#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/29/18


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.

Unfortunately, Bella has become quite camera shy especially a book is nearby.  Imagine that!  Thankfully Etta is willing to pose as long as treats are part of the deal.

Our Reads This Week:

Property of the Rebel Librarian by Allison Varnes

12 year old June Harper has always been a rule follower, but after her parents confiscate her library book, The Makings of a Witch, the librarian Ms. Bradshaw is put on indefinite leave, and the school board passes a resolution banning all books which contain profanity, drugs, violence, rock/rap music, witchcraft, drinking, smoking or rebellion of any kind, June has no choice but to rebel for the first time in her life.  Recalling Ms. Bradshaw’s words that one book can change everything, June secretly starts a banned book library in an abandoned locker stocking it with books borrowed from a Little Free Library located in her neighborhood.  Word begins to spread about June’s library but fear of getting caught is growing. Can she keep her underground library hidden or will it be discovered?

I love books about books and most especially I love characters who are voracious readers. June is a proud library groupie who understands the true power of books.  As I read Property of the Rebel Librarian, I’ll admit I was so angered by all the adults in the novel (except of course for Ms. Bradshaw who is awesome) who firmly believed in censoring books.  While it may have seemed far fetched, all I have to do is scroll my Twitter feed to be reminded that censorship is happening when parents and teachers think graphic novels are not real reading or students can’t choose books outside of their reading levels.  I greatly admired June for taking a stand choosing books over a boy and fighting for the freedom to read and most importantly, for the freedom of choice.

While The Makings of a Witch is not a real novel, all other titles mentioned in the novel are real and it was so cool to see familiar and loved titles such as EngiNerds, Pax, A Snicker of Magic, and Because of Winn Dixie. A full list of all titles mentioned appears at the end of the book.  Special thanks to author Allison Varnes for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  Property of the Rebel Librarian recently published in September 2018.

Bone Soup: A Spooky and Tasty Tale by Alyssa Satin Capucilli Illustrated by Tom Knight

Bone Soup is a fun Halloween retelling of the classic tale Stone Soup that I can’t wait to read aloud to students this week!  On Halloween morning, three hungry witches have nothing in their cupboards except a bone.  “Let’s make bone soup!” said Naggy Witch.  Carrying their cauldron with the lone bone from house to house, the witches trick or treat for more ingredients to make bone soup.  An assortment of ghoulish characters contribute to the soup by adding a bit of water, a savory morsel, a crunchy treat, and some tasty tidbits.   But wait!  Soup from a bone?  Is this a trick instead of a treat?

Kids will not only enjoy this spooky plot of this remake but also the entertaining and not too scary illustrations.  At the end of the book, there is a recipe to make bone soup which would be a great family activity.  As a teacher, I love author Alyssa Satin Capucilli’s word choice exposing children to rich vocabulary (gleefully, beguiling, boomed) and her use of puns (“I won’t hang around much longer,” sneered the bat.)  Another bonus is under the recipe, she includes a note which reminds readers that the theme of both Bone Soup and the original folktale is that of collaboration and sharing.  That makes Bone Soup a treat for adults to read to kids!

Special thanks to Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending Bone Soup to Beagles and Books.  It released in July 2018.

Sanity & Tallulah

Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks

With engaging artwork using a limited color palette, a fast paced plot, strong and diverse characters and of course, an adorable three-headed kitty,  I hope that Sanity and Tallulah is the first of many space adventures with this charming, intelligent, and plucky duo. 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.

Blue by Laura Vaccaro Seeger

Blue is a tender and poignant story chronicling the relationship between a boy and his dog.  The first double page spread is a beautiful water color illustration of a puppy and boy sleeping head to head both touching a blue blanket with only two words, baby blue.  Each subsequent spread sweetly captures a moment in time that the boy and his dog share as they grow up together.  The blue blanket is now a kerchief which the boy and the dog take turns wearing.  Just two words, one being blue, describe each scene.  The bonded pair chase butterflies, run in the ocean waves, sleep together, read in a tent, and walk in the rain and snow.  Inevitably, the dog ages and the boy copes with his grief and the loss of his best friend.  As a dog mom, I too have experienced this sorrow and especially with Etta getting older, this story hits very close to home. Blue though reminds me that I can cherish my precious memories and open my heart once again.

