It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/20/21

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:

Squirrel’s Sweater by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Poh

As Squirrel prepares for winter, she discovers a problem. Her favorite sweater no longer fits her.  Unsure if the garment shrank or she grew, Squirrel asks her friends for advice.  Doe, Bear, and Porcupine all attempt to help, but sadly, her sweater cannot be fixed.  This realization hits Squirrel hard because her grandma knit it for her when she was young.  Porcupine consoles Squirrel reminding her that Granny Gray will always live in her heart.  Porcupine’s words not only provide comfort but also give Squirrel an idea of how to use the materials her friends gave her to repurpose her sweater into a heart pillow.  Squirrel’s new creation is now a keepsake of her dear grandma and supportive friends. 

The third book in Renault’s Woodland Friends series, Squirrel’s Sweater is a sweet story for young children.  While friendship and problem solving are both themes central to the plot, the story also addresses how to handle the heartache of losing a loved one.  I loved how Renauld chose to have the pillow represent Squirrel’s love for her grandma and her friends.  Poh’s lively illustrations show Squirrel’s range of emotions from the beginning to end.  An added bonus are directions for how to make a no-sew memory pillow. Thanks to the author for sharing a finished copy.  Squirrel’s Sweater celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 21, 2021. 



Looking for a Jumbie
by Tracy Baptiste Illustrated by Amber Ren

If you are a fan of Baptiste’s middle grade Jumbies series, you’ll be excited about her picture book debut!  Young Naya is not scared of jumbies in stories and wonders if they could indeed be real.  After her mama puts her to bed, she climbs out of her window in search of these Caribbean fairies or trolls.  Kids will love joining in the read aloud with the repeated chant “I’m (We’re) looking for a jumbie. I’m (We’re) going to find a scary one.” As Naya walks through the dark woods, she encounters a variety of creatures who each have Jumbie characteristics such as large mouths, sharp teeth, glowing skin, tangly hair full of leaves or a long snake tail.  These creatures are friendly, not scary; therefore, they can’t be jumbies right?  

Baptiste’s playful text begs to be read aloud and Ren’s vivid illustrations make the story come alive.  As I read Baptiste’s descriptions of different types of jumbies, I couldn’t wait to turn the page to see how Ren drew the creatures.  While Naya’s mama said jumbies are only in stories, Naya’s moonlit adventure may make her mama change her mind. Thanks to Sabrina Kenoun of Sparks Point Studio for sharing a finished copy.  Looking for a Jumbie celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 21, 2021. 



Before We Sleep
by Giorgio Volpe Illustrated by Paolo Proetti

Little Red, a fox, is happy for the arrival of autumn, for he can blend in with the brown, burgundy, anmd copper colors. The fall colors make it more difficult for his best friend Hazel, a dormouse to find them during a game of hide and seek.   But winter is quickly approaching which means Hazel will be hibernating soon.  Worried about being alone, Little Red attempts to keep Hazel awake, but a yawning Hazel knows sleep is imminent. She assures her dear friend when spring comes, they will play again. Finally, Little Red asks if he can tell Hazel a story and before a word is uttered, the duo drift asleep together with Hazel’s head resting on Little Red’s bushy tail.

Translated from Italian, Before We Sleep is a lyrical lullaby.  The gentle, soothing text and warm, expressive illustrations are the perfect combination for a bedtime story that both kids and adults will enjoy.  What struck me the most is how both the words and artwork show the endearing friendship between the fox and the mouse. Thanks to Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Before We Sleep recently published on September 7, 2021. 



Mister Fairy
by Morgane de Cadier Illustrated by Florian Pigé

Unlike all the other fairies in the forest, Mister Fairy does not know what his true gift is.   Whenever he waves his wand, animals giggle or trees turn to pink fluff.  Distraught, Mister Fairy leaves the forest and flies to what he thinks is another forest, but it’s actually the city. Immediately, he notices the gray and gloom of the both the buildings and people.  Wanting to help, Mister Fairy waves his wand and a splash of yellow appear on a building which brings smiles from all the onlookers.  Feeling invigorated, he flies down to the subway and his wand waving invokes giggles.  Back above ground, at an outdoor café, his wand turns umbrellas into cotton candy balls to the delight of the patrons. Something inside Mister Fairy makes him fly home to his forest.  Upon arrival, he sees a colorless forest and sad animals and with one self-assured wand wave, the forest is full of color and laughter.  

Originally published in French, Mister Fairy is an uplifting story that reminds us we all have a purpose; sometimes, it takes a journey away from home to discover our talent.  Thanks to Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a finished copy.  Mister Fairy recently published on September 7, 2021. 


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.

Lost Things by Carey Sookocheff

In a park, a squirrel picks up an acorn.  A dog (actually, a hound!) with a stick in its mouth is on a walk with his person and sees the squirrel.  As the hound chases the squirrel, the girl loses her orange hair ribbon as well as the hold of her dog’s leash.  The dog loses the stick and the squirrel loses the acorn.  As the girl runs to catch her dog, a bird finds the hair ribbon and takes it back to its nest.  Something lost is now found.  The story continues with other lost things (a stuffed bear, a pencil, a ball) and how they are found by the people who need them most.  And when the girl picks up the ball in the park, she is soon reunited with her hound as is the squirrel with its acorn.  

As a reading specialist, I am always looking for books to support teaching of key reading skills. With minimal text and illustrations,  Lost Things would be a great anchor text for teaching cause and effect relationships at any grade level as well as plot for the story comes full circle.  I love that Sookocheff consciously chose to color all lost things orange, for it tied them all together. Thanks to Kids Can Press and Edelweiss for sharing a digital ARC.  Lost Things recently published on September 7, 2021. 

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“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 Magic Candies by Heena Baek

 
 
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About the Book:

Title: Magic Candies
Author: Heena Baek
Translator: Sophie Bowman
Pub. Date: September 1, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Magic Candies published by Amazon Crossing Kids which aims to increase the diversity of children’s books in translation and encourage young reading from a range of cultural perspectives. 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:

A young boy named Tong Tong plays marbles alone in the park while his dog watches.  Depressed, Tong Tong goes to a shop to buy new marbles.  Instead he finds hard candies that look like his round toy.  As soon as Tong Tong puts one in his mouth, the magic begins, for the candies give him the ability to hear things such as the sofa talking.  Tong Tong not only finds the missing remote but also that his dad has a stinky habit that the sofa does not like.  Once the candy dissolves, the sofa is silent.  Tong Tong wonders what will happen if he eats another?  

Guess who starts talking? Yup! Tong Tong’s dog, Marbles who gives him important information.  This page spread is just precious because while I wouldn’t want Bella to talk all the time, I love that Marbles can verbally communicate his feelings. 

