal shelter needs volunteers to spend time with dogs.  The very next day, the three children visit the shelter and discover that there are many dogs that need love and attention. Finn chooses a dog staring at the back wall named Emma.  They find out that Emma’s owner was a musician, and she was dropped off at the shelter after he died.  With each visit, Finn and Emma bond over books and later music and ultimately help each other cope with their grief.  Fiona finds comfort with Jenny, a calm and relaxed poodle.

Only 144 pages long, My Father’s Words is a beautifully written and tender story about the process of healing after the loss of a loved one.  What touched me the most is that through Thomas’ calls and volunteering at the shelter, Fiona and Finn slowly begin to feel a sense of hope in the midst of their great loss and learn that while “dogs need people, people need dogs even more sometime-to teach people how good they really can be.”

Having two rescue dogs, this novel is most definitely a heartprint book for me, for I am blessed with their unconditional love which truly makes me a better person. Thanks to Edelweiss for the privilege of reading an e-book of My Father’s Words, which will release on October 2, 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer

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Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus written by Jody Jensen Shaffer and illustrated by Claire Messer. Special thanks to author Jody Jensen Shaffer for sending me a copy that I will also share with my #bookexcursion group. All opinions are my own.

Who isn’t nervous on the first day of school?  It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus tells the tale of Busy Bus who is both anxious and excited for his first day on the job. Ben, the bus driver, thoroughly checks Busy to make sure he is ready performing tasks such as measuring the air in his tires, filling his gas tank, turning his lights on and off, inspecting his emergency door, and of course, starting Busy’s engine.  Although Ben is confident that Busy is ready for the road, Busy is worried.  What if he gets homesick or doesn’t make any friends?  Thankfully, Ben is there to ensure Busy’s first day of school is a success!

For early childhood teachers, It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus is the perfect read aloud for the first week back.  Busy is experiencing all the same emotions that children feel anticipating their first day of school.  Busy is adorably drawn, and Messer sweetly conveys his range of emotions with his eyes and mouth. The illustrations span the spread so the artwork is large enough for children to view during a read aloud, which is a plus.

What I love most about the book is that Ben is right by Busy’s side to support him.  When he places Busy’s nameplate on him, Busy not only realizes he is ready but also that he is safe, clean and most importantly, loved.  When I think about children returning to school in the fall, building relationships is by far the most crucial.  Like Busy, children need to feel safe and loved which in turn instills confidence and a belief that they can achieve great things.

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/2/18

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Happy early 4th of July! Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Ever since she was born, Della’s mama has lived with schizophrenia and experiences good days and bad days. Recently, Mama is going through a rough patch obsessed with getting rid of all the germs that can hurt Della and her baby sister, Mylie.  Knowing Della is worried about her mama, Della’s dad reminds her that many people don’t understand schizophrenia and begin seeing the person as a disease not a human being.  Like always, they will get through her mama’s highs and lows together as a family.

Growing up, Della had heard stories about the magical powers of Miss Tabitha Quigley’s (also known as The Bee Lady) honey.  If the honey could fix Grandpa Kelly’s leg, perhaps it could fix Mama too. Della is though deflated when Miss Quigley tells her that the honey will not heal her mama but offers Della something that can heal her, if she wants.  Conscious that her Mama’s illness was triggered by her birth, Della is frustrated and determined to make Mama better so she takes the initiative to do additional chores and take care of Mylie who can be a handful.

Unfortunately, Mama gets progressively worse and with her daddy’s watermelons getting hit hard by disease, the Kelly family is struggling.  Faced with the realization that she has tried everything, Della returns to Miss Quigley’s house to accept her help and discovers the honey’s magic is that it brings out a strength that a person already has inside.  With the support of Miss Lorena, Miss Amanda, her grandparents and most importantly, her daddy, Della learns that she has strength all around her and realizes that no sickness in the world could make her mama’s love for her and Mylie less real.  In fact, everything is going to be just fine.

