Book Birthday, Giveaway, Middle Grade Literature

Review & Giveaway for Cogheart by Paul Benzl

Beagles and Books is excited to share a review for Cogheart by Paul Benzl. Special thanks to Jolly Fish 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:

Some secrets change the world in a heartbeat.

Lily’s life is in mortal peril. Her father is missing and now silver-eyed men stalk her through the shadows. What could they want from her? With her friends—Robert, the clockmaker’s son, and Malkin, her mechanical fox—Lily is plunged into a murky and menacing world. Too soon Lily realizes that those she holds dear may be the very ones to break her heart …

Review:

Cogheart tells the story of Lily, a student at Miss Octavia Scrimshaw’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies.  Posture class and French conversation lessons are not Lily’s cup of tea and while she may have frustrated a number of her governesses, she still can’t understand why her inventor father, John Hartman send her to boarding school under a false surname.
As the story quickly unfolds, Lily discovers that her father is missing after his airship crashed.  Since he is presumed dead, Lily is plucked out of school by her father’s housekeeper who Lily knows cannot be trusted.  Determined to find her father, Lily puts her trust in Robert, the son of a town clockmaker who with his father’s help repairs Malkin, Lily’s mechanical fox after he was injured.  Created by her father, Malkin shares his account of what happened on the airship the night John Hartman disappeared. As she, Robert, and Malkin navigate Victorian London thwarting off dastardly villains and attempt to uncover the truth, Lily discovers family secrets that could endanger Robert’s and her lives.
Cogheart is a book I wished I had read when I was a kid.  With dynamic characters, a fast paced intriguing plot, and an enchanting steampunk setting, I was quickly immersed in Lily and Robert’s world.  While Lily’s quest to find out the truth was riveting, I was equally drawn to Robert who initially lacked confidence in himself and a dreadful fear of heights.  Due to his kindness and loyalty to Lily, Robert realizes that his father Thaddeus was right, for while is true that ”no one conquers fear easily, it takes a brave heart to win great battles.” Cogheart is a story about family, friendship, and finding out who you really are.
First published in the UK in 2016, Cogheart is the first novel in the trilogy.  Thankful to Jolly Fish Press for purchasing the American rights to this thrilling series.  I am anxiously anticipating more adventures with Lily and Robert in Book 2 Moonlocket, which will be released in Fall 2019 and Book 3 Sky Circus in Spring 2020.

Praise for COGHEART!

With great style and panache, the novel deftly winds through the intricacies of friendship and moral choice while maintaining a fun edge.” —Publishers Weekly
“An exciting, fast-paced adventure.”  —Booklist
“Introduces dastardly villains, friendly mechanicals, and thrilling airship action. . . . with hair-raising and cinematic charm.” —Kirkus Reviews
View the book trailer below and click here to download activities, discussion guides and much more!

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About the Author:
Peter Bunzl grew up in London and lives there with his partner Michael. He is a BAFTA-award-winning animator, as well as a writer and filmmaker. To learn more, visit his website, peterbunzl.com or follow him on Twitter @peterbunzl or Instagram @peter_bunzl

Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive COGHEART courtesy of Jolly Fish Press (U.S. addresses).
Bookexcursion

When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller

When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller  Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

Fans of Wherever You Go written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler will love their latest collaboration.  When You are Brave is an inspiring story about how to find courage in the midst of change. The story follows a young girl moving with her family to a new house in another town.  Miller’s concise lyrical text and Wheeler’s use of subdued color are equally somber and match the girl’s trepidation as she embarks on her journey.  Halfway through drive, the girl closes her eyes and visualizes a small light inside her.  The light grows giving her wings and the power to believe in herself.  Miller’s words are uplifting and beautifully conveys the little girl’s positivity and Wheeler’s illustrations become vibrant and brilliant.

What I love about When You are Brave is that the girl reminds us that we have the courage inside of us.  When times are tough, it is easy to forget about this inner strength that we might conceal. Taking a moment to pause and breathe is the key to letting go of your worries and realizing you can weather any storm.

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for When You Are Brave publishes soon on March 5, 2019.

Bookexcursion

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/11/19

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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 Recent Reads: 

 The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins by Gail Shepherd

Named after President Lyndon Baines Johnson, history enthusiast Lyndie Baines Hawkins is passionate about reading and researching to learn the truth.  Discovering the truth about her own family. Well, that is not as easy.  While Lyndie knows that her dad, a Vietnam veteran, lost his job, she still doesn’t truly understand why her family had to sell their house and move in with her paternal grandparents.  And to make matters worst, her grandmother Lady expects Lyndie to be her best self  (Translation: a proper Southern girl) which does not match Lyndie’s bold personality.  And Lady will not let her beloved dog Hoopdee in the house because of his “houndy odor.”

