Blog Tour, Giveaway, Picture Books

Blog Tour & Giveaway for Flash, The Little Fire Engine by Pam Calvert


Beagles and Books is excited to be part of the blog tour for Flash, The Little Fire Engine written by Pam Calvert and illustrated by Jen Taylor.  Flash celebrated its book birthday this week on November 5, 2019.  Special thanks to Two Lions/Amazon  Publishing and Barbara Fisch of Blue Slip Media for sending me a copy in exchange for an honest review. All opinions are my own.

As soon as I saw the cover, I couldn’t wait to read Flash, The Fire Engine.  Jen Taylor’s illustration of Flash brings the little fire engine to life.  Readers can see the excitement in his face with his adorable smile.  When the fire department receives a call, his attitude becomes more serious because Flash is determined to do his job well.  

Interior illustration from FLASH, THE LITTLE FIRE ENGINE_pp 10-11_Illus © 2019 Jen Taylor.jpg

When the fire is too big for little Flash, his face does not hide his disappointment, but Flash remains optimistic that he can help the next time.  As each subsequent call comes in, Flash races to the scene ready to save the day, but he discovers that he is too short or too late to help.  Once eager, Flash becomes sad wondering if he will ever be needed.  Fortunately, Flash gets a call that only he can make realizing that he is the best fit for the job.  Beaming with pride, Flash learns a valuable lesson in patience and how the fire trucks collectively work together to help the community.

I have the honor of reading aloud to a second grade classroom daily for #classroombookaday.  After I read aloud Flash, The Little Flash Engine to the class, they shared their thinking about what the author Pam Calvert wanted to teach readers.  Here are some of their comments which relate to our virtue language.

“It teaches us to have empathy for Flash because every time he went for a fire, the other trucks were telling him he was too little. I felt sad for him. But at the end, I was happy for Flash because he saved the animals at the shelter.  

“It teaches us if someone feels left out, we can try to be kind and make them feel included.  I like how the firefighters had a party for Flash after he put out his first fire.”

“The fire trucks showed unity because they all put out different fires like the ladder truck put out the fire in the tall building and the airplane put out the forest fire.”

Reinforcing positive values of empathy, unity, kindness, and patience, Flash, the Little Fire Engine is a book that is a great addition to a home or classroom library.  

Meet the Author and Illustrator: 

Pam Calvert is an award-winning children’s book author. Her books include the Princess Peepers series, illustrated by Tuesday Mourning; more recently, Brianna Bright, Ballerina Knight, illustrated by Liana Hee; and other titles. Formerly a science teacher as well as a writing instructor and coach, she speaks to thousands of children every year. When she’s not speaking or writing, you can find her having fun with her family in Texas. Learn more about her online at or on Twitter: @PammCalvert.

Jen Taylor is an illustrator and arts-and-crafts enthusiast born and raised in New Jersey. She attended the University of the Arts in Philadelphia, where she majored in illustration and animation. She is the illustrator of the Brave Little Camper series as well as the picture book Ninja Camp, written by Sue Fliess. She previously worked in animation on such shows as Sid the Science Kid and MAD. She lives in New Jersey with her husband and their corgi, Rocket. Learn more about her online at


“Calvert deftly finds a new way to introduce kids to different kinds of firefighting vehicles…sure to slip in effortlessly with other firetruck books.”
-Kirkus Reviews


Enter a Giveaway!
One lucky winner will receive a copy of Flash, the Little Fire Engine, courtesy of Two Lions/Amazon (U.S. addresses). Enter the giveaway by Friday, November 15, 2019 at 8 p.m. 