Where the Watermelons Grow is a story that can be a mirror or window for readers. Cindy Baldwin’s beautifully written novel gives an honest and tender account of how Della copes and accepts her mama’s mental illness.  Special thanks to Cindy Baldwin for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Where the Watermelons Grow celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 3, 2018.

Margot and Mateo Save the World by Darcy Miller

Blue-streaked haired Margot Blumenthal is a newcomer to West Cove Middle School.  Considered a lock for the United States national freestyle wrestling team, she is intimidating to both students and teachers.  On the way to school, Margot notices her school play co-star Mateo Flores acting erratic.   She confronts him and finds a bright blue slug attached to his back and courageously removes it.  Little did Margot and Mateo know that the slug is actually an alien that has also infected other people in town including the mayor and Mateo’s father.  The two hesitantly join forces along with scientist Calvin Biggs to stop these alien slugs from taking over the town and in the process, they learn more about each other’s true selves.  Will their alliance save the world and ignite a real friendship?

While the novel is hilariously entertaining as Margot and Mateo reluctantly work together to combat the aliens, their partnership shows an honest depiction of the perils of navigating middle school. Being a new student, Margot may appear to have a tough exterior and content with being on her own but, in reality, she wants to make friends and be included.  Mateo, on the other hand, has lived in West Cove his whole life and is liked by everyone.  He though is a people pleaser and doesn’t always speak up for himself.  Saving the world prompts them to each discover who they really are.

Special thanks to author Darcy Miller for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Margot and Mateo Save the World celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 3, 2018.

Being You by Alexs Pate Illustrated by Soud

Being You is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that celebrates children’s individuality. Although people in the world may wish to tell children who they are, the author’s message is clear; children are in charge of their own path. What I love most about this book is that it shows the power of relationships and how  simple acts such as observation, a smile, and conversation can support children in their self-discovery.  Alexs Pate’s words are concise but profound and Soud’s gorgeous artwork honestly illustrates both the highs and lows that children today experience.

As I plan for #classroombookaday for the upcoming school year, Being You is a picture book that I will most definitely share with teachers and students. Special thanks to Jennifer Glidden at Capstone for sending an ARC to our #bookexcursion group. Look for Being You in October 2018.  In the meantime, click on the video for a preview.

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Goodbye Brings Hello by Dianne White Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

There are many ways of letting go. With each goodbye, a new hello.”  These sentences open this incredibly beautiful picture book that extols the positive effects of change. To read my full review, click here.

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick Illustrated by Chris Raschka

There is no substitute for a great teacher or is there?  Written as a series of humorous letters, Dear Substitute gives readers a child’s perspective of having a substitute teacher for the day. To read my full review, click here.

Etta’s and 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 main character.

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Great Dog by Davide Cali Illustrated by Miguel Tanco

A father dog and his son spend the day looking at family portraits in the long hallway of their house.  Stopping at each stately portrait, the father extols each relative’s accomplishment but appearances can be deceiving.  For example, Uncle Scooter was lauded as an amazing teacher of young sheep but when the readers opens the gatefold, the truth is revealed; Uncle Scooter’s classroom was a hot mess. After hearing all these stories which are actually contrary to the truth, the son asks his father “What about me?” The father responds “No matter what. You will be a GREAT dog!” exclaiming his faith that his son is destined for greatness.  The very last gatefold reveals a surprise to the reader leaving them with a tender and heartwarming message celebrating the unconditional love that parents have or their child.  The illustrations are simply exquisite using a limited palette of colors and deserve more time to enjoy on a second read.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Have a great week!

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Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick

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Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Dear Substitute Blog Tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

Title: DEAR SUBSTITUTE
Author: Audrey Vernick, Liz Garton Scanlon, & Chris Raschka (Illustrations)
Pub. Date: June 19, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Pages: 40

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

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Summary:
When a substitute teacher named Miss Pelly comes to class, one student bristles at the change in routine-Miss Pelly doesn’t follow the rules like Mrs. Giordano. But in time, our student learns that even though the substitute may do things a little differently, and she may be a bit silly, mixing things up might not be so bad. Told in a series of epistolary poems, this funny, relatable picture book is a great fit for classrooms and for any child nervous about new experiences.

