It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 8/28/17

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 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 of the week-


Dear Dragon by Josh Funk Illustrated by Rodolfo Montalvo

Josh Funk has written an engaging and hilarious story about a boy, George Slair, and a dragon, Blaise Dragonmir, who are assigned pen pals.  Because their correspondence must rhyme, reading aloud each letter is a lot of fun! What is equally entertaining is the illustrations, for both George and Blaise visualize the contents of the letter they receive but the true account is also revealed on the opposing page.

At first, George and Blaise admit that they do not like writing, but by the end of the story, they have changed their minds.  In fact, they want to continue writing letters once the school year ends.  George, Blaise, and their classmates get the opportunity to meet at the Pen Pal Picnic.  Read the book to find out their reactions and whether their visualizations were correct.  Students will love this humorous read aloud which could be used to launch a mini-lesson on writing.


A Boy, A Mouse, and a Spider: The Story of E.B. White by Barbara Herkert  Illustrated by Lauren Castillo

As I stated in one of my previous post, I am working hard to close one of my book gaps which is finding more nonfiction picture books.  You can imagine my excitement when I had the opportunity to read an ARC of this beautiful biography of author E.B. White.

Although I have read Stuart Little and Charlotte’s Web, I never knew the inspiration behind each of these classic novels. Barbara Herkert’s writing is melodic; she uses rich and precise language to tell the story of E.B. White’s life.  Lauren Castillo’s warm illustrations tenderly convey E.B. White’s emotions at pivotal moments in his life from his loving relationship with his pet mouse to his trepidation with attending school.

At the end of the book is an author’s note which provides more details about E.B. White’s life.  It explains why he feared going to school and reaffirmed how writing even st an early age gave him a “sense of achievement.”

Thank you to Mary Van Akin for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of A Boy, a Mouse and a Spider. It will be released on October 22, 2017.


Sam and Eva by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

Sam is not pleased that Eva wants to join him in drawing.  It does not take long for a clash to ensue with both Sam and Eva drawing pictures to outwit the other’s imaginative artwork. Debbie Ridpath Ohi’s vivid and lively illustrations will captivate readers.  In fact, the illustrations literally POP off the page!  I especially love how the Sam’s and Eva’s drawn characters on the wall express emotions as the story unfolds.

When Eva decides that the story they created is not fun anymore, Sam is left with an artistic crisis that he cannot handle alone.  Will Eva return to help Sam?  Read to find out how the story ends.  Sam and Eva is a great addition to any classroom, which it teaches students the value of teamwork and collaboration.

Thank you to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Sam and Eva. It releases on October 17, 2017.

The Half True Lies of Cricket Cohen by Catherine Lloyd Burns

Eleven year old Cricket Cohen is known for stretching the truth.  When her teacher calls her out on the far fetched memoir she wrote, creative Cricket is deflated and must rewrite it.  The difficulty is Cricket’s imagination is far more interesting than her real life.  Fortunately, Cricket’s spirited grandmother, Dodo comes to the rescue with an invitation to go on an adventure together.  Cricket and Dodo take New York City by storm starting with a stroll through Central Park and a near death collision with a roller skater. After an overnight stay at Dodo’s favorite hotel, they head to Barney’s to do some shopping where their adventure goes awry and ends with a escorted trip to the police station.

Throughout their travels, Cricket and Dodo both lean on each other.   As Cricket struggles with being labeled as an unreliable make-upper of stories,”  Dodo reminds Cricket that she should be proud of her imagination because it belongs to her.  When Dodo experiences confusion, Cricket tenderly handles each situation and calmly reorients her. Cricket and Dodo’s mutual respect and love for one another is truly the heart and soul of the novel.  I can’t wait to share this book with my intermediate readers.

Thank you to Catherine Lloyd Burns for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of The Half True Lies of Cricket Cohen.  Etta and I now can’t wait to read The Good, the Bad & the Beagle! 