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

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading? 11/4/19

Beagles and Books is excited to share our current reads in 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 12th Candle by Kim Tomsic

Ever since Sage Sassafras was born, she and fellow classmate Priscilla Petty have been at odds cursed by the Contrarium Curse. The curse originated when her mother and Priscilla’s mother were both struck by a mysterious bolt of pink lightning when they were young. As a result, the former best friends became enemies giving the Pettys all the good fortune and bad luck to Sage’s family.  On the eve of Sage’s 12th birthday, she receives an extraordinary gift- a magic candle that will grant her wishes until the sunset on the winter solstice.  What Sage wants most is a curse-reverse which will put her family on the positive side.  But Sage learns that there is truth in the old adage “Be careful for what you wish for.”  While bad luck begins to befall Priscilla and her family, Sage’s good luck does not reap the benefits she hoped for. In fact, she loses what she values most.  With themes of friendship, family, and forgiveness,  The 12th Candle is a story that teaches us true magic occurs with honesty and kindness.  Thanks to the author and publisher Harper Collins for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group.  The 12th Candle recently published on October 1, 2019.

Chicken Break by Cate Berry  Illustrated by Charlotte Adler

A rhyming counting book with a chicken caper!  One by one, ten chickens collaborate to get out of the coop and enjoy a day on the town. But after ice skating, the opera, and shopping, these chickens are worn out. Counting down from 10, the tired poultry make their way back home using some innovative means such as jet packs and zip lines.  Berry’s lively text begs to be read aloud!  While most concept books are written for very young children, I would read Chicken Break to all my elementary school students.  Berry uses rich vocabulary such as scan, smuggle, droop, squish, and incognito.  It would also be a great springboard or review of multiple meaning words, for break is used in different contexts.  Adler’s hilarious illustrations fill almost the entire page and show both the shrewd and playful sides of the chickens.  Thanks to the author and publisher Feiwel and Friends for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. Chicken Break recently published on October 29, 2019.  Check out this fun video Cate Berry posted to celebrate Chicken Break’s book birthday. 


A Way with Wild Things by Larissa Theule Illustrated by Sara Palacios

Poppy is most comfortable spending time with bugs in nature.  She does not feel at ease in the company of people and finds ways to blend in with her surroundings away from all the action. At Grandma Phyllis’ 100th birthday, Poppy stays in the background watching the party but when a dragonfly settles on the cake, Poppy can’t help approaching it.  And when the dragonfly lands on Poppy, she is now the center of attention which make her nervous.  With her grandmother’s encouragement and the dragonfly’s trust, Poppy finds the courage to share a little knowledge about the insect with her family.  A Way with Wild Things is a quiet story with a big message.  Poppy’s shyness is shown as a strength not a weakness and she teaches us there is joy in observing the little things.  Palacios’ illustrations are gorgeous and full of details.  Children will love looking for all the bugs in the artwork and I love her rendition of Poppy with her oversized glasses.  Thanks to the author for sharing a F & G in a recent Twitter giveaway.  Look for A Way with Wild Things in March 2020.  

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.

I, Cosmo by Carlie Sorosiak 

When golden retriever Cosmo becomes a big brother to Max, he promised to not only love Max but also protect him and his family doggedly for the rest of his life.  Years later, Cosmo senses something is wrong in the house.  Mom and Dad are fighting a lot and Max confides in Cosmo that he overheard his mom say the word divorce.  With the encouragement of his uncle who is visiting, Max and Cosmo join a canine freestyle club at the community center.  Max believes if he and Cosmo can win the dance competition, it will convince his parents to never separate them or even better, ensure that his parents never break up.  Training isn’t easy due to Cosmo’s stiff joints but he is determined to dance with his boy.  

Written from Cosmo’s point of view, author Carlie Sorosiak has created a character who I doggedly love!  While Cosmo definitely lives to eat good food (especially bacon), he lives most to be a loyal and loving companion to Max. And while the story tugged at my heart and made me tear quite than a few times, I also laughed and chuckled at Cosmo’s observations which were so on point.  My blog is testament to how much I love my beagle girls, but I think reading I, Cosmo has made me love them even more reminding me of their utter goodness and unconditional love.  Thanks to the publisher Walker Books/Candlewick Press for sending an ARC to my #bookexcursion group. I, Cosmo releases on December 24, 2019.  

Etta, Bella & I thank you for visiting Beagles and Books. Happy Reading!