Review:
There is no substitute for a great teacher or is there?  Written as a series of humorous letters, Dear Substitute gives readers a child’s perspective of having a substitute teacher for the day.  On the very first page, the young narrator immediately shares her displeasure and wonders “Where’s Mrs. Giordano and why didn’t she warn us?”  As the day progresses, the substitute is not held in high regard because she mispronounces students’ names, fails to collect homework, and she is not aware it’s Tank Tuesday.  Let’s hope Elmo the turtle will survive one more day in dirty water. According to our narrator, Miss Pelly (Pelly like a pelican) doesn’t take anything seriously which may be why she’s not worried about students returning books to the library or who is supposed to be line leader.

While Miss Pelly may not follow all the rules and routines, she does catch the narrator swapping food at lunch, which evokes some tears from the young student.  Thankfully, her sadness is short-lived, for Miss Pelly shares funny poems which inspire the narrator to write her own poem with the help of the substitute.  Although Mrs. Giordano is missed, it turns out that a switch-around day with Miss Pelly is actually A-OK.

Dear Substitute is an amusing and engaging story that will entertain both students and teachers.  I love the message that change while scary can lead to positive results. Who would ever argue with more story time and encouraging students to write poetry? The authors definitely did their research, for the voice of the young narrator is spot on. The structure of the text told in epistolary poems makes the text fun to read aloud especially since each letter is written for a different recipient.  Chris Rascha’s lively and detailed watercolor illustrations beautifully complement the text, for the artwork gives readers additional insight about the narrator’s feelings towards Miss Pelly and how they change throughout the story.  As I am reading and gathering read alouds for the new school year and planning for #classroombookaday, Dear Substitute is without a doubt a picture book I will share with both teachers and students in the fall.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

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About Audrey:
Audrey grew up in Whitestone, New York, where she lived with her parents and two sisters and a not very bright small white dog. She has a freaky memory about the names of the kids in her class at P.S. 184Q, and even remembers where most of them stood in size order. She always loved to read and still rereads Harriet the Spy on a regular basis.  She was not one of those children who always knew she wanted to be a writer; she didn’t love to write until college. She’s been writing ever since.  In addition to writing for children, Audrey has published more than a dozen short stories for adults in magazines and literary journals. She received a MFA from Sarah Lawrence College and has been honored with two fiction fellowships from the New Jersey State Council of the Arts.  Audrey divides her time between writing (which is mostly spent revising) and visiting elementary schools to talk about writing and publishing. (For school visit info, click here.) She also speaks at conferences around the country. She lives near the ocean in New Jersey with her family and a semi-smart medium-sized dog.     Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Liz.jpgAbout Liz:
Liz Garton Scanlon is the author of numerous beloved books for young people, including the highly-acclaimed, Caldecott-honored picture book All the World, illustrated by Marla Frazee, and her debut novel for middle grade readers, The Great Good Summer, as well as The Good-Pie Party; Happy Birthday, Bunny!; Noodle & Lou, and several others. Ms. Scanlon is also a poet, a teacher and a frequent & popular presenter at schools, libraries and conferences. She grew up in Colorado and Wisconsin, and now lives with her husband and two daughters in Austin, Texas.
Website | Twitter | Facebook | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:

Would you like to own a copy of Dear Substitute for your library?  Thanks to Rockstar Book Tours, they are giving away 3 finished copies of this fabulous book (US only).  Be sure to take the time and enter this fantastic giveaway.  Please click link below to enter!

http://www.rafflecopter.com/rafl/display/e2389ba2767/?

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Dear Substitute.