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When his dad comes home, Tong Tong only hears questions and commands which appear in the form of words and take up the space of an entire page.  Angered by his dad’s barks, he puts a spotty candy in his mouth and then hears three words over, I love you, over and over again.  Perhaps, these magic candies tell the honest truth? 

Not long after Tong Tong puts a pink candy in his mouth and blows a bubble, he hears his decreased Grandma’s voice and discovers she is doing well. I love this page spread which shows his range of emotions from shocked to determined.

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With the last candy, the only word uttered was bye.  This page spread is gorgeous because Baek cleverly blends in the word with the falling leaves.  As Tong Tong walks through the park, he sees another boy in the distance.  Since the candy did not produce sound, Tong Tong realizes that maybe, he should do the talking and asks the boy “Do you want to play with me?”

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Always eager to share books with students, I read aloud Magic Candies to a class of third graders yesterday.  I was blown away by their observations. Here are some of their thoughts regarding the lesson.  

  • “The boy got the magic candies to learn how others were feeling.”
  • “The shopkeeper knew Tong Tong needed help and sold him the candies.”
  • “The candies gave him the courage to make friends.”
  • “At the beginning, Tong Tong was lonely but the candies made him realize he was not alone.”

The last statement really resonated with me.  Magic Candies is a story of hope, for with each candy, Tong Tong realizes he is not alone.  His dog, father, and grandma are there with him.  The photographed clay molds make the story come alive because readers see the transformation of Tong Tong from lonely to loved.  What I loved the most is the back endpages which show the effect of Tong Tong’s brave actions- he and another boy are playing together in the park.  Baek does a magnificent job of bringing the story full circle; at the beginning, Tong Tong was shooting marbles by himself and now he is riding with a friend. I highly recommend Magic Candies because the story will promote engaging discussion no matter what the age! 


Praise for Magic Candies!

★“Show-stopping spreads by Baek, similar to art by Red Nose Studio, feature molded, emotive figures in meticulously constructed scenery with miniature furniture, photographed under dramatic lighting—an effect startlingly close to animation. It’s a fully realized world that considers discerning meaning and making friends, while offering artwork that lingers in the memory.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)

“The enhanced artwork establishes depth and perspective…depictions of facial expressions are skillful and endearing, and the interplay between text and illustrations will cause readers to linger and ponder. An enigmatic, quirky representation of an active imagination in search of understanding and companionship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Deeply touching, funny, and incredibly odd, this is the kind of picture book that gets you excited about picture books all over again…Magic Candies is so remarkable…a book that is both about giving voice to the voiceless and finding your own.” —Betsy Bird, School Library Journal


About the Author/Illustrator:
Heena Baek is an acclaimed picture book author and illustrator from South Korea. She won the 2020 Astrid Lindgren Memorial Award, a huge international award honoring the body of work of children’s book creators. She studied educational technology at Ewha Womans University and animation at the California Institute of the Arts. Utilizing her diverse animation production experience, Heena creates powerful and interesting picture books, often sculpting characters and building sets. She is the author and illustrator of a number of picture books, many of which have been translated and have received awards from South Korea and internationally. Follow her on Twitter @heenastory and on Instagram: @baekheena

About the Translator:
Sophie Bowman is a PhD student at the University of Toronto, studying Korean literature. She was awarded the ICF Literature Translation Fellowship at Ewha Womans University. In 2015, she won the Korea Times Modern Korean Literature Translation Award grand prize for poetry with her translations of Jin Eun-young and co-translated Kim Bo-Young’s I’m Waiting for You and Other Stories. Follow her on Twitter @SophieOrbital.

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/6/21

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.


My school year with students officially began last week.  Even with masks on, I could see the enthusiasm and excitement in the kids’ faces.  What warmed my heart the most is seeing teachers set up their classroom libraries, introducing kids to books through book tastings, and visiting classrooms for read alouds.  Our school is once again celebrating birthdays with books and it is a joy to see students choose a title to add to their home libraries.

In August, Beagles and Books celebrated its 4th birthday.  Last week, my blog was featured in Feedspot’s Top 20 Middle Grade Book Blogs.  I am so grateful for the recognition and have to give a shout out to all the authors, illustrators, publishers, publicists, my #bookexcursion group, and the many #kidlit book bloggers who support me.  And of course, my beagles who patiently pose as my book models.  I love being part of this amazing community that aims to ensure every kid sees themselves as reader!

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Our Recent Reads:

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Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt Illustrated by Eric Rohmann

In the foothills of the Chiso Mountains in West Texas lives an old camel named Zada and a family of American kestrels.  Zada is Auntie to Wims and Beulah, two chicks who are barely two weeks old.  When a dust storm quickly and violently comes across the canyon, Zada tucks the chicks in her fur, for after all, camels are the ships of the desert.  But when a stray dust devil seizes the chicks’ parents, Perlita and Pard, and they go adrift,  Zada knows her mission is even more important. She must keep Wims and Beulah safe at all cost until they can be reunited with their parents.  Aging and wise Zada travels with her two fledglings to the closest shelter.  The only issue is the trio’s refuge is mountain lion Pecos de Leon’s territory, but Zada is certain that it is their best chance.

Once Zada reaches Pecos’ den, she is relieved it is empty. He could come back at anytime; therefore, Zada remains standing and on alert because if she sits down, she might not be able to get back up in time. With two scared chicks in her fur missing their parents, Zada realizes the only way to console Wims and Beulah is to tell them stories about her early days as a racing camel in Turkey, her friendship with fellow camel Asiye, and her voyage to the United States.  So once she has OOD (Official Okie Dokie) from the chicks, Zada begins telling her story which gives you ALL the feels-happy, sad, excited, scared, and most importantly, hopeful. 

Appelt’s words are pure joy to read, for she writes directly to the reader and her concise text carries a lot of weight and meaning.  As I read, I was literally transported to West Texas as well as Turkey and felt I was on the caravan with Zada. Rohmann’s illustrations complement the text showing readers the feelings of the characters.  I would highly recommend Once Upon a Camel as a class read aloud, for with short chapters, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot, kids would be captivated by the story begging the teacher to continue reading.  What touched my heart the most was Zada’s love for everyone she met in life-Asiye, Perlita, Pard, Wims, Beulah, and many others.  Zada was truly the brighest star because of her love, perseverance, and courage.   As a reading specialist, I love that Zada reminds us that stories both comfort and save us.  And in my opinion, once upon a time… in a land far away… is always a perfect beginning to a story. 

This review was originally posted as part of the Once Upon a Camel Blog Tour and Twitter giveaway. Once Upon a Camel celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on September 7, 2021.