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

Blog Tour, Debut Author, Giveaway, Graphic Novel, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour and Giveaway: Sanity & Tallulah by Molly Brooks


Beagles and Books wishes a Happy Book Birthday to author Molly Brooks and her debut graphic novel Sanity and Tallulah!  We are excited to be part of the blog tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

Sanity & Tallulah

About the Book:
Author: Molly Brooks
Pub. Date: October 16, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, paperback, eBook
Pages: 240

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

Sanity Jones and Tallulah Vega are best friends on Wilnick, the dilapidated space station they call home at the end of the galaxy. So naturally, when gifted scientist Sanity uses her lab skills and energy allowance to create a definitely-illegal-but-impossibly-cute three-headed kitten, she has to show Tallulah. But Princess, Sparkle, Destroyer of Worlds is a bit of a handful, and it isn’t long before the kitten escapes to wreak havoc on the space station. The girls will have to turn Wilnick upside down to find her, but not before causing the whole place to evacuate! Can they save their home before it’s too late?

Readers will be over the moon for this rollicking space adventure by debut author Molly Brooks.

Graphic novels are in high demand with my readers so I was so excited to have the opportunity to read Sanity and Tallulah.  Right at the beginning of the novel, it was clear that young Sanity is a scientific force to be reckoned with.  Secretly, Sanity creates a three-headed kitten in the lab much to the dismay of Dr. Vega, the space station’s chief scientist and best friend Tallulah’s mom.  After the bioengineered kitty escapes from the lab, Sanity and Tallulah’s search to find the cat uncovers a much larger problem that could threaten the entire space station.

I just love Sanity and Tallulah both as individuals and as a team. Already grounded for being an accomplice, Tallulah willingly assists Sanity in searching for three-headed feline, always trying to keep her best friend’s spirits up, and is a good sounding board. Sanity exhibits confidence in her abilities as a scientist, and her genuine concern for her cat’s well being is endearing.  Despite Dr. Vega’s anger about the unauthorized science project, she demonstrates compassion toward both girls and recognizes and values Sanity’s talents and expertise.  Most importantly, author Molly Brooks creates strong, diverse female characters with a respected knowledge of science who can serve as role models for students.

With engaging artwork using a limited color palette, a fast paced plot, strong and diverse characters and of course, an adorable three-headed kitty,  I hope that Sanity and Tallulah is the first of many space adventures with this charming, intelligent, and plucky duo.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.

About Molly:
I’m a freelance illustrator/comics-maker in Brooklyn by way of Nashville.

Website | Twitter |  Goodreads | Tumblr

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of SANITY & TALLULAH, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.


Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more author Molly Brooks and her debut graphic novel Sanity & Tallulah.

Week Two:
10/15/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review
10/16/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
10/17/2018- Utopia State of Mind– Excerpt
10/18/2018- YA Books Central– Interview
10/19/2018- Eli to the nth– Review

#Bookexcursion, Giveaway, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? & Enter 2 Giveaways! 10/15/18


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:


Revenge of the Enginerds by Jarrett Lerner

Snow in May? A satellite falling out of the sky? But wait….it gets worse. An alien obsessed girl with nifty gadgets wants to join the EngiNerds. Ken is at his wit’s end and his fellow EngiNerds are not stepping up. The highly anticipated follow up to EngiNerds exceeds expectations with a hilarious action packed plot and a glimpse into Ken’s struggles to accept that friendships change and grow.

The novel takes place one week after Ken, Dan, Jerry, and John Henry Knox defeated sixteen of the robots. Told from Ken’s point of view, readers quickly discover that there is still one robot on the loose, and strange things are occurring in town. Ken is determined to find this rogue robot and is fueled by a quote from his grandpa.  “Finish what you start or down the road, it’ll bite you in the backside.” His fellow EngiNerds are not only discouraged but also distracted by Mikaela Harrington, a girl who believes aliens are to blame for all the strange occurrences and is eager to share all her handmade fancy gizmos.