Week One:
6/18/2018- For the Love of KidLit– Interview
6/19/2018- Here’s to Happy Endings– Review
6/20/2018- Mythical Books– Guest Post
6/21/2018- Book-Keeping– Review
6/22/2018- Wonder Struck– Review

Week Two:
6/25/2018- BookHounds YA– Excerpt
6/26/2018- RhythmicBooktrovert– Review
6/27/2018- Book Dragon Lair– Review
6/28/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
6/29/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review

Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts by Dianne White

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Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to Goodbye Brings Hello: A Book of Firsts  written by Dianne White and illustrated by Daniel Wiseman. Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending a copy of Goodbye Brings Hello in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

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“There are many ways of letting go. With each goodbye, a new hello.”  These sentences open this incredibly beautiful picture book that extols the positive effects of change.

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From growing out of an old coat, leaving home, taking your first plunge in a pool, trying out a new hairstyle, writing letters, making your own lunch or getting ready for your very first day of school, change can be scary.  What I love about Goodbye Brings Hello is it celebrates being brave enough to take that leap big or small and try something new.   Written in short rhymes, Diane White delivers the story’s message beautifully and concisely.  Daniel Wiseman’s soft and colorful illustrations tenderly show each child’s apprehension but once the reader turns the page, the children’s expressions shows their immense pride and happiness in taking the leap.   As I am reading and gathering read alouds for the new school year and planning for #classroombookaday, Goodbye Brings Hello is without a doubt a picture book I will share with both teachers and students in the fall.

A free Goodbye Brings Hello activity kit is available by clicking here.

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About Dianne:
When she was five, Dianne White said goodbye to her house and her teacher, Mrs. Dunlap, and hello to a new school, and her newest favorite teacher, Mr. Loop. She has an MFA in Writing for Children and Young Adults from Vermont College of Fine Arts and is the award-winning author of Blue on Blue. She lives in Arizona, where she writes full-time. For more information, visit diannewrites.com or on Twitter @diannewrites

About Daniel:
Daniel Wiseman remembers saying goodbye to the training wheels on his bike, and saying a great big hello to skinned knees and elbows. But the freedom of rolling on two wheels was well worth the bumps and bruises. He still rides his (slightly larger) bike almost every day. Daniel loves to draw, and has illustrated several books for children. He lives in St. Louis, Missouri. Visit him at danieldraws.com. and at Instagram @d_wiseman

#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 6/25/18

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Summer is the time for spending time with my beagle girls and reading books! Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

The Boy, the Boat and the Beast by Samantha M. Clark

A boy appears on a deserted beach.  He is wearing navy blue swim trunks and a yellow t-shirt with the words IN REAL LIFE I’M A PIRATE.  His head is sore but has no idea of who he is or how he got on the beach.

With every page, the boy attempts to figure out what happened.  Seeing a light, he is convinced that it is his parents looking for him and is determined to follow this light which disappears and reappears throughout the story.  An internal voice of a bully taunts and puts him down and a half bear half wolf beast pursues him, but the boy remains hopeful for a happy ending to his story and perseveres in spite of being frightened and alone.  Every few chapters an omniscient narrator shares some insights to the plot but it is not until the last few chapters that the narrator reveals its identity.

The Boy, the Boat and the Beast immediately pulled me in, and I couldn’t let go until I read the last page.  And even after that last page, I immediately wanted to re-read the novel again to find those clues that author Samantha Clark masterly hid so subtly within the text.  Without giving the plot away, my advice is to add this original and thrilling novel to your TBR stack and then move it to the top. It is a compelling story of hope, courage, and redemption.

A very special thanks to Samantha Clark and Simon and Schuster for sending  The Boy, the Boat and the Beast to my #bookexcursion group.  It celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 26, 2018.

Annie B., Made for T.V. by Amy Dixon

Annie Brown and Savannah Summerlyn are best friends, well, almost-always best friends. Eleven year old Annie is a “wrinventor” or in other words, a writer-inventor and has a knack for not only creating inventions such as Feelings Folder and Sticky Buttons but also writing commercials to market them.  Savannah though excels at everything and at times, Annie gets tired of being Savannah’s perpetual sidekick.

