Book Birthday, Giveaway, Graphic Novel, Middle Grade Literature

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway: Glam Prix Racers by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson

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About the Book:
Title: Glam Prix Racers 
Author: Deanna Kent
Illustrator: Neil Hooson
Pub. Date: May 11, 2021


Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to Glam Prix Racers, the first book in this fun and adventurous graphic novel trilogy! 


Review:

This review was first published on May 3, 2021.  Thanks to Imprint/MacMillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an eARC with Beagles and Books. 

On Glittergear Island, it is the first race of the Glam Prix.  Mermaid Mio and monster truck Mudwick, Fairy Flipp and freight train Furie, Dragon Deelux and car Dapper, Sprite Sookie and soft-serve mobile Smoosh, and Unicorn Uni and unicycle U-turn are one of three teams racing for the Glam Prix Cup.  Before the race begins, it is clear that one of the teams, the Vroombots, wants to win at all costs and plans on stealing all of the Sparklecharge which gives all the motos (AKA motor vehicles) life.  In order to be the champions in Race 1, Mio and her teammates must not only cross the finish line first but also collect side quests such as snapping a photo with a ghost garden gnome to earn additional points.  The team encounters a lot of bumps on the road but collaborates to overcome any setbacks.  Will the Glam Prix Racers be able to outsmart and outrun the Vroombots and claim victory of the first race?

Just like the motos in the race, the plot zips at high speed which makes Glam Prix Racers a one sitting read.  You won’t be able to stop!  Kent’s peppy and witty dialogue is both humorous and suspenseful and Hooson’s bright and detailed illustrations pop with both color and energy.  As I was reading, I was feeling nostalgic for the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings for Glam Prix Racers has all the same elements-comedy, intrigue, heroes, villains, gadgets, and lessons on cooperation and persistence.  

I can’t wait to share this fun adventure with my students! Stay tuned for the next race, Back on Track, the second book in the Glam Prix Racers trilogy. It will be released in January 2022.


Check Out this Book Trailer to Meet the Glam Prix Racers!

 

#Bookexcursion, Debut Author, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Novels in Verse, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/10/21

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:

Unsettled by Reem Faruqi 

13 year old Nurah has lived in Pakistan her whole life, but everything changes when her father announces he has accepted a job in the United States.  Leaving her grandparents and her best friend, Nurah and moves to Peachtree City, Georgia with her older brother Owais, and her parents.  Getting acclimated is not easy, for although Nurah speaks English well, she encounters a language barrier learning to pronounce words more American and understanding vocabulary such as shopping cart instead of trolley.  At her old school, Nurah’s voice was loud, but in her new school, it is quiet.  Fortunately, swimming at the rec center brings Nurah and her brother comfort, for the water is like a cool hug reminding them of home.  When Nurah and Owais try out and make the swim team, she meets Stahr, her first friend in Georgia; now, Nurah has someone to talk and sit with at lunch.  Nurah loves swimming but is always in the wake of her brother who seems to win medals without even trying.  With practice, Nurah gains confidence not only in her swimming, but also in using her voice to speak up for herself and others.

Written in verse from the perspective of Nurah,  Faruqi’s gorgeous, lyrical text draws you in and allows you to truly get to know Nurah- her worries and dreams. When I read the verse title, Blue Cocoon, I was able to not only visualize but also understand what that rec pool in Georgia meant to Nurah.   When she and Stahr talk and talk at Baskin Robbins, Nurah compares her move to the melting cookies in her ice cream, for perhaps, over time, all the hard bits go away.  While Nurah initially seems quiet, readers learn that when she gets mad, she is like a tea kettle-calm but then explodes.  I love witnessing Nurah’s journey from uncertainty to realizing that her opinion is the only one that matters.  With this new awareness, she begins wearing her hijab proudly even including it in her self portrait which shows her courage to stand out rather than blend in.

In the author’s note, I appreciate that Faruqi shares that the story is based on her own experiences. Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Unsettled celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 11, 2021.

Glitter Gets Everywhere by Yvette Clark 

As the story begins, 10 year old Kitty is grieving the loss of her beloved mum.   She has the support of family-her father, older sister Imogen, and Gran as well as her godmother, her mum’s best friend who all are mourning along with her.  When her father announces an opportunity to temporarily move to New York City for his work, Kitty is resistant.  London is where all her memories of her mum are as well as her best friend Jess.

Living and going to school in New York City is both challenging and exciting for Kitty.  At home, everyone knew about Kitty’s story but at her new school, she doesn’t know how to answer questions about her mum.  A surprising friendship with Henry, a classmate and the son of a famous actor who is battling his own issues with his parents’ public divorce is good therapy as they both see the bravery in each other.

