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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/16/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share 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:

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker: Incognito by Shelley Johannes

Incognito, the second book in the series immediately picks up from Book 1. It is the second week of third grade, and Beatrice and her best friend Lenny have officially yet secretly launched Operation Upside.  They are ready to give the first UPSIDE award of the week to classmate Wes Carver who thoughtfully holds the door open for everyone daily.  Then Beatrice gets the idea that the first award should go to her no shenanigans teacher, Mrs. Tamarak.  Receiving an UPSIDE would put a guaranteed smile on Mrs. Tamarack’s face right?  After secretly slipping the award into the stack of ungraded homework, Beatrice shares her good news with a very shocked Lenny.  Lenny informs Beatrice that Mrs. Tamarack will not consider a most strict award to be a compliment. She is right, for Mrs. Tamarack is not amused.  This mishap calls for Beatrice to go incognito for a while so that the identity of Operation Upside remains a secret.  But if you know Beatrice, laying low is not one of her strengths.

After reading and loving the first Beatrice novel, I did not think it was possible to love her even more, but I so do!  With Operation Upside, Beatrice’s mission is to spread happiness and who can argue with that?  Beatrice and Lenny also demonstrate inclusiveness encouraging Chloe to see how Wes’ animal knowledge can benefit the veterinary club and befriending and recruiting new student Sam Diaz for Operation Upside.  And of course, Shelley Johannes’ whimsical black felt tipped pen drawings of Beatrice and her friends make the book even more fun to read! Special thanks to author Shelley Johannes for sending an ARC of Beatrice Zinker: Incognito on a #bookexcursion.  It will be released on September 19, 2018.

The Remember Balloons by Jesse Oliveros  Illustrated by Dana Wulfekotte

In this heartwarming story, balloons represent memories. The older one is, the more balloons one has; therefore, it is no surprise that James’ grandpa has the most balloons in his family.   James loves hearing his grandpa tell him about his balloons, but lately, his grandpa is experiencing some difficulty; his balloons are getting caught in a tree or worse, floating away.  Worried, James shares his concerns with his parents who tenderly tell him that this happens as you get older.  At the end of the book, James discovers a way for him and his grandpa to hold on to these precious memories.

The Remember Balloons tackles the subject of dementia with tenderness and compassion.  Each colorful balloon represents one memory and are the focal point of the beautifully drawn illustrations.  I highly recommend this read aloud to help children better understand and cope with loved ones who are experiencing memory loss.

Special thanks to author Jesse Oliveros asnd Simon & Schuster for sending a F & G of The Remember Balloons to our #bookexcursion group.  It releases on August 28, 2018.

Good Night, Little Monsters by Kara LaReau  Illustrated by Brian Won

Monsters before bedtime?  No child will be able to resist this sweet and spooky story about little monsters’ bedtime rituals.  Written in rhyme, Kara LaReau sweetly shares that monsters have similar routines such as brushing teeth, snuggling close, reading a story or singing a lullaby.  I can see how this board book could be used to introuduce or reinforce bedtime routines. Brian Won’s illustrations are adorable and will bring smiles and laughs. I have no doubt that Good Night, Little Monsters is a story that children will beg to be read again and again, and adults will gladly agree.

Special thanks to Kara LaReau for sending Good Night, Little Monsters to our #bookexcursion group. It released in June 2018.

How to Build a Hug: Temple Grandin and Her Amazing Squeeze Machine by Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville Illustrated by Giselle Potter

Although I am familiar with Temple Grandin, I never new about her first invention, the hug machine.  How to Build a Hug is a narrative picture book biography that introduces Temple as a young child who like other kids, loved to build things but does not like hugs.  Temple wondered why hugs calmed others when they made her uncomfortable.  At boarding school, she continues to build and watches families hugging hellos and goodbyes still wondering will she ever feel comfortable with a hug?  It was until she spent the summer at her aunt’s ranch in Arizona that Temple’s idea took form.  Observing how a ranch hand used a squeeze chute to keep a cow calm during a vet exam, Temple planned and built her own hug machine.  She used her hug machine to calm her when she felt nervous or scared.

