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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/16/17

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.

Beagles and Books proudly welcomes our newest reviewer!  Meet Bella, a 6-8 year old rescue beagle from South Carolina.

Welcome: A Mo Willems Guide for New Arrivals

Although this book was written for human babies, Welcome is a book that has provided our family with both comfort and humor as we welcome Bella as the newest Mossa.

We are so lucky that Bella is here with us and promise to share stories (true, made up, and silly) with her.  Things will not always be perfect Bells but we promise you a warm bed, good food, walks inside and outside the yard, and of course, lots of snuggles and belly rubs.  We know we will learn from Bella but undoubtedly the most important lesson she will teach us is to remember to STOP and BE.  In conclusion,  please know Bella- you are loved, right here, right now, and always!

Please visit Beagles and Books next week for more reviews.  Special thanks to Etta for sharing the spotlight with her new sister.

Have a great week!  Happy Reading!

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The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

Happy Book Birthday Lindsay Currie!

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Prepare to be spooked!  Tessa moves from sunny and sandy Florida to rainy and cold Chicago.  She is not happy about starting over at a new school and desperately misses her best friend Rachel. Not long after her family moves into their new home, Tessa notices strange things happening.  Could her house really be haunted?  With the help of new friends, Tessa begins to uncover a mystery involving a young girl who died many, many years ago.   Highly recommend this #mglit book for its seamlessly blending of suspense, humor, and most importantly the power of friendship.  The book trailer can be viewed here.

Thank you to the author, Lindsay Currie, the publisher, Simon and Schuster Children’s and NetGalley, for providing me with an advance reading copy of Peculiar Incident on Shady Street.

 

Book Excursion Kidlit Picture Books MGLit

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/9/17

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.

Here are Etta’s and my reads this week-


The Last Grand Adventure by Rebecca Behrens

With her dad’s remarriage to Julie, new stepsister Sally,  and her writer mom away covering the “Summer of Love” in San Francisco, it is completely natural for 12 year old Bea to feel a little lost  When her grandmother Pidge moves from Boston to a retirement community in California, Bea agrees to stay with her and help Pidge get settled.  In her worry journal, Bea admits her fears about leaving home.  What if her dad and Julie enjoy her being gone?  In contrast, Bea though writes in her adventure journal that “every adventure has to start somewhere.”

Little does Bea know the adventure that is in store for her.  Soon after she is dropped off, Pidge tells Bea of her plan to reunite with her missing sister, “Meelie” who just happens to be the famous aviator Amelia Earhart.   At first, Bea seems skeptical but then Pidge shares Meelie’s letters with her.  Bea had so many questions the first being was she up for this adventure?  What if she is the the only Earhart who isn’t brave?  And the most important question of all, what if this adventure changes her life?

Rebecca Behrens writes a touching and heartwarming story chronicling Bea and Pidge’s journey to not only find “Meelie” but also find themselves.  Through her relationship with her grandmother and their experiences together,  Bea learns she is not lost, but part of an amazing family and has more courage than she ever realized.  I can truly identify with Bea because I still have to keep my worry in check, but thankfully I know taking risks has helped shaped me into the person I am today. 

A special thanks to Rebecca Behrens for providing #bookexcursion group with an advance review copy of The Last Grand Adventure.  Pre-order your copy now, for its  release date is March 20, 2018.


Bunny Built by Michael Slack

LaRue is an industrious bunny who has every tool and machine imaginable but he is completely out of carrots.  What is a bunny to do? LaRue goes on a mission to find carrots and asks his friends for help.  LaRue strikes gold when he meets his friend Ivy the squirrel.  It seems her rock is actually a carrot seed.  LaRue tenderly cares for the seed and it grows to an enormous size.  What should LaRue do with the carrot?  All the animals have different ideas, but LaRue comes up with an idea that will benefit everyone.

Not only is Bunny Built about friendship and sharing but also about resourcefulness.  I look forward to sharing this sweet story with primary teachers and their students.  I am most excited about reading more of Michael Slack’s picture books in his Animal Rescue series which teaches students lessons on such values as perseverance, bravery, and kindness.

Special thanks to Michael Slack for providing our #bookexcursion group with an advance reader’s edition of Bunny Built.  It will be released in April 2018.