 

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The Stars Beckoned: Edward White’s Amazing Walk in Space by Candy Wellins Illustrated by Courtney Dawson

When he was a young boy, Edward White was mesmerized with the night sky. With a rhyming text, Wellins energetically expresses how White’s fascination with the stars never waned with these repeating lines-“Come back in. He’d resist, but then he’d go, walking back…so slow…so slow.”

Following in his father’s footsteps, Edward became a pilot. But flying a jet was not enough. Edward wanted to get closer to the stars. The timeline following the story reveals White was chosen to be an astronaut after earning an advanced degree in aeronautical engineering and attending Air Force Test Pilot School, On June 3, 1965, Edward became the first American to walk in space.

With Wellins’ lively rhythmic pattern and Dawson’s warm illustrations conveying White’s curiosity and commitment, The Stars Beckoned is a perfect picture book biography for young children. While Wellins clearly captured White’s passion for the stars, I love how she ended by sharing that his family were truly the brightest stars in his life. Thanks to the author for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. The Stars Beckoned published in April 2021.


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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All Pets Allowed (Blackberry Farm 2) by Adele Griffin Illustrated by Le Uyen Pham

In the follow-up to The Becket List, Becket and her twin brother Nicholas are turning 10 on October 10th. In true Becket fashion, she wants to celebrate big inviting all their classmates (even prankster Travis) while Nicholas prefers a much smaller affair. The twins not only get their wish granted for their birthday parties but also in their presents. Becket gets to choose a dog to adopt from the shelter and Nicholas can pick a cat. At first, the twins are excited about their choices; however, their pets’ personalities appear to be the opposite of their own. Becket’s dog, Dibs, is shy and anxious while Nicholas’ cat, Given, loves the spotlight. Will the twins accept their pets unconditionally? 

 
 

While All Pets Allowed is the second book in the Blackberry Farm series, it can definitely be read as a stand alone. Griffin clearly conveys while the twins share the same birthdays, they do not have similar depositions.  Becket is all spunk and energy and Nicholas is all quiet and reserved. What I love about this story is because of their pets, the twins has a greater respect and appreciation for each other. Pham’s fun and expressive black and white illustrations capture both Becket’s & Nicholas’ personalities as well as Dibs and Givens. The theme of family is strong, for the Branches are true team supporting each other on their farm and with the new pets. Thanks to Lonnie Lane Marketing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group. All Pets Allowed published last week on August 31, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is etta-beagles-and-books-e1624813174378.jpg
“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, Middle Grade Literature

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Once Upon a Camel by Kathi Appelt

 
 
            IMG_0859                                                   

About the Book:

Title: Once Upon a Camel
Author: Kathi Applelt
Illustrator: Eric Rohmann
Pub. Date: September 7, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Once Upon a Camel published by Atheneum Books for Young Readers/Simon and Schuster. 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:

In the foothills of the Chiso Mountains in West Texas lives an old camel named Zada and a family of American kestrels.  Zada is Auntie to Wims and Beulah, two chicks who are barely two weeks old.  When a dust storm quickly and violently comes across the canyon, Zada tucks the chicks in her fur, for after all, camels are the ships of the desert.  But when a stray dust devil seizes the chicks’ parents, Perlita and Pard, and they go adrift,  Zada knows her mission is even more important. She must keep Wims and Beulah safe at all cost until they can be reunited with their parents.  Aging and wise Zada travels with her two fledglings to the closest shelter.  The only issue is the trio’s refuge is mountain lion Pecos de Leon’s territory, but Zada is certain that it is their best chance.

Once Zada reaches Pecos’ den, she is relieved it is empty. He could come back at anytime; therefore, Zada remains standing and on alert because if she sits down, she might not be able to get back up in time. With two scared chicks in her fur missing their parents, Zada realizes the only way to console Wims and Beulah is to tell them stories about her early days as a racing camel in Turkey, her friendship with fellow camel Asiye, and her voyage to the United States.  So once she has OOD (Official Okie Dokie) from the chicks, Zada begins telling her story which gives you ALL the feels-happy, sad, excited, scared, and most importantly, hopeful. 

Appelt’s words are pure joy to read, for she  writes directly to the reader and her concise text carries a lot of weight and meaning.  As I read, I was literally transported to West Texas as well as Turkey and felt I was on the caravan with Zada. Rohmann’s illustrations complement the text showing readers the feelings of the characters.  I would highly recommend Once Upon a Camel as a class read aloud, for with short chapters, engaging characters, and an intriguing plot, kids would be captivated by the story begging the teacher to continue reading.  What touched my heart the most was Zada’s love for everyone she met in life-Asiye, Perlita, Pard, Wims, Beulah, and many others.  Zada was truly the brighest star because of her love, perseverance, and courage.   As a reading specialist, I love that Zada reminds us that stories both comfort and save us.  And in my opinion, once upon a time… in a land far away… is always a perfect beginning to a story. 

About the Author:

Kathi Appelt is the author of the Newbery Honoree, National Book Award Finalist, and bestselling The Underneath as well as the National Book Award Finalist for The True Blue Scouts of Sugar Man Swamp. Some of her award-winning books include Maybe a Fox (with Alison McGhee), Keeper, and Max Attacks to name just a few. She lives in College Station, Texas. To learn more, visit her website at kathiappelt.com

Find Kathi Appelt on Facebook and Pinterest!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/23/21

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:

Cranky Chicken by Katherine Battersby

Everything makes Chicken cranky so when a leaf is in her path, she kicks it. Unbeknownst to Chicken, there is a smiling worm named Speedy underneath the leaf. Speedy is the antithesis of cranky-polite, peppy and positive. Speedy doesn’t just want to be Chicken’s friend. The worm wants to be BFFs (not what you think…Best Feathered Friends) because Speedy likes Chicken and her crankiness; ashe saved Speedy from the evil leaf! This revelation makes Chicken feel the opposite of cranky (happy) and a little less lonely.

Don’t let the title and cover of this graphic novel deceive you! With expressive illustrations and playful banter between these unlikely friends, readers will be chuckling from beginning to end. What I loved most is Speedy liked Chicken as she was and never tried to change her. In fact, Speedy was willing to join in the crankiness. Accepting Chicken’s crankiness allowed a friendship ( and happiness) to blossom.  Hoping that there are more Chicken and Speedy adventures coming because If not, I am going to be one cranky reader! Thanks to Simon & Schuster for sharing a F & G of Cranky Chicken which releases on September 7, 2021.


Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes, He Did) by Ryan Higgins

Norman, a porcupine, is best friends with a tree named Mildred but when a sapling starts growing close to Mildred, Norman fears the worst.  Although Mildred does not say or do anything, Norman believes his friendship is threatened especially as the sapling grows closer to Mildred.  And when their leaves touch, Norman has a full blown meltdown. Desperate to save his friendship,  Norman makes a hasty decision which initially solves his problem; however, now his conscience is overwrought with guilt.  Can Norman find a way to right his wrong in order to make amends with himself?

