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.
Etta, Bella, and I are blogging from western North Carolina about 20 minutes from Asheville in a beautiful cabin bordering the Pisgah National Forest. My husband and I love vacationing in this area for so many reason but most importantly because it is so dog friendly. Yesterday, the girls and I enjoyed a wonderful Sunday on the deck with this beautiful mountain view.
Our Reads This Week:
Last week, Etta helped me celebrate new picture books releases from Capstone Publishing. To read our full reviews, please click here.
Case Closed: Mystery in the Mansion by Lauren Magaziner
Carlos’ mother is a detective, but her agency is struggling to stay afloat. To make matter worse, she is sick with the flu and can’t begin the investigation for her latest case which is identifying the person sending death threats to Guinevere LeCavilier, a wealthy older woman. Carlo’s mom asks him to call her partner Cole, but Carlos decides to take matters into his own hands and recruits his best friend Eliza to join him. Accompanying them is Frank, Eliza’s annoying and obnoxious six year old brother. Will Carlos, Eliza, and Frank be successful in cracking the case? Well, that all depends on the reader who must help them make choices and solve puzzles to find the perpetrator.
Growing up, I devoured the Choose Your Own Adventure series because I loved having a role in the outcome of the story. Mystery in the Mansion, the first book in Lauren Magaziner’s new Case Closed series transported me back to my childhood and I must share that I love her format even better! Why? When readers come to a part of the story when they must make a choice, there may be two, three or even four options from which to choose. In addition, readers may be required to solve a puzzle to identify the next page that will move the plot along. And while some puzzles are simple, others prompt readers to get out pencil and paper, brush up on their math or even call in for help (Confession: I had to seek my husband’s support a few times).
After finally solving the case (Yes-it took me a few tries), I went back to the beginning of the story to start over. I became quite addictive to discovering if there were multiple good endings but even a wrong turn was fun because of Lauren Magaziner’s creative and humorous plot. Not only am I excited to share this original new series with students, I believe it would be a great class read aloud and in a recent tweet, Lauren Magaziner provides some read aloud tips for teachers. And the best part of all-Case Closed is a series! Looking forward to more adventures with Carlos, Eliza, and of course, Frank’s hilarious antics!
A very special thanks to Lauren Magaziner for sending an ARC of Case Closed to our #bookexcursion group. Pre-order now so that you can begin your adventure on August 14, 2018.
The Third Mushroom by Jennifer L. Holm
For fans of The Fourteenth Goldfish, The Third Mushroom is a sequel we have all been waiting for. A year has passed with some changes. Ellie has a cat named Jonas, she and her best friend Raj are in the seventh grade, and Ellie’s mom and Ben are now married. Ellie’s seventy-seven-year-old scientist grandfather Melvin though is still living in the body of a fourteen year old boy. Tired of being on the road, Melvin returns to town with dirty laundry in hand. Ellie is elated that he is back and while Melvin is happy to see his granddaughter, he is not excited to return to middle school pretending to be her cousin. Still his grumpy old self, Melvin makes the best of it by being Ellie’s partner on a science project for the county fair. Through their collaboration, Ellie learns valuable life lessons. Her most important observation is realizing that when an experiment fails, a true scientist always learns from her mistakes.
Written in short chapters and told through Ellie’s point of view, The Third Mushroom is sequel that does not disappoint. Jennifer Holm does an excellent job continuing the story. Ellie is one of my favorite middle grade characters because of her curiosity, thoughtfulness, and versatility. While her mom and grandfather are polar opposites, Ellie can appreciate both the theatre and science. She is also very observant especially when it comes to her friendships whether it be with her old friend Brianna, her best friend, Raj or her grandfather Melvin.
A very special thanks to Random House Kids for sending an ARC of The Third Mushroom to our #bookexcursion group. Pre-order now so that you can catch up with Ellie and Melvin on September 4, 2018.
Etta’s and Bella’s Dog Pick of the Week:
Lulu and the Dog from the Sea by Hilary McKay Illustrated by Priscilla Lamont
Wanting to spread the dog love, Beagles and Books has a weekly feature of highlighting a literary selection with a canine main character.
In the second book in the series, animal lover Lulu, her best friend and cousin Mellie, her parents, and her dog Sam take a vacation to a cottage by the sea. Upon arriving, her family discovers that there is a stray dog living on the beach. The owner of the cottage warns Lulu and her family that the “dog from the sea” is a menace and needs to be caught by the dog catchers like the rest of his family. Lulu takes a special interest in the stray dog attempting to make friends with him throughout their trip. Will Lulu be able to tame the “dog from the sea” and convince her parents and of course Sam that they have room for one more animal?
Animal books are always in high demand. I am always on the lookout for “new to me” illustrated chapter books and the Lulu series will be a great addition to my classroom library. I especially loved author Hilary McKay’s description of getting Sam ready for vacation. While we didn’t pack a suitcase for Etta and Bella, we brought a few dog beds and other items so that the beagle girls feel at home. Lulu’s family is delightful, for her mother is determined to make a dent into her TBR stack of books including War and Peace, her dad has aspirations of training for the next marathon, and Mellie can’t wait to construct and fly her birthday kite.
Etta, Bella, and I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Have a great week!