Ken cannot understand why his friends actually are taking Mikaela seriously especially his best friend Dan.  Readers will easily identify with Ken’s jealousy and his growing concern that he and Dan are drifting apart.   Thanks to his dog Kitty and Mikaela’s data eater, Ken finally finds the lone robot Klaus working at Things and Stuff.  Will Ken be able to defeat Klaus alone or with the help of the EngiNerds?  Can Ken accept and become friends with Mikaela?  Is Klaus or aliens to blame for all the mysterious happenings?  Only one way to find out.  Pre-order Revenge of the Enginerds now so you can have it delivered promptly on February 19, 2019.

Special thanks to author Jarrett Lerner for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.

Remarkably You by Pat Zielow Miller Illustrated by Patrice Barton

What makes you remarkable?  In Remarkably You, Pat Zielow Miller’s inspirational text affirms that no matter your volume, age or size, we all have the power to make a difference in world with our own individual gifts.   Written in rhyme, she speaks directly to readers encouraging us to uncover our talents, follow our passions, solve problems, and most importantly, be ourselves and believe in ourselves.  Patrice Barton’s warm and expressive illustrations depict children of all sizes and ethnicities who exude confidence.  An added bonus are the endpapers which is a sea of verbs and adjectives to positively describe and celebrate us as the unique individuals we are!  Can’t wait to share Remarkably You with teachers and students!

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G copy to my #bookexcursion group to read and share.  Remarkably You publishes in February 2019.


Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson Illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris

Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is a laugh out loud story which reinforces the benefits of cooperation and teamwork! To read my full review and enter a giveaway for your own copy, please click here.

Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About First Ladies by Marilyn Singer Illustrated by Nancy Carpenter

When I lived in Washington, DC, one of my favorite places to go was the Smithsonian Museum of American History to see the First Ladies exhibit.  I could spend hours looking at the First Ladies gowns and reading about their lives and the causes they championed.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? is an opportunity to meet all the women who have served in this public role through Marilyn Singer’s lyrical and rhyming poetry.

What did I learn? Here are a few facts.

  • Martha Dandridge Custis Washington was a wealthy widow with two children before marrying our nation’s first president.
  • Martha Wayless Skeleton Jefferson, wife of Thomas Jefferson died before he became president.
  • Louisa Catherine Johnson Adams became closer to her husband, John Quincy Adams after his presidency when they both fought for abolition.
  • Abigail Powers Fillmore was the first to add a sizeable collection of books at the White House.
  • Margaret “Peggy” Mackell Smith Taylor, wife of Zachary Taylor refused to participate in White House social functions and relinquished the role of hostess to her daughter Betty Bliss.
  • Lou Henry Hoover spoke four languages and studied geology at Stanford University.

Nancy Carpenter’s artwork has a vintage feel with ink and wash illustrations that complement the poetry well.  The back matter includes a narrative about the history of the role of First Lady, brief profiles of each woman with a quote and recommended books and websites.  This anthology of poetry reminds us how each First Lady embraced or surprisingly rejected their role as partner of the Commander in Chief.

Special thanks to Disney Hyperion Books and Rockstar Book Tours for sending a copy to Beagles and Books.  Have You Heard About Lady Bird? celebrates its book birthday tomorrow on October 16, 2018!  To enter a giveaway sponsored by the publisher to win a copy of your own, please 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.

Douglas, You’re a Genius! by Ged Adamson

Douglas and his glasses are back in a new story which promotes innovation, creativity, and persistence! While playing with Nancy, their ball disappears into a hole at the bottom of the fence.  To their surprise, the ball came back but how? Douglas hatches a plan to find out who is on the other side of the fence by sending a toy train through the hole.  After what seems like a long wait, the train returns with the following messages: “Hola” and “Queremos Conocerte.”  Nancy shares plan after plan with Douglas in hopes of getting over the fence but much to Douglas’ chagrin, every idea involves him doing something dangerous.  Finally, Douglas speaks up for himself and takes charge which truly shows he is a genius!  After discovering the mystery neighbors, I am hopeful for a third installment.

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

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep by Anthony Pearson

Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep written by Anthony Pearson and illustrated by Jennifer E. Morris It recently published on October 1, 2018. Special thanks to Two Lions Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

Publisher’s Summary: 

Eduardo Guadardo may look fluffy. He may look cute. But he’s no little lamb. He’s about to graduate from the FBI—that’s the Fairytale Bureau of Investigations—as an Elite Sheep.