How to Build a Hug is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that can be a mirror or window to readers.  Amy Guglielmo and Jacqueline Tourville do a wonderful job conveying Temple’s feelings and emotions so that children can understand her dilemma with hugs, and Giselle Potter’s warm, vintage-like watercolor illustrations complement the text well. While the text does not specifically mention that Temple as autistic, the author’s note does and provides more information about Temple Grandin’s life.  I am always looking for nonfiction picture books for #classroombookaday and there is no doubt that How to Build a Hug will be read to students in the upcoming school year.

Special thanks to the authors and Kara Ledbetter of Simon & Schuster for sending a F & G of How to Build a Hug to my #bookexcursion group.  It releases on August 28, 2018.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

The Detective Dog by Julia Donaldson Illustrated by Sara Ogilvie

All dogs have a good sense of smell, but Nell’s is so keen, she is known as Detective Dog Nell. Tuesday through Sunday, Nell solves crime after crime but on Mondays, she goes to school with her person, Peter and listened to stories.  And of course, the best smell of all was the smell of books!  But one Monday, Nell smelled something wrong only to discover all the books in Peter’s classroom are gone! With her nose leading the way, Nell sets off to find the missing books. Not only is she successful in discovering the book thief but makes sure he never has to “steal” again. If you like dogs and books, you can’t go wrong with The Detective Dog.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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#Bookexcursion, Book Birthday, Debut Author, Picture Books

Sterling, Best Dog Ever by Aiden Cassie

Beagles & Books wishes Aiden Cassie and her debut picture book, Sterling, Best Dog Ever a very Happy Book Birthday!   A very special thank you to Aidan Cassie and Macmillan for sending a copy of Sterling to my #bookexcursion group to read and review prior to its release. Below is my review which was featured on my #IMWAYR post on 6/25/18.

Sterling is determined to find a home.  Sleeping outside the Butlery Cutlery Company, he sneaks into a box of forks that are delivered to the Gilbert family.  When the family opens the box and finds Sterling, the mom and dad are perplexed but the daughter ‘s and her baby sister’s smiles say it all.  Sterling strives to be the best fork ever but soon discovers that perhaps, the family doesn’t need a fork.  Being adaptable, Sterling attempts to be a whisk, a rolling pin, and even a stick but none of these tools seems to make him or the daughter happy.  Will Sterling ever realizes his one and only job is to just be himself?

Sterling, The Best Dog Ever is a heartwarming and humorous story about learning to be comfortable in your own skin or in Sterling’s case, fur. The rich and colorful illustrations beautifully complement the plot and depict not only Sterling’s determination to be needed and useful but also the little girl’s true desire to have a dog of her own to love.

I can’t wait to share Sterling, The Best Dog Ever with students in the fall!  Its message of self acceptance makes it a perfect read aloud for #classroombookaday. If you need any more convincing, get a sneak peek of Sterling by viewing the trailer below.

 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/9/18

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Beagles and Books is excited to share 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:

Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls: Power Play by Beth McMullen

Abby Hunter is back for another thrilling adventure.  Fellow classmate Toby’s father and creator of the hit reality game Monster Mayhem has been kidnapped.  While on a school trip to Paris, Toby disappears while in pursuit of his father’s abductor.  Abby is determined to find Toby, but it’s not easy when her mom, superspy Jennifer Hunter, is now filling in as headmaster at Mrs. Smith’s Spy School for Girls and tells her Toby is safe and everything is under control.  Soon Abby discovers information to the contrary and must come up with a plan to get to Florida to save Toby.  Unfortunately, planning is not Abby’s strength but it’s not a deal breaker when you have classmates and friends like Charlotte and Izumi. As Izumi states “All three of us rolled together make one seriously good spy.”  Once in Florida, the three still need the help of Abby’s frenemy Veronica Brooks to find Toby, and it doesn’t take long before their covert mission is no longer secret to Jennifer and the director of the spy college located in Florida. Their knowledge of Monster Mayhem saves them and once reunited with Toby, Abby, Charlotte, Izumi, and reluctantly Veronica travel to London to partake in a mission to find the bitter hacker responsible for kidnapping of Toby’s father and possibly the demise of the entire spy school.