Twinderella: A Fractioned Fairy Tale by Corey Rosen Schwartz Illustrated by Deborah Marcero

I thought I knew the whole story of Cinderella but apparently I only knew half of it!  It seems that Cinderella had a twin sister named Tinderella.  The two sisters live with their evil stepmother and mean stepsisters and split all the chores exactly down the middle.

Just like in the original fairy tale, Prince Charming holds a ball to find his bride.  With the help of their fairy godmom, the twins attend the party but have to share all the accessories-bracelets, bows, and trinkets.  Once at the ball, Prince Charming does a double take and dances with each sister half the night!

At midnight, Cinderella and Tinderella rush out of the ball and leave a shoe.  Once Prince Charming finds the twins, he is confused.  How can he choose?  Fortunately, Tinderella offers a solution and with the help of their fairy godmom everyone can have their happily ever after!

I absolutely love the author’s unique take on the traditional Cinderella’s story!  And what a better way to introduce fractions and division than through a fractured fairy tale!  In our second grade curriculum, students are exposed to multiple versions of Cinderella and cannot wait to share this humorous and creative adaption with them.

Special thanks to Corey Rosen Schwartz for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Twinderella, which was released in September 2017.

Etta and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Have a fabulous week!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Book Excursion Kidlit Picture Books MGLit

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/2/17

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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.

Here are Etta’s and my reads this week-


Fenway & Hattie Up to New Tricks by Victoria Coe

Global Read Aloud launches today so perfect timing to read the latest adventure of Fenway and Hattie!

In the third book in the series, Fenway has definitely adjusted to his new suburban home. Told from his point of view, Fenway shares his excitement playing with Hattie in the Dog Park (backyard) and hanging out with his canine neighbors, Goldie and Patches.  But Fenway does not like the chipmunk that is invading his territory and spreading its horrible odor everywhere!

While enjoying a game of keep away, Fenway spies that menacing chipmunk and in his quest to catch the chipmunk, Fenway gets stung on his paw by bees. Ouch! The story continues with Fenway’s account of visiting the vet (aka Spicy Breath and Table of Panic) and enduring the Cone of Doom. Hattie is supposed to his best buddy but she keeps giving him baths and applying yucky cream on his paw. Being a dog is tough!

Etta can emphasize with Fenway. She has had first hand experience with the Cone of Doom.  She did not like it either Fenway!

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Each time I read Fenway & Hattie, I know that I am blessed to have Etta in my life. Having the unconditional love of a dog is a precious gift. Thank you Victoria for that beautiful reminder.  I hope Fenway will be sharing more of his adventures with Hattie!

Special thanks to Victoria for providing our #bookexcursion group with an advance  copy of Fenway & Hattie Up to New Tricks, which will be released on January 2, 2018.


Ride On Will Cody by Caroline Starr Rose Illustrated by Joe Lillington

Participating in #classroombookaday, I am constantly hunting for picture books to share with students from a variety of genres; therefore, I jumped at the opportunity to read and review Caroline Starr Rose’s new historical fiction picture book Ride On Will Cody.

Written in lyrical verse, Caroline Starr Rose beautifully tells the legend of young Will Cody who later gained notoriety as folk hero and Wild West showman, Buffalo Bill.  Her precise choice of words perfectly captures the extreme weather conditions and harsh terrain that Pony Express riders faced on their daily routes.  Joe Lillington’s illustrations support the text by dramatically depicting the riders’ arduous journey.

At the end of the book, the author shares historical research about the Pony Express and Will Cody.  As a teacher, I appreciate that students can read facts and gain a better knowledge of America’s westward expansion.

Special thanks to Caroline Starr Rose for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Ride On Will Cody, which was released on October 1, 2017.


Chicken Wants a Nap by Tracy Marchini  Illustrated by Monique Felix

It is a good day to be a chicken or is it? All she wants to do is take a nap but Chicken keeps getting interrupted.  On my first read, I immediately knew children will fall in love with this picture book.  Chicken Wants a Nap is a story meant to be read aloud and its concise text and repeated phrases allows children to join in the reading. The warm illustrations bring the text to life and vividly show not only the mood, but also Chicken’s emotions as she searches for a comfortable place to nap.  After reading the last page, I guarantee children will say “Read it again!”