Clark’s debut is both heartfelt and hopeful.  My heart hurt for Kitty, but I also knew how much she was loved by her family and friends.  One of my favorite parts of the novel was Kitty’s birthdays, for her mum had written her letters to read and gifted her a charm to add to her bracelet.  Get tissues ready because these letters will make cry, but they also make Kitty realize that while her mum is no longer on earth, she would always be with her no matter where she is and while change isn’t easy, Kitty must embrace it and never be afraid to try new things.  For children experiencing a loss or transition, Glitter Gets Everywhere is a story of promise, for with grief, there is always love.  Thanks to the author for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. Glitter Gets Everywhere published last week on May 4, 2021.

Ways to Grow Love (Ryan Hart #2) by Renee Watson

Last year, I had the pleasure of meeting Ryan Hart and her family in Ways to Make Sunshine.  In the second book of the series, it’s summer and while Ryan has becoming a big sister and attending her church’s overnight camp to look forward to, she also realizes that the baby is changing everything.  Because of her mom’s morning sickness, she has to go to the library with her grandma to pick out books for summer reading and it’s just not the same.  Ryan has been impatiently waiting to go to summer camp but between her older brother Ray’s ghost stories and finding out her friend Amanda invited Red to join them, she is nervous.  Red was mean to Ryan at Amanda’s birthday party and feels Red is competing with her to become Amanda’s best friend.

Ryan’s name means king and her parents remind her to live up to her name and be a leader.  At summer camp, Ryan offers to be cabin captain and the direction of their skit.  But when Ray and his friends continue to scare Ryan and her friends, Ryan goes along with something she knows is wrong.  What I love about Ryan is she truly strives to do the right thing but readers get to see her struggles as well especially as she navigates changes in friendship and family.

Written in under 200 pages with short chapters, dynamic characters, an engaging plot, and Mata’s charming black and white illustrations, Watson’s series is so accessible to readers transitioning into middle grade novels.  Thanks to Bloomsbury Children’s Books for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Ways to Grow Love released on April 27. 2021.


 Bella’s Pick of the Week

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

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Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

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 concise and on point 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.

To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here. Thanks to Two Lions/Amazon Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sharing a copy with me. Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides recently published on May 1, 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides by Anna Kang Illustrated by Christopher Weyant

                                                                    
 

About the Book:
Title: Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides
Author: Anna Kang
Illustrator: Christopher Weyant
Pub. Date: May 1, 2021


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


Review:

 The first page spread is wordless.  Tallulah, a cat, is quietly stalking a bird perched on the fence.  Just as she is ready to pounce, Hudson barks loudly scaring away the bird. Tallulah is not amused. When Tallulah peers over the fence to discover the reason for Hudson’s outburst, she sees the dog digging his way to freedom.  From the dialogue, the neighbors clearly have a different perspective on fences.  

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Curious, Tallulah follows Hudson on his freedom walk.  Hudson dives into a garbage can for food, plays with other canines at the dog park, jumps in mud, and goes after the mail carrier Dave.  That’s where Tallulah draws the line.  Dave is her friend; therefore, Hudson is now her enemy. 

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As both animals stay on opposing sides of the street, they encounter a enormous puddle in the street full of birds.  Both Hudson and Tallulah can’t resist romping in the water and with each splash, realize that there may be some common ground between them.

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 concise and on point 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.  


Praise for Hudson And Tallulah Take Sides!

★“New Yorker cartoonist Weyant’s illustrations, which use gouache, graphite, and lots of white space, carry the day, filling the dog’s and cat’s reactions to what they encounter with plenty of comic details (like the bold lettering conveying the dog-park dogs’ frantic barking at the cat). Madcap fun.” —Booklist (starred review)

“Charming cartoons convey the nearly wordless story augmented with dialogue between the two rivals…An amusing exploration of how opposite personalities can learn to appreciate their unique relationship.” —Kirkus Reviews

“Aptly captured by married team Kang and Weyant (You Are (Not) Small), the unlikely friends’ comic path to camaraderie unfolds nearly wordlessly, with expressive gouache and graphite scenes that burst with physical humor, showing that even those who fight like cats and dogs can be friends.”—Publishers Weekly


About the Author & Illustrator:

Anna Kang and Christopher Weyant are the creators of Theodor Seuss Geisel Award winner You Are (Not) Small as well as series titles That’s (Not) Mine, I Am (Not) Scared, and We Are (Not) Friends. They also wrote and illustrated Eraser, Can I Tell You a Secret?, and Will You Help Me Fall Asleep? Christopher’s work can also be seen in The New Yorker, and his cartoons are syndicated worldwide. This husband-and-wife team lives in New Jersey with their two daughters and their rescue dog, Hudson, the inspiration behind the character in this book. Visit them at www.annakang.com and www.christopherweyant.com.

Twitter: @annakang27 @ChristophWeyant

Instagram: annakangbookschristopherweyant   

Facebook: Anna Kang – AuthorChristopher Weyant


Enter a Giveaway!

Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides_Cover

One lucky winner will receive a copy of Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses). This giveaway is open from Friday, May 7, 2021 through Friday, May 14, 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 Rescue at Hudson and Tallulah Take Sides Twitter post. 

#Bookexcursion, Early Chapter Books, Graphic Novel, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 5/3/21

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:

Glam Prix Racers by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson 

On Glittergear Island, it is the first race of the Glam Prix.  Mermaid Mio and monster truck Mudwick, Fairy Flipp and freight train Furie, Dragon Deelux and car Dapper, Sprite Sookie and soft-serve mobile Smoosh, and Unicorn Uni and unicycle U-turn are one of three teams racing for the Glam Prix Cup.  Before the race begins, it is clear that one of the teams, the Vroombots, wants to win at all costs and plans on stealing all of the Sparklecharge which gives all the motos (AKA motor vehicles) life.  In order to be the champions in Race 1, Mio and her teammates must not only cross the finish line first but also collect side quests such as snapping a photo with a ghost garden gnome to earn additional points.  The team encounters a lot of bumps on the road but collaborates to overcome any setbacks.  Will the Glam Prix Racers be able to outsmart and outrun the Vroombots and claim victory of the first race?

Just like the motos in the race, the plot zips at high speed which makes Glam Prix Racers a one sitting read.  You won’t be able to stop!  Kent’s peppy and witty dialogue is both humorous and suspenseful and Hooson’s bright and detailed illustrations pop with both color and energy.  As I was reading, I was feeling nostalgic for the cartoons I used to watch on Saturday mornings for Glam Prix Racers has all the same elements-comedy, intrigue, heroes, villains, gadgets, and lessons on cooperation and persistence.

Thanks to Imprint/MacMillan Children’s Publishing for sharing an eARC with Beagles and Books.  Glam Prix Racers celebrates its book birthday next week on May 11, 2021.  Back on Track, the second book in the trilogy, will be released in January 2022.


What the World Could Make: A Story of Hope by Holly McGhee Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

Bunny and Rabbit are best friends who both marvel at how nature provides gifts through every season.  In winter, snowflakes can become snowballs; in spring, lilacs can woven together to make a crown;  Summer provides the opportunity to snack on crunchy and salty sea pickles and in the autumn, ginkgo leaves are fun to jump in.

McGhee’s lyrical text is concise and profound reminding us that gifts from the heart are all around us no matter what the season.  We just have to stop and notice them.  Lemaitre’s soft and gentle illustrations put a smile on your face and warmth in your heart.  Bunny and Rabbit are adorably drawn and their expressions show not only their excitement but also their genuine love for one another.  This heartwarming story celebrates both friendship and nature.

Thank you to author Holly McGhee for sharing a finished copy with Beagles and Books.  What the World Could Make: A Story of Hope celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on May 4, 2021.


 Bella’s 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.

I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog by Michal Babay  Illustrated by Ela Smietanka

Since May is Celiac Awareness Month; I wanted to share this review.

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. 

Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group. I’m a Gluten-Sniffing Service Dog recently published in April 2021.

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/26/21

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:

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Rescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson 

Following in the footsteps of her late grandmother, 12 year old Madi is an “animal whisperer” rescuing orphaned and injured wild animals.  In a mere weeks, Madi has the immense opportunity to meet her idol, Jane Goodall but under one condition. Her parents have forbidden Madi from bringing any more animals home.  So when Madi and her friends, Jack and Aaron discover orphaned beaver kits and rescue them, she realizes her only choice is to hide them in her clubhouse.  Taking care of beaver kits secretively is not easy and on top of that, Madi, Jack, and Aaron learn someone is purposely shooting beavers in retaliation for their dams are causing a flood in their town.  The trio along with Jack’s dog, Lid, work together to uncover the person responsible and Madi is also determined to help the beavers find a different location for their dams.    

With an intriguing plot, well developed characters, and lots of factual information about beavers as well as being an animal rehabilitator, Rescue at Lake Wild is an engaging middle grade novel that has a lot of kid appeal.  As an educator, I took note of the book length, for the story is only 181 pages and then more specifically, chapter length which was at most 6 pages.  Length can be an important consideration when recommending books to kids, for sometimes, stamina for chapter book reading must be nurtured. While the novel is shorter in length, Rescue at Lake Wild has a lot of substance. To read my full review and a chance to enter a giveaway, click here.


Arlo Draws an Octopus by Lori Mortensen Illustrated by Rob Sayegh Jr. 

Running through his front door, Arlo is full of excitement.  He has decided to draw an octopus! Why?  Because he likes everything about the cephalopod.  With a smile on his face, Arlo begins, but as he draws, he is disappointed.  The head looks like a hill, the arms look like roads, and the suction cups look like bubbles.  Doubt fills Arlo’s mind.  Perhaps, he is not an octopus drawer.  Frustrated, Arlo wads up his drawing and throws it on the ground but he knows he shouldn’t litter.  When he trudges over and picks up the paper, Arlo realizes it is not his octopus drawing.  Turns out an octopus has drawn a picture of him!  And guess what?  Both Arlo and the octopus like each other’s portraits!  After sharing specific feedback with one another, Arlo has a renewed sense of his artistic talents.  