He knows five forms of kung fu, and he can outfox the foxiest of foxes. In fact, he’s so good they put him on his own case: to keep the farmer’s daughter, Mary, safe from Wolf, Troll, and Witch. It’s a job for somebody baaaaaaad—someone like a soon-to-be Elite Sheep. The thing is, protecting Mary isn’t quite as easy as Eduardo expected…

This imaginary backstory for “Mary Had a Little Lamb” is hilarious, action-packed, and filled with subterfuge (that means pulling the wool over your eyes, for you civilians).


Review and Thoughts:
This year, my elementary school is focusing on one value or virtue per week to teach and reinforce with students on the daily morning announcements and during daily class meetings.  Since this week’s virtue was cooperation, Eduardo Guardaro, Elite Sheep was the perfect picture book to read aloud to the second grade class that I sponsor for #classroombookaday.  To learn more about #classroombookaday, please click here. 
At the beginning of the story, Eduardo exudes confidence in his ability to handle his very first case on his own.  When Gingerbread Man asks who will be his partner, Eduardo dismisses him firmly stating “I don’t need to work with anyone.”  Protecting adventurous Mary Sawyer from Wolf, Troll, and Witch is hard work but nothing that Eduardo can’t handle.  Don’t forget he is an Elite Sheep.
But even an Elite Sheep get tired especially when it’s three against one. A frustrated and frightened Eduardo finally realizes that he needs help and fast.  After he admits he was wrong and begs the Gingerbread Man for help, Eduardo discovers that his first case was actually a set up which reveals he is lacking one crucial skill-the ability to work as part of a team.When I asked students about the purpose for reading and what is the author trying to teach us as readers, they quickly saw the connection between our virtue of the week and the message of the story.  After reading, we briefly brainstormed how cooperating with others helps us.
As a teacher, I always carefully choose #classroombookaday picture books because I want the text to teach or change students in some way.  What I love about Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep is Anthony Pearson’s hilarious writing is full of sheep puns and told completely through dialogue.  Coupled with Jennifer Morris’ humorous and detailed illustrations, my students were laughing out loud the entire time I read the story.  But through the laughter, they learned the benefits of cooperation and teamwork, which are important skills to be successful in life.
About the Author:

Anthony Pearson is not a spy. He’s not. We promise. He’s actually a school counselor, a child therapist, and the author of Baby Bear Eats the Night, illustrated by Bonnie Leick. But that didn’t stop him from digging for clues about “Mary Had a Little Lamb.” What he found made him imagine what could have inspired the rhyme: a sheep that is totally, absolutely, 100 percent in control of things … or maybe just 95 percent. And squirrels in sunglasses. Oh, and a witch flying a helicopter. But you didn’t hear about the Fairytale Bureau of Investigations from him. Anthony and his family live in deep cover in Georgia. Get more intel about him at www.AnthonyPearson.info.

Twitter: @APearson_Writer

About the Illustrator:
Jennifer E. Morris has written and illustrated award-winning picture books and has also illustrated children’s magazines, greeting cards, partyware, and educational materials. She has not illustrated classified documents nor is she a super secret agent. She is, however, the creator of May I Please Have a Cookie? which has infiltrated more than a million homes. If you say “The dove flies at noon,” she may tell you what the ducks recorded on their cameras. Maybe. But most likely not. Jennifer lives with her family in Massachusetts, just a few miles from the little red schoolhouse where “Mary Had a Little Lamb” originated. Read more of her dossier (that’s DAH-see-ay) at www.jenmorris.com.

Twitter: @jemorrisbooks

Check Out Book Trailer:
Get some intel on Eduardo Guardado in his very own book trailer!

Enter Our Giveaway:
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Eduardo Guadardo, Elite Sheep, courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses only). Click the link below to enter.  Giveaway begins at Friday, October 12, 2018 at 12:00 a.m. and ends on Friday, October 19, 2018 at 11:59 a.m.  Please click the link below to enter.
Blog Tour, Giveaway, Poetry, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About Our First Ladies

Beagles and Books is excited to share a spotlight post on the upcoming release, Have You Heard About Lady Bird.  Stay tuned for a review next week on my It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? post next week.