Special thanks to Tracy Marchini for sending a copy of her debut picture book to our #bookexcursion group. It was released in August 2017.


Piper Green and the Family Tree by Ellen Potter Illustrated by Qin Leng

Piper Green (proper noun):

  1. Lives on Peek a Boo Island in Maine and has an older brother named Erik and little brother named Leo.
  2. Rides a lobster boat to her school which is on Mink Island
  3. Delights young readers with her spunk and boldness

It’s the first day of school but there is an empty chair at the breakfast table.  Piper’s brother, Erik now lives on the mainland because there is no high school on Mink Island.  To ease her sadness, Piper decides to wear Erik’s monkey earmuffs. Unfortunately, everyone else does not approve of her accessory including her new teacher Ms. Arabella.

Unwillingly to take off the earmuffs, Piper decides to skip school to avoid Ms. Arabella and hides out in a tree.  Little does Piper know that it is the Fairy Tree. Her neighbor Mrs. Pennypocket tells her about the tree’s history and the way the tree works-you take a treasure and you leave a treasure. Read this charming story to find out what treasures Piper gets and what she leaves in return.

So excited to meet Piper and can’t wait to share her with my transitional readers. Children will enjoy Piper’s plucky disposition. Currently, there are five books in the series.

Etta and I thank you so much for reading!  Have a great week!

 

 

 

 

 

Book Excursion Kidlit Picture Books MGLit

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/25/17

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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.

Here are Etta’s and my reads this week-


Thornhill by Pam Smy

“All I wanted was a friend.”

I love a good mystery so I was so excited to read Thornhill.  At first, I was overwhelmed by the length of the novel, about 530 pages, but Thornhill is unlike any other book I have ever read.

Not only is the novel told in two different time periods, 1982 and 2017, but also it is written in two different forms. In 1982, a 12 year old Mary tells her story about living in the orphanage Thornhill through her journal entries. Fast forward to 2017, a young girl named Ella has just moved into the house near the now vacant and dilapidated Thornhill.  What is fascinating about Ella’s story is it is solely depicted in haunting black and white drawings.  Once I started reading, I couldn’t put Thornhill down and pretty much read it in one sitting.

Towards the end of the novel, Mary’s and Ella’s stories begin to intersect and the harrowing ending gave me chills that remained long after I finished reading, which is precisely what a good thriller should do.

Special thanks to the author Pam Smy for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Thornhill.  

To read my full review, please click here.

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It’s Not Jack and the Beanstalk by Josh Funk  Illustrated by Edwardian Taylor

Everyone knows the tale of Jack and the Beanstalk, but what if Jack actually questioned the narrator during the telling of the story?  Readers young and old will love this fractured fairytale where Jack cries when selling his dear cow Bessie Cowpoke McPinwheel, admits that beans give him gas, and complains that the beanstalk is too high. Oh and on his way up the beanstalk, Jack sees Cindy (Cinderella, of course) who invites him to a ball.  Needless to say, the narrator is NOT happy with Jack’s interruptions.

Jack finally meets up with the giant and you know how the fairy tale ends or DO YOU? Will Jack’s commentary change the ending?  Etta and I highly suggest you find out for yourself by reading It’s Not Jack the Beanstalk!  Reading this modernized fairy tale was such fun at home that I know the experience will be even more fabulous when I read it aloud to students.  Can’t wait for the follow up It’s Not Hansel and Gretel!


Hamsters Don’t Fight Fires by Andrew Root  Illustrated by Jessica Olien

Hugo is a hamster of many talents, and he has always wanted to be a firefighter.  His small stature though seems to be a barrier in attaining his goal.  Luckily, Hugo’s friend Scarlett reminds him that you should never be afraid to try something new. Courageous Hugo takes Scarlett’s advice and convinces the fire chief to let him join the team. Unfortunately, Hugo has a rough start in his firefighter training.  Just as he is ready to give up, an emergency call comes in.  Will Hugo step up and show he has the bravery and talent to be a firefighter?

Hugo is a great role model for students because he demonstrates that size does not matter when you have courage, for even the smallest animals can make a difference. Not only is the book’s message powerful, but also the colorful and action packed illustrations will delight young readers.