Mortensen’s message in Arlo Draws a Octopus is an important one for readers of ALL ages, for as humans, we can be so hard on ourselves.  Once Arlo heard a different perspective, his attitude changed and he no longer viewed his drawing as a disaster-piece.  I love that this story teaches how personal art can truly be reinforcing the old saying, “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder.”  Sayegh’s illustrations beautifully chronicle Arlo’s feelings from the beginning to end.  As he flies into his house, squiggly lines of excitement follow Arlo.  When he is drawing, those lines become a web illustrating his frustration.  As Arlo walks to pick up his paper, rain is falling on him.  When Arlo and the octopus look at each other’s drawings, stars, hearts, and rays of light surround them.  Thanks to Lori Mortensen for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Arlo Draws an Octopus releases soon on May 4, 2021. 


The Smile Shop by Satoshi Kitamura

With his saved money in his hands, an excited boy walks to the market.  What will be buy?   As he travels through the shops and stalls, he sees food, a boat, a book, a horn, and a hat.  Before he has a chance to make his decision, he falls down when a boy on a skateboard collides with him.  As a result, most of his coins disappear down a storm drain.  The boy’s excitement turns into anger and then despair.  But then he stumbles upon a store with the simple sign, Smile, hopeful that a smile will cheer him up.  When he asks to buy a smile, the shopkeeper replies “a smile is not something money can buy” but rather “something that you can only exchange and share.”  The man gives the boy a smile and the boy smiles in return as his picture is taken.  The smiling boy leaves with the photo in his hand and notices that everyone is smiling right along with him. 

The Smile Shop is an uplifting story about how a simple gesture can be transformative.  After the boy lost most of his coins, he was devastated, but his attitude changed after visiting the Smile Shop.  Kitamura’s illustrations are gorgeous and I especially love how the boy stands out in each page spread drawn in bold colors.  Kitamura’s use of color tells it own story showing how the boy’s feelings change, for in the beginning, the page spreads are colorful, but once the coins fall, the background and people are gray.  Color reappears once the boy enters the Smile Shop.  My biggest takeaway was the boy only was aware of everyone else’s smiles after exchanging smiles with the shopkeeper.  The Smile Shop teaches that money doesn’t buy happiness; a kind action is a true gift not only to ourselves but also all those around us.  Thanks to Peachtree Publishing for sharing a copy with my #bookexcursion group.  The Smile Shop recently released on April 1, 2021. 


Bella’s 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.

Doggo and Pupper by Katherine Applegate Illustrated by Charlie Adler

Doggo’s days are pretty predictable but he is content with his routine.  His humans think he may be bored and needs to be more active; therefore, they bring Pupper home, which changes everything for Doggo.  Doggo thinks Pupper is a pest while Cat reminds Doggo that Pupper is in fact, a puppy.  The humans agree that Pupper needs to learn manners and send him to charm school.  When Pupper returns home, he is new and improved, but Doggo soon concludes Pupper is sad.  Doggo realizes that he misses the free spirited Pupper and is reminded life is better with a little fun and friendship! 

Doggo and Pupper is an adorable new early chapter book series.  Applegate’s easily accessible text coupled with Adler’s bold and humorous illustrations will not only captivate young readers but also support them in transitioning to chapter book reading.  What I love is how Pupper reminds Doggo that a little spontaneity now and then is rejuvenating.  I look forward to seeing this duo’s friendship blossom in upcoming adventures.  Doggo and Pupper Save the World (Book 2) will be released in March 2022.  

Bella and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!

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

Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Happy Book Birthday & Giveaway: Rescue at Lake Wild by Terry Lynn Johnson

                                                                    
 

About the Book:
Title: Rescue at Lake Wild
Author: Terry Lynn Johnson 
Pub. Date: April 1, 2021


Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to Rescue at Lake Wild.  Special thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Following in the footsteps of her late grandmother, 12 year old Madi is an “animal whisperer” rescuing orphaned and injured wild animals.  In mere weeks, Madi has the immense opportunity to meet her idol, Jane Goodall but under one condition. Her parents have forbidden Madi from bringing any more animals home.  So when Madi and her friends, Jack and Aaron discover orphaned beaver kits and rescue them, she realizes her only choice is to hide them in her clubhouse. 

Taking care of beaver kits secretively is not easy and on top of that, Madi, Jack, and Aaron learn someone is purposely shooting beavers because their dams are causing a flood in their small town of Willow Grove.  The trio along with Jack’s dog, Lid (love his name!), work together to uncover who is responsible. Madi is also determined to help the beavers find a different location for their dams so the flooding will cease. 