About the Book:


Author: Marilyn Singer, Nancy Carpenter (Illustrations)

Pub. Date: October 16, 2018

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion

Formats: Hardcover, eBook

Pages: 56

Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

Publisher’s Summary:

The role of First Lady has been defined differently by each woman who’s held it, but all of them left an impact on our nation as partner of the commander in chief. Incisive poetry by Marilyn Singer and energetic art by Nancy Carpenter provide a fascinating glimpse into the lives of women-from Martha Washington to Eleanor Roosevelt to Lady Bird Johnson-who variously embraced the position and shied away from it, craved the spotlight and fiercely guarded their privacy, took controversial stands and championed for the status quo. Detailed back matter includes short biographies, quotations, and more.


About Marilyn:
Marilyn Singer was born in the Bronx (New York City) on October 3, 1948 and lived most of her early life in N. Massapequa (Long Island), NY. She attended Queens College, City University of New York, and for her junior year, Reading University, England. She holds a B.A. in English from Queens and an M.A. in Communications from New York University.

In 1974, after teaching English in New York City high schools for several years, she began to write – initially film notes, catalogues, teacher’s guides and film strips. Then, one day, when she was sitting in the Brooklyn Botanic Garden, she penned a story featuring talking insect characters she’d made up when she was eight. Encouraged by the responses she got, she wrote more stories and in 1976 her first book, The Dog Who Insisted He Wasn’t, was published by E.P.Dutton & Co.

Since then, Marilyn has published over seventy books for children and young adults. Her genres are many and varied, including realistic novels, fantasies, non-fiction, fairy tales, picture books, mysteries and poetry. She likes writing
 many different kinds of books because it’s challenging and it keeps her from getting bored. She has won several Children’s Choice and Parents’ Choice Awards, as well as the following: the Creature Carnival, Lee Bennett Hopkins Poetry Award Honor Book, 2005; I Believe in Water: Twelve Brushes with Religion, New York Public Library’s “Best Books for the Teen Age,” 2001; Stay True: Short Stories for Strong Girls, Popular Paperbacks for Young Adults, 2000 (YALSA); On the Same Day in March, Booklist’s Top Ten Science Books of 2000; NCSS-CBC Notable Book, 2000; Deal with a Ghost, finalist, YA category, Edgar Award, 1998; It Can’t Hurt Forever, Maud Hart Lovelace Award, 1983; The Course of True Love Never Did Run Smooth, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 1983; Turtle in July, NCTE Notable, N.Y.Times Best Illustrated and Time Magazine Best Children’s Books of 1989; Turtle in July was also a Reading Rainbow review book.

Marilyn currently lives in Brooklyn, NY, with her husband Steve; their standard poodle
 Oggi, a cousin of their beloved and recently departed poodle Easy, seen in the home page photo; a cat named August ; two collared doves named Jubilee and Holiday; and a starling named Darling. Her interests include dog training, reading, hiking, bird-watching, gardening, meditation, playing computer adventure games and going to the movies and the theatre. She’s also a major Star Trek fan.

Website | Twitter | Goodreads | Facebook

Giveaway Details:

3 winners will win a finished copy of HAVE YOU HEARD ABOUT LADY BIRD? POEMS ABOUT OUR FIRST LADIES, US Only. Please enter by clicking link below.


Tour Schedule:

Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Have You Heard About Lady Bird? Poems About First Ladies.

Week One:

10/8/2018- The Desert Bibliophile– Excerpt

10/9/2018- Novel Novice– Excerpt

10/10/2018- Beagles & Books– Review

10/11/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic– Review

10/12/2018- Such A Novel Idea– Review


Week Two:

10/15/2018- BookHounds YA– Review

10/16/2018- Bibliophile Reviews– Review

10/17/2018- Book-Keeping– Review

10/18/2018- Margie’s Must Reads– Review

10/19/2018- The Pages In-Between– Excerpt



#Bookexcursion, It's Monday! What Are You Reading?, Middle Grade Literature, Picture Books

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 10/8/18


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:

Del Toro Moon by Darby Karchut


While the Del Toro family business of combating wolf like monsters known as skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.   To read my full review, click here.