Special thanks to Andrew Root for his giveaway on Twitter, which allowed me to win a copy of the book.  Etta was so inspired by Hugo that she is ready to join the North Creek Fire Station!


EngiNerds by Jarrett Lerner

12 year old Kennedy (Ken for short) is not particularly fond of the name EngiNerds, which is the group of about a dozen boys including Ken who hang out during lunch and share a common interest in science and technology.

The story begins when a mysterious box addressed to Ken is delivered to his front porch.  Thinking it is a present from his retired engineer grandfather, he enlists the help of his best friend Dan to get the heavy box into his house.  Filled with lots of metal and no drawing of the final product, Ken and Dan start building.  The boys get interrupted when Ken’s dog Kitty goes missing.  After they locate Kitty, Ken and Dan return to the house to discover that the metal thing they were building is a robot and it actually built itself. Getting up the courage to communicate with it, the boys find out the robot’s name is Greeeg and it wants to be fed com-EST-ib-ulls, which they decipher is food.

One would think having your very own robot would be the coolest thing in the whole world but when it devours pretty much all the food in your house and then shoots a cube out of its butt, one may reconsider.  Readers should prepare themselves for a comical and entertaining story about how Greeeg along with a small army of robots wreak havoc on the EngiNERDS’ town.

As a reading specialist, I am excited to share this book with students.  The hilarious novel is under 200 pages and comprised of short chapters; therefore, it will appeal to my reluctant readers.  It will also delight other readers for who can resist flatulent robots? Can’t wait for the second epic EngiNERDS adventure!

A sidenote: Etta wants all readers to know that unlike Kitty, she would have eaten the pizza.  Don’t all dogs love pizza?


Little i by Michael Hall

Poor Little i’s dot falls off and lands in the sea.  Without a dot, Little i looks like a number, rather than a letter. In an effort to find his dot, Little i goes on a journey across the sea and lands on an island.  Little i immediately encounters other forms of punctuation. Michael Hall’s word choice is perfect, for the exclamation marks are exciting and very, very loud!  Little i also pauses as he admires a garden of commas. Does Little i ever find his dot?  Readers will be pleasantly surprised at the ending.

Little i was a perfect read aloud for my kindergarten classes last week.  Using Tanny McGregor’s Comprehension Connections, I shared the reading salad with students and how real readers think while reading the text and illustrations.  Children were able to make good connections because Little i explores the themes of growing up and a sense of belonging. Children also could make connections identifying letters and sight words. Highly recommend this engaging picture book for young students to teach and reinforce letters, spelling, and punctuation.

Click here for video of Little i’s ABC song courtesy of Harper Kids.

Etta and I thank you for reading!  AROO! Have a great week!
 

 

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Thornhill by Pam Smy


“All I wanted was a friend.”

I love a good mystery so I was so excited to read Thornhill. At first, I was overwhelmed by the length of the novel, about 530 pages, but Thornhill is unlike any other book I have ever read. Not only is the novel told in two different time periods, 1982 and 2017, but also it is written in two different forms. In 1982, 12 year old Mary tells her story about living in the orphanage Thornhill through her journal entries. Fast forward to 2017, a young girl named Ella has just moved into the house near the now vacant and dilapidated Thornhill. What is fascinating about Ella’s story is it is solely depicted in haunting black and white drawings. Once I began Thornhill, I couldn’t put the novel down and pretty much read it in one sitting.

1982-The bulk of Mary’s story revolves around her relationship with another orphan who lives at Thornhill. Through Mary’s journal entries, she shares how she is tormented and bullied by this girl. At first I felt total pity for Mary, but this feeling began changing to some doubt and uncertainty; since Mary controls the narrative, the reader is only privy to Mary’s point of view, and I was never quite sure of her reliability.

2017-Looking out her window one day, Ella spies a shadow of a girl on the grounds of Thornhill. The eerie yet poignant illustrations reveal Ella’s attempt to uncover what she is really seeing- is a real girl or a ghost? I must admit I hesitated to turn each page for fear of what Ella would discover. Through the drawings, the readers learns a little more about Ella’s life which made my heart break for her.

Towards the end of the novel, Mary’s and Ella’s stories begin to intersect and the harrowing ending gave me chills that remained long after I finished reading, which is precisely what a good thriller should do. 