With an intriguing plot, well developed characters, and lots of factual information about beavers as well as being an animal rehabilitator, Rescue at Lake Wild is an engaging middle grade novel that has a lot of kid appeal. I admire Madi’s passion for not only saving the beaver kits but also tackling the flooding problem.  While Madi’s intentions are all good and she has a skill set from apprenticing under her Nana, Johnson does remind readers that Madi shouldn’t be keeping wildlife because she is not licensed and shares The Dos of Wildlife at the end of the book. 

As an educator, I took note of the book length, for the story is only 181 pages and then more specifically, the chapter length which was at most 6 pages.  Length can be an important consideration when recommending books to kids. Stamina for chapter book reading sometimes has to nurtured for developing readers which is why I love finding well written and engaging novels under 200 pages. While the novel may be short in length, RESCUE AT LAKE WILD has a lot of substance so I cannot wait to get this story into kids’ hands!  At the end of the book, Johnson includes an author’s note providing information about the novel’s inspiration.  


Check Out This Video!

To hear Terry Lynn Johnson talks directly to readers about the inspiration behind Rescue at Lake Wild, click here.


About the Author: 

Terry Lynn Johnson writes about the wild with the wisdom and passion of someone who has spent her life working to preserve and protect it – both as a backcountry canoe ranger in Quetico Provincial Park and in her current job as a conservation officer with the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry. She lives at the edge of a lake in northern Ontario, Canada, where she loves watching all wildlife, including beavers. Visit her online at terrylynnjohnson.com

Twitter: @TerryLynnJ

Instagram: terry_lynn_johnson


Enter a Giveaway!

1 winner will receive a copy of Rescue at Lake Wild courtesy of Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (U.S. addresses only). This giveaway is open from Tuesday, April 27, 2021 through Friday, April 30, 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 Rescue at Lake Wild Twitter post.

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/19/21

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:

The Gilded Girl by Alyssa Coleman

In 1906, 12 year old Emma has recently enrolled at Miss Posterity’s Academy for Practical Magic in New York City.  Her purpose?  To learn kindling, which will allow Emma to utilize her magic powers.  Emma is one of the privileged, for her wealth allows her the training to learn how to harness her magic; in contrast, Izzy O’Donnell, a servant working at the school, is expected to allow her magic to be snuffed out.  When Emma’s father is declared dead, a victim of the San Francisco earthquake, her status at the school quickly changes from student to servant.  While Emma and Izzy did not initially see eye to eye, they  become unlikely friends because they both desire to keep their magic.  Izzy will train Emma on being a servant and Emma will share her knowledge of kindling.  With help from another student, Frances, and Figgy, a house dragon disguised as a cat, Emma and Izzy train together so that they are prepared when the kindling winds arrive.  But when the winds come, the friends must work together to not only support each other but the other girls at the school.  

The Gilded Girl is a clever and innovative retelling of The Little Princess. I love that Coleman chose to tell the story in alternating chapters from the perspectives of both Emma and Izzy.  Readers get to know each girl well witnessing the transformation of Emma whose sudden change in social status teaches her about the injustices between classes and Izzy shows her willingness to trust as well as her vulnerability. Armed with this new insight, Emma and Izzy seek to make magic available to all.  

After reading The Gilded Girl, my heart was filled with hope, for Emma and Izzy are great role models for middle grade readers because of their perseverance, courage, and passion. Thanks to author Alyssa Coleman and Macmillian Publishers for sharing an e-galley with Beagles and Books.  The Gilded Girl recently published on April 6, 2021. 

The Last Shadow Warrior by Sam Subity

On the surface, Abby seems like a typical 12 year old, but in reality, she is a descendant of elite Viking warriors known as the Aesir.  She is eager to continue her mother’s legacy of hunting monsters known as Grendels especially since her mother’s mysterious death four years ago.  After her home in North Carolina is attacked by what Abby fears is a Grendel, she and dad relocate to Minnesota in order for Abby to attend Vale Hall, her mother’s alma mater.  While on the road, Abby and her dad are attacked again. Her dad is injured resulting in him falling into a mysterious coma. 

At Vale Hall, Abby gradually learns that the Viking Council does not believe that Grendels exist anymore and refutes her mother’s life work.  With the help of new friends, Grimsby and Gwynn, Abby goes on a mission to discover an antidote to save her dad and the truth to preserve her mom’s reputation. 

Told from Abby’s perspective, The Last Shadow Warrior is a fast-paced, riveting story that is hard to put down.  Mythology-based fantasy is not a genre I have widely read, but I really was drawn into the plot because Subity merged fantasy with a contemporary setting.  Abby is also a strong character who is willing to stand up for herself and others.  Her relationship with her dad was especially touching.  What also kept me reading was the humor for Subity included a lot of light moments to ease the tension.  While some plot events are tied up, there are still questions left unanswered which leaves me hopeful that Abby’s adventures are not over yet.  Thanks to author Sam Subity and Scholastic for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  The Last Shadow Warrior recently published on April 6, 2021. 