With humor and heart, Norman Didn’t Do It (Yes, He Did)  teaches kids lessons about jealousy, contrition, friendship, and tolerance.  I love that Higgins chose to have a narrator as well as dialogue directly from Norman because kids see Norman’s progression of emotions especially his inner struggles with his actions. Thanks to Disney Books and NetGalley for sharing an eARC. Norman Didn’t Do It! (Yes, He Did) publishes on September 7, 2021.


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.

Cat and Dog: A Tale of Opposites by Tullio Corda 

A cat is awake while a dog is asleep. The cat bravely pounces on the dog who is afraid.  The slowdog chases after the fast cat.  From above, the cat pushes a flower pot which falls on the dog below.  The dog is upset but the cat is unconcerned.   With only one word on each page and a single illustration, Cat and Dog is the perfect book to introduce or reinforce antonyms to kids.  In addition to teaching this concept, the picture book has a plot (it’s a tale after all!) allowing children the opportunity to make and then confirm predictions as well as identify beginning, middle, and end.  Will the cat and dog be enemies or friends?

I am a big fan of case covers or undies that are different from the dust jacket.  I always peek hoping to see something fun and was tickled that the theme was included.  Thank you Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy to read and review. To download activity sheets that supplement the book, click here.  Cat and Dog: A Tale of Opposites publishes soon on September 7, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/16/21

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:

Willodeen by Katherine Applegate

11 year old Willodeen has a soft spot for the underdog which is why she loves the smelly and grumpy screechers who derived their name from their insane nightly scream. Most villagers deem screechers a pest in contrast to the sweet hummingbears who draw tourists for the annual money-making Autumn Faire. Luckily, Mae and Birdie who unofficially adopted Willodeen after her family died in a wildfire also believe in the worth of screechers and allow Willodeen along with Duuzu, her pet hummingbear, to wander the forest in search of the strange beasts.  Willodeen observes that both the screechers and hummingbears are becoming scare.  She knows why the screechers are disappearing, for the village elders put a bounty on them deeming them a nuisance but what is the cause for hummingbears dwindling? 

During her travels, she meet artistic Connor who unexpectedly leaves her one of his carved puzzlers in the form of a screecher as a birthday gift. Upset about the screecher situation, Willodeen’s angry tears magically make the screecher come to life.  Named Quimby, this extraordinary animal teaches Willodeen the connection between screechers and hummingbears. Now if only Willodeen can convince the village to trust her.

I am always in awe of Applegate’s writing because her signature concise text carries a lot of weight and meaning.  With short chapters, lots of white space, and Santoso’s gorgeous, delicate illustrations, Willodeen is accessible to a wide range of readers. While Willodeen is a blend of realistic fiction and fantasy, readers are easily transported to the village of Perchance because while screechers and hummingbears are not imaginary, the issues facing the town were real. I love that readers witness Willodeen’s astute deductive reasoning skills as she uncovers the relationship between screechers and hummingbears. Acknowledging the symbiotic relationship among species is vital to protecting the environment whether you live in Perchance or your own town. Thanks to Macmillian Children’s Publishing and NetGalley for sharing an eARC.  Willodeen publishes soon on September 7, 2021. 


A Soft Place to Land by Janae Marks

12 year old Joy dreams of becoming a motion picture music composer, but due to her father losing his job, both the promise of her own piano and her piano lessons are on hiatus. To make matters worse, her family was forced to sell their home and move to an apartment.  As a result, Joy shares a bedroom with her younger sister, transfers to a new middle school and hears her parents argue more.  A bright spot occurs when Joy meets Nora who attends the same school and wants to be a filmmaker. Nora introduces Joy to the Hideout, a secret place near the laundry room where kids can come to get a break.  Another glimmer of hope is the dog walking business that Joy and Nora start.  Suddenly, resuming piano lessons seems within reach since Joy is earning her own money.  But Joy’s happiness is short-lived when she intentionally exposes the Hideout to adults and a clash with Nora adversely affects both their friendship and business.  Will Joy be able to find a way to fix everything?  

Written from Joy’s perspective, Marks aptly captures the vulnerability and strength of her main character. At the beginning of the novel, readers see how Joy feels she defeated and her parents don’t value her opinion.  Once Joy meets Nora and they start their dog walking business, her self esteem increases because she believes she has more control over her life.  Then Joy makes some hasty decisions without thinking things through which have disastrous results.  What I loved most about Joy is her geniune remorse and determination to make things right.  A Soft Place to Land teaches that mistakes do not define you; they help you grow. Another lesson is home is not necessarily a physical place; it is about being with the people who love and care about you. Thanks to Katherine Tegen/Harper Collins Publishers and Edelweiss  for sharing an eARC.  A Soft Place to Land releases on September 14, 2021. 

Amara and the Bats by Emma Reynolds

Ever since a bat got trapped in Amara’s attic, she is fascinated by the only mammal that flies. After learning a new bat fact, Amara writes it down in her notebook.  Amara and her family move to a new house and she eagerly visits the local park to see bats flying in the sky at sundown.  The park ranger tells Amara the bad news.  Over the years, park land has been sold; therefore, bats no longer have a habitat.  Amara is devestated.  How can she help bring the bats back? After reading about kids who have made a difference protecting the environment in her nature magazine, Amara’s outlook quickly changes.  Using her knowledge about bats, she shares the idea of building bat houses with her family and her classmates.  Collectively, they all work together to not only save the bats but also other animals that could live in the park.  

Reynold’s debut as author and illustrator is a positive and uplifting story about how a child can champion a cause and successfully make an impact.  I love that Reynolds choose a narrative format because children get to see the evolution of Amara’s passion for bats as well as learn cool bat facts.  The warm illustrations show Amara’s enthusiam and determination to make a difference and how her energy ignites others to join her in her mission.  Back matter includes more bat facts, a guide to bat houses, and tips for how kids can advocate for bats.   Thanks to Simon and Schuster for sharing a finished copy.  Amara and the Bats released on July 20, 2021. 


Walking for Water: How One Boy Stood Up for Gender Equality by Susan Hughes Illustrated by Nicole Miles

In the small African village of Malawi, Victor and his twin Linesi race to the kachere tree and then head in different directions.  Victor walks to school with his friend, Chikondi while Linesi travels to the riverbed with Chikondi’s sister. Enifa.  Since village does not have a well,  girls eight and older join the women to fetch water from the river five times a day.  Victor knows that it is not fair Linesi can no longer attend school so his teacher introduces the word, equality, and asks the boys in the class to think whether how girls and boys are treated equally, Victor observes and notices quickly that boys have a lot more choices than girls.  How can he help make things more equitable?