Daisy Dawson is on Her Way! by Steve Voake Illustrated by Jessica Meserve

On one particular morning on her way to school, Daisy saves a yellow butterfly from a spider’s web.  Not long after this heroic act, Daisy feels different.  It seems that her kind gesture has provided her with a unique gift; Daisy can talk and understand animals! Her magical power becomes apparent when she meets and converses with a bloodhound named Boom who loves honey-roasted ham.  Once in school, Daisy’s power continues to work, for she is able to hear and communicate with two escaped class gerbils as well as a lost ant.

On Daisy’s walk back home, Boom is nowhere to be found.  Through a conversation with a temperamental cat named Trixie McDixie, she discovers that Boom may have been picked up by the new dogcatcher.  With the help of a loving horse and an energetic squirrel,  Daisy decides to set out to find Boom and rescue him.

Published by Candlewick Press, there are 5 books total in the Daisy Dawson series. Daisy Dawson is a great series for transitional readers who are just beginning to read chapter books.  Students will love reading about kind-hearted Daisy and her extraordinary gift!

Thank you so much for reading!  Etta and I hope you have a fabulous week!


A Tribute to Annie

Although my posts are reviews on recently read books, I wish to share some sad news.

It is with heavy hearts that my husband, Etta, and I had to say goodbye to our sweet Annie yesterday.

When we adopted Annie in early June, we knew she had health issues due mostly to her 13 years of age. What we didn’t know is that Annie had a mass on her spleen, kidneys, and liver.  After this discovery in July,  Annie did not have a lot of time. But she was not in pain and our goal was her comfort.

Annie’s diagnosis did not prevent us from taking our vacation to western North Carolina in early August. Annie and Etta enjoyed rest and relaxation in the Pisgah National Forest and even visited Oskar Blues Brewery in Brevard.



When we returned, Annie’s eating became erratic which made her weak. She slept most of the day but truly enjoyed her view looking out of our front door.  Being a teacher still on summer vacation, I was able to be home and give her the care she needed.


This past weekend Annie stopped eating and by Sunday night even refused water. She could not stand up on her own. She was telling us it was time.

Although Annie was only in our lives for a short time, she taught us to slow down and truly appreciate the simple things in life- a home cooked meal, a warm bed, a caring home, and most importantly spending time with the ones you love.

Thank you Annie. You will always be a part of our family.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 8/21/17

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading 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 of the week-

Jabari Jumps by Gaia Cornwall


Jabari is full of pride and excitement after passing his swimming test.  He boldly states he will jump off the diving board that very day.  But proclaiming it and actually going through with his declaration are two completely different things.  With his encouraging and supportive father at his side, will Jabari gain the confidence he needs to make the jump?  This is a fabulous read aloud to teach children the importance of perseverance.

Rambler Steals Home by Carter Higgins


Derby, her brother, Triple and father, Garland are always on the road in their Rambler, but each summer, the Clark family make Ridge Creek, Virginia their home. They park the RV and set up Garland’s Grill selling burgers and fries (sweet potatoes thanks to Derby) after minor league Rockskipper baseball games.

Being a rambler for most of the young life, Derby yearns for place to plant her roots, and Ridge Creek is the closest thing to home.  She always receives the warmest and loving welcome from June Mattingly who runs the Rockskipper’s ticket office.  Derby also gets to reconnect with her good friend Marcus.

Not long after returning to Ridge Creek, Derby learns unfortunate news which moves her to take action.  Enlisting the help of Marcus, Derby embarks on a plan to help someone she deeply cares about.  Derby’s plan does not turn out exactly as she hoped but she learns from her father that “sometimes big hearts make bad decisions.” Derby also learns the valuable lesson that while her “house has wheels, her heart has roots” in Ridge Creek which makes her truly understand how lucky she really is.

Rambler Steals Home is a story full of heart and soul.  You will instantly fall in love with wishful Derby, her unconventional father, and turtle loving brother along with all the Ridge Creek townspeople. Carter Higgins’ vivid writing transports you to the town of Ridge Creek and beautifully expresses Derby’s hopes and emotions.

Thank you to Carter Higgins for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of Rambler Comes Home.

What Makes a Monster by Jess Keating with illustrations by David DeGrand


I will be launching #classroombookaday with a teacher at my school and know I need to find more non-fiction picture books.  Well, look no further than Jess Keating.