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Be a Tree by Maria Gianferrari Illustrated by Felicita Sala

Be a tree!
Stand tall.
Stretch your branches to the sun.

These ten words begin Gianferrari’s glorious ode extolling the sheer beauty of one of nature’s gifts and how humans have similar physical characteristics to this earthy treasure.   Trees and humans both have parts such as branches and arms, trunks and spines, bark and skin, and a crown at the top.   Sala’s warm watercolor illustrations gorgeously echo Gianferrari’s lyrical text showing the physical similarities so that even the youngest readers can see the connections.   To read my full review, click here. 


Bella’s 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.

Sugar and Spite by Gail D. Villanueva

12 year old Jolina and her parents have recently moved from the city of Manila to a small island in the Philippines.  Her grandmother, Lola Toyang recently passed away and her grandfather, Lolo Sebyo is recovering from a stroke.  As a result, her father now manages the family eatery, Bagayan Food Haus.  Being new to the island, Jolina does not have many friends yet.  Her Jack Russell terrier, Kidlat, is her constant and loyal companion.  

As the story begins, Jolina is enduring bullying from Claudine, a girl in her Bible study group. Because her mother works at Claudine’s family’s resort, Jolina feels she cannot tell anyone about Claudine’s awful behavior.  As an arbularyo  (healer) apprentice, Jolina gets weekly lessons from her grandfather and while she knows the dangers of using magic for the wrong reasons, she decides Claudine needs to be taught a lesson on how to be kind; therefore, Jolina concocts a love potion to get Claudine to be nice to her and it works!  But as she spends more time with Claudine and the girls truly become friends, Jolina feels guilty about her actions and learns firsthand the consequences of using magic for the wrong reasons.  

A blend of fantasy and realistic fiction and an intriguing plot, Sugar and Spite is an #ownvoices middle grade novel that will appeal to readers exploring themes such as family, friendship, and forgiveness.  It is no surprise that what I loved the most about the novel is the relationship between Jolina and Kidlat.  The bond between the girl and her dog was heartwarming and in the author’s note, Villanueva shares that Jolina’s and Kidlat’s deep connection was honoring her relationship with her beloved pet, Kubrick.  Thanks to Gail Villanueva and Scholastic for sharing an e-galley with Beagles and Books. Sugar and Spite celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on April 20, 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.

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Be a Tree by Maria Gianferrari

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Bella and I are honored to launch the blog tour for Be a Tree written by Maria Gianferrari and illustrated by Felicita Sala.  This breathtaking picture book celebrating trees was recently released last week on March 30, 2021. Thanks to author Maria Gianferrari and Abrams Book for Young Readers for sending me an electronic copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.


Review:

Be a tree!
Stand tall.
Stretch your branches to the sun.

These ten words begin Gianferrari’s glorious ode extolling the sheer beauty of one of nature’s gifts and how humans have similar physical characteristics to this earthy treasure.   Trees and humans both have parts such as branches and arms, trunks and spines, bark and skin, and a crown at the top.   Sala’s warm watercolor illustrations gorgeously echo Gianferrari’s lyrical text showing the physical similarities so that even the youngest readers can see the connections.   
 
 
 
The focus shifts from physical features to how we as humans also share common behaviors with trees.  Both trees and humans live together in a community.  Just as trees are linked underground through their roots, people are connected by sharing conversations, food, resources, and information.  
 
 
 
Gianferrari’s admiration and respect for trees is evident, for she beautifully describes their value to both humans and the earth.  Sala’s artwork fill the double page spreads depicting a tree’s grandeur and utility. 
 
 
Gianferrari continues to highlight all the benefits of trees, for they serve as animal habitats preserving ecosystems.  The need for community is emphasized for trees that grow away from their natural habitat are at risk; therefore, a forest is vital for support.  A beautiful double page fold out shows how people can learn from trees by helping one another.  In the final page spread, Gianferrari gently reminds us to observe and learn from trees, for by banding together, we can not only be better as individuals but also make the world in which we live a better place. 
 
Backmatter follows the story to provide information on ways to help save trees and help in your community.  A diagram of a tree and its parts as well as books and websites for further research are also included.  Informative and uplifting, Be a Tree is a must to add to a home, classroom or school library.  Highly recommend! 


Praise for Be a Tree!
 