Inspired by an actual Malawi boy, Walking for Water is a compelling story about the power of own’s voice to help others.  After unsuccessful attempts to teach Linesi at night, Victor realizes that there is a way to be equitable, but it requires him to speak up on behalf of his sister and be willing to give up school every other day.  His actions sways other boys to join Victor as well as the potential for more changes in the future.  With kid friendly language and hopeful illustrations, Walking for Water is a great introduction to gender equality for elementary students.  Thanks to the author for sharing a copy.  Walking for Water released on June 1, 2021. 


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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Pug & Pig and Friends by Sue Lowell Gallion Illustrated by Joyce Wan

In the third book in the Pug & Pig series, new friends Squirrel, Robin, and Cat are introduced.  Cat does not partake in exploring or running around the yard.  She prefers watching her friends.  Once readers turn to the next page, they learn exactly what Cat is up to-surprising Pug when he is sleeping.  Of course, Pug, along with Squirrel and Robin, does not appreciate Cat’s antics.  When a thunderstorm rolls in, all the animals seek refuge in their homes and frightened Cat climbs up the tree.  Even after the storm ends, Cat remains in the tree afraid to climb down.  Recalling Cat’s favorite activity, Pug lays down for a nap.  Will Cat pounce on Pug or will Pug pounce on Cat?  No matter what, the friends have a good giggle which will encourage readers to join them in the laughter!

Friendship is always at the core in the books in the Pug and Pig series.  I appreciate how Gallion reminds kids that you don’t always have to agree or like the same things to be friends.  This idea is important to reinforce especially with young children.  As a reading specialist, I love Gallion’s text because it support children just learning to read with repetition, high frequency words, and short sentences. Questions are also posed which gives children the opportunity to actively interact with the text.  They can answer questions based on the illustrations as well as make and then confirm predictions.  Wan’s illustrations are also perfect for emerging readers. The artwork is simple and keeps the readers attention on the characters’ actions and feelings.  Thanks to BeachLane Books/Simon and Schuster and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for the copy.  It celebrates its book birthday tomorrw on August 16, 2021.  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 Pug, Pig & Friends by Sue Lowell Gallion

 
 
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About the Book:

Title: Pug & Pig and Friends 
Author: Sue Lowell Gallion
Illustrator: Joyce Wan
Pub. Date: August 17, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to share a review and giveaway for Pug & Pig and Friends published by Beach Lane Books/Simon and Schuster. 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:

Pug and Pig first meet in Pug and Pig.  After a rocky start, the two become friends.  In Pug & Pig Treat or Treat, Pig is excited to dress up and go trick or treating.  While Pug feels differently. he remains a loyal friend.  In the third book in the series, new friends Squirrel, Robin, and Cat are introduced.  Cat does not partake in exploring or running around the yard.  She prefers watching her friends.  Wan’s illustrations are perfect for emerging readers. The artwork is simple and keeps the readers attention on the characters’ actions and feelings.  I love this artwork with all the animals’ butts in the air and Cat’s smirk!  

Interior illus © 2021 Joyce Wan from PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS by Sue Lowell Gallion 3

The dashed lines that loop and swirl show the happy energy of Pug, Pig, Squirrel, and Robin. Cat is licking her paws and licking her paws.  Is she up to something? 

Interior illus © 2021 Joyce Wan from PUG & PIG AND FRIENDS by Sue Lowell Gallion 4

Once readers turn to the next page, they learn excatly what Cat is up to-surprising Pug when he is sleeping.  Of course, Pug, along with Squirrel and Robin, does not appreciate Cat’s antics.  When a thunderstorm rolls in, all the animals seek refuge in their homes and frightened Cat climbs up the tree.  Even after the storm ends, Cat remains in the tree afraid to climb down.  Recalling Cat’s favorite activity, Pug lays down for a nap.  Will Cat pounce on Pug or will Pug pounce on Cat?  No matter what, the friends have a good giggle which will encourage readers to join them in the laughter!

Friendship is always at the core in the books in the Pug and Pig series.  I appreciate how Gallion reminds kids that you don’t always have to agree or like the same things to be friends.  This idea is important to reinforce especially with young children.  As a reading specialist, I love Gallion’s text because it support children just learning to read with repetition, high frequency words, and short sentences. Questions are also posed which gives children the opportunity to actively interact with the text.  They can answer questions based on the illustrations as well as make and then confirm predictions.  With the start of the school year fast approaching, I look forward to sharing Pug & Pig and Friends along with the rest of the series with my primary students and teachers.  

About the Author:

As the daughter of a printer, Sue Lowell Gallion has a life-long love of type, paper, and the aroma of ink. She is the author of the Pug & Pig series and the picture book All Except Axle as well as a nonfiction board book, Our World: A First Book of Geography, and three books in the Tip and Tucker early reader series. Sue lives in Leawood, Kansas, with a black lab mix who provides her with daily inspiration. To learn more and download free activities for all of her books, Visit her at suegallion.com,Twitter @SueLGallion and Instagram @suelowellgallion

About the Illustrator:

Joyce Wan is the author and illustrator of several books for children, including Pug Meets Pig, Pug & Pig Trick-or Treat, Sleepyheads,You Are My Cupcake, We Belong Together, and The Whale in My Swimming Pool. Joyce lives with her husband and daughter in New Jersey. Visit her at wanart.com, TwitterFacebook, & Instagram: @joycewanbooks

Personalized and signed books are available at Rainy Day Books!

#pb10for10, Picture Books

#PB10fo10 2021: Bringing Book Joy with Barktastic Picture Books

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Since 2010, Cathy Mere of Reflect and Refine Building a Learning Community and Mandy Robek of Enjoy and Embrace Learning have been hosting #pb10for10, a fabulous event for sharing the power of picture books!  To learn more about #pb10for10 and view lists from participating bloggers, please click here.

August 10th will always hold a special place in my heart because it is the day I launched Beagles and Books and shared my very first blog post.  Today marks my fourth year of blogging AND fifth year participating in #pb10for10.  Click below to view my previous lists.  Can you notice my trend?

Almost every Monday for #IMWAYR, I feature one book with a canine main character and Bella  graciously poses with each book.  With a blog called Beagles and Books,  I must continue my tradition of sharing my 10 favorite dog picture books published or publishing in 2021.

What I love about my list this year is that I have included a variety of genres including narrative nonfiction, informational and procedural text as well as fiction picture books.  Bella and I hope you find a book that you would enjoy reading and sharing with kids!   


Bringing Book Joy with Barktastic Picture Books!