My students absolutely loved Pink is for Blobfish so Etta and I were so excited to have the opportunity to read What Makes a Monster.

The format of What Makes a Monster is similar to Pink is for Blobfish.  Kids will love learning facts about animals such as the horror frog, the deathstalker scorpion, and the goblin shark.  But who knew to beware of the prairie dog?

At the end of the book, there are interactive pages for children to decide what truly makes a monster and a fabulous glossary of bold faced words in the text, which makes this reading specialist’s heart happy!

Thank you to Jess Keating for providing our #bookexcursion group with a copy of What Makes a Monster.

Pets on the Loose: The Great Art Caper by Victoria Jamieson

Pets on Loose

The Great Pet Escape, the first in the Pets on the Loose Series was a huge hit with my students.  The Great Art Caper, which is the second in this graphic novel series was released right after school ended; I cannot wait to share this new adventure with students in September.

The second grade class pet, a hamster named GW (short for George Washington)  has developed a friendship with a student, Carina.  GW finds out that Carina’s artwork was selected for the school’s art show and he wants to give her a gift.  With the help of his fellow class pets, Sunflower, a gerbil and Barry, a rabbit, GW embarks on an adventure to the second floor art room to create his unique gift.  But wait! Harriet, the conniving mouse and her minion mice are located on the second floor along with Lucinda the snake.   During their journey, GW, Sunflower, and Barry discover Harriet and her minions are planning to sabotage the art show.  Can these class pets stop them before it’s too late? Read this humorous and engaging graphic novel to find out!

Wild About Us by Karen Beaumount  Illustrated by Janet Stevens


This fun picture book is all about celebrating differences.  Each animal joyfully shares what they are proud of from a toothy grin to huge feet.  The message is simple yet powerful; it is important to be happy in your own skin.  Wild About Us is an excellent read aloud that reminds students “it would be such a shame, if we all looked the same.”

Thank you so much for reading!  Etta and I hope you have a fabulous week!


Wishtree by Katherine Applegate


The narrator of this inspiring story is Red, a wise, optimistic oak who is affectionately known in the neighborhood as the “wishtree.” Each year on the first of May,  people write down their hopes and tie it to one of Red’s branches.  In two hundred and sixteen years, Red though has learned sometimes “there’s not much you can do except stand tall and reach deep.” But after Samar and her family move in and some neighbors are not welcoming, Samar shares her wish that Red feels moved to grant.  Red makes the bold decision to intervene with the assistance of a pessimistic crow named Bongo and other tree-dwelling animals.

Wishtree is beautifully written with a powerful message of acceptance, friendship, and hope. Red reminds us that “real life, like a good garden, is messy” but it is so important to always keep the faith for a better future.

Pre-order your copy now, for it will be released on September 26, 2017. The publisher Macmillian is partnering with independent bookstores, schools, and libraries for a nationwide Wishing Day.  For more information, click here.

Thank you to fellow #bookexcursion member CeceLibrarian and the publisher Macmillian for providing our #bookexcursion group with an advanced reader copy of Wishtree.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What are You Reading? 8/14/17

As a new blogger, I am participating in my first 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.

Read Read Read by Amy Ludwig Vanderwater Illustrated by Ryan O’Rourke


This beautifully illustrated collection of poetry celebrates reading.  As I read each poem, I was nostalgically reminded me of my own reading journey from learning how to read, anxiously waiting for my Cricket magazine to appear in my mailbox, being emotionally affected by characters in books as well as being transported to different times and places.  I can’t wait to share these poems with students and teachers at my school.  Read Read Read will be released on September 17, 2017 and right now, it is $5.61 off on Amazon.  Great day to pre-order!

A sincere thank you to the author, Amy Ludwig Vanderwater for providing my #bookexcursion with an advanced reader copy of Read Read Read.

The Peculiar Incident on Shady Street by Lindsay Currie

shady street
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. The Peculiar Incident of Shady Street is being released on October 10, 2017 so pre-order your copy now.