“This book has the advantage of lyrical, accessible poetry and vibrant watercolors from an ever changing palette. …Strong heartwood.”-Kirkus
 

“By foregrounding living beings that exemplify grace, strength, and endurance, Gianferrari gives readers a new way to think about their individual and collective existences.” –Publishers Weekly


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Meet Maria:
Maria Gianferrari has climbed fig trees in Italy, stood under stately coastal redwoods and twisted Torrey pines, marveled at   mitten-shaped sassafras leaves, colorful coral trees and   sawtooth oak acorn nests. She lives with her family, including   dog, Maple, in a house encircled by trees.


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Meet Felicita:
Felicita is a self taught illustrator. She graduated in Philosophy from the University of Western Australia. She has worked on several animation projects along with husband Gianluca, but her passion is making picture books. She lives in Rome with Gianluca and their daughter Nina.


Enter Beagles & Books’ Giveaway!

 
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Maria’s sweet pup Maple announces that one lucky winner will receive a copy of Be a Tree courtesy of the publisher. This giveaway is open from April 9-14, 2020 and ends at 10:00 p.m. EST.  
  • Follow me @lauramossa on Twitter and retweet my Be a Tree giveaway tweet.
  • If you are not on Twitter, fill out the Google form below.

Be a Tree Blog Tour

Continue the tour by visiting blogs sharing their thoughts as well as offering their own giveaways!

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Julius & Macy: A Very Brave Night by Annlouise Mahoney

                                                                    

About the Book:
Title: Julius & Macy: A Very Brave Night
Author/Illustrator: Annlouise Mahoney
Pub. Date: April 1, 2021


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


Review:

Each night, Julius, a badger and Macy, a mouse love to play together and greatly enjoy performing heroic deeds. 

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Julius wished to protect the forest from anything harmful while Macy wanted to help any small thing in need.  Being a hero takes a lot of energy; therefore, it is important to refuel with snacks.  When Julius and Macy go to fetch their cookies and nuts, they discover an empty wagon.  Julius asserts that the Night Goblin must have taken them and describes him as the worst kind of scary to Macy.  

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In order to find their snacks, Julius and Macy must be truly heroic and venture deep into an unknown area of the forest. A noise from inside a cave frightens them. Could it be the Night Goblin?JuliusAndMacyAVeryBraveNight-28609-large-3

Armed with a sword and a fairy wand, the two friends bravely enter the hollow to discover the source of the sound. A huge shadow on the wall startles them and they run away but then realize heroes must stay brave even when they are scared.

Mahoney’s concise, melodic text is a joy to read aloud especially the dialogue between the two friends.  Her warm illustrations are dreamy and luminous.  I love how Julius and Macy collaborate on making stars to hang on the trees to bring the celestial objects closer to them  creating a fanciful setting.   

As a reading specialist, I appreciate that the story has a simple yet engaging plot to teach young children about story structure.  Characters Julius and Macy have a problem, identify steps to solve their problem which ultimately resolves it.   In addition, themes of friendship, bravery, and kindness can be explored.  I especially appreciate that Mahoney teaches children that bravery can take many forms, for Julius and Macy both display courage in their own ways.  


Check out this sweet book trailer!

Take a look at this cute downloadable activity pages: 

http://www.woodlandabbey.com/activity-corner


Praise for Julius & Macy!

Watercolor illustrations further the text’s magical qualities by adding important details, such as the solitary nature of Sherwin’s home. Softly glowing with campfire and starlight, this tale is an inviting bedtime story and a gentle ode to kindness.” ―Booklist


About the Author/Illustrator:
Annelouise Mahoney has worked in animation for DreamWorks, DIC Animation, Sony, and Saban Entertainment. She has also worked as a colorist for Marvel and Image Comics on such series as Uncanny X-Men, Generation X, and others. This is her first picture book, and it was inspired by the depths of her daughters’ friendships and the many ways they are brave, especially with someone on their side. She loves to explore the forest, can’t resist a cave, and has a lot of love for all those named Julius in her life. Annelouise lives in Southern California with her family. Learn more about her at www.woodlandabbey.com.

Facebook: Woodland Abbey

Twitter: @WoodlandAbbey

Instagram: Annelouise Mahoney


Two Lions Giveaway Details:

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Five lucky winners will each receive three fabulous books celebrating the art of making and keeping friends, including Julius and Macy: A Very Brave Night, courtesy of Two Lions.

Details and entry form can be found here (US addresses).

Winners will be selected at random and notified via email. One entry per person, please. US addresses only. Entries are due by 5/1/21.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 4/5/21

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:

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The Great Peach Experiment 1: When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie by Erin Soderberg Downing

Since Lucy’s mother died, her father, a university professor, threw himself into his research, and the 12 year old became surrogate parent to her two younger siblings, 10 year old Freddy and 8 year old Herb.   Then, out of the blue, their dad announces that one of their mom’s inventions sold for over a million dollars.  To fulfill one of their mom’s dreams, their dad bought a used food truck and the Peach family is going to spend the summer together traveling the Midwest selling pies.  While Freddy and Herb are excited about the opportunity, Lucy is skeptical.  Why is their dad who hasn’t taken a day off in two years suddenly willing to commit a full month to this food truck experiment?  Lucy wanted to think positively that the trip might unite them as a family, but it was difficult given their father’s track record. 