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First Friends by Kersten Hamilton Illustrated by Jaime Kim (February 2021) 

How did dogs become our best friends?   This picture book uses a nonfiction narrative format to explain to kids how wolves evolved into dogs.  The story begins in the Stone Age.  A young girl and wolf pup meet and play but once they both grow up, their friendship must end, for humans and wolves are rivals hunting the same prey.  Many, many years pass and a young boy living in a hut meets a wolf pup.  They interact more closely with the boy scratching the pup and sharing his food, but like the girl, the relationship does not last although the pair watch each other from afar.   Over time, more children and wolf pups befriend each other.  Their relationship is more intimate trading items, drinking from the same water hole, sleeping side by side, and finally, traveling together to a new home.  On the last page spread, it is now present day and a beagle (yes, a beagle!) and a girl run toward one another full of excitement and love.  

Hamilton’s concise, melodic text and Kim’s warm and radiant illustrations are in perfect harmony.  Words were chosen and art was drawn thoughtfully to show how wolves evolved into dogs.  At the end of the book, back matter includes more facts about their progression from competitor to companion as well as a bibliography.  And pay special attention to the gorgeous endpapers, for the front depicts their rival relationship in hieroglyphics and the child-like illustrations of a girl and her dog grace the back endsheets.


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Love Tails by Rob Sayegh, Jr. (March 2021)

In his debut as both author and illustrator, Sayegh’s Love Tails recognizes that while every dog’s tail has a tale to tell, tails have unique characteristics.  Written in crisp, lyrical text, tails are described in their many forms-short, long, twisty, pointy, new, and tried and true.  While tails may differ, all tails wiggle and wag which Savegh believes is communicating “I love you”.  As a dog mom, I know that holds true for Bella because her wagging tail is a sign of happiness and joy.  

In both words and illustrations, Love Tails is a celebration of a dog’s wagger.  As soon as I opened the picture book, the endpapers showcase all different types of happy tails.  On the first page spread, a beagle tail (yes, a beagle) is shown and when the page is turned, a beagle is on his back smiling as he smells the butt of a dachshund.  Sayegh illustrated this moment of sheer delight perfectly.  On each subsequent page spread, a new breed is introduced who in turn sniffs out another dog.   A sweet touch is all the dogs have hearts as noses.  On the back endpapers, the happy faces of the dogs are in the same places as their tails were on the front endpapers.  Love Tails is a charming tribute to all pups who remind us to enjoy the simple things in life!


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Hugo and the Impossible Thing by Renee Felice Smith and Chris Gabriel Illustrated by Sydney Hanson (March 2021)

At the edge of the forest, there is the Impossible Thing, a mess of boulders, thorns, rivers and cliffs. Hugo, a curious French bull terrier wonders why it is called impossible, for no animal has ever attempted to get through it and see what is on the other side. Apparently, Mr. Bear, Little Fox, Miss Otter, and Old Mr. Goat have deemed it impossible. While Hugo may not be as strong and clever as Mr. Bear and Little Fox and have the swimming and climbing skills as Miss Otter and Old Mr. Goat, Hugo decides he has to try. The next morning, when Hugo reaches the edge of the forest, he realizes that he does not have to tackle the Impossible Thing alone. All his forest friends are there ready to lend a hand to make the impossible possible.

Inspired by Smith’s and Gabriel’s dog, Hugo, who overcame a life threatening illness, Hugo and the Impossible Thing is a feel good story about courage, friendship, and teamwork. I love Hugo’s positive attitude. He doesn’t question each animal’s response when he/she says the Impossible Thing has always been impossible. In fact, he agrees that is what he has heard, but despite it, Hugo thinks he is going to try. Hugo’s determination propels the animals to change their fixed mindset to a growth mindset. Hanson’s soft illustrations show Hugo’s positivity from beginning to end and the other animals’ transformation from skeptic to believer.


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I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog by Michal Babay Illustrated by Ela Smietanka (April 2021)

Chewie is training to be a service dog for a young girl named Alice who is living with celiac disease. His job is to detect gluten, for even a small amount of this protein can make Alice sick.  When Chewie smells gluten, he alerts by running in a circle and sits down if it is gluten-free.  Training is hard work for Chewie because it’s not easy to stay focused and ignore things like bugs, birds, and left over pizza on the ground.  Knowing that Alice is depending on him is just the encouragement Chewie needs to buckle down and after a week of training working directly with Alice, Chewie graduates as an official service dog. 

I have read stories about service dogs, but I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog is the first picture book I have read which shares how dogs can be trained to smell gluten. In the author’s note, Babay explains that the book is based on the true story of her daughter and her service dog.  I love how Babay chose to tell the story from Chewie’s point of view because readers see his struggles and his triumphs and Smietanka’s playful illustrations show his love for his job and Alice. 


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Ciao Sandro! by Steven Varni Illustrated by Luciano Lozano (June 2021)

Since he was a puppy, Sandro and gondolier Nicola do everything together, but today Sandro is venturing out in Venice solo on a very special errand. Because of his acute sense of smell and hearing, Sandro knows the city better than most Venetians which helps him locate friends Alvise and Francesca to deliver a message. Then he travels to the vaporetto stop, walks on the boat, and gets off at Murano to see Giorgio, the glassblower. With this last errand complete, Sandro returns to Venice and reunites with Nicola. After the last gondola ride for the day, Nicola and Sandro walk to meet their friends. The last page spread reveals Sandro’s secret mission-to remind their friends to attend Nicola”s birthday celebration.

My husband and I were married in Sardinia, Italy. Venice was our first stop on our honeymoon so the city will always hold a special place in my heart. I loved being able to see Venice from Sandro’s perspective, but what especially touched me was the sweet relationship of a dog and his gondolier. And it’s pretty adorable to see a dog wearing a striped shirt with a red bandana around his neck. An added bonus is a glossary pronouncing and defining Italian words immediately follows the story. 


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Woof! The Truth About Dogs by Annette Whipple (June 2021)

Woof provides answers to simple yet valuable questions that any dog owner (or lover) should know.  While I had a general idea of the answer, Whipple sets the record straight with the key facts.  Here are a few of the questions explored. 

  • Do dogs have feelings?  
  • Why do dogs smell butts?
  • How do dogs help people?
  • Are dogs just tame wolves? 

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 match the question showing the dog engaged in the activity; a sidebar also appears on every page spread and includes Oliver’s illustrations and the dog’s humorous point of view on the topic.  Throughout the entire book, different breeds, each identified with a label, are highlighted in the photographs to show kids the wide range of dogs.   Of course, I was happy to see both the beagle and basset hound breed featured!  

What I love most about Woof is Whipple strongly advocates for dogs in shelters, a cause close to my heart.  The last question, How Can I Help?, explains how kids can volunteer at or raise money for a local shelter.  And if your family is able-welcome a dog into your family by adopting.   Other helpful information are steps on how to properly meet a dog, directions for making a dog tug toy, a glossary, and a list of websites. After reading Woof, kids (and adults) will know the why behind the wagging tail, sniffing snout, and happy bark.  And if they didn’t like dogs already, Woof might indeed change their mind!  Whipple shares a lot of information that may help children calm their fears about canines.  