When Savannah sees an audition flyer for a kids web show called The Cat’s Meow, she immediately thinks of Annie as a shoo-in for the show’s host. Auditions do not go according to plan, and Savannah is instead chosen as host.  Annie is once again relegated to sidekick when she is given the opportunity to try out for the show’s writing team.  And their friendship is further strained when Savannah accidentally reads lines that Annie never intended on Savannah seeing.  Will Annie and Savannah’s friendship be able to get past this bump in the road?

Maintaining friendships throughout elementary school years can be tough.  Annie B. Made for TV reminds us that no friendship is perfect but the best friendships are those where each person is truly happy to see the other get the things they want.  In addition, Annie B. celebrates those who assist or are on the sidelines for “when you are good at a job that no one really sees, you might not be the only everyone gets excited about, but without you, it would have never happened.” As a teacher of elementary students, this is an important message for young readers.

A very special thanks to Amy Dixon for sending an ARC of Annie B. to my #bookexcursion group. It recently published last week so go get your copy now.

Jack B. Ninja by Tim McCanna Illustrated by Stephen Savage

In this original twist to the classic nursery rhyme, author Tim McCanna has recasted Jack B. Nimble as Jack B. Ninja.  On a secret mission to find a stolen treasure chest, Jack B. Ninja must not only be nimble and quick but also quiet, bold, and brave.  When he gets stuck and spotted by the bandit crew, Jack B. Ninja must use his tools and skills to escape.  Will he successfully complete his quest?

I have no doubt that young children will thoroughly delight in having Jack B. Ninja read aloud.  Illustrator Stephen Savage’s bold artwork of simple shapes, lines, and colors literally jump off the pages.

A very special thanks to Stephen Savage for sending a F & G copy of Jack B. Ninja to my #bookexcursion group.  You better be nimble and quick because Jack B. Ninja releases tomorrow on July 26, 2018.

Etta’s and 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 main character.

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aidan Cassie

Sterling is determined to find a home.  Sleeping outside the Butlery Cutlery Company, he sneaks into a box of forks that are delivered to the Gilbert family.  When the family opens the box and finds Sterling, the mom and dad are perplexed but the daughter ‘s and her baby sister’s smiles say it all.  Sterling strives to be the best fork ever but soon discovers that perhaps, the family doesn’t need a fork.  Being adaptable, Sterling attempts to be a whisk, a rolling pin, and even a stick but none of these tools seems to make him or the daughter happy.  Will Sterling ever realizes his one and only job is to just be himself?

Sterling is a heartwarming yet humorous story about learning to be comfortable in your own skin or in Sterling’s case, fur. The rich and colorful illustrations beautifully complement the plot and depict not only Sterling’s determination to be needed and useful but also the little girl’s true desire to have a dog of her own to love.   I can’t wait to share Sterling with students in the fall!  If you need any more convincing, get a sneak peek of Sterling by viewing the trailer below.

A very special thank you to Aidan Cassie and Macmillian Kids for sending Sterling to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now so that Sterling appears in your mailbox promptly on July 10, 2018, its release date.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Happy Reading!

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#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 6/18/18

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Summer vacation has begun! Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

Lost in the Library by Josh Funk Illustrated by Stevie Lewis

Ever since its announcement, I have been anxiously waiting to read Lost in the Library.  I am a huge fan of Josh Funk’s books, but the fact that the setting is the New York Library makes it even more exciting.

Fortitude and Patience are the names of the lions that greet visitors to the New York Public Library.  One morning Fortitude awakens to see Patience has left his post.  In search of his friend, Fortitude enters the library after hours taking the reader on a tour through Astor Hall, the Rose Reading Room, the Edna Barnes Salomon Room, and the Children’s Center.  Will Fortitude ever find his best friend?