Special thanks to the author Pam Smy for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Thornhill.  

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It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 9/18/17

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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.

Here are Etta’s and my reads this week-


The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glasser

Christmas should be a time for celebrating but on December 20th, their reclusive landlord Mr. Beiderman abruptly informs the Vanderbeeker family that he is not renewing their Harlem brownstone lease. Desperate not to leave the only house that is home to them. the five Vankerbeeker children, twins Jessie and Isa, only boy Oliver, pet loving Hyacinth and creative Laney embark on Operation Be Nice to Biederman in an effort to change his mind and give their parents the Best Christmas Present Ever.

Throughout the story, the Vanderbeeker children execute various ideas to win over Biederman. Sadly, their initial efforts fail miserably.  Finally, the Vanderbeeker children come to the conclusion that perhaps simple acts of kindness may be the best plan.  When the children and their parents though learn details about Biederman’s past, they realize that home is much more than a place where you live.  Home is family.

I absolutely fell in love with the Vanderbeekers! Like any family, all is not perfect but it is clear by their words and actions how much they all care and support each other.  Frantz the basset hound was of course Etta’s favorite!

Special thanks to Katrina Yan Glaser for providing #bookexcurision with an advance reading copy of this beautiful book.  Pre-order now, for The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street will be released on October 3, 2017. To read my full review, click here.

The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid by Kara LaReau Illustrated by Matt Myers

I will admit I have not yet read the first Infamous Ratsos, but I ordered it immediately after reading The Infamous Ratsos Are Not Afraid.  This close-knit family of rats which consists of father Big Lou and brothers Louie and Ralphie can teach readers about being brave and facing your fears.

Louie and Ralphie have this great idea to create a Big City Fun Time Arcade on a junk lot. They enlist the help of friends such as Chad Badgerton, Tiny, the mouse, and a rabbit named Fluffy.  During their project, both Louie and Ralphie need to listen to their father’s advice-tell your fears who’s boss.  Louie must overcome his fear of approaching the haunted house next to the lot; Ralphie needs to right a wrong for starting a rumor about a fellow classmate.

The Infamous Ratsos is a great series for students transitioning into chapter books. Students will love the entire family and be able to relate to their experiences.  Special thanks to Kara LaReau and Candlewick Press for providing #bookexcursion with an advance reading copy of the book, which celebrated its book birthday on September 12, 2017.

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After the Fall by Dan Santat

If you are interested in finding out what happened to Humpty Dumpty after the fall, this is the book for you.  As Humpty reminds us, ” accidents can happen” so he is nervous about climbing the wall again.  Humpty decides that it is in his best interest to stay on the ground and instead builds a bird that can fly in the sky. When his invention is not successful,  Humpty realizes his only solution is to climb that wall on his own.

Dan Santat does a superb job of expressing Humpty’s fears through both the text and detailed illustrations.   When Humpty reaches the top, I cheered along with him!  This text is a must read for all students because of its powerful message- you can always get back up after a fall and change your legacy.  After the Fall will definitely be a read aloud for #classroombookaday in the second grade class I am sponsoring.

Thanks to Mary Van Akin at Macmillan Kids for providing our #bookexcursion group with an advance reading copy of After the Fall.  Its publication date is October 3, 2017 so you can pre-order now to secure your copy!


Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great by Bob Shea

Goat thinks he’s pretty great until he meets Unicorn.  Not only can Unicorn fly but also Unicorn can make rain cupcakes and slide down a rainbow.  Goat is feeling pretty depressed but then all of a sudden, Unicorn smells the heavenly smell of goat-cheese pizza.  Goat soon learns that Unicorn is quite envious of his cloven hooves and his awesome horns.

Unicorn Thinks He’s Pretty Great is wonderful picture book which teaches an important lesson-the grass is not always greener. Vibrantly illustrated, Goat concludes that perhaps Unicorn and he are better united as a team.