While Lyndie is aware that her family especially her dad is struggling, no one will talk to her about what is wrong.  In fact, Lady makes Lyndie promise to never discuss the family with anyone.  But when her father’s smell of Aqua Velva is replaced by whiskey and he disappears for days, Lyndie knows her family is broken.  Unable to confide in her best friend and eternal optimist Dawn, a school project with D.B., a boy from a local detention center living with Dawn’s family provides Lyndie with the opportunity to uncover revelations not only about D.B..  These facts help Lyndie realize that while “there is such a thing as honorable lying,” being loyal doesn’t mean one has to be dishonest.  Loyalty is about speaking up when it’s hard and not keeping secrets that can hurt others.

The True History of Lyndie B. Hawkins blew me away.  Author Grace Shepherd’s debut novel is a must read, for she tackles tough issues with grace, sincerity, and humor.  Lyndie’s voice was so authentic and while she had my heart, because of Shepherd’s outstanding character development, my heart broke for all the characters (even “keep up appearances” Lady).  As I read, I discovered that everyone was fighting their battle alone afraid to admit their faults or fears and healing can only begin when we are willing to put our trust in others.  Special thanks to Gail Shepherd for sharing an ARC with my #bookexcursion group.  Pre-order now, for Lyndie publishes soon on March 5, 2019.

Arnold and Louise: The Great Louweezie by Erica S. Perl Illustrated by Chris Chatterton

Arnold, a brown bear, is quiet and cautious.  Louise, a small chipmunk is adventurous.  Although they don’t have a lot in common, they are best friends. In the first book in the series, Louise has decided that she can predict the future and reinvents herself as the Great Louweezie.  Arnold isn’t that easily convinced.  Can the Great Louweezie work some magic and change his mind?

With short chapters, adorably drawn illustrations, and an engaging plot, Arnold and Louise is a new series which will appeal to readers transitioning to chapter books. While Arnold and Louise have different personalities, it is clear that these best friends bring out the best in each other. Thanks to Penguin Kids for sharing Arnold and Louise with my #bookexcursion group.  The Great Louweezie recently published in January.  To find out about the other books in the series, click here.

The Good Egg by Jory John Illustrated by Pete Oswald

For fans of The Bad Seed, The Good Egg is an egg-tastic follow up!  The main character is indeed a good egg always setting a good example by doing the right thing.  The same cannot be said for his 11 carton mates who are rarely on their best behavior.  But always being good can make an egg literally crack; therefore, he makes the decision to leave the carton to truly focus on himself.  During his time away, he heals both physically and emotionally realizing that the key to happiness is to not worry about being egg-ceptional all the time.

I can’t gush about The Good Egg enough!  The adorable illustrations, the witty text with plenty of egg puns, and most importantly, the beautiful message about the importance of self-care. Pre-order now, for it releases this week on February 12, 2019.  Special thanks to fellow literacy specialist Lisa Maucione for sharing her F & G with me that she received from the publisher Harper Collins.

Etta’s & 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.

Don’t Lick the Dog: Making Friends with Dogs by Wendy Wahman

My beagle girls are sweet and docile, but I still appreciate when people especially kids ask “Can I pet your dog?”   This picture book is a great resource for teaching children how to properly approach a dog that they do not know.  Author illustrator Wendy Wahman shares rules for how to meet a dog with a rhyming text and bold and eye catching illustrations. Tips cover etiquette for petting a dog and giving out treats.  Advice is also provided for how to safely respond when a dog is exhibiting behavior that could be scary to a child such as licking, jumping or barking.  What I love about this book is that it reminds kids that dogs aren’t toys and like people, they have their own personalities. Boy is that true!

Etta, Bella, and I thank you for stopping by Beagles and Books.  Happy reading!

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 2/4/19

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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 Recent Reads: 

When You Are Brave by Pat Zietlow Miller  Illustrated by Eliza Wheeler

Fans of Wherever You Go written by Pat Zietlow Miller and illustrated by Eliza Wheeler will love their latest collaboration.  When You are Brave is an inspiring story about how to be brave in the midst of change. The story follows a young girl moving with her family to a new house in another town.  Miller’s concise melodious text and Wheeler’s use of subdued color are equally somber and match the girl’s trepidation as she embarks on her journey.  Halfway through drive, the girl closes her eyes and visualize a small light inside her.  The light grows giving her wings and the power to believe in herself.  Miller’s words are uplifting and beautifully conveys the little girl’s positivity and Wheeler’s illustrations become vivid and brilliant.

What I love about When You are Brave is that the girl reminds us that we have the courage inside of us.  When times are tough, it is easy to forget about this inner strength that we might conceal. Taking a moment to pause and breathe is the key to letting go of your worries and realizing you can weather any storm.