While reading the first book is not a necessity, it is highly encouraged because I already had a good understanding of the back story and relationships between characters.  Power Play is a great follow-up because the fast paced plot takes the reader all over the world and focuses on relatable themes such as friendship and teamwork.  As Abby states, “We all have different strengths and that’s what makes us good together. Sometimes the trouble is recognizing that.”  The ending leaves the reader hanging which makes me hopeful that another adventure is in the works.

A special thanks to Beth McMullen for sending Power Play to my #bookexcursion group.  It celebrated its book birthday last week on July 3, 2018.

Jasmine Toguchi Flamingo Keeper by Debbi Michiko Florence Illustrated by Elizabet Vulovic

In the fourth book in the series, Jasmine’s best friend Linnie gets a puppy.  Jasmine wonders if she can convince her parents to let her have a pet flamingo, which is her favorite animal in the world.  Her hopes get high when Jasmine’s grandma sends her and her older sister Sophie a daruma, which is a Japanese wishing doll.  Her mom explains that you make a wish and color in one eye.  When the wish is fulfilled, you can color in the other eye.  Of course, Jasmine knows her wish-a pet flamingo!  But darumas don’t work that way.  Jasmine learns that wishes don’t just happen; her grandma informs her that you must have gambette which means working hard to make your wish come true.

Jasmine Toguchi is one of my favorite series and it’s perfect for students transitioning to chapter books.  Jasmine appeals to young readers because she is spunky, determined, and has a lot of heart. The black and white illustrations complement the text and show Jasmine’s range of emotions as well as her close relationship with her family. While Jasmine is disappointed that the daruma does not magically grant wishes, she recalls that she has made past wishes come true with hard work.  Not only is Jasmine a great role model for children but each story teaches young (and old) readers about Japanese culture.  Like the previous novels, the author includes an author’s note and a bonus activity, and in Flamingo Keeper, Debbi Michiko Florence shares facts about the daruma and directions on how to make one.  I know my wish-Jasmine’s adventures will continue with another book in the series.

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It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer Illustrated by Claire Messer

Who isn’t nervous on the first day of school?  It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus tells the tale of Busy Bus who is both anxious and excited for his first day on the job. To read my full review, please click here.

Loretta’s Gift by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Alea Marley

Along with her family, Loretta is excited about the arrival of her new baby cousin.  Everyone is preparing for the baby’s arrival but Loretta has no gift to give.  Although her mother tells her she doesn’t need to give a present, Loretta is determined to find the perfect gift.   She considers buying, sharing or making her gift but can’t make up her mind before baby Gabe arrives.  Loretta dotes on her new cousin always saying ” Who’s the best baby on the block?” Gabe smiles and giggles in return.

A year passes, and Gabe is celebrating his first birthday.  Worried, Loretta frets that she still hasn’t find the perfect gift.  Little does Loretta know that she has already given Gabe her gift which is the most precious gift of all-love. Loretta’s Gift a beautiful story and the lovely illustrations warmly show the power of family.  This is a precious story that I can’t wait to share with students.  A special thanks to Pat Zielow Miller for sending a F & G of Loretta’s Gift to my #bookexcursion group.  It will be released August 14, 2018.

Magnificent Creatures: Animals on the Move by Anna Wright

Magnificent Creatures is a gorgeous nonfiction picture book that shares unique facts about animals on the move.  I learned that when jellyfish swarm, it is known as a “bloom” and thousand of starlings moving together is called a “murmuration.”  Springboks are a new animal to me and surprisingly, one of the fastest land animals in the world! What I love about this book is author/illustrator Anna Wright uses a variety of art styles such as pen and ink, watercolor, and fabric collage to showcase the beauty of all the animals. Looking forward to sharing this exquisitely stunning picture book with my art teacher as well as classroom teachers and students.  Our first grade ELA curriculum also features a unit on animal teams so Magnificent Creatures would be a great read aloud during this unit.

A special thanks to Becky Kraemer for sending Magnificent Creatures to share with my #bookexcursion group.  It will celebrate its book birthday next week on July 17, 2018.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

My Father’s Words by Patricia MacLachlan

Before the story begins, Patricia MacLachlan shares that My Father’s Words is a novel based on the real relationship between her late husband, who was a clinical psychologist, a former patient of his, and herself.  Knowing this story is based on truth made me both cry and smile while reading.