The Adventures of Honey & Leon by Alan Cumming  Illustrated by Grant Shaffer

Actor Alan Cummings and his husband artist Grant Shaffer collaborated on this fun picture book as a homage to their two rescue dogs, Honey and Leon. Their dads travel a lot so when they’re gone, Honey and Leon have no one to guard or keep out of danger.  Once Honey and Leon see suitcases, they know it’s not good.  After their dads leave, Honey and Leon pack, hop in a cab, and board a plane to follow them.  Honey and Leon follow their dads everywhere from a night at the theatre to a day on the water. When their dads walk the red carpet, Honey can’t resist taking advantage of an opportunity.  Quickly, Honey becomes the talk of the town! Will their dads will find out about Honey and Leon’s travels? Read the book to find out!

Etta and I thank you so much for reading!  Have a great week!

 

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The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street by Karina Yan Glaser

Christmas should be a time for celebrating but on December 20th, the Vanderbeeker family’s reclusive landlord Mr. Beiderman abruptly informs the family that he is not renewing their Harlem brownstone lease. To make matters worse, the family must be moved out by the end of the month. Desperate not to leave the only house that is home to them. the five Vankerbeeker children, twins Jessie and Isa, only boy Oliver, pet loving Hyacinth and creative Laney embark on Operation Be Nice to Biederman in an effort to change his mind and give their parents the Best Christmas Present Ever.

During their first Beiderman meeting, Isa proclaims they need to find “a way to show him that us living here is better than us not living here.”  Throughout the story, the Vanderbeeker children try various ideas to win over Biederman but sadly, their efforts fail miserably.  Finally, the Vanderbeeker children come to the conclusion that perhaps simple acts of kindness may be the best plan. When the children and their parents though do learn details about Biederman’s past, they realize that home is much more than the place you live. Home is family.

I absolutely fell in love with the Vanderbeekers! Like any family, all is not perfect but it is clear by their words and actions how much they all care and support each other.  And who can forget all their precious pets especially Frantz the basset hound who was Etta’s favorite!

Karina Yan Glaser’s story is so heartwarming that I was so sad that it had to end. Fortunately, readers only have to wait a year, for another Vanderbeeker adventure will be published in Fall 2018.

Special thanks to Karina Yan Glaser for providing #bookexcursion with an advance reading copy of this beautiful book.  Pre-order now, for The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street will be released on October 3, 2017.

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It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 9/11/17

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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.

Here are Etta’s and my reads this week-

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Where Oliver Fits by Cale Atkinson

A puzzle piece named Oliver longs to be part of something magnificent.  Each time he tries to fit in, it doesn’t go very well.  The other pieces complain that he is the wrong color, shape or simply laugh at him.  After repeated attempts to solve his dilemma, Oliver still cannot fit in. At his wit’s end, Oliver finally screams “If someone else is what they want, someone else is what they’ll get!”  Oliver proceeds to hide himself in a disguise which allows him to not only fit in but also be accepted by other purple puzzle pieces.

Although Oliver finally gets his wish, he soon learns that it doesn’t feel right.  He concludes that “if I can’t be me, then what fun is it to fit in?”  He boldly sheds his disguise but is sadly all alone again.  Oliver soon realizes that once he is happy with himself, he will never be lonely.

Author-illustrator Cale Atkinson’s tender yet humorous picture book about accepting yourself is a must read for all classrooms.  Students of all ages will be captivated by Atkinson’s colorful and vibrant illustrations which depict Oliver’s struggles with finding his own identity. I cannot wait to share Oliver with students!

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The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette

On a trip with his mother, Marty loses the one possession he loves the most-his jean jacket.  This jacket is special to him because his father, who is stricken with cancer, gave it to Marty on his last birthday.  The jacket is also decorated with pins that celebrate memories Marty and his father shared together.

With his father’s life quickly deteriorating, Marty is heartbroken that his jacket could be gone forever.  But then he remembers his father’s story about The Train of Lost Things, an engine that gathered every true heart’s possession lost by a child.  When he was younger, Marty believed that the story was true, but now wasn’t he too old to believe in magic?  What if the Train of Lost Things did exist?  Could he get his treasured jacket back which Marty believed was the key to healing his father?

The Train of Lost Things will be released on March 20, 2018.  A special thanks to the author, Ammi-Joann Paquette for providing an advanced reader copy of The Train of Lost Things to our #bookexcursion group.

To read the full review, please click here.