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Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant (May 2021)

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides is a story of how even opposites can find some happy medium and become friends.  While Tallulah is prim and proper and Hudson is free spirited and messy, they both can’t refrain from enjoying the puddle.  This revelation is groundbreaking, for perhaps, they are not as different as they once believed.  Kang’s peppy dialogue is succinct which allows Weyant’s lively and humorous illustrations to not only move the plot along but also show the progression of Hudson’s and Tallulah’s relationship.  

When I read this story to kindergarten students for #classroombookaday, I asked them to tell me what did the author and illustrator want us to learn.  Here are some of their thoughts. 

  • “The dog and the cat both like to jump in puddles so that’s why they became friends.”
  • “You don’t have to like the same things to be friends.”
  • “It’s better to be friends than enemies.”
  • “Dogs and cats are different but can still be friends.”

Pretty smart kids.  Thankful for picture books like Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides which support teaching theme with our youngest learners.  


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Best Buddies by Lynn Plourde Illustrated by Arthur Lin (August 2021)

On the day he came home from the hospital, a boy with Down syndrome and a basset hound’s relationship began.  No surprise that their bond became stronger once the boy shared his snacks with the hound.  Soon they are inseparable enjoying car rides, playing in the yard, and snuggling at bedtime solidifying their status as best buddies.  But on the first day of school, the teary eyed boy got on a bus while the sad hound watched from the door.  Luckily, the duo was reunited at the end of the school day, but both were still full of worry.  What about tomorrow?  How will the boy and hound cope? 

Best Buddies is a touching story celebrating the friendship between a child and his dog.  What I love most is the boy cleverly finds a way for him and his pup to stay close to one another when apart.  With the start of school approaching, Best Buddies is a perfect real aloud to support children nervous about leaving a loved one.  


And 2 New Picture Books Releasing Fall 2021!

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Cat and Dog: A Tale of Opposites by Tullio Corda (September 2021)

A cat is awake while a dog is asleep. The cat bravely pounces on the dog who is afraid.  The slow dog chases after the fast cat.  From above, the cat pushes a flower pot which falls on the dog below.  The dog is upset but the cat is unconcerned.   With only one word on each page and a single illustration, Cat and Dog is the perfect book to introduce or reinforce antonyms to kids.  In addition to teaching this concept, the picture book has a plot (it’s a tale after all!) allowing children the opportunity to make and then confirm predictions as well as identify beginning, middle, and end.  Will the cat and dog be enemies or friends?

I am a big fan of case covers or undies that are different from the dust jacket.  I always peek hoping to see something fun and was tickled that the theme was included.  Thank you Red Comet Press and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy to read and review. To download activity sheets that supplement the book, click here.  


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How to Make a Book (About My Dog) by Chris Barton Illustrated by Sarah Horne (October 2021)

Barton’s most frequently asked questions from kids, “How do you make your books? and “Are you ever going to write a book about your dog?” inspired him to write a nonfiction picture book about his beloved rescue dog Ernie.  

Barton thoroughly and humorously explains the process of writing a book from concept to publication.  Before sharing each step in order, he tells readers that books take a team to be created and during his explanation, Barton makes a point to identify all the different jobs they perform.  Research is very important even when writing a book about his own dog.  Barton shares that he asks family members, Ernie’s foster, and even the shelter about Ernie so he had the most accurate facts about him.  I love how he uses the example that while he initially thought Ernie was part dachshund and part Jack Russell, a DNA test revealed a few other breeds.  

To support young writers, Barton discusses how he begins formulating his ideas into writing.  He discusses the roles of his agent, editor,  the art director, and illustrator.  LOTS of questions are asked by them and other team members which strengthen the text, illustrations, format, and presentation.  Once the book is printed and delivered to bookstores and libraries, How to Make a Book (About My Dog) meets the final member of the team-the reader!

How to Make a Book (About My Dog) is a perfect mentor text for a nonfiction writing unit. I love that Barton speaks directly to the reader in a conversational tone and includes Ernie anecdotes throughout the book. Horne’s colorful and energetic comic illustrations perfectly complement the text.   Thank you to Millbrook Press/Lerner Publishing and NetGalley for providing an eARC to read and review.  


Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books’ #pb10for10! Do you have a favorite dog picture book?  Please feel free to share in the comments below.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Turkey Goes to School by Wendi Silvano

 
 
                                                                 

About the Book:

Title: Turkey Goes to School 
Author: Wendi Silvano
Illustrator: Lee Harper
Pub. Date: August 1, 2021


Beagles and Books is excited to be share a review and giveaway for Turkey Goes to School published by Two Lions. 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.


Publisher’s Summary:

Turkey is off to school—or is he?—in this addition to the much-loved Turkey Trouble series.

School is starting soon and Turkey can’t wait. Each day, he and his barnyard friends practice their writing and math. But when the school bus rolls up, they are booted off. It turns out that animals aren’t allowed to attend school. Pig calls it “hogwash,” and Turkey agrees. All he has to do is find a way to show the students and the principal that turkeys—and their friends—do belong in school. With a gobble, gobble here; a gobble, gobble there; and a few clever costumes, he just might.


Review:

The start of a new school year brought excitement to not only Max and Millie but also all the barnyard nimals because “Farm Days” is the theme of the first week.  But when the animals are told they are not allowed in school, Turkey and they hop in the truck determined to join the kids.  

 

TURKEY GOES TO SCHOOL interior illus by Lee Harper_1

Once the animals arrive at school. they need to plan to get in.   First, Turkey disguises himself as a backpack, next, a book, then a ball, and finally, a lunch assistant.  Unfortunately, Turkey’s true identify is exposed every time.  

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When Rooster reminds Turkey of the “Farm Day” theme,  Turkey sees the scarecrow outside the school and gets a brilliant idea dressing up as Farmer Jake and bringing in the rest of the animals as special guests to sing their own version of Farmer in the Dell.  Luckily, the teacher had a change of heart allowing the animals to remain the rest of the day. 

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If you are ever in a foul mood, reading a book in the Turkey Trouble series will make you feel gobbledly good!  A common thread is all the books is Turkey takes action when faced with a problem and will perservere when his first attempt is not successful.  Turkey’s positive mindset is important to share with kids as well as his creativity and resourceful.   Teamwork is also emphasized because the animals work together to reach a common goal.

Silvano’s text is chocked full of puns which makes it a fun read for both kids AND adults.  Here are some of my favorites.