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

Madeline Finn and the Library Dog by Lisa Papp

Thanks to my fellow #bookexcursion member and Literacy on the Mind blogger Dr. Lisa Maucione for this recommendation.  Reading does not come easy to Madeline and she is yearning for a gold star to prove to herself that she is a good reader. With the help of her concerned mom, a caring librarian, and a patient dog named Bonnie, Madeline gains her confidence.

That Neighbor Kid by Daniel Miyares

This wordless picture book was recommended by Jillian Heise who shared it on one of her #pd10for10 lists.  A girl spys her new neighbor in his yard reading.  Her curiosity leads her to helping him with a project which cements their friendship.

A Place to Read by Leigh Hodgkinson

A child struggles with finding the best place to read.  The illustrations beautifully convey the child’s difficulty with all the potential reading spots.  But is the location really crucial? Read this book to find out what is most important about reading.

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



#pb10for10, Picture Books

AROO for #pb10for10 Day!

pb 10 for 10 015I cannot think of a better first blog post!  I’m excited to be participating in Picture Book 10 for 10  for the first time.  Thank you Cathy Mere and Mandy Robek for creating this fabulous event for us to share our #booklove!  This summer, I have been reading lots of picture books joining many other educators in #bookaday.   Since the name of my blog is Beagles and Books,  it is only fitting that my chosen books feature dogs and well, 1 wolf. But it’s ok. Dogs and wolves are related right?


Come with Me by Holly M. McGhee  Illustrated by Pascal Lemaitre

Come with Me is an amazing story of hope.  When a young girl expresses concern about the world in which she lives, she is answered with a simple “Come with me.” from her parents. Throughout the book, she is shown how to spread kindness and does her part by merely taking her dog on a walk. This book will be released September 5, 2017 so pre-order it now for the start of the school year.



Gaston by Kelly DiPucchio  Illustrated by Christian Robinson

Mrs. Poodle and Mrs. Bulldog think there may be a mix up with their pups. But sometimes just because it LOOKS right doesn’t mean it FEELS right.  Gaston’s message is simple.  Just be yourself.



Stay by Kate Klise Illustrated by M. Sarah Klise

Stay is a heartwarming story of a girl, Astrid and her dog, Eli.  As Astrid notices Eli getting older, she creates a bucket list of things for them to do together.  The beauty of the book is that Eli only has 1 thing on his bucket list.  Can you guess what it is?



This Book Just Ate My Dog by Richard Byrne

Uh oh!  The girl’s dog disappears during a walk.  Children will love how the author engages them in helping the girl find her dog.  In addition, children are exposed to rich vocabulary to expand their oral language.



How Rocket Learned to Read by Tad Hills

I love all the Rocket series books!  This book is great for encouraging reluctant readers. Rocket was not interested in learning to read until the yellow bird began reading aloud a story that caught his attention.  It’s true that readers grow through finding the right books!



It’s Okay to Make Mistakes by Todd Parr

Ok.  It’s not exactly a dog book, but love how the dog reacts in this wonderfully illustrated book about the upside to making mistakes.  Great book to read aloud to remind children that we all learn from those “uh-oh” moments.



Dog Breath by Dav Pilkey

A list of dog picture books would not be complete without this classic.  Children love the amusing plot and awesome illustrations.  This story also teaches children the lesson that sometimes a weakness can also be a strength!



Hello Goodbye Dog by Maria Gianferrari  Illustrated by Patrice Barton

A beautiful story about the relationship between Zara and her dog Moose who hates saying goodbye while she is at school.  This warmly illustrated book teaches students the “pawsitive” effect of therapy dogs.  In her author’s note, Maria includes information about therapy reading dog programs.



Found Dogs by Erica Sirotich

This book holds a special place in my heart because it highlights rescue dogs who all are in need of a home.  It is a read aloud for our youngest students learning how to count. The adorably illustrated dogs will also captivate students!


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Wolfie the Bunny by Ame Dyckman  Illustrated by Zachariah OHora

I am making an exception for Wolfie, since dogs are part of the wolf family, right?  Dot the Bunny is NOT happy when her parents adopt a baby wolf.  Why? Because wolves eat bunnies!  I simply love the message of this fabulously illustrated book-Don’t judge others too quickly!

Thanks for reading my #pb10for10!  If you have favorite dog books to add, please comment below!