Super Manny Stands Up by Kelly DiPucchio Illustrated by Stephanie Graegin

Manny wears a different cape every day after school.  His capes give him the courage to fight enemies such as sea creatures, zombie bears, and forest giants.  He proudly chants that he is fearless, strong, brave, powerful, and invincible.

At school, Manny wears his invisible, top-secret undercover cape which helps him conquer mutant monkeys, fiery comets, and giant squids but will it give him the strength to stand up to Tall One, who is bullying a fellow classmate?

With the title Super Manny Stands Up, you can predict the ending.  As I read the page when all the other animals joined Manny in confronting Tall One, I had chills.  Not only does it teach students to stand up to bullies, but also that there is strength in numbers. With its heartwarming illustrations and powerful message, Super Manny Stands Up is a fabulous picture book for all ages.


The Amber Amulet by Craig Silvy

By day, Liam McKenzie is a 12 year old mild-mannered boy genius. He will deliberately misbehave though to cover his secret identity for at night he turns into the superhero, the Masked Avenger!  He patrols his neighborhood with his loyal companion, Richie the Powerbeagle protecting the people of Franklin Street of such dangers as low tire pressure or repairing a faulty hinge on a gate.

The Masked Avenger’s focus changes when he observes a beautiful woman who lives at the end of street. Although she appears fine, his powerful investigative skills state otherwise. The Masked Avenger must act!

The Amber Amulet is reminiscent of mysteries of days past such as the Hardy Boys series. This 96 page novella is beautifully written and includes vintage illustrations which take the readers back to another time and place. Finally, the book’s message is simple yet profound. A little kindness towards others can change someone’s life. I hope there are more adventures for the Masked Avenger and his trusty sidekick!

Special thanks to Alison Weiss and Ming Liu at Sky Pony Press for providing our #bookexcursion group with an advanced reader copy of The Amber Amulet. It will be released on November 10, 2017.

 

Thunder Boy Jr. by Sherman Alexie Illustrated by Yuyi Morales

Thunder Boy Jr. is named after his father, and he does not like his name.  Although he loves his dad, Thunder Boy Jr. wants HIS own name that celebrates something cool that HE has done.

Throughout the story, Thunder Boy Jr. recounts many of his dreams and interests such playing in the dirt, going to garage sales, powwow dancing,  and traveling the world to help him choose a new name.  How about Mud in His Ears or Full of Wonder?  At the end of the story, his father realizes that his son should have a name of his own.  What is Thunder Boy Jr.s new name?  Read to find out!

Like How Oliver Fits, this beautiful story is about finding your own identity and being proud of who you are.  The vibrant illustrations show Thunder Boy Jr.’s uniqueness and how special he is.

Thanks so much for reading! Etta and I hope you have a wonderful week!

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The Train of Lost Things by Ammi-Joan Paquette

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On a trip with his mother, Marty loses the one possession he loves the most-his jean jacket.  This jacket is special to him because his father, who is stricken with cancer, gave it to Marty on his last birthday.  The jacket is also decorated with pins that celebrate memories Marty and his father shared together.

With his father’s life quickly deteriorating, Marty is heartbroken that his jacket could be gone forever.  But then he remembers his father’s story about The Train of Lost Things, an engine that gathered every true heart’s possession lost by a child.  When he was younger, Marty believed that the story was true, but now wasn’t he too old to believe in magic?  What if the Train of Lost Things did exist?  Could he get his treasured jacket back which Marty believed was the key to healing his father?

In an attempt to fix everything,  Marty takes a brave journey to find the Train of Lost Things.  To his astonishment, the train is real!  In his travels on the train, he meets Dina and Star, two young girls also searching for cherished lost things.  Unfortunately, the train is without a conductor which makes it extremely difficult to locate his jacket and Marty’s time is running out.  Will Marty be able to recover his jacket and save his father?

The Train of Lost Things is an enchanting and bittersweet story with a message of hope and love.  Marty’s hope and love for his father drives him to find the Train of Lost Things.  On his journey, Marty discovers what truly is important and learns the precious lesson that “the only way to truly move forward is to turn back on the past.”

Pre-order your copy now, for it will be released on March 20, 2018.  A special thanks to the author, Ammi-Joann Paquette for providing an advanced reader copy of The Train of Lost Things to our #bookexcursion group.