Written in rhyme, Josh Funk beautifully tells Fortitude’s quest to find his friend.  Illustrator Stevie Lewis captures not only the beauty of the New York Public Library but also the sad and concerned emotions of Fortitude who is missing his beloved friend.  After reading the melodic text, I had to reread to savor the illustrations which are simply gorgeous. Lost in the Library is a timeless story that reminds us reading is a shared experience.  At the end of the story, Josh Funk and Stevie Lewis pay tribute to such classics as Caps for Sale, Sylvester, and Amelia Bedelia. 

A very special thanks to Christian Trimmer of Henry Holt for Young Readers for sending Lost in the Library to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order like me, for it releases in late August 2018.

Megabat by Anna Humphrey Illustrated by Kass Reich

Daniel is unhappy about moving to a new house but a surprise friendship with a bat makes the transition more bearable.  At first, Daniel thinks a ghost is living with him in his attic bedroom but quickly discovers that the ghost is really a fruit bat who can talk! Like Daniel, Bat is homesick.  He needs Daniel’s help to get back to the land of Papaya Premium, which Daniel learns from researching is Borneo.

Daniel is determined to help his new friend whose is renamed Megabat due to Daniel’s bat research and his love for Star Wars. Daniel soon meets next door neighbors Talia and her brother Jamie. An animal lover, Talia offers to help Daniel get Megabat home, but the two encounter obstacles with every attempt. And it doesn’t help that Jamie’s  blackmailing Talia to be his servant in exchange for keeping talking Megabat a secret from their mom.

For readers transitioning to chapter books, Megabat is a great addition to a classroom library.  Young readers will be able to identify with Daniel and enjoy the Star Wars references.  Reich’s adorable illustrations of Megabat along with his fun personality will also draw in the reader.  Fingers crossed this is the first of many books in an engaging series for early elementary readers.

A very special thanks to NetGalley for providing an e-book for me to read and review.  Already pre-ordered, Megabat will be published in August 2018.

Etta’s and 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 main character.

Wonderland by Barbara O’Connor

Mavis, Rose, and Henry’s lives intersect in his tender and heartwarming story about fitting in, finding your voice, and most importantly, the power of friendship.

Mavis Jeeter and her mom never stay in one place for a long time, which makes making friends challenging.  At the beginning of the story,  Mavis’ mom accepts a job as a housekeeper for the Tully family.  Mavis desperately wants a true best friend and hopes she has found one in Rose, the Tully’s daughter.  Like Mavis, Rose has never had a real best friend either.  She does not like spending time with the other girls who live in Magnolia Estates like Amanda Simm, for Amanda says mean things behind parents’ backs and only cares about going to the mall.  Rose would rather spend time with Mr. Duffy, the Magnolia Estates gatekeeper although since his dog’s death, Mr. Duffy is grumpy, forgetful, and very lonely.

After being introduced to Rose, assertive and daring Mavis immediately tells Rose that she is her new best friend.  Worrier Rose accepts the friendship but struggles with having the confidence to be as bold as Mavis.  Mavis is convinced that Mr. Duffy will be happy again if he get a new dog.  So when she and Rose hear about a stray dog named Henry living in the woods, Mavis hatches a plan to catch Henry and give him to Mr. Duffy.  Of course, no plan is not without its obstacles and unlike Mavis, Rose is apprehensive about everything from going into the woods to find Henry to riding bikes outside of Magnolia Estates.  And every time Mr. Duffy makes a mistake and Rose hears her mother complaining, she worries that he may be fired and leave her forever.

I just loved everything about Wonderland-the setting, characters, plot, the writing, and the message.  I identified a lot with Rose because I have always been a worrier and fortunately, with age, I have become more confident and brave.  Rose’s friendship with Mavis was the catalyst helping her finding her own voice, and it was amazing to see Rose’s confidence grow.  And I just loved Mr. Duffy and couldn’t get enough of Mr. Duffy’s sayings.  There are so many but my favorite was  “You can’t keep trouble from coming, but you don’t have to give it a chair to sit on.”  Told from not only Mavis and Rose’s point of view, but also Henry’s, Wonderland gave me a glimpse into a dog’s perspective which is always a treat.  Not to give the story away, but I truly enjoyed reading Henry’s account from beginning to end.