Porcupine’s Pie by Laura Renauld Illustrated by Jennie Pon

Porcupine is bursting with excitement to make her Famous Cranberry Pie for Fall Feast Day.  As she heads to the river to wash her cranberries, she encounters her forest friends who all are missing an ingredient to make their signature dish.  Ever helpful, Porcupine offers provisions in her pantry to her friends.  When she finally reaches the river, she realizes that her pail of cranberries is empty and no longer can make her beloved pie.  Her friends come to her rescue and Porcupine discovers that she can now make Friendship Pie, which is much more festive.   Debut author Laura Renauld has written a heartwarming story about friendship and sharing, and illustrator Jennie Pon’s warm and tender artwork will captivate young readers.

Last week, I had the pleasure of interviewing Laura about her debut picture book.  To read the interview, click here.  Thanks to Laura Renauld for sharing an e-copy of Porcupine’s Pie with Beagles and Books.  Porcupine’s Pie will celebrate its book birthday tomorrow on October 9, 2018.

Kitten Construction Company: Meet the House Kittens by John Patrick Green

What happens when a cute little kitten named Marmalade wants to be taken seriously as an architect and design the mayor’s mansion? She teams up with fellow kittens Sampson, an electrical engineer, Bubbles, a plumber, and Professor von Wigglebottom to start House Kittens Construction. This graphic novel for early readers is absolutely adorable (sorry House Kittens). Readers will easily fall in love with these enterprising felines. Hoping this is a series with more adventures to come.

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 Rough Patch by Brian Lies

Have you ever been blown away by a story?  The Rough Patch is a poignant story about love, loss, grief, and healing.  Evan, a fox and his dog were inseparable until the dog unexpectedly dies.   Evan’s garden which was once the source of happiness is now a lonely place.   To deal with his pain, Evan destroys his once magnificent garden allowing weeds to take over.  When a lone prickly pumpkin vine makes its way into the garden, Evan lets it remain and tends it to until it grows into an enormous pumpkin. This prize pumpkin is integral to the story because it ultimately helps Evan mend his broken heart.  Lies’ illustrations are absolutely beautiful and tenderly reveal the range of emotions that Evan experiences.

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

Blog Tour, Early Chapter Books, Giveaway, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Beatrice Zinker Incognito by Shelley Johannes


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker Incognito Blog Tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours. It recently released on September 19, 2018.

About the Book:
Author: Shelley Johannes
Pub. Date: September 18, 2018
Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, Paperback, eBook, audiobook
Pages: 224
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NiBooksTBD

Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker Incognito.jpg

In book two of the Beatrice Zinker series, Operation Upside is finally in full swing! But when Beatrice’s over-enthusiasm lands Mrs. Tamarack with a Strictest Certificate, the team has to scale back a bit. Lying low is not exactly Beatrice’s strong suit, especially when she sees someone who desperately needs to be recognized. But when the certificate meant for him falls into the wrong hands, Beatrice and Lenny have to find a way to widen their circle once again to save Operation Upside, and themselves, from trouble.


Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker was one of my first ARCs (advance reader copy) in my #bookexcursion group which consists of educators from all across the country who read, share, and post reviews of upcoming #kidit releases.  I utterly love Beatrice for her spunk and individuality and was so excited when I found out that Shelley Johannes was writing a follow-up.

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,  being inconspicuous 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!

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review.


About Shelley:
Before becoming an author-illustrator, Shelley began her creative career with ten years in architecture—where she fell in love with felt-tip pens, tracing paper, and the greatness of black turtlenecks. She currently lives in Metro Detroit Michigan with her husband and two sons.

Beatrice Zinker, Upside Down Thinker is the first book she’s written. She looks forward to more upside down adventures with Beatrice.

Website |  Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Giveaway Details:
3 winners will win a finished copy of BEATRICE ZINKER UPSIDE DOWN THINKER INCOGNITO, US Only.  Click the link below to enter.


Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Beatrice Zinker Upside Down Thinker Incognito.

Week One:
10/1/2018- LILbooKlovers– Excerpt
10/2/2018- A Fictional Bookworm– Review
10/3/2018- Beagles & Books– Review
10/4/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Excerpt
10/5/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic– Review

Week Two:
10/8/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review
10/9/2018- Christen Krumm Review
10/10/2018- For the Love of KidLit– Spotlight
10/11/2018- BookHounds YA– Review
10/12/2018- Two Points of Interest– Review

Author Interview, Debut Author, Picture Books

An Interview with Laura Renauld: Author of Porcupine’s Pie

Beagles and Books is honored to host an interview with author Laura Renauld.  Her debut picture book, Porcupine’s Pie will be released next week.  Stay tuned for my review of this heartwarming story of sharing and friendship on the blog later this week.