After Fiona and Finn’s father dies in a car accident to avoid hitting a child who chased a ball into the street, one of their father’s favorite patients, Thomas comes to pay his respects.  Considering him a hero, Thomas wants to share with Fiona why her father was such a good man and offers to call her once a week for two minutes at 6:50 p.m. every Monday.

On the very first call, Fiona shares her concern for Finn who is sad and alone.  Thomas suggests finding someone who has been left alone for Finn to help.  Writing the advice down, their neighbor Luke sees her note and shares a flyer advertising that a nearby animal shelter needs volunteers to spend time with dogs.  The very next day, the three children visit the shelter and discover that there are many dogs that need love and attention. Finn chooses a dog staring at the back wall named Emma.  They find out that Emma’s owner was a musician, and she was dropped off at the shelter after he died.  With each visit, Finn and Emma bond over books and later music and ultimately help each other cope with their grief.  Fiona finds comfort with Jenny, a calm and relaxed poodle.

Only 144 pages long, My Father’s Words is a beautifully written and tender story about the process of healing after the loss of a loved one.  What touched me the most is that through Thomas’ calls and volunteering at the shelter, Fiona and Finn slowly begin to feel a sense of hope in the midst of their great loss and learn that while “dogs need people, people need dogs even more sometime-to teach people how good they really can be.”

Having two rescue dogs, this novel is most definitely a heartprint book for me, for I am blessed with their unconditional love which truly makes me a better person. Thanks to Edelweiss for the privilege of reading an e-book of My Father’s Words, which will release on October 2, 2018.

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books!  Happy reading!

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Book Birthday, Picture Books

Happy Book Birthday to It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus! by Jody Jensen Shaffer

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Beagles and Books wishes a very Happy Book Birthday to It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus written by Jody Jensen Shaffer and illustrated by Claire Messer. Special thanks to author Jody Jensen Shaffer for sending me a copy that I will also share with my #bookexcursion group. All opinions are my own.

Who isn’t nervous on the first day of school?  It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus tells the tale of Busy Bus who is both anxious and excited for his first day on the job. Ben, the bus driver, thoroughly checks Busy to make sure he is ready performing tasks such as measuring the air in his tires, filling his gas tank, turning his lights on and off, inspecting his emergency door, and of course, starting Busy’s engine.  Although Ben is confident that Busy is ready for the road, Busy is worried.  What if he gets homesick or doesn’t make any friends?  Thankfully, Ben is there to ensure Busy’s first day of school is a success!

For early childhood teachers, It’s Your First Day of School, Busy Bus is the perfect read aloud for the first week back.  Busy is experiencing all the same emotions that children feel anticipating their first day of school.  Busy is adorably drawn, and Messer sweetly conveys his range of emotions with his eyes and mouth. The illustrations span the spread so the artwork is large enough for children to view during a read aloud, which is a plus.

What I love most about the book is that Ben is right by Busy’s side to support him.  When he places Busy’s nameplate on him, Busy not only realizes he is ready but also that he is safe, clean and most importantly, loved.  When I think about children returning to school in the fall, building relationships is by far the most crucial.  Like Busy, children need to feel safe and loved which in turn instills confidence and a belief that they can achieve great things.

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 7/2/18

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Happy early 4th of July! Beagles and Books is excited to share 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:

Where the Watermelons Grow by Cindy Baldwin

Ever since she was born, Della’s mama has lived with schizophrenia and experiences good days and bad days. Recently, Mama is going through a rough patch obsessed with getting rid of all the germs that can hurt Della and her baby sister, Mylie.  Knowing Della is worried about her mama, Della’s dad reminds her that many people don’t understand schizophrenia and begin seeing the person as a disease not a human being.  Like always, they will get through her mama’s highs and lows together as a family.

Growing up, Della had heard stories about the magical powers of Miss Tabitha Quigley’s (also known as The Bee Lady) honey.  If the honey could fix Grandpa Kelly’s leg, perhaps it could fix Mama too. Della is though deflated when Miss Quigley tells her that the honey will not heal her mama but offers Della something that can heal her, if she wants.  Conscious that her Mama’s illness was triggered by her birth, Della is frustrated and determined to make Mama better so she takes the initiative to do additional chores and take care of Mylie who can be a handful.