A very special thanks to author Barbara O’Connor for sending Wonderland to my #bookexcursion group and for the beautiful acknowledgement that reminds me of my collaborative role in helping to grow readers.

Pre-order Wonderland now,  for it will be released in August 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books.  Happy Reading!

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#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 6/11/18

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5 days until summer reading officially begins!  Beagles and Books is excited to share another edition of 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 Reads This Week:

The House that Lou Built by Mae Respicio

Having her own room would be awesome-sauce.  Living in San Francisco, Lou shares a bedroom with her mother and lives in her grandmother Lola’s house.  Lou’s father died before she was born and he left her a plot of land.  On that land, Lou dreams of building a tiny house. Her timeline for building has to be accelerated because her mom was offered and accepted a nursing job in Washington State.  If Lou can build her house this summer, then perhaps her mom will change her mind.

With the help of her cousins and friends, Lou secretly begins building.  At first, her house seems to be on its way, and Lou is bursting with excitement over her plan.  But then a notice of public auction arrives in the mail because taxes are due.  Lou discovers they have 30 days to pay or the auction will occur.  After Lou finally comes clean about her tiny house building project, her mom is not happy.  Lou is grounded with no more trips to the land.  Fearful of losing her only connection to her father, Lou is desperate to save her land.  Lou though soon realizes that home is not about a particular place; “it’s more of a feeling,-of comfort and trust, of people that are a part of you.” Home is a family who loves you and supports you.

The House that Lou Built is a story about dreaming big.  Lou embodies the quote Seize the day that her shop teacher and mentor, Mr. Keller displays in his classroom.  While her dreams are big, Lou knows that perseverance, hard work, and faith in oneself are essential to making dreams come true. What I truly love about Lou’s story is that it can also be a mirror and window to readers.  Lou is Filipino-American and throughout the book, her Filipino culture is seamlessly interwoven into the story from language to food to traditions such as annual Barrio Fiesta.  As a reading specialist, I am always on the lookout for new #ownvoices titles to share with students as well as share with my media specialist to order for our school library.

A very special thanks to author Mae Respicio for sending an ARC of The House That Lou Built to my #bookexcursion group.  Lou celebrates her book birthday tomorrow on June 12, 2018.  Pre-order so you can get your copy and meet Lou, her family, and friends right away!

Off and Away by Cale Atkinson

I am a big fan of Cale Atkinson’s books and Off & Away is “sea-sational!”   It is a touching and uplifting story about having the courage to face your fears. Jo always wanted to be a great adventurer like her dad, but her apprehension about what lurked below the sea always kept her from stepping off their dock.  When Jo’s dad falls ill and bottles keep piling up, Jo takes a deep breath in before embarking on her bold journey.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, please click here.

Etta’s and 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 main character.

Emma and Muse by Nancy Lemon

Emma is a young artist and her most favorite thing to draw, paint, sculpt is her dog named Muse until one day Muse decides to join her in creating her next masterpiece. Emma shouts “BAD DOG MUSE!” and a heartbroken Muse leaves home.  Without Muse, Emma is no longer inspired and needs him to regain her creative juices. Will Emma come up with a plan to find Muse and get him back?  Will Muse forgive Emma?

Emma and Muse is not only a story about friendship and forgiveness but also a wonderful picture book that exposes young readers to the world of art.  Author/ illustrator Nancy Lemon fills the book with dog paintings drawn in the style of famous artists as well as a glossary of art terms at the end of the book.  I shared Emma and Muse with the art teacher at my school (whose name is coincidentally Emma) and she absolutely loved it.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy Reading!

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