Porcupine’s Pie
Written by Laura Renauld
Illustrated by Jennie Poh
Beaming Books (October 9, 2018)

Publisher’s Summary:
Porcupine can’t wait to share Fall Feast with her woodland friends, so when everyone she greets is unable to bake their specialty due to a missing ingredient, Porcupine generously offers staples from her pantry. When Porcupine discovers that she, too, is missing a key ingredient, the friends all work together to create a new Fall Feast tradition. Porcupine’s Pie will inspire children ages 4-8 to act generously. A recipe for “friendship pie” can be found at the end of the book.

Congratulations on your debut picture book, Porcupine’s Pie LauraTell me a little about your writing journey. Have you always enjoyed writing?

Thank you, Laura! I’m so happy to share my book with your readers.  Ever since I can remember, books and reading have been an important part of my life. I could sit on my bed and travel to another planet, share a cake with a panda, or hideout in an art museum. I found friends and adventures between the pages. I don’t remember writing being part of my childhood in quite the same way. I kept a lot of journals and I created a town newspaper with a friend that we distributed to the neighborhood, but I didn’t start writing stories until I was an adult.

Where did you get the inspiration to write Porcupine’s Pie?
Have you heard of Tara Lazar’s Picture Book Idea Month (now Storystorm)? I’ve participated every year since 2011. Published authors share idea-gathering strategies in daily posts. It encourages me to fill a notebook that I can draw on all year long. During PiBoIdMo 2014, Tammi Sauer’s guest post challenged writers to frame a story as a How-To Book. So I jotted in my notebook: “How to make porcupine pie (or a pie for a porcupine)”. (Even at this early stage I thought that Porcupine Pie sounded a bit morbid!) My story never evolved into a How-To Book, but the alliterative title stuck with me and I ran with it!

Porcupine Pie is a beautifully illustrated by Jennie Poh. As an author, share your experience seeing your story come to life with her artwork.
The first time I experienced Porcupine outside of my own imagination was when the book cover was revealed. Porcupine looked different than what I had visualized, but after seeing her strutting through the woods in her little blue boots and carrying a pie, I couldn’t imagine her any other way. Creating a picture book is truly a collaboration. I love the color palette Jennie chose and Porcupine’s cozy den feels so inviting. The characters were friends in my text, but Jennie’s illustrations make those relationships warm and believable. I am very grateful to Jennie for bringing my characters to life.

From your bio, I read that you are a former third grade teacher.  How did you make the transition from third grade teacher to published picture book writer?
When I taught third grade, my favorite part of the day was the read-aloud. I chose a variety of picture books as mentor texts for Reading and Writing Workshops, as supplements for Science, Social Studies, and Math units, and as a springboard for discussions on social topics, such as inclusion, bullying, and empathy. I witnessed the power of story to captivate, amuse, and encourage. Stories are powerful and I felt drawn to the creative process.

After I left teaching and had my children, I started to take my writing seriously. I joined SCBWI, attended conferences, sought out a critique group, and found online resources that supported my journey. But most importantly, I made writing a priority and started treating it as a part-time job. My advice to aspiring writers? The laundry can wait!

Besides writing, what are your other passions?
I’ve always loved to sing. I’ve been in a choir nearly every year since middle school. In fact, that’s how I met my husband: on the choir tour bus in college. I currently sing with my church choir. I belong to a book club and I enjoy hosting tea parties for that group. I also love to bake, which ties in nicely with Porcupine’s Pie since I created a pie recipe to include at the end of the book. My book club even got roped into a taste test!

Do you have any other writing projects planned in the future?
My next book is a picture book biography called Fred’s Big Feelings: The Life and Legacy of Mister Rogers. It is scheduled to release in Fall 2019, with Brigette Barrager illustrating.

Thank you so much Laura for stopping by Beagles and Books!  There is still time to pre-order Porcupine’s Pie to receive a signed bookplate and be entered to win a pie kit.  Preorder available at AmazonBarnes & NobleIndiebound, and Beaming Books.