Special thanks to author Pat Zietlow Miller for sending a F & G to my #bookexcursion group.  When You Are Brave publishes soon on March 5, 2019.

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Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine by Jonathan London Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

Like all the books in the Duck and Hippo series, the theme of friendship is at the center of the story.  In The Secret Valentine, no one knows for sure who the mystery valentine is but all the animals have their suspicions.  To read my full review and enter a giveaway, click here.

Etta’s & 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.

Wolf Camp by Andrea Zuill

I love books that are told from a dog’s point of view. Homer is a dog but he feels wolfish at times.  Curious about what it would be like to live as a real wolf, he cannot pass up the opportunity to enroll in Wolf Camp.  After convincing his family, Homer attends Wolf Camp where he and other dogs learn the basics of how to be real wolves. 

Homer soon discovers that the food and sleeping accommodations contrast his comfortable life at home but he sticks it out and becomes a honorary wolf by the end of camp. While Homer adjust backs to his dog life in his warm bed and electric blanket, his certificate hanging in his room and his howl show that he will always be a wolf at heart.

I can’t wait to read this aloud to students. Kids will find humor in the text and illustrations especially as Homer shared his experiences at Wolf Camp. His letter home is hysterical! Special thanks to my fellow #bookexcursion member Lisa Maucione for recommending this wolf-tastic picture book.

 

 

 

Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway: Duck and Hippo by Jonathan London Illustrated by Andrew Joyner

 

 Beagles and Books is excited to be a part of the blog tour for Duck and Hippo: The Secret Valentine written by Jonathan London and illustrated by Andrew Joyner. It  recently published in December 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:

Join Duck, Hippo, and their friends as they uncover their secret valentines!

It’s Valentine’s Day, and something curious is going on. As the birds tweet their love songs, Hippo and his friends Elephant, Pig, and Turtle each receive mysterious, unsigned Valentine’s Day cards. Hippo wonders if his is from Duck; Elephant and Turtle think theirs are from Pig; and Pig dreams that hers is from Turtle. The cards tell the friends to come to the park at four o’clock to meet their valentines—so they’ll find out soon enough! As the clock ticks away, the friends wonder—and dream—about their valentines and make special preparations. But when they arrive…SURPRISE!

This Valentine’s Day might not go exactly the way they expected, but one thing is certain: being friends with Duck and Hippo is always a special treat!

Review and Thoughts:

Like all the books in the Duck and Hippo series, the theme of friendship is at the center of the story.  In The Secret Valentine, no one knows for sure who the mystery valentine is but all the animals have their suspicions. Astute readers though will be able to spy the character responsible, for illustrator Joyner has included some clues in his artwork.  Another observation is all the animals take pride in wanting to look their very best for their secret valentine.  Andrew Joyner’s illustrations warmly capture all the animals’ personalities and excitement as they prepare for the Valentine party in the park.  

I have adopted a second grade class for #classroombookaday and I read them a picture book every day. Reading aloud The Secret Valentine was a lot of fun because author Jonathan London includes a lot of sound effects such as SCRUBBA-DUBBA-DUBBA as the  animals receive their invitations and get ready for the party.

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After reading aloud, I always ask them “What does the author want to teach us?  Since we started teaching virtues as a whole school, the students make connections to previous virtues as well as the current.  While students identified Duck as being kind and caring,  one student looked at the classroom community chart and said “Duck was showing courtesy because he invited all the animals to the Valentine party, not just Hippo.”  Then another student said, “Actually, all the animals were polite because they brought gifts and shared them with each other.” 

The classroom teacher and I just looked at each other smiling.  Every day, we both see the importance of reading aloud.  Students are getting to see examples of positive virtues which will help them become better classmates, friends, and citizens.  Here’s hoping there are more Duck and Hippo adventures to come!  This series is definitely becoming a class favorite!

About the Author:
Jonathan London is the author of more than one hundred children’s books, including the Froggy series, illustrated by Frank Remkiewicz, which has sold more than fifteen million copies. Jonathan lives in Graton, California. Learn more at www.jonathan-london.net

About the Illustrator:
Andrew Joyner is an Australian illustrator and author whose work has been published in more than twenty-five countries. He has created the artwork for many picture books, and he is author and illustrator of a chapter book series about a warthog named Boris. Andrew lives in South Australia. Learn more at www.andrewjoyner.com.au.

Learn how to draw Duck and Hippo in this free downloadable activity page! https://www.andrewjoyner.com.au/activities/.

The fourth book in the Duck and Hippo series is a sweet way to celebrate Valentine’s Day! Check out the trailer!

Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of DUCK AND HIPPO: THE SECRET VALENTINE courtesy of Two Lions (U.S. addresses).  Giveaway begins Friday, February 1, 2019 and ends at 12:00 a.m. on Friday,  February 8, 2019.  Good luck! 

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