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.
The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden by Karina Yan Glaser
After reading The Vanderbeekers of 141st Street, I fell in love with the entire family and couldn’t wait for an opportunity to return to Harlem for a follow up visit. Fortunately, my wait was short than expected because author Karina Yan Glaser graciously sent an ARC of The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden to my #bookexcursion group. It is no surprise that the second book in the series is as heartwarming as the first!
The Vanderbeekers’ upstairs neighbor and good friend Mr. Jeet suffers a stroke. As a result, he has to spend many weeks in the hospital recovering, and his wife Miss Josie won’t leave his side. Desperate to do something for Miss Josie and Mr. Jeet who met at a botanical garden, the Vanderbeeker children decide to fulfill Miss Josie’s request and transform the unused land next to her church into a community garden.
Their task is not without its challenges. The children didn’t exactly get permission from the pastor or discuss their project with their parents. Between the four of them (Isa is at orchesta camp), they only have seventy-eight dollars and eighteen days to make their dream a reality. And to matters worse, there is a strong possibility that the land may be sold to a real land developer. But the Vanderbeekers are resilient both collectively and individually and aren’t going to let a few obstacles get in their way, right?
While I love Cicero’s quote mentioned in the novel, “If you have a garden and a library, you have everything you need.” I believe that the Vanderbeekers would add that being generous to others in your community is also essential to happiness. The Vanderbeekers gently remind me that acts of kindness are good for the heart and soul! Thank you Karina for sharing the beautiful family once again with #bookexcursion! The Vanderbeekers and the Hidden Garden releases on September 25, 2018, Anxiously anticipating Book 3!
Snazzy Cat Capers by Deanna Kent Illustrated by Neil Hooson
Cat burglar Ophelia Von Hairball V is an elite member of the FFBI (Furry Feline Burglary Institute). Well known for her love of all things sparkly, she equally enjoys the thrill of partaking in a challenging heist. Unlike her cousin and archrival Pierre, Ophelia follows the FFBI honor code with the small exception of returning 16 inventors in one year. FFBI’s motto is “purr-fect crimes” and recently, more cats are getting caught by the Central Canine Intelligence Agency (CCIA). Translation-all cat burglars need a paw-rtner in crime so much to Ophelia’s chagrin, she is paired with her 17th inventor, Oscar Fishgerald Gold.
Immediately after Oscar arrives, Ophelia and he discover Pierre’s scheme to thwart her participation in the Fifth Annual Purr-fect Heist Competition. While Oscar’s skills are instrumental in getting her to Paris in time, she stills prefers to work alone. Can Ophelia win the competition on her own or will she embrace her fintastic partner?
Snazzy Cat Capers is simply meowificent! Hilarious and fast-paced, I loved everything about this original new series-the dynamic characters, the page turning plot, the adorably eye catching illustrations, and the unique format, which is a blend of graphic novel and illustrated chapter book. Special thanks to Deanna Kent, Neil Hooson, and Imprint Books for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Snazzy Cat Capers will be available on September 18, 2018 with two more books in the series releasing in 2019. Until then, meet sassy Ophelia and ingenious Oscar in book trailer below!
The Very Last Castle by Travis Jonker Illustrated by Mark Pett
A young girl, Ibb, lives in a town where there is only one castle still standing, and a lone knight guards it. The knight never comes out and no one from town ever goes in. While most townspeople think terrible things are in the castle, Ibb thinks differently. After boldly knocking on the castle door (and then running away), she receives an invitation to visit. Ibb’s willingness to think differently and take a chance is a lesson to herself, the entire town and most importantly, us as readers. Travis Jonker has written an uplifting story of a young girl’s curiosity and bravery and how her one simple act can change a community for the better. Mark Pett’s illustrations are equally beautiful; I especially Ibb’s unique sense of style with her big yellow boots and her backpack adorn with clip toys.
The Very Last Castle is already on my list to share with students and teachers for #classroombookaday! Special thanks to Jenny Choy at Abrams Books for sending a copy for my #bookexcursion group to review. It will be released on October 9, 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.
Fred Stays with Me! by Nancy Coffelt Illustrated by Tricia Tusa
Because her parents are divorced, a young girl has to adjust to living in two different homes. Throughout the sweet story, the girl shares how things are the same and different at each house, but the one absolute constant is that her dog Fred always stays with her. Her mom complains that Fred constantly barks at the poodle next door, and her dad complains that Fred keeps steals socks. As a result of his antics, both parents state “Fred can’t stay with me!” In response, the girl boldly reminds her parents that “Fred doesn’t stay with either of you. Fred stays with ME!,” which prompts each parent to come up with a plan to solve their problem with Fred. I loved this story not only because it celebrates the love between a child and her pet but also it shows that divorced parents can work together in the best interest of their child.
Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books! Happy reading!