As the Peach family travels from town to town and endure highs and lows running the family business, Downing allows readers to get to know each sibling well.  An avid reader, Lucy is determined to read every book on the seventh grade summer reading list and Downing curated a list so amazing, I may adopt it for myself this summer.  Lucy is very strong person but assumed the role of problem solver not by choice and her frustration is finally manifesting.  Freddy feels he is a plum in a family of Peaches, for his passion is art, creativity, big ideas, and fun facts unlike his siblings and parents.  Throughout the Great Peach Experiment, Freddy though emerges as a natural leader and astute businessman.  While the youngest, Herb is a math whiz and feels he has a lot of contribute to the family business, but begins to feel restless when he was told he was too young to help bake pies, ingredients for his cinnaballs were too expensive or there wasn’t time to find a place to swim.  And while dad believes the main goal is to win top honors at the Ohio Food Truck Festival, Lucy, Freddy, and Herb make him realize that their family is the greatest prize. 

The Great Peach Experiment is a middle grade novel with both heartache, humor and most importantly, hope.  An added bonus were Lucy’s amusing letters to her Great Aunt Lucinda, Freddy’s sketchbook drawing for how he would spend a million dollars, maps, and Herb’s financial updates. Grateful to know that another Peach family adventure awaits in the future. Special thanks to Erin Soderberg Downing for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Peach Pie releases tomorrow on April 6, 2021. 

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Something’s Wrong? A Bear, A Hare and Some Underwear by Jory John Illustrated by Erin Kraan

One morning, a bear named Jeff woke up and felt like he was forgetting something.  Readers notice right away that Jeff is still wearing the gift from his grandma-underwear! As Jeff takes a stroll through the forest, he still feels odd but clueless.  On his travels, he passes by many animals who look at him in bewilderment.  After Jeff walks away, they all speak directly to the reader uttering the same words “Why is that bear wearing underwear?”  Finally, Jeff realizes he needs to consult with his rabbit friend, Anders, whom he trusts to be honest with him.  Anders immediately knows what’s wrong and candidly tells Jeff what no other animal would say.  When confronted by all the animals,  embarrassed Jeff tries to talk his way out of his predicament, but Anders saves the day by sporting his own pair of tighty whities creating a new fashion trend.

When I read Something’s Wrong to kindergarten students for #classroombookaday, the laughter started on the very first page spread and remained until the end of the story.  John’s hilarious plot and clever solution along with Kraan’s adorably expressive illustrations were such a hit with the kids that asked if I could read it again.  As a an adult, what I loved most is the lesson of friendship.  Anders was indeed a true and trusted friend because not only did he tell Jeff the truth but his actions shows he likes Jeff no matter what he does or wears.  And support is pretty crucial with choosing friends and underwear!  Thanks to Morgan Rath of Macmillan Children’s Publishing for sharing a copy with Beagles and Books.  Something’s Wrong recently celebrated its book birthday on March 23, 2021. 

Happy Book Birthday to Albert Whitman Picture Books!

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Check out my blog post, Happy Birthday Albert Whitman Picture Books, featuring recently released picture books published by Albert Whitman. Thanks to Albert Whitman for sharing ARCs with my #bookexcursion group. 


Bella’s 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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Switched by Bruce Hale

Sloppy and spontaneous are not words that would describe sixth grader Parker Pitts for he likes things neat and orderly.  But with the recent loss of his grandmother Mimi and his older half sister Billie going away to school, he is forced to deal with a lot of change which is a bit overwhelming.  To make matters worst, his parents decide that he is now in charge of Billie’s unruly goldendoodle Boof until she returns home.  He begrudgingly takes care of the Boof, but when the undisciplined Boof gets a hold of Eshu, a trickster statue that was a gift from Mimi, Parker is furious.  As he attempts to save the precious statue, Parker makes a wish.  The very next day, Parkers wakes up in Boof’s furry body and Boof is now inhabiting Parker’s human body.  Given his penchant for cleanliness, it’s no surprise that Parker is not embracing the dog’s life.  In contrast, Boof loves the easy access to food and his free spirited nature makes Parker’s classmates see him in a whole new light.  Will Parker and Boof be stuck forever or figure out a way to switch back?

Reminscient of Freaky Friday, one of my favorite books growing up, Switched is a hilarious recreation. Once the switch happens, I thoroughly enjoyed reading both Parker and Boof’s point of view as they attempt to adjust to their new bodies.  While there are lots of laugh out loud moments, Parker learns valuable lessons about life, for yes, it can be messy and you can’t control and change it.  And if you just let it happen, you start to truly live.  Thanks to Bruce Hale for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Switched releases tomorrow on April 6, 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.