  • Tote-ally foolish” ” when Turkey is disguised as a backpack
  • “We’ll create a little distraction out here while you book it inside”  when Turkey is dressed as a book (My favorite, of course!)
  • “I call a fowl! when Turkey pretends to be a soccer ball.

Harper’s playful and expressive illustrations are full of detail especially in the classroom.  How fun is it to see tennis balls on the chair legs, a projector on a chart, the teacher reading Turkey Trouble for read aloud, and shelves full of bins of books!  

Turkey Goes to School is on my list to share with students during the first week of school as well as the rest of the Turkey Trouble series throughout the year! 


Praise for Turkey Goes to School!

  • “A cute twist on both the farm and school themes.” ―Kirkus Reviews

About the Author:

Wendi Silvano was born in Salt Lake City, Utah, and has lived in Oregon, Colorado, and Peru. The author of the Turkey Trouble series, she has a BA in early childhood education and taught preschool and elementary school for eleven years. She is the mother of five children and the owner of an assortment of odd pets that are not nearly as clever as Turkey. She now writes from her home in Colorado, where she enjoys hiking, reading, and playing the piano. Visit her online at wendisilvano.com.

About the Illustrator:

Lee Harper is the author-illustrator of the books Coyote, The Emperor’s Cool Clothes, and Snow! Snow! Snow! Lee is also the illustrator of the Turkey Trouble series, by Wendi Silvano, as well as the Woolbur series, written by Leslie Helakoski. Lee has four children, a German shepherd, a Great Pyrenees, two barn cats, eleven chickens…but no turkeys. Yet. He lives with his wife in Bucks County, Pennsylvania. Visit him online at leeharperart.com.

 


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A Fantastic 5 Book Giveaway!

To celebrate this latest installment in the Turkey Trouble series, Two Lions is offering a set of all 5 books in the series: Turkey Trouble, Turkey Claus, Turkey Trick or Treat, Turkey’s Eggcellent Easter, and Turkey Goes to School to one lucky winner (U.S. addresses).

This giveaway is open Friday, August 6, 2021 to Monday, August 9, 2021 ending at 10:00 p.m. EST.   Please note that book may take longer to ship so patience is appreciated.  Enter below or head over to my Twitter account, @lauramossa and retweet my Turkey Goes to School post.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 8/2/21

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.

Last week, I featured a review of Animals Go Vroom! written and illustrated by Abi Cushman publishing later this month.  As a thank you for my review, Abi shared an adorable illustration of my book beagle Bella reading the book. 

Abi Cushman 2021

My heart just melted seeing my sweet girl and am awe of the neverending kindness of the #kidlit community.  Educators, authors, and illustrators are all in this together to share stories with kids.  With less than a month left until my school year begins, I am grateful for the time to read and share reviews of upcoming releases that readers of all ages will enjoy.


Our Recent Reads:

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Hope Springs by Jaime Berry

Since her father died in a motorcycle accident and her country singer mother is on the road, 11 year old Jubilee lives with her grandmother, Nan and they move around a lot.  Nan calls it a “search for substance” but observant Jubilee sees the pattern.  When things get tough, Nan gets out the maps and recites one of their 19 Relocation Rules such as Why fight on the battlefield when new fields await?  But this time, Jubilee has a plan to steer Nan to Hope Springs, Texas, the hometown of her idol Arletta Paisley, star of the crafting show, Queen of Neat.   Nan is aware of Jubilee’s scheme, but is all for the move. 

On the first day they arrive in Hope Springs, Jubilee meets Abby, whose mother is mayor of the town and they quickly become friends violating Relocation Rule Number 6: It’s best not to make best friends.  Because of her love for crafting, Jubilee is offered and accepts a part-time job at the Fabric Barn helping the owner Holly.  When Jubilee hears Arletta is returning to Hope Springs to open a SmartMart superstore, she is beyond excited but the rest of the town is worried about the effect on small businesses.  Jubilee discovers her idol isn’t the same in person as on television and is determined to support Hope Springs, the one place that feels like home, even if Nan and her mother whose career is finally taking off are considering another move.  

Written from the point of view of Jubilee, Hope Springs is a story that drew me in right away.  As soon as I met Jubilee, I could tell what a creative, kind and wise soul she is.  In the past, Jubilee had always gone along with packing up and moving on, but the people of Hope Springs changed her mind by touching her heart.  What I love about Jubilee is readers see both her vulnerability and her strength.  Jubilee courageously stands up not only for the town but also herself and learns that the more love she gave away, the more she got back.  Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Hope Springs publishes soon on August 10, 2021.  


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Trubble Town: Squirrels Go Bad by Stephan Pastis

Wendy the Wanderer would love more than anything to live up to her name and explore not only her hometown of Trubble but also the world.  Her father, Worried Willy, has a much different attitude and when he leaves on a business trip, he hires Watchful Willamina to keep a close eye on his daughter.  To her surprise, Willamina is not watchful and allows Wendy to wander freely around town.  Her first stop is Mooshy Mike’s where she gets a chocolate and marshmallow drink (known as a Mooshy) and then walks to the park where she drinks it while eating nuts.  When a hungry squirrel begs for a nut and Wendy has none left, she offers him the last bit of her sweet Mooshy.  As a result of a sugar high, the squirrel’s energy level increases (as well as his penchant for Mooshies) causing a devastating yet hilarious chain of events that brings trouble to the once quiet Trubble Town.  

With a cast of eccentric characters, both human and animal, a fantastical plot that keeps one giggling while turning pages, and creative chapter titles, Pastis’ new graphic novel series will be a hit with readers because the laughter never stops.  And amid the laughter, Wendy learns that by sticking up for the squirrel, Trubble Town will not be in trouble when her father returns home.  Thanks to Aladdin/Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing for sharing an ARC.  Squirrels Go Bad releases soon on August 31, 2021.


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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Best Buddies by Lynn Plourde Ilustrated by Arthur Lin

On the day he came home from the hospital, a boy with Down syndrome and a basset hound’s relationship began.  No surprise that their bond became stronger once the boy shared his snacks with the hound.  Soon they are inseparable enjoying car rides, playing in the yard, and snuggling at bedtime solidifying their status as best buddies.  But on the first day of school, the teary eyed boy got on a bus while the sad hound watched from the door.  Luckily, the duo was reunited at the end of the school day, but they both were still full of worry.  What about tomorrow?  How will the boy and hound cope? 

Best Buddies is a touching story celebrating the friendship between a child and his dog.  What I love most is the boy cleverly finds a way for him and his pup to stay close to one another when apart.  With the start of school approaching, Best Buddies is a perfect real aloud to support children nervous about leaving a loved one.  Thanks to Capstone Publishing for sharing an eARC.  Best Buddies publishes soon on August 15 2021. 

 

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.