Unfortunately, Mama gets progressively worse and with her daddy’s watermelons getting hit hard by disease, the Kelly family is struggling.  Faced with the realization that she has tried everything, Della returns to Miss Quigley’s house to accept her help and discovers the honey’s magic is that it brings out a strength that a person already has inside.  With the support of Miss Lorena, Miss Amanda, her grandparents and most importantly, her daddy, Della learns that she has strength all around her and realizes that no sickness in the world could make her mama’s love for her and Mylie less real.  In fact, everything is going to be just fine.

Where the Watermelons Grow is a story that can be a mirror or window for readers. Cindy Baldwin’s beautifully written novel gives an honest and tender account of how Della copes and accepts her mama’s mental illness.  Special thanks to Cindy Baldwin for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Where the Watermelons Grow celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 3, 2018.

Margot and Mateo Save the World by Darcy Miller

Blue-streaked haired Margot Blumenthal is a newcomer to West Cove Middle School.  Considered a lock for the United States national freestyle wrestling team, she is intimidating to both students and teachers.  On the way to school, Margot notices her school play co-star Mateo Flores acting erratic.   She confronts him and finds a bright blue slug attached to his back and courageously removes it.  Little did Margot and Mateo know that the slug is actually an alien that has also infected other people in town including the mayor and Mateo’s father.  The two hesitantly join forces along with scientist Calvin Biggs to stop these alien slugs from taking over the town and in the process, they learn more about each other’s true selves.  Will their alliance save the world and ignite a real friendship?

While the novel is hilariously entertaining as Margot and Mateo reluctantly work together to combat the aliens, their partnership shows an honest depiction of the perils of navigating middle school. Being a new student, Margot may appear to have a tough exterior and content with being on her own but, in reality, she wants to make friends and be included.  Mateo, on the other hand, has lived in West Cove his whole life and is liked by everyone.  He though is a people pleaser and doesn’t always speak up for himself.  Saving the world prompts them to each discover who they really are.

Special thanks to author Darcy Miller for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Margot and Mateo Save the World celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on July 3, 2018.

Being You by Alexs Pate Illustrated by Soud

Being You is a beautifully written and illustrated picture book that celebrates children’s individuality. Although people in the world may wish to tell children who they are, the author’s message is clear; children are in charge of their own path. What I love most about this book is that it shows the power of relationships and how  simple acts such as observation, a smile, and conversation can support children in their self-discovery.  Alexs Pate’s words are concise but profound and Soud’s gorgeous artwork honestly illustrates both the highs and lows that children today experience.

As I plan for #classroombookaday for the upcoming school year, Being You is a picture book that I will most definitely share with teachers and students. Special thanks to Jennifer Glidden at Capstone for sending an ARC to our #bookexcursion group. Look for Being You in October 2018.  In the meantime, click on the video for a preview.

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Goodbye Brings Hello by Dianne White Illustrated by Daniel Wiseman

There are many ways of letting go. With each goodbye, a new hello.”  These sentences open this incredibly beautiful picture book that extols the positive effects of change. To read my full review, click here.

Dear Substitute by Liz Garton Scanlon & Audrey Vernick Illustrated by Chris Raschka

There is no substitute for a great teacher or is there?  Written as a series of humorous letters, Dear Substitute gives readers a child’s perspective of having a substitute teacher for the day. To read my full review, click here.

Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:

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

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Great Dog by Davide Cali Illustrated by Miguel Tanco

A father dog and his son spend the day looking at family portraits in the long hallway of their house.  Stopping at each stately portrait, the father extols each relative’s accomplishment but appearances can be deceiving.  For example, Uncle Scooter was lauded as an amazing teacher of young sheep but when the readers opens the gatefold, the truth is revealed; Uncle Scooter’s classroom was a hot mess. After hearing all these stories which are actually contrary to the truth, the son asks his father “What about me?” The father responds “No matter what. You will be a GREAT dog!” exclaiming his faith that his son is destined for greatness.  The very last gatefold reveals a surprise to the reader leaving them with a tender and heartwarming message celebrating the unconditional love that parents have or their child.  The illustrations are simply exquisite using a limited palette of colors and deserve more time to enjoy on a second read.

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

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