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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/12/18


Etta, Bella, and I are excited to share our reads for another edition of It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?  #IMWAYR is a community of bloggers who link up to share what they are reading. Kellee Moye of Unleashing Readers and Jen Vincent of Teach Mentor Texts decided to give it a #kidlit focus and encourage everyone who participates to visit at least 3 of the other #kidlit book bloggers that link up and leave comments for them.

Our Reads This Week:


The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl by Stacy McAnulty

When Lucy was eight years old, she was struck by lightning while holding on to a metal fence.  As a result, she has acquired savant syndrome; Lucy can not only tackle any mathematical problem but she can also see math in colors and remembers every set of numbers she hears or sees.  It is no surprise that Pi is favorite number (and she can recite it to the 314th decimal place).

Having this rare condition is not without its drawbacks.  Lucy has obsessive compulsive tendencies, no offline friends, and hasn’t left the apartment she shared with her Nana for 32 days.  While Lucy wants to begin college, Nana proposes an alternate plan.  Go to middle school for at least 1 year. Make 1 friend. Join 1 activity. Read 1 book that is not math related.  Nana wins.

Lucy accomplishes her first goal quickly.  On her first bus ride to school, she becomes friends with socially conscious Windy.  But adjusting to middle school is still tough especially because of Lucy’s constant need to sanitize, her repetitive sitting behavior, and her desire to keep her giftedness hidden from her peers including Windy.   A group service project with Windy and budding photographer Levi gives Lucy the opportunity to use her math genius for a good cause-helping dogs gets adopted at a local shelter.  At the shelter, Lucy meets Cutie Pi, a chihuahua with a lightning bolt spot on its back and is determined to find him a home.  Being a dog mom, seeing Lucy’s affection for Pi was heartwarming.

Lucy soon learns that all things are not easy to calculate.   As a reader, I calculate one important lesson. If you have a couple of friends who accept you for who you are, you are pretty lucky.   Special thanks to Allison Stout, a fellow #bookexcursion member for sharing an ARC of The Miscalculations of Lighting Girl that she received at NCTE.  Look for its release in May 2018.

Baby Monkey, Private Eye by Brian Selznick and David Serlin

Baby Monkey is on the case helping clients locate lost jewels, missing pizza, and a stolen spaceship.  Putting on his pants.  Well, that is another story.

At 187 pages, Baby Monkey, Private Eye looks and even feels like a full length chapter book.  Once opened, readers will find a whole new format- a combination of  chapter book, picture book, beginning reader, and graphic novel.   Written in large font, Serlin’s text is sparse and repeats in the first few chapters which builds young readers’ confidence and provides schema for the last two chapters.  Caldecott medalist Selznick’s pencil illustrations are chocked full of details. In each chapter, the illustrations subtly provides clues of Baby Monkey’s next case.

As a reading specialist, I love Baby Monkey, Private Eye!  I can recommend it to primary grade students who yearn to read a chapter book.  The novel is also perfect for my intermediate students who are still developing readers.  Hope there will be more cases for Baby Monkey to solve!  It released in February 2018.

I’m Sad by Michael Ian Black  Illustrated by Debbie Ridpath Ohi

In the sequel to I’m Bored, a flamingo announces to a little girl and a potato that he is sad.  His friends affirm that feeling sad is natural. Everyone, even potatoes, feel sad sometimes (giggle, giggle). The little girl and potato console Flamingo by sharing things that cheer them up like ice cream, hockey, and dirt (giggle, giggle, again).   While Flamingo is still sad, he learns that his friends still like him no matter what!

I’m Sad teaches children that friends can’t always fix your problems but their loyalty can be the best support. Black beautifully conveys the book’s message with few words and Ohi’s bold and colorful illustrations perfectly match the text. Despite its title,  it would be hard to remain sad while reading. With its sense of humor, the potato will keep readers laughing from beginning to end!  Black and Ohi’s collaboration in bringing a potato to life was the highlight for me!  I can’t wait to share this read aloud for #classroombookaday!

Special thanks to Debbie Ridpath Ohi for sending an ARC of I’m Sad to our #bookexcursion group.  Look for its release in June 2018.

The Gorilla Picked Me by Michele McAvoy  Illustrated by Valentina Carboni

Olive considers herself plain and ordinary always blending in rather than standing out. Olive wishes just once that she would get picked out from a crowd.  When Olive was eight, her wish finally comes true.  Attending a dance with her father as her date, he steps away briefly telling Olive he’ll be back in a jiffy.  In his absence, a gorilla tooting a kazoo appears. He chooses Olive to be his dancing partner making her the center of attention.  Right after the gorilla leaves, her father returns and she shares her exciting news.  On the last page, as they walk home, a kazoo can be seen in her father’s back pocket.

Michele McAvoy wrote a sweet story about the love between a little girl and her father.  Illustrator Valentina Carboni’s adorable illustrations tenderly show their mutual affection for each other and how this one small act of kindness can have positive effects.

Special thanks to Michele McAvoy for sending Beagles and Books an e-copy of The Gorilla Picked Me. It published in February 2018.

Featured Dog Selection of the Week

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


My Old Pal, Oscar by Amy Hest Illustrated by Amy Bates

Regardless your age, it’s hard to say goodbye to a pet.  Amy Hest tenderly shares a story that celebrates the bond between a boy and his beloved dog while capturing how your heart still has room to love another pet.  Amy Bates’ warm and peaceful watercolor and pencil illustrations complement the story perfectly.

When a little boy meets a stray puppy on the beach, he is not interested in becoming friends.   The boy is still mourning the loss of his old pal, Oscar.  “My only and only dog,” the boy says. The persistent puppy continues to follow the boy on his walk.  During their walk, the boy recounts why Oscar was so special to him.  As a thunderstorm approaches, the boy sees the puppy’s trepidation. Carrying the puppy home, it is clear that the little boy is beginning to warm to the idea of having a new pal in his life.

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


11 thoughts on “It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 3/12/18”

  1. Laura, these are great reviews, very thorough and helpful. Being a dog lover, I loved your pics and those sweet beagle faces. All the books sound wonderful, but I was most drawn to My Old Pal, Oscar, as I have an old dog and have said goodbye to many others. It sounds like the perfect gift for someone, old or young, grieving over a lost pet.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. So many great books. I’m really looking forward to getting my hands on Baby Monkey, Private Eye! I’m Sad also looks like an important book for our collection. Thanks so much for sharing!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. My youngest granddaughter, emerging reader, loved Baby Monkey, Private Eye. She was so proud to say she was reading a ‘chapter book”. What an awesome gift for young readers. I’ll look for The MisCalculations of Lightning Girl and My Old Pal Oscar. thanks for sharing all of these!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. I am so excited to find Baby Monkey Private Eye – I really miss reading Brian Selznick, so this will be a welcome read. That photo of My Old Pal Oscar alongside your canine companion is just so precious. 🙂 Have a great reading week ahead!

    Liked by 2 people

  5. Baby Monkey is on order at my library. I hope they are ordering a lot of copies since I am number 6 on the list! The Miscalculations of Lightning Girl Is another I’m looking forward to.


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