About Laura:
Laura Renauld grew up in Vermont with a forest as her playground. While she never met a pie-baking porcupine, walks in the woods were always an adventure. When she is not enjoying nature with her husband and their two boys, Laura can be found reading, singing, and baking in Northern Virginia. This is her debut picture book.

Connect with me online at: laurarenauld.com and on social media:

Twitter – @laura_renauld
Facebook – @kidlitlaura
Instagram – @laurarenauld

Blog Tour, Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature, Rockstar Book Tours

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Del Toro Moon by Darcy Karchut

Happy Book Birthday to Darby Karchut’s Del Toro Moon! Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the Del Toro Moon Blog Tour organized by Rockstar Book Tours.

About the Book:
Author: Darby Karchut
Pub. Date: October 2, 2018
Publisher: Owl Hollow Press
Formats: Paperback, eBook
Pages: 224
Find it: GoodreadsAmazonB&NTBD

“Ride hard, swing hard, and take out as many of those creepy critters as you can.”

Twelve year old Matt Del Toro is the greenest greenhorn in his family’s centuries-old business: riding down and destroying wolf-like monsters, known as skinners. Now, with those creatures multiplying, both in number and ferocity, Matt must saddle up and match his father’s skills at monster whacking. Odds of doing that? Yeah, about a trillion to one. Because Matt’s father is the legendary Javier Del Toro—hunter, scholar, and a true caballero: a gentleman of the horse.

Luckily, Matt has twelve hundred pounds of backup in his best friend—El Cid, an Andalusian war stallion with the ability of human speech, more fighting savvy than a medieval knight, and a heart as big and steadfast as the Rocky Mountains.

Serious horse power.

Those skinners don’t stand a chance.

Del Toro Moon is a fast paced adventure told from the point of view of youngest son, Matt who is just joining his father and brother in the family trade. For centuries, his family has held the dangerous occupation of guarding the town against these wolf-like monsters known as skinners. Contained in sealed coffers for years, these creepy skinners have been getting out and multiplying.  Fortunately, the Del Toro family does not have to fight this battle alone, for their Andalusian war horses are right by their side fighting with them. And their horses can talk!  El Cid is definitely my favorite horse because he watches over Matt closely ever since his mother died. Having El Cid as a confidant is important because Matt’s dad, Javier and older brother, Ben do not always see eye to eye and given the family’s line of work, making friends is not easy for Matt.

While the Del Toro family business of combating skinners may have initially convinced me to read Del Toro Moon, it is the importance of sticking together as a family that will remain with me long after I have read.  Matt and Ben may not always agree with Javier, but they truly respect him and their family history.  Javier also has instilled a sense of duty and strength in his sons.  Matt is reminded by his father’s words that “courage is as much about battling our fears as it battling our foes.” Courage is crucial as Matt navigates not only fighting skinners but also opening himself up to new friendships and coping with the loss of loved ones.   Amid the horror of the Del Toro family battling skinners, Del Toro Moon is a story that also has a lot of heart.

Disclaimer: I received a copy of this book from the author in exchange for an honest review.

Giveaway Details:
One winner will receive a signed finished copy of Del Toro Moon, US Only. Click on link below to enter.


About Darby:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, dreamer, and compulsive dawn greeter. A proud native of New Mexico, she now lives in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains, where she runs in blizzards and bikes in lightning storms.

When not dodging death by Colorado, Darby is busy wrangling words.

Her books include the best selling middle grade series, THE ADVENTURE OF FINN MacCULLEN. Coolest thing ever: her YA debut novel, GRIFFIN RISING, has been optioned for film.

Website | Twitter | Facebook | Instagram | Goodreads

Tour Schedule:
Join us on the other stops of this tour for more giveaway chances and to read more about Del Toro Moon.

Week One:
9/24/2018- BookHounds YA– Interview
9/25/2018- Oh Hey! Books.– Excerpt
9/26/2018- Random Bookish Banter– Review
9/27/2018- Patriotic Bookaholic– Review
9/28/2018- Rhythmicbooktrovert– Review

Week Two:
10/1/2018- Eli to the nth– Review
10/2/2018- Beagles and Books– Review
10/3/2018- Daily Waffle Excerpt
10/4/2018- LA Bookworm– Review
10/5/2018- Two Chicks on Books– Excerpt